Dead Silence. There was No Answer. Then Came the Screams

September 18, 2011 at 9:27 am | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah | Leave a comment
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And Jeanee – OMG again- Jeanee. “Jeanee starts school tomorrow. Her first day of school.” Now this first day of school wasn’t just the norm for any all American 15 year old kid. No, Jeanee was going to school for the first time ever. She had been home schooled all her life. One reason we came to Park City was so that she could participate in school part time and home school the other part. We had things arranged so that she was in school from 7:30 to 12:30.

And what a cool course load- Dance, art, and Science one day and Spanish, computer tech, and her dreaded math the next day. We are still doing English and Geography at home.

So mixed in with the tragedy of Jamie’s injury I needed to be all excited and up for Jeanee to be going to school. I felt really terrible about not having a special dinner for her, or some kind of thing to honor this big change in her life.

But I didn’t pretend that I could make it up later. Life hardly has real make it up later opportunities. The opportunity is usually NOW.

So, I somehow managed to get a special dinner and have a special feeling of excitement for Jeanee going to school the next day and at the same time I was suffering and in total agony for Jamie.

That night I slept on the futon in Jamie and Jeanee’s room while Jeanee slept in my bed with Jilly. Our only beds so far.

I was up most of the night. Either trying to make it stop being true, soothing Jamie in anyway I could, fixing her ice contraption that I brought with us as one of those insurances that if I had it we wouldn’t really need it. I guess it didn’t work.

But in the morning I had to jump up from what was finally being a sound sleep, know it was horribly real, and get going on getting Jeanee up and off to school. No huge fanfare. No excitement from the sisters. Just the two of us getting off- almost like it was an ordinary event we had been doing for years.

Oh, and when we got to the school I did mortify her by insisting on taking a picture of her at her first school. We went into the school, did a bit more paper work, and off she went. I was to pick her up at 12:50. That was fun. That was why we came here. I felt like things were as they should be.

Then I got in my car. I had called no one. I knew I had to call my family. But how? What would I say? How could I even say the words out loud? By calling I made it all real. But I could wait a little longer. I didn’t have to call just yet. I could pretend for another hour or so.

So I went home ready to pretend that life was just the way we planned. I’d let Jamie sleep as long as her drugs let her. And I would get Jilly up to do her schoolwork. Jamie’s knee was just a small bother. I mean we didn’t know for sure that the ACL was torn again. And when we went to the Dr.…- OH yeah- I have to go home and schedule that appointment now. No forgetting, no pretending, nothing the way I hoped, planned, dreamed.

Then I had a strange feeling. I hated Jeanee. Why was everything being so perfect for her? She didn’t even love skiing like Jamie did. Competing was just a side part of her life. Her real love was the social that’s part of all these sports. “Wohoa. Now that is just not allowed. You should be totally ashamed of yourself! That sweet girl deserves to have just as much wonder and love of life as Jamie. So what if she got in this for different reasons than Jamie?” It was that voice again. “Yeah, I know. I love Jeanee. Really I do, but why did this have to happen to Jamie?”

Dead silence. There was no answer.

All this on my short drive home. Again, something new that we didn’t have in NH. All drives home were a long trip of over 25 miles.

When I got in things were quiet. I called the Dr. referred to us at the ER. They squeezed us in.

Then came the screams.


Arriving at the Hospital had an Eerie Almost Surreal Feeling To It

September 17, 2011 at 11:52 am | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah | Leave a comment
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Even though I was calm on the outside, I was a whirl of energy on the inside. I’m sure my blood pressure was soaring (at least for me). “We just moved here. It hasn’t even been a week. OMG- How can this happen to Jamie? I don’t know anyone who was more dedicated to their physical therapy than her.” And so on all the short way to the hospital.

I drove behind the ambulance, sending Jamie my best energy. I left Jeanee and Jilly at the UOP to have someone take them home. And a sinking thought that passed through me- “Again asking for help and not giving it back. Will all this ever end? Will I ever be able to give as much as I need?” But I left that thought quickly, deciding that I definitely needed help right now and will be able to give back to this community in ways I never could in NH.

