This past February I posted the following,
I lived at the beach for the summer with one of my best friends in the world. There aren’t enough words to express how the time, the feelings, the experiences and the memories have changed my life. Yesterday I made a video journal with a few of the highlights documenting that time…

The feedback was overwhelming…I received several emails and messages about the video. Some asking the story behind it, others simply letting me know it had touched a part of their heart. I responded via email, doing my best to explain what it means to me. One of the responses I recently received suggested I share this story with the video. The story, however continues, as I have made some great new friends because of it!

Putting it in perspective…
One of the reasons I chose to do a video journal vs writing about my summer in Ventura, is I often found myself using the word indescribable when referring to it. It will be challenging for me to put into words…but I will do my best.

There is nothing in this world to me more hypnotic than the ocean…the sight, the sound, the smell, the life that exists within it. The ocean is plenty and I could go many places, but the peacefulness I experience in Ventura is like something I’ve never experienced before. Indescribable. It is a place I have always found a sense of peace. It was there I took my wig and scarves off, and for the first time was able to go out in public and hold my head high. That peace, however would somehow slowly diminish once I returned to reality, home. I was complacent in a world, where hindsight, I merely existed.

Last April I lost an aunt that I was extremely close to. Knowing it had been a significant source of comfort for me in the past, my mom encouraged me to plan a trip to Ventura after the funeral. My aunts ashes were to be scattered the day after I had arrived there. With that in mind I woke the following morning with a sense of guilt and of course, strong emotions. I walked aimlessly along the beach seeking the strength I needed to carry me through the day, I drove around, I walked along the pier, it was one of the hardest days of my life. As I walked from the pier back to my car, I stopped and sat on a bench to take a few pictures, it wasn’t until I was walking away did I notice a plaque that read “Strength” mounted on the bench I had been sitting on. I had, in a sense, found that strength.

I spoke to my mom on the way back to the beach, my aunt’s ashes had been spread, and final goodbyes had been spoken. As I situated myself and my camera on the beach, I realized there wasn’t another person in sight which was both eerie and refreshing. It was a safe place for me to say my final goodbyes, alone. I had sat with her alone for a few hours just before she passed away and I was now recounting what I did and did not say to her. What she may of heard and what she didn’t. I wondered if she knew what an inspiration she was to me…how thankful I was to have her in my life. Did I thank her enough for being one of the only people in the world who stood by my side and loved me unconditionally during these years I’ve struggled? In so many ways she gave me the hope and the courage I needed when I couldn’t find it within myself.

“If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing, it’s the time I spend alone, sailing on the cool and bright clear waters. It’s kind of a special feeling when you’re out on the sea alone…”

As I sat there, I noticed 4 dolphins down the beach a ways heading north. It was about that time of day, which usually meant there would be more following not far behind. I grabbed my camera, sat and waited for them to get closer. As they approached the 1st of the 2 jetties I was sitting between, they changed their direction heading towards the shore. For the next 30 minutes I sat, watched and photographed one of the most amazing sights I had ever seen. They jumped, twirled, swam on their back, splashing their tail fins about as they dove under water. Still alone on the beach, I had never felt so “at one” with nature, I had a calmness I forgot existed. Instinctively I called my aunt to share what had just witnessed, her voice mail picked up. The first thing that came to mind was, ‘she already knows.’ I call those pictures, Angels in Flight.

“Now that my life is so pre-arranged, I know that it’s time for a cool change.”

As reality set back in, I had what I would best describe as an “Ah-ha” moment. It reiterated to me, there is life beyond pain. Beauty beyond darkness. Hope beyond despair. I had sought out strength and peace to get me through the day. In a sense I had found them both…and so much more. I was alone on the beach…I was alone. I was in complete control…I was in control. It was a thought, feeling, a concept, emotion, a vision that was so freeing and so refreshing. Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living. It was time for me to get back up, to start living, and nobody was going to stop me.

It’s ironic you say “knowing what I know life’s experience for you has many colors.” I had not thought of it that way until recently. I think that holds true for all, however the shades and quantity of those color vary. For years, my life seemed monotonous, the colors, monotone. With each passing day and experience in Ventura, the colors became more vibrant, more abundant. My eyes had opened to a whole new world, beyond four walls and beyond my illness. As much as I embrace it, I don’t believe my appreciation would be as great had I not started with a monotone palette. A lot  of the pictures in the video simply represent the beauty I was not only seeing, but feeling.

