BACK TO THE FUTURE......with Trump.

Last week was Parent Teacher conference at my daughter's school. Her teacher informed me that she loves playing the castanets, and forming a band with her classmates. She describes with a chuckle, “your daughter just starts prancing around the room, castanets in hand and before long other classmates are marching right behind her with diff. musical instruments.” A priceless scenario I would love to witness and quite possibly a forecast to current events.  Next item addressed was her teacher’s personal favorite (what can top spontaneous band formation?), she states that our daughter is really sweet and demonstrated compassion and empathy onto others. The example given to us was how our daughter always made sure everyone felt included, especially if they were new. My heart melted. I was surprised and internally gloating thinking “well damn I must not be messing up this parenting thing too much.” 


Now. Don’t be fooled, you all know how performance reviews usually start on a high note and then quickly escalate to and here are the following things that need your attention and can use some improvement. 


We were told that our daughter was very particular about how she wanted to do certain things. The example given to us was how she puts her jacket on (an extremely odd way, I tell ya’---it’s a 5-minute ordeal every morning), her teacher said we now refer to it as the “Rway” (my daughter's name starts with an R). Lastly, she informed us that our Daughter gets very upset when you try to help her accomplish certain tasks, she likes to follow through until the task is completed -- with no adult assistance. Which was met with an affirmation not worry, as this was a normal part of toddler development. However, knowing my feisty daughter, I know she is a tad on the extremist side of little miss independence.


So what to make out of all of this, while also going through the 2016 U.S Presidential Election? 


Here’s the deal, until the last couple of weeks I never thought I become so vocal about my stance on sexism, racism and the importance of higher education.  Never did it cross my mind that I become one of those crazy political activist holding up signs marching through Washington D.C. chanting catchy phrases. But then Trump happened…... and I could no longer sit still and be silent. Two weeks ago if you’d ask me how I felt about protestors, I tell you “Wao, look at all those Hippies, they care too much.” It wasn’t until I found myself looking for flights to D.C that all of the sudden it clicked “Wao I’ll be remembered in History as one of those crazy marching bodies holding up a sign saying, “I’m not a sign gal but Geez.” Or, “ I can’t believe I’m still protesting this s$%^.”


In conclusion, the way I’m processing both my daughter's teacher conference and the election are as follows:


When my daughter plays her castanets and forms her little band. I’m seeing her first signs of Leadership skills, and my foreseeable future. When my daughter goes over to the new kid and gives him a big hug. I’m seeing her empathy and compassion skills and how I must continue to break all those bubbles that divide us. When I see how she defy's the ways certain things should be done, I’m seeing her authenticity, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Which only reminds me that I too should remain open to new ideas, strive to find solutions but never be afraid to speak my mind and oppose what is wrong.  When my daughter fights me every time I try to help her put her shoes on or button her shirt, I see her determination and independence. Qualities I should not hinder but reinforce within her. 


This week has been rough and 2016 SUCKS! I’ve gone through all the stages of grief, but yet somehow, amongst the Chaos I see my Daughter and it gives me hope. Hope that the future is not as scary as we plot it out to be (stage 5, Acceptance), and the only thing to do now is put on our big girl pants and be an Example to our daughters. 


As corny as this may sound. They are the future and we must stay strong and united for them.  We might not be singing Kumbaya just yet, but today this notion helps me get through it all. 


My vow as a mother will always be to teach “R”, Compassion, Empathy, Authenticity and to always seek Truth. I don’t want her to ever feel like she needs to be popular and perfect to uphold her self-worth. I want her to grow up and learn to ask questions and be open to new ideas. But most importantly I want her to strive to stay humble amongst it all, and to help with this she’ll need to reach out to others that are not like her and try to form lasting bonds. 


As parents we always want our children to be better than we are. For example, I know I can be extremely arrogant, cynical, and judgemental. But I’m a firm believer we change over time to reflect the values we want them to have. 


Although this week has been hell. I’m happy it happened. It sparked something beautiful inside of me. One day I will tell my grown daughter. “ You know what happened on 11/9/2016?”


I drafted a personal manifesto, I became an Activist, I reopened my Eyes to the world at Large. I became a better mother, women, wife and friend. I even had an image of you all grown up, sitting behind an oak desk with the seal President of the United States. I will never forget that day. It started a Revolution inside of me. 


For those who read this today and stand beside me you know what follows next…….

January 21st, 2017.

My sign will read "Today I walk in Trump America, so tomorrow my daughter won't have to." See you soon strong Ladies. For more hope, see below.....#thefutureisfemale

CDS & a BABY - ARE's diary

Oct 3rd, DAY 1: 8:15 pm

I started, I finally felt it was time. I set my schedule to study for my 7 Architecture Licensure Exams. It wasn’t easy to mentally arrive at this point. Granted it took 8yrs of procrastination to finally decided today’s the day. I’ve mapped out what will be the next year and 6 months of torture. The ultimate goal is to finish all exams by June 2018..will I make it? Not sure, life is super complicated, all I can do is try my best.

