It’s Been a While…

Hope everyone is getting by in 2021. 2020 was a rough one for everyone and 2021 didn’t start out so great, either. Hang in there!

Well, since it’s been almost 3 years since I last posted…here we go!

2018 Highlights – 3 Weddings, (a US Open), and Disney

Wedding 1 – Ben’s sister’s wedding. Stand out/awkward moment – I wiped out. (Covered in last post.) I think that fall may have actually been my first public spill and maybe only the 3rd time ever, since having prosthesis. Not bad, all things considered.

Wedding 2 – My friend, Brighid. I wore my fancy legs and shoes to this wedding, too. All was good, up until the last 5 minutes of the wedding. Everyone was heading outside to see Brighid and Jack off. Ben and I waited for everyone else to head outside first so I could take my time (and avoid the mass exodus) and right as we were approaching the doors…BOOM!…again! This wedding was just 6 days after Ben’s sister’s wedding, so I think my bum was still sore from that fall! Witnesses to this fall were some staff and a couple of guests, since most guests were already outside. A fellow guest that was near me after the fall offered his hand to help me up, but I was annoyed and agitated (two falls, two weddings, two weeks…come on!) so I think I may have not so graciously declined his offer. (Sorry, guy.) Lesson learned – scuff the bottoms of fancy shoes before wearing them or get better sole stickies…or just wear my kicks, but just because one loses their legs, doesn’t mean they lose their vanity or need to look pretty!

Before the fall…Posing like I know how to smoke a cigar

Wedding 3 – Family-Amanda. This one was in North Carolina. I did NOT fall at this wedding. Whew! We all flew down to Charlotte and then drove to Asheville. It was hot. There was lots of eating, as usual, and we did a little bit of sight-seeing, but most importantly got to all hang out together.

Looking like a hot mess. Hot & humid leads to untamed hair.

I started volunteering at the US Open (Tennis) a few years ago (to join my friend, Wade) and have been doing so every summer for the last few years (not 2020, for obvious reasons) and this particular year, I met Jeanne Ashe (former wife of tennis great, Arthur Ashe)!

Me and Jeanne Ashe

Disney World with the family – fun and exhausting! Overall Disney was very accommodating. At Disney, I was allowed to go on all the rides I wanted to, but at Universal I wasn’t allowed on one of the Harry Potter rides. I don’t remember exactly why, but I think I needed one “natural” leg.

I had to change out of my matching shirt…sweated through it during the day. Maybe subconsciously I just felt the need to stand out more! Hehe
@Mo’s Tavern
On Expedition Everest roller coaster with Ben & Aidan

It’s always interesting to experience how large venues “handle” people with disabilities, obviously in my case, individuals with limb loss. Places will have official requirements, rules, etc. but ultimately, it’s up to the ride attendants managing the rides and depending on the scenario, the outcome can either be in your favor or leave you disappointed. For example, if I had been in long pants at Universal (even with my crutches) they wouldn’t be able to tell I was in prosthesis and would’ve probably let me on the ride. On the other hand if someone isn’t informed/educated enough or are just unsure then I’m probably shit out of luck. Lesson learned and note to self for future – carry a pair of long pants, just in case!

Most larger venues have specific language printed on their site and/or in a pamphlet. For example, Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ states that certain rides require a “naturally fully formed and functioning leg. A “functioning extremity is a limb over which a person has control” and a “functioning leg is a fully formed natural leg with a foot that has the ability to bend at the knee.” I’m not quite following Great Adventure’s distinction between a functioning extremity and a functioning leg. The language always seems to sound so harsh. And I get it, but it doesn’t mean I like it, but it is what it is.

2019 Highlights – Seattle, GOT, Museum of Color, Nashville, Mom’s 70th birthday party, TV appearance, San Francisco, and Costa Rica

Seattle – Went on my first solo trip since the accident. Not only did I fly solo for the first time since becoming an amputee, I was also heading to a destination where I wouldn’t have any help (from people I know). It was kind of a big deal. I had to head out there for a work-related training event. I survived, was not traumatized, and all in all had a pleasant experience. And I flew back in a JetBlue Mint seat for my return flight…that was NICE…the red eye flight part, not as much.

GOT, Museum of Color, and Nashville. GOT – Not sure if anyone remembers when HBO hid 6 replica iron thrones all around the world to promote the series finale of Game of Thrones…Well, one of those thrones was in Fort Totten, which just happens to be about 10 minutes from us.

Museum of Color – The Museum of Color is an interactive exhibit in the city. Ben and I bought tickets and checked it out one day (Link above for those interested in learning or goring). It was a lot of fun!

Me in the Color Factory’s ball pit. Trust me, even pre-Covid, I had to convince myself to get in there. All for the Gram. Post photo: Ok, Hurry, get me out of here so I can go home and shower.

