We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ideas Needed

I need help for my family room. I want to change it up for spring but I'm very overwhelmed and confused as to what to do with it. The first thing I need to do is paint the walls. I've always hated the pukey, peachy, hideous color. 




This is an old, old picture of the room (June 2006) back when it was still mine. In the winter I would curl up on the couch, have a fire going and watch tv by myself. The gold fireplace screen is gone now so that's a giant plus.


This was taken February 2010, Valentina's first birthday party only a month after sissy died. I have no memory of it but this is kind of how it looks now, only there's even more kid crap in there. As you can see, I finally got some decent bookcases on either side of the fireplace. The green chair is also gone and I have Trina's wooden rocking chair that is priceless to me. Mom has done a great job of trying to keep the toys organized in bins and containers but of course the toys still overrun the room. 

I'm just at a loss of what to do with it. I would like to do a mocha color with tangerine but Norm keeps vetoing that. The dining room and living room are teal and apple green for the summer. In the winter I change it to red and darker green. My house has kind of an open floor plan so it kind of needs to be able to flow with the rest of the house but again, I'm just at a loss. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Now I'm going to try to get some inspiration from Pinterest. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Embarrassing Work Mistakes

I watch the "Today" show every morning and somehow missed this segment. It's about some embarrassing things that you do at work. I found more humor in the comments section where everyone else posts their embarrassing mistakes. It reminded me of mine.

I worked in the insurance industry for 12 years in sales, marketing and customer service. The company underwent some major restructuring and brought in new upper management and set up a new office with a new area manager and staff. They all annoyed the hell out of me and we used to get weekly pep talk emails from them. I forwarded one of the emails, along with my smart ass comments criticizing all the managers, to sissy and another co-worker. Keep in mind that Trina and I worked in the same office for a while (we LOVED it and had so much fun!) and our desks were only about three feet apart. The co-worker replied some normal response to me.....and hit REPLY ALL so of course my email was bounced back to the management office who had originated the email! When I saw what had happened, because Trina and I were both cc'd on it, we both jerked our heads up and looked at each other in horror. 

I got an email back from the managers office assistant about five seconds later.

She was kind of passive aggressive about it but what could I do? I emailed her back, told her obviously I hadn't meant for her to read my opinions but I also stood behind it. I had written it, the last thing I was going to do was try to back pedal and not take responsibility for it.

So yeah, that was pretty bad. Good news is they didn't have the authority to fire me :) That happened a few years later. You can be damn sure though from then on if I had something critical to say I wrote a NEW email and sent it only to those I trusted!

So tell me, what has been YOUR most embarrassing work mistake?????

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dreams

I've had dreams about Trina and I always wake up crying from them. No matter what, they haunt me the rest of my day and become impossible to shake. These dreams have a common theme in that sissy always comes back but we have only a small amount of time with her. For some reason 45 minutes keeps coming up. I have all of these questions for her, how does Asa like this, what did you do to get Asa to do that, do you remember when we did that? All of this, frantically, in less than 45 minutes because then she would die again. Also in all of these dreams she has died from cancer and is dying again of cancer. They are pretty much the same dreams I had after my grandpa died in May 2001. I was very close to my grandpa. He died of cancer and I always blamed myself for not being there when he died. I should have spent the night. You see his and my grandmothers house was right next to my parents cabin, a two hour drive from my home. From the moment mom told me the doctors gave grandpa two weeks to live I took a leave of absence from work and drove to see him everyday. I then also drove home every night. I didn't want to spend the night. There was something inside of me that I fought with that was keeping me from being able to spend the night. I just plain didn't want to do it.

So I didn't.

Monday night I said my goodbyes to everyone, the family members who didn't leave (Beya among them) and said I would see everyone tomorrow.

I didn't.

I was just getting ready to leave my apartment to make the drive when mom called me and let me know there was no longer any need for any further trips. Grandpa had died early morning May 8, 2001. It was this traumatic event that made me seek a therapist and I've been seeing Dr. B every since! Best thing to ever come out of that situation.

For YEARS I had the same recurring dream. Grandpa's back! We have only a few minutes to ask him something! Hurry! Gather around the dining room table to ask him questions! A side note: the dining room table I always picture in my head is the one where we had all of our family dinners, holidays or many a family get together. Grandpa had re-stained it and done a lot of work to the table to make it his and grandma's.

