Monday, March 30, 2009

One way ticket to TVland

I'm wired. I'm hooked up. I'm connected. I'm plugged in.
It's out of control.

I keep waiting for my mom to yell at me from the other room "I told you to stop staring at that TV, you're gonna burn your eyes out!" We used to have the 1-hr a day rule when we were kids. Man, I remember that being the end all for a young life after school.

Today I got DirectTV and a new iphone. Yes, I went from 2 tvs to 4 and now I'm alerted to every email with a ding and a zizzle. A while back, I intentionally disconnected the TV in my bedroom for the sake of peace and harmony. Now, I have 900 channels to soothe me to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. I even went a step ahead and got the DVR so that even with not leaving the house for days at a time, I won's miss an episode of whatever strikes my fancy. It's simply out of control. I've seen 2 Keith Urban concerts courtesy of GAC in less than 12 hours. That's right, I jammed to the Western Aussie and watched him eat Cheeze-it's out of a vending machine in DC. TVland, there's no stopping me.

I did a little salsa in my living room to the xm salsa music channel. By salsa, I mean danced. It was exactly like being at Chevy's but without the aroma of rancid oil and the Ole birthday song floating through the air as someone's grandmother gets enveloped by the giant straw hat.

To be honest, my only, real, true, must see TV now that Sons of Anarchy is in haiatus - is Dancing with the Stars! That's right - there's a thin line between motorcycle gangs and the Lindy Hop. Ooooohhhhh to watch Giles Marini (yeah, who?) and Cheryl Burke dance together...incredible. I must confess, I have a burning desire to learn how to do the Argentine Tango. I've loved it since I saw it in The Moulin Rouge to a sexed up version of "Roxanne." You know, Rod Stewart " don't have to put on that red light. Walk the streets for money, you don't care if it's wrong or if it is right..." So angry, so passionate, it's fast, it's slow, its sweaty looking. Just fughettaboutit.

I supposed that it could be allergies, but I suspect that the burning of my retinas has to do with the cable trance that I've been in for the good majority of the day. Some people take prescription medication to zone out. Me - I rationalize the channel guide numbering system and wonder if we'll all be able to survive without the Bay Area news stations. I just don't relate to the Sacramento news. It's so trite. Lame capital news just doesn't have the grit and the crime and the sensationalism of the Bay Area.

All cable trances aside, it is nothing but spectacular to just sit here, blogging away in my flannel pj's and Oregon coast hoodie, humming away to "It's Raining on Sunday". Makes me want to learn how to play the guitar. Makes me remember how much I love Keith Urban's music. It's good, Summer night, windows rolled down, sunroof rolled back, breeze through your hair music. Those are the nights that make the Winter cold worth it. In fact, I do believe that Keith and I have a date scheduled for this June. A long, humid, two lane highway date to Pasadena. It won't be the Argentine Tango, but it will be fabulous.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Clinging to honor and grasping for faith

It's almost 5am. Today was a long day. Sleep hasn't come easy for me the last two nights. Writing now is more for me than anything else. It's cathartic. It's my drug of choice.

I sit here and wonder how many bar stools were occupied tonight and how many shots of Jack were toasted to the four Oakland officers who were laid to rest today? I wonder how much sleep their friends, family, and collegues have gotten in the last week?

The Memorial was beautiful and heartbreaking. Finding the words to describe the show of support from coast to coast and beyond is not possible and I wasn't even there to witness it in person. My colleagues who were present said the 19,000+ capacity arena was, "a sea of blue under a canopy of stars made by the reflections of the brass and the badges." There were officers from every state and other countries. The motor officers from NYPD said they came because the loss reminded them of 9-11.

I was entranced by all the speakers. I hung on their words as they described the men behind the badges and photos that have been displayed on every local news station for the last week.

I was moved by the words from the captain of all four men.

In his introduction, he simply said "These are my men" and he let out a heavy sigh. "These are my men." I don't know what it is to be a commander of a division of highly-trained officers, but I know what it is like to feel a sense of commitment for those under my watch. When I am on the radio, when it's my ears listening and my fingers doing the typing, and when there is often only one chance to ask for cover, to yell for help, those men and women on the other side of the radio are mine. It's my job to know where they are without hesitation, to send them cover when they're outnumbered, and to make sure they come home safe.