Nashville. It was hot, We ate a lot. We saw a lot. A fun trip! Nashville was hosting the NFL draft that week so it was busy and hectic downtown. We took a tour of the Grand Ole Opry, went to the Listening Room Cafe (line for Bluebird was too long), drove around and admired the homes in Germantown, and walked the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. I also met up with a former boss and caught up over a nice lunch! We learned that stores don’t allow you to buy alcohol on Sundays. Interesting. Oh! And I had one of the best pretzels I’ve ever eaten!

Mom’s 70th birthday. My mom turned 70 in 2019 so I threw her a party. Not a surprise party, but I did have a surprise for her! I had my brother (who was and is still, living in SF) fly out and surprise her at the restaurant. And, I made mah-jong tile cookies as party favors. Not too shabby, huh? ☺️

I was burning the midnight oil baking and decorating for days. Please don’t judge my horrible Chinese calligraphy…I did not go to Chinese school or learn to play the piano as a kid. 😋

National TV Appearance – I was contacted to play an extra in a new TV show called The Code. Since I had already made my cable TV debut on Homeland a few years back, it was now time to make my national, primetime, network TV debut, naturally. 🤣 Unfortunately, the show didn’t make it past Season 1, but that had nothing to do with acting ability. Hehe. See link below for my side-eye to Dana Delany (remember China Beach?).

San Francisco. Took a trip out to SF with mom and dad to visit my brother. SF Giants game, Muir Woods, hang with Klara, some shopping, and always eating.

@Muir Woods (@Klara – Thanks for taking us!)
Took in a SF Giants game. My mom.

Costa Rica. Headed down to CR for some R&R. It was just, me, Tan, and Danny on this trip. Just a little getaway. We all brought our laptops and worked…either by the pool and/or with a view of the ocean. Lounged by the pool, had early dinners, played some games – very relaxing…except when avoiding getting stung by poisonous scorpions! Luckily, no ginormous spiders this time around.

Taking a dip! So refreshing! Teehee
Lounging and drying off by the pool, sans prosthesis, while my duckie floatie dries… It took several tries to find a floatie that met all my requirements. I’m still on the hunt for adult, arm floaties. Please let me know if you have recommendations!

2020 – OY.

Well, it would seem like maybe I secretly knew 2020 was going to be a bummer of a year, based on all the things I did in 2019! 2020 was a unique year, filled with lots of emotions, lots of firsts. To describe it using a word that was used in 2020 like it was going out of style…2020 was unprecedented.

First quarantine. Not knowing locking was just around the corner, luckily, Ben and I got one trip in (in February) before lockdown/quarantine – our annual visit to Momma and Poppa Katz while they’re “snowbirding” down in Florida. When quarantine first started, I worked the store with Ben for a little bit. It was just Ben & Teena working at Ben & Teena’s for a bit there. Restaurants weren’t allowed any walk-ins during that time and we were getting a lot of take-out/pick-up orders so I decided to make some hand-written thank you notes that we could thrown into the bags to show our appreciation. I don’t think I’d written that many thank you notes in one sitting since our wedding!

Another surgery. I was supposed to have surgery on my left leg in the beginning of the year, but all surgery categorized as elective was put on hold. When summer came around and there was a bit of a pause in the rise of cases, hospitals resumed elective surgery. What was left of my fibula was causing me major pain when I was in my prosthesis. After consulting with my orthopedist and prosthetist, it was determined that the best course of action would be to have what was left of my fibula removed, since it wasn’t functional anymore, anyway. Not only was it causing me pain and not functional, it had also completely migrated from where it’s “supposed” to be! The surgery went well, recovery took about 6ish weeks. I was wheelchair bound for about 8ish week because I wasn’t able to get refitted for updated prosthesis until the incision site was healed and until the swelling subsided. Being 100% wheelchair bound is tough, mentally and physically, but it’s not like we could really go anywhere…so…there’s that.

A new addition. On 9/1/2020, Jackson (Ben’s nephew) entered the world! Some light to a dark 2020.

My parents both tested positive for Covid back in Nov-Dec. Luckily, they both had very mild cases, did not need to be hospitalized or take any meds, recovered, and were Covid negative after the standard quarantine and rest phase. I was particularly worried for my Pops as he has several underlying conditions and was a smoker for 50+ years, but thankfully, all was good. I say “was” because in April he stopped smoking and come April 24,2021, he will have officially not had a cigarette in one year! He won’t read this, but Congrats, Pops! He’s already mentioned that he would like to go out and celebrate that weekend! Hah.

That’s about all the highlights for 2020. Obviously, a lot went on in the world and it took a toll on everyone. Virtual hug to al! XOXO. 2021 has been all about the shots, shots, shots, shots, shots! (If you know song, you’ll now be seeing it as you read this!) Stay safe and hang in there everyone!

Next blog – Perception, awareness, and recognition.


From the MTA NYC website…
About Reduced Fare
Cost: The base subway or local bus fare is $2.75. Reduced fare is half the base fare, $1.35 or less with Reduced-Fare MetroCard discounts.