I'm so grateful to have it sitting in my dining room as I write this. The table is now mine.

After Trina died I had the same types of dreams. Trina is dead but she comes back for a minute amount of time. Things are so frantic as we try to get all of our questions answered before she dies again.

Until last night.

Last night's dream was one I never could have even dreamed of.

People keep talking about this "peace" they feel when they dream of their loved one. They say they have this wave of peace and peacefulness envelope their body during the dream and wake up as if they had just talked to their loved one. Secretly I've been going "uh oh, what were they smoking before they went to bed?" Or "what drug cocktail do you have be on because I want to try THAT one!" I keep having dreams of sissy and I wake up feeling more sad, broken, alone and empty than before the damn dream which is why I HATE having dreams of sissy.

Last night my dream was something totally different.

We were all out on a deck and when I looked up there was sissy.
"You're HERE?" I asked her.
"Yes" she answered simply.
"Can others see you?" I questioned. "Are you real?"
At that time mom walked by and I asked mom "Can you see sissy?"
Mom agreed that yes, she could see sissy. It was at that time Asa came flying in between sissy and me, waved his hand up in my direction and said "Hey Sissy!"
I looked at Trina and said "Does Asa not see you?"
"He isn't ready yet." Trina calmly answered.
The whole time I'm just staring at her. Time has stopped even though other things are going on around us, the kids are playing but the fear and frantic feeling of "ohmygoshshe'sgoingtoleavesoon" wasn't there.

I felt peaceful.

In my dream I felt peaceful. I felt as if we were just hanging out on a deck watching the kids laugh and play. Because mom could see her the three of us started talking but we had to be careful to not address sissy directly when Asa was within ear shot. As we were on the deck watching the kids sissy serenely looked around and looked at the kids and said "Asa's happy. I'm glad he's happy. He's having fun" and with that she would smile a smile I had never seen come from her face before. It was a light in her that radiated calmness.

Which is why I felt bad when I had to address the elephant in the room.

Sissy had a mullet.

"Why do you have a mullet?" I asked her. Mom started laughing as she too had noticed it but could not be the one to point it out.
"What do you mean?" Trina fingered her hair.
"I mean, YOU HAVE A MULLET!!!!" I answered more forcefully.
"Oh," sissy laughed at me. "They don't care about stuff like that there. It doesn't matter there."
"Well it matters to me!" I picked up a pair of scissors and cut her hair and voila! it looked just like it had pre-cancer diagnosis (May 3, 2009 for anyone following at home). Sissy was back to her usual glory. But her clothes. I can't describe them, I don't know if she had any on. Everything was perfect, now that I had rid her of that hideous mullet! I also knew that she would have to leave but it was kind of like that feeling in the back of your head when you know you're going to need to get more milk but want to wait and see how long you can go without actually going and getting it?

Mom, sissy and I talked, laughed and there weren't any tears. There was nothing frantic. There was a lot of watching the kids. Sissy seemed to be loving that the most. Every once in a while I would ask mom again "Mom, do you see sissy? Is she real?" and mom would answer that yes indeed, sissy was real, albeit temporary.

But the calmness. I cannot stress, haha, how calm and serene I felt. Sissy was ok. She was "somewhere" where they don't care about haircuts. Not sure if they wear clothes. But she was happy. She told me "I just wanted to see for myself that you are ok. You told me you would be but I just wanted to make sure."

We were all serene and happy and content.

And pretty soon sissy did leave.

And in my dream I was left feeling calm and serene.

And then I woke up.

I didn't remember my dream right away and when I did i let it sink in a little at a time.
I talked it over with mom and she has come to conclusion that I just received my answer, the question of which is "what happens when you die?"

I would love to believe that you go somewhere, anywhere, but I'm still not sold. However, I've totally rejected the opinion that I was raised in which is once you die, you no longer know anything and you lay in the ground until the second coming of Christ when all the dead people are let free from their

THAT I totally reject. The Adventist church also pressures you to be good enough to get into Heaven but they feel that Hell is something the evil Catholic church came up with.

I don't believe in heaven or hell and haven't for about 20 years.

What DO I believe in ? What do I believe happens to you after you die?

This is what I know for sure.

NOBODY knows.

