Archive for March, 2010

March 31, 2010

it’s there.

look at the light
and tell me what your future holds.

I am convinced happiness cannot be found
unless totally blind.

So please,
find that light
and look at a little longer.

March 30, 2010


I’m still here. Exhausted and stressed and worried about things, but here nonetheless.

I won’t go all into it (because there are just some things that aren’t entirely mine to tell to the world), but I’ll just say that I have been going from angry to sad to worried to sick-to-my-stomach with paranoia to scared for about the past 2 weeks about my brother. It’s a worrisome thing when someone who you love feels no self-worth and doesn’t really care about the things he should care about.

I’m hoping that this gets better soon. The stress had mangled our family at first, and everyone was lashing out at each other. But I think where there was tension at first is now a collective understanding among everyone that he isn’t going to get better without help and time.

More sunny days are on their way, and I hope it somehow cheers everyone up a little bit.

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March 28, 2010

silent sunday.

March 26, 2010

heartbreak warfare.

Who doesn’t need a little John Mayer in their life? Well, his music anyway.

March 25, 2010

written so long ago.

I made it a point not to touch you the entire night.
All through the movie I had my hand ready to reach for yours,
silently hoping you would be the one to reach for mine.
You didn’t
and I was slightly disappointed.
On the ride home, we had that conversation about my injury,
the one that usually doesn’t come up in the dark.
You listened and
it was easy.

When I dropped you off I realized you were
just as you had been when I first met you,
charming, sweet, funny, and completely yourself.
And I realized I was completely me the entire night,
completely comfortable.

So as you were saying goodbye,
I insisted on a hug.
I hugged you tight so you would know
I meant it.

And when I kissed you,
you put your hand gently on my face
like you were the one who meant it
and I felt myself smile through,
completely and comfortably.

When did this confusion
make me so impulsive?

March 24, 2010


i feel like crying
big heavy wet sobs,
not because i am sad
at the loss of a friend
or happy
at the thought of a new opportunity
or need to let it out
so stress doesn’t weigh heavy
on my chest anymore

I feel like crying
because i am dying
of utter boredom here
it’s eating me from
the inside out
through and whole

and crying just seems like
the only thing left to do.

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March 23, 2010

this could be a long road.

I could probably cry right now, but that would just make me hurt worse. Yesterday, I started a different workout, and something must have worked because every muscle I can feel hurts. Even the muscles on the sides of my neck.

I stand on a normal schedule to keep my legs and back stretched and of course I get exercise just by doing my daily routines, but as far as any vigorous fitness plan, I am sort of a slacker. I’ll lift weights on a sporadic whim, but there’s not a set time to do it each day or week. Just whenever I feel like it.

Lately I have decided to change that. Strengthen up, get things tightened up while I still can. I talked with one of my friends who is a personal trainer, and we sketched out a plan for me to do at home (I thought about going to his gym, but I just don’t think the gym is my kind of place). Anyway, I did about 25 of these 5-second crunches while watching tv yesterday (multi-tasking at its finest), and they didn’t seem too hard. I was almost disappointed by how easy they were. Boy was I ever wrong about their effectiveness. My abs are on fire right now.

Since my accident, my forearms have been so skinny, basically just just skin and bone. All the muscle withered away in those first first weeks when I couldn’t move my wrists or fingers much, and I just have never been able to regain it. I’ve spent some time looking for exercises that I could use to strengthen my fingers/grip and hopefully build some of that muscle again. That’s going to be my most difficult challenge. I know myself, and I know that if I don’t see improvements, I’ll want to quit. But I can’t. I am determined to get this back.

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted these old pictures? Well, I was showing them to my sister and her boyfriend the other night. It made me realize again just how much I am self-conscious about how skinny my arms are. I have to figure out a way to fatten them back up.

I might take today off (mostly because I can barely breathe without wincing, let alone move), but the plan is back on for tomorrow.

March 22, 2010

now it can start.

Today is the sentencing of the girl who was driving when he was killed. Every time something like this comes up, I miss seeing him. I will be relieved for his family when today is over, and they can finally begin their own healing without being torn up over and over again with court proceedings.