Who’s eligible: Customers who are 65 years of age or older or have a qualifying disability.

Where and when you can ride at the reduced fare:
MTA New York City Transit Subway
MTA New York City Transit and MTA Bus: local buses anytime
MTA New York City Transit and MTA Bus: express buses anytime except weekday rush hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 am and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
MTA Long Island Rail Road and the MTA Metro-North Railroad anytime except weekday rush hours to New York City terminals

How to pay with a Reduced-Fare MetroCard
How to pay with cash
When you pay with cash, you must present an acceptable form of ID. Show your ID to a subway Station Agent or Bus Operator.

Follow these instructions for riding the subway or bus:
On the Bus: Show your ID to the Bus Operator and pay $1.35 in coins, exact change; no pennies or dollar bills accepted.

Ok, so my reduced-fare MetroCard is NOT reduced during weekday rush hours, which is M-F, 6AM to 10AM and 3PM to 7PM. DOUBLE WHAMMY for me…Not only is the express bus the only mode of pubic transportation I take, but I also only travel within the rush hour time frame. The subway, local buses, or LIRR are not options for me, for a variety of reasons. Subway…1. Would need to first take a bus to the subway. Multiple modes of transportation and/or transferring during rush hour…not so much. 2. Would need to transfer from 7 train to another subway. As noted above, transferring during rush hour…not so much. 3. Getting on the 7 train at the Main Street station during rush hour…Uhm, NO. Quite frankly, that should’ve been #1 and then there wouldn’t even need to be anything after that. I could go on and on, but let’s keep it moving.
Local buses…would only be a means to get to the subway…so, not helpful/useful, but only makes my commute that more challenging.
LIRR…1. Although the LIRR is only a block and a half from our apartment and there is an elevator at our stop (assuming it’s operational), navigating Penn Station during rush hour…Uhm, NO. 2. I would still need to take a subway from Penn Station after getting off of the LIRR. Again, transferring…not so much. 3. LIRR fare would also not be reduced, since I’d be taking it M-F, during rush hour times. So, why even deal with 1 & 2?!?…
Considering where my office is located, the Express bus is actually the easiest and most convenient method for my inconvenient commute…and subsequently, the only viable option of public transportation for me to take to work.
Now that I’ve provided everyone with my long-winded set-up, lets get to meat of why we’re talking about my reduced-fare MetroCard…
“MTA New York City Transit and MTA Bus: express buses anytime except weekday rush hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 am and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
MTA Long Island Rail Road and the MTA Metro-North Railroad anytime except weekday rush hours to New York City terminals”
What the f**k is that all about?!?!?
Why is the reduced-fare not valid during rush hour Monday through Friday on the express buses, LIRR, and Metro-North? Are seniors and people with disabilities not supposed to travel during rush hour times? Do seniors and people with disabilities not have to commute or be anywhere during rush hour times? Isn’t this discrimination? I may be shooting myself in the foot with this question…but, why does this M-F rush hour exception only apply to express buses, the LIRR, and Metro-North?…is it because these three have the most expensive fares?!? Can the MTA only afford to offer the reduced-fare to seniors and people with disabilities at all times for just the subways and local buses? Would offering the reduced fare for the express buses, LIRR, and Metro-North at all times, and not just during non-peak hours, break the bank for the MTA?? I mean, I’m aware that the MTA is constantly using their funds to renovate or “update” stations, buses, subways, etc….but breaking the bank…I highly doubt it. And is it because only 25% of the subway station are handicapped accessible, that you offer the reduced-fare at all times?…Are you throwing us a bone and doing us a favor for the inconvenience? It’s infuriating.
Yes, I realize that having the reduced-fare can be seen as a privilege since it doesn’t have to be offered at all…but you have to apply for the reduced fare MetroCard!!! You either have to have been on this earth for 65 years or have a “qualifying disability” to be eligible for this privilege. So…WTF?!? I see individuals who work for the MTA get on the bus, flash their ID, and not have to pay anything!…not even a reduced-fare! Why don’t you have your MTA employees pay full fare during rush hour times and that’ll cover the difference of seniors and people with disabilities paying the reduced fare during these times?!? And then you can throw your employees a bone and allow them to ride for free during non rush hour times…you don’t need them at work at 9AM, right? Nor, do they need to go home at 5PM, right? Us, people with disabilities and seniors, certainly don’t, right?I mean…come on…
And onto my purely, selfish, personal reason for having this complaint, that quite frankly, I’d like to bring to a higher authority and have corrected…If I can motivate myself to ever get around to doing it…
On December 26, 2013, I lost my legs because I was run over by the 7 train at Grand Central Station and wasn’t sure when I’d be taking public transportation again, if ever at all… nobody knew at the time. Then, almost four and a half years later, I re-enter the commuting world. I venture out of my comfort zone and take the express bus as my method of commuting to work on a regular basis. And considering my circumstances and challenges, it’s not easy. But, at least I only have to pay half-fare. I mean, there is only half of me left…Only to find out on my 3rd day of commuting, (Initially, I was having the bus drivers insert my MetroCard after I had sat down, so I wasn’t able to see how much I was actually being charged, since I couldn’t see the reader from my seat.) that $6.50 was being taken off my card. (Full fare is $6.50 and reduced fare would be $3.25.) WTF MTA?!?
As annoying as driving myself in and out of the city during rush hour can be, if I have to pay the full fare on the bus, it’s actually cheaper for me to drive in and pay for the Midtown Tunnel. When I drive in, I take the Midtown Tunnel in and the 59th Street or Williamsburg Bridge on my way home. Since both of those bridges are free, I’d be paying $5 and change for the tunnel and $0 for parking (If I can find a legal spot on the street, I don’t have to pay the meter because of my parking plaque.)for the round trip, as opposed to $13 for the express bus.
And that’s when I looked up on the MTA website and read the exceptions to the reduced fare MetroCard. The entire time, leading up to my first trip on the express bus, I thought…hopefully this express bus thing won’t be so bad and at least I get to pay the reduced fare. Only to be utterly perplexed to find out that it’s NOT actually reduced because I’m commuting M-F, during rush hour!!! Come on MTA!!!…as a long time customer of the MTA (since I can’t even remember how old), who got run over AND had her legs cut off by the 7 train, got new legs, re-entered the commuting world, and now braves the world of public transportation, with personal challenges and all, to take the express bus to work, you can’t help me out?!?!
Side note…Funny enough, I applied for my reduced fare MetroCard just a few months after my accident, but I’d never actually used it and I’d only taken public transportation (local bus) once since that time. I blogged about that “inaugural” bus ride that I took with my mom on one of my previous posts, with pictures and all. I didn’t have prosthetics full-time yet and was still getting around with my wheelchair, so I had to board the bus from the back, on the lift. After we were on the bus and the driver got me settled in, we didn’t even end up paying…so I never got to christen my MetroCard. Oh and speaking of my mom… She occasionally takes the express bus during rush hours between M-F and she also has a reduced fare MetroCard. Never had she mentioned to me that she gets charged full fare for these rides. Mom…WTF? Why were you never annoyed by this?

