Welcome back folks. I know, I know, it has been FOREVER since I posted a blog. With this blog, you”ll find me sitting in a house in Lockhart Texas that Cali and I are staying in for the moment. “Why?” you might ask…a few reasons. 1. Its cheap here. 2. We are saving money for the next leg of Our adventure to the South Pacific. 3. (the why We are in this particular place) my kiddos live here and so does my mom, gma etc. I never finished telling y’all about the rest of Our adventures over 2010, and I intend to remedy that. It will be mostly pictures and some recollections of especially awesome parts of the adventure. Today, however, you will get a real time update 🙂
Yesterday morning, We purchased airline tickets to Melbourne Australia. We depart San Francisco at 6pm on June 6th. Until then, Our daily activities will include trip planning, exercise, trip planning, blogging and more trip planning with some me going to work and hanging out with my kiddos mixed in there. We have been living an almost sedentary lifestyle since October when We arrived to settle in TX. Sitting around watching movies at home, cooking and thinking about the trip (let’s not leave out facebooking) has been occupying most of Our time without having roadtrips, Nat’l Parks and hiking adventures on the itinerary. We have both put on a couple pounds, but are actively working to reverse that 🙂 I have been working at the good ol’ Sunshine Cafe here in Lockhart since We got back and seeing my kids on the regular. Both of those things has been good for me. When I get up at 450am to go to work at 530 and it sucks, I remind myself that I not only have a job (so many other people don’t) but I LOVE my job (so many other people don’t) and it’s less than a mile away-no commuting!! The kids and I have been spending some amazing quality time together and were able to enjoy the holidays as a family-even visiting my dad, step-mom and youngest sisters over break. I have had many talks with Zoe about my leaving again in a few months and being gone for a while and it has given us the chance to experience the life lesson to enjoy what you have while you have it. We have been able to visit with some very missed loved ones and see things in Austin We hadn’t seen yet.
Our stay here in Lockhart has served its purpose, but has not been all good…there has been some depression on both sides of this coin and some “inflamed” situations. There have been times that Cali and I have wondered just what in the HELL We are doing. We left out an important part of this chapter in the adventure-We didn’t have an end. We had a basic endpoint-a general idea of how much longer We would be here-but no solid goal. The seemingly helpless drifting day to day without an end in sight was wearing on Us, especially Cali. It started to feel like We would be in this horrid little town with all these close-minded jackasses and NOTHING to see FOREVER. Trapped. Almost like jail…minimum security, but jail nonetheless. Now…now that the tickets are purchased and Our “release date” has been determined-Team “Just the 2 of Us” is experiencing a lift in morale.
I have to work this afternoon so this blog isn’t going to be very long, I’m actually wrapping it up now. I just wanted to pop back up on the radar to let you know what’s going on with Us. I fully intend to rededicate myself to this blog and finish telling of Our 2010 adventure. It will be caught up before We leave for Autralia. I still can’t believe We are going to Australia!! From Australia We will be traveling up into southeast Asia before hitting Hawaii on the way back to the continental US. Im so damn excited I can hardly stand it.
Again, look for a new blog post soon-maybe even overnight-that picks back up in San Francisco where I left you all before. For now, back to the grind.
Welcome back, folks. I’m trying something new this time. I am writing out of order 🙂 I believe I will put a “Diary” page on my blog to write some real time entries about feelings and maybe random stuff at least until I am caught up with the travel part. I am right now at Our Newhalem, Washington campsite in the North Cascades National Park and it is Wednesday August 25th. I am actively trying to not be eaten alive by mosquitoes while Cali plays on His cell phone (the both of Us sitting in the car with the doors open so I can type on my computer that is plugged in to the power converter) and Sam takes a nap in the tent. We should be exhausted from a morning of hiking, but We are not…rather We are lazy tired from a day of sitting around Our campsite due to me being “invalid”. I know my last blog put Us to sleep in San Francisco at Dave/Pat/Steph’s place and that the date was July 6th and that that means I am waaaay behind (50 days) on my blog, but you all already knew that so say hello to the elephant on your way to the story corner and have a seat.