It will be a relief for a lot of people, I think.

**Edited to add: She got sentenced to 283 months. There’s not much for me to say about that I suppose. Just that 23 years will be a very long time that she’ll have to think about him.

March 21, 2010

silent sunday.

March 20, 2010


We lost to Northern Iowa. I’m heartbroken. I remember again why I kept myself from being so invested in basketball! Also, the gloating from other teams’ fans who were just waiting for us to fall is frustrating. Sports brings out a side of my friends that I don’t like, especially K-State fans. They’re gloating like crazy when this is the first year they’ve made the tournament in YEARS. And they lost to us 3 times this season. I actually want to smack them around. Isn’t that awful?

So I’ll go to sleep sulking. I threw my bracket away, and I am not watching another basketball game this season. Give me a few days (and maybe a good shopping spree) and I’ll be okay.

March 19, 2010

I am forever a Jayhawk.

Before I started to love football as much as I do, I loved basketball. When I was in high school, I was a fanatical Jayhawk fan. Actually, I have been a fan since I was born, but in high school, the years of Jeff Boschee, I was crimson and blue all the way. My Jayhawk fire was reignited, and Jeff Boschee wasn’t a bad excuse to watch every game either. I mean, really, I stood in line at Barnes and Noble to have him sign a copy of his book….and i told him I loved him. Yea, I was a fan.

Two years ago, we won the national championship. It was a long time coming, and I think it solidified Bill Self as OUR coach. Many people had been holding onto their love for Roy Williams (who left us for UNC), but most of them really embraced Self after that. The fact that he then turned down an offer to leave Kansas to coach at Oklahoma showed us that he was loyal to us too (which a lot of people also felt Williams wasn’t). I cried when he said he’d stay, and I think I was a little bit in love with him that day.

Now, we’re the #1 seed in the country. Pressure much? It’s exciting to see them play so well, but it’s also so devastating when they don’t. Last night’s first round game against Lehigh was so frustrating for the first 5 minutes when they got 8 points behind. I wanted to rip someone’s hair out! Of course, Self yelled a little bit and must have straightened them out because by halftime they were up by

We have Northern Iowa tomorrow. My Jayhawks versus the Koch brothers. It’s gonna be good.

Even Obama picked us to win the tournament. It’s that serious.

March 17, 2010

if I should ever.

I make it a habit to take time for myself, time to wrap my head around things that are going on in my life in some quiet place. Most of the time I spend quiet time on a little road trip. Sometimes I go to Kansas City or Manhattan, and sometimes I leave the house, cameras and journal in hand, and I don’t really have a clue where I am headed. Driving is like ironing to me. You don’t really need to think about what you’re doing. It’s just the motions that soothe you.

Lately there has been tension running its way through our family, the kind that clearly cuts us down the middle, dividing us between right and wrong, anger and obligation. It’s not a good feeling to know that no matter what you say, sometimes it will not be heard and taken to heart. So yes, because of frustration, a road trip was needed.

The picture was taken in Silver Lake, after a long drive down a country (bumpy!) road. I thought I had gotten lost for about 45 minutes. Normally, I would have panicked, but I just kept driving. I didn’t really care if I was lost in the middle of the country. It was almost nice.

March 16, 2010

have you seen this site?

Fellow book-readers,

Have that feeling that you’ve read everything that will ever interest you? Well, maybe you haven’t seen this site then.

I don’t remember how I stumbled on it, but it has picked out some books for me that have been compiled now into a whole different list than my original 2010 reading list (which I am moving more quickly through than I thought I would). It will probably (okay, certainly) slow down once I find a job, but at least I’ll have a list to fall back on. One less problem to think about. Now to find the time.

March 15, 2010

it’s this.

She kissed his hand
and laid it again across a cold chest,
his heart not beating
breath not breathing.
Tears stung her chapped cheeks,
four days of stinging streams.
Distant voices offered comfort,
reaching her in waves
like the echoes of a dark tunnel.
No light at the end.