Changes (Part 2)…

Part 2…Changes and firsts…Chicago trip, job change, and Cynthia’s wedding.
Warning – this is a long entry.
Hi again, everybody! First off, thanks to those that read Part 1 and are still following and reading my blog, even though I’m horrible at posting in a consistent manner. Thank you.
Ben and I went to Chicago in the beginning of April. Getting there was a little iffy. We had a 7:45AM flight, so we arrived at the airport by 6AM. YAWN. We boarded and were good to go…or so we thought. The plane started to “drive” down the runway and pick up speed, and next thing you know, the pilot slams on the brakes. Uh oh…that’s not good. He announces that there was a red light on that shouldn’t be on and that it wasn’t going off. He radioed it in and told us we were going to remain on the runway until he heard back. A few minutes later he announces that we’re going to turn around and head back to the gate. After sitting around for another 30 minutes or so, it had been decided that the engineers were going to take a look at the plane, we’d all need to deplane, and would be getting on another plane/flight. Fun. Luckily, we were able to board another plane without too much delay and we took off at around 11AM…the only positive about having our original flight so early.
I really enjoyed Chicago! It felt like NY, but at a slower pace. Would definitely go back! One of the places we visited was the Museum of Science and Industry…such an amazing place! And it’s HUGE! We showed up later than expected and unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to see all that I wanted to see. I’d go back to Chicago just so I could go back to that museum! I would definitely recommend paying a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry if you’re going to be in Chicago! Besides the museum, we went to a Cubs game, took obligatory pics with “The Bean”, rode the “L”, went on an architecture boat tour, ate some delicious food, and got to meet up with my high school friend.
Attending the Cubs game and being in Wrigley Field was a lot of fun. Even though it was a chilly, Wednesday night, and early on in the season, the stadium was packed! The vibe in Wrigley was awesome. Leaving the stadium, on the other hand, was a major pain in the ass. We planned on taking a Lyft back to the hotel since that’s the way we got to the stadium, but boy, was it a mission! We weren’t aware that when there’s a game, they close off several streets around the stadium, so we had to walk over five (long) blocks just to get a Lyft! Five blocks isn’t that bad, but not knowing that we were going to have to wander (somewhat aimlessly) around at 10PM at night, in a neighborhood and city we weren’t familiar with, after a long day of traveling, was a bit stressful…

Cubs game @ Wrigley Field

Ben and I went to Millennium Park, which is where Cloud Gate is located, the official name of the sculpture that’s been nicknamed “The Bean”. We took obligatory photos with The Bean and checked out the rest of the park.

