For my Mom

The events of this past week have brought a lot of emotions to the surface. Quite honestly, I never truly realized that Erin gets her strength from me. It’s rather annoying and amazing at the same time. She slaps those latex gloves on, changes her own dressings, accepts her nasty meds with loathing (“This tastes like throw up, and it’s child abuse!!”) and swallows it down anyway, and when you ask her “How are you, Erin?” she takes a thoughtful moment to give you the adequate number relating to the pain chart, “Four.” (I have to take a second to explain to visitors why she is responding with a number.) And, the humor. “Why do people keep bringing me stuffed dogs, don’t you think that’s a LITTLE inappropriate?!” We’ve said as long as we can find humor in any situation we are going to be OK. As we were leaving the hospital her nurse said to Erin that it was such a joy to take care of her. It’s not often on the Peds floor that a child does exactly what she is told to do. But, she will also stick to her guns if you try to push her too hard. This girl has her limits. It’s a privilege to be her mother. It means I’m the one she reaches for – especially when it’s the absolute worst, and the one she pushes away because we tend to hurt those closest to us when we are hurting. I’ve been on the giving end of the latter myself…and the receiving end. Neither one is a good place to be. After a particularly difficult night at the hospital, I grabbed a bite to eat by myself. I sat in a corner booth and fought back tears. I began to write, to try to put into words what had been building up inside me. Kim left me a voicemail and I couldn’t bring myself to listen to it. It was 44 seconds long, so I already knew what it was going to say. I texted her to tell her that I couldn’t talk to her because I would just fall apart if I did. I made it through dinner, kept dabbing my eyes with my napkin, got Dylan some food to go, and came home. Dylan gave me a hug as soon as I walked in the door and the tears just fell. He is warmth and pure love. I’ve often jokingly said I get enough love from both my children from just him. To know your children is to love them, and they are as different as night and day. Erin will decide when, to whom, and how she will love you. Dylan gives freely and often. He is full of I love you’s and hugs. He went back to his room and I sat on the couch in darkness, letting the events of the last 24 hours unravel and began to sob. I called my Mom and let it all out. I wept and apologized for how awful it must have been for her 28 years ago- how awful *I* must have been to her. I pushed her away so often, when she needed to love me the most. Sean reminded me in the hospital “Don’t take it personally, she only wants me to spend the night because I give her space” and I know this, I really do -up close and personal, my role through this has been whatever Erin needs me to be. I can’t fathom how my Mom and my Dad did it, day in and day out for over a month in the hospital, and not just the hospital around the corner – all the way downtown to Methodist. But, especially my Mom. 3 days in the hospital was a harsh reminder, a bitter taste, of everything we all endured. I shared my own experiences with Erin to give her the strength to get through, especially when they wanted to soak the wound. It took me right back to the soaks I had to do. In many cases, my wisdom backfired. “At least when you got hit by a car it was an ACCIDENT!” Well, this is true. Anyway, I believe the worst is now behind us, (although they are back at the ER trying to figure out why she cannot walk) but the timing feels a little diabolical. 28 years ago today. My son walks the very halls at Chatard that I navigated through in my wheelchair. He is the same age I was 28 years ago today. I can’t even imagine. Life is bizarre, and cruel, and beautiful, and I couldn’t help feeling like the past was repeating itself this past week, just on a much smaller scale. I would not feel complete without acknowledging what incredible parents I had that were simply given the burden of enduring.  As a parent, I know it was harder on them than it was on me. The following is what I wrote Thursday night after I left the hospital.


It’s remarkable, really. 

It will be 28 years ago on Sunday that I lost my right leg. 
Erin was attacked by a dog and remains hospitalized due to the extent of the nasty, gaping wound and deep punctures & scratches she sustained. 
I left the hospital in tears tonight after she pushed me away, again. 
I am her source of comfort, her gentle voice, her hand to squeeze the bloody hell of when they clean her wounds and shove needles into her gaping, exposed flesh and muscle. I am the one she turns away from when she’s had ENOUGH, and the one she mutters angry remarks to under her breath. I am the one who turns away and cries because she knows not what she does. 
I am my Mother.



Zookeeper of the Day


It’s been busy up in this piece. Just a quick update to fill you in on the goings-on:

1) Flash is still buried in the backyard. RIP, Buddy.

2) Dylan‘s football team won the City Championship this season!! Usually, the Honey Badger was playing in the dirt at the games, but here is a picture of her in the stands:

Honey Badger watches a playoff game.

Honey Badger watches a 5th grade football playoff game. She LOVES watching her brother play football.

3) I was so excited to take the Honey Badger to her natural (faux) habitat: The Zoo. Contrary to popular belief, at least around here, it’s not open on Mondays during November. Now, I don’t normally run out and buy my kids something if they are disappointed, AT ALL, but it was in it’s room sobbing it’s eyes out because I lied to it about going to the zoo. We put tights and a skirt on, and everything. I felt sooooo bad. So, I threw out the Disney Store as an alternative! HB didn’t flinch. She said she didn’t want to go, but I don’t think she knew how magical it could be. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Disney doesn’t make dreams come true.

They asked HB why she was in the store today. I explained that I broke her heart, and she thought she was going to the zoo. This Manager engaged HB and said she needed help naming some animals. HB, naturally, got all of them correct.

They asked HB why she was in the store today. I explained that I broke her heart, and she thought she was going to the zoo. This manager engaged HB and said she needed help naming some animals. HB, naturally, got all of them correct. The manager was so “impressed” with her animal naming skills, that they named her the “Zoo Keeper of the Day” and presented her with a gift certificate and a crown.

A very pleased Zoo Keeper of the Day, along with her certificate and crown.

A very pleased Zoo Keeper of the Day, along with her certificate and crown.

But, let's not ruin the moment by actually admitting we had a good time.

But, let’s not ruin the moment by actually admitting we had a good time.

4) Mr. Dylan had to get some new photos taken, and I will post them below. He and I ended up on an episode of Parks & Recreation, that will be airing on Nov. 21st. I hesitate to even admit this, because I haven’t gone Vegan yet, or even vegetarian, so I am pretty sure I am going to be kind of a fatass in the episode, but we’ll see. VEGAN 2014! (New motto). Just watch “Forks Over Knives” and you will understand.


