Friday, March 31, 2006

Writer's Club Entry # 11 Haiku

Time is eternal

You are my rock I lean on

We have forever

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Red Robin Photo Entry - Obstruction

You may think the obstruction is my gazebo frame, but it's really the roof line. The gazebo is an obstruction, but the roof you see changed the direction of my future. When I purchased this little home, there was no roof there and the bushes were kept low. I felt like the only house here, with a view to die for( I had a house on each side and in front).
A new house was built behind us with cathedral ceilings and obstructed the full canyon view. I was heart broken, felt boxed in and had to grow the bushes to cover (not quite there yet). We ended up finding and buying our retirement dream home, hoping the lesser view won't affect the selling price of this home! When given lemons, make lemonade :) Ok, I admit I still call that neighbor the a#$hole! I am working on that, I promise!

P.S. Retirement is 15 mos and counting!

RED ROBIN ENTRIES- Check them out!

Nancy - Nancy Luvs Pics Posted! Karen - Outpost Mâvarin Posted! Carly - Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly Posted! Dorn - Through The Eyes Of The Beholder Posted! Julie - Julie's Web Journal Posted!Jessica - QuickSilver Posted! Sara - Animated Seasons Posted! T.J. - Photo Inclusions: Every Picture Tells A Story Steven - (sometimes)photoblog Posted!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Enough Already! It's Spring!

This is what spring looks like in sunny California. This just hit us last week, followed by a lot of rain. So much for my return to the gym. :( I have a new appreciation for Daffodils, they bloomed and survived 2ft of snow, heavy rain and hail. The daffodils are under the pile of snow (bottom left in pic) and my lilac tree has yelled "uncle" for the last time. The wet stuff finally stopped today, but will return Tuesday. Dave managed to get tons of flowers planted today because the sun will be here Wednesday. I have been remiss in my blogging due to a new toy, picture software! I'm learning right now, but someday I hope to create beautiful digital art. My muse TJ has helped me get started, she's a very special lady! I was also thinking about entering a red robin photo challenge, yet another way to be a TJ wannabe.

I got to talk on the phone with Tara and what a great gal! I was nervous because of my speech being slurred. She was a great listener! Thanks for everything Tara! A big shout out and thanks for my angel tag by Nikki at :) What a great spirit she has! If you enjoy beautiful artwork, you must go visit Maryanne at Her work is awesome and she will make you laugh!

I chopped my hair off, got the toes trimmed and we even got our taxes done. No gym yet, but soon I hope. Won't mow those legs until I see sun, it's my winter coat. I still have not seen my precious grandson since he was 3 weeks old, he will be three months on Wednesday. I am healing, but my heart still aches. Someday my daughter will grow up to realize he needs me in his life. My lips to God's ears:) Happy 3mos my little man!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Writer's Club Entry # 9


I hear her speaking softly, like
a whisper in my ear. She reminds
me of my beauty and the needs I
keep inside. She resides in my
sacred temple, nurturing my soul.

She sees me as a glorious creature
of God, that she tends like a garden.
Celebrating my blossoming maturity,
while pulling the weeds of self doubt.

My inner goddess adorns me with
confidence and strength. She helps
my light to shine like a beacon, to
glorify the best of being a woman.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Thursday, March 16, 2006

My Grandson and a Promised Meme

Tada, new picture of my grandson TK. His other grandma sent over a disc full of pictures. I'll have to put some on my Flickr. He reminds me of a puppy that has to grow into his head, feet and hands. His daddy said he didn't grow into his head until 6th grade. He said he had a fivehead instead of a forehead. LOL I have a daddy/son picture I'll put on Flickr. He's still very tiny, because the breast milk just was not enough. He needs to gain some more weight. So precious!

