Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm not a hypochondriac...

I was going through the Facebook Enoji’s this morning to see which one I would choose if I was posting anything. There are SO MANY that I could pick right now. Confused, surprised, scared, determined, blessed, loved…just to name a few.

And then I went down to the deli earlier this morning and the sweet lady who was ringing up my Tylenol said “Are you ok? You look bad.” Gotta love brutal honesty, right?

You ever leave work at night with a horrible stress headache? And it’s no big deal. It’s a headache like you’ve had a hundred times before. I’ve never been a person who handles stress very well. Growing up I would throw up and get migraines that were supposed to be caused from stress. It’s all I’ve ever known, so the headaches and inability to hold food down lately are nothing new. I’ve had CAT scans and MRI’s in the past, but they were always normal.

I woke up on Friday, October 18 with swelling on the left side of my face. It was odd, but I figured it was just some sinus junk because I was having sinus symptoms. I started having numbness on my left side. For lack of a better way to put it, I felt off. My balance is off, I’m walking into things, and make myself dizzy driving. So I went to the doctor last Monday hoping he could help me feel better. He was unsure as to what was going on, so he scheduled me for an MRI on Tuesday. On Wednesday, during our Kidd’s Kids Day show, he called and told me that the MRI showed a mass that wasn’t supposed to be there. Next thing I know a neurosurgeon is calling me to tell me when I’m coming in for an appointment. WTH? He ordered and other MRI (which are $1,300 out of pocket each) and saw that yep. There’s something there that doesn’t belong.  

I have a tumor on my brain stem. The tumor itself is benign. They could leave it there if it weren’t on the worst possible spot on my brain. I think. It won’t respond to chemo or radiation, so the only way to get rid of it is surgery. They scheduled it for this Wednesday. I went to see the second neurosurgeon who will operate on me and he postponed the surgery. I wanted to get it done in time to recover for the Kidd’s Kids trip, but there is too much swelling in my brain. I’ve got non-bacterial meningitis that is causing the swelling. Removing the tumor would be too difficult and dangerous with the swelling, so I’m on steroids to try and reduce it. If the steroids work, I will be having surgery to remove the tumor after the Kidd’s Kids trip. The meningitis is here because flakes of the tumor have come loose and mixed with my spinal fluid. So here I am.

Here’s the rundown. This tumor is a genetic defect on my brain. It is slow growing. I’ve had many cat scans and MRI’s before, but it’s not been noticed. It looked like spinal fluid. But it’s grown enough now and is putting enough pressure on my brain stem that it’s a problem. The surgeons will not be able to remove it completely, but they will do what they can. The surgery will last about a 2 hours.  I will spend a couple days in ICU, then a few days in a regular room, and then be released. The recovery time will be at least 2 weeks. The surgery is risky because it can cause nerve damage. I could have paralysis on my face, loss of vision, loss of hearing, and I can’t remember what else.

It’s a lot to take in and I’m not a doctor and I’ve been pretty out of it the past few days, but that’s how I understand it to be. So if you have a second to ask God to please help me out with this dang brain tumor, the tumor and I would both appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why?? Here's why..

Just wanted to offer a little background on some of the kids going on this years trip. Every Kidd's Kids family who has gone on the trip has been deserving and these kids are no different.

I got to spend some time with Elijah and his family a couple weeks ago. It was on the way to visit them that I pretty much drove my car off of a 4 foot drop. Ouch. But well worth it. Elijah has CP and a chromosomal disorder that's never been seen before. And, as of last night, I found out that he's got some bone issues that they just found out about. His siblings, Isaiah and Olivia, are so cute and full of life. Elijah is, too. THey didn't diagnose his CP until he was 6.5, so this is still a fairly new thing to them. The symptoms are the same, but now they have a name to at least one of the issues. Elijah and his brother want to ride the Tower of Terror with Big Al and Olivia wants to be a princess. Let's make it happen.

Johnson and Matthew are brothers who live with their mom, Angela. I don't even know the condition that they face, but it's harsh. Matthew spends most of his time horizontally. Both boys have hearing loss, but Matthew's vision is deteriorating as well. He needs to SEE and HEAR Disney World while he can. He does meds every half an hour and gets all of his nutrition through a PIIC line. His brother, Johnson, isn't quite as bad as Matthew, but he still deserves to see that life can be magical. Both kids are non-verbal, so we need to put looks of amazement on their faces. Come on. Let's do this.

