Monday, December 31, 2012

TFT: Top Ten Blogs of 2012

My friend, who's also a fellow blogger told me the blogging folks are doing a look at their most-popular stories from 2012...who am I to be outdone?

Not that I didn't just do a really rad slideshow for you guys.

But I like this idea. It will give me some time to reflect on the year beyond just looking at pictures.

Here we gooooo!

10) I Now Know What An HDMI Cable Is...
(January 2012) This was me trying to figure out all the stuff Jimmy used to do. Like anything with cables, cords and electronics. I really, really miss him being able to deal with that crap. I recently had to tackle the spaghetti wires that are behind the living room entertainment center. Gahhhhh. I threw a tantrum at least 1-2 times. But, I learned a lot (with his verbal instruction, of course) about it and even understood it enough to be able to get back there and organize that mess.





9) September 22nd
(September 2012) This is me explaining how horribly difficult it was for us to decide not to go to Jimmy's best friend's wedding in Massachusetts. So, so sucky. But, they understood because they are decent people. Julie and Aaron, in lieu of wedding favors, donated to The Shepherd Center in Jimmy's name. Truly amazing.


8) A Letter to My Father-in-Law
(November 2012) Going home to NC with Jimmy for his father's funeral during Thanksgiving was emotional. I saw the love that family had for James, Sr.  It inspired me to write a letter to honor his spirit. This one put a smile on Jimmy's face.




7) Call Me Cake
(February 2012) I bought myself some flowers and a cake for Valentine's Day in an effort to not be so sad on holidays, post-injury. It worked!

(January 2012) One of the first times I made myself fit into Jimmy's twin-sized bed for some husband cuddles. I snapped a picture.

(October 2012) I had a moment here where I was thinking back to the day of Jimmy's accident and his condition. On this particular October evening, I realized just how easily I could have been without Jimmy. I needed to write about how lucky I felt that he was alive.

4) Six Months
(February 2012) Somehow we had made it six months in a state like this. How? It had gone by in a blink of an eye. I wrote here about some of the stuff we had experienced over the last few months and how proud I was of my Jimmy.

3) 8,772 Hours Later...
(June 2012) Our one year wedding anniversary. I wrote about how many stupid, materialistic things were going through my head before and during our wedding. Like, were people having a good time, liking the food? One year later, I felt so much older and wiser. Perspective = changed. I never could have imagined a first year of marriage quite like this.

(December 2012) I got my first tattoo. It was part of Jimmy's Christmas present. It's a wheelchair heart and two love birds. I wanted him to know I was in this with him. I'm sure he knew already, but it a wave of courage that came over me, so I went with it. I got all inked up.





... and my most-viewed blog of 2012 (and ever) is...

1) My Love Letter
(August 2012) One year since Jimmy's crash. I didn't know how I felt about this piece as I was writing it. I wasn't sure how people would respond. I wanted to be honest, real yet hopeful. I think I covered all of that in my love letter to Jimmy on this sort of somber occasion. Within the first five minutes of posting, someone had shared it and written a paragraph about what I had written. Then, all kinds of feedback. I was overwhelmed... in a good way.  I love that people love our love. 

*Side Note:

I've made some wonderful connections through this blog. Readers have pointed me in the direction of other blogs that have changed my entire way of thinking.  I've learned other people are going through this as well. If not this, another something that is tough -- and it helps to know there is a community. People that get it.

But some people are just damn good listeners even if they aren't going through a tough time.

They can read between my lines and tell when I need some love when I'm still too proud to ask for help.

It's hard to explain why writing helps me. It just does. I have this place to just be me. Others can choose to read it or not. But this is my place and I can always come here. 

In fact, some people have painted what I do in a negative light. There are so many more who love to follow us on our journey and see how we live this new life. Maybe it helps them like other blogs help me.

Thanks for reading and supporting and letting me be me. This is my healing place.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in Photos

Today I prepare to say goodbye to another year. A whole year. 2012 was mine and Jimmy's first full year living with a Spinal Cord Injury.

We were certainly better off this year and a little -- a little -- more prepared for things we encountered over the past 365 days.

We made some memories, took some risks, faced lots of challenges and even managed to suprise ourselves at times.  

Thanks for helping us along the way.

Thanks for all of the constant support.

Music for slideshow: "We Come Running" by Youngblood Hawke

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spasm Curiosity

Nick and Jimmy
Fellow Patriots Fans
They both have man crushes on Tom Brady
 
My little brother called me on the phone yesterday. He's like 25 so that's kind of rare.  And also, we just saw him. 
I didn't expect to hear from him so soon.

He made a bunch of small talk and then told me he had something to ask me.

He explained how he saw Jimmy's legs moving on Christmas Eve. I saw his face when it happened but thought:

A) He knew what was happening
2) He saw it, and would move on even though he totally didn't get what was happening.

He waited a few days to ask.

Ya see, Jimmy's legs and arms move a lot involuntarily. They are simply muscle spasms. It really means nothing.

When people see his legs or arms moving they assume I'm not telling them something. Like, "Oh yeah... Jimmy started to regain movement again."

Trust in me dear people that when Jimmy moves anything on his own, via his own brain, I will scream from the rooftops.  Like the highest of high ones.

However, to be fair, the first time I witnessed a muscle spasm I videoed it. We were still at Shepherd and had a lot to learn. I told the doctor all about it and had the video to prove it.  He rained on my parade real quick with his lacklustery reaction. 

Muscle spasms are common with Spinal Cord Injuries although medical officials can't seem to explain why.

Some folks have spasms so bad it's unsafe. Spasms can throw people out of bed or out of their chair. Luckily, Jimmy never had spasms that bad.

He has an arm spasm that I call "The Chicken Wing" where his left elbow just random jumps once in awhile, but in a series.  Like 20 times in a row, once every three hours. Random.

His legs will also jump around a little.

