curly top


Back in the day when she was just a curly topped little moppet, Abigael Rose knew exactly who she resembled…

and she began to study her, imitate her and become her.

Animal Crackers from 1935′s Curly Top was probably her most favorite. She would strut, sing and dance under the Big Top performing this classic any chance she had. How much easier it was for little Miss Abigael with her curly top, the way she talked and the fact that her mommy insisted on dressing her (and her sisters) in overalls.

Like so many little girls for generations, Abby was inspired by that sweet, dimpled, precocious, determined child star of 23 different movies. Her mother as a little girl, on the other hand, was super impressed that this super adorable little girl grew up to be a delegate of the United Nations, Ambassador to Ghana and years later, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. But I am super nerdy that way.

Hearing today of Shirley Temple Black’s passing at age 85 I couldn’t help but recall how much she inspired my own little curly top who was and is just as precocious and determined then as she is now. Yes, Abby remembered the same…a mother-daughter bonding moment…yay!

RIP Shirley Temple Black and thank you for the smiles, the memories and the inspiration for us all; but most of all for my own bright eyed, dimpled, determined curly top then

and now.

not creepy


It just might be a little bit creepy in the “Love You Forever” creepy mom fashion that I watched him sleep for what seemed to be an awkwardly long period of time.

Maybe.

Then again, maybe it wasn’t creepy at all.

My beautiful boy is turning 12 years old next Saturday. I drove from Manteca to Los Gatos then to San Ramon to say goodbye and lay to rest my aunt then spent the day and evening hugging my uncle, cousins, my other aunt and catching up with old acquaintances and extended family while we remembered a very dear woman who loved all with her whole heart and soul and strength. I’m very tired and yeah, I’m a whole lot of feelings right now.

No, staring at this beautiful child while he sleeps isn’t creepy at all. It’s exactly what I need.

play it again: raw devastation


I hesitated re-posting this because as time goes on, as more has been discovered, our NICU family is still reeling in the shock of it all. But this was the most popular post of 2013 as it was shared over and over again amongst my co-workers and colleagues of Dr. Janet Pettit’s and friends and family of both Scott and Janet. Clearly my thoughts written down soon after learning of their deaths expressed a lot of what we all were feeling then.

There are still moments we expect to hear JP tell us to put on our big girl panties and get to work…actually I believe she IS telling us to do just that…all the time…and so we do. Still we mourn because one just does not just get over losing someone, especially someone taken away so suddenly and so violently. But, just as JP would want and expect, we do go on because there is work to be done in our NICU.

Originally posted August 9, 2013

As I type this, there is another smoke alarm chirping it’s low battery alert. I should be annoyed really because wasn’t it just four months ago that batteries were being replaced? Yes, It was just four months ago. I should be annoyed and irritated but instead I am broken-hearted. The chirping reminds me to dig up another 9 volt battery and again replace it. It also reminds me that one of our own in the NICU is gone…gone far too soon.

I saw the news online of the house fire in Modesto that claimed two lives and well, after thinking to myself how tragic I moved on about my busy day. It was later in the day that I discovered who the victims were.

I am still raw…as is the rest of my NICU family.

JP…DR JP,  was an amazing gifted and talented human being. Her dedication and efforts to offer her very best in what she did inspired so many to do the same…to always be learning, to always seek to offer the very best of skill and care in our nursing practice in our NICU. It was that dedication and talent that helped our NICU achieve the amazing goal of reducing our non-CLABSI infection rate for an amazing zero infections for 1,412 DAYS! As JP wrote in that ADVANCE for Nurses article, countless babies are now celebrating birthdays that might have been lost without the efforts of our motivated and expert team. Scrolling through my Facebook timeline I can see some of those very same babies with bright, happy smiles as they continue to thrive and grow up much too fast.

We truly are a highly motivated, expert team uniquely gifted in the art of caring for the tiniest and sickest human beings but we are also a family who has lost one of our own in a most tragic way and we are broken with the grief of this loss. My heart breaks for JP’s family, for her kids and it aches for each and every member of my NICU family. I can’t imagine not ever working side by side with JP ever again. Her brilliance, her wit, her calm presence will be sorely missed in our NICU, in our community, in our world.

I should probably summarize this post right about now but I don’t know how.  For now all I can do is selfishly mourn this loss…and pray that I will continue to work hard, work harder to measure up to the kind of nurse and human being that JP was.

