Stefani's most-fantastical-reads book montage

Crooked Kingdom
Six of Crows
Yellow Brick War
The Wicked Will Rise
Charm & Strange
Their Fractured Light
These Broken Stars
Big Little Lies
I'll Be There
Red Queen

Stefani's favorite books »

Saturday, July 30, 2011

eff. em. ell.

It's been a long day,
And all I've got to say is make it strong.
It's been a long day,
And all I've got to say is I've been wrong.
So take a leave of absence,
Tell me you'll be gone,
I don't want to see your face.

It's been a long day,
And I just want to hide away. 

I've reached my limit. My boiling point. Capacity. I simply have zero room left in my life for pain, for drama, and for the stress that has consumed me in the past six months. Each time something new has happened I have told myself, "this too shall pass" and "keep calm and carry on"... I have repeated the serenity prayer a thousand times... but EVERY time I think it's gotten as bad as it can get, that I will break under the weight of a grain of sand... there is something else.

I have poured myself into the people in my life, given every ounce of myself - to my students, to my family, to my friends, to my child - that it seems now there is nothing left for me. I am drained. No matter where I am, I feel like I'm in the wrong place. When I'm at home I feel like I'm neglecting my parents. When I'm with my parents, I feel like I'm neglecting my daughter and my husband. I'm stuck in the middle... and each time, I have 150 miles to think about who I'm leaving behind. I need to recharge. I need something that is just for me. Selfish? No, I think I'm about due for a break.

I've tried to cope. To deal. To survive. I've done stupid things to try and fill that gaping hole- spending... pills... denial... but it feels like that hole is just going to swallow me up everyday. And some days, I wish it would so I could just disappear and be done hurting. It seems like it's my job to be positive for everyone else... but there's nobody left to be positive for me.

If I didn't have Derek and Addison here waiting for me each day, I don't know if I would have made it this far. I've given up thinking that there is an end in sight to all of the pain. I miss the normalcy of life before all this - being happy and content. I'm actually anxious to go back to work so that I have some consistency, something I can rely on.

No, I'm not suicidal. Yes, I think I probably am depressed. But honestly, do you blame me? I'm just at the point where I don't care what anyone says or thinks - I needed to vent this. Although the people who I wish would read this the most, probably never will. Most of you are complete strangers, and you know more about how I feel than a lot of the people I love the most.

It's exhausting... and I'm tired... I just want my life back. That's all.

Madness falls like raindrops,
Rage boils up from below,
Pain wraps her arms around me,
Her embrace is all I know.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I'm scared of a lot of things... spiders, the dark, clowns, stopped clocks. Some of my fears are pretty rational - I was bitten by a brown recluse IN MY BED - so, I get to be scared of spiders. Some of my fears are totally irrational - clowns? I've never even watched It or any other scary clown movie, they just freak me out. Stopped clocks - hell, you've got me. I don't even know where that one comes from. Those fears, even spiders in my bed, aren't paralyzing. I can kill a spider (if Derek isn't home to do it for me), I can walk past a clown (quickly), I use night lights, I change the batteries in clocks as soon as they stop... I can fix some of those fears.

The fear of losing my family - that is a paralyzing fear. Something happening to Addison, or Derek, or my parents. That is a fear that makes my heart race and my hands shake. It's a fear that I don't have control over - I can't fix it, or fight it, or make it disappear with a couple double A batteries.

I have been maintaining a Caring Bridge website for my dad since he got sick - it's been a way to keep friends and family in the loop with his treatment and the ups and downs we have endured in the past six weeks. I try to keep it focused on dad, which after blogging shamelessly about myself for so long, is more difficult than it might sound. I focus on the positive, the medical details, the gratitude that I feel for the people - many whom I have never even met - who have come out to show their support in so many different ways.

That all being said - I am terrified. My dad is sick. My 66 year old dad, who climbs mountains, plays tennis obsessively, hikes and bikes and does EVERYTHING... has cancer. Six weeks ago, we thought he had slipped a disc when he was hiking with friends. It would have been inconvenient because it would mean another surgery and I was annoyed that he pushed himself so hard and got hurt just as they were coming back to Washington. I was annoyed at my dad. And he had cancer. Granted, I didn't know it until the next week, but I still feel guiltly for it. I feel horrible that I was irritated that he was going to be laid up during the one summer they had planned to spend at home and we wouldn't get to go to Hat or boating or camping because he'd be recovering. How selfish AM I?? I know that my best friend would tell me I didn't know, I had know way of knowing, and that I can't beat myself up for it (and I love you for that Tori) but the idea still rips at my heart. After the diagnosis, for a while, things still seemed kind of normal. We knew that dad's back was really messed up and when I checked him out of the hospital last time, I remember thinking - we can do this. He's the same person, he's still pretty strong, he's going to be the same person all throughout this process. I came back a week later and he could hardly move, he could hardly speak, and he couldn't do anything without help. My dad, my superhero... needed help. Then, I came back another week or so later to find him in the hospital, with tubes coming out of everywhere, unable to speak, thirty pounds lighter, dozing in and out of consciousness. That was the moment when I realized how bad things really were... are. So I did what I do best when I freak out - I took over. I got him whatever he needed from the nurses, I cheered him on to get him out of bed, I cleaned up when he coughed up phlegm from the pneumonia, I questioned the doctors, I held his hand, I paid bills. I did whatever I could to just DO something because sitting there and absorbing the enormity of the situation was too much for me.

