July 2007


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I grew up in northern California. My Dad inherited an auto repair/tire store from his dad in a little place called Redwood City. My Dad taught me to love tires and the San Francisco 49ers. Before they were a famous franchise, the practices were in Redwood City. As a child, my Dad would take me to watch. There were no crowds, no security, not even a fence.  Our coach was Nolan and my players guys like Brodie and Washington and we played at a little place called The ‘Stick. (I may have been to a game at Kezar too, but being only 7 yo I don’t exactly remember).

I learned how the game worked. I learned to appreciate the talent on all the teams. Football was as much a part of our family gatherings as Grama’s Beans. However, we were what they termed “49er Faithful.” They were our #1 team and we supported them no matter how they performed. As a young teenager, I never had much hope that we would ever be better than mediocre and that was ok. I still loved them. I love the game, but I had a personal affinity for the 49ers. I think it started as a bonding thing with my Dad, but the love affair continued.

I moved to Utah. Continued to be a fanatic. It was my link to home. My Dad and I would call each other after plays and say did you see that? I had kids. I raised them to be fans, serious fans. We had outfits. I dressed them as babies in 49er fan clothing. During big games we made giant posters and painted our faces. We were an odd group in the middle of nowhere Utah, surrounded by people who believed Sunday was strictly for church. Here we were decorating, dancing, hooting and hollering. They weren’t just games, they were bonding experiences.

Bill Walsh came. Now I am not a big expert on the complexities of the game. I am pretty sure my son can explain all the plays and what went wrong or right, I just watch and scream and yell. But I knew right away, Walsh was different. We didn’t just watch Niner football, we watched as much football as we could and he was doing stuff no one had ever seen. And the team improved. It was a joy to watch and somehow karmic payback that the team we had always supported when others had fled, was now a good team, in fact became an amazing team! I can’t explain it like the sports experts, but know this….the man was genius.

As the years progressed, we had wonderful years and rebuilding years. I am sure that without players like Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Dwight Hicks and Carlton Williamson the dynasty may not have been possible. But I know that without Bill Walsh it definitely would not have been possible.

Niner football isn’t just a sporting event to my family, its a tradition. It is when we all get together and eat good food. We visit and have fun. I have wonderful memories of our Sunday’s together from when the kids were small to young adults. My youngest daughter’s first steps are recorded in front of a Niner game on the TV while she wears her brother’s Niner jersey. Thus this loss is like an extended member of the family has passed. My family is saddened by the loss of this great man. Our condolences to his family and to all who knew him. I am sure he was as great a person as he was a coach.

Last nite Mr. Vixen was tired early. So we went to bed early. I was not so tired. So I was lying there trying to be asleep. Suddenly he jerked. You know, that whole body jerk when you have a dream of falling of a cliff:

Me: Whoa there Nelly, you ok? Fall off a cliff?

Mr. Vixen: Yarm glub neft. Broppen knee.

Me: You fell off a cliff and broke your knee?

Mr. Vixen: Nerg fizzen blat knee?

Me: Hmm. You fell off a cliff here at the house or were we camping?

Mr. Vixen: Mpphh. Running.

Me: You were running?!?! Wow?**

Mr. Vixen: Yerp. And knee broke.

Me: In your dreams you can run? Run like a kid again? That is so sad. You are only in your 40s and you dream about being able to run. Like an old dog who chases rabbits in his sleep. Sad but funny. Heh. Sorry.

Mr. Vixen: Yea I could run. I ran and my knee just broke.

Me: Sad. That is sad. I am sorry. Hey, wanna get up and play cards????!!!!

Mr. Vixen: No. Exhausted. Too tired. Unless you wanna play around?

Me: You are too exhausted to play cards, but you have enough energy to get physical?

Mr. Vixen: Let’ get physical, physical. La la lalala, lalala.

Me: Do not sing Olivia Newton John to me.

Silence ensued for a few minutes. Mr. Vixen begins to snore softly.

Me: NOOOOOOOOO. Now it’s in my head! It won’t stop. That damn song! Those damn workout clothes! That damn headband! It won’t stop. That is the worst song ever! I hate you!!!!!!!!

Mr. Vixen: Heh. Sorry, but you did compare me to an old dog….

**Mr. Vixen is currently disabled due to ongoing knee problems. He had surgery several years ago involving moving bones and titanium screws. He is now using a brace and a cane.

I must begin by saying this: Nannygoat stop reading now. Go away. I love you, but I want to talk about this on my blog. I do not want you to know what I am thinking cuz I am mean like that. So don’t read this post. Period. Listen to your mother, it will be a first (hah!).

After Nannygoat (following in her mother’s footsteps) eventually gave birth after 6 trillion hours of labor I wasn’t tired. I was excited and jubilant. My first grandchild was lovely and tiny and sweet. We had been at the hospital, awake, since Friday eve at about 10pm and it was now 2am on Sunday morn. A long haul. After several hours of adoring the little creature, exhaustion settled in. I went home for a shower and to sleep a full nights sleep. It didn’t happen.