I still miss my sister. My appendage. My best friends. The one who would grocery shop at my house. There is never one second of one day of one week that goes by that my brain ticker isn't constantly shouting in my brain "YOUR SISTER IS GONE!!!!!"""""

Friday, February 24, 2012

Therapy

I love therapy.

Correction.

I love going to therapy with mom.

This last time was especially fun. I'm not being sarcastic in the least, I think it's the most mom and I laugh, and cry, the entire week. Last week I was shocked at my dissociation disorder diagnosis. This week mom was dumbfounded at Dr. B's diagnosis of HER.

Beya has an obsessive compulsive personality.

I was cracking up at the gasp mom gave when Dr. B said this. Mom just looked at him, then me and then raised her hand to her chest and questioned "ME???" It was like something out of a movie. I think at this point I was doubled over, tears of laughter spilling over my eyes.

You see, mom sees herself as a very flexible, very go with the flow, very languid  type of person. Of course sissy and I would talk about her and say how rigid she was but mom always argued with us, INSISTING she was not like that, kind of proving our point for us. Oh how sissy and I would laugh at her.

That's one of the millions of things I miss. Sissy and I teaming up against mom. Mom used to cry out "oh sure, just gang up on Beya" and we were more than happy to oblige.

So yes, I love therapy.

With my mom.

Dr. B is on vacation this coming week so we'll have to wait an extra week for any new revelations.

I can't wait.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Valentina's 5th Birthday


First off I must say I am LOVING this new blogger layout and design face. Holy cow it makes uploading pictures sooooo much easier!

Anyway, on to Valentina's birthday party.

Valentina decided to have a Strawberry Shortcake theme. I was kind of glad that it was something girly, something different from her last party, which was pirate themed.


The goodies for the boys. The soccer thing you see below the sunglasses (which are below the dinosaur book) is a magnet I made. I had all these cool glass things that I could glue anything under them and then glue a magnet and I could make a magnet out of anything!


This is what the boys saw what they got, a bag with a green tie.


The girl goodie bags. Again, I made a magnet for them but with a strawberry. The bows were courtesy of Aunt Holly from Kick Ass Bows. As soon as I told her I needed some Strawberry Shortcake bows for gift bags she made those suckers up and sent them immediately! She even threw in some kick ass Harajuku themed ones just for Valentina :) We love (and miss) you Holly!!!!



The cake. It was a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. I was up until 2 am making cupcakes and frosting the cake. I looked all over on Pinterest coming up with cool ideas for a cake. This was a sad, sad not even close replication of one that I liked. But I'm okay with how it turned out, I'm just never showing anyone what the inspiration was. Josh had been over the night before and saw the original one on my computer. He asked what it was and I told him. I also assured him that what he would see the next day would be a MexiGhetto version of it.


The day of the party! Time for the guests to arrive! This was Valentina's 4th wardrobe change of the day and nobody had even showed up yet.




The dining room table set for the kids.


The balloons and "poufs" I made. You can see the poufs hanging on the upper right side of the photo. Martha Stewart sells them for like $6.98 for two big ones. I made those for less than $1.00.


The banner. When I bought the Strawberry Shortcake stuff at the party store they didn't have a "Happy Birthday" banner so I made one. Again, I found some ideas off Pinterest and THIS I'm happy about.  I think it turned out pretty good and I had all the paper already. I'm going to hang it up in her room.


Some smaller poufs. Those were probably .10 each.


It has become something of a tradition to have cherry chip cupcakes for birthday parties. Mom gave me the cake stands for Christmas.


The cake and cupcakes. I found these super cute daisy candles in pink and green that matched the color scheme.


Valentina, not realizing that she had actually turned 5 a month prior.

So that was Valentina's 5th Birthday.

It also marked the fact that Valentina has now had more birthday parties without her TT than with.





Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stigmata

Mom and I had therapy yesterday. It had been about three weeks since we had gone because I was (and still am) sick and couldn't go.

I'm getting all my dark and twisty Meredith Grey stuff out in this post because my next one will be about Valentina's birthday party that we had yesterday and I don't like to taint the kids' posts with my dark and twisty stuff.

