The Real Vegas Vacation


file00056133704Disclaimer: this is my version of events. No children were harmed in the making of this trip. Some names will be left out to protect the innocent.

It was a early Friday morning when I woke up to my husband (will call him Joel) asking me what I thought about us skipping out for the weekend to Las Vegas. This was very last-minute, and would mean we would have to be packed and in the car within the HOUR.

Of course me being the awesome and very attentive mother that I am, said I had to think on it.  Thirty seconds later we were running around the house like crazy people trying to pack.

My two daughters who are ages five and nine, immediately started following me around asking questions like “What’s Las  Vegas mama?”  and  “Will there be a pool?”


As I was rushing through the house throwing random stuff in bags, I rationalized it to myself that Las Vegas could be fun for kids. I’m sure there were plenty of things for a five-year old to do in Vegas right?

Plus we had the trump card: We had  the grandparents who were already there visiting family. That was really the main reason we were even going. To visit family.

This was still my first trip to Las Vegas however and Joel had advised me it would only take us six to eight hours tops to get there. So I packed up some snacks, a few dvds, and a halfway charged tablet.

We were on our way.

I would be lying if I said that this wasn’t the most exciting thing we had ever done last-minute as a family.

Visions of the movie Vegas Vacation kept dancing through my head.

Of course for me it was mainly the parts where the parents were alone in Vegas doing fun things like gambling and meeting Wayne Newton.

I’m not a big fan but it sounded like a lot more fun than cleaning my house and taking care of kids at home all weekend.

Not to mention we were getting a chance to visit with a part of my husband’s family we rarely get to see. This was going to be the best trip ever!

Fast forward an hour later: the girls were fighting, the tablet was dead, and our DVD player we realized was to dark for daylight viewing. In not so many words, we were screwed.

Four hours in, and we had hit a huge traffic jam. It was the middle of October but in California that means nothing. The heat was blazing and at one point our truck started to make a funny noise. “Joel is that our truck?” I said with a tinge of fear in my voice. “Maybe it needs water?”  “No!’ Joel answered “It’s just the air conditioner. I will turn it off”

The truck deciding instead that wasn’t good enough, made a final sputter and then nothing. The truck had died.

Over heated in the full death grip of the angry October sun.

We sat there for a while letting it cool off. It was then that I noticed cars in front of us pulling onto the other side of the highway, and heading back the opposite direction.

The truck next to us rolled his window down to tell us there had been a huge mudslide a few miles ahead.

Luckily for us after a few minutes and some water, our truck started with no problems. We eventually we made to the front of the line just to be detoured back the way we came.

Afterwards I thought about how I should have let Joel make that illegal U-turn he wanted to make hours ago.

Nothing we can do about it now. No reason to make that thought public. Besides he didn’t listen to me about the whole water fiasco earlier. So by my count we were even.
In the end it took us 13 hours to make it to Las Vegas. That’s five hours longer than I had originally anticipated being locked in the car with two little tiny crazy people.

Not to mention a very irritated Joel.

We reached the hotel around midnight to find most of the highway traffic was now in line in front of us at Circus Circus.

We had now entered the seventh circle of hell.

My five-year old looked at me and then back at the smiling clown with the evil gleam and then back at me. The clown was offering her what appeared to be some sort of balloon animal.

That. Was. It. Her breaking point.

She began to sob heavily. The tired look in her eye forced me to hold her dead weight for the rest of the lines duration.

Would this day ever end? 

Finally we reached the room. I tucked the littles in bed with me. Joel who was still pumped from the ride over took off to hit the casino for a while. I just needed sleep.

Tomorrow would be better. It had to be better. 

The next day we took the girls to the The Pawn Stars Pawn Shop. We waited twenty minutes in line to walk a crowded 10 paces ahead and turn around to go right back out the front again. Not bad. At least it killed time and it was free.

Later we met up with the family and afterwards we were given the chance to really experience Las Vegas. Without kids.
First things first, we went back to the room so I could change. As I was getting dressed I started noticing Joel skulking around the room. It look like he lost something. “Joel honey did you lose something?” I said sweetly to my husband.

“Ugh it’s nothing. I think I might have lost a 25$ poker chip in here somewhere” he said.
30 minutes later I was ready. Joel on the other hand was still looking for this chip which I finally convinced him was no big deal and to forget about it.