Around 4am (?-that part is blurry) Nannygoat called. Something was wrong with the baby. She didn’t know what and could barely get a coherent word out through her fearful hysterics. When we arrived at the hospital, Ladybug was in the NICU. They said she was having seizures and were arranging for an EEG. Results were not normal. They called in a specialist. They decided to transfer her to Children’s via ambulance. It was all overwhelming and confusing. And it was my job to hold it together. And take care of everything. Because that is always my job, it is what I am good at. It is the one thing I feel I am really, truly good at.

At Children’s, they performed an MRI. The results showed two massive strokes with resulting severe brain damage of the left side worse than the right. Another EEG showed decreased brain function. There were consultations and counselors and social workers. Feeding tubes and breathing tubes. Collapsing veins and IVs in her head. No one could visit her in the NICU but her parents, so there were cell phone pictures through the barred windows. There were nights at the Ronald McDonald house and in hotel rooms. There was the statement from her doctors to her parents (while I held my babies hand) that if they (the parents) chose to remove Ladybug from life support that they would fully support that (they screamed no so hard at the doctor, he had to leave for a bit as we collected ourselves). As she continued to survive there were the consults about cerebral palsy, hemeplegia, brain death, mental retardation and on and on. There was 15 days of pain and sorrow and suffering and fear. I was not afraid though. (ok, well that one time when the doc said that stuff previously mentioned it made me run outside and kick a tree, but that wasn’t fear, that was anger). My fear was not held at bay by faith (which I had plenty of though), but by my complete submerssion into taking care of everyone. The new parents, my husband, the new aunty and uncle, and even both my parents who were still there.

The end result was a miracle. Today Ladybug runs around telling Grama she loves her. She continues to see specialists and they are watching her language skills. A follow up MRI at two years showed there was no mistake, it happened. Some of her brain appears as useless tissue. By some miracle her brain re-wired itself. At least that is what I tell myself. Professionally they don’t know why. Her neurologist just says we have to go with what she can do, not what the MRI says because it just does not match. I like that Ladybug fooled them all. There were many, many, many tests to determine why this happened. Even genetic testing. Still no answers why. But they are fairly sure it happened either during the labor/birth or just after.

And so here comes the fear for me. The surprise of what happened to Ladybug is gone. Now I know babies have strokes. As the day approaches for JumpingBean to be born (4 weeks or so) I am starting to have nightmares. I don’t usually dream at all. I want it to be done. I feel like I will explode from the fear and worry. My faith feels lacking and my strength seems missing. I don’t really know what to do with myself. Where am I?? The me who is strong? The me who took care of the entire family when Gramps was in ICU, at his funeral, at the Children’s NICU, when Macdougal kept trying to die from necrotizing fasciitis instead of graduating from high school and a million other times?

So yes, I am afraid. Not really afraid that anything will go wrong with JumpingBean. More afraid that I have lost me. Lost the me who I have been for nearly 30 years. What if that me is needed and I can’t find her?

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Thirteen Things Vixen loves about her new homestead (I may not own it, but I sure love it)

  1. This is where I get to sit each evening and blog.100_1124.jpg
  2. This fish pond is at the corner of my front lawn.100_1126.jpg
  3. There is all kinds of fruit everywhere. 100_1129.jpg
  4. This is the view from my hot tub. 100_1130.jpg
  5. I can go here and read in peace and quiet.100_1131.jpg
  6. Spiderman lives in our treehouse. 100_1132.jpg
  7. Mr. Vixen has a place to play and putter. 100_1133.jpg
  8. There is another big pond with a waterfall.100_1134.jpg
  9. Now my giant 10 cent goldfish, Whitey, has a place to play.100_1135.jpg
  10. Cousin IT (landlord) got a turtle. 100_1137.jpg
  11. There are tons of flowers, some I find halfway to the creek.100_1051.jpg
  12. The whole family plays badmitton, frisbee and whiffle ball every weekend on a lawn without worrying about running into a busy road way.100_1139.jpg
  13. I get to see views like this just before sunset.100_1140.jpg

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

  1. MamaLee
  2. Suprina
  3. Tommiea
  4. Exhausted Intern
  5. Wacky Mommy
  6. Slip of a girl
  7. Dew
  8. Jessica
  9. Qtpies
  10. Damozel
  11. Matthew
  12. J.Lynne
  13. Funsize
  14. Frigga
  15. Lori
  16. Lesley
  17. Peter Plum

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

I may or may not be for the war. I may or may not agree with our president. I may or may not vote. I may or may not be conservative or liberal or democrat or republican. I may or may not be political.

I support our troops. Those men and women risk their lives so I can choose to do any or all of the above. Thank you to all of them and their families. God bless you. (Hi Chris. We miss you!!!)

You stay up for 16 hours.
He stays up for days on end.

You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water.

You complain of a “headache”, and call in sick.
He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.

You put on your anti war/don’t support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.

You make sure you’re cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.

You talk trash about your “buddies” that aren’t with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.

You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.

You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.

You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He doesn’t get to eat today.

Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.

You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn’t have time to brush his teeth today.

You’re angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He’s told he will be held over an extra 2 months.

You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.

You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love’s perfume.

You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they’ll ever meet.

You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.

You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded.

You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the broken bodies lying around him.

You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don’t.
He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger.

You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.

You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.
He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long.

Ok off my soap box now. Just wanted you all to take a moment and think about those boys and girls, and their families. God bless America.

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