Penny is full of life and spirit and sooooo cute. She was diagnosed with strep throat, couldn't break the fever, had to go to the hospital, and that night was on chemo. The chemo did not kill the cancer, so now she's on more aggressive treatment. Can you even imagine being a parent treating a kid for strep and then finding out it's Leukemia? And her brother, Joel. You know that treating Penny takes a lot of time, effort, and money. So this little boy is left to deal with a sick sister who gets most of the attention. That sucks for a kid. L:et's show him that he's just as important and deserves the trip of a lifetime just as much as anyone else.

You will hear from these and other kids going on the trip this morning. Please help us make this trip a reality for them. Put the umph back in their spirit. Give them happy that pushes them to fight. Make Kidd overcome with joy when he sees that the groundwork he's laid will continue. is the website. (888)SWA-KIDZ is the phone number. Or you can text the word KIDD to 52000 to donate $10. You can do that up to 3 times.

Please do what you can and, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making dreams and fairy tales come true.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A lotta IF/Thens and the one???

I originally wrote this in Word to be copied and pasted. There are 4-pages that I've written that will stay as a word document only. Very insightful, but maybe too insightful. So let's scratch the surface of my brain in public while I work through the other 4 pages in private. I feel like a tease now. It was about leaps of faith and gratitude and changes in my life over the past year. That's about it. 

I didn’t do three in a week this week because, well, I just didn’t. I guess my mind was just overflowing with stuff last week and now it’s just crawling on fumes. I wish there was a place to refuel your mind like you do your car, but there’s not. So there’s that.

Let’s see. I have a couple more if/thens to share.

IF your drive thru order is so long you have to put your mini van in park to complete it, THEN you should’ve gone inside.

IF you’re driving your truck down the road with a cigar in one hand and your cell phone up to your ear in the other, THEN you don’t have hands to drive with. WTH are you doing?

IF I break a sweat simply going to the mall to buy some stuff at the Disney Store, THEN I’m not really sure what. Maybe I just needed to share that I broke a sweat going to the Disney Store today.

IF cats are going to lick themselves clean, THEN their bodies should be able to digest the hair they swallow so they don’t throw up on the floor.

You know what’s worse than beating the heck out of yourself for messing something up? Having to sit in a room of your peers and a consultant while he replays the screw up. And, when you’re supposed to be listening to figure out what the “cast” could do to make the break better, you know all along that the bit was just fine had it not been for you. OMG brutal. Not because of anything the others said, but because I’m my own worst critic. I bet you I won’t make the same mistake again, though. Humiliation is great for the memory.

I realized something last Saturday. They always ask if being gay is a choice. I guess trying to fault us for who we love. I have an answer for that. It’s not a choice. I’ve thought this all along, but here’s more proof. I remember having to watch Barney over and over when I was younger because my cousin loved it. I would watch it too, claiming to have a crush on Michael. But I really had a crush on Lucy. I wasn’t old enough to date either at that point, but I knew. And I had feelings for Punky Brewster. And Kelly Kapowski.

Oh, and here's an article I read today. Interesting stuff. Every girl wants her fairytale come true. If you watched the video I linked last night, you know what I'm talking about. I'm not sure how true this is...but I'm assuming that if it's on the internet then it MUST be true. I'm going with it. So should you.

Ten Ways You Know You Have Found "The One"

I’ve heard numerous single clients talking about seeking “the one”. What is “the one” that they are referring to? In my opinion, people mean the person who they feel confident about spending the rest of their life with. I think most people are searching for this kind of person, regardless of what they may tell others. So let’s say you’ve found someone special in your life, how do you know that they are “The One”? Here’s a top ten list to help guide you:

10. The sex is incredible- you have never experienced such intense or frequent orgasms or had the desire for sex in such different positions or locations, you get the point. Fact is, sex is as much mental as physical, so if you’re deeply connected to your partner, the sex will be good.

9. You can talk for hours without being bored- lifelong compatibility is about having a lot of common interests and having good communication.

8. You can be silent for hours without being bored-
even better than good conversation is good silence. It shows that you are truly comfortable together.

7. You lose all sense of logic and reason- you crave to be together all the time or you start thinking about marriage and/or children way before it is socially acceptable. You just feel like you want to dive head first into the relationship and be with your partner always.

6. You can confidently say you have never felt this way before- self explanatory, if other loves paled in comparison to this one, you might have just found true love.

