Monday, December 30, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: 3 Word Resolutions

Sorry I haven't done much here or otherwise, but the busy holiday season sent me scampering here there and everywhere.

But I finally have a few spare minutes to check in and make a new Trifecta submission:

Michael Hess inspired us with his three word New Year's resolution;just be nice. We're asking for your own resolutions in just three words. Make it count; we'll be checking back in come 2015.

And since this is our ninety-ninth Trifextra challenge, we're giving away the journal shown below from Tricerashops, our Cafe Press shop, in a randomly drawn giveaway. All you have to do to be entered is to enter this week's challenge. Good luck and good writing.

So, here goes:

Publish My Book!

 Here's three more:

Finish Second Book!

Here's yet three more:

Outline Third Book!

And Lastly:

Write Third Book!


Technically I probably disqualified myself for official entry in this week's trifecta challenge, but this is more of a reminder to myself what I really want to accomplish in the upcoming year. I have a manuscript that needs a little polishing (for the nine-millionth time), the first in a trilogy that I want to publish and I will make this year my year and I will pass my son's legacy on to as many people and I possibly can. One of the many reasons, I feel, that Ukiah was brought into my life was to show me that I was capable of writing a book and also of doing something that was so much bigger than myself. I have to continue passing on his legacy by finishing the other two books in that series and by getting them out to the masses by any means necessary.

I don't talk about that book here much, but perhaps I should start. It's YA Paranormal and it deals with kids who have special needs, different diagnoses and limitations, but also abilities. Their limitations are also their powers, and that's how I chose to see every child with life limiting or special diagnosis. What we see as limitations and disabilities I chose to see as gifts. 

I will do it this year and if not I'll at least make great strides in trying. Wish me luck and check back here for updates.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Tush

“Tush up hon,” the kind nurse with a hint of a drawl in her voice says, as she changes my pads. My mom is helping to pick me up and everything aches. I want to scream, but it’s more guttural, always has been. I’d just assume lay in my own waste and be comfortable a day or two than be clean and in unbearable pain this close to the end.

Still, I guess I get it. I can’t fault ‘em for running a tight ship. Their just doing their job and letting me die in the comfort of my own home is a job I’m grateful anybody will do at all.

I’m fading fast. Everyone in the room knows it. My mom is the only one who can’t admit it to herself. I don’t blame her for her denial. The prognosis went from a few months, to a few weeks, to only a few days in less time than it takes to get a gun. If I hadn’t known it to be the end, I’d be in denial too.

I’m more out than in now. Consciousness doesn’t have the allure it once had. I overheard the nurses tell my mom it won’t be long before my breath becomes thready, signaling the end. A day or two tops.

But I ain’t giving up yet. I gotta hold out ‘til Henry gets here. He made me promise.

I’m not sure what time it is, when mom whispers in my ear that Henry made it. He’s a blur. I can’t make him out, but his voice comes through loud and clear. I’m not sure if I’m smiling or even if I can. I hear his voice and I’m at peace with him, with mom, with everything.

I had a lot I wanted to say, but no real way of saying it. Without wasting any time, he brought out his guitar and started strumming and I realized there was nothing left to say. 

 The following story is my entry into the Trifecta Challenge, this week's word being tush.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Trifecta's Weekend Challenge AKA my worst nightmare

“Uppie,” she barked. I looked around frantically.
“Uppie,” she cried louder, a panic started to set in, for both of us.
“Uppie!” she screamed louder. We’d lost her favorite possession. My heart broke.


This weekend's Trifecta mini-challenge was to use the same word repeated three times.

The word repeated here is the name my daughter has given her favorite stuffed animal. The problem is once we realized what she had become attached to, it was too late to get her a replica replacement. It's been discontinued. Any stuffed animals like it are too big and at this point, Uppie is too tattered and she'd notice a difference. Losing Uppie would be horrific on so many levels. I hope it never, ever, happens.

I may not have followed the challenge to the letter, because proper nouns, while not expressly forbidden, were not mentioned outright. But to defend myself, my daughter sometimes uses the name as a verb. In this case "Uppie!!!!!!" is a demand in one word, over and over again. I hope that gets me off the hook.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Sock God strikes again: Trifecta Challenge

“You’re screwing everything up. We gave you this world and you’ve done nothing with it or with yourselves. You have a year to prove your worthiness or we’re reclaiming it,” one of the demi-gods boomed across the world.

After whoever blasted off his mouth, I knew it wouldn’t be long before one of my cousins came sniffing around. It was Eris, real peach that one.