Sometimes his legs float in the air.  It freaks people out. Eyes get real big.  But I have to point out even to Jimmy that it's happening.  He doesn't even know it if he's tilted a certain way and can't see it.

Nick was funny after I explained the spasms. He equated the whole thing to computers, as he's likely to do because he's a cute little techie nerd.

He said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I can see that. It's kind of like when a networking blah blah disconnects from a [another computer term] blah. The blah blah can still work even if it's disconnected from the networking blah blah. You just don't have control over it."

Exactly. And flux capacitor, and stuff.

But he got it.

I love that he was interested enough to try and understand it in his own terms.  Means a lot.  (Mush!)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scenery

Every morning while on vacation at the beach, Jimmy would roll up to our patio and sit in the sun to warm up.

He'd take his little afternoon nap there.

Of course it was frickin' freezing so I could only crack the door -- just enough to absorb the atmosphere.

The numerous challenges that we dealt with on this latest trip were worth it. It was a nice change of scenery.

But man we're happy to be back home.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Eve

Jimmy and I downsized this year in terms of gifting to each other. But, I think we both did really well. I sure am pleased.

He got me a few things I need, and a few things I wanted.

Meanwhile, he's incredibly tough to shop for so I'm kind of on my own. I think I did alright.

After a really rocky evening/overnight/early morning with one or two meltdowns and an emotional talk early today, I'm happy to report we've had a good Christmas Eve.

Mission accomplished.

We both made sacrifices as we've realized that's what we're gonna have to do now. That's what married couples do anyways, right?

I'm sitting on the patio of our 16th-story room bundled up in a blanket but willing to take in the cold ocean air tonight.

Thankful for today. (Also, incredibly thankful for two very special people who supplied us with some tools today that will help make our lives easier... more on that to come.)

Off to bed.

Santa is on his way...

Hope he got my email that we're not in Atlanta.

Santa probably has an iPhone 5, so we're good.

Who asks for a new Brita water filter for Christmas because its the new "vintage" model and it's teal?
This girl.  


His pile. Not too shabby.
I showed my little cousin my tattoo tonight and asked her if she knew what it was.
She said, "Jimmy!"

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Arm Higher

Around 8 this morning I climbed in bed with Jimmy. It's exciting to take advantage of having a bigger bed, if only for a short time. We napped the rest of the morning together.

Jimmy's vent alarm kept sounding all night, waking the both of us up.

This morning he is tired, but is still managing to joke around with his nurses. That leads me to believe it could be an okay day for him.  I'm tired too, but hoping this coffee will work.

When I was laying with him, I had my arm across his chest. He said, "put your arm higher."

Just so he could feel it.

I die.

This Trip, So Far...

We're in South Carolina for the Christmas holiday.

The trip so far is off to a rough start.

The ride here was one of the most trying we've had. Jimmy was tired, weak and also needed to be suctioned a lot. That requires stopping to find a power outlet.

At one gas station, we tried like about 6 different outlets and couldn't get our equipment to work. I panicked and called our respiratory supply guy in Georgia to have him start the process of overnighting a new one to the SC.

Believe me when I tell you this machine is the most valuable piece of equipment we have when it comes to Jimmy's medical well-being.

Even more so than the ventilator.

When the nurses are rough with the bag this thing travels in I want to punch them in the face. I realize that's frowned upon.

After taking everything out of the damn vehicle myself (we have to travel with entire car full of supplies) to get to our back-up extension cord, I realized our metal portable ramp fell against the van only to put a gross gash in our shiny black paint job.

Our back-up, manual method of suctioning is pretty worthless but I had the nurse working on that with Jimmy while we were trying to figure out the other thing.

As Jimmy was coughing and gagging, we ran frantically around trying to be sure it was our equipment that was failing and not their outlets.

We tried a half a dozen outlets in the service garage portion of this gas station. Surely, that meant it was us not them, RIGHT?

Then, I ran inside the convenience store and tried an outlet in there.

It freaking worked.

HOW THE HELL DID NONE OF THE 18 SERVICEMEN STANDING AROUND WATCHING US NOT KNOW THIS?

We got Jimmy out of the car and had him wheel into this mini-mart to a working outlet. The guy behind the counter had the nerve to tell us Jimmy was blocking an aisle.

Oh, we're just trying to clean out my husband's lungs, you know, TO KEEP HIM ALIVE.

God forbid us block anyone from getting their Monster energy drink and cajun boiled peanuts.

Back in the car we go. After a long day traveling, stopping, going another five miles and then having to stop again -- we made it just as the sun was setting.

We decided to get a smaller room hotel this time to save money which means the nurses are really up close and personal and all up in our business.

Because of my pure exhaustion last night and the language barrier factor with our two nurses, I couldn't understand something they were trying to tell me and got really upset and yelled a whole lot. That in turn, made Jimmy upset. It wasn't pretty.

It's always hard bringing two nurses with us on vacation. Medically, they save my butt (let the record show I acknowledge this). Emotionally, it's friggin' hell.

I want them to go away. Because of the professional relationship I wish to keep with them, they are very much strangers in our private space meeting our closest family and friends. They get to see me with my guard slightly let down. I don't like it one bit. It feels very personal.

I'm clearly still working on the acceptance with this part of our life.

Jimmy has been really, really tired lately. Like to the point of me saying something to him and him being too tired to respond with actual words.

He's it for me. He's what gets me through. And, when he's not feeling like himself, it's extremely difficult for me. Especially if I'm weak and mentally drained. When at least one of us isn't on our A game -- it's trouble town.

Jimmy's fatigue is an ongoing battle. We have been working hard to get to the bottom of it -- take this, not this, sleep on the vent, sleep off the vent, take a nap during the day, don't sleep too much -- it sucks.

Because of all the shock from the crash, it's near impossible to pinpoint what it is. We know his metabolic system is off. He's got too much growth hormone but not enough testosterone. His blood glucose levels are high but his weight is down.

