Thursday, May 12, 2016

And Then There Were None: On How I Lost My Mother

Grandma admiring my engagement ring [2014]
And then there were none...

When my grandmother died in January 2016 at the age of 102, it solidified my feelings about string theory. Rather, it strengthened how I felt about my interpretation of string theory. I felt like one of the atomic cords that used to reach from my body to hers had become slack. No longer was I connected to her.

When my mother died unexpectedly in March 2016 at the age of 62, I did not feel a slack string. I did not feel like something outside of myself was no longer reachable. Instead, I felt as though trillions of pieces of myself no longer existed. I wasn't necessarily missing a piece of my heart, nor a part of my mind, or even a single cell in my big toe - it was as though I was missing a piece of everything. That within each cell in my body, in each molecule making up those cells, and in each atom making up those molecules, a little bit had extinguished when the light faded behind her hazel eyes. 

My atoms no longer were able to share their electrons with her atoms. And her atoms were no longer able to share their electrons with mine. 

I never thought, 'this isn't happening, she's going to be fine, she's going to make it.' They say that you go through denial, but I never denied that this was happening - to her, to me, to us. Yet to this day I still think of how unreal it is. 

How unreal it is that I lost my mother when I was 30 years old not to the leukemia she was in remission from, and not to the weird dizziness she was seeing a neurologist for, but instead to a sneak attack by her own heart. 

Mom and I being ourselves [2009]
There are days that I see her smile and try desperately to remember her laugh, but then there are days that I think about how she will never hold my children, how she will never laugh at one of my stories, and no matter what I do, nothing will make her smile again.

I was never in denial.

Unlike many other nights where it took hours for me to get to sleep, on that night I had fallen asleep early. The day had treated me like the days before: I wasn't happy with my job, but it was a steady paycheck, and the benefits as well as the people I worked with directly were good enough to keep me around - which meant that by the time I got home I just wanted to curl up in bed, watch Netflix, and try to relax to stave off the looming depression. 

She worked for NASA/JPL, how cool is that?! [2015]
It was Thursday, and at 10:50 I became blearily cognizant of my mobile phone vibrating next to my head. I looked at who was calling: my mom's roommate. I was too tired to deal with anything, so I silenced the vibrations of the call. But it kept going off. I ignored it, put my phone under my blanket so that the sound of the vibrations would be hushed, but the sounds pushed through the layers of cotton. I picked up the phone, this time it was my friend from high school who also happened to be staying with my mom.

Along with other hormones, the sudden dumping of epinephrine and norepinephrine into the human body results in what is commonly referred to as the 'fight-or-flight' response, and less commonly referred to as the 'tend-and-befriend' response. I found out a long time ago that I am not the variety of person who runs from someone who needs help. I was a Junior Lifeguard, then grew up to be an adult Lifeguard for a private company, and then there was that one time I saved a kid choking on an after dinner mint in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant. 

On our way to my surprise bridal shower [2014]
When people say it's like a nightmare to get 'that call,' you should believe them. Literally one second before that call, life was hunky dory, A-O.K. (for the most part). And then you're in a waking nightmare; completely lucid yet completely out of control. 

'Your mom fell, the paramedics are here, she isn't breathing and she doesn't have a pulse.'

In a blur, I was up and getting clothes on so that I could head over to mom's place. She lived less than three miles away from the apartment I shared with Luca, our dog, and our cat. Luca had just started with a CPA firm in Anaheim, he was working late nights as this was the busy season, but he happened to come home right when I pulled my sweater on. I explained the situation to Luca as I headed toward the door: mom is unresponsive, the paramedics are at her house, we are going there now.

The paramedics are here, she isn't breathing and she doesn't have a pulse, she isn't breathing and she doesn't have a pulse, isn't breathing doesn't have a pulse, isn't breathing, no pulse, not breathing, no pulse. 

Mom and her dad, on the day she married my dad! [1977]

In the course of exactly two months, I lost my grandmother and my mother - all of the matriarchs in my branch of the family gone in a matter of 60 days.