Arriving at the hospital had an eerie almost surreal feeling to it. I knew this was fake. Totally out of context and simply had NOT happened. Why would it? We- everyone of us- had done completely everything we could both in the concrete world and in the world of energy to have this be the beginning of our dream come true.

But then I had to STOP my thoughts. There was Jamie- screaming in agony. Not just pain, but loss of her life. Everything she was, dreamed of being, had aspirations for, just plain loved with all her heart seemed to be ripped away from her. With no options. No alternatives. Her life as she knew it, gone.

No, this wasn’t a dream. This was not even a nightmare. It was cold hard life smacking us in the face and gut with full force. I almost puked, my head felt woozy. And there wasn’t even any blood. “Whoa Grace. You have a serious job here and falling apart is simply not allowed.” “Who was that talking to me?” You know that ‘other’ self in you? That’s who. I actually thought it was someone else. I didn’t even recognize me. Anyway I knew that speaker was right- even if it didn’t feel like me. I really wanted to run away, hide in a corner, or better yet, magically make it all better, make it never to have happened at all.

Jamie was the only one in the ER when we arrived. The Dr was funny and happened to sort of know Jamie. He actually went to the ramps himself, just for fun. Jamie and Jeanee knew his young son. I liked that feeling of connection.

Still Jamie was hysterical. No MRI because the MRI machine was not available. But x-rays were done. We hoped with all our hearts that there was a break. Our only hope of real recovery and healing. Another ACL tear and Jamie would forever be on guard.

Dr came back with a smile- X-rays reported no break. The shriek from Jamie was piercing. Somehow the Dr thought that no break was a better option. He quickly realized that he had actually given a death sentence.

Morphine was in order. Both for pain and for emotions. We left in a daze of confusion and pain.

Now I had to regroup my thoughts. Food, pain-killers, icing, and the girls. We had no food in the house. I had been having fun being able to so easily try out all the many different grocery stores in Park City- even more easily accessible than in Westport, CT. And pain killers- OK got that done at Whole Foods. No need to get ice- we actually have an icemaker again. Rational thoughts were coming back. I was able to function. Oh I HAD to function. Other people depended on that, Jamie, Jeanee, Jilly.

Her Eyes Were Darting Around Looking Wildly in All Directions

September 16, 2011 at 11:08 am | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes | Leave a comment
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I came around the fence and I guess someone opened the gate- really I was already in a tailspin. Not totally sure of what I was doing or who was doing these mundane things. All that I could see was Jamie and her sisters at this point. Even the paramedics had vanished from my vision.

She was conscious. Her eyes were darting around looking wildly in all directions. She was a wild animal scared and in pain. People parted as I came over. All movements were slow and sluggish, like walking though a sea of mud. I could hardly breath myself- no wonder Jamie had oxygen.

Her knee was trapped. OMG her right knee- It really was her right knee- trapped in a huge splint, already trying to get as big as a watermelon. The young paramedic, trying to smile, was holding her splint and standing on the trampoline.

When Jamie saw me her eyes pierced me. Glued me to her. I know she was asking, no begging me to make it all go away. Make the time go back. Make the pain stop. Make everything all right.

Now I was trapped. I could do nothing. I could simply be with her. Still I couldn’t show ANY emotion of fear, despair, anger, frustration. There was only one thing for me to do at that moment. LOVE Jamie. That moment, which may have been a second, or may have lasted all of four seconds, was a lifetime of support for Jamie.

Then the practical me took over. A quick assessment showed me that the young man who was holding her knee was letting it drop. I can’t tell you how I knew this. Maybe Jamie was able to express this to me; maybe I saw it move down. All I know, is that I knew from instinct that her knee was not as high as it needed to be.

With complete assurance I took over, nothing hysterical about me. “You need to lift her knee two inches.”

“Oh I must have let it fall a bit- I’m really sorry Jamie.”

