Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Retrograde Amnesia -- a person's pre-existing memories are lost to conscious recollection, beyond an ordinary degree of forgetfulness. The person may be able to memorize new things that occurs after the onset of amnesia, but is unable to recall some or all of their life or identity prior to the onset.
I've been struggling with weather or not i should blog about this, but this is something that right now is really most definitely affecting me. Chances are i won't publish this post because more then anything i'm venting, but i kind of need to throw this out into the void so maybe not, so humor me today.

This handsome man is my father.
I'm absolutely a daddy's girl. I love my dad. Not that i'm putting him on a pedestal, but my dad is one of my favorite people i know. He's a good man, and a great example. He has his faults, some more then others, but he admits them, and one of the good things about him is that he's humble enough to make the efforts to right his wrongs. And that great example part about him, the part where he loves his family and appreciates everything that he has and everyone around him, and would give the shirt off his back if you asked... that's the part that i love about him. He can seem like a bear sometimes, but he's really a gentle giant. All the good things about him are the good things i was looking for when i found Husband.
This past week, while my dad was rotating the tires on my step-mom's car, he fell in the garage and hit his head. My step-mom heard him cry out and found him on the ground with a huge welt on the side of his head which she thinks he got from hitting his head on a propane tank. He was taken to the hospital, scanned, tested and monitored while he was in and out of consciousness, and initially was diagnosed with a concussion. There was nothing bleeding or broken and his scans were all normal. But after he woke up, when anyone tried to talk to him, he kept pointing to his ears saying he couldn't hear anything. The kicker was when he got to focus on his wife Cindy and asked who she was. It was the same thing through the afternoon whenever he woke up: "I can't hear you. My head hurts. Who are you?", so amnesia was added on to his diagnoses. Once he started getting his hearing back a little he said he was hungry. He was sent home and told to do nothing but rest for the next 3 days and was scheduled to see a neurologist in Salt Lake on day 4.
When he got home, he didn't recognize it. He asked his wife to show him where he could lay down. Nothing is familiar to him right now. He doesn't know his home or his family, and doesn't recognize anyone that stops by to see him. So far, its embarrassing, confusing and frustrating for him when he knows he can't remember something. He's still has his basic living skills though; walking and talking and reading and all that. But he's not able to express himself as articulately as he usually does. He takes his time thinking for the right words. For him, usually when he's frustrated and tired, he's a grouch, but i've been talking with my step-mom and she says he's actually being very pleasant and patient. He just excuses himself and asks for a little space. I got to talk to him today for his birthday, and he sounds like himself for the most part, he still thinks the same way. He was saying me a lot of the little jokes he says when we talk about his weight or something, and he was proud to hear all the good things that are going on for everyone, so he's still the same person. When my step-mom gave him a driving tour of their town the other day, he knew he loved Arctic Circle and wanted to stop there for lunch, which is something very typical for him to want to do. When they went to Salt Lake for his neurology appointment, Salt Lake being where he grew up, he recognized parts of it. The house where his mother lived, and those kids of places. He kind of knew his way around, and while he was talking to a Air Force vet at the VA hospital that served in Korea, he remembered, on his own, his favorite uncle who also served in Korea. Also on his own he has been able to remember that he has 3 sisters and a brother, and Cindy fills him in when he asks for it. But usually he only wants little doses of information before its too much to comprehend. He's been shown pictures, and he recognizes himself in them, and he thought he knew who his uncle was in the same picture, but my brother and i were new to him. People and places are still knew to him, and its going to take some time. He's very positive about all of it though, so i think that's really good. When i was telling him tonight about places we've lived, he was very excited to hear of all the things he's done (like living on Guam, and Scuba diving), and he thinks its very interesting that he has so many guns ans SO much stuff for reloading bullets. I think he was kind of laughing at himself the way he was talking about it. He's positive about everything, and that's the part that matters.
When i found out what had happened, I cried. I admit it. There wasn't anything else i could do. The last few days, just thinking about him makes me tear up. I cry for him, and the thought of how hard it is for him through all of this. And, selfish person that i am, i cry for me knowing my father, the man i deeply love and am constantly turning to for advice and comfort, the man that helped raise me with my mother...that mad doesn't know or remember me at all. So this moment --