5.) Lastly, I don’t normally run out and buy my kids something for being good. I know, I know. #3 was well warranted, but damn if this one wasn’t WAY more warranted. So, yesterday, I had to drive 30 minutes south for an appointment.  This was a couple I had seen before, and they carved time out of their busy week to meet with me. The problem was, I had to bring HB to the sales appointment with me, unexpectedlyMy plea was not overkill, but simple in nature: “I will promise you the world, and all of Meijer, Target, and Walmart COMBINED, if you remain quiet the WHOLE time and do not ask Mommy a single question. NOT ONE QUESTION.”  Ok, so in reality, I promised “ONE” item to pick out if she did not interrupt my very important sales meeting. 

Here’s how it went:

Oh, did I mention my sales manager was meeting me there because I asked her to support me in this very important endeavor?

They answer the door –  “Oh, Hi! I just brought my whole entourage here (hee hee)…this little one was a last minute addition!”

I go to set HB up on the floor with a blanket, library books, a doll, and lots of doll clothes (that I gave her the day before – I found them in the basement….my own doll clothes from when I was little….)

Anyway, set her up and…….


It never said a single word. 

I could have cried. I did, in fact, as I carried her to the car, with 3 completed applications for business, 3 checks, and all her stuff that she spread all over their living room floor. She played incredibly quietly until she fell asleep on top of her library books. She broke my heart again, as my children do repeatedly, only because I can’t fathom how they could treat me this way. How could she have known, that today of ALL days, I needed her to be as responsible and absolutely perfect as possible?

So, I promised her something. And, she didn’t forget. She picked out a Barbie makeup kit for $9.99, and she and her Daddy dived into it as soon as possible last night:

20131111_195922 20131111_195917

But, of course, today is another story.

– HB had bath.

-HB got dressed.

-HB insisted on doing makeup on my face before she went to school. Ok, no problem.

-HB always has another plan. She wants to paint her face as a kitty cat before she goes to school.

-HB wins.

"Erin, you cannot wear makeup to school." "Wellllllllllll, Odette wears makeup all the time and paints her face all the time." "Oh, reallllllllllly."

“Erin, you cannot wear makeup to school.”
“Wellllllllllll, Odette wears makeup all the time and paints her face all the time.”
“Oh, reallllllllllly.”

As usual, HB wins.

As usual, HB wins.

Famous last words, as she walks out of the house to go to school.


“I’m Gary.”

Compassionate Creatures

Have you ever had one of those days where things were just hitting you from every direction, all at one time? Normally, I tend to take things in stride;  If I have a missile fired at me, I may be a bit wounded, but I dust myself off and carry on.

Yesterday, was one of “those days” where everything kind of comes at you at once- physically and mentally. My brain could only handle “INCOMING!!!” so many times. Call it a meltdown, call it just being spent, or call it what my mother would call it, “The Change” (too early, Mom!).  Whatever it was, it consisted of many tears streaming down my face, and my children not really sure how to handle me because they don’t normally see me this way. In fact, they never see me this way, so they had no idea what to make of it. So, given the spontaneous creatures they are, they simply sprung into action.

Here’s how it went:

  • Tons of hugs from the both of them. PRETTY AWESOME.
  • Dylan : Threw together a “Snack Bowl” consisting of Annie‘s pretzels, cheddar rabbits, yogurt, applesauce, and a kid’s drink. He promptly brought it to me, as if I was starving for snacks. Even though I was the opposite of hungry, DEFINITELY AWESOME.
  • Honey Badger: She made beautiful pictures of an Invisible Car, and a Spider Web. I’m not sure I would have guessed each of those on the first try, except Dylan labeled them in cursive. 🙂 DEFINITELY AWESOME.
  • While I’m “eating” (pretending to enjoy, rather) my snack, Dylan disappeared to his room and wasn’t to be heard from for at least 15 minutes. Hmmm, I’m a little curious.
  • During those 15 minutes, HB ran circles around me – from the kitchen, family room, and dining room, it’s a perfect oval for children to run. In her case, she KNEW it would make me feel better if she ran that course, chucked the Twister “board” at my feet, continued on, and then chucked the Twister Spinner board at my leg. It definitely made me feel kinda better. On her final lap, she dumped “Baby” in my lap. I was pretty verklempt at that point.

By this point, my tears had dried up, and I was thinking that, as usual, my kids were pretty amazing.  I got up to go to the other room. and Dylan stopped me in the hallway. He was genuflecting, Tebow style, head down with something on his palm lifted up to me: He made me my very own Rainbow Loom bracelet.


That was pretty strong. I gave him a giant hug, because I thought it was so sweet. He grinned at me, because he knew I loved the bracelet, and I grinned back.


The Honey Badger witnessed my embrace with Dylan.  All of a sudden, she let loose a gut-wrenching cry, and ran out into the family room with her arms covering her eyes in disgust and sobbed:

“I was going to make Mommy a bracelet, BUT SHE’S NOT CRYING ANYMORE!!!!!!!!” and the heaves and heaves of sobbing that went along with this was so very sad. Oh, man. I tried to talk some sense into her. IT HAS NO SENSE!


Sean walks in the door:  “I was going to make Mommy a bracelet, BUT SHE’S NOT CRYING ANYMORE!!!!!

Dylan tried to comfort her and offer some ideas.  She cut him off:    “MOMMY ISN’T CRYING ANYMORE, SO I DON’T GET TO MAKE HER A BRACELET!!!!!”

Oh, man. I am NEVER crying in front of the kids again.

It’s hard out there for a Honey Badger.

Knowledge is Power

Hey there.

I truly didn’t mean for nearly 4 months to go by before my next post. I feel like I’m in the confessional booth: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.  It’s been 4 months since my last blog post.” It’s been quite the ride recently. I completely changed careers, for the better, after realizing some things (or people, rather) just weren’t at all what they were cracked up to be. An opportunity presented itself, and I took a leap of faith.  After tons of studying for weeks around the clock, I passed the state licensing Health & Life Insurance exam and was certified to sell insurance in the state I reside. I work for an incredible company that sells insurance to school teachers and their families  – both retired and working, and also to retired public employees. I LOVE WHAT I DO. I am making a huge difference in people’s lives because of the policies I sell. I do everything from Medicare Supplements to Cancer Insurance (NOT a gimmick, as I have witnessed with my own eyes), Long Term Care Insurance (EXTREMELY important), Whole Life Insurance, Annuities, etc.  More importantly, the rates are extremely affordable as they are endorsed by a state association, and they are group negotiated rates. Anyway, long story short, I’ve been sorta wrapped up in my new career. And, that meant one huge issue: I was no longer working from home, as I did the last two years. So, we had to figure out what to do with the Honey Badger.