Her boy, as good as could be,
dead, a thought unfathomable
in her weakened mind.

Her boy, so loved,
no longer able to love.

He was quiet as if asleep
but he would never sleep again
and he would never wake.
She couldn’t know
which hurt most.

Her boy, so wanted,
would never know this.

She would never be the same.

This was the day
she’d be forced to say goodbye

and neither of them were ready.

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March 14, 2010

silent sunday.

March 12, 2010

here’s to hoping.

Oh, the job search. I have somehow found some motivation to get it on the road. I finally updated my LinkedIn profile and tweaked my resumè. It’s stressful thinking about how other people look even at those things. I mean, the resumè is the most important, and I worry that mine is too much or not enough. Will they like it, or won’t they? Ah, the stress!

Jobs in the communications and marketing field that I wish I could have (like at the public library) just aren’t available around here at the moment, so I might just have to give in and take something that isn’t exactly on the path I dreamed of. But a start is a start, and I can still look for my dream job while working elsewhere.

After all, beggars can’t be choosers.

I have had a lot of support lately from people I know. My lawyer has put in a good word for me with some media friends he knows. My older brother did the same. I met a p.d. detective a few weeks ago who offered to help since she knows important people around town. I really appreciate any help they offer, but even that is stressful. I have a fear of letting people down and this puts the pressure on me to really do well should I find a job through one of these avenues. I guess I might be getting ahead of myself, but it’s still an issue I think about.

March 11, 2010

the time traveler’s wife.

What a gorgeous book. The cover got me first, with its soft colors and emotional portrait of a little girl’s feet. I could just tell it was going to be a good book. I was definitely not disappointed. It took me a little while to get used to the style of writing that Audrey Niffennegger uses to tell the story. I had to adapt my brain to jump around in time, just as Henry does. It was an interesting perspective.

I heard the movie is not even up to par compared to the book, and really, I don’t think it ever could be. I don’t think a movie could make the love between Henry and Clare seem as intense as it did in the book. In my own imagination anyway. I could be wrong, and when I rent the movie, I am going to have to remind myself to not look for mistakes or inconsistencies that usually occur when making the film adaptation of a great story.

And even if the movie blows, the book is still on my must-recommend-to-everyone list.

It’s one of those books that really made me think about things, mostly about love, and ask questions. Do people really love that deeply? That they are willing to spend half of their life waiting for another particular person? That they would do absolutely anything for them? It made me realize that this is the kind of relationship my parents have. Total love and commitment and selflessness. It leaves me with the hope that my other one is waiting for me too.

March 10, 2010

small confessions.

Before you write another sweet note,
let me say–

I want nothing from anyone’s heart
until I can feel safe about giving
a piece of mine.

I’m good at being guarded, like I am hiding
something else that exists where my heart should be.
I’m good at avoiding the things that need to be said, and heard
I’m good at turning away when I see things getting real

and it’s just that when things get hard
I’m the one good at walking away
and pretending to be the one who didn’t
care at all.

I never meant to be this
scared of being vulnerable.
At times, I feel like I’m the only one.

The problem with loving
someone is that you soften
& I’m afraid deep
in my soul that I am far
too scarred for that.

Just don’t break my heart
the way the other one did
and I’ll try not to ignore yours.
Let’s try something different.

March 9, 2010

I finally got a remote and tripod for my camera. FINALLY! No more balancing books to set my camera on or using a 10-second self-timer to capture self-portraits. I posted some others on my Flickr account, so stop by there if you want to see more.

Otherwise, I am as boring as ever. The highlight of my week will probably be taking Darcy and Jeremy to the airport tomorrow morning for their trip to Vegas. Waking up at 3am doesn’t really sound fun though. I’m such a good sister. (end sarcasm)

March 8, 2010

my injury. (very long + pictures)

Some people have emailed and asked about the x-ray pictures that I posted a while ago. So for that and a few other questions, I thought maybe I’d explain a bit about my injury. I don’t ever recall writing in depth about the actual accident, just mostly about afterwards. So here it goes.