It's hard not to get heartbroken (again) when my husband, with his big brown eyes, looks and says, "I'm tired of being tired."

Yeah. Really tough.

So, here's hoping to a good night's sleep and just a little more energy for his tomorrow.

Here's hoping taking in the goodness of being with family continues to sooth the soul.

Oh, and of course (while we're banking on hope) for a smooth ride home after Christmas.

Thank youuuuu.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tree Down

 
I'm sorry Christmas Tree, we had to part ways already. I didn't want to take you down today. But we had to. I promise we had to. Like, I'm not just saying it. We're getting new flooring over the holidays. 

You provided a nice, warm Christmas glow. You did good work. We had some good quality time today with our friends Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and some Rosemary Clooney.

So long Christmas tree of 2012.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mary Tyler Moore

You're gonna make it, after all..
I've been quite addicted to Mary Tyler Moore re-runs these days. I blame The Hallmark Channel for ruining my nighttime routine of Fraiser and Skinnypop. Haven't found a food yet that goes well with Mary Tyler Moore...

Maybe it's the newsroom setting, but I also love the wholesomeness you get out of her. Although, I've always seen myself as more of a Rhoda. Either way, I adore their friendship. It's so cute.

Don't get me started on Mr. Grant. He's the perfect amount of grouchy that makes it all a little more realistic. Sometimes grouchy people make me feel normal.

Lately, I've flown through seasons 2 & 3 and noticed how freaking fashionable MTM was. Like, I'd wear 90% of that stuff now. Or, know a really stick-skinny person that could (Rebekah, Amy). Lets face it: Rhoda's sweats and scrubs are more my style.

Anywho, I've been documenting some of my favorite Mary Richards ensembles (I need a hobby). The 70s. Who doesn't love 70s fashion?  I'm pretty sure, though, if my mom would've saved some of her old stuff from that decade it wouldn't fit my curvy, Rhodaesque figure anyways.

That's okay. The GAP makes some killer curvy, wide-legged jeans.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Urgent! (Not really...)

Never mind the book that I'm sure will be the funniest book I've ever read in my entire lifetime... LOOK how skinny my thighs are in this picture.

And they're NOT.

Almost didn't recognize myself. I'm never getting rid of these jeans. Like, ever, ever, ever... (Taylor Swift style)

Ellen. You flatter me.

Like is said: Urgent, people.

Walk Home

My walk home from tennis last night actually didn't suck.

I have to walk across the giant Piedmont Park, at night. It's usually scary as hell -- espesh after Daylight Saving.

Lately, there's been a cool glowy thing happening in the sky making the cold, quiet walk a little less frightening.

Also, a random horse-drawn carriage can't hurt, either.

I didn't do any fancy filter on this as to see the glowy skies...


Nothing says nostaglia like a sweet horse-drawn carriage... with hipster, neon lights...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Card 2012

Simply having a wonderful Christmastime...
Happy holidays, everyone!
Love,
Jaimie and Jimmy

Via picaboo.com
 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend

My insides hurt.

I'm not sure if it's from:

1) All the crap I ate this past weekend
2) The fact that my body is screaming for exercise
3) Maaaaaybe I overdid it at a Christmas party last night
4) Loneliness after my visiting friend drove away
5) Getting inked up
6) All of the above

This is one tired girl. I need sleep. Like the really good kind.

But not before I share a few pictures from the Christmas party we went to last night.


You can probably see it in Jimmy's face how tired he was. We both barrelled through a few obstacles this past weekend to get to this party. 

Jimmy had a very tough day, yesterday. He told me it was the worst he has ever felt. And yet, he let me put on his cute Calvin Klein shoes so we could go to the party.

I had gotten a new dress and new ink after all.


Jimmy had a good time, I know he did. Even on the darkest of physical days he still feeds off being social and interacting.  It's a recent goal of mine to get him to call someone different each day. He actually likes the telephone. Weird.

At the end of the night he could barely hold his own head up. In fact, on the ride home I put my hand on the side of the his head in case he wanted to lean on it. He totally did. He probably didn't even know it.

I wish we could pick and choose which days he was okay or a little more tired, but we can't. We just gotta deal.

I'd say Jimmy dealt pretty well with feeling completely crummy yesterday.  He went. We went.  That matters because Jimmy easily could have stayed home yesterday. 

He had a pass and he didn't use it.

I love him for that.

I'm so thankful I had a good friend here to help my moody blues and to chip at some of the other obstacles we faced. She was a welcome distraction.

I got really sad when she left.

It's a downside to living away from most of our family and friends. They have to go back to where they came from.

Sometimes it just sucks butt.  

But, happiness was had.  Worth it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Merry Christmas My Love

I guess I could have waited until Christmas to give Jimmy his gift.

Clearly, I have problems waiting for stuff...

I got my first tattoo today!

It f*ing hurt and made me all sweaty, but so worth it.

My artist was really good. It took him 20 minutes to knock this out. I knew this place was alright after I met a guy in the lobby who flew in from Wisconsin just to come to this parlour.

My tattoo is of the 3E Wheelchair Heart that symbolizes to embrace, empower and educate.  I also added a little of myself and threw in some cutesy little love birds.  

This ink was my teeny way of letting my husband know that I'm right there with him. He's got his wheelchair, and I've got mine.

I could have gotten this hidden -- I went back and forth on the placement.  But, I feel like this is a tattoo meant to be seen. Why hide it?

I have this vision of me walking by his side, as I do. People from behind can see his wheels... and also mine. That's what's up.

Jimmy was happy and flattered, I think.  He was all smiles and not a lot of words, which is normal.  

Just a little tribute to my "roll model."
When I was leaving the house, I told Jimmy, "I'll see you later. Gotta get my ink in before the weekend."
Totally just made that up...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

7%

I joined a few new Facebook groups recently -- both aimed at helping spouses/caretakers through a SCI or through another debilitating disease.