He later told me he didn’t want to ruin my night but it was a 100$ poker chip, not 25$. He had taken a 100$ and tripled it on the black jack table in three hands the night before. That was a third of his winnings!

After we ate dinner and gambled a bit we walked down the strip. I had a couple of drinks at dinner and really wanted to take in a show.

Suddenly a young women stepped in front of us. She was offering two tickets to a show with a limo ride included. What luck I thought. I was in!  Joel (who never drinks) politely declined as she handed him a card.

To a strip club. In the worst part of town.

This was the city of sin right? No reason to be shocked at the lack of respect this women had for the sanctity of marriage. Besides apparently she was willing to give us a two for one deal.

A little while later we ran into another man who was trying to sell us some tickets. This time it was to a club event that Bruno Mars was going to be hosting that night. He had to tickets for 60$. We said no and kept walking.

An hour later we saw the same man. He told us he only had two tickets left and that he would give them to us for half price. I looked at Joel and said “why not?”

So we did it.

I figured worst case scenario: we lose 30$. Which I could easily have lost playing the slots. Best case: we get the best night of our lives. It’s Bruno Mars people!
The club which we had passed on the way into Vegas was on the opposite end of the strip and we held in our hands the best counterfeit tickets those bouncers had ever seen.

Yes we got ripped off. I bet you didn’t see that coming. Not one of my proudest moments.

Plus I’m sure Joel was kicking himself by now that he let me talk him out if that live Brittany Spears show earlier. To his dismay she even managed to have some sort of wardrobe malfunction that night.

It took us an hour and a half to get back to our room on the bus.

The next morning we picked up the kids and headed back home. The detour was still in effect and it took us another 12 hours to get back. On our way out we stopped at a drive through for breakfast.

At least we can save some money somewhere on this trip I thought. We where only in Vegas 36 hours and had spent close to $1000!

We should have stopped and ate somewhere else. Anywhere else. All the rest of the trip my five-year old had the runs. I was down to using puppy training pads I had got off the grandparents.

Thank god they followed us back! I probably would have resorted to using every article of clothing we brought otherwise.
While we were trying to maneuver our way home we got lost. Two hours later we finally saw a gas station. My husband pulled over to use the bathroom and pay for gas. Meanwhile I changed another puppy pad and then we hit the road again.

It wasn’t until we were ten miles down the road that we realized we never pumped the gas we originally stopped for! It was at the point I felt my emotions get the best of me.

This was my breaking point.

I could feel the tears prick the back of my eyes. As we were driving back to the gas station I looked my husband dead in the eye and said : (okay I’m not going to lie, I may have screamed it)  “This is the worst trip ever!”

I knew as soon as I said it was a mistake. The look in his eyes told me so. I hurt his feelings. After all he was just trying to take his family on a last-minute fun-filled road trip. He couldn’t control a damn mudslide, shitty people, or even shitty food (literally) for that matter.

Later after first apologizing to my family, I realized something: life is full of unexpected events and missed opportunities. It’s who we experience those moments with that matters most.

For now anyways I’m pretty sure my Vegas days are behind me. Unless of course Bruno Mars is hosting at one of the hottest night clubs in town! 

From The Depths Of Hell




From the depths of hell I see the world on fire all around me. As the days pass my soul fades gently. The world around grows darker with each breath.

With age comes intelligence.

My thoughtful eyes soon realize my realty is all wrong. Why me? I think to myself as I look amid my uncertain world.

An unsettling thought from an innocent child.

My unforgiving demons recede in and out of my unconscious mind.

They whisper to me ever so softly “you are mine now and forever “. For once you have seen the darkness it never lets you go.

Who here knows of the horrors I speak?

Who here has watched the shadows fade with time?

Who here has come from the depths of hell and lived to tell the tale?

~ Dearest Mommy

A Family of Gamers



I am one of those eighties babies who grew up on Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and their cooler younger brother PlayStation. I have been lucky enough to witness and enjoy the evolution of videogames.

I started out small as a kid playing Mario Bros on regular Nintendo and gradually progressed to Goldeneye 007 on Nintendo 64 and then PlayStation. 007 was the first first person shooter game I ever played.

It was awesome! You really felt like you were in the game. It was miles apart from my beloved Mario Bros and the graphics were amazing.

Eventually I took a long hiatus to adult and stuff. I became a mother to a blended family of two girls (9 & 5) and a boy in college (20).

