Thursday, September 28, 2006

Alexa 9 27 06

Alexa 9 27 06
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Alexa the hambone! Unlike her brother, she eats up the camera! She also has gone from undressing, to changing clothes several times a day. She is quite the girlie girl!

Tristan 9 27 06

Tristan 9 27 06
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
This was about the 10th pic I tried to take. Tristan does not like having his picture taken! He also has started doing the "undress myself" thing. Not long after refusing to wear shorts, he took off his t-shirt too!

My Cave Man..

I did actually get a few hours of sleep tonight. On the couch where I crashed about 12:30 am. I woke up to Brian getting home at 2:30.. upset because I did not get the load of clothes out of the wash and into the dryer, which also meant I did not get the clothes in the dryer folded and put away. For Brian that should have been a priority. I also left a small condiment dish with some soy sauce and a paper towel scrunched up in it, on the kitchen counter. Which had caused a swarm of the damn drain flies we are battling to have a party on our kitchen counter. Both of these things are major issues for Brian. They are two of his biggest pet peeves. And I know that. I did not neglect them intentionally. But to his mind these should have been taken care of hours and hours ago. The laundry was as he left it when he went to work 12 hours before. The load in the washer had to be rewashed.
A part of me deep down inside cares about the laundry and the dish on the counter. A part of me way, way deep down inside. The rest of me truly doesn't care at all. My mind did not even register the laundry although Brian did mention it as he left. I put it in there somewhere, got distracted.. imagine that.. and I never went back to it. I guess the issue for him is that I often forget about it. But we have different perceptions of "doing" laundry. He washes it and drys it. Sometimes he will hang a few things up, but normally it gets semi folded and piled on top of the washer/dryer for me to sort and put away. I try to fold and hang up the clothes as they come out of the dryer and sort them by room. It doesn't always happen that way, and I have left clothes in the living room chair for days (or weeks) before. But I try to get it put away. Brian says he doesn't sort it because he doesn't know what belongs to whom and what gets hung up and what doesn't. That part of it isn't a priority for him. My mind justifies, if I don't have the time and energy to do it from start to finish, why bother.. and honestly, I just don't care.
Is it Mars vs Venus? I am not sure. I know he works out side the home, provides all our financial support, and therefore his efforts are validated. I tell him often how much I appreciate how hard he works and all he does at home in addition to that. And I tell everyone else that too. I am not sure if it is as bothersome to me that he doesn't see what I do as "work" or "contributing", or that I don't feel that it is appreciated by him. We have been married more than 23 years. No matter what job I have had, or the times I have not worked outside the home, my jobs were never as important, or as "hard" as his. At least not from his perspective. That hasn't changed. It is, and always has been, an issue we agree to disagree about.
The emotional aspect for me is the most difficult. Usually I can let it roll like water off my back. It is what it is. But now, as it has been alot since Kierra's death, it is a thorn in my side, It is a piece of popcorn under my gum that I can't seem to get out and it annoys the shit out of me! So I rinsed my little dish, put it in the dishwasher and ran the load of dishes waiting to be done. He started the clothes rewashing, I ran the dryer on dewrinkle and then folded/hung, sorted the load in the dryer and when the wash was finished, I put it in the dryer. I will wait until that is dry and fold/sort/hang that load and have it done. When he wakes up later today and I have gotten Hunter up, ready, and taken to school, and gotten the twins taken care of at the start of their day, and by then I will have run some errands, including picking up his drycleaning, done the grocery shopping for the next week, and prepared to take Tristan to his ENT appt.... will there be laundry to do, and more dishes on the counter?? Probably. But I will have done what I should have done today, right? I will have ended my day fulfilling his expectations, although I fell short once again.
I remind myself, we are both right, we both have valid feelings about it. Because no matter how I feel.. his perception is his reality, and mine is mine. It is how it has been for centuries. It really is a trivial thing, but it exemplifies so much more than being about the laundry. He needs cleanliness and order. He needs things in their proper place. He needs things done how and when he feels they should be done. He has cleaned both bathrooms the past couple days in between working because they needed to be done and it drove him crazy. Yet he couldn't tell you the last time he cleaned the play area. Or took Hunter to Karate, or took the kids to any of the numerous Dr. appts. Or did the grocery shopping. Because he works all the time and that is my job. We both could justify all we do and still not feel appreciated by each other.
Yet I know he loves me, and I know how hard he works for us. I know the exact feeling he is having when he looks at me with the pain so fresh and strong in his eyes that there are no words to describe it. I know that for both of us everything has changed but so much is expected to be the same. I know there are feelings and worries that he keeps from me because I keep my own from him. Not all, but some. I know I hesitate to dump on him when I feel my emotional cup runneth over. I hesitate to say how bad a day I am having because he might be doing better than me that day, and I hate to take it from him. We lean on each other like we can with no one else. So these little cave man moments of him thinking he is the "Hunter" and I am the "grazer", (old joke.. not funny right now!) are just moments, like so many others we have to live through each day. Even after you finally get the piece of popcorn out from under your gum, it is sore and tender for a while, reminding you it was there. Then just as quickly it is gone and you forget all about it.. until the next time it happens! But we keep eating popcorn, knowing we may have to deal with that minor annoyance. It is worth the risk. Will I annoy Brian again tomorrow?.. probably. Will he annoy me? Probably. In the grand scheme of things, will it matter?.. only for the moment, then it will be gone.. until next time!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I didn't think I was a pessimist before Kierra's death, but maybe I was. Maybe I always have been, but it is more obvious to me now. I really try not to dwell on her death. But I have the media, and lawyers to remind me just how screwed up this world can be. And that makes our loss so much more "in our face". Of course, it is always there, but there are different levels. It is very hard to function on the "in your face" level. I manage to dim my grief somewhat to handle the necessary tasks required to get through the average day. Dealing with the media, attorneys, and all the emotions stirred up by them, truly drains the emotional life right out of me. I try to find the good in each day, I try to enjoy the kids and the positive energy they ooze from their pores. Brian & I are taking a much needed, much deserved break next week. I am hoping it helps recharge me. I hate to bring everyone down around me. I wonder if the day will ever come that I am able to see more light than dark. Actually to feel there is something to look forward to, rather than always looking back. I know it is out there, somewhere.. beneath the pale moonlight..

