packing for a trip

Ahhh! Wait, going on a trip? and we have to like, PACK?

Nevermind that I’ve known for it for like 2 months; everything’s always put off until the day/night before- THAT’S THE WAY WE DO IT…Running around like a “chicken with its head cut off” [what does that mean anyway??] 

I just googled it:

What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘Like a chicken with its head cut off’?

In a frenzied manner.

What’s the origin of the phrase ‘Like a chicken with its head cut off’?

Poultry may sometimes run around frenziedly for several minutes after decapitation.

The phrase was known in the USA by the late 19th century. It is recorded in print being used as a simile from the 1880s; for example, this piece about an escaped prisoner in The Atlanta Constitution, July 1882:

“Finding himself free from the heavy shackles, he bounced to his feet and commenced darting about like a chicken with its head cut off…”

[as taken from: https://www.phrases.org.uk]

In a frenzied manner, distractedly, crazily. For example, She ran around the station looking for her lost bag like a chicken with its head cut off. This graphic simile alludes to the fact that the body of a chicken whose head has been cut off sometimes totters about crazily before succumbing.

chicken

I just went to Walmart, grabbed all my travel toiletries, [Danielle, I think you’re making too big a deal about this, my husband tells me] I’m checking the Milwakee, Wisconsin weather report every second and laying out far too many different outfits to wear, talking on Facebook messanger to my one friend about how bad cheese soup tastes and how I’m so anxious right now and don’t know why, I look over to find I haven’t taken the anxiety medicine that I need to take each day for the hormone imbalance that has resulted from my brain injury.  

WE ALL GOT OUR OWN PROBLEMS, just as I told my father in law when he was discussing a cousin of ours drinking problem.

We all got our own.

Thankful for us each having our own problems, and not being afraid to realize that No, we are not perfect- and it’s all alright.

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The dinner making conundrum

I am currently in charge of the housework and Chazz (doggie) care,

furryfriends

and the occasional babysitting job, so there is really no excuse for me not to be more proficient in the kitchen.  My husband would call me when he’s on his way home, and ask me to get dinner started.  And it’s not like I don’t start to do anything, I would start to get the kitchen ready.  While cleaning off the counter or washing a pot, I may get distracted and wash off the strawberries, or the weather report may come on the television (and we ALL know how distracted I get around Doug Kammerer, a local news weatherman)

dougkammerer

and find myself sitting in front of the TV for a few minutes, and my husband would walk right in the door.  Of course he would laugh and make a comment about the dinner that I was supposed to have started.  I would just tell him that I was cleaning the kitchen before getting started on dinner, which is true…

When my husband would get home, things would get a little better and I would stay on task, but still get distracted.  “Tonight I want to actually cook,” get the chicken out,  the skillet and the pot.   While getting the rice out of the pantry, my planner may catch my eye, and then I would get in front of my open laptop, that’s just right on the table overlooking the kitchen.  Then I would grab a book that my friend just gave me and I would think, I really should finish reading this book before I write my story in my memoir.  After all, she DID give me the book with the intention of giving me an example of how to write my story.  I would watch as my husband started to cook.  Then I will snap back into the dinner frame of thinking, and grab the butter for the rice.

One day, we were going to make a pizza on the pizza stone, one of our favorite date night things to do together and I chose to pat out the dough myself.  No, I do not need help; no, i do not need you to take over, it only takes me over an hour to get it straight because I never get the opportunity to try and actually do it!

 

 

On the days that I would actually start dinner before he got home, I always cook the chicken not to his specifications, on too high heat and making the chicken too brown for his taste. He stands right behind me, telling me how to do things better.  I do not need anybody standing behind me telling me how to cook it better;  If I am ever going to learn, I need to learn it for myself, sure it may mean a few things are overdone; it may take me a mistake or two to happen at first, or a little longer  but I can do it, it just may take me a little bit more time than a person [ahem, my husband].  Maybe if I had a little more practice at cooking, I could cook more and make the dinner better.  But then comes in my attention problem.