5. You have similar life goals- you both want to start a family or start a business together or go sailing around the world, or whatever. Love alone isn’t enough- you need to have common life goals.

4. When you look into the future, you can see them in your plans-
you find yourself thinking about having a family or being older or moving to another city or starting a new job, and your lover is always there, prominent in your future thoughts.

3. You have the desire to satisfy their needs over and above your own- you are interested in them as people, interested in their dreams and passions, their fears and worries. You want to be there for them and you hold their happiness above your own. For more info on this, look at my “What is Love?” article.

2. You want to share of yourself as much as possible- you can’t wait to introduce them to your friends and family, show them old pictures, and take them to your favorite places.

1. You love and appreciate them for their weaknesses as much as for their strengths
- we all have strengths and weaknesses. However, you don’t feel critical of your partner for any of their weaknesses, in fact you appreciate their differences as being unique characteristics which make them the individuals they are.

Take a look at this checklist. If you find yourself checking off at least 7 or more of these items, you may just have found yourself “The One”! Save yourself the need for sex and couples therapy in the future and make sure you are making a commitment to your true life partner.

Friday, October 11, 2013

12.20.13 is my date

Happiness is what life is about. The end. I've been accused of living my life for everyone else. And looking back I can say yeah. It's true. I could give examples, but why rehash all that stuff? I can tell you the exact day that I realized that personal happiness is what it's about. That day was this past Tuesday. October 8. It was a conversation I had with a couple of really smart people that made me see that I can't live this way anymore. I know what parts of my life make me happy and those that don't. So why am I running in place...or maybe even treading water...with the BS that I allow to bring me down? I'm sick of me. I'm sick of doing what's comfortable for now because it's safe and easy. Or because it's what's expected. No more. I cannot allow myself to be in this mindset anymore. It's obvious to pretty much everyone that I've been having a hard time and my brain has gone into the lowest place possible. I've asked myself why I continue to do the things I do in the areas of my life where my value isn't seen. Some of those things are being done because it's what I've known. But as of Tuesday, I'm giving the finger to what I know. I'm destined for something more than is obvious to me and it's my time to figure out what that is. Either that or it's time for me to throw in the towel and continue letting my brain sink into the darkest places until I can no longer stand it. Should I be writing a book? Well, I kind of already am. Both through blogs and in a journal that's locked away. How do I get the charity I want to have off the ground? With so much loss and pain and awfulness that's been in my world over the past couple of years, how do I put the spotlight on all that could be so beautiful in my world right now?? How do I make what is beautiful embrace me? My flaws, my insecurities, my stupidity at times? I'm ready for it to all come together. 

I know that everyone has a time in their life when falling off the face of the earth seems like it would be best. I've been there for far too long. I've put on brave face...not necessarily a smiling one...but I've avoided meltdown status on most occasions. I feel like I'm going through the motions and it makes me sick. Truly sick. What is the value in a day if you feel like a robot? If there's an answer to this, someone please let me know what it is. 

Life seems like there's so much push and pull. I've found what makes me feel whole.  

I know that part of the reason I've struggled so much with the loss of my nephew was that we had unconditional, unquestionable love. That is a rare thing to have. I know that parents have it for their kids (even if the kids do everything they can to destroy it), but to have that with a human being that was not created by your own juices? THAT is what life's about. I got a text from Travis Johnson, Ayden's dad, from Kidds Kids 2012, on Wednesday night. It was a picture of a photo they are putting on their wall. The photo is the same one that's on my wall. Ayden and me hugging. So simple. And in that text Travis wrote "as real as love gets." He hit the nail on the head. I have love that is as true as it gets. And Ayden has true love in his heart. The difference between Ayden and me? He's 6 and has been through enough so much, but I don't think he has a grasp of his struggle. In a few years he will get it. It will sink in that nothing has come easy for him and he might get mad at the world. I doubt it, but who knows. I've had my ass handed to me time and time again in my 32 years of life. My health has been seriously bad. My heart has ached. I've cried in my sleep. I've given without getting anything in return. I've had 32 years to mold who and what I am. But I know that THIS is not it. There's something more waiting for me and that is happiness. Why am I sitting in my completely dark bedroom right now when I should be at a covered bridge festival? Why do my face and stomach hurt to the touch? Why did I text message my former grief counselor last night for words of encouragement to talk me off of the ledge? 