Monday, September 25, 2006

Captain of the Kayak..

That is what Hunter called himself when we were kayaking yesterday morning. Terri, Dori, Hunter, & I went out on the intercoastal side of Guana Park. There are supposed to be Manatees on that side, but we didn't see any. The tide was coming in and we didn't go that far out. We were out for 2 hours, but the tide and current were strong both going out and coming back in, so we didn't get as far as we thought! Hunter chose where he wanted his seat to go on my kayak. He even got to lay back anad chill out while I paddled us around. It went well. He did talk about the day Kierra died. I reassured him and he seemed to accept that. We went to lunch at Caps, and boy does he like gator tail! He liked that better than the shrimp he ordered for his lunch! It was a good day. I am glad he got over the initial fear of going out on the water again. I am looking forward to many more outings!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Morning Among My Friends..

Terri, Savannah, Nancy, Dori, & I all got up at the butt crack of dawn..(Savannah says it was before that so it is the lower back of dawn..) and went to the Jax Farmer's Market. It had been described to me a if it was a sight to be seen and a HUGE expanse of produce and fresh foods. It was minimal, although there was a good variety of produce. Just not what I had built it up to be. So we headed north to the Pecan Park Flea Market. It was just after 9 am at this point so most booths were just getting set up and alot weren't even open yet. After that we headed to an early lunch, so we got to Sticky Fingers just as they opened their doors at 11am. It seemed every where we went there were barely any other people there. We bring our own party with us, which was evidenced by our waiter Kenny, so no crowds was just fine with us. We checked out the new Native Sun health food store and then all headed our seperate ways from my house. It was good morning. As it usually is when ever friends have the chance to get together. It was a great way to start the day!

Sense & Sensibility..

