Friday, January 28, 2011

What a Difference

Three years ago (!!) I wrote this post about Maddy's 9th birthday. There was a picture of her wearing one of her presents, a pink polka dot bathrobe.

Last week, she came in my room after her bath, wearing the same robe. Not surprisingly, it was considerably smaller on her than when we first bought it. I also happened to be going back through my blog, and had just re-read that birthday post. I showed her the picture and she laughed.

I had to take a picture just to see the side-by-side comparison of just how much she's changed in three years.


I see her everyday, but it's times like this that I realize just how much she has changed in such a short amount of time, and how much more we are in for in the coming years.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Turn The Page

Last night I was finally able to sit down and read my book that I last laid eyes on over a week ago. After last week's bombshell, it was a merry-go-round of spreading the news to family and friends, holding a press conference* to give our reaction, and also managing to fit in the day to day business of going to work, doing laundry, getting Maddy to basketball practice, and shovelling out from under a foot of snow.

The past few days have been pretty damn hectic but in a good way. I'm still in a bit of a shock that it's Really Almost Over. The huge hurdle of getting the decision has been cleared, and now we have to wait, again, but this time we have a better timeline by which things should end.

Of course, I am still using the words "wait," "should" and "timeline" since there is no specific date I can circle on the calendar in hot pink as something to look forward to. We've been told the paperwork to appropriate the award has been submitted to the legislature for their Spring 2011 session, and that it is usually paid out in late summer/early fall. But after almost a year of having no deadline whatsoever, vague generalities are a refreshing change.

In the meantime, I'm making my lists. All the ideas and plans I've been kicking around for the past three-plus years will finally have a chance to become reality. The scholarships, the foundation, the crusade to raise public awareness, the ability to tell my story to officers and first-responders from around the country - I can do this now.

Speaking of speaking - my first opportunity to address officers outside my metropolitan area will be next month. I was contacted by the Nevada Department of Public Safety shortly after my Today Show appearance, and I'll be travelling to Reno in February to address not only recruits, but also career officers. I was also recently contacted by an officer in Dallas, and hopefully I can work with their organization in the near future.

I'm starting a new chapter in my book of living, and I'm pretty damn excited about it.

*If you would like to watch my 2-minute press conference, click here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Light At The End of the Tunnel

For many people, November 23, 2007 was just another day. To me it was the day that delineates my life into Before and After. Before Jessica and Kelli were killed. Before our lives were upended. Before we were thrust into a role that no parent ever wants to play. Before we embarked upon this journey through a dark tunnel of sadness and despair, knowing that our beautiful daughters were forever gone.

For many people, January 18, 1999, was just another day. To me it was the day that my daughter Maddy came into this world, all 9 pounds 8 ounces of squalling little girl with spiky red hair.

And yesterday might have been like any other day for many, but for me it was not only Maddy’s 12th birthday, but the day that we finally got some light at the end of our tunnel. Today I got the phone call from my attorney that I’ve been waiting for since May 3, 2010. Today we received word that the Court had finally, after eight months and fifteen days of deliberation, reached a decision.

And just like I did on November 23, I experienced myriad emotions at once – shock, disbelief, sadness, and anger. Shock and disbelief that it could finally be over, sadness that the two of the people I want to call to tell my new won’t answer, and anger that we even had to do this in the first place.

But today I added a few emotions that I didn’t have on November 23 – relief, and a feeling that a bit of this weight is starting to lift off me. When I heard the news, I cried, but I think it was more along the lines of a release valve letting off pressure.

We still have a few hoops left to navigate, but now I feel like I’m holding the hoop instead of being the one to jump through it.

Nothing will ever make us whole again, but this decision gives us the ability to continue to fund the scholarships, to speak to officers and first responders about my daughters, to raise public awareness about pursuit safety, and to continue the good that I do in their memories.

To everyone who has attended the fundraisers, donated blood, conveyed their sympathy, thoughts and prayers, whether in person or through this blog, I am forever grateful for your support.

People ask me how I do it, and I usually reply “Vodka.” But that’s just my inappropriate humor at work – I get through this because I have such strong support from my family and from my friends, whether we’ve ever met face to face or not.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Any Excuse for New Shoes

On January 1, like millions of others, I decided that this year would be different. I was going to lose weight, eat better and exercise more often.