I won't get into the reasons why because I'm not alone in my struggles. But I will say this. I officially give myself a deadline to pull my happiness together and live it. December 20 is that date. I'm sharing it with all of you. By December 20, I will have stopped just treading water. By December 20 I will be doing what I've gotta do to fulfill my heart. That's it. For the first time in my life, I have that date circled on my calendar. I owe it to myself to fight tooth and nail to get what I want. And I'm sure that life's push and pull will continue on my path, but I don't care. I really, really don't. Mark my words. Or at least that date. 12.20.2013 is my do or die deadline. Is it drastic? Yes. Is it reckless and dumb? Maybe so. But I cannot live a life full of what ifs. If there's anything I've learned it's that our next breath is not guaranteed. So you gotta make them count, right? No more "I'll be happy once this and that is taken care of." You truly do only live once. And I don't care who you are or what your role in this world CANNOT say that your happiness does not matter right now. Because it does.Because the happy in your soul will make every part of your life better. Every relationship, every task, everything.  And don't look what will make you happy in the eye one minute and turn your back on it the next. That is no way to live. Maybe it scares the crap out of you. Maybe it's unlike anything you've known before. Maybe it requires some growing pains, but what doesn't? At least what that is worthwhile? I am just going to put this out there. If there's someone in your life that completes your puzzle. Makes you feel whole and deserves your love. Stop reading and call, text, email, roll over...stop dead in your tracks and share that love. Even if it's a simple three words. I love you. Do you know what it means to hear or read those words and know that they are truly meant? It's so insanely simple. But it's lost on so many people. Swallow your pride for a minute. If you're in an argument, take a step back and, if you're wrong, acknowledge it. If you're missing somebody, chances are they're missing you back. So bridge the gap. I'm telling you that living a life of an earned "what if" will eat you alive. Don't do it. You freaking pay money to go get scared in a haunted house. Why not embrace a scary that can forever change you path in the best way possible? Your life? Your soul? I was terrified of driving when I was in drivers ed. But look at all the opportunities that that one skill or experience has opened up for me. I was terrified that I wouldn't learn the laws of the road or that merging onto the freeway would be too much for me. But I've conquered that fear. I'm over the "what if" of other cars on the road. Yeah, their dumb choices might cause me to get into an accident, but chances are that I was driving along in my car, thinking about what it was I was driving to. And when you cut out the toxins, there's a seriously good chance that it was someone or something that would make me happy. Do you get it? Or am I talking to myself? 

Take a chance on what's important to you. It's more obvious than ever before what people in my world mean to me. It's a pretty horrible feeling to get a "hey, how are you?" text that you answer honestly. I'm awful. And the next thing you know that same person asks you to give them something! I mean seriously? Even if giving was to a good cause. For Gods sake take a look at me and see that I am human. And my state of being must really suck right now if I say I'm awful instead of the obligatory  "I'm fine." Who around me gives a crap enough to try and give me something for a change? It's absolutely infuriating to know where my heart is and know all that I'm capable and willing to give and it be blown off. I don't want that kind of world for myself anymore. I just don't. I'd rather invest my efforts into those who do give a crap. That means some life changes that I'm more than ready to jump on. But living a life without what if means facing it's challenges. So by December 20, I will identify my challenges and have a solution in my journey of conquering them. Period. End of long winded story. And you're either with me in my journey or your not. If you're not, well, then that seriously sucks.

And that's the end of that story...for now. 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I feel like insanity has set in. Probably shouldn't post this, but whatever.

Where to start on this one. I really don’t know to be honest. I guess I gotta just get it out there.

They say that God never gives you more than you can handle, right? But do you ever wonder if maybe God…with millions of people in this world…gets it wrong just from being outnumbered? I mean no disrespect in this comparison, but is it kind of like the weight-guessing guy at the fair? There’s so much room for error. Black makes you look thinner; horizontal stripes make you look wider. There are so many contributing factors to a misguided guesstimation. And I know that people are going to get mad because I’d ever have the nerve to imply that God could be wrong, but it’s just a thought.

I can’t and won’t get into specifics of where my head is at the moment, but I will add on a few of those life lessons I mentioned in my last blog.

-       Nourish what’s important to you. Sometimes it means a fake smile until you feel it. Understand that your words and actions stick with people. The bad ones seem to stick a little longer than the good ones, but I guess that’s just human nature.