Reading other people's stories continue to put our life into perspective.

"My husband had a stroke... emotional support is a one way street... I grieve for the person he was before the strokes... "

"I am so tired of training caregivers... I am so very tired of all of this.."

Some of it is hard to read, knowing caretakers are so miserable and finding no piece of mind.

Some of it is comforting, knowing that others are dealing with a lot of the same daily issues and challenges that we do.

I can't imagine trying to do Jimmy's routine all on my own. I'd be broken. I'd do it -- of course I'd do it -- but I'd be wary and ill-tempered. More so than usual...

People we continue to run into at Shepherd tell me stories of not having nurses. 

Surprisingly for me, a tough scenario to see is a mother at therapy, day after day with her kid. There were a few people who went through with us who were high school and college-aged.

I haven't felt the feelings a mother feels, but I know what's there. And I know how a mom hurts for their kiddos. 

My life as a wife has certainly changed. 

Thankfully, I'm not completely broken -- only slightly.  But it seems to be fixable. I continue to grieve. Memories still sneak up on me and shake me. 

But it's happening less and less.

It's funny. This week, I had a really good talk with my therapist. I hadn't seen her in weeks because of so much happening. I told her how I cry less when I go to bed alone every night (that's when I really tend to miss our old normal).

And, I told her that being not as sad -- is sad.  It means I'm getting used to things... slowly.  I realize what's happening and I think I don't want to get used to things. I still want it all to go back.

It won't. I know. But, it's a battle between the ole brain vs. heart. 

(Brain) I know it won't go back, so deal with it and move on. Live. You still have a perfectly good life to live.  (Heart) But I really want it all to just go back. Can we just go back and do one thing differently so the outcome maybe would change?

My brain has since figured out that our new life brings suffering and sacrifices. It just does. I will have to handle how to suffer and still live with happiness. I have to do both.

I know now the suffering, grieving and healing will be around for a long, long time -- if even in a small capacity. But here's the interesting flip side to this: I have learned that finding tiny joys are key, because getting large leaps in Jimmy's healing just ain't happening.

Finding tiny joys in our new life is like a freakin' scavenger hunt. It's like, okay, there's still life here somewhere but we have to find it on our own.

Luckily, my bud and I are good at that.

We always made a good team.

We're like 7% through this thing, but it's a good, solid 7%. 

The shaky, gravel road isn't as unbearable as it used to be.

Doesn't mean I'm not death-gripping the steering wheel with the radio turned down and my headlights on -- even if it's daylight.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Craig T. Nelson

The Family Stone is on.

It's hard to describe why I love this flick so much, but I do.

I especially cherish my own personal copy.

Several years ago, Jimmy worked a celebrity golf tournament in Myrtle Beach.

Jimmy told me who was going to be there.

I got excited.

Would Jimmy do it?

Would Jimmy actually take my green sharpie and my copy of The Family Stone and have Craig T. Nelson -- the calming, yet stern Patriarch Kelly Stone -- sign it?

Jimmy did it. Gah, I love him.

He came back and told me how CTN laughed because he doesn't normally get asked to sign that. He does sign a heck of a lot of copies of Coach, apparently.

Hells yeah.

Would your boyfriend do that?

Better than a diamond.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Apparently, I Was Ready for Some Football...

Omg. So, last night I attended my first NFL game. In Atlanta. Against the Saints. The only team that beat this said team.

Sensory overload. In a good way.

There's a lot they don't show on TV. 

Like, the really fun, loud stuff.

Building-sized flags being run up the field after each touchdown.
All the rap music.
Mascots.
Drumlines.
The chanting.
All the rap music.
Little kids on the field.
LUDACRIS for the halftime show. (Uhm, mind. blown.)
Pyrotechnics.
More rap music.
When The Atlanta Housewife's husband would come up on the in-house monitors. He plays for them! (Jimmy shook his head a whole bunch when I announced that).
Seeing the behind-the-scenes cameras... the NFL Network set-up and break down of the set, seeing sideline reporters chase down coaches on the way to the locker rooms, etc.
So cool!

Me during the fun stuff: Omg. They don't show ANY of this stuff on TV.
Jimmy: Yeah.
Me: But, why don't they show any of this stuff on TV?!
Jimmy: No one wants to see this crap.
Me, realizing I'm not cool: Oh.

Getting settled in early. I PLANNED that.

Thing is, I'm still too new here to be an Atlanta sports fan. I don't feel it yet. I wore pink shoes and a scarf with pink in it to the game.

I kind of was cheering for the Saints, I guess. I mean, we honeymooned in New Orleans...

I found that to be not as fun. There were no other Saints fans around where we were. There was no music when the team scored. I barely knew when it happened. Like, I really didn't know for sure if it happened until the score changed.

Oh, the entire city knew when the Falcons scored.

I also got the side-eye a bunch when I would clap loudly for "The Other Team."

Driving to and from The Georgia Dome wasn't as bad as expected.  Planning to go early and leave early helped.  Getting stuck for two hours in Braves vs. Yankees this past summer helped me to prepare a little better.

My Dad and his wife were here in town to visit. They were the ones who convinced us to go and took us. I never would have been like... "Hey, let's go to a game!"

But, I'm glad we went. It was extremely fun times. Especially, since I am becoming more interested in football this year.

Jimmy, Me and my pink/purpley scarf and my Dad.
Watching Drew Brees do his thing in person was kind of huge.  Except, last night, he did the opposite of what his thing is. He actually was pretty horrible last night. Like, a career low. Ick. I felt like a ginormous bad luck charm.

Jimmy had the official "I'm reallllly happy, but not going to talk about it" grin on his face.

That, as you know, makes me realllllly happy, as well.