Cloud Gate AKA “The Bean”

Downtown Chicago view from Milleninum Park

After the park, we wanted dinner and since the restaurant we wanted to try wasn’t that far, I suggested we take the train, instead of a Lyft/Uber. There was an “L” station located just a block away. My first time on a subway (even though it wasn’t in NY) since the accident. It had been over 4 years since I’d ridden a subway!…Mostly because the NY subway system barely handicapped accessible and because NY’ers who ride the subway are in their own little bubble and they all had to be somewhere 5 minutes ago. So, for someone like me, who would be moving at a snails place compared to them, it’s not a good environment to put myself in. =) As big as it is, only about 25% (give or take) of the NY subway stations are handicapped accessible, whereas in Chicago, about 75% (give or take) of the stations are handicapped accessible. (Don’t quote me on those #s, but I know I’m in the ballpark.) And of the 25% that are accessible, it’s a roll of the dice on whether the elevators will actually be operational or out of service for repair…
See this article from the curbed website. It’s so ridiculous and frustrating.

Riding the “L”

Another fun thing we did was the architecture boat tour. It was so informative and interesting! The below picture is of a building that’s located at 300 S. Wacker Drive. The side of the building used to be a blank concrete wall and then a few years ago they created this mural map. The mural displays a vertical sliver that is of the bending river, the crisscrossing street grid, and 300 S. Wacker, itself. “It’s the star of the map, represented by bright red rectangle that looks like a flat-roofed version of a Monopoly hotel.” Article about the building’s mural, if anyone is curious.

300 S. Wacker Drive

Oh, and while on the boat tour, we personally got to experience the “lake effect”. The boat tour lasted about 2.5 hours. It was in the 70s when we boarded the boat. It wasn’t hot, but warm and comfortable. By the 2nd hour of the tour, the temperature started to drop and by the time we got off the boat, the temperature had dropped about 30 degrees. It was in the 40s!! CRAZY.
In April, I left one job and started another. I don’t think I’d mentioned the previous job in any of my older posts. So, I guess the old job and the new job are both news to most of you!
I was working full-time, from home, from February of 2017 to April of 2018. The company that I was working for and the people that I was working with were great, but the full-time work from home scenario was getting a bit stifling for me. And it’s not that I wanted to commute (Who wants to commute?!?), but being in the house all day, every day…for me, was not the best situation. The grass is alway greener on the other side, right?…Until you get to the other side…and then you’re not so sure! Hah!
My new job is in the city. It’s ALL the way in Downtown Manhattan, by Wall Street. I went from “commuting” from my bed to the spare bedroom, to commuting from Auburndale, Queens to way…Downtown Manhattan. It’s actually kind of funny (for lack of a better word), that the first job I get, that involves a commute, ends up being the longest commute into the city. But, it does align with my theory of everything is just less convenient and more out of the way since losing my legs. (i.e. Elevators are always at the other end of where I am, handicapped bathrooms are always all the way in the back, entrances that are “handicapped accessible” always have the heaviest doors, etc.) So, how was I going to get to this new job? Initially, driving was going to be my only option b/c bus to subway, to another subway, then walking, was not. (As aforementioned above about the NYC subway system being only 25% accessible and the crazy NYers during rush hour. Haha) Taking the LIRR was also not an option. Although the LIRR is located just a block from our apartment, once at Penn Station, I’d still have to take at least one subway. NOPE. Then I thought, let me see if there are any Express buses that depart from Queens and go to downtown Manhattan. Most Express buses go to Midtown, so I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a successful search. But lo and behold, there is! The QM7 and QM8 depart from Fresh Meadows (under a 10 minute drive from our apartment) and drop off in downtown Manhattan, with one of the stops being just a block from my office! Great! So, now that I had discovered this option, I thought…OK, I should do a trial run before I start the job, since…1. I haven’t commuted (via any form of public transportation) in over 4 years. 2. I haven’t taken an Express bus in much more than 4 years…and 3. I haven’t commuted, solo, with no legs, via NYC bus, EVER. Well, that trial run never took place.
Day 1 arrives. I drive in. Horrendous. Day 2 arrives and I decide to try and take the bus. I drive to the bus stop, park my car, and just as I was getting out of the car, the bus begins to pull into the stop. Great. Luckily, this woman sees me and alerts the driver, so he waits an extra minute for me. I was trying to haul ass without face planting. I made it onto the bus. Whew. Ok…half the battle completed…I’m on the bus. A little over an hour later and we arrive in the city. We get to my stop and I wait for everyone to get off and then I climb down the stairs and get off the bus. I’m almost there. Now, all I have left is the 1 block walk to the front door. I start making my way down this slanted, uneven sidewalk…cross the street, and I’ve made it to my building! Successfully completed my first solo commute via public transportation! Woohoo. Small, but slightly monumental achievement.
But the amusing part of my commute is when I get to the entrance…The building has revolving doors and regular doors, like most office buildings. On the regular doors, they have signs that say, “Please use revolving doors”, which is also common in office buildings (not sure why, exactly). I prefer to use the regular doors, mainly b/c if it’s the morning rush and people aren’t paying attention, they’ll start pushing the revolving door faster than I can walk through it, and that won’t end well. But, what do you know, the regular door is locked, so I have to wait for someone to come and open the door (And of course, it’s heavy. Did you even have to ask?) It went like this everyday, for about 2 weeks. I’d get to the entrance and wait for security to open the door. But then I discovered the side door, which at the time that I arrive, is a less busy entrance. So, now, I use the side entrance and I use the revolving door b/c naturally, the regular doors are also locked, and the security guard is all the way at the other end, by the elevators. About once a week, I’ll have someone ask me if I’d like them to open the door for me from the inside. I tell them no b/c it’s locked (and they have this look of, Huh? Why?!?) so I’ll just wait until everyone passes and use the revolving door.
I just hit the 2 month mark at the new job and I usually commute in (sometimes by bus, sometimes I drive) 3 days a week and get to work from home the other 2 days. The commute is more routine now, but still sucks. Grass is always greener… Any commute is tough on me, but I think the “ideal” commute would be to an office in Queens or Long Island. This way I could drive and end up in an office with a parking lot. This way, when there’s inclement weather, it’s only a concern when I walk out of my apartment. Right now, when it rains, I’m kinda screwed. It’s just water, but when it’s pouring and windy (b/c I’m down by the river)…Forget it. I’m done. So, if anyone knows of any openings in Queens or on Long Island…reach out and hit me up! =) Seriously.
And the last topic of this post, Cynthia’s (Ben’s sister) wedding! Cynthia got married on May 5th, in Westbrook, Connecticut. Ben and I were both in the wedding party, he, as a groomsman and I, as a bridesmaid. It was my first time being a part of a bridal party since my accident. Coincidentally, a month before my accident, I was a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding.
The wedding was on Saturday, so on Friday, we had the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Ben and I hadn’t seen the venue, in person, prior to the weekend of the wedding, so the rehearsal was the first time I was seeing the location and getting a lay of the land. Getting to the ceremony location meant walking down 2 sets of stairs, a slightly downhill concrete area, and then a large, bumpy patch of grass. My response to the wedding coordinator…”Yea, I don’t think that’s gonna work for me.” The fact that I was going to be in a dress AND in my skin legs (which I’ve dubbed my fancy legs)-which are heavier and less comfortable to walk in-was already a major obstacle to manage. We decided that I would wait on the sidelines of the grass and when it was our turn in line, Ben and I would swoop in from the side…this way I’d just have to walk down the aisle, still grass, but definitely manageable.
On the day of the wedding, after all the ladies got their hair and make-up done, we all met to take pictures on the grounds of the venue. As if you had to ask…of course we took pictures on bumpy, grassy terrain! When asked by the photographer if we could move to a certain area, I gave a similar response to him that I gave to the coordinator, “Mmm, not so much.” I did my best, but if I wasn’t comfortable, I wasn’t shy to let him know. The other ladies were great in understanding and were helpful when help was needed! And big thanks to my mom for being there to help me out…as always.