-       Buy an ice pack. Because some days put so much weight on you shoulders and all you want to do is cry. Crying makes your face swollen and painful to touch. Have an ice pack on stand-by for days like those.

-       Learn from your mistakes. Making mistakes is never any fun. Like when I hit the wrong button at work. I look dumb, make the show sound bad, and have a boxing match with myself in my head. But, again, the bad sticks. I remember what happened when I pushed that button last time. Chances are it wasn’t good. So I try my hardest not to do it again. Unless I screw up so bad I get fired. Then learning and growing from that mistake is easier said than done.

-       Never be afraid to ask for a second chance. The guy at the big gay wedding over the weekend said “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for second chances.” And that’s the case for a lot of us, isn’t it? And at the end of the day the most that can happen is your wish for a second chance is denied and you’re stuck kicking yourself in the butt for even needing to ask for a second chance.

-       Know your self worth. I can’t speak to this one very much because I think I’ve failed at this time after time. People can really suck sometimes and do everything in their power to make you feel an inch tall. But you know you’re not what they try to make you feel, right? At least you try and let logic outweigh what they try to put in your head. But sometimes logic is lost and we buy into stupid things. So I’m going to be a hypocrite and tell you to do something that I honestly don’t know how to do. At least I know my flaws, right?

-       Be a fighter. Even when you’re convinced that God has decided that you can carry 300 pounds of crap on your shoulders, keep going until you crumble under the pressure. And when that happens, take a step back, tell God that you tried your best, and regroup. Maybe God just picked a bad day to hand you that load. Maybe you skipped breakfast or your back was hurting when you woke up that morning. Whatever the case may be. You can ask for another try at carrying the load. And who knows? Maybe that wish will be granted.

It’s so easy to sit here and type these things on a word document and make you think I’ve got it all together. I don’t. At all. The weight on my shoulders today was heavy enough to get the best of me. And that’s my own fault. Sometimes you pray that your good qualities outweigh your bad, but not every prayer is answered. I can tell you about a dozen times that I can recall praying as hard as I could that things would have a different outcome, but my prayers just weren’t hard enough. Or wishing that whatever it is was just a dream. A really bad dream because you don’t think you can handle that being your reality. Well, guess what? Sometimes reality SUCKS. But beyond choices and beliefs that you have in your own head, there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

A little peek behind the curtain on this one. I’ve got a serious stress headache. You can only take so much Excedrin in a day, though. So I’m stuck with it for another few hours. I’ve had an order of things that I’ve planned for myself and that order was on track. It was so on track; I thought it was too good to be true. And I guess it was because now I’m like the homeless person walking alongside the train tracks because I don’t know which way to go. And I can’t afford a ticket on the train because duh. I’m homeless. Not literally. I pay way too much for this stinky apartment I live in, but I do have shelter. And as far as the plans I had laid out, I tried to reroute my path in a way that would take a little longer to get to, but the end result was the same. But I guess I let the frustration of having to reroute again get the best of me. That’s shameful. And the consequences of my weakness have reared their ugly little heads, so now I’m left to take my own advice. Get an ice pack, stick it on my face, and let some inanimate object take away the sting.

I’m so human. I’m such a girl with my emotions. Sometimes rational thought goes out the window no matter how hard I try to keep it intact. But I’m going to put this out in the universe because someone very smart and important to me taught me to have some faith in the laws of attraction. I need a break. I really, really do. I think God believes I’m a bodybuilder. Or like that Atlas guy who can carry the whole world on his shoulders. I’m not. Not even close. I suppose all that I can hope for in this life is for people to love me in spite of my flaws, to understand that I don’t always have it together, and to have faith in me. And if what I said before…you get what you give…holds any truth, everything will be ok. And I can get back on my route to happiness and use my screw-ups and their consequences to be better than I was before. I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason and at this moment, I don’t believe that God will never give me more than I can handle. So now what? I guess I’m gonna have to figure that one out for myself.

Now, what does a person who knows that they must eat to sustain life do for a meal? I’m pretty sure a pomegranate pop tart isn’t enough to keep me alive. Especially when I had it 12 hours ago. Another instance that leaves me sitting here wondering, now what?

And for those of you who don't live in DFW and didn't get to see this, here's kind of another peek behind the curtain of what I do. I get to set this kind of stuff up leading up to the Kidd's Kids trip each year. It's worth a watch.