Now I'm home and I'm two hours away from being able to do something that makes me feel like I'm helping in any sort of way and it's frustrating as all hell. It's everything I can do to not call mom or the hospital 50 times a day to make sure that things are okay. I'm set to graduate in four weeks and I have three horrifically difficult classes standing in my way but I can't focus on the research I need to be doing. I'm disorganized to the point of not knowing what assignments I have due or when (which is NOT like me) and almost to the point of not caring. I just want to pick up my house, my husband, and my daughter and set us all down right next to the hospital so I can be there whenever I need to be without the worry of $25 a day parking, horrendous gas prices getting over the pass, Addison needing a nap, school work, and the fifty thousand other things that I'm obsessing over at the moment.

I. am. terrified. of. losing. my. dad. 

 I know that he will pull through this - he has to. He is stronger than cancer will ever be... but he is my dad and I don't want him to even have to fight this fight. It's not fair - it's not supposed to happen to him... the star quarterback, the Vietnam veteran, the man who taught me how to ride a bike and shoot a gun, who walked me down the aisle at my wedding and told me during our dance together that as long as I was happy, all the wedding craziness was worth every penny, the man who has a secret handshake with my baby girl. This isn't supposed to happen to him.

I have cried twice since we found out about the cancer. The night my mom called and confirmed what we had feared, I sobbed on Derek shoulder for most of the night. And now, as I write this, I'm crying again. Maybe it's because it's the first time I've really let myself feel how terrifying this whole journey is. I don't know... I just thought that after everything that this family has had to endure so far this year, that somewhere along the line, we'd catch a break. Apparently, life has other plans. So, I will cry tonight and let it out. I will write my research paper tomorrow and I will drive to Seattle on Monday and be with dad as much as I can in two short days. And for now, that's all I can do. But if life feels the need to see how strong we are in this family, then fine. We can take it. We don't have any other choice.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vodka Rocks Concert @ Snoqualmie Casino

Derek and I went to the Vodka Rocks concert at Snoqualmie Casino on Saturday night. I was feeling brave last night (could have been the vodka) and decided it was time to accomplish something on my bucket list - getting autographs and pictures with someone famous. So, I became the band stalker for the night. =] The Verve Pipe went on first and they were accompanied by one of the most AMAZING harmonica players I have ever heard (Griff). After their set, I asked one of the security guards if it was possible to get autographs. He asked his supervisor who went back, found Griff, and brought him out. He was so cool and funny... he signed my ticket, took a couple pictures with me, kissed me on the cheek and told me he was only doing all this because I asked so nice and was gorgeous (lol), and then hung out with Derek and I for a bit in between sets. We bought a kids CD that the band made from him and I can't wait for Addison to hear it!! The rest of the band was eating and relaxing and were not going to do autographs but I kept stalking the doors just in case. I asked my supervisor friend if they had already left for the airport and he set off to find them for me (that guy was awesome!!). While I was waiting, the lead singer of the Verve Pipe walked right by me so I jumped at the chance and asked for his autograph and a picture. He is REALLY TALL (and cute)!!

Toad the Wet Sprocket was up next and since they really only have two songs we wanted to hear, we took that time to find some more drinks and get something to eat. We got good spots up front for Candlebox and when they took the stage it was awesome!! =] They played some of my favorites - Cover Me and Far Behind being my two favorites. They also played some tributes to other rock bands which was really cool. The lead guitarist threw his pics out into the crowd after every song and I was determined to get one... but since I'm elbow height for the rest of the crowd I didn't really stand a chance. He threw one toward the end of the concert and it his a drunk guy in the chest and fell to the ground... so I made a bee-line for it and snagged it. Not exactly the same as having one thrown to me, but I'll take what I can get. After they finished their encore performance (Far Behind) the drummer chucked his drum sticks out into the crowd and the guy in front of me caught one. He knew I'd been trying to catch something all through the show, so he gave it to me!

As we were leaving the concert, I saw my security supervisor friend by one of the doors and showed him my drum stick, he grinned and let us in the door he was guarding - we got to go backstage!! We got to meet all the band members, get autographs, and take a few pictures! It was the most AWESOME concert experience ever!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grandma Cushman's Memorial

On June 25, what would have been my Grandma's 93rd birthday, we gathered at Lowell Park in Everett to be with family.

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