Strategy: To not fall asleep from 8-10pm and study, every day for the next 21 months -- 80-100hrs a test -- buy me something nice for each passed exam.

Goal: Gain more background knowledge for the things I actually do on a daily basis. Get licensed so I can finally legally be called an Architect vs. Project Designer.

Methods: Read everything there is to read, listen to all audios, study study study, bug all my friends and cyber friends who are testing or have tested. Drink lots of wine from 8-10pm.

How did I do on my first day?

8:15 Start. Chug Wine

8:20 Baby R leaves her bed

8:21-8:25 Dad comes and tries to make her fall asleep. Adventures of Curious George play in the background.

8:26 Headphones go in with loud Spotify deep focus music

8:27-9 Read 6 pages of Chapter 56 in the Ballast on Building Codes and Regs

9:00 Self-realization how much this is going to suck

9:05 Baby R roams around the room (Dad is passed out). She lays beside me and tries to turn my Ballast book pages.

9:06 Mean mom locks her in her own room and shuts the door (Toddler screams in background)

9:07 Crank up the volume of music, chug wine.

9:15 Dad Rescues Baby R as she screams in her bedroom, brings her to bed with him.

9:16 I look at my watch and see how much progress I’ve made on this really exciting chapter of codes. Chug Wine

10:00 Give up

10:00-6:00am Dreams of walking through corridors chased by fire, waiting for doors to burn down in 20mins. 6:30am Chug Coffee.

GEN Y Anxiety - Organic Living - Non food related

Sometime between my jury duty break and reading my third Fast Company magazine, something inside of me clicked. For the most part I never publish my internal mental revelations for fear of being ridiculed. However, today I cannot help but wonder if my words might inspire other women or busy moms to put some life anxiety aside.

I'm over trying to be awesome, I'm over trying to compete with my architect peers and the fact I'm not licensed yet.  I'm over trying to start my own company in the dungeon that is my bedroom. I'm over trying to craft things that people might buy and genuinely love using. I'm over the fact I haven't been able to complete my idea of helping single mothers and aid with their childcare. I'm over being the perfect mom. I'm over obsessing about my cellulite, my fat rolls my lack of exercise and bad food habits. I'm over the fact I still don't own a piece of property where I can knock some walls down and paint a room. I'm over the fact I still make huge grammatical errors and spelling errors on a daily basis and that this post might contain a few, or million. I'm over the fact I still interject the word "like" and say "umm" when I talk; projecting a lack of language and vocabulary skills. I'm over the fact my family is a disaster and I cannot fix everyone's problems. I'm over the fact my toddler hates milk and I'm constantly reinventing the way she takes her daily needed 700 mg of calcium. I'm over the Trump issue. I'm over trying to wrap my head around girls imitating the Kardashians and how actual talented and respected human beings don't receive credit for their life work or notoriety. I'm over it all.

Why? How? What happened?

I'm so exhausted of feeling like a failure when I'm not. I have accomplished so much in life yet somehow I'm always looking at the world and saying I'm not doing enough in this life or contributing anything positive to society. There's that mom, she's successful, busier than me; still finds time to workout with her green smoothie (made from the crops she grew in her home garden) and just finished a school for girls in Uganda.  I can't even find time to be jealous;  I jump straight to the feeling of failure. I suck!!! I cannot continue like this. I cannot keep putting so much pressure on myself and comparing myself to the new era of Stepfords wife. If I do, I'm going to wake up one day and truly wish I'd lived life in a more zen matter. My friends head trauma accident has also aided in this revelation.  

Now. I'm not saying I'm going to stop pursing a few of the topics previously mentioned. In reality I'm not stopping any of them. I just know I have to start giving myself some slack and breathing room. I must start living life in a more organic matter; Letting things grow naturally without interjecting such high expectations. I know what you might be thinking, this San Francisco drama queen is having a meltdown.

Not at all. I just want to learn to breath again, I want to do things with passion and love. Relax the timelines. Putting so much pressure on me, makes me hate exactly the things I enjoy the most. I want to love Architecture again, I want to enjoy cooking and crafting. I want to post a picture on social media without the fear that it's not kinfolk or food stylist worthy (that's a career you know). I want to let go of the fear of oversharing my life journey, for our stories are what inspire us. I want to be fearless and committed to be present. I want to release the anguish that it is okay to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. That my name was never published on a list of top 30 under 30. Or that I don't have a K after the number of followers on my Instagram account. I'm okay with my blog only being read by me and that it's made maybe 3 dollars on adverbs. I'm even warming up to the idea that it's okay I'm not as good as an amateur photographer with an SLR's -- even though I double majored in Photography in college. You see. I'm over it. Okay I admit, I'm not completely over that last bit, but I'm working on being over it.