Brian & I visited a couple who lost their 24 year old daughter in March due to a drunk driver, he is also a JSO officer. I have blogged before about how similar our situations are. John & Kim are good people. Kim was just in a major accident and was hospitalized and has more surgery to go through. We were talking about how different our perceptions and sensibilities are now. Not much shocks or suprises us anymore.. how bad can it be after what we have lost? Yes, things can always be worse, but you try to numb yourself from whatever is coming next. Some people have the best of intentions and others just don't ever get it. Between legal stuff and a media miscreant, I have been juggling my grief and my anger. It is a tenuous game of chance. So I will juggle away and see where it all falls. Bad things happen to good people all the time. It just offends my senses on numerous levels and I can't talk about it as much as I would like to. So I will work on numbing myself and get through what comes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Why can't life be as simple as this single moment? The entire house is quiet. No TV, no radio. Everyone but me is asleep or trying to go to sleep. Almost everyone.. I can hear Alexa singing to herself. Tristan is already asleep. There aren't really any words, just a lot of la-la-las. It is a sound devoid of sorrow, innocent and sweet. It reminds me that these things do still exist, innocence and sweetness. Purity of spirit. She laughs, such a pure sound. No grief to tinge it with guilt or sadness. No hesitation, from her heart. I want to bathe in the light of it. I want to wash my soul with it. There is hope, there is light, in these moments...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Notable Notes..

*Saturday I took Dori, Greta, Nancy, & Terri to a cooking class at Blue Bamboo, Good friends & Good food, who could ask for anything more?!
*Sunday Tristan & Alexa went with Brianne, Hunter spent the day with me because he had a sleepover with Katie & Cody at Greta's. I picked him up in the am. We ended up staying home. It was a Deja Vu kind of day with just Hunter at home.
*Adding to the Deja Vu.. Alex called from Iraq. He had a dream about Tristan getting hurt and had to call to see if he was okay. We kept it all small talk about the kids, etc. He may be there more than a year. He will let us know.
*Tristan has gotten in the habit of saying "No Way!", well Alexa came up to him yesterday evening after he said that and said... "Way!"
*I gave Tristan & Alexa wet wipes to clean off their faces.. Tristan took his, faked a big Ahhh Choo! and then made a noise like blowing his nose. It was too cute, Alexa tried to copy him but doesn't do it as well!
* I finally convinced Hunter to go kayaking with me next weekend. He has said he won't go kayaking again because last time he went Kierra died. I haven't been able to get him back out there since. It was hard for me too, but I hope I can help him overcome it.
*Every morning on the way to school Hunter tells me he misses Kierra and I tell him so do I, every day.
*Hunter has moved up to Master's black belt training in Karate. He now has an orange belt with a gold stripe through it.
*I have been e-bay crazy for size 3 jeans with adjustable waistbands!
*Hunter & I went in the hot tub before his bed time tonight. He says we should do that every night because I need to relax!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

All That Glitters..

It used to be gold & diamonds that I longed for. I would drool over a cute pair of shoes..okay I still drool over shoes.. but I find it funny to realize my wants & desires have changed so much. This week Brian & I went shopping for aplliances. I was going to settle for either a new dish washer, or a new stove. I could barely contain myself! We got all three! Brian likes the stainless steel look, I don't have a preference. So he got the stainless & I got almost an entire new kitchen. The stove & fridge came yesterday. The stove is a 3 rack convection oven as well as a conventional oven. It has the burner and oven door lock out feature to protect the kids. It has a radiant heat cook top with 5 burners. I love it! The dishwasher gets here next week. Last Wednesday Rick put in a new maxed out garbage disposal for me. Our old one was like our dishwasher, you have to do half the job before you use it. We gave Brianne & Justin our old fridge & stove. We took their old fridge and put it in the garage for extra space. Now I need to paint. So for me all that glitters isn't gold anymore, it's cold, hard steel!

Torn between Two..

No, not Tristan & Alexa! I am torn between Liquid Band-aid being my hero, and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser! I have used them before to clean walls and things, but this time I was truly amazed. I used it to clean my oven.. and it did an awesome job! No smelly sprays or rubbing my fingers raw with steel wool. Just a little elbow grease and my magic eraser! No cleaning sprays, or messy, greasy goo. I wonder how it works on kids?!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Isn't it ironic??