We could get used to this place.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Letter to My Father-in-Law

Dear James,

I am heartbroken you are no longer with us.  I so looked forward to spending holidays and upcoming visits getting to know you. 

I looked forward to spending this very Thanksgiving with you.

You left us suddenly but you are free from pain now.

Nearly two decades you spent battling an incurable illness. We all thought Cancer would take you. We were wrong. It was an unexpected stroke with complications. No one saw it coming.

But I can tell you this...

Your family certainly loves you and you left one hell of an impression.

I basked in the remembrances, people telling stories about you.

How you were like a second father...

How you taught them how to cut grass...

How you always made them laugh...

I envy these people for truly knowing you. I feel robbed of that.

But I can tell you this much: I sure am proud of the son you and Sandra raised. He's pretty amazing.

He's strong, funny and loyal. He makes friends and keeps them for life. He loves his family more than life itself.

Peopled loved you like they love him. It's amazing to watch.

Jimmy will always keep your spirit alive. 

He lives to give people a hard time and they just love it!

People actually healed just a little bit faster after this part of Jimmy reemerged following his accident. It was a relief to many that this quality remained intact.

It helped them to sort of forgive that Jimmy's legs don't work, or that he was on a ventilator. Jimmy was still Jimmy. And much of that, is you.

We will never forget you. We will talk about you often. I will think of you always.

You are my husband's father.

Thank you for accepting the offer to stand up next to your son on our wedding day, even though you weren't feeling well (Sorry about that, by the way. I know you would have been more comfortable sitting).

It meant a lot to us.

Your memorial service was simply amazing. I've never seen anything quite like it.

I told myself... "I'm not going to cry. I'm okay."

What the heck did I know?

Imagine large, beautiful, rich singing voices belting from the podium -- just feet from you. Imagine a small temple. Imagine just the right words. I was shaken to the core.

There was no sense in trying to hold back the tears sitting on the very edge of my eye lids.  I just grabbed for some tissue, giving in. I could be strong another time.

I would check on our Jimmy from time to time. He would need help wiping his own tears. I didn't see any from him.

Until...

The Reverend opened up the floor for anyone to share their stories. Jimmy's Aunt started. Jimmy began to cry. In hindsight, he may have been gathering his own thoughts.

During a long silence, as we all waited to see if anyone else wanted to add to it, Jimmy made a noise.

It's a noise that's familiar to me. 

It sounds like he's gathering his breath right before he's about to speak loudly. When I heard it, my head whipped quickly in his direction.

I saw him battling tears as he started to talk. 

I started to wipe his tears, and then my own, and then his... my tissues were quite soggy.

I could hear lots of sniffling behind me. I don't think anyone expected to hear from him. I know I didn't.

Jimmy told four little stories about you. Four important times in his life when you told him you were proud of him.

One was the first time you came to see Jimmy play soccer. You told him you were proud, but asked that he play a sport a little easier to understand. I agree, James. I don't get it.

Another was when Jimmy graduated college.

And another, on the night of our wedding.  I'd like to think it was right around the time this photo was taken. You guys had your father-son moment, and Jimmy cherishes it.



The last story Jimmy told was of a talk that was had shortly after the accident.

I was so proud of my husband the night of your memorial service. I know you were too, James. I know you will always be.

You did good with this one.

You will be missed.

With Love,
Jaimie

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Stack

I was reading an old Christmas blog from 2010 about movies I love to watch this time of year. 

Good to see I was taking this topic serious enough to actually start building my own holiday collection. I am, after all, an adult.

Here's where I am now.

There's a few that aren't totally holiday-ish, but I prefer to watch them this time of year. 

 
 
These are a few favorties. I could stand to add to this stack. But then I texted my stack to a friend.
 
She then texted hers back..
 
 
I win!
 
Just because the majority of her collection is VHS. And... because one is Prancer.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Life

We've been busy. I've got lots to write about.

But for now... you're left with bullet points.

-- Jimmy's father passed away. We have been here spending time with the family.
-- My husband shocked me during the memorial service. I'll tell you about it later...
-- I think I'm allergic to NC. Haven't stopped sneezing since I got here. Time to visit the allergist.
-- I got Dumb and Dumber on Blu Ray for $4. Black Friday, baby! (And Home Alone.)
-- I need the gym. And clean food. My poor body.
-- I can't wait to crank Christmas to the max when I get home and catch my breath...

Okay. That's all for now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Drive

Here I go.

Walking down an emotional memory lane, once again.

You can't stop me. It's too late.

This evening, I'm preparing to go on my second solo trip since Jimmy's crash last August.

I am not the only one on this trip making tough sacrifices, however.

Two of my friends have small babies/children at home. I'm fairly certain it is the first time they are leaving these tots, for this long. 

So, we can commiserate. We know we need this, but surely our minds will be elsewhere. BUT WE NEED THIS.

I got to thinking about my route. I have to drive through Greenville to pick up one of the friends, and then we will continue on North.

Then I realized it will only be my second time back to The Upstate since our first visit in June.

Greenville is such a wonderful, horrible, wonderful place. I get caught in this bittersweet mind trap when thinking of it there.

Tomorrow, I have to drive over the very piece of highway where Jimmy's catastrophic crash happened.

I used to drive over it everyday.

I will have to prepare myself for emotions. I don't know what will actually happen. But, I can guess.

It's so horribly symbolic I can't stand it. How do you not get upset? How do you prevent all the memories from that day from flooding back?

The workout I did that morning. Basking in the newness of our first "married" apartment. The Starbucks I wanted to get on the way to work, but didn't because I was running late.  Just... being.  That "stressful" wedding thing was out of the way...

Psssshhhh...

Tomorrow, I will think of that day.

The freak think that happened. And the carefree life we led before that. There. In that city.

It's nauseating (It's not a horrible nightmare, right?).