I've had two panic attacks in the past three weeks but I had completely forgotten about them. I cannot stress how helpful it is to have mom go to therapy with me because she reminds me of so much shit that happens that I forget about and vice versa. That and we both have different views on things so it's nice to have Dr. B give us his take stuff. I told Dr. B I didn't remember a trigger for either one of them and he said "an anxiety level for a panic attack is here (raised his hand) and a normal persons anxiety is here (put his other hand about two feet below his panic attack hand). Your anxiety level is here (raised his normal hand to about a half inch below his panic attack hand) so any little thing can set you off. You don't even really need to know the trigger, the smallest shift can give you an attack." It all made sense. I had also stumbled across this blog that referenced the book "Why Zebra's Don't Get Ulcers". I'm getting the book so I can read it but the blogger explained that it was about fight or flight and when a zebra if fleeing all the zebra thinks about is fleeing, puts all it's energy into that and nothing else matters. The blogger went on to talk about when we flee we put all of our energy into the stress and that's why our immune system tanks. How ironic it talked about a sucky immune system since I've been sick for a month. I actually went to the doctor after two weeks and found out I had a sinus infection. The antibiotic helped me and then I got sick again. Anyway, mom and I were talking about it and Dr. B confirmed that I definitely flee. I'm not a stay and fight person unless my back is up against the wall and then I can fight like crazy but I flight as much as I can. He also told me I have dissociative disorder. The good news is that it's not pathological and I have control over it, therefore it's not really harmful to me. I can still do things and parent and care about people, it's just a coping mechanism I've had and it's really kicked in since Trina got sick and then really settled in to stay after she died. He talked about me having it so lightly and that he's known me to always have it but I never knew it. Funny how there are major things in our lives that are so obvious to others but completely unknown to us. Just like when I got my antibiotic from my doctor there's a separate sheet of paper that shows what I got treated for and any chronic or current problems. It's always surprising to me to see bipolar disorder and severe depression on there. I don't know why, but there's something about seeing something in black and white.

Or black and blue, which brings me to explaining my post title.

When sissy was in the hospital she developed some bed sores on her leg and about 2 days later I got bruising on my legs in the exact same spot. Ever since then whenever I get under a tremendous amount of stress (more than usual) or at anniversaries or birthdays, I get bruises on my legs. It always varies depending on the event. I may not even realize it's a significant date until I take a shower and see big bruises on my leg. Then I think of what the date is and sure enough, it always coincides with some date. It wasn't surprising to me when last week I started getting them because Valentina's party was coming up.  I'm always thinking, either in the back of my mind or the front of my mind, that at Valentina's last birthday party with sissy she was announcing she was pregnant. One year later not only did we not have a new baby but Trina was gone. She had died. My sister died. It is just unbelievable.

So, back to the title. I asked Dr. B about my bruising. He said he hadn't heard of bruising but he had studied about the monks having stigmata and also sympathy association. He had never known anyone to actually have this but that it was something that would affect people who had an intense connection or were unusually close. He said he wasn't surprised that I would have it. Mom asked him if it was possible that our minds could shut down certain parts and function off other sections because something was too painful. He said absolutely, it's a state of shock and for us, we're still going through it. "How long will this last? I don't know but I know that you aren't out of it and not even close to coming out of it" was his actual statement.

On the flip side, talk about still being able to feel. I cannot remember the last time I was so damn excited about something. I found little Solo cups with LIDS and STRAWS!!!!! I was thrilled when I saw them at Target and even happier that they had them in green to match the color scheme of Valentina's party! I think I told everyone at the party about them and showed them off. These dumbass cups had me more excited than when I got my bell...... maybe. I don't know, I use my bell quite a bit and I keep it on my counter. I use it almost every day. But I did like my cups. Maybe it's a tie.

So that is how therapy went and what I'm feeling.... or not as the case may be. One thing I ALWAYS feel is love for the kids and my immediate family. I am so grateful for mom and papa, they work so hard for me. Norm works hard to provide for our family and the kids are my saving grace just by being themselves. I'm also very, very fortunate to have had the most amazing sister and such an unbreakable bond with her, no matter what. Even in death I'm not separated from her.

Does It Work????

Does the Netti Pot or those other run-water-through-your-nose contraptions work? My doctor told me to do it two weeks ago when I was diagnosed with a sinus infection but I never did. Now I still have the sinus drip in the back of my throat and it's really bugging me so I thought I would go to you and ask.....