I just talked about the decals on my car, and then I posted the pix today. Well, I got a phone call today from someone at one of the news channels asking to do a story about the web site. I declined and told him I would gladly contact him when we were ready to go public with it. He called me back this evening shortly after 8 pm to let me know they were going ahead with the story on the 10 o'clock news and he didn't want me caught off gaurd, they would just use old footage from last November. He was sorry, but they decided to go ahead with it. I just said okay and left it at that. I wasn't going to thank him. It took all I had to not go off. I had told him earlier that regardless of his intentions the story would be noticed then picked up by other media and they would all put their own spin on the story. Because that was such an unpredictable chain of events it would be best to not run the story right now with all the legal issues going on. That he would be one of the first on my list when we were ready. He didn't do a "bad" job of it, but he failed to mention we had declined to participate in their version of the story and he made it sound like he had talked to us more than he had. He ran the website and the info and it is not even fully functional yet. I did go on and update the welcome page of the website to explain the news story. I kept it nice and tactful. Boy was that hard! Now I have to deal with all the e-mails and contacts on the website. I have to explain to another news guy who respected my wishes and had held off doing a story for the past month, that I did not give them permission to run this. Isn't it ironic, I have always been outgoing, someone who is always "out there", and now I wish I could be invisible.

Tristan asleep again

Tristan asleep again
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

Lexie Princess

Lexie Princess
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Playing dress up in girl's clothes! (This is one of my e-bay wins!)

Van back window

Van back window
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

Truck Window

Truck Window
Originally uploaded by mommanana.

Van side windows (On both sides)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I was going through starbucks drive through this morning and a young girl was working along side my favorite barista, Joe. She read out loud the that I have in purple accross the center side window of the van. She said"Oh how cute!" I am not sure what she meant. Joe gave her an odd look and said "You know it was her daughter killed on JTB?" She gave him a blank look and said "who?". He sent her to get my croissant, and shaking his head, he apologized. I told him that wasn't necessary. Another woman, Robin, came to the window to say hi and looked at the Window that says Remember Kierra Lee Shore with the dates and a purple fairy and asked how I was doing today. I said fine, got my coffee and drove away. I heard Joe explaining Kierra's accident to the young girl as I left. And I am still puzzled by the girl's "cute" statement. The color of the letters was cute? The CARR was cute? I don't know why I focused on her thinking it was cute. I guess because the idea that anything about it is "cute" seems absurd to me.
And I guess because even now, 10 months later, it is still so painful. And I think it reminded me that although it consumes so much of our lives right now, there are people who don't remember, who don't know why those emblems are on my car. And that seems like another world to me. It seems foreign to think of a life without this tragedy in it. And it makes me feel like I am on the outside looking in to the rest of the world. Or maybe it is being trapped on the inside and looking out at everyone else. Neither view brings the term "cute" to mind!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Storm Clouds..

The clouds hung gray above us and the rain fell down around us, but we were not to be deterred! Terri, Dori, & I bit the bullet and hit the water anyway. I am sure we looked a bit maniacal putting our kayaks in at the Guana park boat ramp when most sensible people were high & dry on such a dreary morning. But there were no signs of lightening and it wasn't pouring down all that hard. We saw a couple alligators who kept their distance (and so did we!). There were herons and cranes and sandpipers and cormorants and a few more birds I didn't recognize. There were mullet jumping all over the place, but no sign of any jelly fish at the north end of where we usually go. I will have to get a local map of the layout of the water ways through there. It didn't take long for the rain to end and the sun to make an appearance. It was a beautiful day. I am glad we didn't cancel due to the rain. We had lunch at caps and saw a couple dolphins playing in the water. I think we need to hit the ocean soon. Dori was ready to go out again, but we will see how her muscles feel in the morning! I spent the afternoon fighting a wicked headache, and the evening taking care of the kids. Now I have to get some things done and try to get some sleep. Maybe I will dream of calm water and sunny skies...maybe I can fend off the storm clouds in my mind as easlily as we did today..maybe..

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy & Sad Faces..

Okay, now that I have scared most of you almost to death, I am sorry. I reread my last post and almost deleted it. But I can't. It is what it is. I have to be honest and I have to let it out. I don't know how else to do this. I don't mean to be dark and dismal all the time, I really don't. It comes in waves and as it gets closer to the 1 year mark of her death I am sure I will be the grim reaper. You may want to take a hiatus and blog jump to happier places. I guess I should buy stock in Kleenex! For my diehard blog followers, thank you for sticking by me. Maybe I will start putting happy & sad faces at the top of my posts so you can be fore warned!