However, I can’t just say that to myself and expect to be successful. I need to be held accountable. I need someone (or several someones) to encourage me and push me. The last time I went public with my fitness goal was the Met Square stairclimb in March 2009. I trained with a friend and walked all 42 flights of stairs in a respectable time of 11 minutes. That’s also the last point I remember where I’ve really felt good about my body and my level of health. I’ve gained 20 pounds since then.

When I was younger, I hated running. When we had to run in gym class, I’d usually forge a note from my mom that I should be excused because I had malaria or something exotic. No, not really, but I wanted to.

Now I find myself, dare I say it, enjoying my time on the treadmill. I like watching the display show me how long I’ve ran and how far I’ve gone. I like setting the incline up high and working my badonkadonk. I know there are running purists who say running on a dreadmill isn’t the same as running outside, enjoying the fresh air, etc. Well, to you I say baby steps, people. I’m currently working on running for 15 minutes without slowing my pace to walk, and upping my pace from a 22 minute mile. Hell, I can walk a mile faster than that. Besides, there is snow on the ground and it’s cold outside now. Let me get to a point that I don’t embarrass myself before I go public with this running thing.

And so, because I can’t just run in my basement alone, oh no, I committed myself to running the St. Patrick’s Day 5 mile run in March. Oy. Vey. I was hoping for a 5K to start but as my running buddies pointed out, it’s just 1.8 miles more, piece of cake. Mmm, cake…

So! I have running buddies, I have a training sheet and I have two months from tomorrow to work up to this. I can do it. I want to do it. I feel good about it. Here I go!

Friday, January 7, 2011

If It Makes You Happy

After yesterday’s disappointment, I wanted to do something to shake off the bad and make me happy again. My first thought would normally be shoe therapy, but my wallet is pretty thin after Christmas, and a certain red-headed child has a birthday in a couple of weeks, so I have to fund her party, AND a present or two. The things I do for her, I tell ya.

Cooking makes me happy, so I decided to make a nice dinner, complete with dessert. I decided on chicken marsala, fettuccine alfredo, garlic bread and red velvet cake for dessert. From start to finish it took about 45 minutes, including the cake, but it was a mix. Yeah, I went quick and easy, but it was still delish. But if you want the recipes for the chicken and past, pop over here to that cooking blog I started, oh, about a year ago. You can even be jealous of my pasta pot that I got for Christmas.

Another thing that makes me happy is my little red-headed girl, because she says the funniest things sometimes, generally when she’s not trying to be amusing. As I was watching Reality Bites, she happened to wander through the living room. She watched for a bit then asked “when was this movie made?” I said “in the 90s, why?” Incredulously she asked, “Wow, they had Pringles back then?” I said “it was the 1990s, not the 1890s!” She replied “well, I didn’t know when they were invented!” Yes, Maddy, Pringle technology is cutting edge stuff.

Later, were talking about Star Wars, and she said “you know where the guy says ‘Luke, I am your faaaaaaather?’ Well, for a long time I thought he was saying ‘Look, I am your faaaaaather.’ I never understood why that was a big deal. Then last year I got it. ” Oh honey, you are so precious. Please never stop making me laugh.

And today this made me happy - THE BEST NEWS EVAH!!- the Star Wars movies are coming out on Blu-Ray DVD in September! Wheeeee!! I cannot wait and yes, I have preordered mine on Amazon (but only the originals – I don’t get into the prequels), and yes I am a geek. Just ask my husband – he tells me all the time. For example, we were talking about Star Trek and how the futuristic technology on the TV show has actually inspired a lot of our current gadgetry. I was getting into the conversation and I started to talk about how warp worked and whether we could ever experience it, and he interrupted and said “are you really explaining that to me?” “Yes, I thought you wanted to know.” He said “no, not really. You’re such a geek.” And then I hit him. But he still makes me happy, even though he thinks I’m weird.

Of course, you know shoes make me happy. Today I am featured on Jodifur’s Shoe Friday. These are the only flats that I own. I looked forever for flats that didn’t have bows or tassels on them. I figured if I was going to wear flats, they better be bad-ass, because that’s what I am – a bad-ass. ::commence all 10 of my readers to burst into hysterical laughter::

And now I’ve made you happy. My work here is done.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Different Approach

Over the past months, I have written several posts expressing my feelings about the lack of a decision in our court case. Generally I have written those posts mere minutes after I receive the news that there will be no news. Generally I am very angry at that time. Generally it takes me a day or two to rebound from the news, even though I know in my heart of hearts that I shouldn't let it get to me, I'm strong, I can survive another month of waiting, I've got a great support group, I've got vodka, I'll be okay. Eventually.