Raising kids in this technical age means most families have at least one game system or computer in their house. So I know I’m not alone in having kids who love video games.

The weird part is I never really grew out of my love for video games. The urge to play came back small at first. Here and there I would watch my daughter play Super Mario Bros on her Wii. I found myself taking the controller when she asked for help, and having a hard time giving it back when I was done.

Finally I said screw it one summer vacation when the kids were driving me nuts. I turned the Wii on and we all sat down and played on a split screen. My three year old just held the extra controller as I pointed to my character and told her it was hers.

Oh the small joys of parenting a toddler.

Two Christmases ago we bought our first PlayStation 4. I was shocked by how good the graphics were. I mean seriously on a big screen TV you can see each blade of grass move in the wind. Wow just wow. Remember I started out on Tetris, PACMan and Mario Bros. So best believe I was astonished to say the least.

I have to say there is certainly a lot of stigma attached to video games. Recently I watched an interview on CNN where someone was blaming video games like, Call Of Duty and The Walking Dead for the Sandy Hook shooting. The unidentified women said the shooter practiced for days on Call Of Duty before the shootings.

Umm okay… How the hell do you practice shooting a real gun on a video game with a controller?  

I have to say I call bullshit on that. I have played video games off and on all my life, and never had a violent outburst.  

 What happened at Sandy Hook was extremly sad and my heart goes out to anyone who was affected by that tragedy or others like it.

I am personally more inclined to blame the perpetrator who was obviously very unstable, and in no way should have ever had access to any kind of weapon. 

The truth is some people are violent and some aren’t. Everyone has choices. You can’t go around blaming (at least in part) video games, TV shows and Twinkies for other others horrible actions. 

For my family I find that video games monitored, and in (mostly) small doses bring my family closer together. Currently I have a PlayStation 4 in three rooms of my house.

It sounds excessive I know, but in order to play some of our games like Star Wars Battlefront (definitely recommended) online together you need one system per person.

My five year old still holds the extra controller and thinks she’s playing. Thank the gods for small miracles. 

We are a video game family and honestly I love it. Not to mention my nine year old daughter is a dancing machine now that she has Just Dance 2016. Entertainment and exercise all rolled up into one awesome game!  What more could you ask for?  

Not every parent will agree with my stance on video games and that’s okay. Every parent is different, and only they know what’s best for their family.

As for me I think I feel a dance off coming on right about now. Time to go school my girls in some Just Dance interpretive dance. Watch out now! 

The Worst Word



I have this fear. It follows me around everywhere I go. It’s never far. It lingers in the back of my mind whispering to my subconscious that no one I love is safe. What’s my biggest fear you may ask? The simple answer to that is Cancer.

My first real experience with this unforgiving disease was in January of 2013. That was the year my life changed forever.

  “It’s stage four Cancer”  was what my husband told me. We weren’t exactly sure what that meant only that it was bad. At that moment it seemed like my world was spiraling out of control. I knew then that nothing would ever be the same.  

My husband and I just stood there stunned.  As soon as it hit me I began to cry. My husband looked at me and said “what?”. Now at this point I’m pretty sure my husband was in shock (we both were), and it hadn’t exactly sunk in yet. ” He’s dying” was all I said.

The person in question was our friend Jason. He was my husband’s boss and both of our good friend. We had met him, and several other close friends in October 2010 at a poker game we attended.

Jason was a husband to a very interesting and intriguing women who in time I grew to love whole heartedly. He was also a father to two of the most awesome kids I know. He was quiet and smart and one of the best Texas hold ’em players I had ever met.

He was also blessed with a fairly wry sense of humor. For example one of the nights he was at our weekly poker tournament and was sitting at my table. Now usually there is anywhere from 15 to 27 players at these games. We had been playing with this group every weekend for a few months already. Poker was the first thing I found that I was a natural at. I loved it!

On that night when it was my turn to shuffle then deal, and since my shuffling was so terribly slow, I had resorted to politely asking whoever was lucky enough to be sitting near, if they would shuffle for me.

Lets be honest here, I was still new to the whole poker thing, and as I like to say I was the best worst dealer around.

I thought I was doing everyone a favor by not taking up anymore time as it was.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement to my left. It was Jason. He had gotten up, walked to the kitchen picked something up, and proceeded to walk with it over to me and set it down right in front of me. To my horror it was a shuffling machine!