Another paramedic came to see what was happening. He stepped on the trampoline.

“You need to stay off the trampoline. When you step on it you move Jamie’s knee.”

The paramedic quietly and carefully got off.

I was still OK. I was giving Jamie strength by being able to know her needs and make them known to others and even to herself.

Then came the ambulance.

In my head I screamed- “This can’t be true. Why is this happening to Jamie? This will kill her. I knew something was going to happen to her today. Why didn’t I tell her to stop when I was here before?”

You see, I began to shift blame to me- to see what I could do to make things better. Yet I needed to be completely calm, to have everything in some kind of order. I knew this was best for Jamie. And what was best for Jamie was also best for me.

I Have Been Keeping a Secret

September 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, Move to Park City Utah | Leave a comment
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So for the past few weeks I have kept a secret. First, I was attempting to make-believe reality hadn’t happened. Then I was really sure it had happened and I couldn’t give it any attention. But now I have worked hard at letting what happened be just that- something that happened- and am going forward so that “now” is what counts and what matters- not what happened.

Here’s the story- Last month I got in a 17 foot U-Haul truck pulling Jamie’s car while Jamie drive my car. We, along with my two youngest daughters, were moving to Park City, Utah. We had to wait till Jeanee got her braces off on Monday and get to Park City in time for Jamie to go to the Lupe Fiasco concert in Salt Lake Thursday. We couldn’t go after the concert because Jilly had hockey tryouts and practice starting up that Sunday.

We were all set to start our new life and adventure. I could actually work again because all my time wouldn’t held hostage to driving and the girls could be involved with their sports and other aspects of life that are so important. As much as I loved Waterville Valley- I was really getting too isolated.

Well, we arrived after three very hard days of driving. Oh, the last was a real killer for me. Jeanee was sick. She does this- gets a headache and stomach ache when over tired. So she and I drove in the car, while Jamie and Jilly had the fun of the truck. Of course the car was more comfy, BUT we couldn’t have any noise- like music or talking on the phone- or open the windows. All this caused Jeanee to feel worse. So for six hours I drove along in silence except when Jeanee needed to stop-which was every hour. SO at least I had some reprieve of the boredom.

We got to Park City, spent a couple of days unpacking the truck, starting to get settled and really knowing we were truly going to just love Park City, Utah. I got almost all the furniture we needed- and nice quality stuff too- for under $1000. So we were really getting settled and set up for a premo life.

The girls jumped into life- Training at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP or ramps), Jeanee starting school, Jilly making the hockey team, me beginning to network and starting my running. We were all doing exactly what the script said.

THEN I got a call. “Mommy, come quick Jamie really hurt herself.”

I got to the ramps were the girls were all three training and there was Jamie lying on the trampoline with a bunch of paramedics surrounding her, oxygen mask over her mouth, and her sisters with grave grey faces holding her hands. My heart was lost.

She had only been back to training for two months after her ACL surgery. How could this be?

I am scared

August 7, 2011 at 7:39 am | Posted in attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem, Utah, well being | 1 Comment
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I am totally scared. Here I am starting one of my biggest changes in life. It’s up there with having my first baby- But then I was young, naive, innocent. Now I am old, sophisticated, wise. I know all about failure. Then failure was a word that had never crossed my mind. And actually I knew nothing about success either. I just went about living my days- not knowing what would turn up from day to day. I had some of the greatest joy filled days. I was exhilarated, full of energy and life. Yet I had some days filled with sadness, heartbreak, and depression.

It is sort of the same now- I don’t know what will turn up from day to day. But here is the big difference- I now know about me. I know I can and do have the choice to be me. I can choose to be upset, relaxed, motivated, a slacker. It’s all my choice.

And by choosing and having that control I can make this change that is scary and unknown be another, and maybe the greatest, adventure of my life.

White Mountains NH condo for rent

August 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Posted in Condo for rent | Leave a comment
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Happy Summer-I hope you are all loving your summer as much as I am.