For Tara Dawn at
Three things you wish for (just for you):
1. Good health
2. Dave's love to continue to grow
3. A bond with my grandson

Three things you would do to/for you if there was no one to judge you (or if you had the guts.)
1. Eliminate all body hair forever, except face. I hate bad hair days and shaving!
2. Boob lift. Not bigger, just not sitting on my tummy.
3. Tummy tuck.

Three bad habits you have.
1. Let my dogs kiss me on my mouth.
2. Say whatever I'm thinking.
3. Lecturing my grown kids. Can't seem to stop being a mom.

Three insecurities you feel:
1. Being judged for the actions of my children.
2. Who my REAL friends are
3. If Dave can handle my illness

Three talents/skills you wish you had:
1. To move my body anyway I want. Dance/run/ski
2. Sing
3. Writer of my own autobiography

Three things you would do if you had more time:
1. Camping
2. Travel
3. Fix up retirement home

Three things you would do if you had enough money:
1. Hire a caregiver
2. Hire a cook
3. Buy a condo on Bali Hai, kauai

Three things that bring you peace and relaxation:
1. Being in Dave's arms
2. Camping
3. Ocean

Three things that spark your creativity:
1. The people I blog with
2. My relationship with God
3. My legacy

Hibernation Over :(

Is it Spring yet? There are still patches of snow here in sunny California. Normally at this time of year it's in the seventies, but lately we are lucky to get up to sixty degrees. My gym membership is now activated for spring and summer. I fight my illness mentally and physically, but in the winter I hibernate and become physically weak. I start my physical workout slowly in the spring, but quickly work up to three days a week. I start in the outdoor pool and work up to the machines. I get up to an hour of pool aerobics using floating buoys and an hour on the machines. I drive myself, but get plenty of help when I'm there because I'm a familiar face. The owners however see me as a walker toting lawsuit waiting to happen. The doctors are doing medical trials on the effectiveness of exercise on ALS patients. They argue that it could make you weaker and you can't build dying muscles. I don't need no stinking trials to tell me squat! For three summers now, I have built up muscle and thrived. I just listen to my body and go accordingly. Due to the weather, I'm way behind schedule. I need to mow my legs, cut my hair super short, get a pedicure (hubby hates cutting my two inch thick toe nails!) and lose my winter pooch. Yikes! Dave is my biggest gym fan and has been know to join me in my water aerobics class. He does a mean water Y M C A ! I can't ever slack on my workout's or he's on me like white on rice. He wants me to get strong and stick around for awhile. Ya think? LOL

I conquered the treadmill last fall, but it took months of staring at it before I would try it. I can no longer swim and I can not get cold. This gym keeps the one pool at 85 degrees and they have buoys shaped like weights. I use one in each hand, they keep me up and I use them in my workout's as resistance in the water. People are very supportive at this gym and are like family. If I see anyone around town from the gym, in my hibernation time, they always say hurry back. It's hard to go that first week, but once I see my buddies I am invigorated. Wish me luck! I'm starting back next week.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Snowed In!

Dave has been disappointed in his first two winters spent in the California foothills. We are at 2800ft elevation and have not received much snow in the last few years. Well, Dave got his big snow over the last three days, up to 2ft of snow. He was like a kid, walking in it, watching out the window every few minutes and taking his measuring tape out to see how much snow we were getting. I thought he would get stir crazy, but he was just taking it all in and stayed mellow.

We watched movies, had the fireplace going, played scrabble, he helped me make my first snow angel, listened to our James Blunt CD and Dave made apricot pork chops. We had a really fun time being snow bound! We had a some great belly laughs too! Poor Nikki kept us in stitches, by trying to pee in the deep snow. I don’t think she pooped all weekend! She would bolt out the door, come to an abrupt halt once it hit her tummy and then make a sharp U-turn back to the door. Old Manny made her a trail she would follow. When I was watching our movie, Nikki was trying to get my cough drop. I was bobbing and weaving in laughter, when it fell out of my mouth and landed on her nose. It stuck to the hair on top of her nose and although she tried, she could not make her tongue long enough to reach it(picture above). I was laughing so hard, the laughter made me pass gas. Which made us laugh even harder and I did blame it on the dog!