All you had to do was cut the deck in half. Place each half on either side of the machine, press the botton, and viola your deck is shuffled!

I will never live it down.

This was probably the most embarrassing thing that had happened to me since I started playing Texas hold ’em.

So of course I did the only thing I could think of. I used it the rest of the night. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em right?

The very next week I was shuffling on my own.

I’m not sure he ever knew it but I was in in constant competition with Jason. My husband and I played every Friday night for the next three years with that group. They became like family, and still are.

Jason in my eyes was the best player there, so of course in my mind I needed to beat him as much as I possibly could. That didn’t work out so well for me on many occasions, but that didn’t mean I would ever stop trying.

In January of 2013 two years and three months after I met him, Jason my friend was diagnosed with Stage four terminal cancer. With in six weeks he was gone. He was 38 years old.

The one thing I learned from his passing was that this life is a fleeting gift. You have to make the most of it, and never look back. I hold my family even closer now then ever.

I quit smoking and took up writing instead. The first thing I ever wrote was a poem which I read at the spreading of his ashes. I didn’t keep a copy, and I don’t remember the words. It was just for him.

The truth is I can’t stop cancer from happening but at least I can try and leave my mark on this world through my words as well as my actions.

Last week one of my family members was diagnosed with cancer. Immediately my anxiety kicked into overdrive and I have been having trouble sleeping again. I imagine until we find out more I will continue to have this problem.

The fear is real. No matter what happens though I will push on, and help him fight in anyway I can. Sometimes all we can do is be there and that’s what I intend to do.

Oh and fuck you Cancer!


For my friend Jason, gone but never forgotten







An unforgiving Illness



Sometimes I feel like a terrible daughter.  My mother who raised me the best she could for as long as she could suffered from mental illness. She is a Bi-polar Manic depressive to be exact.

She never wanted to take her medicine. She said she didn’t like the way it made her feel. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be in her shoes. Dealing with something so severe on a daily basis.

At her best my mother was soft spoken and loving. She loved to sing to us her children and she had a beautiful voice to match.

At her worst she thought the devil was trying to kill us and constantly moved us around all through out my childhood. Sometimes she would stay up all night talking to herself, and sleep all day when she had one of her mood swings.

My father  was never around when I was growing up. He is a Vietnam war veteran. I don’t doubt that he and my mother loved each other very much at one time. I have heard that as much hate as you show someone at the end of a relationship there had to be an equal amount of love at some point. They haven’t been together in over twenty years and to this day they are still legally married. So there is that.

I think war is a terrible thing and I wonder how different my life would have been had my father stayed in college instead of going off to fight. Would he still have abandoned us? I assume when he came back he must have been a changed man.

I have to think that it wasn’t just a character flaw and that the drug and alcohol abuse is evidence of that.

I don’t remember him ever being a father figure but my older siblings do. They say he was a really good dad at one time. I wish I had some memories of it. Once my father and mothers relationship ended he stopped coming around completely.

As I grew up my mother who lost her own mother at 12 years of age, was the one who raised us. Even as chaotic as my childhood was, I never doubted her love for us. At around 16 years of age and after moving in and out of my moms home several times it all became to much for me and I left.

11 years later the responsibility for my mother fell to me. I was the only child of six in the state of California who could take care of her. At that point I had children and my mother was rapidly becoming worse over time.

She still refused to take her medicine and her paranoia was ever present. Part of my mother’s illness is having paranoid delusions. This caused her  to throw things away all the time. In fact growing up I literally had no toys or pictures. Everything normal for children or famiy including school was deemed evil. I literally don’t have one picture of my mother and I together.

This made it impossible for me to live with her or subject my children to that. So my only other option was to find her a small studio near my house that she could afford.

It lasted one year before she was asked to leave because of her behavior. This went on for several years. In California the laws for the families of mentally ill are completely flawed.

The doctors would not commit her without her agreement, in a mental health facility because she wasn’t a threat to anyone. They would not tell me anything about her illness. They do however require her to have a payee for her social security disability check she received every month.

Of course I was good enough to be her payee and handle her money for her but I wasn’t allowed to be told what medications she was taking? The system set up for the mentally ill is fundamentally fucked in California. There is no safety net set up for them and my mother fell through the cracks.

After three and half years and moving her three separate times my mother was on the verge of a complete mental break down. I didn’t know how to help her anymore. Her health was rapidly deteriorating due to the high anxiety from her dilusions. Sometimes she would see things. Scary things. She would never tell me exactly what she saw but the fear she would show told me it was bad.