She showed up while I was out on one of my laundry runs. If my only power on this plane is to take unimportant objects, I’m going to do it. I could take anything, but taking a sock while leaving its match? That’s a mindscrambler.

Now it was Eris’s turn. She’d ransacked the whole place, overturning socks I’d stole during the Eisenhower administration.

“What the underworld Eris?” I yelled.

“Sorry,” she said, but she clearly wasn’t. “Trying to determine if you sent out the message….” This part trips everyone up. I’d been manifested by the Greeks, given a purpose, but never really named. The other gods call me the unnamed one, but I’m not the only demi-god somebody forgot to name back then. I call myself Keeper of Unimportant Lost Things, or KULT for short.

“I didn’t. Are we done?” I asked, showing her the exit.

“War is upon us. Time to pick a side.”

“I have no real power. Nobody wants me on their side. My existence here is tenuous as is. I vanish when the world stops believing in me.”

“Look around you. The world believes again, in all of us.”

“This war is pointless and it’ll be just like the last.” I shrugged.

“No, It involves all the Gods now.”


She nodded the answer. That meant all the religions were stepping in. Things were about to get messy. I was still hesitant.

Then she went and found my weak spot. “You fight with us, I promise they will remember you.”

“But will they name me?” She looked away. She didn’t know.

 Another week, another Trifecta challenge. This week's challenge was Remember:

Remember (verb):

1 :  to bring to mind or think of again
2 :  archaic
   a :  BETHINK
   b :  REMIND
3 a :  to keep in mind for attention or consideration
   b :  REWARD
4 :  to retain in the memory
5 :  to convey greetings from

My weekend challenge subject wouldn't leave me alone this week. The idea of a demi-god who's only power is stealing mundane objects was just so ripe to me, and I like myself some prankster dieties, so here we are.  I decided to come up with a scenario in which he might be sought out to be valuable. This is what I've come up with so far. I think I'm interested to see where this takes me, so I might do more challenges with KULT in the center. Guess I better brush up on my mythology then heh?

Remember (verb):

1 :  to bring to mind or think of again
2 :  archaic
   a :  BETHINK
   b :  REMIND
3 a :  to keep in mind for attention or consideration
   b :  REWARD
4 :  to retain in the memory
5 :  to convey greetings from

Remember: - See more at:

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Movie Review: This is the End

You know how sometimes you'll find a thing, a movie, a TV show, book, game whatever that sometimes hit most if not all of your pleasure points but then you look up and you realize that has piece of pop-culture ephemera only hit your pleasure points and no one else's? Yeah, that's the dilemma I'm having with This is the End. The second Seth showed Jay his name spelled out in joints I knew I was in.

I think it was precisely that moment in which my husband was out. This is nothing new. I'm use to him bailing on stuff that suits me just fine. If I had a nickel for all the times we've come down on different sides of a movie, I'd have a mansion by now.

But this one was more derisive somehow. Maybe it was Danny McBride. He usually throws a monkey wrench in everything. Or maybe the pot humor and dick jokes just got way old way fast, which I have to admit, definitely did. Although, if I can work in "Hey, I like my dick tent!" into casual conversation, than I'm doing something right, I'd say.

I think part of the division was the hubbie didn't get all the in jokes and fun-poking these guys were doing at their own expense, or didn't really care. But since that's my bread and butter, I ate it up with a spoon. The second a coked-out Micheal Cera got impaled by a street lamp, I was in. I was even more in watching David Krumholtz fall down the hellhole. The middle part did get tedious in its infighting and stagnation and I was getting close to wanting to bale. But then suddenly, things kicked it into high gear and *spoiler alert* we find out Channing Tatum is playing gimp to Danny McBride's Zed and I absolutely lose it. Whatever else you want to say about this movie, that, right there will be its enduring legacy.

So yeah, it's mindless and stupid, but it's my kind of mindless and stupid. My husband can have his Hellbenders and his Matrix. I'm perfectly content watching this kind of drivel and laughing at it, thank you very much. A very solid B

Monday, November 04, 2013

Coming full circle at Run Because You Can

It's been about two weeks give or take a few days and I still can't find my other running shoe. I've come up with some really good theories (some involving aliens, the other involving the same monster that steals one sock but leaves you the other) about where Larry the lefty had gone, but the shoe itself? No dice. Larry has just disappeared, no ransom note, no suicide letter, nothing. Just poof it was gone. I asked Ralphy, his partner of 2 and half years if he'd like me to file a missing shoeson's report, but Ralphy politely demurred.