I miss you. I can't find you. I don't know where to start looking, I don't know what to do. Every cell in my body is searching for every cell in yours.

[feel like helping out a sister in a bind? check out my GoFundMe page, share it with friends and family - I could really use all the help the world can offer. I know I'm just one person, and you probably don't know me, but you could have a huge impact on my life that I would be forever grateful for]

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Join Ryan on his 5000 Mile Discovery - Finding Help for those with PTSD

Crowd sourcing via the internet is one of the most innovative ideas we have come up with as far as aiding growing businesses and encouraging invention; additionally, it offers individuals the chance to speak out for a cause and have like-minded backers join in from around the globe.

 Today I was scrolling through my Facebook profile and I saw a post from one of my friends who used to serve in the armed forces. What caught my attention was that he began with 'I do not usually post anything serious...' which is true, so whatever came next was either going to be something ridiculous (per usual) or, as stated, serious.

It was the latter.

Keeping with his serious post, I ask that you all lease go to this link and donate whatever you can to Ryan as he makes his 5,000 mile journey and then share his page with the world:

What Ryan has to say:

"Hello, my name is Ryan, a 34 y/o Marine Corps Veteran from North Myrtle Beach, SC. As a pre/post 9/11 veteran I know firsthand how PTSD effects daily life and the lives of family and friends. We each have our own story and each have felt the effects of war but some see no other way, to take away the pain, than to take their own life. 
Veteran Suicide has reached an all-time high and this just isn’t acceptable. These men and women fought for us, bled for us, and some died for us. All so that we may live. Now that our Military veterans are home they need us to fight for them, they deserve our help, because it's the least we can do, for everything they’ve done for us. 

And just not our Military but our Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and EMS too. Most in Public Safety are former Military. 

So to raise awareness for Military and Law Enforcement Veterans with PTSD, in February 2015 I will embark on a 5,000 mile journey walking from the east coast of Delaware across the United States on the Great American Discovery Trail to the coast of San Francisco, CA. 

Along the journey I will photo document and video my progress. Seeking out America's heroes in small towns and cities. Interviewing Veterans and their families along the way sharing their stories of strength and hope on dealing and living with PTSD, with you the viewers. If we can, together, raise awareness, we can save the lives of so many of our Veterans.
Please donate for the journey and support for the cause! Thank You so much for your support!

I, Ryan Weldon, pledge that at the end of this journey I will donate all remaining funds, donated for this walk across America, To the PTSD Survivors of America (PTSDSoA) Organization."


This may be old news for some, but for others there may be some common misconceptions about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, known more commonly as PTSD, A brief history tells us that this disorder was first diagnosed after the Vietnam War when, unlike previous wars where our soldiers returned to ticker tape parades and open arms, these veterans were returning home to a country where people openly scorned their service. 

Previously referred to as 'shell shock,' PTSD carries a heavy burden for those who have the symptoms, as well as their friends and family. It was only after seeing how an unfortunately high number of Vietnam veterans were unable to incorporate back into society that the VA Hospitals concluded psychological care was necessary for all returned soldiers.

However, the stigma of receiving psychological care is still alive and well, making the struggle for our soldiers all the more difficult. Let us all do what we can to reduce the stigma of psychological care for our mentally wounded veterans, police, sheriffs, firefighters and everyone else who puts their life on the line to make ours a little safer.

Thank you all for your service.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

It Doesn't Matter What You Label Yourself, This is NOT Okay...

Whether you call yourself political, apathetic or something in the middle, we need to stand together and let our "representatives" know that this behavior is not allowed-- and if they are the ones that are not doing their jobs, they should not be the only ones getting paid.

This is America where our government is elected by the people and for the people, a phrase that seems to have been lost in time. So to make things easier on you...

I have created a form letter, applicable to any affiliation, for you to send to your congressman/woman (just print it out and send it in):

Dear _______________________:

Americans are not able to work or being forced to work without pay. National parks are not open for the public to enjoy during this unforgivable shutdown. Our economy is speeding downward even more hastily than before and you are the one behind the wheel.