Many of my readers are also my friends on Facebook and therefore likely know that I fell down a mountain yesterday (Tuesday August 24) 😦 (“falling like an avalanche coming down the mountain”) Here is the story: Cali, Sam and I went for a lovely 4.5 mile hike in the Okanogan National Forest which is just outside the North Cascades National Park/Chelan Lake Nat’l Rec Area/Ross Lake NRA to get to “Blue Lake”.
It was a steep hike up part of Liberty Bell Mountain on Blue Lake Trail with an 1100 foot gain in elevation. Getting to the lake was definitely a reward for the 2.2 miles nearly straight up We had done and Sam even went for a swim in the ice-cold lake while We rested a bit before the descent.
I saw rainbow trout in the lake and I have never seen those before. They jump out of the water to snipe grab bugs with their giant mouths right out of the air!! The reddish colored stripe on the side of them is beautiful when the sun hits it 🙂 Magnificent even. So, We rest and Sam gets his dry clothes back on and We start Our downhill jaunt. This is where it gets tricky…on some of the more steep parts We kind of jogged down them in order to take longer strides and make it easier to NOT fall. We are pretty avid hikers these days and are no stranger to wilderness trails. This trail, like most others We’ve traversed, has rocks and roots sticking up and kind of a cliff on one side and, well:
So anyway,We are probably 3/4 of the way down on a particularly steep part of the trail (round about the part of the trail in the above picture…)and I am in the front of the line (which I usually am not) and started to jog down a steeper grade, when my foot caught on something and I tripped. I tripped while running.down.a mountain. I tripped with my left foot, and by the time my right one hit the ground, I was off-balance trying not to fall off the cliff to my left. I landed awkwardly which sent me to my knee and hand-on which I slid for quite a ways. I sat there for a minute before getting up to hobble the rest of the way down the mountain. I was just happy they were behind me and were able to watch me trip. While it scared the crap out of them, they said it was pretty cool/funny looking and slow mo kinda. The trail wasn’t exactly wide enough for anyone to be beside me helping me walk, so I leaned on Cali’s shoulder from behind Him sometimes or hop walked. The closer We got to the car, the more it started to hurt and the less weight I could put on my leg. I made it to the car, but by the time We got back to the campsite, I couldn’t put weight on it at all. My foot/ankle were hurting more than my knee did even though I had slid my knee right into a rock in the trail. It. Sucked.
That was yesterday…I took ibuprofen (and have continued to take it) and I still can’t walk 😦 We were supposed to be camping at Newhalem and doing more hiking until friday and I can’t, uh, hike. We have sat around the campsite today cooking and talking and reading and just enjoying the wilderness, but now it looks like We might leave tomorrow (thursday). Every time I have to go to the bathroom, the boys carry me over to the car and then to the bathroom from the car. I didn’t realize how much stuff I do until I stopped being able to do stuff. I mean, my right foot and knee and hand are all hurty. While I can sit down, I’m right-handed so that means I am limited to what I can do with one left hand, and since I can’t walk I can’t fetch things to help around here. They are taking very good care of me though. It’s fortunate that I fell while Sam happened to be out here adventuring with Us. They set me up an area where I can elevate my leg and put ice on it and still hang out with them at the table 🙂 I am getting a ton of gimpy and being “not valid” jokes, but that’s ok. I just hope I can walk again soon…We have many things to do and walking is a prerequisite for like, all of them.
I got 3 more stamps in my passport by coming here to the North Cascades. Lake Chelan NRA and Ross Lake NRA surround the South unit of the N Cascades NP. This whole area is full of preserved wilderness and necessary landmarks and I’m thankful that it is being protected. We have become much more earth conscious on this voyage. Since the beginning of the trip We have disposed of all trash (including cig butts) properly at all times and are trying to use less water and electricity. Neither of Us have had a cigarette in over a week due to chosing food over smoking and neither of Us seem to have a big problem with that…I wonder if We will start smoking again next month when We can afford it. Probably. It’s a good bet that, yes, We will.