And to finish on a lighter note…taxi drivers are the worst drivers on the road. We pay them insane amounts of money to get us where we are going, but they suck at what they do! And that’s all I have to say about that.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Maybe I'm smart...but I still have a lot to learn

Kelly Clarkson bloopers

Link to my AudioBoo

Can I just talk about the under appreciation of the onion ring for a minute? I love onions. Always have. But I can’t eat them because I have nasty reflux. But an occasional onion ring doesn’t bug me too much. But you would think that fast food has given up on the onion ring because I don’t know of too many places that have them. Granted I don’t do much fast food, but I can remember maybe Sonic and Burger King having them. And who in the heck knows where a BK is these days? Not I said this reflux having white girl.

Some other random thoughts before I get into the serious thoughts in my head.

Did you know that a lot of Maple Syrup comes from Canada? I figured maybe it would come from Africa. Because it comes from trees. And Africa has jungles. Which means they have trees. So it would make sense that they produce syrup. But no. It’s Canada and some states around here.

Did you know that the vent in the bathroom is to absorb moisture? I had no clue until this week. I noticed that Amber would turn on the vent in the bathroom when she would shower. And I never understood why. I always thought that the vent was for when you made the bathroom stink. But NO! It’s to absorb moisture so you don’t get mold. I feel really dumb admitting that I had no idea.

I’ve noticed that Justin Bieber duck tape is the only duck tape on clearance at Target. Why is this? Is peacock design duck tape more popular than Justin Bieber duck tape? I don’t understand.

And I noticed this on Buzzfeed last night and I’ve yet to google it. What are the stringy things on bananas? They’re super thin sometimes, or thick and gross others. Is it part of the peel that stayed attached? Or is it something that grew in there that doesn’t belong? And why is it that when I buy bananas, they go brown faster than when other people buy them? I thought that if you took the bundle apart and let each banana live on it’s own, it would last longer. But I’m seeing that this isn’t always the case. So what is it exactly? How do you keep bananas edible for more than a day or two?

I did the Big Gay wedding last night. I think it went OK.  Sometimes the gays can be a tough crowd, but these guys were pretty cool. But I started realizing towards the end of the night that something is up with my external hard drive. When I would play one song and load whatever was to come next, it would slow down the tempo of what was playing. So I guess I need to back up my back up? I’ve never really used external memory before, so I don’t know what’s going on. But, as Kellie Rasberry would say, I guaran-damn-tee to figure it out.