To Know..

My mind is like the art project in school where you use a spinner to create a myriad of colors in a spun design. You can't really control the design, or how much color goes where, at least not as a child. And you can try to duplicate them, but they usually are one of a kind. Coming out different each time although you put the same colors in. My mind keeps spinning so I am not sure what the outcome may be. It has been a busy week. We met with our lawyer and had the opportunity to read all the witness accounts and reports, etc. Things keep getting changed and rescheduled. Alot of info going back & forth. I believe knowledge is a good thing. I prefer knowledge to the unknown. I didn't have to read it all, and I know we were told more at the time of her death than the average person because of the cameraderie of Law Enforcement. And I know the truth can't be worse than what my mind sees every time I think of it. I know the assumptions would have left me with nagging doubts. Yet the knowing changes me. It stirs up the stability of my mind and leaves me uncertain. Being told something is absorbed differently than reading it. Your ears bring it into your mind in a different way than your eyes do. The brain processes it differently. Knowing changes the threads of time. It stretches them then pulls you back. The most insignificant of details screams at me. What I think should stay with me and prolong my sleepless nights does not. It is something else entirely. Do not ask me to speak of it. I can not give life to the details of her death. They feed off me enough already. It does not mean I don't love you or trust you or anything as rational as that. It means it is too painful. It means I can't bring sense to it myself. It means it is too real for me. So let me do what I must do with it. Let me stop the spinning and see what is left. I may never want to speak of it, so please respect that. That I tell you at all is something. It means I want you to know what it is that haunts me, to know why I don't sleep, to know if I don't reach out to you, it is not you. To know that grief is far from finite. To know and not be afraid of being close to me. Because I need you all more than ever to remind me of life, of living, of all that lies ahead. To know hope. To know that as each day passes I will see less of the shadow and more of the sun...

Way to go Hunter!!

Hunter has had an awesome week! He has had "happy Faces" all week. We are so proud of him. The Dr. put him on the lowest dose of Concerta and said we may have to raise it, but I am thrilled with it the way it is. We were hesitant to put him on any meds, but all the testing came back that he really needed help with his impulses and reactions to stimulation. He has done really well. There are still rough spots, he is a 5 year old boy with definite opinions and sibling rivalry just like always. But he seems so much happier, with none of the zombie effect we were worried about. We hope it isn't necessary to increase the meds as he becomes more accustomed to it, or as he gets older and gains weight. We will take it as it goes. So far, so good!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

This Life...

I was talking to my Mom today. She has a computer, but just uses it for the basics. She has Macular Degeneration in both eyes, so although it is improving, it is hard for her to read small print. We were talking about my needing to write her cousin, we call her "Aunt" Florence. They were both the only child in their families and are each other's only living blood relative. Anywho, Aunt Flo does not use the computer. She is a self proclaimed writer and poet and quite the critic to everyone else's efforts. And I must say, quite eccentric.
I explained to my Mom that the blog has become my main communication to almost everyone I know, so I have gotten out of the habit of writing good old fashioned letters. I have a friend in Michigan, Sher, who does not get on the computer much and I really need to write her. I was thinking of printing off the blog and sending it, but that may be a bit overwhelming!
My Mom is not so keen on the whole Blog thing. She thinks it is too personal to be put "out there". She is of a generation that would never air their laundry.. dirty or otherwise. Yet my Mother is a poet. She recently self published quite a nice collection of poetry about life, love, kids, and her faith. Some are cute, some serious, some sad. I consider that sharing some pretty personal stuff, and she agrees. She said that was the hardest part about her choice to publish it. It started out for us kids, then friends and people she knew at church got interested. So although not widespread, she has "gone public". She chose and edited what she put in her book of prose, so I guess that censored alot of what she shared.
I do censor some things, believe it or not! There are things I have held back and things I have decided not to mention. More because I do not think what I feel should always be up for debate, and some things involving other people are between them and me, to some degree. This is a form of therapy for me. I have always journaled, kept a diary so to speak. This is much easier and quicker. It allows me to let the words flow without hesitation. To really look inside myself without waiting for my pen in hand to catch up with the rush of thoughts and feelings flowing from my mind. It is a smoother, easier process. Which means it is a brutally honest process as well. I often tell the people in my life.. "If you don't really want to know, don't ask me!" Because if you ask me, I will tell you, and you may not like what you hear. So it goes that I am sometimes too honest for some people to accept. As I have said multiple times.. It is what it is. I said in my very first entry.. I can't promise what you will find here.. and I still can't, 227 entries later. Because each day is new and each day is different than it was before. And I am still learning how to live this life.. Life Without Kierra.

