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It's All About My Martini

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Last night was a late, but incredible night, with new, and old, friends. Nikki and I hopped on the bike to meet everyone and network for some awesome causes.

It was "interesting" flying, uh, well, stopped, on I5 in five o'clock traffic. Nik and I were following and trying to keep up when traffic got moving again. It was awesome riding with two guys that have ridden for years, and knew the ins and outs of playing the traffic game. Finally we made it to our destination, Portland International Racetrack.

We had a great time handing out fliers, meeting people, and sitting around and talking. Then within, what seemed like minutes, it was time to go. Baby Girl rode on the back of a friend's bike to get out of the field we had parked in. Once on the pavement, she jumped off his bike and onto mine and we were on our way.

This is really going somewhere else, but, we had such a fantastic time, I couldn't help but write about it.

What this is really about is something quite true, mean, but true.

It was pitch black in my bedroom when I got home last night and cracked the door open. I was looking to see if Jeff was in there. If he was, I knew I couldn't turn on the light. Since the accident a lot of sensory things bother him, like lights, TV, my typing.

I could barely make out a shape in the bed, so I knew quiet was the drill. After splitting my forehead open the other night while attempting to navigate through the blackness of the moonless night to the bathroom, I put my hands out and felt around....Ok, that's the closet...touch, feel, search the carpet with my foot, trying to stay upright and not trip over my thrown around things.

After a bit of feeling around in the dark, I made it to the bathroom and hopped in the shower. Afterward I felt my way back to the bed, positioned a few pillows between Jeff's face and my laptop, so when I opened it, the glare wouldn't wake him.

It was then Martini decided to migrate to my side of the bed. She rustled her way out of the blankets Jeff had her wrapped in, stretched a bit, and walked over my stomach. She then rooted around and found her way under the blanket and nestled in. She settled tightly next to my thigh. I Facebooked a little, sent some emails, the usual bedtime routine. After that it was time for sleep. I used the light on my phone to search the pharmaceutical  assortment on my bedside table attempting to read the tiny words in the hopes of finding the correct medications needed before sleeping.

It was when I went to throw the top blanket off of me before lying down for the night, it was really hot in the room for some reason, that I realized how horrible I truly am. When I pulled the blanket back, to throw toward the middle of the bed, I noticed Martini didn't go under the sheet, she went under the top blanket. A flash went off in my head! I did more for my dog than I do for my kids.

She looked up at me with those little brown, pleading eyes, that asked not to be moved. I placed the blanket back over her, laid down, kept the blanket on, and tried to ignore the heat and sweat myself to sleep.

As I lay there sweating, it crossed my mind that I do more for my pup than I do for my kids. When we first got her, she wouldn't eat, so I made her chicken, rice, and got her special food. With the kids it's more like, "I don't know what you're gonna eat for dinner, look around, see what you can find. Oh, you found ice cream, ok, you can have that."

I can be sitting with my feet up writing and Martini will jump up and curl comfortably on my legs. I'm careful not to move her. If I need something, instead of moving my treasured friend,  it's "Hey, kid, can you get me some tea?" After all, I don't want to disturb the cute, little, hairy Yorkie that's so very comfortable.

Or, when it's cold out, I find her little sweater before she goes outside. With the kids, if they find a coat, they find a coat, if not, oh well.

I'll buy her special little liver treats, the kids get apples. I guess the apples aren't so bad, I do get nutritious food for the family, nothing canned or processed, so that's point in the Mom column. 

I'll trim the little hairs that grow around Martini's eyes, I toss the kids a pair of scissors and the clippers and say, "Find a mirror."

She's got her TIGI pet shampoo, the kids get's like .98 at Target.

Martini sleeps with Jeff and me and I tell the kids, "DO NOT knock on my door if it's closed unless there is a massive amount of blood, or an exposed bone." When I hear Martini's little cries if we forget her when we go to bed, I will get out of bed, which I do for no one, and let her in, gently picking her up and placing her under the blanket.

And to top it off, I have more pictures of my dog, than I do my kids. Kind of embarrassing really when someone asks if I have a picture of a certain child, and I have to scroll through tons of pictures of Martini to find a pic that a child MIGHT be in.

But there is ONE thing I will not do for child, dog, or husband, I don't do puke and I don't do poop. They're all on their own for that shit!

Kid just happened to be in the pic with the pup

NO ONE is allowed to touch my MacBook Pro

Another kid? Oh wait, grand kid, doesn't count

Actually, if you look through my FB pics, you'll see I do have pics of my kids, they're just mixed in between Matrini and motorcycles.

Now time for my Martini.

Oh, and read Jeff's updates here. Awesome guy, awesome cause. Please share his link if you can.