Well, I heard somewhere that knowledge is power.

So, we sent It to school.


I am all for The Uniform. I think kids look much better and ready to learn when they are all tucked in, and nicely, uniformly dressed. However, you cannot cloak the Honey Badger entirely. She wore her vibrantly mismatched shoes, and flashed her lovely, little painted nails (each a different color). She displayed her beautiful feathers in a subtle, yet ingenious, way. Despite her flair, she was all business when she walked through the door. It’s been 5 weeks since she started, and she now owns the place.

Aside from the Honey Badger, we’ve had some other animal issues at hand. Flash, the PTSD hamster, kicked the bucket. He called it quits after a year in our home. When the Honey Badger turned 4, she received her very own hamster to torture play with. Her hamster is male, and she named him: Emily. We firmly believe that hamster fighting is not a sport, and we do not support it. But, sometimes things went on behind the couch that we weren’t necessarily paying close attention to, and hamster races/ homemade mazes / homemade hamster ramps might have been a couple of those things. We are saddened to deliver the news that Flash is sleeping with the fishes, but we want you to know that he is DEFINITELY in a much better place now.


(He’s in this box, wrapped up in a Foot Locker bag [because “he liked sports”, said Dylan] taking a permanent dirt nap in our back yard. Yes, he’s in a better place, for sure. RIP, Flash. Hang in there, Emily.)

Ok, moving on. What else have we been up to? Oh, yeah! YOGA. Not just your Momma’s yoga, but DDP YOGA. We are doing the hell out of it, or trying to, anyway. We decided to take some pics of ourselves pre-workout. Don’t be jealous. It’s just that, we were really feeling it with our bandanas. We were channeling our inner Flash Dance. We ALWAYS wear bandanas when we do yoga. And, then we high five after the “Diamond Cutter” exhalation and a “BAM!” to the ground with our palms. The couple that does yoga together stays together!


So we’ve had a major job change (oh, for my husband as well. He got a promotion, which meant completely new job responsibilities and learning curve), death of a beloved hamster, fitness regiment ignited, and two significant words that nine tenths of the population would understand : 

Breaking Bad.

We signed up for the free Netflix temp membership and dedicated ourselves to watching Seasons 1-5 of “BB” in a mere 30 days, so that we could get caught up with the rest of society for the Series Finale next Sunday. We came to the end of the free Season 5 episodes last night, but there are 8 more that we must watch to catch up, which aren’t easily accessible. We frantically Googled to see where we could stream them for free. If you were to bottle Breaking Bad and inject it directly into our veins, we would have breathed a sigh of relief last night. Instead, we connected my laptop to the flat screen TV and watched a choppy, crappy version of the next episode in the last series.

That’s all I will say about that, because I respect the silence and abhor the spoilers. But, it’s been a lot of sacrificing to get caught up, and a lot of serious dedication. A LOT. We feel we’ve come very far.

Lastly, I had a bit of a running list of some of the best Honey Badger quotes. I will leave you with some, not all, of those, as well as a promise to pick this thing back up and keep it running.


“Hey! I don’t hear that smell anymore!”

Erin, someday you’ll grow up and marry a nice man like your Daddy. “Then I’ll get my baby?!”

(Loudly, as in disbelief) “DO YOU KNOW WHAT FREEZING HOT MEANS?” No, I don’t. Please tell me. “IT MEANS IT’S FREEZING IN SPANISH!!!!!”

“I don’t like church. Why don’t you just take Daddy, and Grandma can babysit us.”

Erin, you feel warm. “I do? How come I?”

“Can I use scissors? I PROMISE I won’t cut my hair.”

From the backseat, while I’m driving: “Daddy’s awesome, right?” Yes, he sure is.  “He’s much more awesomer than you, right?!”

As always, thanks for reading.

Who Am I? What Have I Done?

What do you do when you have been laid up for awhile, can’t really carry a cup of coffee for the life of you, and every step is agony, but then you start to feel SO MUCH BETTER? Well, you would load your minivan up with a half ton of rock and haul it piece by piece to your backyard to create a majestic wonderment, of  course!

Two weeks ago, I got a crazy idea in my head and it wouldn’t go away. Our behemoth, 4-burner gas grill was just a giant stainless steel shell, whose innards had basically disintegrated. We used eBay and Amazon to replace the parts, only to find that we were spending more than if we just bought a new one outright.  Not to mention, we had my husband’s charcoal grill from his bachelor days waiting in the wings, but we got that sucker going and our chicken is still stuck to the grates (from about 9 days ago), womp womp.

We returned the gas grill parts, shoved the behemoth gas and pathetic bachelor grills to the corner, and I headed to Lowe’s with these two yahoos to purchase a brand new grill:

THE GRILL 933 start

Reading Grill Cookbooks while I “grill” (HAHAHAHA) the salesmen and “pepper” them with questions.

We settled on a Weber grill. More bang for the buck. Plus, I talked them into giving me 8% off, in addition to my husband’s 10% Veteran’s discount. I had big plans for this grill of ours, so I wanted something that was going to last.

Next, I watched YouTube videos and Googled incessantly.

I took a “Before” shot. I wasn’t totally convinced there would be an “After” shot by the time I would likely hose up my own plan, but you must always have hope.

THE GRILL 935 before

Before. So boring.

Speaking of “Plan”, I made an actual drawing of my “Plans”. My first ever, official Plans that I created out of my own head…and executed!


SERIOUS PLANS!! These might be the most serious plans you’ve ever seen. View them wisely. Seriously.

