Category Archives: Family

I just love weddings!!

My nephew Jacob and his new wife Jesse

 It was a beautiful wedding at Jesse’s parents house in Parkdale Or with Mt. Hood as a backdrop. Truly spectacular!!!! The sun was shining, it was actually hot………..amazing!

The newlyweds will be moving to California as Jacob is stationed at Camp Pendleton. He’s a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines. We couldn’t be more proud of Jacob and welcome to our family Jesse. You’re gonna love it!

Let the garden begin~~~~~

My garden is beginning!! It’s going t be little but it’ll still pack a wallop!!

I had pictures I was hoping to post of the tomatoes, peppers, basil and rosemary I planted however I can’t seem to access them. Maybe when Shawn comes over tomorrow we can find them.

I worked just about all afternoon today. I was either planting or pulling. I used the timer Teresia Hazen the Horticulture Therapist at Legacy Good Samaritan gave me. I can work  longer using it ’cause I work smarter. I set the timer and work for 15 minutes and when it goes off, sit down, hydrate, stretch and relax for 10 minutes. Than do it all over again. I can work longer this way and don’t overdue it.

An enlightening & informative morning!

Sandy Police Chief Kim Yamashita

 This is my sis, Sandy Oregon’s top cop! Kim came to our BIRRDsong meeting today to share safety tips, how to have a positive interaction with law enforcement by sharing the challenges caused by our Brain Injuries, and other things to ensure our safety. There were LOTS of questions and everyone left feeling very positive about the information that was shared.

She also showed & shared with us all the things she carries on her belt & just how much it weighs. It weighs 45lbs and she’s been wearing one now for 20 years. The Kevlar vest isn’t really comfortable either as it gets quite hot in the summer. It was fascinating to learn why they have do what they do, and have to wear what they wear.  She’s had years and years of constant training. That explains why she’s “Top Cop”!!!!!

Thanks Kim!!!! You ROCK!!

Time with Mama!

Husband & I had Mama over for the afternoon on Sunday and then dinner. I made a pork roast, smashed potatoes, fresh broccoli, rolls and a green salad with my homemade Gorgonzola dressing.

We enjoy our time with her and love having her for dinner, however it’s bittersweet to say the least. She is so fragmented that her memories come and go and it breaks my heart to see her struggle.

We watched the Dodger baseball game although she’s a Yankee fan. Husband’s a die hard Dodger fan and Mama enjoyes baseball so they had fun watching it together.

Thanks to a little photo album my sister Rita put together of Mama’s new place, walking through each step of getting to, and recognizing her room she felt more comfortable after looking at it knowing where she was heading to after the game. Anything to keep her tension low. We stopped and checked her mail and was delighted to see she had her Catholic Sentinel. All around, a good evening.


A great day with my sis and 2 good friends

I had a brief meeting with my good friend Joanne Fairchild from Trauma Nurse Talk Tough this morning. She downloaded my VIP presentation and a short video about the effects of alcohol on the brain onto a thumb drive for me.  This way I can carry it with me when so I’ll have it for my speaking engagements when I go into schools or wherever.

After our meeting, my friend Fern, my sister Shawn and I met in the Atrium at Emanuel to discuss how BIRRDsong came to being and just how to keep it alive benefiting the brain injured community. We laughed alot and discussed alot.

Shawn brought me home and helped me with some computer work for Oregon Impact. Then we went outside and she gave me great advice on planting vegetables and helped me figure out what  do with my flower beds.

It was a long and very fun day! Husband picked up pizza & I’m in bed early. I have an early day tomorrow at St. Mary’s Academy with Oregon Impact’s SIDNE car.


It’s a sad day however I’ll do my best to smile

Today my friend Mara had to put her retired service dog down. Freely taught me so much about just how smart and loyal a service dog is. Mara retired Freely some time ago and Freely was being loved and taken care of at Mara’s sister Colleen & Tim’s home. She lived a happy life there with other dogs to play with and great interaction from a family who loved her dearly. She’ll be missed Mara. I loved her dearly and she’s now playing in heaven with our Wile E. and neither of them are in pain. They’re both eating all the treats they want, running, sleeping and all around goofing off PAIN FREE!!!!

We’ll feel the pain of the loss for quite some time however knowing our beloved dogs are protecting us from heaven is a good feeling.

The blessings of living with a TBI

I am so thankful God chose me for this path that I’m now walking. Along with everything I’m learning about myself and others, I can bring a calmness to Mama when her anxiety level is heightened.