His Benefit Ride, sponsored by an awesome friend, Big Al, is August 10. Registration is 9, kickstands up at 10:30. Starting at the Hitchin' Post in Salem, going down through Sweethome, over MacKenzie Pass, to Sisters, to Detroit Lake and back to Salem for a great after party! Come join the fun!




Don't Let This Happen In Your Lives

Friday, July 19, 2013

I've avoided it for years, the building, the people, the memories. I was there Sunday as I have been the last few Sundays. I've been uncomfortable, wary and guarded. I still am.

I didn't know why, until then. Sunday morning the memories came flooding back of a small dying child. I was flipping through my Bible and found the bookmark that announced the death of my grandson.

The cause of his death was listed as viral encephalitis. I've written of Isaiah before but never in depth, I wouldn't let myself go there. I wouldn't allow myself to remember, to feel, to experience the intense feelings that surrounded those months and the tiny child whose destiny was the grave.

I've written the facts, but not of the excruciating feelings. I keep those feelings locked tightly away in a box that's filed in the deepest recesses of my brain, I keep that box far from my heart lest it once again be pierced.

But today is different. I'll write of the experience, of the decisions, of the ultimate fate of the perfectly beautiful angel.

I knew when Isaiah was a few days old that he was sick, very sick. He slept way too much, even for a newborn. And I had this feeling, this really bad feeling in my gut that he was extremely sick.

My daughter, Karli, took him to the doctor several times. They diagnosed him as a sleepy newborn. She took him to the ER and again was told he was a sleepy newborn. Little did we know at the time that those misdiagnosis' were critical in the life and death of Isaiah.

Karli took him to another doctor who witnessed seizures. Isaiah was immediately taken to the children's hospital in Portland. There was a team of incredible doctors assigned to his case and test after test was done.

He was finally diagnosed with Herpes Encephalitis. The Herpes virus can kill newborns, Herpes killed our newborn. Karli contracted it from her then husband but she had no symptoms. It was passed on to Isaiah. Had he been accurately diagnosed in the beginning, he might still be with us today. I wish I had pushed more, I wish I had been more proactive. I can't help but feel his death is my fault. I knew, I knew, there was a problem.

After many meetings with the specialists at the hospital, and many treatments, there was one final meeting with his team of doctors. I avoided that gathering of the medical minds. I knew what they were going to tell us.

Isaiah was brought home to my house and put in hospice care. His brain had been destroyed by the virus. He was going to die. We had to wait and we had to watch.

My daughter made the decision to end his life support. His feeding tube was removed, all medications, except those to keep him comfortable, were stopped. We watched the chubby little cherub grow frail and emaciated. We watched as he starved to death. We dabbed his little lips with cold water. We tried to keep him comfortable. We passed him from person to person, he was never laid down, he was never alone.

It took 12 days after his nourishment was stopped for him to die. Those were the longest 12 days of our lives. We prayed for his death, for his suffering to end, for our suffering to end. We waited, we watched and we prayed.

We were sitting at the dinner table when Isaiah's soul left this earth. Karli took the stethoscope and listened for a heartbeat, there was none. We called his doctor, his wonderful doctor, and she came to our house. Our pastor and his wife came as well and we all waited for the men with the black van to come take our child away.

While we were waiting we passed the lifeless baby around, we each held him, kissed him and told him how much we loved him. When the men arrived Karli carefully strapped him into his car seat after she had wrapped him in his blanket. That night was the beginning of a journey none of us wanted to be on, but we had no choice.

Sunday as I looked at the bookmark it dawned on me why I had avoided church, or at least one of the reasons I had avoided it for nearly 8 years. The building reminded me of Isaiah. We had taken him to every service with us. We had his beautiful memorial service in that building. We said our final goodbye to him there.

Sitting in church I read the verse my daughter had chosen for him, for his bookmark and for his headstone and I cried.

Isaiah 57:1 and 2
The righteous perish, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous are taken away from the evil to come. 
He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. 

I thought of the evil that Isaiah was spared from. The "person" that had fathered him was a meth addict we found out, a very sly one. He also sexually molested my older grandson. His family was full of drug addicts and, to put it rather strongly, they were losers of the worst kind.

Who knows what Isaiah would have faced, who knows from what abuse he was spared. But it doesn't stop the grief, it doesn't stop the hurt, it doesn't stop the anger.

I think my realization Sunday was the beginning of healing for me.  I need to open that box. I need to feel the pain. I need to embrace the memories. I've only visited his grave a handful of times in  8 years.  I think I'll go more, I need to go more, but I'm afraid to. 


Come Party With The Diva and A Bunch of Bikers!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I have to thank a very gracious, and humble man, Al Unruh, AKA Big Al. He offered one of his annual poker runs as a benefit run for Jeff.