Now, comes the moment of truth. I can’t do this by myself. I couldn’t count on my husband (he was too busy making kick-ass dinners). I only had these two to REALLY lead the way:

THE GRILL 952 erin lowes THE GRILL 942 dylan1

I said, “Guys, will you please stop being so silly and please just act like your normal selves?” And, finally (thankfully) they did:

THE GRILL 953erinnn

THE GRILL 944 dylan2Alright, so my boy just provides love and support, but the Honey Badger has REALLY got to get in there and HELP – in capital letters. Each stone was 12 lbs.; I had 100 of them. My Dad suggested I rent a truck, or do multiple trips. I said, “No! One trip!”  and just loaded them all up at once. I drove home with the hazards blinking and the windows down, because I blew the fuse to the AC in the van from the weight of the stones. Just to be clear (some have asked), I am pretty sure that I reclined my seat and had the bass bumpin’, although I was sweating and I don’t recall what song HB and I were swaggerin’ out to, but, we had PLANS up in that piece!! I was making things HAPPEN.

Honey Badger was making things happen too. She would have collapsed into a crying mess on the driveway if I didn’t let her help move the stones. So, maybe she did and that’s how I know this. Ohhhhhh, yeah, speaking of 12 lb stones… That wheelbarrow that we had, that I was planning on using to haul this shit to the patio, yeah, the, uh, tire was completely deflated, therefore rendering it useless.

Hmm. That threw a wrench into my project.




And, here’s the Honey Badger : Even 1 block at a time was a big help. She’s my Big Helper.

THE GRILL 936 erin bike

Ok, so my Dad helped me bring my plan to light. He was there to assist and light a fire under me. We could have gone round and round about how this was going to go. But, he likes to Get ‘er Done, and I like to, well, procrastinate and chat. We busted a move and got the stones set up, took a picture, then tore them down. We built it back up and glued it together, piece by piece. We marveled at what we accomplished, yet acknowledged we may have sped the process up a bit and so we aren’t exactly at 90 degrees in some spots. Oh well. I think he was just extremely impressed with my work ethic on the job site and couldn’t see past that.

And then, my father left me on my own. “Sink or swim”, he thought. This is pretty much how he raised me anyway, thank God.

So, I swam for dear life.

I can’t draw a stick person to save my life, but I measured, drew precise pencil lines that weren’t actually precise, tried to erase them, gave up on the eraser, went through an entire package of baby wipes (Kirkland brand, from Costco,- I cleaned my entire van out with them the other day – they can be utilized in ANY situation)  and sent my husband to Lowe’s to have the tiles cut down to my “exact” pencil markings.

Next, I needed more tiles cut. But, in a moment’s notice, I had to draw my lines there on the spot, at Lowe’s. I asked for a pencil and tape measure. They gave me a “grease pencil”. That went over well. The grease pencil was gigantic compared to my small pencil at home. So, I made a lot of noise using their ink pen to draw my lines, much to their dismay. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

THE GRILL 977 lowes pen

Ok, ok, ok. So – I started this little project with the Honey Badger in tow on Tuesday. After many days of rearing the children, working from home, and the everyday stuff in the middle, I finished the project tonight (Saturday). It really is a 2 day project. Knowing what I know now, I could do this in no time. I feel so completely empowered, I just want to stand on the damn thing with flames shooting out from behind me shouting, “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!!!!!!!”. But, I don’t think my neighbors would like that. Plus, the dogs would go crazy everywhere and cause quite a stir.

Here’s the finished product. Disclaimer: Once again, I must credit my father with the awesome wisdom and time he provided to the project. I will say, though, that the tile part was completely independent of anyone but myself. I have never tiled anything in my life, so this was quite an achievement. I want to tile the shit out of anything and everything now! I want to tile the backyard!!!

Here are the final pictures:


THE GRILL 987 side

I especially want to say that that this project makes our back porch so versatile. I made it so that, during the wintertime, the grill could slide back, and we can store it in the garage. More importantly, this brick wall becomes The Most Amazing Snowball Shelter in the History of Mankind.  If you don’t believe me, take a look at my oldest below, demonstrating just how awesome it will be:

THE GRILL 991 Sean


I dedicate my post today to my Mom. Of course, in my younger years, she was lovingly referred to as Mommy. (Even my 4 year old is already phasing out Mommy, and replacing it with Mom. I’m not sure why I’m offended, but I am.) Besides being a mother, she is known by many different names, some more colorful than others, all equally meaningful to the person speaking of her.

“Katy” – by her loving husband.

“Aunt Katy” – by her many nieces and nephews that have always adored her.

“Chatty Cathy” – by her extremely funny children.

“Grandma” – by most of her eight grandchildren.

“Kiki” – by 2 of her 8 grandchildren.

“Grammy” – by one, little Honey Badger.

“Daughter” – spoken from the lips of her Father, but only until the age of 3 when he was taken from earth. And, most certainly spoken with elation when her mother gave birth to a girl, after 5 boys preceded her.

“Sister” – spoken by her 5 brothers, each of whom have passed this life before her.

“Friend” – the many, many friends she has touched over the years, and the close ones she relishes today.

But, if there is one title she deserves, it is that of “Mother”. You see, that is how she always referred to her own Mom. I have always found it to be a very reverent title for a woman, my grandmother, that symbolized the epitome of strength.   Her name was Sarah Nadine. At least, that was the new name she chose for herself after she left behind a life of torment, walked from Ohio to Indiana by herself, got a job, and married a man 16 years her senior. Together, they were raising 6 children, until his sudden passing. Poor and alone, she did the best she could to feed her family. She never learned how to drive; she walked, or took the bus wherever she needed to go. She, in fact, walked to church every single day. She had weak knees, but her faith was stronger. I once found myself in a small church in Rome; I believe it was called the Scala Sancta. They had a staircase that Jesus walked on to his way to Pontius Pilate. It contained drops of his blood, and was encased in a protective case. I saw little, old ladies on their knees, going up each step, one by one. It was difficult with my prosthesis, but I went up those stairs one at a time for my grandmother. She would have. She was a woman of devotion and endless love for others. Once, she had just enough money to buy groceries when she boarded the bus with my Mom. But, a little girl boarded as well, and she had no shoes and she was dirty. My grandmother insisted they get off at the next stop, and they took the little girl and spent all their grocery money to buy her new shoes. This was the kind of selfless person my grandmother was, and passed along to my own mother. My mom would give the clothes off her back to her children, her nieces and nephews, her husband, or her friends. She has given countless time and energy to making each of her grandchildren feel loved. When my aunt was dying from cancer in a hospital in California, she and my Dad drove my cousins to the airport to send them on a plane so they could be there for their final goodbyes. My Mom decided, in that moment, that she was boarding the plane as well. She had no clothes, no toothbrush, but she provided an amazing amount of support that came from the depths of her amazing soul.