It has been 20 years since my car accident and resulting traumatic brain injury, but I still have severe attention problems, and will always have these problems.  Even 10 years after my car accident when I still lived at home with my parents, I would get halfway emptying the dishwasher, and then find my mom reloading it with dirty dishes.  “Hey, that was clean!” I would say, while she responded, “Well, its dirty now.”

FNC

8 years afterwards when I began working at Fairfax Nursing Center as an activities assistant, I would start recording the attendance, then get into a discussion with a coworker about a resident, or I would start organizing the music CDs that we listened to over the loud speakers that played down the halls.  I still get so distracted by whichever task I begin and attempt at completing.

My issues were much more evident when I returned to high school right after my car accident.  The extent of my learning disabilities was being evaluated by the learning aides at my high school.  The aides evaluated me intensely while helping me to learn compensatory tactics that I could use in completing my education, and later progressing on to college.  And of course, all the help I received from the Longwood University Academic Support Center helped me thrive, as you can read in this blog post.

Today, I am so incredibly THANKFUL for all the academic help that I have recieved in both high school and college.

 

 

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Faces of Trauma

Decisions can change your life in the blink of an eye.  A friend on my cheerleading squad asked for a ride home and the next thing I knew, I was falling off the bed in a hospital.    September 6, 1997, was the day my life changed; I had gotten my license earlier that summer when a car ran into the driver’s side and flipped my Jeep over.  I was in a coma for over 2 months, but thankfully I came out with a TBI and fractured pelvis that healed while I was unconscious.

I had a loving family and friends who came to visit me every weekend in the Charlottesville children’s rehab hospital for 5 months.  Returning home to go to another rehab program for 5 months followed by a year of outpatient physical therapy.  My early days of therapy wake up and ready by 9 for physical therapy; speech and language pathology where I worked on breath control, enunciating, pronunciation, and comprehension;  occupational therapy where we would work on the senses, like smells, vision (I saw double, so this was eye traking); school that worked on writing and reading; aquatic therapy where I walked in the pool; psychological therapy where I would talk about my emotions.

 The accident had started at the beginning of the school year, so I returned to high school a year behind my friends which was a challenge both physically and mentally.  I felt like I was different from my peers, the class that I would have been graduating with, so I tried to distance myself.   I tried really hard and I went away to Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.  Going away to school was the best thing that I could have done; I had a chance to meet all new friends who knew me for me, not just ‘the cheerleader who got in that accident.’ I found my purpose through my car accident; I thought back to the days I spent in rehab and all the fun that I had was in the activity free time, so I wanted to become a therapist who helped others in an inpatient situation have a little fun.  I graduated with a Therapeutic Recreation degree from Longwood, having worked in the activity department for 9 years and have taken time to begin writing my memoir and further spread TBI awareness.  Living through a tough experience can produce purpose in life and for that reason I really am thankful for my TBI.

 

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Dad, me and Uncle Pat getting some fresh air; October 5, 1997

 

lwgrad

Longwood University! 2005

 

 

 

 

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blink

I blinked, and 10 years had gone by.  what, 10 years? and I didn’t notice it?  I was working in a very fast paced job at the nursing home [at least it felt fast paced] I needed to be a ball of energy that was constantly on the go, helping the residents…

timeflies

Think about it; you’re the pilot, where do YOU want to go??

 

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Band-aids

healwound

We all need friends. Friends to be there in the joyous times,

and friends to comfort in rough situations.

In the bad times, it’s those friends who are there for you in your times of hardship, when other people have forgotten, or have been too busy living their own lives.