We continue to pay federal taxes that seem to only be going into your pocket, which is ludicrous since you are the problem here-- unless of course while this shutdown continues you are willing to be a corrections officer at a federal penitentiary, assist in the safety of patrons as a park ranger or maybe try a position as border patrol. Interestingly enough, you are the one not doing your job and yet you still receive a paycheck when so many others do not.

Your position is by the people, for the people, and you seem to have forgotten that last part. It is time for you to walk back to Washington and move on. We are not the idiots you must think we are, we know that The Affordable Healthcare Act was the Republican compromise to Obama's original healthcare plan; whether your constituents are conservative, republican, center, democratic, liberal, green, and so on, it doesn't matter because the bill was passed in The House and by The Senate, and ruled constitutional by a conservatively appointed Supreme Court. What is done is done, and there is no going back, so let's move on.

Move on to what you need to talk about-- how to fix our country, how to make things work and how to never again act like teenagers who think that throwing a fit will get them what they want. That behavior never worked in my house while I was growing up, and it should not work for a group of adults in the House of Representatives either-- you are far too old for it.

If this kind of behavior continues, you can rest assured that short of your impeachment, you will not be re-elected by the people as you continue to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are unfit to be "for the people" any longer.



We need to stand up for ourselves and our country, because these people are obviously not capable any longer. It is up to us to take our power back and show our representatives that if they no longer represent us, they need to step down and allow someone who will represent us appropriately.

Don't know who to send your letter to?
Find your representative HERE!

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Complacency for the System

Saving the Nation

If I could be the contracted dictator of the US for four years, this is what I would do right away… 

Immediately release all of the members of the House and Senate from their current positions, they will not receive pay and will need to seek other employment if necessary—every other federal job will remain. In the beginning of the fourth year, elections will be held to select new (or returning) members of Congress and the Senate, and to elect a new president to come into office at the end of the fourth year.

Here is what I would change…


Reduce student loan interest to 1% and increase the interest on loans the government has made to banks and large corporations to reflect the market rates-- students, not banks and corporations, are the ones who will be paying taxes in the future, buying houses, going on vacations to Key West and boosting the economy... that is, unless they are spending all of their money repaying egregious interest rates.


Implementation of Obamacare will proceed; place caps on how much providers can charge people who are not opted out of the program (private insurance will negotiate their own rates with providers) – the amount will reflect appropriate charges and will not be egregious nor minimal compared to the actual cost of the service.


Cut all overseas contractors and replace them with military personnel. Increase enlisted pay to double the current salary. Open jobs that were previously assigned to contractors to injured and veteran soldiers. This will reduce the amount of money paid for “the war.” There will be a hold on any additional war maneuvers (including the disarmament of Syria) until such a time that the economy has become stronger and we are able to afford military expenditures beyond what is already being spent; the only time this will be reconsidered is in the event of a large scale attack or if there are multiple countries involved to share the cost of such an endeavor.


Increase the spending for all public schools to accommodate the number of children they plan to have in attendance; schools with higher student numbers will receive more funding. These numbers will be verified on an annual basis to reduce any fraudulent accounting. There will also be a bonus system set up on scores from standardized testing which will be in addition to the amount each school receives for student attendance.


There will be an increase in the number of jobs available in the education area, department of immigration, law enforcement, the department of corrections, military jobs for current and ex military personnel, construction and trade workers, and administrative positions for assuring the appropriate implementation of each program.  Law enforcement departments, including police, fire department, etc. will be given an increase in their annual budgets, allowing them to hire additional employees.

The House and Senate: 

When Congress and the Senate are reinstated, lobbying will no longer be allowed, all parties of interest will need to submit their requests in writing to members of the house and senate without face to face contact, gifts, etc. Congressional and Senate pay will remain at the current numbers without increase, there will be no bonus structure and they will need to complete accounting measures indicating that they have spent any money within their budget in a manner that shows professional conduct—third party assurance audits will be completed on an annual basis at random or as necessary.