Our backyard was filled with starving Robins, so Dave put his boots on and raked up some snow so they could feed. It touched my heart when they ate ravenously where he had raked. He has a huge heart and yet he is a duck hunter. I don’t get that one! I don’t blog when Dave is home, unless he’s working on a project. I just wanted to thank you all for the really neat comments on my sailing adventure. :) Dave may be home tomorrow too, due to ice on his 2hr morning commute. He may just go in at 7am instead of 4am, due to black ice. He also has his first root canal Tuesday, so that makes it five days off in a row (he had Friday off, because he gets every other Friday off). I hope I don’t miss too much in bloggerville! I added a few more pictures on my Flickr.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Running on Empty


Why are we getting sick, is it truly just our
genes? We eat in a fast food, super size
world that is hurting our present and future.
What emptiness in us are we trying to fill?

Why do we need all the stuff, is it really
because we can afford it? We are in debt
and no one seems to think it’s a problem.
What emptiness in us does the stuff fill?

Why do we think of what we need, instead
of thinking of others? People are suffering
alone and are in need of our compassion.
What emptiness in us keeps us from giving?

Why are we stressed and have the need to
be busy? We have trouble just being with
ourselves, forgetting how to be still.
What emptiness in us keeps us afraid?

Why can’t we see how we effect each other,
being of one family. No one greater than another,
in crisis of losing our future. We need to
fill the emptiness with love for one another.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sailing Through the Fear-Part 2

The day was windy, but the sun was shining brightly. The water was from the snowy mountains, which made it clear and very cold. We started to pick up speed and gliding off the water felt great! Sailing I discovered was not so easy, because Mike never stopped jumping around and had to tell me when to push or pull the stick thing that steered the boat. When we got out toward the middle, the water got choppy, I was catching spray and the boat was flying. I’m thinking, ok that’s enough practice, my hair was going to look like crap. When I thought things could not get any worse, the boat began to go up toward the sky on one side, and it was not my side! I’m forgetting to steer yelling up at Mike, is this supposed to happen? He looked down into my white face, as my butt was being dragged through the lake, and said calmly "it will be fine, grab the till."

I soon saw concern on Mike’s face, as his weight was struggling to keep the boat down. Then I found myself totally under water, being turned and tossed like I was in a washing machine. I learned later, that when a boat flips all the way over, it’s called a turtle. That’s probably because you end up under the boat. It was very scary because the ropes that were working the sails were wrapped around my legs, holding me under the water. I was struggling and drowning. When Mike appeared, he was trying to calm me down. It took forever for him to realize I was being pulled under because of the ropes and the life jacket was not strong enough. He dove under and freed me from the boat. He kept saying he was so sorry, but all I felt was very cold water entering the suit I was wearing. When I told him my ALS was causing my body to go stiff, he acted so quickly I just did as I was told not knowing we were still in danger. He had to stay in the water and hold me up to keep me from freezing until help arrived. What I failed to realize is he had no suit on and hypothermia could get him. I’m not quite sure what the worst case scenario would have been, but he was worried. While we waited, he kept talking as his lips were turning blue. I was unusually calm, but could not speak due to the ALS stiffening my body and jaw. Me being stiff as a two-by-four probably helped him keep me up. I have no idea how long we were out there because no one saw us flip. When help finally came, Mike yelled for them to hurry and get me in the boat. The looks on their faces were so funny I was busting a gut laughing, they probably thought I was having a seizure. I would not bend for them, they were saying why is she not bending? Mike yelled "lay her on the floor and get me out of this water." We pulled up to the dock and the others on the shore could see Mike but no Tammy. As I lay on the floor of the boat, I could hear lots of running feet coming down the dock. As the worried faces appeared I managed a "hi guys" with a half smile as I started to defrost.