20 years is a long time, and I had thought that I had moved on, I was so young after all.  I don’t even know if we knew the meaning of all that was happening at only 16 in high school, but I can’t seem to get over it. I  need to let the band-aid keep its cover over it, so it fully heals, consider all the wonderful things that are currently have in my life, and let go of the past.  Just get over it- leave it alone and let it be.  Get over the ‘poor me’ stage, I didn’t have a close group of friends from high school- so what? My one close friend from high school that I still have told me that I can be thankful that I did have 2 great years, my freshman and sophomore… I missed my whole junior year, and when I came back to (what was supposed to be) my senior year, I couldn’t relate or hang out with my old friends, so I had to find new friends in the younger class.

class2000

And that’s okay, it just prepared me for making new friends in the later stages of life. And as we get older the further away our youth becomes. Mostly people grow up, and get wrapped in their own families, and get together with neighbors or coworkers.

Continue reading

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Bad dreams

I awoke with a jolt.

There was a was a fearful gasp in my throat. Not cool, I thought when I was conscious enough to recognize it as my own. In my dream, I recognized the very end of summer before the accident and felt reminiscent of the empty pool and high school football games.  I saw the boys congregating together in the hallways while I would pass the older girls looking with judgement  as I walk by.

whatuwant

My past is in my past. And that is where it should stay. I’m going to stop writing this dumb story of my sad life, even though it has a kick-ass ending.

Stop writing about the stupid people, that this insecure little 17 year old couldn’t stand up to or with, start writing about MY story of MY perseverance and achievements.  At least that’s the plan for now, wish me luck!

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Wish for you

wish

Sometimes we all need a feel good boost of energy to get us out of that slump. 
A person could be in great spirits, and have all these coping skills to get ready and rolling, and just need the inspiration.

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Awesome day!

 

Trevor the Otter

Make today so awesome yesterday gets jealous – Unknown

Peace out 
Trevor the Otter

This is the smartest otter I have ever known!  Yes, always be optimistic and forever looking to a bright future!  Just like a random 80s band…

 

 

 

 

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Walk through it

I came across this quote today that really resonates with me, it seems as if I’m always searching.  Searching for supreme happiness, or always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

I won’t let myself fully embrace the happiness and wonderfulness that is currently present, that is there and allow myself to enjoy it because I know how fleeting it all can be, how easily everything can stop on a dime and suddenly turn the other way.  Fleeting…think about it, everything is easily fading.  Anyone can be forgotten and fade into the background, just like wallpaper.  If you stay still long enough, most people just forget.  Either forget or you turn into a fond memory and are like, ‘what about that guy?…’  what is true in life? Will there ever be anyone left standing and waiting after a terrible car accident takes the cheerleader right out of her sneakers only leaving behind nothing more than a megaphone?  Which are actually only memories of a time long ago, a time before everyone got too busy developing adult lives to realize that you’ve been left behind.

But being left behind isn’t so bad.  Sometimes when you are “left behind” you actually get a chance to move forward and turn your life into something much better than you’ve every imagined it to be.

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I am not

iamnot

 

I am allowed to have an ‘off‘ day every once in a while.  That doesn’t mean that I AM an off person, that means I’m just human.

What?  What happened?  What day is this?  Is it Tuesday- oh, I only say this at 9:30 at night, after I’ve had my bowl of strawberries as dessert and I glance over at my weekly pillbox with the big T full of pills forgotten to take earlier this morning.

weeklypill
And my day never quite got started.
That would explain my listlessness and bewildered looks standing in the middle of the kitchen trying to decide what to do.

Even 20 years since the car accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury I still forget things from time to time.  Just like everyone else, people who even don’t have a brain injury forget things occasionally.
The difference is that I’m so hard on myself, telling myself that this shouldn’t happen, I shouldn’t have forgotten this- what did I just do?  I wasted my whole day!  It was rainy, yucky rainy all day, I left the house to vote that morning, which I guess threw me off.  I read a little on Tuesday, I guess that was productive- but it feels like a wasted day just because I’m not planning on reading that book, I have so much else to do.  What do I have to do? well, we are studying 2 different books in 2 of the other groups in which I devote my time. 

I should have been reading one of those.  But would’ve could’ve, should’ve, Should’ve ain’t never done nothin. 

Don’t be so hard on yourself,  I’m so thankful that I have people in my life who give me self assurance that I need it.  My pastor says that some days we just need to do nothing.

 

 

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