I’m getting increasingly excited about seeing my kids and beginning my official training for Tough Mudder which means going back to the Austin area (and requires my leg getting better SOON!!). We are NOT staying inside the city and will more than likely be all but invisible during the time We are there. I will be spending most of my free time with my babies and also getting some sort of job. We will be back in the area around the end of Sept and staying until May-ish and then…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
Have I mentioned before that We keep a giant US road atlas and highlight all the places and roads? Well, We do. It’s crazy to open to a state We have been to and see all the highlighting across all the highways and out all over the place. We have really covered some ground! California looks all zig zaggy from going back and forth and back and forth. Cali is sitting in the front seat of the car right now highlighting some of the up close city streets We have been on recently.
August 27, 2010 Friday:
It is now Friday Aug 27th and We did come back to Seattle from N Cascades early. It was beginning to rain and I was no good for hiking, so We left. We stopped at Deception Pass on the way back to Seattle:
and went to Chelsey’s for showers and getting dressed to go out to a club. Chels happened to have crutches for me so I got dressed and We all went out to “Trinity” even with me being a gimp.
We had a great time and then went home. Today I can bear a small amount of weight on my foot and my armpits and hands hurt from crutching around 😦 We did some laundry and then came to the Pyramid Brewery for beer and lunch and to say hi to Chels and use the free wi-fi for me to write this “diary entry” blog.
I sure hope my leg gets better soon…We have a ton of things to do…next week is Mount Olympus and that’s pretty exciting. We are also supposed to go to Forks to see Twilight and take a walk down to La Push beach. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that is ok. If you do…you’re a nerd. And that’s ok too 🙂
So, should I keep a diary here too in real time? What are your thoughts?
Welcome back folks. This blog is going to be hard for me to write and I can almost guarantee that I will rant for a minute somewhere in here. What follows is a personal recount of factual events, and I periodically express MY OWN OPINION. Keep that in mind. This is the part where I tell everyone about my first real life experience with emergency trauma involving a child. A child the same age as my oldest daughter. Emergency trauma involving a child my daughters age, at the hands of her mother…basically.
So, on Tuesday April 27th at about 10pm, Cali Stephen and I were on Our way to a club type situation to support another friend who was putting on a “night”:
We were dressed nicely-corset & tutus for me- Cali’s attire was of course His robes. We had to pick up another passenger before heading to the club so We hopped on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque and cruise-controlled along at a comfortable 80 mph (speed limit sign=75). We had the windows down and were all talking back and forth when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a group of motorcycles (crotch rockets really) flew by Us on both sides. The group of 10 bikes or so was easily going 130 to have passed Us like that. We didn’t even see them coming, they were just next to Us and gone so fast, swerving in and out of each other as if playing a game. After they all passed, We began discussing how dangerous that was and how stupid they must be and saying things like “they are gonna come up on someone who doesn’t see them and tries to change lanes” and other terrible situations that could present themselves here. During the tail end of that conversation, We have to brake quickly in front of a wall of brake lights We are approaching just after the I25 exit. Before We even get to where the cars are stopped, We pass by a motorcycle lying on its side and 3 people by the concrete barrier median and see another bike laid over a little further up the road and the rest of the bikes parking and dismounting to run back towards the others. We are not surprised something like this has happened. Cali pulls the car over on the shoulder and We get out to see if We can help. The both of Us have pretty extensive medical experience, but to be honest, We are expecting at least one dead person. No amount of medical experience can help dead. I call 911 as We jog over to them, and pass the bike…the front of the bike is somewhere else. It had flown somewhere decently far away We discover later. As We get closer, I hear the person on the ground screaming. Normal right? Wrong. I yelled over to them from the short distance We were keeping as We asked if We could help and spoke to 911. “Is that a fucking baby!!??” I screamed over. Cali took my phone and We ran closer. Nobody there knew what to do…it was chaos. Cali and I stepped in, one at each end of her to investigate the damage. At this point I don’t know how old this child is, but I do know what the inside of her foot looks like…bones, muscle, tendons, lots of blood and some rocks, grass and small debris. She has all her toes. Cali holding her head, encouraging her to lay still. Her helmet…her helmet was effed. I was scared of what her head looked like. I asked a few questions to better evaluate the situation. “how old is she?”
“Where are her parents?”
“Thats her mom, and this is her moms boyfriend.”
“Who was she riding with?”