Finally my sister offered to take her out to Utah where she lived. The week before my mother left I stopped by to check on her. She was in a terrible state and whatever she was seeing scared her half to death. For the first time ever she begged me to take her to the mental health facility that for years she had refused.

A week later my younger brother arrived to get her. Of she course she was still in that place and was due to be released the next morning.

When I picked her up she was a mess but glad to be going to live with my sister and her boyfriend. All she ever wanted was to live with me and my family. As sad as it is, I couldn’t give in. I refused to let my children be subjected to what I was growing up. I was relieved and happy for her that she was finally getting what she wanted.

Six months later my sister called me and said my mom had left and she didn’t want her back. She was way to much to handle. She had stopped taking her medicine and started throwing everything out again. It was understandable. There was no way I could live with her myself.

Luckily my oldest brother stepped in and got her in to a facility in Utah. Surprisingly Utah does have a safety net for those with mental illness. She lives in a place that employs a full time staff. Her social security check covers most of the costs. She takes her medicine regularly for the first time in years.

I hadn’t talk to my mother in 8 months. I am terrible daughter. As soon as she was safe I went on with my life and didn’t even so much as ask about her. The truth is it’s to painful to think about.

Sometimes as selfish as it sounds I wish I could forget my entire childhood. My mother whom I love dearly is a constant reminder of that.

Her mental illness even with medication will never make her “normal”. She has set backs all the time. Today my brother went to see my mother and called me for her. She sounded drugged up but we had our first normal conversation in years.

When I asked her where she was she wasn’t sure. She had fallen and cut her chin open and she thinks she had 18 stitches. She thinks?

My heart broke just hearing that. How selfish am I? I haven’t asked about her. She’s been stuck alone in some facility I have never been to and I haven’t even checked on her.

Of course my brother is there for her but I am still her daughter. I should be there for her especially when she can’t be there for herself.

I once received a picture of my mother from when she was around 16 or 17 years old from one of her relatives. She was living with her older sister at the time, my aunt. It was the 1960’s and she was standing in one leg of a pair of men’s striped pajama pants. She was so tiny and had a mischievous look in her eye. She looked like she was quite a character.

I wish I could have known that version of her. Unfortunately her mental illness kicked in soon after I was born when she was 33 years of age. So I have no memories of her in a normal frame of mind.

I use try and imagine how she would have been had she been normal when I was growing up. Its hard for me but I imagine she would have been a lot like I am now.

Two weeks ago I turned 32 years old. I am not far off from my mothers age when her symptoms first kicked in. Talking to my mother today reminded me that she is still here and that I still have the chance to become the daughter I would wish I had, if I was in her situation. It’s not to late to be the daughter I should. It’s never to late to stop the regrets before they start.


For my mother, who despite all the terrible traumas she has faced in an unforgiving world never gave up on her children



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Choices is what life is all about. We make choices from the moment we wake up till the moment we go to sleep. Sometimes they are little ones and before we know it years have gone by, and what started as little choices turn into huge regrets that you can never take back. That’s the problem with bad choices; you have to live with the wreckage.

I personally still deal with my own wreckage from the bad choices I made many years ago. I’m lucky enough to have  the chance to atone for my terrible decisions I made so long ago.

Recently I have had to watch a person who means the world to me slip back into that awful cycle of drug abuse, and it’s all I can do to not go running to try and save them. The truth is you can’t save someone from themselves.
It all goes back to free will.

When I think about all the things I want to say to this person it’s out of pure concern for them. Not just their own well being but all the friends and family that care for them and are affected by those bad choices.

The one thing I have learned about regrets is that my biggest one’s in this life, are the ones that affected those I care for.

Since I have changed my life all those years ago I can honestly say I have no regrets now. My life is my own. I am not that lost, hopeless person I once was. I have purpose and meaning in my life today. It took a lot of work to get that far, and I’m not finished yet.

When I look back on those lonely days I spent filling the void inside myself with drugs, I feel so blessed that I found the strength to change my circumstances. It really is your own choice what you become in this life.

My greatest joy today is my family. I get to be present in each moment that passes in my children’s lives. There is no drug around that could top the fierce pride I get from watching my children’s milestones. Some things can never be replaced.

