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It Happened

October 27th, 2007 by Joyce

It nearly happened earlier in the month, but didn’t. Instead, it happened this weekend. We lost a favorite toy.

She doesn’t seem to be minding, but I’m not sure she’s realized it’s permanently gone, and not Mommy-can’t-find-it-right-now gone.

I mind, though.

Earlier today Matt took C&D to Hermann Park to play while I slept. He was pushing them on the swings when a group of young children (sans parents) stormed the swingset, roughly pushing C&D off their seats. Before anyone could get hurt, Matt tucked C&D in the jogging stroller and walked toward Rice.

At Rice, Matt realized Tonopah, the white tiger Carmen clutched refused to share with anyone last week, was gone.

We’re guessing one of the children took him when they were stormed.

I feel so hurt. Tonopah was just a stuffed animal, but he reminded us of a disastrous backpacking trip survived in 2004. Remember that story?

Tonopah, Nevada was the name of the town we were driven to by ambulance when we were picked up in the town that said, “Population 9.” Tonopah sat nearly halfway between Reno and Nevada, an alien town in an alien landscape. After examinations by the ER staff (where the doctor said, “You’re actually sober! People never come in her sober!”), we walked to a lodge-style motel with a wood-paneled casino on the first floor. The next afternoon we took the only bus out of town. We left wondering if I still carried a life in my belly, wondering how we hadn’t been more hurt, wondering what the whole event meant, if anything at all. As we traveled along the bleached asphalt road, I stared at the neverending red-brown mountains under the dusty blue-brown sky outside my window feeling small, and fortunate.

Fortunate. That is why I liked Tonopah the tiger. Tonopah is a stuffed white Animal Alley tiger. Matt bought him while on a drugstore run the day before the wedding we had traveled to attend. Just days into my pregnancy my body was already beginning a series of drastic changes. My shoulders drooped with fatigue and I couldn’t sleep my favorite way, on my belly, because the bed felt like a wooden board under my chest. Matt bought the stuffed tiger, $10 in a clearance bin, in an effort to help me sleep. On our drive across Nevada, days later, I used the tiger as a wraparound pillow for my back, my neck, my shoulders. I imagined our baby sleeping with it in the same way. When we had the accident, the tiger rode on top of a stack of backpacks in the backseat. As we tumbled in the desert sand so did the tiger. When we all stopped rolling I found it dusty stuck between the hood of the car and the rear passenger door, wedged in the gap created as the truck’s frame bent and collapsed. We pulled it out, and as I tucked it under my arm blood stained its rear haunch. Somewhere after then, I named the tiger Tonopah. This would be the baby’s tiger, a symbol of our survival.

I kept Tonopah tucked away. When we moved the tiger eventually found itself at the bottom of a toy chest, and it didn’t take long for C&D to find it there.

I wanted to take C&D’s picture with Tonopah for their third birthday. We used it for their first birthday photos, even for their newborn and pregnancy pictures. I looked forward to watching the cat seem smaller as the babies (who aren’t so much babies anymore) grow.

I built a search on eBay for a tiger just like Tonopah. Without the dust and blood stain, I know it won’t be the same, just another surplus item from someone’s animal suffed colllection. But, at the same time, when we see it, we will remember.

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Texian Market Days

October 27th, 2007 by Joyce

IMG_4367 IMG_4352


It’s been about two years since C&D first visited the George Ranch, and we’ve been regulars since.

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Remodeling in Progress

October 23rd, 2007 by Joyce · 1 Comment

Please excuse our virtual dust. We’re moving the blog from Blogger to a WordPress server (thanks, Matt!). The dust should be settled by the end of the month.

→ 1 CommentTags: Crafty

Back at the Ranch

October 23rd, 2007 by Joyce

The weather beckoned west for a sunny morning out this past Saturday.





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October 22nd, 2007 by Joyce

An e-mail from Matt this afternoon:

Oh, a story. Last night, she stood up in the bathroom and bonked her head on the shelf. She never was tall enough to do that before, but now it bonks. I told her “Carmen grew!” and she looked around and then looked really proud and said “Carmen grew! Now I can go down the pole!”

We might have to go to the playground and see if she grew enough or not…

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Strange and unlike the life we knew before

October 21st, 2007 by Joyce · 1 Comment

One of the lessons out of the AVM rupture/resection/recovery/failures/therapy process over the past nine months has been that in an instant life can change in ways that we couldn’t have ever imagined. Movies and books almost never talk about injuries so hidden and subtle, yet so real, that they never cross our minds. Programs for those injuries never collect funding for research and treatment at even the best hospitals. Patients–and their caregivers–ever wonder if life will ever feel normal, whatever that is now or was before. Therapy and support becomes sparse or altogether absent, making the recovery all the harder.

Sabrina Strawn, the wife of a patient at TIRR explained her own predicament:

Among the many things I don’t understand is how, if a person is improving all the time, and a payor will pay, therapy ends. Mark’s fastest improvement will be in these first two years, so I’m eager for therapy to continue. At the same time, I recognize that the real world, as strange as it is and unlike the one we knew before, has come. Therapy will end at some point and living on our own in this new world begins.

It’s strange–and for some people in some situations downright scary–not being able to even imagine what’s coming next.

→ 1 CommentTags: Bigger Pictures · My Brain (& the AVM)

No More Bongos on the TV

October 21st, 2007 by Joyce

Carmen was trying to play bongos on my thighs during naptime.  She sat between by legs, slapping my thighs with both hands at once, then alternating, then crossing one over the other.  She didn’t nap, but you probably guessed that.

No more Chickens Playing Bongos on the TV for a little while.


Entry completed Dec 2007.

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