Today I'm writing before I hear the news. Maybe doing something different will help us get a different answer today.

The last time the court failed to come to a decision was December 6. We were told the next meeting was January 6. That's today.

After being devasted in December, I made a decision. I was not going to waste the next month worrying about it. I told myself that I could worry when I woke up this morning, and not a minute sooner. I even envisioned seven men and women in black judicial robes sitting in a room, and I imagined myself closing the door on that room and walking away. (Whether or not I stuck my tongue out at the door and made immature gestures as I left is between me and my brain).

The holidays helped to distract me, but it was harder to keep centered this week. However, when I found my thoughts wandering toward that door, I pictured it closed, double locked and barricaded. And I mentally walked away (calmly, with dignity and class. Kinda.) Amazingly enough, my chest pains ended up being fewer and far between over the past month. Survey says - Stress!! For the win!!

This morning, I allowed myself to open that door. I was nervous at first, but it quickly went away. I felt calmer this time. I had a few chest twinges, but by the time I left for work, I felt okay. I won't lie, I'm a little edgy. But nothing I can't deal with.

Famous last words, right? OMG! while writing this just now, my cell phone rang. I always take it out when I get to work, and put it on my desk on vibrate and of course today I forgot and it's playing Linus and Lucy at top volume and I know it's in here SOMEWHERE!!! AHA!- wait, who the hell is this - a frakin telemarketer. Are you kidding me? Great, I just dumped my purse on the floor under my desk for a sales call. So much for the do-no-call list - thanks a lot, Bin Laden.

I emailed my (incredibly patient, supportive and understanding) husband today and told him that I had been nervous but would probably wind up being pissed off by the end of the day. I also said I kind of wished I just started off pissed, because that's probably where I was headed. He replied that he didn't know if it was because he's getting used to the situation, but he wasn't expecting to be upset, that if anything he would be surprised when they made their decision.

And maybe that's where I am too. And it scares me, because as much as I'd like to say "whatever, court dudes, call me when you're ready," it makes me wonder if I don't care anymore. And I don't want to not care, because I do care, and I don't want to do my kids a disservice by becoming complacent about this. As much as I know it's not personal and tell myself not to take it as a personal attack when the court doesn't rule, I'm sorry but I do. It hurts, and it makes me angry that they are disrepecting my children by putzing around. It makes me angry that the trooper will probably get a ruling on his worker's comp case before we do. It makes me angry that we even have to go through this hell, and every month we're discovering a new and exciting circle of hell while we wait.

The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. I don't want to be indifferent to this. I hate this waiting.

ETA - just got word. No decision again. Next meeting is February 10.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


'Tis the season to neglect, apparently, since I intepreted the term "holiday" to mean "eat an entire bag of peanut brittle in one sitting," or "forget to include vegetables in your diet," or "put on your exercise pants because your jeans are too tight."

I'm an equal opportunity neglector. I didn't just neglect my health, oh no. My furniture is currently being protected from winter's harsh cold by an nice layer of dust. I think my carpets are being shielded in the same fashion by dog hair.

With the cold and snow, I've been wearing boots and closed-toed shoes. When I get home, I wear some of my new fuzzy socks*. Therefore, if I don't see my woefully chipped toenails, they don't exist, right?

I see epic house cleaning and a pedicure on the horizon.

Last night I realized that my rubber plant is down to one leaf. One. I overwatered it last month, and then as I let it dry out, I forgot to water the other 8 plants in my house. After I remedied that situation, I heard them sigh with relief, and then they thanked me and asked if I could kindly remember to give them a drink more often, to hell with the drowning rubber plant. I am a bad plant mommy.

So, like millions of other people, I resolved to eat better and exercise more. So far so good. But it's only Wednesday. Baby steps, folks. However, I already feel 100% better than I did during the last few weeks, but maybe it's because I got over my cold or maybe because I survived another Christmas, another birthday for Kelli, another month without my two blondies. I start another year, hoping that we will get a resolution sooner than later.