Parenting done well, is a selfless act. The choice to give life must be honored. I’m not a perfect mother. I have my moments where my kids drive me crazy like everyone else. I am still working on it, and that’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that. You get back what you put in.

My advice to anyone in that situation is to figure out what it is you want out of life, and set the goals you will need to succeed. Even if it means you have to start your life from scratch. Build it back up piece by piece. One fucking day at a time. One fucking brick at a time. One fucking breath at a time.

I should add forgiveness as well. Not just for those you feel have wronged you but for yourself. You can’t move forward if you can’t get over the past. People make mistakes. That’s what we do. What separates us from the rest is how we learn from those mistakes.

In the song Stairway To Heaven by Led Zepplin their is a lyric that says “Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on”  I find this brilliant in its simplicity. It sums up exactly how I feel about having regrets and recovering from them. We hold the power to stop making bad choices in our lives.

To me life is beautiful and ever changing. The choices we make today ripple through time and memory, and help shape our tomorrow.  The void I once filled with drugs is now filled with laughter, love, family vacations, bed time stories and so much more. And it all started with one brave choice…

Death Of A Flower



                            Part 1

I saw Amy standing there. Alone. In

front of her old farm house. Just the way I left her the last time I saw her. It was dark, but I could make out her form in the silver light of the moon.

She looked just as beautiful as I remember. Thick, long, straight dark brown hair, perfectly framing her slender oval looking face.  Her large almond shaped, amber colored eyes seemed to stare right through me.

Welcoming me.

With a hint of a smile and a wave of a hand, she beckoned me to her. Just like when we were kids, and I would show up at her house to ask her parents if she could play.

She would always stand at the top of the stairs, with that look of mischief in her eyes. As if to say, what kind of trouble shall we get into today?

  I couldn’t help it I got so excited to see her, I ran straight for her. Only the harder I ran the farther away she seemed to get. Always with that same hauntingly beautiful smile.

Finally, I stopped as I felt the sting of hot tears hit my eyes. Why couldn’t I catch up to her? When I stopped, she stopped.

We both just stood there staring at each other with tears in our eyes.  Suddenly, I was under water. My lungs were burning, and I couldn’t move. I looked over, Amy was there next to me.

We were stuck in a car that was plummeting into nothingness. My head hurt. The whole car was full of water, and the doors wouldn’t open. The numbers 523 kept flashing inside my mind.

When I looked over at Amy I could see the smile was gone, and in its place was sheer and utter terror. That’s when it hit me. We’re going to die!This is how Amy died!

I screamed a long silent scream, and just like that I woke up. The scream which turned out wasn’t so silent, died in my throat. I was back in my room. Back in my bed. Shaking like a leaf. It felt so real.

Why did it feel so real?

I looked at the clock. It was 3 am, and I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep tonight. I never can after I dream about her…

The next day I drove straight to Amy’s house. It was empty now. Her parents had packed up and left town just shortly after her funeral, four years earlier. It looked just how it did in my dream last night.

A small shiver went slowly up my spine. Was it all in my head, or do my lungs really hurt?

I shook the feeling aside and started to walk around the old farm house. Looking for what, I didn’t know.

I began to remember the last time I dropped Amy off here. We had just went shopping for our senior prom, and we were supposed to meet back up the next afternoon at our favorite diner.

I remember being so mad at her when she didn’t show up, that Saturday night. She wasn’t answering her phone either. Something that wasn’t entirely out of character for her. I finally ordered and ate alone. Sitting there all I could think about was how I was going to tell her off good, the next time I saw her.

The following day I got the call. Amy never came home that afternoon, or the following morning. She was gone forever. Ripped from our lives with no notice. She was nation wide news for weeks. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about her. She was famous but in the most awful way imaginable. 

  It was an agonizing three weeks before they finally found her inside her car, at the bottom of the lake. They classified her death accidental. They think she lost control of the car while on the interstate, and knocked herself unconscious on the steering wheel. Which caused her to veer off the road, into the Icy lake below.

They say she never regained consciousness. That she didn’t feel any pain.

It was hard to believe. It all happened so suddenly. And of course there was the nightmares. 

I had been having the same recurring nightmares since the day she went missing. I had no idea why, or what they meant. Maybe this is my mind’s way of dealing with the tragic events surrounding Amy’s death, I thought.

Maybe it’s just the guilt I feel for living, while she’s lying in coffin for all eternity, after such a horrific end to her very short life.