Labor Day(s)

(It is 4:45am, I have not been to bed yet, so I still consider this to be Monday!) I was thinking today of all the different places I have been over the years for Labor Day weekend. Nothing major stands out from my child hood. I am sure many would have considered me still a child Sept. of 1980, I was a month shy of my 17th birthday. Kierra was conceived that Labor Day weekend. I told my Mom I was babysitting, instead I spent the weekend at a hotel with the man who would become Kierra's biological father. 26 years ago. That seems like another life.
By the following year, Sept. 1981, we were married and living in Decatur, Indiana. Kierra was almost 3 months old.
By Sept. 1982 we were sperated and on our way to a divorce and Kierra & I were living in St. Petersburg, Florida.
By Sept. 1983 Kierra & I had married Brian in July and we lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Sept. 1984 we were still in Wyoming and Brianne was just a couple weeks old.
Sept. 1985 Brian was in Belgium with the Air Force, the kids & I were back in St. Petersburg, FL.
Sept. 1986 we lived in Plattsburgh, New York and Chad was almost 2 weeks old, Brianne was 2 & Kierra was starting Kindergarten.
Sept. 1990 we were on our way to Mildenhall, England.
Sept. 1994 we were living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sept 1995 we were living in Jacksonville, FL. on Inez Drive.
Sept. 1999 we were living in Jax on Spaulding Road.
Sept. 2000 we were living in Jax on Beckley Place.
Sept. 2001 Hunter was living with us (since April 10th.)
Sept. 2003 Hunter was legally ours (in July).
Sept. 2004 Tristan & Alexa were 7 months old.
Sept. 2005 Kierra was getting ready to move into her apt.
Sept. 2006 Here I sit, 26 years after she was conceived, unable to believe she is gone.
As true as I know it is, it is still so "unreal" to me at times. Like now in the pre-dawn light, in the wee hours of my sleepless night, my mind does not let me rest from the thoughts I must confess.. are troubled and tired, as I am. So sleep I seek, and hope to find, some rest for this, my troubled mind..

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Keep Walking.. (aka: My give-a-damn's busted!)

How do you just walk away? How do you make the decision to just stop being part of someone's life? I don't get it. I used to think Alex & Darnell were so different, but both have managed to just disappear from the twin's lives. You can't just pop in and out after months at a time. It isn't fair to them. I have never kept either one of them from these kids. I have never said they couldn't see them. But at what point do I say enough? When do I put the twin's feelings first? Isn't that what they should be doing? Alex is their father by birth. He has seen them 4 times in their lives so far. Darnell was part of their lives for 10 months when Kierra died. They called him Daddy. He has seen them several times since then, most in the first 6 months. Then it tapered off and he has made no attempt to see them since Vicky and the gang took them to the park July 5th. That is almost 2 months ago. Maybe that is for the best. I will not have them confused and upset because he pops in and out at random. Maybe he considers that part of moving on. I don't know and am honestly getting to the point that I don't care. We have done everything we could to help him. I can't do anymore. The twins don't know Alex, so it was never an emotional connection for them. It was with Darnell. I guess it is better to know now that he won't be part of their lives. I had just expected more.
Alex took Kierra's death pretty hard when he finally found out. He was supposed to have training the first couple weeks in May. He was supposed to call when he got back May 19th and we would set up him seeing them before he headed to Texas June 6th. He never called. He is supposed to have gone to Iraq Mid August for a year. No call, no letter. Just gone. I don't get it.
I am glad Tristan & Alexa are young. I am glad their losses are not as obvious to them as they are to us. I am glad they are happy, and I am glad they are loved. And I am so sorry for those, not just Alex & Darnell, who have decided not to be an integral part of their lives. Whatever the excuses, whatever the reasons, it is their loss. I will not chase people down, or beg people to be part of our lives. I will never "move on" from Kierra's death, but I will go forward, and I will leave people behind along the way. By their own choice, not always by mine. But know that I rarely look back, and I rarely reopen a closed door.
We are blessed to have so many caring, loving people in our lives every day. Family & friends who we know we can always count on. You all know which side of the door you are on. I am not the one who has walked away. We are where we have always been, right here. My address and phone numbers have not changed. So those that get pissed off by this..where have you been lately? I don't ask that because I care, I want you to ask your self that question before you decide I am the bad guy. I wake up each and every day reminded of Kierra's death, reminded that she is gone forever. No matter what good I have in my life, it is always shadowed by that. So I have every right to resent anyone who chooses to add to the losses Tristan & Alexa will have to live with. And since this is my blog, I have every right to voice my opinion. So for those of you who are among the faithful, you are thanked and loved. For those who aren't... keep walking..