My sister Samantha and brother in law Orlando came in for a visit last week. Mrs. Pacheco is putting her house on the market, so they came in to tie up all the loose ends in getting the house ready for that. It was great to see them again because I’ve missed them. But it wasn’t good telling them goodbye again. I felt like such a jerk for just losing it when she hugged me goodbye. I don’t want to put any guilt on her for moving to Hawaii. They’re happy out there and it’s their chance to start over and make new memories, so it’s pretty selfish of me to cry because I miss them. But I’m human. And I truly do miss my sister and Orlando. I’m pretty close to Samantha. She’s younger than me, but she has her head on straight and she’s got maturity about her that I whole-heartedly respect. You know how you have certain best friends in your life that you sort-of categorize. Amber is not only my GF, but she’s also that person I feel like I can tell anything and everything to. And she might not agree with my feelings or thoughts, but I always feel better telling her what’s going on in my head. Keith is the best friend who is fun to hang out with and dance with and that kind of stuff. And I can tell him a lot of stuff about what’s going on in my world, but it’s tougher these days because he travels a lot and is in New York and I rarely see him. Steve is my straight guy best friend who is supportive no matter what. I can also tell him just about anything and he will find a way to back me in it. He’s got a wife and baby in his life, but I know that if I needed him, he would do what he could to be there. Christy is my best lesbian friend who I think is beautiful, but I’m not at all attracted to. And that’s not an insult or anything. That’s just the way it is. When we are together, we can be absolute TROUBLE. It’s what we do. And before our friendship was more of a surface thing with hey how’s it going and we could talk about BIG issues in life. But lately it’s stepped up a bit. We actually talk on the phone… which is something I do with very few people, and it’s cool. She’s a successful OBGYN in Austin and I don’t see her nearly enough, but I know that she knows I love her despite that fact. And If I was half as successful as her and didn’t do DJ work on the side to make extra money, I’d be down there every weekend I wasn’t going to see Amber. B.J. was my best straight guy friend who I knew I could trust completely if I ever needed him. He was fun to hang out with, go drink with, watch fly his little remote control helicopters. He was comfortable enough with me to walk around in a towel after a shower. And it was whatever. I knew that with his I had nothing to worry about, and that’s hard to come by with straight guys. And then there’s my sister. She’s the clear-headed, tell it like it is person that I can call at 4 in the morning and have a guttural crying fit. She will listen, tell me an honest opinion, and help guide me through whatever I need to do to make things better. She will tell me if my thoughts on whatever are stupid or misguided. I just trust her completely and I think she does me, too. And since we’re sisters, it would be easy to blow each other off and have that sibling rivalry thing going, but since we’ve grown up, that’s never been an issue. And I’ve had the opportunity to explain to her why I did certain things the way I did when we were little. I’ve never been a selfish person…at least not too terribly selfish…and I think that with explanation of things, she sees that. So we have a sisterly bond as well as a friendly bond and I’m really glad for that. It’s weird having to calculate the 5-hour time difference when I want to call or text or whatever. Usually when I wake up for work, she’s just barely going to bed. And when I’m finished at work, she might not even be awake yet. But we’re making the best of it. And knowing that she’s happy is comforting to me. I guess since Ethan passed away, I know the burden they’ve dealt with in being pressured to have another baby and every place they go being a painful reminder of what they did with Ethan at that place before. And I know from experience that it is exhausting. I still haven’t gone to Pei Wei because I would not be able to not having Ethan with me. He loved their kids lo-mein. It was a messy meal, but who cares. That’s what wet wipes are for. When he was littler, I would take him in his car seat and let him sleep and just stare in amazement at this perfect being who brought so much to my life. He was truly perfect. Innocent and not jaded and happy and everything you could ever want in a baby. I cannot remember one single crying fit from that baby. And I spent a LOT of time with him. He would cry a little when he would wake up hungry, but he loved to sleep on me, so he didn’t have to cry too hard or too long before I would take care of him. He truly opened my heart up to accept the fact that unconditional love DOES exist. And with that lesson, I’ve learned that it’s not just a feeling you have with babies. It goes beyond that. People can down right suck and you can be mad at them and want to punch them or choke them or knock some sense into their head. They can do or say hurtful things as we all do. But that doesn’t justify losing the love that you have for them. Ethan taught me that. And I think the idea of unconditional love is what drives me. I want to be loved unconditionally. And I want to give that back. It’s strange that a two and a half year old taught me so much. But he did and I’m thankful for that.

Honestly when Ethan was born, I wasn’t happy. I can’t use names or anything, but I was in a relationship that I knew wasn’t right for me. But Ethan was born a few weeks after that began and he grew attached to her. And I felt like I owed it to him to keep the people who he loved in his life. Looking back I wish I hadn’t. Because I’m sure that a happy Tia Shanon would have been much better for him. Hindsight is so clear, isn’t it? Why would I allow someone who pushed me while I was holding him to be a part of my life? I don’t know. And I get so mad at myself for being weak and giving into guilt and staying in that situation. But at the end of the day, no other person in this world could take away from the love I had with him. I jus wish that I had not allowed them to take so much out of me when I could have been giving that to him.

I’m working this out in my head as I go people. Bear with me. Ethan was cremated instead of buried. Sam and Orlando did that so that Ethan could be with them no matter where their journey took them. They brought him back with them during their visit and I’ve gotta say that saying goodbye to that beautiful box with the ashes of my baby in it was awful. The night before they left everyone was in the back room watching the Rangers game. SO I snuck out and sat on the living room couch with him for a bit. And I tell him up in Heaven how much I love and miss him all the time. But I had the opportunity to hold him in my lap and speak to his remains and to him in Heaven at the same time. It was painful. He would have been 5 on December 19 of this year. Time for big boy school. I would have picked him up from school a day or two a week. In fact, I wanted to get a 2 door Accord when I bought a new car. But I went with my CX-5 in case my sister got pregnant again. It’s more practical to have a baby in a bigger vehicle that sits up higher and has 4 doors than having to crawl through a two-door car. But anyway. I can tell you exactly what I was doing when I told Samantha that I wanted to be active in his school life. I was painting the baseboards in the house I rented from Big Al. The hallway. Right by the water heater door. She told me that they wanted to put him in school at Holy Trinity Catholic. I was so excited about being a part of his life in every aspect possible. It didn’t work out that way and I guess I’m really still not over it. Time passes, but the feelings don’t go away. And life does go on, but it’s not the same. And I’m not saying that life isn’t fantastic…it’s just different.