Bridal Party

Pops, Me, Mom

Ceremony went off without a hitch, cocktail hour went smoothly, and then it was time to head in for the reception. I planned on changing into my everyday legs for the reception, so I needed to go back up to our room. After the golf cart drove us back to the main building, I had to get my wheelchair. We had left it with the front desk b/c a golf cart had taken me down to the ceremony site. My mom went to the front desk to look for it, but came back empty handed. She didn’t see it by the front desk. So I said, ok, I’ll go and ask. As I made my way down the hallway, with my fancy legs and new shoes (that hadn’t been scuffed up enough), on the slippery wood floors…can you see where this is going?…. Half way down the hallway and….BAM…right to the floor. I was walking pretty quickly down the hallway (I still had to head up to my room and change and I didn’t want to miss the first dance – which I did, anyway…meh) and before I knew it, my ass was on the floor. The pairing of my un-scuffed shoes and the slippery floor was my demise. My dad was right behind me, so I think he lessened the impact slightly, but other than a small bruise that developed on my arm the next day (I think from my crutch getting caught on my arm), I was completely fine.
Now, the question was, how to get up… Usually, when I get up from the floor (without anyone’s help), I need something stable to push up from. It’s a process…If I’m sitting on my butt, I have to first, roll over onto my stomach, then get on my knees, and then either push off from that position or keep one knee down and plant my other foot and then stand up from there. I’m also usually in workout attire and not worried about having to get up gracefully or concerned about flashing anyone! My dad was like, I’ll put my arms under your armpits and lift you up. Uh, sorry Pops, I think that’ll end with both of us on the floor. My dad isn’t a big guy and also walks with the assistance of a cane ( also a smoker that’s not in the best shape). Next thing I know, Joe (Ben’s aunt’s mom’s bf…did you get all that? heh) shows up to my rescue. He suggests the same thing…Joe is bigger and taller than my dad and in better shape, but I was still iffy. I mean, it’s not like Joe is a spring chicken…I’m not exactly light as a feather and I’m stronger than I look… I was concerned that I would take him down too. But, I was happily proven wrong. He put his arms under me..1,2,3…and in one quick motion I was up on my feet! (And shortly after that, in my chair! hehe…after all, I had just fallen!) Thanks again, Joe!
Once I got up, my mom was all freaked out. OMG, are you ok? Are you ok? Yea. I’m fine. All good. I fell and now I’m back up. Not hurt. Dress intact. Hair and make-up good. Good to go. Let’s get upstairs so I can change. Then she was like, Oh, good thing nobody was around to see you fall. Why?…who cares?..B/c then they’d would’ve seen you fall and then it would’ve created a crowd. Mom…don’t be ridiculous…and I don’t care. I would’ve shooed them all away, anyway. =) Once I changed into my everyday legs and had on more practical shoes, I was out on the dance floor and enjoyed the rest of the night! Funny thing…we went to a wedding the following Saturday and I had on my fancy legs with the same shoes…and wiped out again! WTF?!? I think water played a part in this fall. I think there was a bit of residual water on the floor from an earlier spill. Since I had my fancy legs on, I should’ve turned one of them around and started screaming…”Oh, my leg, my leg…” Teehee. =)
Until next time, folks!