I was a passenger in the crash with my friends on a Friday night/Saturday morning of my senior year of high school. It happened just after midnight so all the paperwork says April 26, 2003, but to me, it was still Friday night. I won’t explain the entire thing, but to put into one sentence, we went through a stop sign without stopping and a SUV that was traveling on the crossing highway t-boned us. One of my friends, who was also on the passenger side, shattered his pelvis and had to be taken 3 hours away a week later for surgery. Everyone else (besides he and I) in our vehicle was okay, getting by with bruises and scrapes. In the other vehicle, one girl had major damage to her face and has undergone 3 or 4 plastic surgeries to line up the bones correctly. Her sister broke her jaw, and the two men were just shaken up. In retrospect, we all were lucky. It could have been worse.

This is the intersection where it happened. The stop sign is the one we missed.

I sustained a C6/7 incomplete spinal cord injury. Basically, I busted by C6 vertebra in my neck, and the shards of bones pressed against my spinal cord, killing off the nerves. I also cracked my C2 vertebra on each side (they call this a hangman’s break because this was apparently what killed men when they were hanged), but thankfully neither of those pieces touched my spinal cord. If they had, there is no doubt in my mind I would be dead right now. We were so almost a half an hour away from hospital by ambulance, and given the fog that night (which is the only thing I can account for our driver not seeing the stop sign), the EMS helicopter wasn’t flying. I wouldn’t have been able to breathe, and I would have died.

I spent 4 days in a drug-induced stated because my blood pressure kept plummeting, making it too risky for me to have immediate surgery. On the following Tuesday, I had my C6 replaced by a bone graft from my own hip plus a titanium plate and 4 screws, which is what can be seen in the x-rays. To fix the C2, they put a halo on me. It was a brace to keep me from moving my neck at ALL.

Right after surgery. I have no recollection of this. I hate this picture because I think I look dead.

The day after surgery. I don’t remember this either, but I apparently was always smiling. I didn’t cry until night 16 when I woke up in the middle of the night wanting a Pepsi and finally admitted to my favorite nurse that I was having flashbacks.

My dad brought me a corsage the night of prom, which I spent in ICU watching Sweet Home Alabama.

I can’t fully explain it in words, and the pictures above might be slightly hard to see, but the rods were connected to a vest I wore and then 4 screws in my head were connected to the rods. I spent 17 days total in the ICU here in Topeka, then I was flown to Craig Hospital in Denver for rehabilitation. Each week, the halo nurse would come tighten them and check their torque. Movement and exercise loosened them slightly over the course of the days, and the screws would slide on my skull and tear the site where they were screwed in. Believe me, it was as awful and painful as it sounds. In the picture below, I was about an hour away of having the halo removed. I had worn it for 3 months, and my C2 had healed. That was probably the scariest day of my entire hospital stay. I knew that one little slip of those bones would leave me on a ventilator or even dead, and it scared the hell out of me. They unscrewed the screws 2 at a time while I sat exhausted in my wheelchair from being afraid, and I cried the entire time. Well, after I told the nurse “Lefty loosey, lefy loosey!” That day was July 16, 2003. It was the birthday of the girl who had been driving, my (then) best friend.

My parents and I plus Cory McClenthan, the drag racer, at Craig Hospital’s Motor Sports Day.

I came home at the end of August. My family had decorated the new ramp with balloons, and my nieces and nephews had drawn little pictures for me. It was a good homecoming if you have to have one that way. I remember being very full of energy that night, even though we had just driven almost 10 hours to get home. I think I was fueled by excitement, but I was also scared. Coming home to an open environment after spending so much time with medical professionals watching over me all the time made me nervous and unsure that something might happen. It didn’t, and I settled in pretty well. Right away I decided to get things back on track, back to where I had planned they would be before the accident. In that first year, I bought an accessible van, taught myself to drive, and enrolled in college. That pretty much leads up to now, where I am in the next phase of getting a job and moving out of my parents’ house.