This time all I get is a finger point towards the “mom” and bf. I was being answered by one of the fellow riders who had since approached. Most of the other riders were screaming at each other about what happened and what they were gonna say happened and various other absurdities. I call them absurdities because wtf are they yelling at each other for when this little girl is lying on the ground missing things on her body she previously had. I digress, the “mother” was inspecting her own self (as opposed to ensuring her daughter wasnt dying). The boyfriend was also concerning himself with the “mom”.
“What is her name? (no honey please lie down and be still)”
“I WANT MY HELMET OFF!”
“What is her name!?”
“Ellianna.” Ellianna. Pretty name. She wants her helmet off and will not take no for an answer. I have her foot and leg in my hands, holding pressure above her ankle to help stop the blood pouring out of the top of her foot. Her toenails are painted, and not even chipped, but the top of her foot… She was moving her arms and back trying to sit up. She seemed fine, but what do I know? She took her helmet off, with some help, and I could not believe what I saw. Her beautiful little head and face were perfectly fine…and tear free. Tear-freaking-free. She took one look at her left knee, which had been skinned pretty well through the hole that was torn in her jeans from the fall and slide, and freaked out. Oh honey, don’t look at your foot then…
“Just lay down sweetie, Im holding your foot still. I need you to just keep your head down, baby. Just rest. The ambulance is coming. I know it hurts, but you are gonna be just fine.”
She looked at Cali’s face…”are You an angel?” she asks Him. He of course says, “yes”.
I suddenly realize that all the fighting and yelling from the other riders has relocated to right next to Us…what is wrong with these people? Is her “mom” really just sitting over there?
“Please take your yelling away from Elliana, we should all just be very calm.” No change. “Please do that somewhere else.” A little louder now. Someone heard me, they walk a little further up the road. We are talking to her, asking her questions. We talk about watermelons. She still isn’t crying. While she talks to Cali and another female that got out of her car to help, I ask the boyfriend what happened. He says a car must have hit the back of the bike. There are 2 bikes laid over, and no cars involved in this incident…a car hitting one of them would be understandable, but seemingly unlikely in this particular situation. That was apparent even in the disarray. The way they were going in and out around each other at the speeds they were traveling seems to be the more likely culprit here.
Oh, there is the front of the motorcycle. Beyond the “mom”…a few yards up by the barrier. Damn. That looks terrible.
Out of thin air the ambulance techs materialize and begin their work. Seeing it is a child, and a live one, they scramble to get the right equipment. Even they were not expecting a child to have been involved in a high speed motorcycle incident. Those people know to expect just about anything. I handed her leg off to the female EMT and heard Ellianna ask her “are you going to kill me?”. What a strange question. First asking Cali if He was an angel and now asking the EMT that she has been so patiently waiting on if they were going to kill her. Kids… While the ambulance personnel work on her and the police start asking the relevant questions, We smoke a cigarette and begin to collect Ourselves. Silently going over in Our heads what We have just experienced. We remember almost simultaneously that We have Stephen in the car. After answering the basics to the police on scene about Our phone numbers and what We saw, We were released to leave. The night must go on. What kind of person…?
The rest of the night was almost melancholy for Cali and I. Stephen was fortunate enough to have been spared the spectacle and enjoyed himself on the dancefloor, while Cali and I sat at a table and sometimes recounted the events, sometimes just stared off unable to think of anything else. I was angry. So very angry. How could that “mom”…? What were they thinking? Is she gonna be ok? I had to take half of a xanax to calm down enough to sleep. If something like that had happened to MY daughter…at my or her fathers hands…? I become conflicted and depressed thinking about my own daughters and how quickly one bad decision can change someone’s life forever. Have I ever been “unsafe” with my kids? Depends on who is defining “unsafe”. Have either of my children been hurt while in my care? Yes, they have, and Im not sure a parent alive can say theirs haven’t. With kids, accidents happen… but they aren’t supposed to happen like that. Right? I watched Sariah fall off of a jungle gym onto her head one time. I thought for sure she was going to be seriously injured. Short of not allowing her to play at the park, I could not have avoided the accident. Luckily, she was fine. Not even phased…but it could have been so much worse, and I would have forever defended my decision to let her play at the park with her big sister. Would this “mom” defend her decision to put her 8 year old on the back of a bike and travel at deadly speeds on the interstate? We shall see.