I guess, my point is as I sit here and try to convince myself, I want you to know that it's okay to be an average Jane and a dreamer. Someone out there loves you unconditionally and thinks you are the coolest person in the world. To them you are a rockstar and your work is the best. To them you're the most beautiful, smartest and creative being they know. You might even be the person someone is putting in their “over it” jar as we speak. 

So as of today, I'm over all the non-sense. Granted we are only human and I'm sure something else will creep into my life that I'm not over. Like maybe how Jessica Alba went from being an actress on the fantastic four to being co-founder of the Honest Company ( an ethical consumerism company that started of by non-toxic cute diapers to turning into a 1.7 Billion dollar valued company). Yeah, hmmm, 1....2.....3... gently putting it in my "I'm over it jar".  


Signing off for now. I can hear a dozen marbles falling on the floor -- my daughter is taking out all the pebbles that were once in a ceramic vase. Best I attend to that before she decides flushing them down the toilet is the next best thing.

Answering the question, What happened to my friend Monica Stegall?

monica and I climbing mount tamalpais last november.

monica and I climbing mount tamalpais last november.

What happened to Monica could've happened to any of us at any given moment of time. This is why her accident is so tragic, heartbreaking, and scary. 

Monica had been working hard and long hours at her architecture firm -- normal for an aspiring Architect. Afterwards her and some coworkers went out for some needed fun, they grabbed a couple drinks and called it a night. They did what any responsible human being would do and ordered a taxi -- Monica arrived home safely, and dashed out of the car  -- she reached the Lobby of her apartment building, and this is where things become unclear as no one was behind her to see exactly how she fell.  We assume that she might of tripped, fell or passed out. Given the prior evening events we are concluding that having alcohol in her system effected her reaction time and she didn't stop her fall. Regardless of exactly how it happened, it was a horrible accident -- One that can happen to anyone.  

One of her coworker who'd shared the ride, along with the driver heard the fall and rushed to see what happened. They found her unconscious and in very bad conditions. They made sure not to move her and immediately called 911. She was promptly rushed to the hospital. 

This was Tuesday night. I'll spare you the details of her state during those first two days as they're the scariest aftermath I've ever seen or heard of from a simple fall. The good news is she wasn't alone. Her coworkers, Tim, Torin, Mom, and I were with her during those first few hours, and as the following day progressed, we watched her come back to life. 

The fall fractured her skull in two places and caused a brain hemorrhage. She was operated on immediately and from what we've gathered, we are lucky it happened in the city of San Francisco because we have some of the nations leading brain surgeons. 

How is she now? How long will she be in the ICU? Will she be the same Monica we all knew?

The doctors are slowly reducing the sedatives to watch her responses. They don't want her to wake up completely as she is still in very delicate conditions with devices on her that can't be moving around. However, she is responding to all stimuli, and doctors and nurses are very pleased with her progression. We also learned that because of her active lifestyle, doctors anticipate that it will aid in her recovery.  I'll make sure to remind her that our month's of crazy Insanity (a crazy workout program) is probably paying off right about now.

Once she is completely in stable conditions she will leave the ICU and be transferred to her hospitals Neurological Unit, where she can start the recovery process and we can start getting a sense of the extent of her injuries and how long she will be held in hospital care. The Hospital representative did warn us that brain trauma comes with a long road to recovery which can take as little as a few months to over a year.

What now?

Now we help Tim and Torin out because those guys will need all the help they can get (emotionally and with the everyday life things that Mom use to take care off). If there are any mommy's reading this, you know that is ALOT!

Thankfully her coworkers came up with a way to keep us all informed and engaged during the recovery process. 

Follow the link below and become a member. "Lots a Helping Hands" is a way for us SF locals and even friends from a far to support Tim and Torin during these hard times while mommy is recovering.  

https://my.lotsahelpinghands.com/community/monica-tim-and-torin

The mushy Sad part....

I haven't cried yet (she probably be extremely shocked by this). I cry very easily, but something about seeing her in that bed, in that state, just screams to me this is not my friend. So instead I've been trying to keep it together and staying strong for Torin, her son. He was in my care the first two nights so I couldn't be too sad around him. I know once she eventually is conscious and recognizes me, her first words will make me lose it.  For now I've been writing her a letter a day to keep a journal of all that is happening while she is sedated. 

Our mutual friends know Monica is one of my rocks. We jokingly call each other Dear Diary (we are silly). We tell each other everything (like 10 year olds). We have no secrets amongst each other and we are never afraid to tell each other when one of us is being stupid. We know our friendship is strong and we only want the best for each another. I'm currently num and cannot believe that this is happening. I know she'd feel the same if it were me. I'm trying to stay positive but the fear of the unknown does keep me up at nights. I miss my friend. I want her back whole. I want her back with all her smarts, passion and dreams. I know she is strong and will come back soon. Like a selfish human, I day dream of the day that this is all behind us and her and I planning our next crazy adventure together and checking stuff off our joint bucket lists. Nevermind guys, here they come....I'm finally able to cry. 

UPDATE: For current status reports of her condition you can find them at "The Lot's of Helping Hands" link above.