The rumor was that Tammy would never race that weekend. As the women stripped me out of my wet clothes and covered me with blankets in some van, I was soon defrosted. I felt like a failure and had heard the rumors. The women were saying "come on, you can do this." Mike knocked on the door and was in shock to see me dressed in my suit. I said "lets do this before I chicken out." The others were surprised, but I could not let the fear allow me to quit. We sailed the whole weekend, the strong wind left and I’m very proud to say we won the whole event! WooHoo!

The trick to winning my gold medal was pure fear. I watched the other teams argue during the races. The disabled guys were the captains, but their partner’s would not listen. I was so scared I let Mike be the captain and did exactly as I was told. I kept my ego on shore and my body dry. LOL I loved sailing after that weekend. Gliding through the water, breeze blowing across your face, it was pure joy. This was how it was reported, handily my butt!

Representing the United States at the Paralympic Pan-Am Games-to be held this Fall in Acapulco, Mexico-will be an all-California team, including: Tammy Solis/now Brierly(Tuolumne) and crew Mike Lattin (Sonora), who won the three-race Championship round handily with a 1-1-2 score.

They cancelled the event in Mexico due to not enough Hobie 16's with Trapseats. They did it in San Diego on their own and I was unable to attend. Now this race is a big deal because there is lots of interest and more Trapseats available. I have sailed on bigger boats since my medal race and I love sailing more than racing. I did learn how to fight through fear and will cherish this life lesson.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sailing Through the Fear- Part 1

Gliding across the water
the wind at my face
It felt alive and like me

We all have had moments that test our character, bravery and spirit. When these moments happen and we come out the other end we become stronger. This story changed my life in many ways.

I was 38 and a single mother raising two teenagers. It was May 1999 and I was thrilled that spring finally had arrived. The kids were very busy with friends and I was becoming the mom from hell to keep them in line. I was in dire need of a break and so were they. At this time of year I am at my weakest because I don’t do much during the winter. I act like a bear in hibernation.

I received a phone call one day from a friend named Mike. He said "hey Tammy, would you like to go sailing with us in two weeks up by Shasta?" "Sailing?" I said, "I have never sailed in my life, doesn’t everyone have a job in sailing?" He said "They are little Hobie Cats and I don’t have a partner, all you need to do is steer." I’m thinking, sounds easy enough, but is Diana (his girlfriend, my realtor) going to be there. I’d met Mike once and would need "female" help. He said "yeah, she’s going and will help you, it’s a two-day tournament." "Tournament, are we competing?" He said "It’s a two-man race, one disabled team mate and one able body team mate." He assured me it would be fun and easy because he has sailed for years. All I heard was fun and three days away. I said "sure, and it sounds fun."

We made the five hour drive to a beautiful lake up by Mt. Shasta, CA. Snow capped mountains surrounded a huge lake with the fresh smell of pine and a crisp steady breeze. We checked in the hotel and I was given a huge room. I was alone and felt vulnerable amongst these strangers. I unpacked by myself and had to call Diana to help get me settled in. They had no idea how ALS affected me, so I just swallowed my fears of falling and stayed in the strange room all alone. Everyone gathered for a dinner/meeting to discuss the weekend’s schedule. I found out I would be the only woman in the race, and the only 1st timer. I was competing with paraplegics and quadriplegic men. They were all in wheelchairs, very serious and not very welcoming to the gal with the walker. The funniest part of the evening was I found out that we were racing in the US Trials to represent the US at the Paralympic Pan-American Games. I thought it all must be a cruel joke!