I believe that there are two kinds of people in this world; those that have lost a parent, and those who have not. I cannot even fathom losing my Mom. My heart goes out to the many people today that I hold dear that are celebrating this day with an ache in their heart that I am sure will never, ever go away. I will be one of those people one day, and so I take each moment I can to relish my relationship with my Mother. I find that my relationship with my Mom means more to me today than it ever has. I appreciate each visit, each moment, each conversation.

So, today, I want to say – I love you, Mother. I am humbled to be your daughter. My children are privileged to have you in their life in such a meaningful way, and I hope that I have made you proud. You are incredibly beautiful inside and out.


Your Daughter.


Katy (2)

A Letter to the Man that Altered the Course of My Life

I’ve had a bit of a rough time lately, which explains my absence  here, so I thought I would make this a cathartic post and move on. I seemed to have misplaced my humor, and I’m looking to discover it again. This letter is long overdue.

Dear Mr. , (I don’t even know your name, because I never wanted to remember it.)

It’s coming up on the 23rd year of our accident. I say “our” because you were involved too. In fact, you were the one that was behind the wheel of the vehicle that was traveling over 55mph when you struck me and my best friend, Kim. I’m not sure what your plans were for that day, April 29th, 1990, but we just wanted to cross the street to get to Dairy Queen. Instead of settling into a sticky booth for some cold, tasty treat, it was the hot tire of your car that I woke up to, slowly opening my eyes up to the vast, blue sky, wondering if I was dead. The heat of your car pulsating through my body, and the screams and cries of my dear friend for her Mom, were the first rape of my senses. She remembers nothing; I remember everything. Twenty three years later, I can still recall exactly what that heat felt like. I wanted to comfort my friend, but I couldn’t speak. I turned to reach for her and all I could see was her leg split wide open. She was too far from me to touch her. I didn’t cry at all. I understand this to be called “shock”.  I just wanted to escape from the heat, so I tried to roll away from the car. It was then that I looked down and saw my leg. Gone. I looked up to the pristine sky and thought that I might vomit. Man, I hate throwing up, I thought. A nice pregnant lady, very pregnant in fact, was suddenly next to me telling me not to move. She kept gently telling me to stay still. She asked me questions and I heard my voice calmly answer them. What was my name? Where did I live? She was wearing a beautiful, flowing dress with flowers on it. The sun was shining directly above her on that beautiful spring afternoon. I held her hand, and she held mine.

I often wonder what you did that morning. Kim and I went to church with my parents. (Later, the woman that sat behind us in church would make it her mission to visit me constantly at the hospital. She dubbed herself my “Guardian Angel” simply because sitting behind us at church, hours before our own personal massacre, equated to perpetually “watching over us”. I found her to be extremely annoying and often wished she would go away.) Kim had spent the night at my house. We couldn’t wait to take a walk on our own; we would laugh and talk all the way to the local DQ. More importantly, we could smoke our menthol cigarettes stuffed in my green, leather Liz Claiborne purse. That purse was the only item of mine that survived the scene, and it was the first thing I saw upon my return home from my month long stay in the hospital. (Once I made it up the stairs to my bedroom, anyway. That took more effort than you could possibly imagine.) Innocently, it sat on the dresser in my room. I promptly threw it away.

Do you happen to recall our age? We were 15. The nurses said I had the best tan lines they’d ever seen. We had just returned back from Spring Break in Gulf Shores, Alabama the week prior. I was wearing my new clothes that my Mom bought me for vacation: white shorts, new Keds, and my favorite: a long sleeve, button down shirt with tiny flowers all over it. I loved the colors. It looked good against my “tan”. (Let’s be honest, I don’t really tan. But, I did get some nice color on that vacation. My pale skin usually just burns. The night before the Turn-a-Bout Dance – also our Freshman year of high school- Kim stayed up all night with me putting cold, wet wash cloths all over me to cool down my burn from the tanning bed. She was so sweet to me. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to comfort her, and she me, in the hospital because we were in separate wings. Only once was I wheeled to her room to hold her hand.)  Anyway, I remember the EMT’s cutting my clothes off me on the street. I really liked that shirt. It was from The Gap.

I never did get the real story on what happened. Apparently, it made national, even world, headlines because it was so “bizarre” that a bird hit the windshield and you slammed into 2 girls and pinned them to a guardrail. That’s quite a distraction, must have been one giant bird. However, other witnesses say that you were arguing with your wife and weren’t paying attention to the road.

No matter what happened that day, I spent 22 years forgiving you. I was never out for blood. I never wanted to seek revenge. I imagined that you must have felt awful. But, I recently found out that you passed away, and that kind of pissed me off. You went the rest of your life without ever having apologized or, at the very least, just touched base to see if we were OK. No visit to the hospital. No letter in the mail. Speaking of mail, I got letters in the mail from Vice President Dan Quayle, and Senator Ted Kennedy. They found the time to write, acknowledge what a devastating injury I had, and offer words of wisdom. (I believe this goes back to the “Bizarre Bird Hits Windshield!” media coverage that our accident garnered.)

My Dad walked up on the scene. He loves working out in the yard, and yes, it was a beautiful day. He heard the sirens and decided to take a stroll to see what was going on. We were already gone – Kim by helicopter, and me in the ambulance. (At this point, I drifted in and out of consciousness, but quite clearly recall hearing them radio ahead to Methodist Hospital, saying that they had my severed leg on ice.) A police officer swiftly drove my father home to deliver the news to and collect my mother. You have children, don’t you? Have you ever been put in the position of thinking that your child was dead? That’s what my family thought as they arrived at the hospital. No one would give them a solid answer for hours. Did you ever tell your children what happened? Were we a cautionary tale to them? If so, that’s fine. It means we mattered enough to you to speak of us. All in all, we didn’t ask much of you, did we? Your insurance company took a very small hit in the grand scheme of things, and guess what? That money ran out a loooooong time ago. I have a lifelong disability, and with that comes lifelong medical bills. Today, I am still struggling just to be ambulatory, and perhaps that’s why I am feeling really ticked off lately.