In addressing the 800+ OPD police force and comrades left behind he said "stand straight, keep your heads high, and step confidently ahead...that's what John, Dunnie, Erv, and Dan would want you to do.

I'm in a spot in my career where the daily pressures of dealing with the ugliness of humanity have robbed me of my love for the duty I took an oath to serve. I used to love my job and it used to love me. Feeling like it's an uphill battle, I've lost some faith in my career but I've never lost my grip on the belief that there is honor in this career of public safety. There will always be honor and good where there is evil. It was a common theme from each and every speaker that each man died in the service of the job they loved to do.

I will cling to the hope that my firm grasp on that belief, that honor is always present, will see me through to the end of my career, whenever that might be. Even in death, the lives of these four men will continue to inspire more people than they will ever know.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Police Officer's Prayer

"Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall be called the children of God." Matthews 5:9

My heart is in my throat and I've been choking back tears for a couple of hours now. You won't hear on the news news yet.

Less than 6 hours ago, 2 Oakland PD officers met their fate during a routine traffic stop. Out gunned and without warning, a single man with an AK-47 took two lives in the instant of a trigger pull. And then he ran. Sensationalism sells and the scene of the motorcycles still lights flashing, surrounded by marked bullet casings, on the blood strained street keeps playing over and over. You can't see it until they zoom in, but at the back of the suspect's car, there they are. A motor officer's boots standing side by side, gun resting across the toes right where he made his last stop. It's a haunting image.

Cop-killers don't run without a chase. Not here. Four hours later, the SWAT team entered a building in search of the suspect and during the ensuing battle, had two more members fall before the suspect was shot down. One was lost, and one is in the fight of his life.

We, as a department, have never lost an officer on duty. Pray that we never do. Officers in general, by accident, by fire, by illness, have been pulled from our prescence far too often as of late. Funerals are happening far too often. Wives and children are loosing their husbands and fathers with a regularity that we should never have to see. This is the part of this job that never feels like it's worth it.

My brother applied with Oakland PD last year. He didn't pass their process probably because of all the prayers that he wouldn't. I spoke well to his background investigator and sold him as the ideal candidate, but I crossed my fingers because I refuse to sacrafice my baby brother to the evil that envelops some of the nearby cities. I can't do it. He's still testing and interviewing and now so is my cousin. I have always been the only law enforcement career-oriented one in my family but I have managed to be safe behind the radio. Days like today make me want to encourage work in construction and business.

If you work in law enforcment or are close to someone who does, you might know what it means to bleed blue. There are easily 30 towns and cites between us and Oakland, but there is always someone who knows someone, went to the academy with someone - somehow there's always a connection. No matter what the color of uniform or what the shoulder patches read, we all feel the loss.

I feel this loss. I can't shake it. Maybe because it's so epic. Four. Four officers lost in a matter of hours. And with only one shooter. Traffic stops are always dangerous. I've known that since I was a kid. I was always told that on every ride along, on every stop. I've only been on one tactical call with the SWAT team, but I was there committed. I wrote the roster out, I made sure I had all their names and I double checked that I didn't miss anyone. As many as went out, came back. That's the rule. You all come back now. Watching the news, the team suited up all in black, in their armored rig, it could have just as easily been our guys rolling down the street. They show the moments just before entry, the flashbang, and the screen door close behind the last member. What happens next is sure to be a haunting memory for all those who rolled out moments later. Just like that. We work in an ever-changing environment that teeters on life or death constantly. God grant the peacekeepers peace.

I've been to two cop funerals. That's two too many. I know how to pay my respects and I go when it is appropriate, but the most draining, sobering experiences of my young career, have invovled full-dress class A's surrounded by the hush of hundreds standing side by side, heads hung low, listening to the stories and memories of an officer, partner, husband, father, and son lost. I've seen the most veteran, rough and tumble, SWAT team members reduced to one knee in the aisle of the church, steps from the casket, unable to get up without assistance. It's a loss you can physically feel. I dread cop funerals.

How do you reconcile loosing so much life taken so deliberatley? You can't. When you suit up and go into service, it's with the expectation that you'll come home at the end of the shift. Protect and serve only covers so much.