the one where we dance at my wedding, is lost to him right now. All my special memories with him are lost to him. He doesn't know me, his first born. And there isn't anything i can do to help him right now. Nothing is going to help him but time and faith right now.
About 2 years ago he started writing his personal history down, made a whole book about his life and things he could remember. This December he got all the way up to the part where he started dating my step-mom Cindy, which is something she remembers very well and can definitely fill him in on, so he has that to go to if this takes a while to get over. And if i can't be there for him, the person i trust more then anyone to help him through all this is Cindy. She's a blessing to our family, and most absolutely to him, and she has been for 10 years now. I know how hard it is for me, all the way in California, so i can only imagine what this is doing to her, having the man she loves not know who she is or how much they really love each other. But she's being strong, and positive, and he is too, and she's there for him all the time to help him. He wants to remember, he just knows its going to take some time. He's looking through pictures, and he's reading the books he keeps by his bed (about his guns and reloading), and he's retaining everything about all of it really easily, which is very typical for his type of amnesia. He was spouting out all kinds of information he read today like its second nature to him, which it is to him really, so these are all good things. More then anything its hard knowing he doesn't know us right now, but after talking to him today finally, i have a lot of hope that things will come back to him in time.
So family and friends, i'm asking for everyone to remember my dad Mario in your prayers for the next little while. We all feel like things are going to be ok in the end, that this is just a temporary trial and that he'll get his memories back. But until that happens, we're asking for some Divine comfort and help from Heavenly Father, and a little extra happy positive loving thoughts sent our way.
And thanks, for letting me vent today ;]

Monday, January 10, 2011

English Toffee

So I've been reading A LOT since i got my Kindle for Christmas. I've always enjoyed reading, and when i find a good book, i will re-read it more times then i can count. I used to got books from the Library and borrow from friends, but since we moved here to CA i've been seriously lacking in new books because i found our local library seriously lacking in any books, and anything that they do have that's any good has a waiting list a year long....So i started buying books online to get in the mail. I found used and new books cheap on Half.com and Amazon (you can find books for a penny + S&H) and the books i already did have were read multiple times.
But since getting the Kindle, i've discovered all kinds of new authors because of the free reads and books under $3. An author i found was Joanne Fluke, she writes murder mystery books (that are clean!), and in all of her books she includes tons of delicious recipes.
Tonight, i decided to give one of the recipes a try. Since i love to share good stuff, i figured this was worth telling you about. Husband didn't think he would like it because he thinks crackers sound weird to be in candy, but he did like it. He wants to take it with him to work tonight. And sorry about the picture being so crap, my camera needed to be charged so i used my phone.

(from Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, rack in the middle position.

16-ounce box Club Crackers* (Mine were Keebler. You'll use only one packet)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
2 cups milk chocolate chips (12-ounce bag)
2 cups chopped pecans (salted or unsalted, it really doesn't matter)

Line a 10-inch by 15-inch cookie sheet with foil. If you have a jellyroll pan, that's perfect. If you don't, turn up the edges of the foil to form sides.
Spray the foil with Pam or other nonstick cooking spray. (You want to be able to peel it off later, after the candy hardens.)
Line the pan completely with Club Crackers, salt side up. Cover the whole bottom. (You can break the crackers in pieces to make them fit if you have to.) Set the cracker-lined jellyroll pan or cookie sheet aside while you cook the toffee mixture.

You don't need a candy thermometer to make this candy :]]

Combine the butter with the brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly. Boil it for exactly five minutes, stirring it constantly. If it sputters too much, you can reduce the heat and if it starts to lose the boil, you can increase the heat. Just don't stop stirring.
Pour the mixture over the crackers as evenly as you can.
*I started by pouring the mixture in lines from top to bottom over the length of the pan. Then I turn it and pour more lines over the width of the pan. Once the whole pan is crosshatched
with the hot toffee mixture, pour any that's left where it's needed. If it doesn't cover the crackers completely, don't worry - it'll spread out a bit in the oven.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake the toffee at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the milk chocolate chips over the top. Give the chips a minute or two to melt and then spread them out as evenly as you can with a heat-resistant spatula, a wooden paddle, or a frosting knife.
*when i pulled it out of the oven i didn't think it looked done because it was still bubbly and looked about the same consistency as it did when i put it in, but it really was fine. It hardens while the chocolate is melting on top of it.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top of the chocolate and refrigerate the pan.
When the toffee has thoroughly chilled, peel it from the foil and break it into random-sized pieces.

i can't stop eating it even though i have to because my stomach is rebelling against me.