So, I'm hoping that writing about it now will alleviate some of the grief and anger that will swirl around in my brain tomorrow leading to teary brown eyes.

It also helps knowing that getting through that drive, and getting to where I need to go will help soothe a little of that. 

A destination that makes the drive worthy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall In Atlanta

This time last year, I was in a hellish bubble of trying to figure our new life out. The logistics of relocating, Jimmy being discharged, our new non-Shepherd nurses -- it was a nightmare of a month, November.

When we arrived in Atlanta in 2011, it was late August -- not quite fall. But somewhere in between literally living at Shepherd and a hotel and then finding an apartment in October, the seasons did actually change.

It took me a year to actually be okay enough to see it.  To breath in and out and take it all in.

Fall in Atlanta is just beautiful.

I forgot how much I loved this season.  The further I get away from the beach, the more gorgeous it is.

There's something about a nice chill in the air with a gorgeous city line -- and yet, still having trees with fall colors and leaves crunching under your feet.

Tonight, I was supposed to go to tennis. But it got rained out. I was actually kind of glad.

A chilly, rainy night. 

I've been waiting for a good time to make some homemade cocoa.

This is a lower-sugar recipe. It's really rustic -- if cocoa can be rustic. You taste the bitter cocoa. You taste the cinnamon. It's not sweet. But adding the whipped cream adds just a little sweetness.

Jimmy doesn't really care for it... probably because it's not out of a paper envelope, mass produced and all sugar. I adore it.

I look forward to having this when it gets cold.

It made for a good night.  Me and Hubs, enjoying a nice little fall evening in Atlanta... one year later.





Going Back



Alice in Wonderland 
Lewis Carroll

Friday, November 9, 2012

Holiday Warm Fuzzies

I only wish one day I could use my blog in a superpower-ish way like Glennon is doing with Momastery. I've mentioned her blog several times before. 

Obvs it's mother-based, but I still feel connected when I read. Glennon has done amazing things with her blog that tends to leave happy scars on one's heart.

She's now about to publish her book.  She helps a lot of people because I think she's been helped during some dark times, in which she's openly talked about.

In fact, she is going through a tough time right now. Like, life-altering tough. But again, putting that energy towards good.

It's makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Enter: Holiday Hands. Her annual fundraiser.

Holy crap. Apparently, last year it was only her, trying to learn excel and doing all this herself.

Now, with like 50K readers/followers... she has an actual staff helping her with all this.

People list their needs. And those wanting to help, whether its $15 or an iPad... contact the person directly.

People have risen to the freakin' occasion.

One person has donated $3,000 to a family dealing with funeral costs for a late father so the children could have Christmas.

I mean... complete strangers. It's truly amazing to see unfolding before you.

Obviously, Jimmy and I are in no position to give much of anything.

However, when I read a posting about a mother of four who was killed in a car accident, something hit home. That woman's mother is now raising the four kids, taking on all those expenses -- and yet, I'm sure she's happy to do it.

I felt the need to just help. I mean, $20 probably won't make a dent but then I saw others were also struck by this story and also wanted to help with this family.

Actually, it wasn't even the grandmother that posted the listing. It was a friend who asked for help so those kids can still have their Christmas. Their first Christmas without their mother.

Heart.Breaking.

There are tons of these stories. It's hard to read. Just wishing you could do more.

But one thing I know for sure... our first year, our first Christmas people rose to the freakin' occasion.

People sent goodies galore and cards and love... it made a really, really tough time that much better.  Even people I've never met.

There was a need in me to give back. I'm happy to skip a few more tennis lessons or eat out less to help a family going through a horrible, scary thing.

I think this is a fantastic thing. 

Way to use your powers for good, G.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Another Four

Today was one of those weird days.

I became a little agitated (more than usual) early this morning. Sometimes the coffee doesn't help with that. It fuels it.

Jimmy asked how and why my mood changed so suddenly. Like... what happened to piss me off?

I blame The Election.

I stayed up way too late watching. I think I forgot to blink at times.

I got lost in the CNN touch screen and John King. When he'd get real deep into it I tried to follow. But at some point it just becomes difficult math... which sucks.  

I mean, the dang touch screen has it's own Wikipedia page.

I watched election coverage with a heavy heart.

Jimmy and I both would have been waist deep in it if we were still working at the station.

But, what makes it a little more forgiving? I will never, ever forget how stressful and hard it was.  News was hard, in general. But Election Day? Fuggedaboutit.

I do think I was feeling a little sympathy anxiety for my newsie-homies as the day went on.

I had been in the thick of it for the last two presidential ("W" Round 2 & Obama Round 1) elections.

Election day is a day all news employees dread, but secretly don't altogether hate (unless your show or live shot self-implodes). A day when you use all of the technological eggs in your basket. Stations just put it all out there, which is extremely risky. Technology can be a bitch.

It was nice to get comfortable and settle in at home. Jimmy and I both watched until he was off to bed.

When the polls closed, my adrenaline started to rush a little.  The urgency in the day and that moment got to me.

It was nice to be just a citizen. Someone who voted and wanted to watch the results like everyone else. To be able to cheer my candidate on ... something usually frowned upon in a newsroom.

I stayed up as long as I could.  I went in Jimmy's room for company as the projections started pouring in.

I experienced exhilaration when the election was called. I know he did too, a little. I think. It's hard to tell with him.

A much different scenario four years ago. Both with us, and the nation.

For me, this election meant just more than voting in my party or voting for the "cooler" guy. (I mean, who's gonna argue that John McCain is cooler than Barack Obama? Not that McCain's cameo on Parks and Rec was anything short of amazing!)

The issues get important as you get to growing-up.

I care about my friends who are gay and deserve equality like the rest of us.

Stem cell research is obviously on our radar now.

I care about women's rights. People who think it's their decision to limit birth control, get rid of Planned Parenthood, make decisions for women about abortion? Uhm no (My friend Kim said it a little more bluntly in her blog... using the word uterus and everything. It was awesome). 