And with the loss of the love of my life, I’ve learned some important lessons. I don’t take worthy relationships for granted. Because time isn’t promised, so we might as well make the most of it. And I’m sure it’s not really easy to deal with me and the love that I have to give. When I love, I love HARD. Because if anything were to happen to me today or tomorrow or a week from now, I would hope that those I love would have zero question in their mind. And in my opinion part of loving someone is accepting the good with the bad. And always wanting more. More conversations and more texts and more Face time or Skype calls. Even if it’s at a time where you’re too tired to carry on a conversation. Just to BE and feel CONTENT listening to that person breathe is enough. I’ve tried to start sending texts to the important people in my life to say, “hey, just thinking about you” or “miss you” or “love you” or whatever the case might be. I think that knowing that you’re top of mind to another person says so much. To think of them and want to let them know that they’re on your mind without prompt from them is a big deal. It makes me think of the Love Letter to Kellie this week where the wife was tired of having to ask the husband to do stuff around the house. Why wouldn’t he just do it without being asked? Call me high maintenance, but I can see where the woman’s frustration comes from. Amber’s friend Tracy is really good about sending a text telling me to have an awesome day in the mornings. And it means a lot to me because I didn’t send her a text before hand. She thought of me. And I think that’s a pretty awesome place to stand in someone’s mind. And I hope this makes some sense. When Amber sends me a text that simply says “Hey” it makes my heart beat faster. Because in spite of work and kids and a charity she’s doing and all that other stuff, she wanted me to know that I was on her mind. And it makes my day better knowing that. So, I guess the moral of this story is…make sure the people in your life know that they’re on your mind. Even if it’s a simple text with an Emoji smiley face. It means more than you know, so don’t be shy about it. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

So, I’ve been trying to come up with some rules to live by. And I’ve got a few so far. But I want to think of more easy things to remember because we have short attention spans and easy is better. So here’s what I got.

-       Never let your pride stand in the way of a sincere, owed apology. Apologizing does not make you weak. It shows your strength in recognizing your faults. So never be ashamed to admit when you’re wrong and to try and make it right. It builds your character and also means a lot to the person or persons you apologize to. At least that’s how I see it.

-       Love with all you have to give. Don’t hold back. I already talked about this    earlier, but it’s on my list of life lessons I try to live by.

-       Show gratitude. At the end of the day, nobody owes any of us a damn thing. When a person goes out of their way to do something nice for you, show your gratitude. Send a thank you note. Or give them a huge hug and say thank you in their ear where only they can hear it.

-       Don’t be afraid of giving second chances. And sometimes even third chances. People screw up. A lot. And you’re going to get hurt by pretty much everyone you care about. It’s part of life. But take the time to see beyond their screw up and ask yourself “is this a reflection of who they really are?” Or was it just a huge eff up? Don’t let the same person hurt you over and over and over again. I’m not saying that. But look into the relationship you’ve built with that person and make a conscious decision if what they’ve done is worth throwing it all away. Take the time to be pissed off and cry it out…but don’t just write someone off if they deserve another shot.

- Pay it forward. Plain and simple. You get what you give. You give what you get.    Never forget that.

-       If you’re ever overwhelmed and need to just scream at the top of your lungs or cry or just get it all out, your car is your space. You can scream while you drive. You can park somewhere and cry. Holding stuff in does no one any good. In fact, it’s harmful to your health. So don’t be afraid of looking like a weirdo driving down the street screaming. Who cares what the people on the road think. It’s good for your heart and your head. So take advantage of that.

-       You hear about people who do yoga all the time and boast about it’s greatness. I’m new to it. I only do it in my living room. But it really does ease the stressors of life. I’d recommend it to anyone. I’m using it as a stress reliever and to loosen up my body before I try and officially become a runner. It feels awesome. Give it a try.

This is really long. I guess I just kind of vomit out words once I get on a roll. Sorry if this has been redundant in regards to past posts. And I really appreciate your taking the time to read it AND any feedback you can give. Maybe you can teach me something I’ve not considered. I’m open to any ideas that might lead to a calm, fulfilling life. SO go on and bring it!

Love you guys,