Changes (Part 1)…

Hi there! Been a LONG time.
What’s happened since my last post, all the way back in September…
In October, Ben and I went to Rhode Island for a few days. December – 4 year anniversary of my accident. February – went to Costa Rica (cousin built a house there). March – lots happened, but mainly…we parted ways with the franchise and are longer a Maggie Moo’s Treatery. March 31 was our last day as Maggie Moo’s and April 1 was our first day as Ben & Teena’s!
Spent a few days in Newport, Rhode Island during the first week of October. It’s such a relaxing and low key city. We ate some seafood (including some yummy lobster rolls), visited The Breakers Mansion (was the Vanderbilt’s home), got a couple of massages, and just enjoyed the city.

Gurney’s Newport Resort

Not too shabby of a backyard…The Breakers balcony

My cousin, Tan, built a house in Costa Rica and I visited it for the first time back in February. My mom, aunt, Tan, and myself flew down to Costa Rica and spent a week at the house. Everyone would respond with an…”Awww…” when I would tell them that the four of us were going away and at first I was like…Ok…? And then I realized, it was me and my mom and Tan and her mom, and that the four of us had never traveled before! In fact, as an adult, I’d never traveled with my aunt! It was a fun and cute week.

Mom & Aunt taking stroll on the beach

Mom sipping on a Pina Colada

Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, I wasn’t able to experience or engage in all the things Costa Rica has to offer. But luckily, Ben and I visited Costa Rica a few years back, before I lost my legs.

Costa Rica 2011 – When I was skinny!

Swinging through Costa Rica!

So, this time around, I just relaxed, did some swimming in the pool (with my life vest on), and spent some quality time with my mom, aunt, and cousin!

Chilling and enjoying the view

And to the spider who’s life had to come to an unexpected end – we waited and waited and wanted you to escape and be free in your element…but you wouldn’t leave the bathroom and I couldn’t peacefully shower knowing you were lurking around in my space…RIP spider and Thank You, Tan for coming to my rescue. Fun times.
And last, but certainly not least for this post…we are no longer a Maggie Moo’s. We are now Ben & Teena’s Ice Cream! We had some issues with a vendor that we weren’t able to resolve and the franchise wasn’t able to be of any help, either. Ultimately, the franchise came to the conclusion that an amicable agreement was nowhere in site and gave us the option to sever ties, even though we still had two years left on our contract. We accepted their offer and then it was off to the races. Since we knew we still had two years left, we had started to think about what we needed to do once our contract was up, but now, all of sudden, we only had a month! YIKES. In that month, we had a ton of things to think of…new name, logo, branding, redecorating the space, etc. When your two year time frame suddenly turned into a one month time frame…stress levels immediately rose ten fold, to say the least! And of course, when it rains, it pours. Naturally, because we were already dealing with a ton of things involved with turning the business over, we started to have issues with our freezers. UGH. Murphy’s Law. With that being said, please come by and visit Ben & Teena’s Ice Cream!
As always, thank you for reading!
Part 2 to follow…
(Preview – Job Change, Chicago Trip, Cynthia’s (Ben’s sister) wedding)

West Coast Visit!

What did everyone do for Labor Day weekend? We (Ben, my folks, and myself) went to San Francisco for the week. We left Friday, 9/1 and returned Friday, 9/8.
The last time my parents were in SF was back in 1985, so they hadn’t been there in 30 years. Back in 1985, my dad lived in SF for about a year and while he was living out here my mom went out to visit him. He was there to help open up a new restaurant. My dad used to be a chef/cook and back in the day he would travel all over the place to help open up or head up Chinese restaurants.