When your brother hands you f-bombs


On the day where you find yourself feeling a lot sad and melancholy missing your younger brother gone for the last nine years your youngest brother will call you. You let the call go to voice mail because at the time that he is calling you you are driving up 99 heading home from a very long day at Children’s Hospital Central California with your son. You’re full of Christmas goodwill and love and kindness because singing along to great Christmas music while driving for a few hours fills you up with so much goodwill, love and kindness so you tell yourself you will call him back as soon as you get home. Sure, the last time he spoke to you on the phone it was horrible but it’s Christmas. He’s probably full of the same goodwill, love and kindness you tell yourself.

Um, no.

He might have been as he did say that he was just trying to call me to offer his wishes for a Merry Fucking Christmas, Asshole! I guess my not answering the phone immediately killed it for him.

I am a horrible, horrible person…because I didn’t answer the phone which means I think I’m better than him and I’m a cunt and the worst Christian woman on the planet ever. Even worse I was apparently in tahn, er town, Pittsburgh that is and NOT at Children’s Hospital with my son. I was so says Billy and of course he is right he tells me. I was in Pittsburgh talking shit about him to some skycap…at least that is what my brother tells me. Honestly, how could I not know that I was in Pittsburgh when I thought that I was in Madera. No, he’s not drunk and he is not crazy…he is adrenalyzed. Oh and he is 46-fucking years old and I guess that is my fault too. But he still loves me…he told me so after each time he told me how worthless and useless and disgusting I really am.

Gawd he is practically a clone of Mommy Dearest and the way she has talked to me for the last 50 years or so. Someone has to fill those god forsaken shoes I guess because as long as I have breath in my body and am taking up space on the planet I need to always know what a wasted piece of disappointing crap I am to each and every single member of my family.

Whatever.

My dear, darling, angry, clearly ill brother I refuse to let you hurt me. Well, okay, you have hurt me as you and the rest of the crazy toxic family does in a way that no one else ever could. Still I refuse to let you destroy me or poison my holidays. It’s hard work this year to have Christmas peace, goodwill, love and cheer but I still refuse to let you steal the joy that is mine. You have no right to do so.

  • I have great kids and a pretty fine husband. Billy-boy, you can’t even begin to imagine the amount of toxicity they can wash away…yours…Mom’s.
  • The Steelers won yesterday and the ‘Niners killed it tonight at their last regular season game at the ‘stick.
  • I am blessed with some pretty amazing, dear friends who although are miles and miles and miles away are always there for me when I am at my lowest of low.
  • Today one such friend blessed me with totally unexpected, generous kindness.
  •  As long and as stressful as our visit to Valley Children’s was for Daniel and me it was good…even if it was the day before Christmas Eve.
  • I am running again. Sure I’m running very slow…VERY slow and not very far but after MONTHS of chronic pain and painfully slow recovery I am running again. This morning’s 2½ mile run was perfect.
  • The glass of Merlot I am about to pour promises to be delicious.

You can not steal my joy, little brother. Not at all.

Merry Christmas to you too, Billy!

play it again: on your 50th


Independence Day, the month of October, Christmas, a brother and sister sharing a moment, fluffy clouds up in the sky…all these remind me how much I miss my brother, Randy.

Originally published July 4, 2013

Today would have been your 50th birthday. Nine birthdays have passed since you’ve been gone.

I miss you little brother. I miss you just as much as the day when you left me forever.

For the longest time, you were the only one who really understood me and who accepted me. I, in turn, could always see past the faults others were so quick to point out and hold against you…because they never did anything wrong.

Just a few months before you died, you told me that we were bonded closer than any of our other siblings, parents, foster parents or step-parents could ever be to us. You were right. There was a time where we were all that we had. The history, the memories, the secrets, the laughter, the tears and the fears we shared together just us are ours alone. We got through that time together holding tightly to one another’s hands. Thank goodness it was your hand I held onto so tightly during those years. No one will ever understand that which connected us, sister and brother.

You were my biggest fan, my protector, my champion and you would tease me without mercy. I adored you just as much as I sometimes was irritated and annoyed by you. Brothers and sisters are that way, aren’t they? I would have done anything for you…given you anything…I tried to. Unfortunately I could not give you that which you spent a lifetime, ever since you were a very little boy, wanting, desperately needing. If I was one of the men in your life whom you looked to I would have gladly given you the unconditional love and acceptance you deserved. I can only imagine how differently your life would have been. Perhaps you would be here right now celebrating your fiftieth birthday and watching fireworks with me, your sister. Of course, as always, all the hoopla and fireworks is for you…all for you.

I love you, Randy.

I miss you. I miss you so much it still hurts.