It was a historic election on many levels.

Although... I'm not sure about the legalizing of pot. Whaaaaaa? Can that be a good thing?

And I realize that no one President has all the perfect solutions.  I actually think some of my positions may sway right. Maybe. Or maybe in the middle somewhere.

But, I'm happy with more freedom. More equality. More respect.

It's the good part about being in this country... and we can't afford to move backwards.

I was surprised, yet so happy-hearted to read the following tweet from one of the most stubborn Republicans known on TV. 

Especially after the ridiculous hatred tainting my Facebook feed. Ugh.

"You cannot love the game only when your player wins. We remain to be the greatest nation and Barack Obama is OUR President."
-Elisabeth Hasselbeck, The View

Facebook

The Flying Tire is now on Facebook with it's own fancy new web address and everything.

You can click and like it HERE. (There's also some cute little connect buttons on the left side of my blog that will get you there.)

I like this a lot because on my own personal Facebook page, I don't post a link everytime I update the blog, as not to bug the heck out of my friends.

Here... I will bug you constantly with updates as my brain formulates words and sentences.

As always, thanks for stopping by!


This is a screen shot of what our cute little page looks like..

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holiday Anticipation

Our 2012 Christmas cards came in the mail yesterday, already.

They are wonderful. I keep thinking how much better Jimmy looks compared to last year's card. Healthier. Stronger. We used one of our new portraits... one I haven't posted.

It's lame how excited I get.

Jimmy said it was too early to send out Christmas cards.

I asked him when it was acceptable by his standards to send cards out. He said after we get our first holiday card in the mail. (SOMEONE SEND ME A CARD! EVEN IF IT'S LEFT OVER FROM LAST YEAR!)

I started stamping envelopes in preparation...

It seems like the US of A, not just me, is ready for The Most Wonderful Time of The Year.

There are lots of Christmas commercials. Countdown to Christmas movie marathons. Christmas pins galore on Pinterest. Christmas shopping. Christmas candles. Holiday red cups at Starbucks. Christmas coffee blends on the shelves. Christmas decorations already in the malls...

I already have a designated Christmas corner in my house.

I mean... the day after Election Day is the official start to the Christmas season, right?

Eeeek.

Not too early. Not not not.

In fact, I'm dreading how sad Dec. 26 will be.

Oh, Christmas. I love you so hard.
I was like Santa's Little Helper stamping envelopes last night...
Happy as an elf!
A TJ Maxx find. Probably the best smelling candle in the world...
My Christmas Corner.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

One Week

Tonight, Jimmy and I celebrated.
 
It's been one week since our boy made the decision to not sleep on the ventilator. 
 
This time is different because he hasn't gone back.
 
I thought he'd want a steak or something, but he was fine with one of my favorite meals to cook/eat. Inspired by him, of course. 
 
He first made this for me when we were dating. It's so simple and yet... I was highly impressed. Hard not to be wowed by Jimmy's culinary skills, many would testify to this.
 
I made peppercorn pork tenderloin with sauteed spinach and mushrooms. I also did a feta cream sauce to go on top.  (Pictured Below)
 
Asparagus on the side that was, sadly, steamed a few minutes too long.
 
My occasional, yet necessary glass of red wine.
 
His Captain Morgan and Diet. Straw included.
 
This was our little place setting, on our kitchen island. 
 
 
Next, onto dessert. Jimmy can't have much in the way of sweets, but Bananas Foster is special to us. (Pictured Above)
 
He used to make this for us when we lived in our first apartment in Greenville, SC.  It was so good.  He actually taught me how to make this during our time there. I'm grateful for that.
 
Again, very easy but so good and I love meals that remind us of a certain time we can talk about during dinner.
 
I wanted to cook some good food tonight for Hubs. He's done good.
 
Although he has an implanted pacer stimulating his diaphragm to help him breath, we were prepared, knowing that letting go of the ventilator is extremely difficult and scary for a lot of people.
 
It's a comfort thing. A safety net. It can be purely psychological.
 
Jimmy has been on the ventilator in some form for over a year.  He probably could have come off a while ago.
 
But, he had to be ready.
 
I kept asking, knowing he would one day say yes to sleeping off the vent.
 
Tonight, we ate, drank, laughed and celebrated.
 
No ventilator! For a week!

What a frigin' rock star.

Side by Side

I used this photo of Dana and Christopher Reeve in my first blog of last month. It's from March of 2006 and was printed in People Magazine.

I love this photo... and these people.

When we were getting professional photos taken a few weeks ago, I wanted to try and recreate it.

My critical, OCD side says less of my hand, tilt Jimmy's head forward a little more and rest my chin on his head.

But still... not bad, aye?

 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Not So Fast...

Okay.

So...

The day after I wrote my joyous blog, Jimmy had a tired day.

And then another (today).

In fact, he slept a good part of the afternoon away.  He didn't sleep well last night.  So that means I get groans as answers when he's awake. When he's not awake, I have to entertain myself.

Last night, I didn't sleep much at all myself.

I'm not sure if it was because I had a late tennis lesson, or because I felt guilty in my fluffy bed while our neighbors to the north we dealing with heartbreaking catastrophe.

I tossed and turned a whole lot.

I figeted with the thermostat. It was like 44 degrees last night. Just chilly enough to convince me to fire up the heat.

We got the fresh burnt smell with the annual switch-on.

I got up several times during the night to adjust the levels. I thought I wasn't sleeping well because I wasn't used to the heat. What's the right temperature? What's a good temperature?

I mastered the a/c, finally. But the heat!

What should it be set on? I forgot. I should have called my Mom to ask her what hers is always set on, and added 10 because it was always frickin' freezing in her house.

I nearly Googled it.

I kept checking my Twitter feed. The news kept getting worse. More death. Another city underwater. People missing.