When I called her this evening to tell her about fun TV shows to watch, she said she was feeling confused and wanted my help in sorting some things out. “Sure” I said “what’s up?” She went onto explain that she wasn’t sure how she was going to get on the plane but she knew she wanted to get on it Friday. When I asked her where she was going , she answered “back home and out of this country.” I gently told her she was at home and that’s where us girls (my sisters) wanted her to stay because we all knew where she was and she didn’t have to fly anywhere. She was flabbergasted and didn’t know where that thought came from and made reference once again to her going ‘kooky.’ Kooky is something I can relate to and when I share that with her, it calms her. I also said she was probably dreaming about living in another country and dreams can sometimes be so real it’s frightening. She told me how she loves the fact that she can always talk to me about anything that troubles or scares her and I’ll understand. She made mention again to living so far away so when I gave her a landmark that she could remember from the past and how close she was in fact to that landmark, I could hear the calmness take over. I told her I would call every night and we could both talk about what we both did that day and if anything was troubling to either of us. That put her in “mama gear” again and took the focus off her anxiety. Once a mama always a mama so when a child needs help, mama’s there to help.

God bless this brain injury. I truly DO understand ’cause I’ve been there and lived through ‘kooky.’ I still do at times, even as recent as this morning when I couldn’t find husband. It took me going into the kitchen and NOT seeing his lunch box for me to realize he was at work. Then I had to figure out what day it was. Yup………..I know kooky!! I shared the story with her and we both got a laugh. I then said “isn’t it nice to have someone to share ‘kooky’ with and then laugh?” She agreed and then it was time to hang up. She ended our phone call with “Thank you God for my Joan.” I in turn said “Thank you God for my Mama.”

Ohhhh to be Italian!

What fun it was to spend the day with Mama yesterday. An Italian day I might add. After picking her up via the Lift, we ventured back to our house to make her traditional spaghetti sauce. While I do have the closely guarded recipe, it has NEVER turned out like Mama’s. Yesterday it did! It smelled so marvelous, the house was toasty warm, and it was snowing. Everything that reminded me of growing up. The smells, the laughing, all the comforts of home. I was half expecting Daddy to walk in the door the memories were so strong. Mama rested on husband’s new chair so I went in the kitchen to prepare some mushrooms. I had my back turned for less then 5 minutes when I heard the stirring of the sauce with diligent care that only Mama can do. I was so hoping that she would join me in the kitchen instead of just instructing me from the front room that I was overjoyed when I saw her. That was half the reason I wanted to spend the day with her. Sure the sauce was a draw however having her a part of something she so desperately loves and is not able to do where she lives now was the main reason. I then turned into ‘her little girl’ as she very intently told me step by step what to do next. She went as far as instructing me on how to use a spatula to make sure the pot was scraped clean. “Why pour all those goodies down the sink” she said “scrape off everything from the sides and put it in your sauce.”

It was sad however to listen to Mama try and make sense out of her world now. Explaining who is my youngest and oldest sister, their children’s names etc. She asked me a few times if Daddy was dead and even asked me if she had remarried. I turned that around by saying that she has enough to think about with 6 girls and 8 grand kids, she didn’t need a man to mess things up.

Husband picked up a pizza which is a treat for all of us and it finished off the Italian theme of the day. We brought Mama home, came home and put on our jammies, had some ice cream and called it a day.


A friend from the past

Today at Good Sam while waiting for my Lift, I saw a friend of mine I haven’t seen in years! I had recently been thinking about him and his lovely wife Grace and wondering how they were and what they’d been up to.

Lowell and Grace used to stop in and visit with me at the Flower Cart when they had an appointment at the hospital. That’s where I met them. Grace was in her 80’s and Lowell in his 90’s. I was sad to hear she passed 5 years ago however it’s obvious she still lives through Lowell. He’s 99 and will be 100 in November.

My friend Frank (also a senior citizen) was in the lobby waiting when I got there today too. So the three of us had a great time talking, laughing, and the 2 men had lots of fun things to talk about. I hope they stay in touch, they hit it off for sure.

Mama called me when I was out in the garden and wanted to come over. She said she wasn’t feeling too well. I told her I wasn’t at home I was volunteering at Good Sam and I couldn’t even get to her, to call a nurse and get things checked out. I called St. Anthony’s Village and requested a nurse check in on her. They said they would and call back. They never called and no news is good news however I wish they’d follow through with what they say. I’m going to be bringing that up and see what can be done about the issue. It’not the first time.


Today is the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Ca. & the University Of Oregon Ducks are gonna kick some Wisconsin Badger butt!!

Yesterday husband & I went to the fabric store so I could pick up some fabric to make Gayle Hogue some small pillows. She is having a double mastectomy and the small pillows help ease the pain when she sneezes, coughs, or simply clears her throat. I’ll make two different sizes so she’ll have optimum comfort depending in the severity of her surgery. I used to make them for the breast health center at Good Sam and they were greatly appreciated. Husband was best man at Gary & Gayle’s wedding so they’re a part of our family. She means the world to me, I love her deeply!!!! Would anyone reading this please send prayers and positive thought to Gary & Gayle Hogue. Husband & I would greatly appreciate it and thank you!!  There’s so much power in prayer. I’m living proof!!

I saw some Oregon Duck soft pile fabric so I also picked some up and I’ll be making Dr. Bruce and Nancy some fun pillows to do whatever they want with them. They’re such HUGE Duck fans that I couldn’t let this opportunity pass by.