A Little Late Is Better Then Nothing At All

Happy New Year! ....ten days after the fact. Sorry.
I'm hanging my head in shame right now. I know it's been a while since i've really done a whole update (over a month), and since Husband and i are a bad married couple and didn't send out a cute Christmas card of us to all of our family and friends -- even though i wanted to but Husband shoot down that idea cuz he thought it was silly until we got a bunch from all his siblings proving my point -- i get to fill you in here. But i wanted to give an update on how life is going.
....It's going :) Nothing too great, and nothing terrible.
This past year included a bit of traveling, cooking, lots of cleaning, crafts, and lots of happy days together and with our friends and family. Husband got certified in September so he's flying with the crews on the C1-30's now. He keeps the planes running right, does safety checks, and currently he's working on getting qualified to work on the radio in flight. He'll say things like "Niner" and "Charlie" and radio talk stuff like that :) This is just in time for him to attend C school this coming February in sunny Florida for the month. He also started going back to college this fall semester. It was only 3 credits in English, but he's gearing up to get ready to go back to college full time when his time is up with the Coast Guard so we're getting ready for that when the time comes. He's still working with the 11 year old scouts at church. There aren't many of them in his group, but he's still having fun with it every week.
And me? Well, you've been reading about my life on here for the most part. i don't think i've left a lot out. I'm still working in Nursery at church, which really is a highlight of my week, and things are going good. I tell Husband every week how i wish i could kidnap some of my little nursery kids and take them home with me, but he says that i'm not allowed to and he's pretty firm on that. I've decided i may be going back to school myself this spring. I've talked with a counselor, and if i can get the schedule worked out, then i think i'm going to do it. I'm having a little trouble with the idea of having to get up before 7 a.m. -- yes, i've been spoiled as a house wife by sleeping in till 8:30 at least, and i admit it -- but as much as i hate to give that up, school isn't for forever. If i get into the program, 18 months will fly by. I could take evening classes, but then i would never see Husband. He's working nights now, so he's sleeping when he gets home in the mornings and i won't be missing much by being at school during that time.
So to fill you in on the last few months since i haven't been blogging.... for Thanksgiving we did not have a big thing at our house again. Last year we had a party less then a week after moving into our house with a bunch of new friends from church, but we didn't want to go to all that hassle again this year. Maybe next year though ;) We were debating weather to make a small version at home for just the two of us or to go out to dinner, but then we got a call from our friends from Utah, the Vallens, that were coming to see their Grandma in Napa Valley for Thanksgiving and they invited us to join them. Since the Vallens are like Husband's extra family, if we had had plans before, we would have had to cancel cuz there's no way we could have missed it. Thanksgiving dinner was amazing, Sister Vallen is a fantastic cook and i especially loved it because they wouldn't let me bring anything. I don't remember the last time i was fed that well with such delicious food. The day after Thanksgiving we didn't get up at any crazy hour for Black Friday shopping, not that i ever have. Instead we went with the Vallen's to San Francisco. We took the ferry and spent the day walking around Pier 41 and Ghirardelli Square being tourists. It was great, especially since that was one of the things on my list to do in SF that we didn't do for my birthday.