I can roll with the punches here and there. I can rise to the challenge with the best of them. But, I am having a new prosthesis made right now and it’s really taking a toll on me. As you sailed through the years, did you ever stop and wonder how I was doing? Do you have any idea how tedious and frustrating  it is to have a new prosthesis made every few years? Since mine was a tragic amputation, I woke up to nurses and doctors telling me just how “lucky” I was to have my knee. And so, the stump of my leg is so short that every fitting is agonizing. I also have quite a bit of skin grafting where they put the rest of my leg back together. My bottom (my kids say “butt”, and then I tell them that “we say bottom”) still hurts from where they took the skin for the grafting, isn’t that weird? My left arm was nearly severed, and I have a nice chunk missing from my ankle. The scar under my arm really annoys the shit out of me,  but the other scars on my body aren’t too bad. But, back to the prosthesis. I was hoping to have a new leg made so that I could run. I really want to run. I am in charge of planning the Indy GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) Club Trip to Ireland this July, and I was counting on going as a player, not just the planner. Well, the first Hurling practice was a few nights ago, and I am sitting here on my ass with my leg off and a nickel sized blister on the end of my leg. I might have to go on antibiotics due to infection. This is from my new prosthesis. My current prosthesis is not even wearable due to breakdown. I’m sitting here with a new $24,910 prosthetic leg that I can’t do shit with. The new prosthesis being a completely standard, no frills, no electronics, no ‘sweet blade for running in the Olympics’ type model. (By the way, Fuck You Oscar Pistorius. You had a plethora of resources available to you and you squandered them all.) A few days from now, I’ll head to my appointment so we can talk about where we go from here. I already had to stay off my leg for over a week because of a sore that was healing, when I tripped over our entry-way rug and landed right on the end of my leg. Yes, sir. In order to describe the pain for you, as a man, I would imagine it’s like getting hit in the balls with a sledgehammer. Does that make you feel nauseous? Ok, then that’s how it felt. For at least a week. So, once I healed up from that, then I was ready to keep moving forward with this new leg. And, well, here I am. (My husband wadded up the rug right then and there, and threw it away, so it’s not an issue for me anymore.)

So, here we are. You are deceased, but I’m writing a letter to you. I sure wish I knew how you felt about us all the years that you were living. I saw on Oprah all the time how important it was to “FORGIVE”, but I don’t really feel like following along. I’m not much of a follower. I would rather tell you this : Thank You. When I put my oldest child to sleep at night, every now and then, I remind him of this: If my accident had never happened, and he interrupts, “I know, I know, I know, then you wouldn’t have had me!” and he reiterates how awesome it is that my accident happened because we are all here now. Believe it, because it’s true.

I do sincerely, with all my heart, believe that all things are meant to be. I believe that I have learned so much from my experience, and that I would not have the family and friends that I do now, if things did not flow in my life as they have. Every one of us faces some sort of struggle, or multiple struggles, at once – whether it’s a parent, child, friend, or neighbor. I am blessed to have been given this challenge in life because it has introduced me to the people that I adore and love, and call Home.

In the infamous words of the Beatles, “All You Need is Love”, and I feel that with my own family.

However, my daughter might shape it even better:

“I love you, Mommy! I love you even when your leg is off!”

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.


One of my Top 5 All-Time Favorite Movies is, “A Christmas Story”. I just didn’t realize when I woke up this morning that I would be reenacting one of the scenes spontaneously with my 10-year old child today.

About said child: I have often said that I get enough love from both my children from my 10 year old son, Dylan. He is the epitome of love. He still holds my hand, snuggles with me on the couch, loves a bedtime story, and tells me several times every single day, “I love you!”. He is one of the funniest people in the world, too. I took him with me today to shop at Bed, Bath & Beyond. He had me laughing so hard that I was almost embarrassed. Almost. He is witty, funny, super sensitive to a fault, athletic, hard-working, smart, and FUN.

He helped me carry a great deal of stuff today, some of it at my Mom’s house. “The Incident” took place when we were trying to get out of her front door. Both of our hands were full, and I take full credit for trying to urge him to get out the door. I became frustrated and was trying to rush us all.

Me: “Go, go! Keep moving!”

(I couldn’t understand why he just stopped at the door and didn’t go any further. Plus, the Honey Badger was on my heels, and it took me ages to get her shoes and socks on and get ready to get out the door.)

Dylan: [Completely frustrated by the door, because it had locked on him, and his hands were full, but I didn’t realize this]: “MOM! I can’t open the door because I don’t have any [INSERT “F-bomb with -ING”] hands to open it!!!!!!!”

I stood there with my eyes wide open and my jaw hanging to the floor.

Immediately, he burst into tears and dropped everything and ran to the car. (Since he dropped everything, it was easy for him to open the door. Moot point.)

My Mom came to the door with the same jaw dropping look on her face. I told her I had it under control, grabbed the little Peanut, and headed for the car.

Dylan’s sobs were loud….and sincere. This is my boy, who HATES to get in trouble, and turned to me and implored, “I DID NOT MEAN TO SAY THAT!!!” And, I 1000% believed him. Never, in a million years, did I think that Dylan would drop the F bomb. But, I truly know that his own words completely shocked him.

We drove the brief drive home in silence, except for his muffled cries. I felt awful for him. But, he didn’t know that. He was devastated. I have always said about him, he feels things so deeply. So, this wasn’t some kid who said something nasty and then was crying because he was going to get into trouble. This was a very sensitive kid, who wouldn’t dream of saying THAT, and went into shell shock. I had to rein him back in.

“Dylan, I know you better than you probably know yourself. I know that you didn’t mean to say that. I know exactly how you feel.” I’m telling him this at his bedside, because he climbed into bed and pulled the blankets over himself.

Dylan: “How do YOU know???”

Me: “Because I’ve been in your shoes.”

Dylan; “You’ve said THAT WORD?”

Oh, sweetie.

Me: “Yes!”


Me: “Yes.”

Dylan: “What is my punishment going to be?”

Me: Internally – Hasn’t he punished himself enough already?? I mean, the guilt, tears, and strain on his face – he put himself through HELL after he realized what he said. He totally didn’t mean to say it, I know this.

I told him I would think about it and get back to him.

Turns out, he initiated his own punishment.

