Thursday, December 30, 2010


I'm a lucky guy. I know this, because I have a wonderful family. They've stuck around despite all of my difficulties. Well, they aren't always wonderful, and everything isn't always sunny, but they are still here. That's the good thing about family. They tend to stick around.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I have a hard time making a decision. Especially if it's for a spur of the moment thing. I know this about myself, so I try to do the first thing that feels right, and stick to it. When at a restaurant, I scan the menu, pick the first thing that catches my eye and close the menu. If I see specials posted somewhere, I might not even have to open a menu.
Deciding on a restaurant, however seems to be an issue for me, especially when there are other people involved. It's better if the decision is already made, but if people are looking to me for guidance, it could take a while.
This gets a bit frustrating when we all are hungry. My parents were in town this week, and there were a few times they were waiting on me to decide. Finally, my wife picked a spot. Sometimes that is the best way. Let someone else pick, and then enjoy the ride.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday = Red Saturday

I won't be going shopping today. If I did, I would be overwhelmed to the point of frustration. I think that's what was intended by the business world. Even a person who hasn't had a brain injury gets beat down by the possibility that if they don't shop today, they are missing out.
I won't be missing the crowds, childish adults, screaming kids, nor the mundane muzak. My kids won't watch as I push an old lady to the ground in an attempt to grab the last xyz electronic device. Instead, I slept in, made french toast and bacon, then went on a ride and run. Life is good.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken Stock

Making chicken stock for the stuffing. Corn bread stuffing. Stock takes a while to make, but it's worth it on occasion. I'm wanting to go for a swim, but this is important. I've been saving chicken carcasses for the long simmering moment when added with water, vegetables, herbs, magical poultry mead results.
I put this on my calendar so as not to forget. I haven't been as consistent with my calendar as I would like. Workouts have not made it to home calendar. I have another workout planner for that. I guess I need to combine those somehow. It just seems like a lot of redundant typing and entering. There must be a solution somewhere.
Kids are still sleeping. Time to wakey-wakey, or late to bed tonight they will be. Stock is simmering, pool time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Went for a ride after I dropped off Mia. Missed the rain, luckily. I've been considering getting a trainer since it will be raining more often. I went to the Guitar Center yesterday to return a strap I bought as a gift. There was a Sports Chalet next door, so I stopped in. So much stuff to look at!
I don't need a bunch of gadgets, but sometimes they sure can make things easier. I use an iPhone to keep track of things I need to do. It beeps at me when I need to do something. I tried a paper organizer, but I would always forget to use it. I sometimes forget even with the iPhone, but it is much easier.
The key is getting into a routine. I can remember to do things if they become part of my routine. New activities, or "to do" items that don't get scheduled, often don't happen. I'm trying to make posting to my blog a part of the routine, but it's a work in progress.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I get so distracted being on the internet, like most activities I do. Luckily, I have a few tools to help me not get so distracted. One being setting aside time to allow myself to surf any way I choose. I installed ad block software called Adblock Plus. It blocks those annoying ads, and you can even block images you don't want to see.
For me, most any image is enough to have me off on some crazy tangent. I try to set a timer for most of my activities around the house by and large. I tend to get wrapped up in doing something, and lose track of time. With kids, that can get to be annoying at the least. Dinner will be late, chores won't get done, and pretty soon the house is in total disarray.
This wasn't an issue before my head injury. Many times I forget what I was going to do, and while I'm trying to remember, something else grabs my attention. I really wouldn't be able to get much done, without alerts telling me to move on. I tend to get "stuck" on doing something, and it's hard to break off. I need a signal to help stay on track.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I'm tired. Got up at 6, went for a swim at the gym. I came home and woke the girls up, got Mia ready for school. Made coffee, breakfast, lunch for Mia. Made a smoothie for Chloe, Mia and I. Mia ate a bite of oatmeal and a sip of smoothie. I drank some coffee.
Got Mia in the car, drove her to pre-school. Went to the car wash, vacuumed the car out and washed it. Came home. Made the bed, cleaned the room, loaded the dishwasher. Started work on a website I'm helping my wife with.
Went to pick up Mia, came home, ate lunch, did laundry and cleaned out basement work area a bit. Folded laundry. Checked email, short chat with Frank. Started dinner. Chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, salad and garlic biscuits.
The day isn't over yet...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The San Francisco Giants and Me

Went to the SF Giants World Series Champion's Parade in the City today. So many people having a good time cheering for their team. I took Chloe with me, and we had a great time. Glad we had the chance to celebrate. I've been a Giants fan since 1997 or so, when we moved to Humboldt County from San Diego.
It's good to be a fan right now, but really Giant's fans have much to be thankful for. We're all pretty lucky here in the Bay Area. The parade really brought that home. I'm thankful, too. Thankful to have a great family, thankful to have friends, thankful that I can do what I am able, and thankful that I can overcome things that I thought I couldn't.
Like the San Francisco Giants, I've kept trying. Sometimes I get down on myself, but I just try to remember to never give up. Some days get tedious being a stay at home dad, but I try to keep my eye on the prize. In my case it's guiding my kids to do what matters to them.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

