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

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







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.