The first morning we arrived at the lake early, to get in a few practice rides. We had no idea the wind was anywhere between 14-20 knots, depending on where you were on the lake. I started talking with some of the guys, making sure they knew I was no threat. It was amazing how independent and strong they were. They could drive (with special controls) and get in and out of their cars and Hobie Cats by themselves. They were actually very nice, just highly competitive. The boats looked like trampolines with sails. I said "how do I stay on that thing?" It was a 16ft Hobie Cat with a built-on Trapseat for the disabled team member. It really was a sling for your butt, which leaves you sitting off the side. If the boat was not scary enough, Mike borrowed a cold water sailing suit, complete with booties. This suit looked like a space suit and weighed almost as much. They said it was supposed to be tight at the openings to keep the water out! They were not kidding either. This was all starting to make me very nervous. I said "how wet will I get?" Then I reminded them people with ALS can’t swim or get cold. Once in the suit they strapped on a life jacket and assured me I would stay dry and warm. Then two men carried me down to the Hobie in a fireman’s carry and lay me in the Trapseat. My partner jumped on, we pushed off and I held my breath. My adventure was straight ahead.

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My Big Adventure in the City

Well I survived my visit to the city, but realized I hate commuting, cell phones and crowds. My country life and age are showing. I was up at 2:45am, far from wide eyed and bushy tailed, but I needed at least a little time for make-up. An hour in disabled time gets you, a little make-up, your clothes put on with wedgie, by a hurried husband and no coffee, so I can hold my pee for two hours. I did not get to sleep until 9:00pm the night before because my routine was changed. I normally fall asleep first with the tv on due to my drugs, but Dave decided to turn the tv off so we could fall asleep early. Very bad idea! Dave must have that RLS (restless leg syndrome) because for an hour every five minutes his legs were moving. Thank goodness I’m usually asleep first or I’d be in another room each night. I swear he gets more exercise in that hour than he would get in a run around the block. I think it’s why he can’t fall asleep right away.

The drive went well because I slept through most of it. I know, a lousy copilot, but no coffee and the heater got to me. I kept thinking where did all these cars come from and do they all have these horrible hours. I’m thinking one more check mark on the "disable perk" side of my chart. Great parking alone was just not doing it for me anymore. My daughter was in the Jack in the crack parking lot ON TIME. Monumental for Shell to be up at five, because with her job she went to bed right before I got up. I was disappointed she brought her boyfriend with her, but I’m flexible and there was a reason.

Let me start this next part by saying my daughter drives like a raging maniac. She has this VERY old Honda Civic that feels like your butt’s riding an inch from the street, your face is in the windshield and it’s a stick. In the city there are cars darting in and out, people stopping to turn and everyone is speeding. I was a mess! I now need a Loreal touch-up. We get to Starbucks in record time, they bought me a white chocolate mocha, my favorite treat, I wore most of it just getting out of the parking lot with her driving (Jake had to hold mine due to my speed racer). We get to her first apartment with walker, coffee and extreme relief of still being alive. When I see them approach a very huge steep set of stairs. They kept the mountain climbing information off the itinerary on purpose, but my face gave them the Kodak moment of the day. I made it up the stairs because I just had to see it. It was a nice place, but it was full of cast off junk. The mom in me did my best impression of "it’s so cosy." Hey, she’s not living with her alcoholic father, this place was a palace to me. The rolling tool box as a dresser was kind of cute!

We went to I-Hop, my favorite place, we don’t have one in the country. We then went to a movie, but to me you would need a road map and guide to find your flick. It was HUGE! We took these pictures there and saw "Eight Below." My new favorite movie, just bring tissues and expect to look like crap the rest of the day. Jake then headed off to work and Michelle and I picked up a housewarming gift to make her first place a home. Yes, more mountain climbing, in the rain no less, back to the apartment. We made it cosier and had a good heart to heart. She let me know she brought Jake along because she wants me to get to know him better, I guess they are getting serious. She wants to leave the state, which I think is a must if she wants to go back to school. The cost of living here is too high. I saw cell phones in most cars, the restaurant, the movie and walking in the store. My daughter was the worst offender. It rang all day . . . Geesh! She took me back to meet Dave and we did kisses and hugs for a long time. The timing with her PMS worked out well. It turned out to be a great day!