I’ve spent most of my time in Westport CT, with some time in WV.

The time I have spent in WV has been bitter sweet.  It’s time for my family to head west.

So most of my time has been used packing up the condo.

Yes- we are officially going to Park City, Utah in September.  So….

If you or anyone you know wants to rent or buy my condo PLEASE let me know!!!!

There are some very special things about this condo, which was why we bought it in the first place-

It’s really important for a family to have a home. Our place is set up more like a house than a condo, especially since it’s an end unit. You look out your window and see a yard, not the guy in the condo next to you brushing his teeth. And speaking about the neighbors on the other side, they are there about two times a year- and are super nice and friendly.

There is lots of natural light in every room, so it has a sunny and welcoming vibe. There’s plenty of closet space- even for a family with three teen girls…..

We are right next to the Rec Center and Athletic Club.

The cross country/bike trails are accessed by a trail directly behind the condo. The wilderness in Waterville has some of the most beautiful terrain in the world, to be able to walk out the door and into the trails is a magical escapade.

The schuss stop is right at the corner, trust me if you are taking the bus up to the mountain only walking a few feet, compared to all the way up an icy road with all your gear is a HUGE benefit.

You can use the monitors to heat the entire condo- saving tons on electricity.

One of the biggest reasons we bought this place was because there is a full sublevel floor that is ideal to give the kids their own space. It’s a perfect playroom for young children. An ideal hangout area for your teenagers, or a self-sufficient cabin themed guest area- complete with a fridge, kitchenette-

and a separate entrance.

Outside there is place to store bikes, firewood, and a grill.

There is a great ski room with wonderful racks to hang enough skis for even my family.

You will have great views of the mountain, and can even watch everyone shred it up on True Grit.

Yes, I want you to love this condo like we did. It is honestly one of the best condos in the valley, and I want you to live there because I know you will love it, and I want to leave it in good hands.

It’s a fun place to live whether you’re 3 and making your first snow angles, 45 and helping your children enjoy the magic of the outdoors, or 85 and trying to find a magical recluse our Waterville Valley condo will help make your dreams come true, just like it did for my family.

Here is the link on facebook to view the pictures and get an idea of what it will feel like as your home.
(You’ll have to cut and paste this to your browser)

I can rent for weekends/weeks/the winter season or sell-

So please, pass this on to anyone you know who is interested. Come home, or find the home away from home you have always dreamed about.

Thanks for reading this,


PS- It sleeps 15 all in beds and no one ever feels crowded.

Female Octogenarians Caught Playing at the Beach

July 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Posted in attitudes, Health | Leave a comment
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OK so to start- what in the world is an octogenarian? It happens to be one of my favorite words. It means a person who is 80. And if you are 80 I think you really do deserve such a fancy and fun name as octogenarian. Anyway, I was out in the water playing dunk my 11 year old daughter. My mother and her cousin were doing their exercises in the waist deep water. Walking, using their arms, and looking solid and strong, and just a bit serious.

Then all of a sudden they began to play catch. They tossed the little orange and black water ball-the new ones for this sumer that “bounce” in the water- And things changed. There was bit of a giggle floating across the water. They began to have just a bit of a bounce in their movements. Then it happened- they let loose and began to splash. These two old ladies- yes my mother and her cousin are old ladies- they splashed each other for all they were worth.

Needless to say I was in utter hysterics, as were many other beach goers. Who ever saw old ladies just let loose and play like that? Not me.

SO after they settled down in their beach chairs, I asked them what it was like to get out there and play like that. “OH, were we playing?” said my mother. “I was just trying to get your mother back for all the times she got me. I thought this might be my best chance ever.” “And was it?” asked my mother. “No- you won again like always.” “And boy was it ever fun!” They both said in unison and burst into that laugh you usually only hear with a couple of 8 year olds.

So at 8 or 80+ the desire to play a physical competition still lingers. My mother wasn’t about to let her “little” cousin get the best of her. And her cousin still longed to win. Bottom line- It was fun.