No matter how hard I try though, I can’t shake the feeling there’s more to Amy’s death then what we know. I don’t know how I know. I just do.  

                           Part 2

Weeks had passed with no nightmares. Was I just imagining the whole thing? That night I decided if I had another dream I would find someone to talk to about it.

After dinner I went upstairs to get ready for bed. As I was walking into my room, I noticed a picture of Amy and I had fallen of the wall. Where her face was, I noticed a good size crack as if someone had punched it. I picked it up and placed it on the dresser, as I turned I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.

Standing about five feet behind me was Amy. She was dripping wet and looked angry. I wasn’t sure what it was, but she was holding something in her hands. A piece of shiny white medal. When I looked closer I noticed it read Ohio Birthplace of Aviation. I knew what it was. I had seen it a thousand times before. It was the Ohio state license plate. What it meant I still didn’t know.

Just then Amy lunged for me, and grabbed my arm. I could feel her cold, wet hands digging into my wrist. Suddenly, my whole room vanished!

In its place was the inside of a huge truck, except it wasn’t one I recognized. It was old and smelled of rust. I noticed a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey was lying on the seat next to me, with half the contents gone. Again the numbers 523 were flashing in my mind’s eye. I looked to my left and noticed a man I had never seen before. It looked as though he had no idea I was in the truck.

He was middle aged with dark hair, brown eyes and a wide crooked nose. The stubble on his face told me he hadn’t shaved in awhile. The speedometer told me we were going much faster than anyone on this road should go. Faster than any truck this old should ever go.

The road was quiet. Not a car in sight. The slight rocking movement of the truck warned of the impending danger. A few seconds later in the distance in front of us I noticed headlights. As the car got closer I recognized it as Amy’s little Honda Accord.  Just as we got close, the driver of the truck I was in lost control, swerved into the oncoming traffic lane next to us, which caused Amy’s vehicle to swerve to avoid it. Her car drove off the road, and fell straight into the water below.

Immediately after that I was back in my room, and Amy was gone. The sound of my phone ringing broke the eerie silence that had settled over the room. It was my mom telling me to turn on the t.v. and find the local news station. She said she loved me, and she would be home soon.

Not knowing what I was looking for, I flipped the channels impatiently. Within seconds I found what I was looking for. My stomach dropped. There on a split screen under the words breaking news was a picture of Amy, and a close up picture of the man I just saw in my vision. He was standing next to the front of a rusty looking truck, with a license plate that read Ohio: birthplace of aviation. The first three plate numbers were 523. Immediately, a cold chill ran through my entire body. I knew then what those numbers meant. I wasn’t crazy! It was all real!

The news story went on to say that there had been a break in the case. A man came in to the police station earlier that day, and confessed to causing the accident that killed Amy. He had been drinking heavily on that night, four years earlier, and that was the reason he didn’t stop. He claimed to have been haunted by terrible nightmares of the accident, and the girl inside the car. The police arrested him on the spot. They charged him with vehicular manslaughter.

He would be punished and the world would know the truth of Amy’s death. I knew it was over.

I could breath again.

The next day as I got out of the car and walked down the path to the old farm house for the very last time, I felt a peaceful feeling come over me. I took the wildflowers I had in my hand, and laid them in the exact spot I last saw her alive. I felt a soft breeze come up from behind me, and watched it gently blow the flowers away.

Wild and free I thought, just like my Amy…


Family: One Mothers Evolution


Growing up I didn’t have an ideal childhood. My father wasn’t around and my mother suffered from mental illness. We didn’t have much money and we moved around a lot. Years later when I became a mother to my own children, I realized I had very few normal past childhood experiences to gauge my own parenting abilities on. It was like starting from scratch. Almost.

2013-05-22 17.16.26

My hot stuff and I looking hot n stuff

I was lucky enough to have an awesome man in my life who had a wonderful childhood and a very loving family, so I wasn’t completely stuck.

 I was blessed that his parents who are the salt of the earth kind of people, welcomed me in to their family almost immediately and never looked back. They have shown me the true meaning of family.

Im sure the first couple years my mother in law (who is a christmas specialist) was ringing her hands around Christmas time. I would get off work to find her and my daughter decorating a tree (her own) in my house a couple weeks before christmas.

She must have found it odd, my seemingly lack of interest in Christmas; especially because I was a mother to a small child.  For me it wasn’t so much a lack of interest, it was more a lack of experience.