It's going to be awesome! The ride is going to be gorgeous, from Salem, over McKenzie Pass, through Sisters, Detroit and back to Salem.

There's going to be a 50/50, raffles for a big, flat screen TV, a Harley Bulova watch, courtesy of my brother and sister in law, three $100 dollar gift certificates for tattoo work from an awesome artist, he's done amazing cover up work for both of us, ammo, and other great things!

Our wonderful friend, Renata, put together an incredible flier, that, hopefully I can figure out how to attach it to this post, she's been such a blessing in our lives.

As for Jeff, today was pretty bad. Emotionally he's in a place I've never seen him in. His pain level is still very high, but he is more active, probably too active, but not enough to be able to go back to work physically, which is causing him great strain.

But he did smile tonight when he saw the flier, and was bummed he can't take the ride himself! We are going to try to have him at the after party and the drawings for the raffles. So if you're in the area, pop in and have some fun with us!

If you can't see the information well enough in the picture, email me and I'll send you a copy!

Love and kisses, 


Hell Yes It Hurts!

After a long day of bookkeeping crap, fundraising ideas, and a couple of hours of, "wind down" computer time, I looked at the clock and freaked. I have a an early, long day tomorrow.

I grabbed my bedtime meds, including things I can't drive on, gulped them down with whatever watered down drink was at my bedside, I closed the laptop, and got out of the bed to go to the bathroom.

The room was totally pitch dark. No moon, no stars, just the blackness of night.

We happen to have this really cool craftsman style trim around all the door casings in the house, and I just realized it's freaking sharp, especially in the darkness of night. I made my way through the bedroom and into what I thought was the bathroom and then, BAM, head first into the casing.

Yeah, ok, I'm probably exaggerating here, but I swear I felt the gash as it tore through my delicate Diva like skin. I screamed, "OUCH! DAMN IT!" I put my hand to my head and felt it was wet and getting progressively wetter. I was totally playing the distressed Diva card.

No one answered, ambien will kick Jeff's ass every time. It was still dark, I kept my hand on my head and could feel blood gushing from beneath. I leaned to put my elbows on the counter top while I held the pressure on the gash and kind of cried and yelled until Jeff awoke from his drug induced coma.

"Are you ok? What happened?"

"Would I have f*@%ing yelled if I was ok? I ran into the door casing."

"Turn on the light and look at it."

"I'm too afraid, I know I need stitches, it's bleeding too badly."

Finally he turned on the light and I looked in the mirror. There is an inch long DEEP gash on my forehead right above my eyebrow, and it was gushing blood. I grabbed a towel to put pressure on it, while Jeff stumbled through the bedroom closet to find the first aid kit and, hopefully, a bandage of some sort that would work until morning.

I looked in the mirror again at the deep cut in my head, directly above my right eye. The gash is SO deep, and SO long, and pouring out SO much blood, I knew right then and there I would die from blood loss before we got to the hospital.

Then I remembered there would be no ER or stitches tonight, Jeff and I are both on you name it. We can't drive anywhere!

Jeff first attempted to put on what only looked like white duct tape to me.

"There's no way in hell you're putting that on my head. It'll only rip it open again tomorrow. Just find the bactracin and a Bandaid."

I still kept pressure on it and it still kept bleeding. Jeff pried my hands off of it and looked at it again, "Oh, Teri you really must of hit hard, it's cut badly. It's deep and it's long."

Great, just freaking great when you're both on sleep aids there IS NO way to go the hospital, there is nothing that could be done.

He put the bactracin on it and applied bandaid the best he could. The blood was still pouring, my head is throbbing, stinging, and I keep remembering my mom when would say, "You bumped your head, you can't sleep for awhile."

So now I sit, eating ginger snaps, writing a freaking blog post about stumbling in a dark room. I think I need one of those miner's lights for nights like tonight.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow, I've either died of blood loss, got a horrible case of staph in the cut, or am in for plastic surgery! I say as blood is dripping from underneath the bandaid.

It's going to be a long night,

Ouch, ouch and effin ouch!

OH, i forgot the Ambien and Duct Tape Man's fundraising site for medical and living expenses until we can get on our feet again. Donate if you wish, or you can simply share his site by clicking the FB or Twitter icons on the page.

Also Bikers i the PDX area we're having a poker run, a great ride from Salem through the Ma pass, to Sisters, Detroit Lake and bak to the Hitching post for some great prizes! there will be a 50,50, Big Flat Screen TV,  a Harley Bulova watch,  a case of ammo, and some other cool things. You can go to the site and get Karli's email and contact for more information. It begins at the Hitching Post (?) and will end there. Great prizes, great friends, lots f laughs and a great cause. If you have an idea of a band, or another local that may handle more people, let us know.