May God be with the Oakland Police Department, the families of the officers, and all that are effected by this tragedy.

Police Officer's Prayer
God bless my family when I am away,
Leave the lights on I'll return from harms way,

Grant me courage and strength to protect others each day,
So they live in peace without worry, fear or dismay,

Bless those who have fallen given their life for another
May their spirit live on from then and forever,

Return me home to my family at the end of each night,
May I pass through the door before the morning's first light,

Shall I give my life for another before the dawn breaks today,
God bless my family when I am away.


D. Adams

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I just want to lay my head down and sleep. No aches. No pains. No tossing and turning until I'm wrapped up in the sheets. Without the use of stomach ulcerating drugs. Just sleep. Peaceful baby sleep.

That's all I want. I'm going to try and do that now. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A good friend and a glass of wine

My heart hurts. I'm lonely. But not for male companionship. I miss my girls!!! I didn't realize how much they keep me sane and balanced until this flu put me on house arrest. I miss the general companionship of anyone. This house is so empty and disjointed, with people going here and there at all hours of the day and night. I feel like the world is a whirlwind and I'm just sitting in the middle watching it all. I've been replaying the same song over and over for the last 30 minutes. Look it up and take a listen. Here are the lyrics:

"Good Friend And A Glass Of Wine"
Leeann Rimes

Who died and crowned me everybody's everything
I'm even busting my butt through the weekend
By the time I get home there's not an ounce of sanity
Between the dogs, my momma's calls
Is it against the law
For me to get what I need

A good friend and a glass of wine
Someone to say it's gonna be alright
A good friend and a glass of wine
A little pick me up to get me through the night
We talk trash n' we laugh and cry
That kind of therapy money can't buy
Every now and then, every now and then
Every girl needs a good friend and a glass of wine

I don't need to jet off to no vacation for a week
I'd be happy to have a happy hour
When I'm tired and I'm fried it gets me right back on my feet
Any kind of red or white, a little sister time
It's every smart girls secret

A good friend and a glass of wine
Someone to say it's gonna be alright
A good friend and a glass of wine
A little pick me up to get me through the night
We talk trash n' we laugh and cry
That kind of therapy money can't buy
Every now and then, every now and then
Every girl needs a good friend and a glass of wine

Look at these girls!!! How could you not have fun with them!? How could you not be sane and balanced with them around? :) I mean we're not always in costume or going to a concert or visiting Niagara Falls. These are just the highlights of our friendship. I miss my girls!!!

Jen and Casey

Vic, Kelly, and baby sis Briana

Carrie and Vic

Marlena and I

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I've been gone with the flu for about two weeks. I did write here and there but I didn't publish it right away. Here's what I had to say:

Day 1, Sunday March 1st:
102.0 That's what the thermometer read a few hours ago. You know it a bad sign when even through the sleepy haze of infection, you can see that the thermometer display got fogged up. I totally felt like a little kid. I wanted to call my mommy to come over and put cold rags on my head while I slept. I almost did except for the fact that any movement, outside of rollling over in bed, produced a dizzing bout of dry heaves. I was so hungry from not eating all day, I was nauseaus. I was so nausues, even water made me want to throw up. The pressure behind my eyes was pushig on my eyeballs with a fierceness that made them feel like marbles. While my head was radiating heat like the sidewalk on a hot Summer day, my feet were in a cold icicle like state that sent shivers up my spine every time a wayward toe acccidentally touched my other leg.

And then it broke. Nothing like the full body sweats to make you feel alive again. I sweat in places I haven't sweat in, in many a mooon. Semi-paralyzed from Advil PM (the only thing close to fever reducer in the house) I watched sweat beads form on my hand in the light reflecting from the bathroom. I felt like a rotisserie chicken just basting in my own juices turning from side to side occasionally. It was awful, just awful. But this would just be the first time it broke.

This cycle of fever, migraine, fever, nauseaus, fever, migraine, throw up, migraine, run to the bathroom and throw up, fever, chills, fever, migraine, fever...went on for the next 3 days.