After some serious detective work, We found her at the hospital. Well, We found her uncle. The state initially took custody of her and placed her in protective custody at the hospital, not allowing even family inside to see her until after she had had her first surgery to clean the debris from the wound. When We found the uncle the day after the accident, We exchanged phone numbers with him and expressed Our sincere interest in visiting her and making sure she was ok. he was a very nice man, and seemed genuinely concerned about his niece. The only thing he could tell Us about anything else at that time, was that the “mom”, his sister, had a minor surgery that morning, and was immediately arrested for child abuse. She was fine. The boyfriend had only bruises and was arrested at the scene. He was fine. Ellianna on the other hand…
The next day (We are at Thursday now), the uncle called Us and informed Us that he was allowed custody of her for now and that she could receive visitors in recovery if We were still interested in visiting her. At first when he called he seemed to think We might not remember him or the accident or might have changed Our minds about wanting to see if she was ok. Of course, We hadn’t, and We told him We would leave immediately and be right over to the hospital. I had been so stressed out about her well being and the whole incident that hearing We could visit her was such a relief. We got to the hospital and initially caught some guff from the nurses station because she was still in protective status. We gave her the code name Ellianna was under and were eventually allowed in to see her.
There was a nice woman dressed as “Mother Goose” reading her a story when We first walked in. Upon seeing that she had visitors, the woman wrapped up the story and left. Her grandparents, the “mom”‘s parents, were in the room also. The nurse made mention that perhaps there were too many people in the room, so the uncle and his wife left Us and the grandparents to talk and visit with the girl. I walked up to the bed asking the dumb question of “do you remember Us?”. She shakes her head yes in between dazed licks of her popsicle. I talk to her while tears are streaming down my face. I can’t stop them. She is so pretty. Lucky. Brave. I can’t believe she is doing so well. I ask her if We can take a picture with her, and the grandparents also agreed to it, so We saddled up on the bed:
This kid still hasn’t cried about it since the ambulance came. When asked where she hurts, she is very matter of fact about telling me and even tried to show me everywhere. We get more pieces of the story from the family, and help them straighten out some misinformation. She had been riding on the back of her “mom”‘s boyfriends bike. (W.T.F.?) They believed it was a group crash in which everyone riding together had been injured and wrecked…no no no senior, those 2 were the only 2 wrecked. It wasn’t unusual for the “mom” to leave the girl behind to go “party” and “hang out” whether with a neighbor or her brother. She had been asked/told many times before not to take the girl out on the bike. Mommy knows best? Maybe not this time. We also learn of the extent of her injuries. The tendons connecting the middle 3 toes with the foot were destroyed. Only the ones connected to the big toe and pinky toe were in tact. She will need skin and muscle grafts and the tendons will never be like normal. At least 2 more surgeries. She will never have feeling in the top of her foot, and it won’t ever look or behave normally. Her growing and resilient body will compensate for the injury and she is expected to walk and run and play again after serious physical therapy, but she will never be “normal”. And on top of that, its her “mom”‘s fault. As We leave the hospital, the grandparents ask Us if We would be willing to talk to their lawyer about the details as We saw them. “Of course We will, but We probably won’t be much help to your daughter. What We saw would actually probably hurt her.” I have nothing positive to say about the “mom”. Nothing.
After leaving the hospital, We were both at least slightly relieved to have some type of resolution to that terror. She is ok…basically.
We recently received information that the “mom” and boyfriend have both been seriously charged with child abuse with resulting bodily injury and are both facing 20 years each. My first reaction? Good. They deserve it. My next thought? One decision gone wrong has not only changed that girls life in a second, but she no longer has her “mom” and her “mom” no longer has her freedom. Im pretty positive that the “mom” didn’t get on the bike and intend to severely injure her daughter… Im pretty sure it was an accident. I sympathize on both sides… the whole damn thing sucks. The important thing to remember here… shit can happen to anyone at any time and you never know how it will change your life.
I can’t talk about this anymore right now, thats all I have about this anyway. Ill finish updating soon… I have some really cool stuff coming up next.
I think this is going to be the new home of my blog…for real this time. Thanks to everyone who followed me around to see what We are up to and please subscribe by clicking the button to the right and stay in the know with emails when I post a new blog. I will be posting a new blog update soon so stay tuned!