Sleeplessly, and hurting,



The Cut Glass

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I think of it often, too often for my comfort, and I wonder how any human could, would, do what she did to her child. "Times were different back then," she said. On that, I call bullshit.

She had given her other four children away, and when I think of it, I continually come back to the question of why she didn't give him away as well. I guess, though, in a way she did. 

I never thought of it much when Dad would show me all of the houses he had lived in as he grew up in New Orleans. I didn't stop to think that when I was with my parents, we only lived in three.

I didn't give it much thought that he was in Catholic boarding school, back then it was free if you lived in that Parish, and were Catholic.

My grandmother's lineage was Evangelical Christian. She only "converted" to Catholicism to send him to boarding school. So, yes, she did give him away. He was only home on the weekends from first grade until he graduated from Holy Cross High School and left for the Air Force.

One day she told me something I can't get to leave my heart, my memory, the part of me that's a mom.

She said after he was born she went back to work, I didn't find that strange at the time she brought it up in casual conversation, even though he was born in 1938. What she went on to tell me haunts me to this day. She would put him in his playpen in the morning, go to work, and the neighbor lady would go upstairs every four hours to feed him and change his diaper. She told me as if it were no big deal, she had no emotion, no shame, no remote ounce of remorse as she spoke.

That was the beginning of my Dad's life, abandonment, disregard, and emotional torture. I cannot bear to think of the uncomforted screaming,  the neglect, the lack of attention he was exposed to as an infant. It explains a lot though.

It explains why he never told us he loved us, my two younger brothers and me, when he was sober. I don't think we ever heard those words come from his mouth, unless he was brimming with alcohol, until my Mom was killed. It explains why we had to ask to sit by him. It explains why we could never hug, or touch, him. It explains why life was as it was while my brothers and I grew up.

I think it also explains his choice of career. He was a corporate pilot. He flew Presidents, rock stars, movie stars, and Texas oil men. He was gone all but about three to four days a month. He was always on call.

What a job to have. Your boss calls you, tells you to ready the jet, and fly to Jamaica. He would lie on the beach for weeks on end until the boss, or the boss's guests, were ready to return home.

Then the oil bust happened in 1983. The oilmen sold their jets, and Dad became an instructor. Once again he was surrounded by rock stars, movie stars and politicians wanting to learn from the "best."

They had his attention, his kids didn't, but that's how I grew up, like him in a way.

Even though he never said the words, "I love you," when he was sober, yes, Dad was an alcoholic, I knew he did, but I wanted more of him. I idolized him. To me he was bigger than life. I would listen with awe, and pride, of his stories about LBJ, John Wayne, Led Zepplin, John Travolta, JFK, John Connally, among others, as well as sordid stories of the oilmen and the "Boy's Club."

I knew of Bilderberg, Skull and Bones, and other "secret" societies and their members from an age when most kids knew only about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. 

I would sit at his feet and listen. To me that was showing his love, drinking a bottle of Vodka and telling us stories of his adventures and the people he was surrounded by.

When I grew older, I wanted more. I wanted to hear the words, "I love you." I wanted him to hold me when I cried, I wanted a pat on the head, but none of that came to pass until Mom was killed.

I was sitting at my dining table tonight, looking at a piece of stained glass that has hung in that window for 15 years. My Dad made it. It's simple, but to me, it's his love overflowing.

My favorite flower is the Tulip, and one my favorite colors is red. He made it for me when I had moved to the Northwest from Texas. As I gazed at the colorful pieces of glass, I realized how much he did love me.

He made that piece for me, no one else, but for me. He also made me a stained glass lamp shade and various other pieces. Not only did he make them for me, he drove them half way across the continent. He drove for four, very long, days to make sure they arrived safely to my home. As he gave them to me, and told me about each piece, it was my love, my approval he sought.

Yes, after Mom was killed, Dad did tell me he loved me. He told me he never knew how much people needed to be touched and held, how much they needed to hear they were loved. After she died, he told me he loved me every time he talked to me, he hugged me every time he saw me. After she died, he told me how much he regretted not being there as my brothers and I grew. I knew, though, it was all he knew, all he had known.

Those last thirteen months of his life he was able to express his love for us freely. I flew down each month for a week or two to be with him, to emotionally support him. It was the best thirteen months of our relationship. My Dad and I formed a bond I never thought was possible. Yes, my Mom's death was tragic, I still can't find the strength to grieve, but it gave me a gift I would have never known. Her death, while devastating, gave me a father,

But as I gazed at the pieces he cut and placed together for me, I knew he had always loved me, he just didn't have the tools to say the words, to hug, or to touch, because he had never been shown himself.

Yes, he loved me, The tulips tell me so.


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