All persons currently residing in the United States who are not citizens or legal residents will be required to apply for citizenship or a visa. To become a citizen, a person must show proof of residency for five years, employment for the past five years and intent to remain in the US, in addition to the citizenship examination. To receive a Visa, proof of employment or proof of attendance at an educational institution must be submitted, for all persons who have had a working or school visa for three consecutive years (without any gaps) will be allowed to take the citizenship examination. Alternately, persons may become a legal resident after having a visa for two consecutive years.


There will be no tax increases across the board (personal, federal, property) for at least three years. After this stationary period, the budget will be reviewed and changes will be made to decrease or increase if necessary.


All federal prisons will have programs implemented to actually correct the inmates (this includes psychological, physical and behavioral therapies), they will be offered educational opportunities; there will be an increase in officers within the facilities to ensure a safe environment for employees and inmates alike. Inmates will be given jobs (from businesses outside of the government arena) that will earn the federal minimum wage, upon their release they will be paid the amount earned, less federal taxes and a minimal stipend for food—if they are not released prior to their death, the funds will be given to their next of kin or as instructed in their last will and testament. There will be no private organizations associated with the federal prison system, all employees will be required to undergo psychological assessment once a year, and will be evaluated twice per year to determine if they are utilizing proper guidelines for inmate treatment. The use of solitary confinement and any other confinement measure will still be authorized, however for all confinements lasting more than seven days, authorization from the warden is necessary and there will be psychological evaluations every seven days to assess the mental state of the inmate—if confinement causes psychological trauma, the inmate will be transferred to a psych-care unit until they are able to return to general population or confinement.


Do not buy a house you cannot afford, and do not take a second mortgage if there is a chance you will be unable to repay the additional money loaned. For persons who have not missed payments on a home for five years, a “leniency period” will be allowed where you can defer your payments for up to three months under certain circumstances without penalty (this will be an application through your bank to the government).  The bottom line though is you should not buy a house you cannot afford.

Fuels and Energy:  

Funding for energy efficient and earth friendly ways to fuel commercial and private vehicles will be given to qualified researchers; all federal buildings will have solar panels installed.


There will be an anonymous third party administrator that audits reports given to the FDA by Monsanto for quality control and anti-fraud measures; the FDA will restrict the guidelines needed to use the word “organic” on food in the US and all consumer products using genetically modified ingredients will stipulate to that affect on their labeling. Fracking will be heavily regulated, probably to the point where it won't be worth it to destroy our planet from the foundation up any longer.

Alright, well I guess that if it were impossible to be elected temporary dictator, I would like to be elected President, at which time I would urge citizens of the United States to demonstrate to their district leaders their want and need for change in the way our government makes decisions—that they will impeach leaders who refuse to act according to their position and the position of their constituents. For far too long we have been complacent, watched men and women who do not have our best interests in mind destroy our economy and the lives of our citizens. In fact, do not wait until one person comes along to make changes (that was Obama, and now he is the scapegoat for everything...and I mean EVERYTHING), so it is going to take every single one of us standing up and telling our government leaders to listen to us for once, or step down.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Tough Mudder 2014: Bad Intentions in Arizona

It is that time of year, where we start to sign up for the Tough Mudder!

This will be my first Tough Mudder and I am really excited because I'm going to be training like a beast for it, and losing some of my excess baggage in the process (all good things)

Now, a lot of people know that the Tough Mudder is a ~15k obstacle course that includes mud, fire, ice and really tall walls, and for those that don't, feel free to take a loothe Tough Mudder website.

Even if you know about the Tough Mudder you might not know that all proceeds from the event go to the Wounded Warrior Project which provides much needed assistance to injured veterans.

This is such an important cause, and even if you can't make the race, just register as a donation!
k around

Below is the event page for our team, Bad Intentions, and the sooner you register the lower the price!

I would love to have as many people on the team as possible because it's all about team work getting over those walls!

Check out the Bad Intentions event page for the Tough Mudder and join us in April and I'll see you on the course! Can't participate but would like to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project? Click on the event site, go to my name and click on the blue "donate now" link and follow the directions.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Letter to Our Government: From a Professional, Student and Citizen (Just One Person)

Letter to Our President:

Are you fucking kidding me? I understand that it is not appropriate to be so crass when addressing someone in such a position as yourself, but really, are you fucking kidding me?