I have been very, very fortunate to have an incomplete injury. This means that some of the nerves, although damaged, were still able to have function left. I regained considerable function and feeling in my wrists and hands/fingers. They are still nowhere near as strong as they were previously, but I am thankful to have gotten even a small part back. Complete injuries usually do not regain any kind of function below their level of injury.

I can’t expect anyone to understand all of this mumbo jumbo I am writing. It took me a long time and a lot of discussions with my doctors in the rehabilitation hospital to understand my injury as fully as I could. Even today, I am learning about my injury and how to make life paralyzed and from a wheelchair more manageable.

March 5, 2010

bright sky.

my head stays on straight
my heart keeps rhythm
and my smile seldom wavers.

life usually is sunny
and hardly do I see grey clouds.

i am strong

(but occasionally i need a reminder).

March 4, 2010

long gone?

I think it’s finally over. I think finally the ice and snow will melt and be done falling for this season. I certainly hope so because the sunshine feels so good against my skin. My shoulders are looking forward to tank tops and some color. I am looking forward to taking brighter, happier pictures, ones that seem to have some life in them. And my body as a whole is looking forward to unthaw from its popsicle state.

A little bit of rain even sounds good.

March 3, 2010

oh, old pictures. lots.

I found some pictures recently that were taken prior to my injury. Actually, most of them were my senior pictures, and I hadn’t handed them all out when I was injured in my car accident. A few are from when I was really small and a few are from just teenage years. I look at them and feel both sadness and happiness. Sad because my arms were full and my hands were full. They looked healthy and the muscle was all there, while now they are skinny and atrophied. I realized while looking at these pictures that I’m quite self-conscious about them now. I felt sad, I guess, because my body was whole, intact, unharmed. Without a spinal cord injury, that’s what it was.

The happiness comes from a different place. I look at those pictures and know how naive I was. I envy that naivety a bit, but I know I have grown so much and developed as a person far greater than I ever expected. I was slightly reckless with myself. I was fearless about people. I trusted far too easily and never worried about whether they would hurt me.

I never looked at my injury in this way before. It took many things away physically but gave me so much emotionally and mentally. I wouldn’t say it was a trade-off, but I suppose everything has been negative about this. If I could go back and change it, I would, but I would want the things I have learned also.

I feel like I was a completely different person then, and sometimes I miss the girl in those pictures.

I’ll try to go in chronological order in these:

Mark and I caught a toad in the garden. I was a tomboy.

Maria and I messing around for Easter one year.
(sorry the next ones look so large).

Senior pictures above.

In my McDonald’s gear. I was the drive-thru girl most of the time.

We took a trip to Pennsylvania the summer before my senior year. Jeanie, Brian, and I were dancing fools this night.

Mom, Grandma Thelma, and I.

My mom and I in front of my aunt’s restaurant.

Myself and cousin Dawn Marie.

This was the last photo taken of me before my accident. It happened 5 nights later. And this would be the infamous TM I am always spewing about. It’s the only photo I have of the two of us, and it’s a bad one (dang it!). Obviously the date would be wrong. It should be April 20th, 2003. We had a barbecue for my cousin who was abandoning Kansas for California. Smart girl, if you ask me. :)

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March 2, 2010

make me happy today.

who are you,little i

(five or six years old)
peering from some high

window;at the gold

of november sunset

(and feeling:that if day
has to become night

this is a beautiful way)

–e.e. cummings

March 1, 2010

arab shrine circus.

I forgot how tiring a circus can be. Or maybe it was the excitement that led up to the circus. Or maybe it was the fact that we took on the task of taking 5 kids. Either way, when I got home yesterday evening after dropping Payden, Jacob, and Caleb off at home, I was seriously exhausted. My body felt like it had been hit and run over.

We had a lot of fun though. Between toys and stickers and popcorn and cotton candy and giggles, the kids were loaded to the hills with fun.

Caleb and his first clown. Slightly scary?

Caleb the clown.

This little elephant was my favorite part of the show. She was so cute!

She was SKIPPING out of the ring. I can’t get over how cute it was. She was really skipping.

Tink and her toys.