The beginning of Dec was Husbands work Christmas party. I've been asked to post a picture of how my dress turned out for that, but silly me, i didn't take any. Lame right? When the thought struck me that i should take one it was the end of the night when we got home, and since it had been raining my hair had lost all its curl/body and looked terrible so i decided it wasn't a great idea. Sorry girls :( But at least i have a cute dress and hot husband left over from the night, right? I'll admit it right now though, if he wants to go again next year i'm re-wearing the dress cuz shopping for that was not fun.
We had to do it a day early because of Husband's work schedule, but we had our first Christmas at home together without going to see either of our families. Our first year being married we went to see my family, and last year was with Husband's family. But this season I got to decorate my house and get a tree and everything. I got all the Christmas present shopping done 2 weeks before the big day even :) I'm a terrible wife though. Over a month before Christmas Husband's xbox had the dreaded Red Ring of Death. There are some guys out there that know how to fix that, but Husband isn't one of those. As soon as it appeared Husband declared it dead and asked if he could go buy a new one as he was disconnecting his old one and putting on his shoes to go out. Seriously. That red light started flashing and it went from zero to $300 in under 10 seconds. We had just taken the first trip to SF for my birthday, and Christmas was only a month away, so i was surprised that he was so willing to spend that kind of money. It made me feel like i was kicking a puppy when i first told him no, that he had to wait. But i gave in the next day.... I just couldn't tell him no. The new xbox came with the Kinect though, so it has given us some fun evenings playing together...except for the night Husband slapped my arm so hard while we were playing Ping Pong and i balled like a baby. I had a bruise for a few days from that one and now he's afraid to play with me. He'll be standing on the wall side of the room when we play for now though. But after that, he was impossible to shop for for gifts since i let him get it. He says he's a simple guy and he just doesn't want anything, so it makes me feel selfish that i do want things...until i remember that we spent $300 on the new xbox for him. I'm sorry for being a girl, but i want chair covers and curtains. I've done the pricing for both of them, and they didn't add up to $300. And a KitchenAid! I've been dreaming about getting one for years. But who's the one that has to wait for what they want? I'm ok with this though, only because i would have had to be the one to entertain him all the time if he didn't have it.
For my gift giving i decided to make gifts for all of my sisters-in-law. I'm in love with all the cute aprons you can find online, and i found so many on Etsy it was impossible to pick one for myself, but if i wanted to give them as gifts, at about $30 an apron, i wouldn't even get one for myself. But then i found a pattern on Etsy to make my own and decided to take on the project :) I went to JoAnn's Fabric and picked out enough cute fabric for all 5 of my sisters-in-law and hunkered down in my craft room with the sewing machine and ironing board, and the laptop with Netflix so i would have something to listen to/watch while i was in there. Four days later, and just in time to get them all in the mail, i was done.
Husband didn't want me to post these pictures, but after days of just showering but not doing my hair or putting on makeup or even getting dressed in more then pj's because i was holed up in the craft room, I wasn't going to be the one to pose for the pictures. Of course he doesn't fill out the aprons like a girl so they don't look as cute as they would if i had sucked it up and did it myself, but you get the idea.

For Coty





He didn't want to smile for the camera even though i told him that the only people that actually read our blog are family or close friends, but i think he has some left over traumatic memories of some certain pictures that were taken when we were younger. One where he's dressed up in a dress.....

He's such a good sport for me :]

The aprons all turned out great though. I slowly got better and better with my sewing skills on each one and i'm happy with what i accomplished. From what i heard from everyone, they loved them :] I originally purchased the pattern to make one for me, but it quickly morphed into a much bigger project once i got the idea into my head and i still haven't made one for myself. I haven't decided which colors i want to use for mine and i'm not looking forward to standing in JoAnn's for hours on end again to decide what i like the most for me.

Since Christmas, i've been spending my time reading. A lot. Husband got me a Kindle for Christmas and i can't seem to put it down. It's so easy to just press a button and have a new book to read. It can only lead to trouble... I've read about 15 books already, and there are about that many more that i've wanting to read. But i've put myself on a budget and right now i'm reading on the free books that i can find that seem interesting.

I've taken breaks from reading to do a little crafting though. I've drawn up my plans and dimensions for the padded headboard i'm going to make for our bed, and this week is going to be the week i start making it. I have the money for the materials, i've borrowed a drill from a friend, and i'm ready to get it done. I'm excited to be getting this done finally cuz i've been talking about doing it for forever.

We're looking forward to this next year and seeing how it unfolds. This last year was great, but I'm thinking this year is going to be even better for us.

I hope everyone had a great holiday!