Without black, no color has any depth. But if you mix black with everything, suddenly there’s shadow – no, not just shadow, but fullness. You’ve got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something that’s real. ~Amy Grant

“I know it may sound selfish, but let me breathe the air”

There is a picture of me in the video at about 3:05. I was walking along the beach taking pictures and an elderly man walked up to me. He reached out for my camera and said, “Do you mind? You look so happy and so at peace, I would love to capture it, for you.” He took the picture and walked away. I posted it on Facebook that day. Comments ranged from my mom, ‘Is this my daughter? You look so happy’ to ‘It’s so good to see you smile…really smile again.’ Another one, ‘Don’t ever come back, I love seeing you so happy.’  It made me cry. It made me smile. It made me more determined…to focus on me. I spent the following 3 months doing just that.

Each new day welcomed me with something new. An adventure, a sight, a person, a feeling, a once in a lifetime experience. My childhood dream was to be a Marine Biologist. Having the opportunity to interact with Sea Lions this trip gave me a piece of that dream. Sitting alone in the water for 4 hours in the middle the night while holding and comforting a dying Sea Lion gave me a sense of purpose, of worthiness. Something I had not felt in a long time. Taking on the commitment of watching over beached Sea Lions as they rested and healed…for up to 5 days, and keeping that commitment gave me a sense of responsibility. Being asked to photograph a man and his dying dog as a keepsake for him gave me a sense of pride. Sitting around a bonfire and talking with 2 drifters about “life” gave me a sense of appreciation. Laughing endlessly and having heart to heart talks with a friend I’ve cherished for over 20 years gave me a sense of joy, a sense of belonging. Taking a stand and doing what I needed to do for ME, gave me a sense of confidence. Going off all my medications, on my own, gave me a sense of control….

What started out as a much needed weeks get away, turned into a 3+ months journey. The simplicity, the beauty, the freedom, the calmness, the experiences…they touched my life, they changed my life. I had wanted to do a video journal for months but there wasn’t a single song I could think of that could even begin to convey the feeling behind the pictures until I remembered “Cool Change.” It somehow, in my mind put in all in perspective.

“Well I was born in the sign of water and it’s there that I feel my best. The albatross and the whales they are my brothers. It’s kind of a special feeling, when you’re out on the sea alone…starin’ at the full moon like a lover”

Like I said, one of the reasons I chose to do a video journal vs writing about my summer in Ventura, is I often found myself using the word indescribable when referring to it…it is challenging for me to put into words

ggg7 copy

What happens when somebody that battles with OCD is given a book about somebody that battles with OCD and they become obsessed with it?
Howie Mandel’s Here’s The Deal: Don’t Touch Me is ingenious! Combining humor with a serious look at the daily struggles, anguish and despair that accompanies OCD and ADHD, this is an excellent read for not only those affected by these conditions, but for anyone who’s a Mandel fan!  4-stars

Thanks Mom….I think!


…blogging for this special announcement:
15 days!!! O.k. so one bad day in the midst of those 15, but do I really have to start over completely?? It appears (knock on wood) I have this O.C.D. demon back in check. (Yaaa me!)
Thanks to all for the wonderful emails, words of encouragement and prayers! I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much it means to me.
(Yaaa you!)


obsessedHands down, this is the best reality show I have seen. Not for the entertainment value, not because it follows Intervention, another favorite and not because it’s really good. It’s the reality of the show, the

Obsessed chronicles the struggles of everyday people imprisoned by unmanageable, repetitive behaviors and sometimes debilitating fear. Whether it is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.) or other anxiety disorders, this shows gives viewers a chance to see first-hand how an obsession can radically affect a person’s life and the effects their disorders have on their friends and family. Each episode follows two individual cases, their struggle and the process of rehabilitation, following them through treatment with cognitive-behavior therapy.