But how could they still do it? Lots of things. Here’s a few things.
* They still do exercises daily
* They eat healthy- relatively anyway
* They think they can do things
* They love to compete
* They have high self-esteem

So as you do your play or compete formally, know that you may be setting yourself up for an octogenarian all out splash fight in a few years down the line. IF nothing else it will make others have a great ab workout with all the laughing caused by you.

What about family meals?

July 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some Days I Really Question Why I Run

July 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Posted in attitudes | 2 Comments
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Some days I really question why I run and you’d think that when the heat and humidity are supposed to reach unbearable numbers, and people are hot inside their air conditioned homes and I don’t have any AC, just fans in my home, and a river, pool and ocean to swim in- None at my home though- that maybe I’d think this was a great day to take off.

Then again you might think that I’d want to get out there and have a real connection run with the heat. Let it really get into my soul and stir things up.

Of course since I suggested these they are not what I did. I decided last night that I needed to get in 12 miles today to stay on task with my 60 miles per week goal to reach my year long goal of 2011 miles in 2011.

This being decided I knew that I wasn’t going to skip the day and I wasn’t young and foolish enough to want to have a connection with the heat run. So I set my alarm for 5:15 and got my self up. That was actually rather easy. It was light out, but the sun hadn’t quite come up yet.

First things first- Lyona –my dog- needed her morning outing. Easy enough- just a ¾ mile out and back. She KNEW that she was going right back home after her business- no long run for her today!

Then came the first hard moment, when I brought her back to the house and had to turn right around and take off. OK so I do this many mornings, but this morning it might have been nice to just say, “Oh its so hot I’m going in to nap- maybe I’ll run this evening.”

Whew- I did it. And yes I was already wet from the outside in from the humidity with just that short little jaunt. As I ran on I saw the sun rise. This was extraordinary. It was brilliant magenta- without even a red ball of sun in the middle. But I had my plan to be back before that sun had anytime to really get into action. I had some dream running time- that’s when I know I am going and I don’t really remember when I am in the run what is happening or what I’m thinking I just keep going. And got through Long Shore.

Off to the beach- oh it was lovely- Just a whisper of breeze. Not cooling. But somehow refreshing nonetheless.

Then it was uphill after that, which is OK with me. I like the up hills. I had purposely made my run route to have an option to head home early if it really was too hot. I’m not really interested in being in the news for having been found in a bush about to die of heat stroke.

This made for the second hard moment- I knew I could go on AND I knew there was coolness at home. I checked myself out- was I delirious? No. Was I still sweating? Yes. Was my mouth dry? No. Did I have any cramps? No. Did I really want to run another bunch of miles? YES. All that thinking took me a mile. And that was good because there were five side streets for that mile that lead straight home. I did run on the right side of the road to avoid the even easier access to those streets since they were all off to the left.

Then came a nice steep hill- Park Lane. I put my head down and ran up. Still in the shade and truly on my way home now-

As you may expect after the up came the down. And as a runner there are different ways to go down. You can attack it, let it take you, or somehow glide down without much work at all. For me the last is actually the slowest, but under the heat circumstances I took the easy way down. If you’re not a runner then there is no easy way down. You just have to do it.

Up a mile, down a mile, and onto the real home stretch. The sun was really doing her thing. It was just plain HOT HOT HOT.

The last main road till my road was being resurfaced. This morning is was a packed dirt/gravel road. I want to mention it because of the difference between the CT drivers on this kind of road and the NH drivers. Normally I think the CT drivers are more intense and indifferent about runners, but not on this dirt road. They made huge arches around me, drove at a snails pace, and made sure I was safe. This dirt road was alien territory to them. For me, I loved it. It was cooler than the road and just softer to the touch.

Ah, my street- in the shade and around the bends- Into the driveway. Looked the same to me, but I was surely different. I had made it. I had made this trip, this run, as planned, before the truly intense heat had struck, before I had to give up, before I had let any sensible sane ideas come into action.