We are trillions of dollars in debt, our unemployment rate is ridiculous, the housing market has tanked, student loan interest has increased, we are supposed to be implementing Obamacare in less than six months, and here we are invading Syria.

How many failed attempts to “bring democracy” to these nations that are not asking for our help will it take, how many more trillions of dollars will be spent on sending the men and women of our military into a hostile area to give their lives for something other than protecting our citizens from our enemies foreign and domestic—how many times will we relive Vietnam and Iraq?

The injustices thrown upon the people of Syria are horrific, and I cannot begin to imagine what they experience on a daily basis. However, it is not the purpose of our military and our money to overthrow another country’s government and drop our own ideals in their place. Maybe if we had an excess, or let’s face it just not a complete and total deficit of resources, this would be a different conversation.

Speaking of that, where was the conversation? Where was the point, Mr. President, where you asked if the citizens of The United State of America were in favor, undecided or absolutely opposed to starting yet another war that will not have an end. When did you open up the lines of communication to see how we would prefer to proceed with this issue? Oh, you decided last minute to involve the Senate in your decision instead of using your executive powers to declare war—what a magnanimous offering, to include Senators in your decision, and not going directly to the people to see how we feel about our sons, daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers being sent off to a war while our country suffers.

This is not the time to join another conflict, this is the time to remember how we resolved our problems after the 1929 stock market crash and subsequent depression: isolate ourselves like the terrible child we have been (making such rash, and ill conceived choices), focus on rehabilitating our own country, balance our budget and bring our military home to their families.

We are not peace officers. We are not the greatest power in the world, because that would mean that our citizens are not made to sustain such penance in order to police the world. We are a bully. We are a bully to others and we are a bully to our own people.  I remember watching the World Trade Center fall, I remember seeing the devastation that ran its tumultuous crags from one coast to the other, and I remember understanding why we had to go into Afghanistan. The country rallied around our government as the decision was made to go to war with the country that supposedly harbored enemy number one, Osama Bin Laden. 

However, then we went into Iraq, and the reason was cloudy, not explained well and people just didn't know what was going on, or why we were going there. Now, 12 years later, we are going into Syria to bully their people into choosing our kind of government—how is that different than the government they have now? Their government is going in and killing people, does that make us different? Are we not going to kill any citizens of Syria in the conflict? Just like we killed no innocent Iraqis in the process of “liberating” them? We are bullying them, and crippling our own economy in the process.

How about this plan, Mr. President, how about we send in aid to the people of Syria, drop them some food and water, and first aid products. How about we take a good hard look at the problems with our own country, with the ridiculous number or homeless people, with the people who are living off of welfare or unemployment, how about we create jobs, bring back the possibility of home ownership to the middle and lower classes, and how about we fix ourselves?

I am not a liberal. I am not a conservative. I have no label and vote how I feel is appropriate. I am a citizen of The United States of America, and you should remember who you represent; not the special interests, not the companies who privatize war—you represent me.

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

You represent the people.  
Try to remember that.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Do Something You Can Be Proud Of

When I lived in California, I walked around a high school track for hours on end with a team for Relay for Life in order to raise support and awareness for Cancer Research.

Although I continue to donate to Cancer Research (since my mother is now in remission, and I thank the research for her life), now that I live in Arizona I have found another charity to assist.  As a member of the Phoenix Vulcan Riders, a chapter of the Vulcan Riders Association U.S.A., I am looking to raise support and awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Approaching swiftly is the Highway Thunder Charity Ride, which our club will be participating in, and from which we hope to raise funds for the foundation which offers opportunities to terminally ill children to live a dream, whether it is meeting a favorite celebrity, going to a place they never thought possible or completing a marathon.  No dream is too big for the Make-A-Wish foundation, and that is because of your donation!

Please follow this link, and donate through our group to help make dreams come true (literally)!

Donate Toward a Dream!

Thank you friends, for your kindness and support!

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