I have lived with O.C.D. for the past 8 years, a majority of those years it has consumed my every waking hour. It affects approximately 3.3 million people in the U.S., 2% being adults, 0.3 to 1% kids. It’s a disease that is rarely talked about, rarely understood and unknown to many. A relatively new show, I have yet to get through an episode without a meltdown. As hard as it is for me to watch, there is a glimmer of hope as well as a true sense of comfort knowing I’m not alone. I can’t thank A&E enough for addressing this disorder and bringing a new understanding to such a debilitating condition. Obsessed can be seen Monday nights on A&E at 10/9C 4-stars1-star


Sadly, my O.C.D. has peaked, it has not been this bad in almost 2 years. I am devastated, sad, embarrassed and drained. Oddly, I also feel a deep sense of comfort.


In 1994 we adopted 6 week old Rex from the pound. He was playful, feisty, stubborn and ornery. He was never a lap cat and any affection was done on his time. After I was diagnosed with O.C.D. in 2001 Rex’s demeanor changed, he was now the most compassionate animal I had ever encountered. Sensing when it was going to be a challenging day for me, he remained by my side as long as needed, “protecting” me. If he was not next to me when I woke up, 3 pats to my chest with my hand would bring him to me….without fail. Rex 2August 20th, 2007, after a brief illness we had to put Rex to sleep.  I miss him terribly, he had become so much more than a pet to me. His intuitiveness, loyalty and compassion simply amazed me. I am a firm believer animals are a great source of therapy and support, they’re love is unconditional.

A few months ago we took in an abandon cat, Oliver. He can only be described as a curious, mischievous, busy body who will “talk” to anyone willing to listen. Like Rex, he is not a lap cat and only occasionally will he even sit still long enough to let you pet him. He is like a 2 year old child and I often wonder what we got ourselves in to. OliverHis behavior lately has been odd. He will occasionally walk around aimlessly meowing but always stays within close proximity to me, he will then wrap his paws around my leg and bite it. He will do this over and over until he has my complete attention. I have woke up the last 5 mornings to this little busy body snuggled up to me, his head laid on my chest and his big green eyes watching over me.
When I finally realized what was causing his “odd” behavior, it gave me the chills. Oliver had taken on the role of “protecting” me.  Each and every time he bit me, I had been stuck in a O.C.D. cycle. My most challenging days have been those that I awoke to find him by my side.

Again, I am amazed at their loyalty, compassion and the ability to sense when something is wrong. As hard as this is…and as silly as this may sound, it gives me comfort. He is my little Guardian Angel.


Ever been so busy doing nothing that you don’t have time for anything? It seems like that’s how life has been lately. Why does that happen and where does time go?

My oldest was out from Arizona last weekend visiting. Both of my son’s are wine enthusiast’s, so Saturday we took a few hours and went wine tasting. We were joined by my future daughter-in-law, my mom and some good friends. I meant to take lots of pictures, but, apparently I spent more time “tasting” and visiting than snapping! My son wont be visiting us anymore….because he is moving back home to California in two weeks!! It has been in the works for a bit but as of yesterday, it’s official. I am beyond ecstatic. You know this means my grand-doggers, Daisee and Lilee will be spoiled rotten…even more! I have even more exciting news but I’m biting my lip for a few more days, it’s not easy. Curious? Check back cause it is good! (really good) (great even!)

I have been doing really good managing my O.C.D. It is a daily battle, but I pluck battle away. It feels good to have the upper hand and be able to keep things under control. (yea me!) I have to, once again thank everyone for their encouragement, love and support. (yea you!)

Guess who’s a Twitterer now? Me! MySpace, Facebook, now Twitter…and I wonder where my time goes! Here I thought I was the only non-Twitterer left in cyberspace, little did I know. Very few of my friends Twit, or even know what Twitting is, so it gets a bit lonely out there. Do you Twitter? Hee-hee

Don’t forget to check back soon for my lip biting, hard to keep secret, really good, even great news!!