“Mom, I know you know that I love my iPod [Touch]. I set it on top of the fridge because that’s probably the best punishment.

And, he totally helped me clean up the house: he emptied the dishwasher, cleaned up the family room, sorted laundry, helped clean up Erin’s room, among other tasks.

I think he has been so traumatized by his own actions, that he needed a bit of positive reinforcement tonight. Poor kid.

I have raised a total straight edge. He pushed back on me today, and he ends up punishing himself for it. On the one hand, I am happy that he knows he crossed a line, on the other hand, I was concerned at how hard he was being on himself! It’s a WORD. He’s TEN!

So, we are sitting at dinner tonight, and the booth behind us has a very vocal man telling a story. He used the word “hell”. Dylan leaned over to me, “Um, HEL-LOO, there are KIDS here!” and I kept me snicker to myself, considering the previous incident. I wanted to talk about irony and hypocrisy. Anyway…

Of course, the Honey Badger announces, “This looks like throw up, right??!!” as she points to her rice and beans. On the way out the door, with no warning, she yells, “I farted TWO TIMES when we were in there!!!”


Treasure Hunting with the Honey Badger

I’m bored. I have nothing to look forward to in life any longer. Valentine’s Day is over, and so is the thrill of the hunt. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care about Valentine’s Day at all. My husband and I opted to not do anything for each other this year. When I talk about the thrill of the hunt, I am referring to a competition that a local jewelry store puts on every other year called “Finders Keepers”. Here are the details, verbatim from their website:

“Cupid’s little helpers at Reis Nichols Jewelers are going out into Indianapolis to hide one elegantly wrapped silver box outside a public place each day until Valentine’s Day. Yep, we’re hiding our little silver wrapped boxes with bright red bows filled with beautiful jewelry, outside public places, throughout the entire city.


We only ask that if YOU find one give us a call and let us know where and when you found the package.
AND… once you call us, we’ll give another gift! We will donate $100 to the charity of YOUR choice.


Finder’s Keepers. One gift a day, every day, until Valentine’s Day. Just our little way of spreading the love!


I am a Competitor. I live for this kind of thing. Whether in work or play, you dangle a carrot in front of me, and I am THERE. Given any kind of incentive, like an all-expenses paid vacation or money, to meet or exceed a goal : I will smash it. I have been the recipient of those very things in my day. But, times have changed. I am no longer in the full-on workforce. I work from home at random hours, feast or famine, to be able to be the full-time, stay-at-home Mom that I am. So, when something like “Finders Keepers” comes along, I am ALL IN – whatever it takes.

This year, I missed the kick-off on Feb 1st. The clue was posted, the piece of jewelry was found, and I wasn’t fazed. I decided to jump into the action on Feb 2nd. My husband and I figured out the clue very quickly, and I dragged my 10 year old son along for the hunt. It had everything to do with Pat McAfee, kicker for the Colts, and the canal in Broad Ripple. We searched in the exact location it was found, we just missed spotting it. Perhaps it was because I was hungry, and we were freezing looking in the snow, so we ditched the locale and headed to Perkins for breakfast. In retrospect, that was probably why we missed it. 😉

I didn’t play Days 3 & 4 because I was swamped with work. Not to mention, the Honey Badger was at home with me. I was starting to lose interest in the game.

Day 5: I didn’t even look at the clue when it came out at 9:30am. Who am I? What happened to my competitive streak? Oh yeah, I was still working my ass off.

Until, the phone rang.

My sister, Susie: “Are you playing?”

Me: “No, I’m working. Why?”

Susie: “I know where it is.”

Me: “THEN GO!!!!!!!!! What are you doing?!?! Where is it?”

Susie: “I’m not going anywhere, I haven’t showered.”

She told me where she thought it was, and based on the clue, there was no doubt in my mind she was spot on.

I grabbed the Honey Badger, who was in shorts in 25 degree weather, threw some snow boots and a fur coat on her, and told her we were headed out to “LOOK FOR TREASURE!!” She grabbed her Jake & the Neverland Spyglass, map, and pirate bandanna. We were set.

We hauled ass to the south side of the city – a 35  minute drive. I was on the phone 3-way with my sister and my husband. Sean was looking at the park we were headed to on Google Earth. It was huge. Luckily, since he’s not a dumb guy (which we established in this blog posting), he instructed me to head straight to the basketball goal. Part of the clue was, “If you’re Jonesing for another clue…” and he connected the basketball reference. Susie and I would have totally missed that, as did everyone else that started to show up at the park and search! I was running out of time. I was driving around the park going, “I don’t see the basketball courts!!” when Erin piped up,  “There’s the basketball goal, Mommy!”….she got us there, pointing to exactly where the lone basketball goal stood. She led us to the treasure.

We hopped out of the van, searched everywhere, and came up with nothing. We searched high and low, kicking snow over in case it was buried, and still no treasure. We got back in the van and drove around. People were arriving now, but they were searching on the other side of the park, at the playground. I knew we had a leg up with the basketball reference, so I drove us back to the basketball goal. Not wanting to tip off (ha, pretty clever play on words) the other searchers, I drove PAST the basketball goal and parked in the lot next to it. As I put the van in park, something in the tree directly to my right caught my eye. I stepped out of the van. I was still on the phone with my sister, exasperated that I hadn’t located it yet when I knew I was in the right location. I stepped toward the tree and took a closer look.

There, inside a plastic bag, was a beautifully wrapped silver box, with a bright, red bow.

“I found it.”

Susie: “WHAT! Are you serious?!”

Me: “Oh my God. I found it.”  I very calmly tucked it into my jacket and slid back into the car. I unwrapped it. It was a beautiful red box, and inside was a silver and diamond Colts horseshoe pendant, valued at $280. Not too shabby!

Colts necklace

I turned around to show the Honey Badger what we found….only “we” didn’t find it. I did.

Tears. “**I** wanted to find the treasure and open it!!!!!!!!!!!”

Oh no. I felt awful. I got so caught up in the excitement of finding it, that I forgot the most important thing – letting her find it. I WRECKED IT!