With that thought I took the hose and doused myself for ten whole minutes to cool down. And yes I did let plenty of that hose water trickle right into my mouth.

I went dripping wet up to my room- aimed the fans on me and stretched. When done I was good to go for the day.

Whose Drumbeat are You Following?

July 7, 2011 at 10:37 am | Posted in attitudes | Leave a comment

Over the last month or so I’ve had some great and extraordinary experiences. And of course many basic and ordinary life happenings. For the next few days I’m going to relate last month.

Here goes-Starting Wed June 8. (This is not a diary or history- Actually there are some interesting ideas.)

It may seem that things were going pretty fast after the last two weeks of May. What with Cinthia Funes’ graduation from Wellesley College, right into the Waterville Valley Elementary School play of Alice in Wonderland to Jilly’s 24-hour birthday party. But of course those where all fantastic events and were just the setting of the stage for what was coming my way.

I knew that time would both zip by without my least ability to slow it down, and yet filled with so much to do that it seems impossible that time could move slow enough to let it all in. The way life used to be and the start of how it is changing for me began really on the weekend of June 10-12. Two things were simultaneously going on.

Jamie had been developing and creating a trampoline camp geared for girls in conjunction with Freestyle America. To offer this camp Jamie had to talk to the people who could support the idea, both in and out of Freestyle America. She had to market to the families who would send their girls. She had to think of and prepare activities that would cater to the girls. She was also in charge of her two younger sisters and our dog for the weekend.

Jamie and her sisters had a great time. Jamie and Jeanee loved providing the camp for girls- along with the regular Freestyle America coaches. Nick Preston bopped in and out with his huge enthusiasm! There is nothing like Nick’s smile showing every positive emotion possible to a person. It just bounces in all directions.

With Jamie taking the initiative to think, create, develop, market, produce, and follow up the camp my life changed as did hers. Knowing now that she has this combined ability I know that she can stay out of any confining 9-5 job for her whole life. That she has the true ability and smarts to be her own person on skis and off. Now if she chooses to have a 9-5 job it will be something she can love and be dedicated to doing. On the other hand, she can create her own life just as she wants it to be.

For those of you who know Jamie you may think, “Well, of course. Who would have ever thought anything different?’ Well, actually I knew this was totally all Jamie. She will live her life with her own flare, her own design, and her own path. As a kid she followed her own drumbeat, and played it loud and clear for anyone who wanted to join her.

But some people were afraid to follow or let their children follow- they wanted to follow a well-worn path. They wanted to follow a drummer that everyone has listened to. Some people were scared to let her follow her path and create her own drumbeat. Then when she had an injury last Dec, even Jamie had to step off her path. The path that she had envisioned- The one that she thought was straight ahead. She had choices to make. She could decide to mope and heal, mope and get out, become disenchanted. Or get the new path all cleared out and lined up so she could charge ahead with energy, gusto, and full knowledge of where she was heading.

And this tramp camp for girls- (Remember I was talking about her camp June 10-12?) – was the new path. And guess what? The new path was a circle back to the old path. By being able to give her all in a new venue, she was able to understand her deep love and devotion to her skiing. Skiing for the deepest joy, the greatest freedom, the ability to enlighten others to be their own personal best. Skiing because it’s fun, challenging and simply because Jamie loves to ski.

And here’s the thing- no matter what you choose to do or be in life, at this moment or in the past or in the future, there is only one bottom line necessity. Choose because you love to do it. There will be parts that aren’t enjoyable. I’ll always say that being a parent is my number one enjoyable thing, and of course we all know that from dirty diapers to teens’ life experiments there are many aspects of parenting that are, shall I say, less than pleasurable.

When I live my life on my path using my own drumbeat I live to my fullest, I help others partly by being an example and partly by being able to reach out to them. I can flit and float when I want to and stay close to the ground with the most solid foundation.

You have the same choice- Go find YOUR path and live by your own drumbeat.

PS- Any idea what your drumbeat really is?

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