IS IT WORTH IT TO BUY ONE?????????

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Revenge

No, I'm not out to get revenge on anyone. I'm talking about the show "Revenge" on ABC. It has become my latest obsession. I haven't watched last nights episode yet, Mom and I have plans to pick up Thai food after we take Valentina to school and settle in to a delicious treat for both our taste and visual senses. I just watched the first 5 minutes of the first episode about 10 times trying to make out the shadowy figures. In shows like this, where they show something current and then go back in time to get you caught up to the first episode, I always want to get to know the characters first before I start to obsess.

I'm obsessing now.

I'll tell you my predictions.

After watching the person keel over on the beach, I'm pretty sure it's Tyler. I kept rewinding it, trying to make out who it might be (it's around the 30 second mark of the pilot to anyone interested) and that is my hunch. They show Jack moving the body but I don't think he's the one who did it. I'm guessing maybe Ashley or Daniel himself. I can see Daniel killing Tyler and then Jack trying to cover it up for Emily's sake. I think Daniel on trial and possibly being sent away to prison would be an excellent juxtaposition the whole series is based on. David Clarke was tried for murder and sent to prison. This could have been Emily's entire plan, to make Victoria go through that much like Emily had to do with her father. In that case, Daniel wouldn't be guilty but Emily could have set him up to take the fall for Tyler's murder.

Then again, it could be Daniel that was killed and that blows my whole theory out of the water.

Either way, I love revenge. And "Revenge".

Thursday, February 02, 2012

No Cross To Carry

Superbowl Sunday is in three days. This was TRINA'S holiday. I would host Thanksgiving, Christmas, Oscars, Golden Globes, anything that was remotely considered a reason to have a party but Superbowl? That was all sissy.

This will be our third one without her. The first one we did have Josh's, just like always. I don't remember it other than we were all on auto pilot, nobody knowing what to do but just trying to keep doing the same as if she were there. In fact mom and I were talking yesterday how crazy papa went when she first died. The first few days he was certifiable. I mean he wore a black headband as tight as he could and just wandered aimlessly, talking to himself. Mom and I laughed "we've never come out of it, have we?" No, no we haven't. We pretend we have, we act as though we have, we put on a pretty good front, but we haven't.

Shit, there was something else I was going to write but now I can't remember it. And I haven't even taken my ambien!

I had a dream the other night. In my dream I told sissy we needed to go away, just the two of us. We decided to go to Cabo for two nights, just her and me. Even in my dream I was taking care of her, "I'll pay for the hotel and give you spending money, just pay for your airline ticket and that's all you'll need!" I told her in my dream. We were so excited to go.

Then I woke up.

I always wake up.

OH! I read my title of this post and remembered what else I was going to write.

A few years ago sissy gave me a cross keychain. I loved it. After a few years it slowly fell apart. First the bottom of the cross fell off. Then one of the sides. Then the other side. Pretty soon all that was left was the top part where it connects to the round thing that holds the keys.

Two years ago, October 2009, I told sissy I wanted a new one from her for my birthday. That's all that I wanted, just another cross keychain from her. I had found one that was exactly the same as my old one. I pointed it out to her at the store, too superstitious to even touch it before she had put her hands on it first. It had to be from her and not contaminated by me until she had bought it. She gave it to me (along with my beloved pair of grey Converse that I wear almost every day) and deep down a part of me knew it was the last birthday present I would get from her. I didn't want to think that but I think that's why I refused to touch it before she did.

Anyway, for the past 27 months I've kept an eye on it, wanting to make sure I noticed if it started to fall apart so I could get it fixed. A few nights ago Norm asked me if I wanted to take my cross off my keychain because one part of it fell off. He knew how much it meant to me and thought I knew it had started to fall apart. I couldn't deal with it so I told him to just leave it alone. Yesterday, before I left the house, I took off my cross keychain. I don't want to lose any more pieces of it. I was in a hurry so I couldn't take the time to really let it sink in that I was actually taking off my cross, which right now as I sit here and write it I'm having a small anxiety attack. Instead I attached it to the other three keychains I bought with her at concerts we had gone to together. My cross is now at home on the key hook with INXS, Coldplay and The Killers.

I never knew how empty my keychain could look or how sad just looking at it could make me.