Present day:

Day 5, I caved and and went to urgent care. My little sister took me and pushed me in the wheelchair for about 3 hours, bless her heart. She carried the purse with my water, my cool rags for my head, my wallet and medical stuff, and eventually my socks and my jacket. I nearly cried when the Dr asked me how I feel? She said in the sweetest voice "Oh Honey. Honey, what has you looking so down? We have to get you better." "I feel like hell," I wanted to say; "can't you see me?" I didn't care...I just wanted help. I was wearing flannel pj bottoms, a black tshirt (no bra - classy, I know), tennis shoes, and my work jacket with my name and badge emblazened on it! Way to represent girl. I was in the waiting room covering my eyes from the migraine inducing florescent lights hoping against all odds that I wasn't about to go into convulsions. "Please God, I'm sweating, shivering, wimpering, covering my eyes, and mumbling; please don't let me start shaking now too!" I did a lot of praying and a lot of talking to God in the last couple of weeks.

8 vials of blood, many long, deep breaths, an IV, and a networking of ER doctors from here to the Bay determined that I did NOT need a spinal tap to test for meningitis. Meningitis!?! Spinal tap?!? WTF? I just went in for a really high fever and a migraine, what's this about my spine? Do you know that it's actually called a lumbar puncture? I'll stick with Spinal Tap thank you very much. So, I skated around the spinal lumbar puncture tap in the clear, only to go home and continue in mysery.

Day 6 - I caved. As I sat on the front couch 103 temp slightly covered up in a towel at 3:30pm, my dad, after feeling my forehead and seeing the blank stare in my eyes, and of course being my dad, offered the only suggestion he could come up with; "We should call you mother." That. Was. It. The last straw...I lost it. I wanted my mommy. Only she could make it better. Sure enough, I left her a babbling "It won't stop and I've had it for 6 days. Will you call me back?" She played it 3 times before she figure it was me. I don't cry in front or to either one of my parents on a regular basis, but when it came down to 6 days of mystery infection, I just wanted to be a little girl again. I just wanted my mommy.

Day 8 - follow up with the primary Dr. to rule out Hepatitis. What, Hepatitis?! Its a worry about people who have recently been travelling to foreign countries. Mexico!! I knew it! I knew something would linger from Meixco! At this point, I'm so weak, hot, tired, and sick of having my skull pound, I don't care what they have to diagnose me with, just make me better! 4 1/2 hours later, 6 more vials of blood, a chest xray, 2 painful shots in my hips for the pain managment, and a urine sample, Hep A is in the clear and now I just have a "really bad flu virus". With mom pushing me around in a wheelchair, I manage to make it down to the pharmacy for some goooood stuff. Ibuprofen 800 and Vicodin. Might not cure what I have going on, but it might just make me forget about it for a little while.

9-day later, the fever is gone. Finally, I don't have to live in fear that I am going to roast in the middle of the night and wake up the color of a steamed lobster. "They'll never be able to have an open casket!" was my worry for many nights in a row. How's that for torture? The migraines lingered until just about day 11.

My daily caloric intake must be that of someone with an eating disorder. When I'm not sleeping 18+ hours a day, I'm giving myself a pep-talk to get out of bed, roll over, just open your eyes for a few minutes, turn the heat down, turn the heat up. You get the idea. Over the course of the last 2 weeks, I've lost 18 lbs. 18! I've been wanting to drop some pounds, but nothing like this. I'll brave the double digit clothing and drop it the old fashioned way over this BS.

Here's a little note from day 15: Yes, I'm still slightly under the weather. I've missed many an event in the last 15 days and a bit of sanity. I'm slowly on the mend and I'm gonna venture into the world of driving myself around in about 48 hours. I did become a fan of "Dancing with the Stars" and I was reminded about the healing power of music. It instantly made me want to sing and dance. I'm still down about 16 lbs but I have no appetite which is good and bad. I've got that good Aquino blood pumping through me, so I'm not shy of food, but this is just strange. Having to force myself to eat for my "bloodsugar". Now you know I'm really sick when I have to force myself to eat just to exist day to day.

Mostly, I'm just ready to get back to life. I'm ready to do mundane things of my own accord and without my mom checking on me 4 to 5 times a day. I love my mom and I'm glad she was able to help me out, but I'm ready to be whole again.

Here's to what doesn't kill you makes you stronger but please, God help me, I can never be this sick again!