Larry the Lefty's disappearance, while it hadn't surprised me per say (like nobody's lost half of a pair or shoes before. Come on, that happens to everybody, doesn't it? Doesn't it?), it had me more than a little frazzled because at the time of Larry's disappearance, Run Because You Can was only a week away.

The Runnin' for Rhett Foundation's Run Because You Can was my first 5k race last year, and it still stands out as my favorite. I've done a handful since, and this one it by far the best organized, most well laid out race, and the most fun I've had. And all the proceeds go to benefit a scholarship fund and youth fitness outreach program. Plus, the organizers of the event had a very similar story to my own.

The had a son with Cerebral Palsy who couldn't walk who passed away far too soon. We had a son with Cerebral Palsy who couldn't walk who passed away far too soon. Their story and what they've done after he passed are completely inspirational to me, and I told myself after the first race that there was no way I was missing this one.

So, there we were at Crocker Park, a year later, a cold and blustery November morning, me in my understudy pumas that I'd have to make due with in terms of footwear (RIP Larry), my husband in shorts he clearly hadn't thought through, having driven the hour and a half from Livermore to Sacramento, waiting in the 5k start line when I had a little moment.

Before I explain this little moment, note that there's usually no shortage of driving forces and things to motivate me at Runnin' for Rhett's Run Because You Can. They have a Bagpiper on the course for crying out loud. A Bagpiper in full dress, kilt and all, that this year, looked like he was freezing his you-know-whats off but a Bagpiper nonetheless. That bagpiper fills me with glee ya'll. It makes me happy and keeps me running. And there was a Marching band! And a Glee Club performing on the side! There was no shortage of entertainment to be had on the course.

And there's usually all sorts of inspiration that Runnin' for Rhett provides off the course as well. Just watch this video of Aiden, a kid with Cerebral Palsy, finishing his first 5k, or watch this other one with Dawson, who's not allowed to do a lot of strenuous activity because of a heart condition, complete the race with his dad carrying him on his back. I keep those guys in my head every time I run because if they can do it, so can I.

But my little moment before the race was a bit different. A mom and her son were standing next to us. The son had a neon yellow t-shirt on, which had been hand decorated. On the front it said Runnin' for Rhett Survivor and it had a ribbon pin painted on it. On the back it said "Kids get Strokes too" "Survivor".
I desperately wanted to know his story and to tell him how proud I was of him to be running. But things progressed too quickly and I couldn't.

Randy Seevers, his wife  Beth, a TV anchor and the woman getting the scholarship fund took to a raised platform at the starter's gate. Randy mentioned all the great work the charity was doing, his wife talked about their son and how we were all running because he couldn't, the scholarship got handed off and the National Anthem got sung. Before we knew it, the starter pistol had been fired and we were off.

It was mayhem the first half mile. One of the awesome things this race does is promote running and staying active in elementary schools and all of the district's schools had racers. The year before, all the schools started after the 5k and 10k racers, but this year, somebody didn't do a good job of separating the kids in the schools from the rest of the racers, so not only did we have to navigate our way through the other racers, but we also had to navigate around throngs of kids as well.

It wasn't a huge issue, and it was something I was well aware of. Last year an eleven-year-old paced me, then stopped, then paced me again, three separate times, the little rapscallion, but this year it was a little bit more unwieldy, and I hope they do a better job about separating out the youth running from the 5k and 10k race in the future.

About a mile and half I felt myself wanting to back way off. It wasn't a wall per say. It was the blerch. It was that little thing in the back of my head telling me I could stop and eat cake and watch a marathon of Game of Thrones episodes or do anything else than run. Then I looked ahead of me and about a quarter mile ahead was the kid in the yellow shirt, and he and his mom were booking. That was the motivation I needed and I started booking too. Then, with about a half mile to go, we hit a hill, and a head wind, and I took a moment and stopped, much to my husband's chagrin, but then I spotted it again, further ahead and about to turn the corner to the finish line, that little yellow shirt.

He made me happy to be racing, he was one of the reasons I was racing after all, for him, for Rhett, for Aiden, for Dawson, for Ukiah, for Ukiah most of all I think, for my daughter, but also for me.

That woman with a look of death in her eyes? It's me!
Found Via

I rounded the corner and tried to give it more gas. I spotted Randy Seevers sitting on the curb right by the finish line and I beamed. He had to have been the busiest man there. The only person busier is the Runnin' for Rhett Gorilla (they have a gorilla mascot that runs the race, cheering people on. It doesn't top the bagpiper in terms of sheer mirth making, but it gets close). I saw him do everything he could for that race that day, talking to the racers, shaking hands, at the start line, at the finish line. It was incredible.