She bounced back pretty quickly, after the tears subsided, and I let her hold the box and ribbon. Not the necklace, though, that was around my neck. If that sounds mean, well the Honey Badger was not going to break it! She already broke my Dylan & Erin necklace that I adored. I called in my find and asked that they donate to the American Heart Association, in honor of my Mom, who is battling heart disease. I kept reiterating to HB how I never would have found the treasure if she hadn’t pointed out the basketball goal. That seemed to placate her, and her spirits lifted as we drove back north. She called Grandmas, Grandpa, and Daddy along the way to tell them about our find. She was hooked. Just like her Mommy, she wanted more.


During Intermission, I would like to share an excerpt of something I wrote to my dear friend, Laura, two years ago. She lives in Arizona and plays the game from afar, helping me out. Based on how it ended two years ago, I’d say I’ve come a long way on this year’s Finder’s Keepers hunt. (The final day’s clue had everything to do with an Irish restaurant/pub.)

“I am finally getting my life back in order now that the damned contest is over! I drove RIGHT by O’Charley’s yesterday on my way to McNamara’s florist in Broad Ripple after leaving Murphy’s Steakhouse. I also wet my pants on Prospect St. in the hood, looking at the Golden Ace thinking it was there FOR SURE. There was not a single place to stop and go to the bathroom, and then I would have simply gone behind a brick wall, but I deemed it too unsafe for myself. So, I finally reached the point of no return from drinking too much coffee during my pre-game.

Also, it was Valentine’s Day, so I had chocolate for breakfast and lunch.

This concludes this season’s edition of ‘Finder’s Keepers’.”


Now that my sister directed me to the treasure, she was all GAME ON, MOFO! for the next one.

Day 6 : Clue leads you to believe it is at the Carmel Ice Skadium, in well, Carmel, where my sister lives and my husband works. Susie and I are on the phone when the clue comes out, promptly at 9:30am. She is in her car in a split second, heading to find it. My other line rings. It’s my husband, breathless, running to his car from his office. Oh shit, it’s a showdown. They meet there at the same time. I’m still talking to Susie; Sean has to fend for himself. I’m telling her where to look – don’t forget to look under things, in trees, on the outskirts…she tells me she has to focus and needs to hang up. A “trail” is part of the clue, and the Monon Trail is right across the street, so she’s headed there. My phone rings again. It’s Sean.

“I’ve hit your sister with a brick! She’s lying on the Trail! Nothing is standing in my way!”

Good grief. Those two couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag. They walked by the jewelry multiple times before someone else found it. And, they were the first ones there. I was disappointed in both of them, shaking my head in disbelief.

Days 11-12 : Erin and I were dressed and ready to go well before the 9:30am clue. We were in our car by 9:20am, with the engine running. Some days, I had my laptop set up in the front seat, it’s internet capability being suctioned from my phone as a mobile hotspot, iPad at the ready, posted at the entrance of my neighborhood. We were ready to dart north, east, south, or west. Each time, Erin packed her Spyglass, map and bandanna. She was so excited to be out looking for treasure with Mommy! Our searches took us to every nook and cranny of the city…and beyond. We saw places and things in our city that we never knew existed. We browsed through bushes, trees, parking lots, beautiful parks. I googled incessantly. I spent many an hour on the phone with Laura in Arizona, my sister, and my 70 year old mother, playing from home. I racked my brain all day and night when prizes went undiscovered into the night, and into the next day. I met some wonderful people when we all converged on the same spot, and we congratulated each other sincerely when one of us found the jewelry.

By Day 13, I had to throw in the towel. My son had a Dr’s appointment when the clue came out at 9:30am. I wasn’t playing. But, Laura was. I drove Dylan back to school, and was headed home with Erin. Laura got the clue right away and was sending me fragmented text messages. Fragmented to me, anyway, because I hadn’t even seen the clue and didn’t know what she was talking about. I pulled over to the side of the road.

The Clue: “Feb. 13th: Climb, Hop and Navigate your way through a tunnel and slide as you play all day.”

As we had come to expect, if certain words are capitalized, you can’t ignore that. Laura insisted it was at the Community Health Network sponsored playground in Hamilton Town Center. I couldn’t ignore her pleas. I promptly headed towards the interstate, and drove straight there. I told Erin, “As soon as we park, we are RUNNING to the playground, ok? Then, search for treasure everywhere!!”. Well, she ran straight to the slide and started playing. She left all thoughts of treasure behind, because in her mind she struck gold with the playground.

A man stepped out of Noodles & Co.

“You lookin’ for jewelry?”

I answered, “SURE AM!”

He said, “Well, it’s not here. People have already been here looking.”

I happily nodded, and kept on searching. I knew it was there.

I searched the entire vicinity and playground. I finally stopped in my tracks and focused on the slides. I checked under one: nope. I had to duck to get under the other one. There, wedged in a small crevice, was the silver package with the bright, red bow. This time, I wasn’t going to get it wrong.

“Erin, come over here, honey. Do you see the treasure anywhere under here?”

We were standing under the playground slide. I was turned away from the jewelry, feigning to look all around.

“MOM-MMEEEEEE, I SEE THE TREASURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Her eyes so wide, the excitement dancing all over her face. She reached for it, but it was wedged so tightly, I helped her get it out. We sneaked it into her jacket, and took off in a sprint to the car. The same man from Noodles & Co was yelling to me, asking if we’d found it. I smiled, and waved, and we kept running. We got inside the van and locked the doors. I let her peel off the bow, and tear open the wrapping paper. I was dying to see what was inside. We pulled out a pair of beautiful ‘Stephen Webster Superstud earrings, retail value $350’. She was beside herself for finding the treasure all on her own. It was a moment she, nor I, will ever forget. I finally got it right the second time around.


The Honey Badger is sooooo happy upon our return home. I am sporting the earrings and necklace that we found!

Funny thing is, I’m not even a jewelry person.  However, I do still have the Colts horseshoe around my neck. It’s simple, beautiful, and I’ve fallen in love with it. More importantly, I just had an absolute blast for two weeks looking for treasure with my daughter, no matter what we found….or didn’t find.

On a recent trip to pick up her brother from school, she was “reading” aloud from a magazine in the backseat. Here is just a bit of what I caught, in a very careful, whispered tone:

“When you are looking for treasure, be sure to look everywhere outside. It could be up in the treeeeeees, it could be down on the grounnnnd, it could be by a rock, you just have to keep on looking and don’t ever, ever give up……”