I didn’t even know how to wrap a present until last year, when my husband refused to be my wrapping go to guy for Christmas and birthdays (that man can wrap a present like nobody’s business!)

Apparently my plan to wait till the last minute so he had to help (or I would never finish) wasn’t going to work anymore. I like to say: you’ll know your presents from me if it looks like it’s been kick down the street 😉


Exhibit A: present wrapping at it’s finest

It took some time but I now am a huge fan of camping trips, family vacations and of course holidays, thanks to them.

Especially Thanksgiving. I love eating massive amounts of turkey and then skimming through all the sales papers so I can plot out my routine Black Friday (Thursday) shopping trip. They have shown me the ways of a Black Friday Jedi Warrior.


The Black Friday Mishap Of 2014

Except for last years fail, I think they are quite proud of my growing expertise. One year I got 15 towels for 22$! Who cares if they were brown, beige, and avocado colored? Money well spent in my eyes.

You can never have enough towels when you have kids!

From chaotic family campouts to hectic holidays, it’s all the little moments with my family that make my life what it is today.


The lost kids…


I know what it means to be a lost kid….

I worked really hard to forget….

The pain and despair were a trial that most could not bare……

I know what it means to be a lost kid and have parents who don’t care

I know what it means to be a lost kid who runs away, trying to escape the chaos that continued to plague those they left behind….

I know what it means to be a lost kid and create your own chaos with other lost kids who welcomed you in without judgment  or fear, to a freedom you never thought you would find…

I know what it means to be a lost kid who dwells where no child should….

I know what it means to be a lost kid and realize that what all those lost kids thought was freedom, was actually chains in disguise…

I know what it means to be a lost kid, who wakes up one day to find that they are all alone, and all the other lost kids have gone away

To no one’s surprise….

I know what it means to be a lost adult who deep down inside is still that lost kid, who never really grew up….

I know what it means to be a lost kid who one day opens her eyes to see that she has broken free from the chains that held her down for so long….

I know what it means to be a lost kid who is lost no more…

The Four Cardinal Rules To Getting A Tattoo When You’re Young


It was my 18th birthday when I decided I was going to get my first tattoo. I remember being really excited and not having a clue as to what I was going to get.

As I looked through the tattoo magazine that was lying around while I was waiting for the tattoo artist, I saw a huge winged angel and it spoke to me. I thought that’s the one!

Don’t judge me. I was only 18, and I never claimed I had the best taste 😉

I sat there for three hours give or take, until it was done (who knew if I would ever see that guy again since he was a friend of a friend, and just got fired from the local tattoo shop for being unreliable)

When it was all over, I was happy. My tattoo came out pretty good, not to mention it covered my entire left shoulder. Hey, go big or go home right?

13 years, 2 kids, and some on and off weight fluctuations later, and my sweet little angel doesn’t look so sweet anymore.

I later learned through experience I had broken the four cardinal rules of getting a tattoo

No.1 Never get a tattoo while still in your teens (or early twenties if you really want to play it safe).

The reason being; the older you get, the more your tastes will change. Weather because you got married, had kids or whatever else life throws at you, you are going to evolve.

You can never be positive you will still want that the giant Scooby Doo smoking a joint on the small of your back.

Not that I don’t love Scooby doo mind you, but I just don’t think it will be all that appropriate when your kid turns four, and wants to know what that is in his mouth and why his eyes are so red….

No.2  Placement is everything.

If your going to break rule one make sure it doesn’t cover an entire body part so its easier to cover up. Plus it will leave more options open to you if you do want to cover it.

No.3 Know what you want before you go in.

Give yourself time to think about what you want this tattoo to say about you for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

No.4 Do your homework.

Make sure you check out the tattoo artist work before hand. Just because they can do tattoos doesn’t mean they are good.

Believe me, having a shitty tattoo sucks! I literally have to go four sizes bigger then my entire shoulder to cover it up! Were talking hours of work, and definitely more than one session.

So there it is my four cardinal rules for getting a tattoo. looking back now my tattoo reminds me of where I was in that moment on my 18th birthday, and that at the time I think I felt I needed a little protection and guidance.

Even though I wish someone would have mentioned all this to me before I got inked at least I can pass it on.

If I can just stop that one person before they get that giant colored mushroom with the weird googly eyes that covers the entire back of their calve then I will have made a difference.