The finisher's Metal! Via
Once we got across the finish line, we were given finishing metals, which were really awesome and beautiful. My husband said he looked up at the time clock and he said we came in at 31:13. My jaw dropped. When I run by myself, I think the best time I've clocked is 33:34, if I'm lucky.  This time I set down was a testament to my husband and to that little kid in the yellow shirt who I wanted to see again.

As soon as we were done, we grabbed water and some fruit from the line. My father-in-law had come with us to watch my boisterous 2-year-old daughter and so my husband had me stay close to the food booth (Let's be honest, he parked me by the garbage can) while he went in search of them.

While he was gone, parked right in front of me were the kid in the yellow shirt, his mom, and a throng of supporters. I wanted to tell him everything, how I wanted to hear his story, how I was so proud of him for running, and running faster than me, how he was my motivation a big portion of the race. But there wasn't time for that. Instead, I went up to him, told him he did a great job and gave him a thumbs up. To him, I'm probably some weird lady who was just on the course. But to me, he was everything that day.

And that's why I love this race. Among the many things it does, it gives kids like him a platform to say they are more than just a diagnosis, that they are strong and amazing. Any nitpicks I have about the race are hearsay when giving kids with special needs a voice happens to be that race's legacy. Run Because You Can and never stop. And you know, try not to lose a running shoe a week before the race.

ETA: The Mom of the amazing kid I spotted at Run Because You Can found me and wrote to me in the comments. Her entire family sounds incredible but that boy even more so. He suffers from Bow Hunter's Syndrome which causes pediatric strokes in children. He's had an uphill battle to fight. The doctors said he might never walk again, and he ran that race and beat my time by a lot! He's my hero and so is his family.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Boo

I wanted to boo, hiss, seethe, make some motion that I hated what they were doing to me. But my body, as it always had, was holding me motionless. I wanted them to know what they were doing was wrong had been wrong my entire life and that this procedure they were talking of performing was the worst possible idea and not what I wanted at all. But the people ‘taking care of me’ as it had always been, were paying me no mind.

It’s not like I’m not use to people making decisions on my behalf, decisions I didn’t want made, decisions I can’t fight. It’s not like I’m not use to people underestimating my mind because my own body has trapped it, held it captive for years. Why should this place be any different?

Being held captive is one thing, but being tortured for needless reasons is an entirely different thing. I want, no I need someone to listen to me, to find a way to hear my mind when my body won’t speak.

Nurse Jane is coming. She’s sad. I know she doesn’t like what they are doing to me, what they are going to do to me. Maybe I have some time to convince her that what they will be doing to me tomorrow is wrong. Maybe there’s something I can do to make her listen.

What is that at the corner of my eyes ? It’s wet and running down my temples. Are those tears? Am I capable of tears? Will that be enough to convince her, them, all of them, that this is against my will?

All I can do is try and cry until somebody listens. 

The above short story is for this week's Trifecta challenge word boo:

1 (interjection)
used to express contempt or disapproval or to startle or frighten

2 (noun)
a sound that people make to show they do not like or approve of someone or something

3 (verb) to show dislike or disapproval of someone or something by shouting “Boo” slowly

 It was inspired by this story I read yesterday that broke my heart. If you think it's too long or it sounds too heartbreaking, I'll try and give you the cliff's notes. It's essentially about a girl with cerebral palsy whose parents deliberately infantalized and sterilized her so that her body would stay the same size as what they believe her brain function to be. The story is also about a person who lived through a similar experience and how heartbroken she is by this decision. It's an incredible but devastating article and I wrote this story above, partly because this thing wouldn't leave me and partly as a way for advocating disabled rights, no matter the age or brain capability. 

As some of you know, I had a son with special needs who passed away ten days before his second birthday and everyday I struggle with the decision we made to let him go because I don't know if that's what he really wanted. Despite his disabilities, he had a voice, an incredible, unique personality and a mind that wanted to fight to communicate and to work properly. I would've fought to my very last breathe to make sure he had that right. I have another blog called Ukiah's Heart, inspired by him, where I try to do just that for all the kids just like him by talking about issues revolving around children with special needs, parents with special needs, and bereaved parents. If this touched you at all, do your part by educating yourself at my other blog, and the other blogs I link to. Also, stop by George Mark House's website and educate yourself about the wonderful work they have done for families like mine and need help to continue to do. 

Thank you, in advance to all the Trifecta members who read this. You're all gems.