Heart. Breaking.

My mind was swirling at 5:30am.

I wasn't due to wake up for, like, four more hours.

I turned on The Weather Channel after spending a frustrating four minutes trying to find my remote in the dark.

I watched.

I got annoyed that they kept going back to the cities that seemed to be "okay" in the grand scheme of things. That wasn't why I was watching.

I was ready to hear the bad news and face the facts with the rest of America.

That wasn't the case around 11pm, a few hours before, when I was ready to go to bed.  I switched right away to a sitcom savior.

I got out of bed around 9:45am. I could barely stand.

I felt like someone had performed an Irish jig on top of me.

I'm sure lifting weights, running a few miles and going to a tennis lesson in really, really windy and near-freezing conditions didn't help.

It took all I had to drag myself to the coffee pot. There was a hint of excitment in the fact that I had programmed my coffee pot to brew some mocha mint.

I peeked in on Jimmy several times, trying to fuel myself with my first sips of coffee.

He was in a deep sleep, even with all the noise I was making getting my coffee together. Even with the nurse who went in to check his blood sugar levels before breakfast. 

I knew what that meant.

It was confirmed when I went, finally, to wake him up... a warm breakfast awaiting him.

He had circles under his eyes, again.

He looked so tired.

I started crying.

I got so mad at myself that I totally jinxed our good couple of days with celebrating and writing a stupid blissful blog.

He tried to console me. But his bad night and mine were no match for my emotions. 

After I fed him, our nurses continued on with his morning routine.

He told me to turn off my TV in my room and try to go back to bed. Did I listen?

No. I'm watching the Gilmore Girls series for the first time and it's pissing me off. I have to see if it gets better (I would like to smack Lorelai in the head right now, and seriously want Rory to be my BFF).

Then I could take a nap.

Wrong.

He came out into the living room and I joined him. I was still in my pajamas, (but, finally brushed my teeth!) feeling like shit... and what do I do next?

Watch Poltergeist.

Jimmy slept, so I kept watching.

Not sure I ever saw that movie all the way through, but if I had, it was at least a decade ago. Some of the "scary" parts made me laugh. Others did not.

Jimmy eventually woke up, but later in the day.

We arranged for Jimmy's bedtime to be earlier tonight since he was so sleepy. 

But by the time he was finally talkative and engaging, our CNA knocked on the door for bedtime.

So here I am. 

Feeling emotional and needing badly to write.

I think we both need a good night's sleep. 

And we both will probably be better in the morning.

After all, I kick ass according to this freaking awesome card I got in the mail by a friend who sent it, just to send it. What a great suprise.

My mom's friend also sent a Halloween goody bag to us around the same time. Are you kidding? How much fun was that? She put old (ollllld) school candy in there. Stuff I had never heard of.  But, my Mom had! Ha!


Anyways, I stared at this thing all day.

And randomly, without knowing I even did so, grabbed it when I was moving into the bedroom for the night and put it on my bedside table.

Like, I grabbed it when I was grabbing all my things. I placed it right next to my hot tea, and looked over and said... how did that get there? Weird...

Then a friend called. I didn't want to talk. Almost didn't answer. But I sure am glad I did.

It's almost time for Frasier. And that means happy time. Hopefully I'll be off in comfy sleepy land before I get through even one episode.

Felt I owed you the truthful follow-up on the great couple of days we had.  Who knows why Jimmy is tired again. Maybe because being off the ventilator for nearly a week (!!) is finally catching up with him.

Maybe he just had a bad couple of night's sleep.

We shall see...

Remembering tonight... "Shit Could be Worse."

There are so many people worse off than we are.

I just need to keep that in mind.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Joy

I'm not sure what's happening and I don't want to jinx it.

However, I want to remember this joy I'm feeling.

I haven't been this happy in awhile. It's been a long few months...

On Thursday night, I encouraged Jimmy not to sleep on the vent and to try a new sleep filter his Shepherd respiratory therapist gave us for when he was ready.

You see, we got some really good news.

Jimmy's breathing strengths were really high when recently tested, which indicates he may be getting diaphragm function back.

I know. Medical stuff that is confusing.

But, uhm, jump for joy because that's really holy-crap-kind-of-news.

On that note, Jimmy was permitted to get his butt off the vent and eventually wean off his DPS, the pacer that is stimulating his diaphragm.

Uhm, jump for joy again.

That means they believe he can breath ON HIS OWN.

She. Jumps. For. Joy. Once. Again.

For the better part of the year, Jimmy has been off the vent during the day, and will go back on at night. He got real comfortable with this routine.

I'm proud to say our someone that has been dependent (in some way) on a ventilator since his accident, has now gone days without.

Our ventilator hasn't been touched since Wednesday morning.

That part isn't so shocking. I knew he could do it when he was ready.

But what we didn't see coming was such a dramatic change in Jimmy's well-being.

For the better.

I never knew Jimmy had lost the color in his face until it recently started coming back.

He's back to getting a good night's sleep.

He's funny. I mean, he was always funny... but he's got jokes all day long -- just like before.

His fatigue isn't taking over our life like it once was.

Granted, we're only three(ish) days in. BUT STILL.

He doesn't look miserable when he rolls out of his room. He still looks tired, because his morning is strenuous. But he doesn't need to recover by sleeping 3-4 hours anymore.

I'm exhausted with excitement (I could barely get through a tennis clinic, yesterday) but I'll take it.

I'm very spongy in that I absorb Jimmy's moods.

If he wakes up in a shitty mood, it sets the tone for my day. It's very hard to turn that around with a good mood of my own.

When he's peppy... it's freaking contagious.

I'm basking in the glow of Jimmy's healing.

Maybe this is a turning point.

My husband hasn't been this "Jimmy" in a very long time.

I didn't know how much I missed it.

We both have been celebrating... and hope it sticks.