Today, my eldest daughter asked me if we "have to vote". I said to her "No, no one forces you to vote." I wonder what our country would be like if we were forced to vote. Probably wouldn't be a very nice place to live. It is a right that we often take for granted, and even one that we might dread having to do.
I've been stressing out a little bit about voting, and how unfair our political system is to different views. I'm upset that our choices for political office typically boil down to either a Republican or Democrat. Sure, there are other parties, but I worry that by voting for a Party X candidate, I will effectively be swaying the results in a way that I really wouldn't like.
So, I get all caught up in worrying, I tend to get stuck, and making a decision feels impossible. I try to remember to: Stop, Relax and Refocus during these times. Then I just go ahead and vote my beliefs, and I feel better. I hope my daughters can take that lesson: Stick to your beliefs even when things get confusing, and you'll be glad you did.
No one has to vote, but I think it at the very least gets us thinking about who we are and what we believe in. That is something we "have to do" if we expect to grow, learn and move forward in a positive way.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sensory Overload

Since my brain injury, I've had trouble handling over-stimulation. I've continued to improve, and have developed ways to handle this issue pretty well, but for the first few years I would have a hard time focusing on what I needed to do. One baby screaming I could usually handle, but put me around a bunch of kids, and pretty soon I would be ready to run from the building. Not such a good thing if you are the parent in charge.
Luckily, I haven't had to be in charge of too many kids at once, and my wife has been able to handle many of the situations where I get flustered. I know when things are starting to be too much. My eyes feel like they get wider, and I'm pretty sure I begin to look like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein.
I try not to go to big shopping mega-complexes during rush hours. Stores like Home Depot are too much sometimes even on a weekday. Lists are a necessity. Grocery stores were an issue for a while, but as long as I am used to a store, I can usually get in and out with what I need.

Friday, October 29, 2010

First entry

I've been wanting to do this for a long time. Thought now was as good a time as any to start. I'm writing this from the perspective of a Stay at Home Dad, who has also suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I think this will be good for me, and I hope, for someone else. Maybe it can help someone not feel so isolated like I did after my accident.
My story: August 29th, 2006 was the day my life and the life of my family changed forever. I was riding my bicycle in San Francisco from my home to my job on Market St. One minute I'm riding down the street, the next I'm waking up in the hospital. I had a concussion with some bleeding - called a sub-dural hematoma in the left frontal lobe of my brain.
My helmet was broken and probably saved my life. I was transported via ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital. I was given an MRI, where it was determined that the bleeding had stopped. I was kept for several hours for observation and released to my wife. I don't remember much for the first few days after the accident.
I saw my primary care physician about a week after the accident, was given another MRI, and a referral to see a neurologist. I was having double vision and vertigo along with much confusion. The double vision subsided after a week or so, but the vertigo continued for several months. I could turn my neck a certain way, and the room would start spinning. Fun!
During all of this, my wife took care of everything. She kept it all together, but I know it was hard and frightening to deal with. Two months prior to the accident, we had our second child, Mia. So now my wife is dealing with essentially two babies, as everything was new to me, and a source of wonder and many times frustration and anger.
So, the neurologist I saw had me walk in a line and watch his finger and say some words, and then told me to return to work, to "use my brain". I did what he said, but this is when I really noticed things weren't right. Everything was confusing to me, which is not a good thing in any job, but as a software developer, it's a disaster. It was like I had been suddenly thrown into a foreign country without knowing the language.
Distractions were a huge disruption. Someone would talk to me, and I would completely forget what I was working on. I would get up for a drink of water, and end up on the other side of the building talking to someone. I was, at times, inappropriate without knowing it. I was quick to anger, and even yelled and cussed at my boss. I was getting reprimanded at work, and finally, after nearly a year of frustration, I went to see another doctor for a second opinion.
I saw a neurologist who gave me a neuropsychological exam and decided that I had had a serious brain injury. Finally, I was getting the help I needed. She recommended I go on disability leave so I could give my brain time to recover. That's what I did, and none to late, either. I was probably one step away from being fired.
So, that's where I'll leave it today. I've been a stay at home dad since then, and it has been a struggle for sure, but I'm glad I get to spend this time with my kids, who are now 14 and 4. I've got a new appreciation for people with disabilities, and am more compassionate towards people in my everyday life since the accident. That doesn't mean I don't get angry, but I feel more connected somehow with people. Maybe because I realize everyone is dealing with what's handed to them in life, and outsiders can't possibly know what's going on inside someone's head.