Family, Friends, & Food..

I am so fortunate to have my sister, Greta, living close to me. I am also fortunate to have some of my friends nearby too. I had an impromptu cook out today. I missed those who couldn't make it, but really enjoyed those who could. The kids were wound up and if it hadn't been so hot outside they could have played out on their playground, but they couldn't, so they were a little wired and alot ornary! Yet even with the chaos, it was food for my soul. I love cooking and feeding people. It means alot to me for them to enjoy it. I don't eat Salmon, but it is one of the things I always fix for everyone else and seems to be a big hit. I alwasy fix several options so there is something for everyone.
Yet the food is secondary for me. It is the unity of coming together. The commitment it takes to set aside that time to spend with someone. Having the house full of people I care about. The love & the laughter that is so evident in the simplest of gestures.
I freeze frame things in my mind;
*Rick standing over the grill. Simple isn't it? I don't usually let people help. Rick is a big, imposing (looking) guy. He can be rough and brusque, and usually is.. yet he can be so caring & tender, and you know it is genuine. Kierra always said he was just like Shrek..layers..lots & lots of layers!
*Randy wearing the mask to Hunter's "thing" costume, with his hat on, which somehow made it look real.. and him playing peek a boo with Alexa with it from accross the room. Randy has had major health issues, we almost lost him Dec. 2004. Another big, imposing looking guy who can be a badass when he wants to be, but has a heart of gold. Although they had their differences at times, Kierra adored him, and he adored her.
*Greta sharing her soda, and any food she tried to eat (tried being the key word!) with the kids. She is the epitomy of the title "Nana". Our family is not close, too many kids, too many differences. Too many hard heads and bad tempers! Yet from this same gene pool Greta emerged with such a gentle & generous heart. I teased her once about being a ping pong ball.. bouncing back & forth trying to keep everyone happy. She really is a peacemaker, and I mean that in a good way. She does it with the children too. I wouldn't trade her for the world!
* Dori & Nancy sitting on the couch in the midst of kiddie chaos. Multi tasking between carrying on a conversation with each other and givng the kids attention as it was demanded.. often! I think of how different they are, how different we all are, yet our friendship transcends all that. It is hard for some people to understand that most of my friendships are decades long. I have close friends who live all over the country, and several scattered accross Florida as well. Those connections mean something to me. I don't give myself easily, (quit snickering girls! I mean emotionally!) so when I do, it usually sticks.
*Terri & her daughter Savannah.. showing off their pedicured and painted toes.. and sitting next to each other at the table talking about college. Savannah is defintitely her own person, but I still get a sense of "mini me" when I see her with Terri. Not just the physical resemblance, but alot of the same mannerisms & opinions. This was Savannah's first visit home from college so they were making a day of it.. pedicures, our house, then shopping. They have always been a huge help with the kids. And whatever I have decided to do or take on, Terri has given her support, advice, and a helping hand where needed, no questions asked.. well, okay, there are always questions.. and usually they are damn good questions. The kind you thought about for an instant then decided to avoid.. so she asks them, and even though she doesn't demand an answer, it makes you face the questions head on.
Life keeps changing and we all seem to adjust and move on. Hmm, not really move on, that implies distance, seperation.. we move forward, knowing that we are one of many passengers traveling together, sometimes different destinations, but always on the same train.. hop on, we have plenty of room, and hopefully, a long way to go..