First and foremost, THANK YOU for all the encouraging emails, comments, gift certificates for a lobotomy, flowers, etc….I appreciate and love you all!!!!! (yep, even you!)
A quick update, I have good, bad, great and horrible days, some days I just don’t get out of bed. It is what it is, I just have to deal with it. On a side note, my neighbors moved a few weeks ago….I didn’t like them very much anyways but what’s even better, nobody can hear me yelling at this O.C.D. demon that it’s “not going to get the best of me and to leave me alone.” At least that will buy me some time before the men in white jackets show up!
My aunt is out of I.C.U. but is still in the hospital dealing with some pretty heavy issues. Please pray, pray, pray!!! I love her so much….
Our friends that were in the car accident are recovering but have a l o n g road ahead of them. Two of the babies are now out of the hospital. Their mama not only has a broken back, her leg is also broken and she is missing a couple toes. We thank God they are just all alive. It was a single car accident, the Police believe was caused due to a combination of 70 m.p.h. winds and black ice. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as well!!! XOXO to Brittney, Brianna and babies!!!
I have a secret, but I’m not supposed to get too excited or say too much yet. Don’t tell anyone, but it has to do with my oldest son….a new job and moving back from Phoenix. Shhh, I’ll tell you more later!
Yep, she came out of the closet, my little reptilian girl, Kiwi. Been in there, in a box since October, I wish I was a turtle.


More excitement, yesterday she peed! This is a good thing….means she’s hydrated and in working order.
So, I’m really trying to learn how to use my camera. It’s easy to use in the “Basic Zone” but it’s time to advance to the, well, “Advanced Operations.” It’s capable of doing so much…I’m just waiting for that ah-ha moment, when it all just clicks!!! (no pun intended!) Yesterday, after a nice visit at the hospital with my aunt it starts snowing as I’m walking to my car, snowing cotton. Huh? Through the flurries falling before me, I manage to find the source it’s coming from. Am I that naive? Never saw anything like this…. (pics are click-able for larger view)


There were also some pretty flowers on the grounds, what better way is there to practice my “Advanced Operations,” so I experimented away…

12 —————————————– 34 —————————————– 56
———-You do realize I have many more (my apologies…humor me here folks) but I don’t want to whoa you too much in one day! Check back tomorrow… Again, thanks for all the love and support


I need to vent.
First, a quick update on the nests I posted a few weeks ago. Sadly, the Hummingbirds didn’t survive. One baby hatched but did not seem to thrive, the second egg remained intact. The assumption is, mama knew there were problems and finally abandon the nest. R.I.P. little Hummers! On a happier note, here are pictures of The Dove Family which appear to have two nestlings. Cute or what??


So on to my rant.
These past few weeks have been the most trying times I have had in a long time, 79.6 weeks to be exact. Each and every day has been a struggle and I am hoping the light at the end of the tunnel comes sooner, rather than later. I am equipped with a lot more coping skills this time, but the disease seems to be getting the best of me at this point. If you know me well or have followed my site for period of time, you are aware I have O.C.D. This linked post explains….

“Seven years ago, after experiencing a traumatic event I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.) I had a type, similar to what they refer to as Trichotillomania, a form of hair pulling. Long story short, I would spend an average of 5 to 12 hours a day pulling my hair out, eventually leaving me completely bald. As fast as those babies grew back in, I would yank them right back out. There was nothing anyone could do or say that would justify my stopping. The urge or ‘impulse’ has often been described as a hiccup in your brain, or a brain lock, preventing your brain from shifting gears. Wigs (later dubbed “the helmets”) and scarves did a great job of covering the physical effects, but the emotional and psychological damage it caused was often more than I could bear. This not only impacted my life, affecting my ability to function in the outside world….it unfortunately took a toll on everyone around me……After six years, with the support of my loved ones by my side, many hours of therapy, medications, a lot of sweat, tears, prayers and determination. I (toot-toot) have reached a personal milestone. As of October 5th, 2008 it has been one year since I have tugged, pulled or mutilated my hair in any way!!!”

I have relapsed.
My heart is breaking. I have already begun the cycle of pulling/damaging/cutting. Luckily it wasn’t too bad this time and I managed to keep most of my hair.


I have increased my meds. and am doing a lot of sleeping I will continue to fight this demon. I would appreciate any thoughts and prayers to help me get through this!

More prayers needed….
My Aunt Bobbie was admitted in to I.C.U. this week with pneumonia and other health related issues. Not only is she probably the best aunt in the world, she has been through a lot and is a very strong woman. They are thinking she will be in a regular room within the next few days!….love you Aunt Bobbie, I will see you soon!
Family friends that we have known for close to 40 years had a horrible accident in their family this week. Five family members, ages 1 to 25 were traveling to Boise, Idaho and were in an accident causing their vehicle to flip 3 times. As lucky as they are to all be alive, they were hurt pretty bad. The oldest was left with a broken back, one of her babies has a fractured skull.
My heart goes out to you all!


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