My dad at the opening of the Hong Kong Seafood restaurant in 1985...what's the deal with that facial hair?!?

My dad at the opening of the Hong Kong Seafood restaurant in 1985…what’s the deal with that facial hair?!?

The last time I was in SF was in October of 2013, just a couple of months before my accident, with a few of my girlfriends for a bachelorette trip. Aside from Ben’s parents’ condo down in Delray Beach, FL, this would be my first time re-visiting a location that I’d been to before I lost my legs.
We flew into San Jose, CA the night of Friday, 9/1. It was 100+ degrees!!! WTF?!? We flew into San Jose because we had a wedding to attend on Saturday in Los Gatos, in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was forecasted to reach 110 degrees the day of the wedding! YIKES.
The wedding was held at Nestldown. The ceremony started at about 3:30pm…right when it was about 106 degrees. OY. At least it wasn’t raining…? As hot as I was, I can only imagine how hot it was for the men in their suits. Other than the weather, the wedding was great! The venue, the food, the decor…everything was beautiful!…such a fairy tale wedding.
The ceremony was held amidst some Redwood trees. The cocktail hour was set on the other side of the property, right along one of the stops for the little train that they have that takes you on a tour of the entire property. The bride and groom made their entrance to cocktail hour as husband and wife by arriving in the train…so cute! After cocktail hour we headed to dinner, on yet another area of the property, an open and airy grass area…so pretty! After a delicious dinner, we headed inside to the barn for dessert and dancing!
Here are a few pics from the wedding…
Waiting for ceremony to start!

Waiting for ceremony to start!

Beautiful backdrop

Beautiful backdrop

Mr. & Mrs. Scott and Klara Lee

Mr. & Mrs. Scott and Klara Lee

The new Mr. & Mrs.
Beautiful setting for the reception!

Beautiful setting for the reception!

Klara & my Bro My brother's single...Any single ladies or anyone know of any single ladies interested? =)

Klara & my Bro
My brother’s single…Any single ladies or anyone know of any single ladies interested? =)



Congrats again Klara & Scott. We had a blast and were so glad that we were there to celebrate your special day with you! XOXO
The day after the wedding we went to Klara and Scott’s post-wedding BBQ and then drove into SF and checked into our hotel. The following day, Monday, we did a little bit of shopping and browsing right by our hotel before heading down to the pier for our night tour of Alcatraz. We were just killing some time before heading down towards Fisherman’s Wharf so our shopping and browsing was pretty uneventful…except…for one little interaction. The big Macy’s in SF was located about 2 blocks from our hotel, so we headed over to walk around. We took a look at the Boudin in the Cellar, Ben got his Ben & Jerry’s milkshake, and then we headed to the elevator to go upstairs. BTW…I had my prosthesis on and was in my wheelchair for this excursion. As we’re making our way towards the elevator, I see an open elevator that a woman had just entered. I yelled, “Hold the elevator, please!” and sped up my wheeling. As I wheeled ahead to catch the elevator, my mom followed behind me, followed by my dad and Ben. As I entered the elevator and made a U-turn to face the door, the woman (prob in her 60s, early 70s – not much older than my parents) who was holding the elevator shouts, (don’t remember verbatim) “OMG!!! OMG!!! I CAN’T. I CAN’T. I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF MY WAY! GET OUT OF MY WAY”…as she basically pushed my mom aside so she could escape from the elevator. Uhm…ok…WHAT just happened?!? Followed by my, “Uhm, ok” I shouted to her, “Have a nice day!!” Ben had just made it to the front of the elevator as the woman was running out, so he said, “That was f***ing rude.” I wasn’t offended or hurt, mostly because I didn’t really care. There’s nothing wrong with me and if you have a problem, well…that’s your problem. I have no problem educating people, answering people’s questions, sharing my story, or anything along those lines – but if you have a problem because you’re ignorant and act accordingly, well then…you can go F*** yourself. Sorry, not sorry. It was the most bizarre thing. Usually people are curious, shocked, amazed, unsure, or might be frightened (because they don’t know what they see). But in the 3.5 years since losing my legs, I’ve never gotten a reaction like that!…not even when I used to be in my wheelchair sans prosthesis…and in a city like SF, where there are plenty of veterans! I saw more homeless in wheelchairs, some even amputees, than in any other city I’ve been in! Her reaction from seeing me didn’t seem like it was was a trigger or PTSD related but more like I had gotten on the elevator with some deathly, contagious disease. This doozy of a story should really be in my next post about how people suck…
Moving right along…after Macy’s, we headed down to the Pier. We strolled around Fisherman’s Wharf, saw the sea lions, and had some soup in a bread bowl from Boudin. When it was about time, we headed down to Pier 33 to wait to board the ferry to Alcatraz Island. As we were sitting and waiting at the pier for the ferry to return, we noticed a few pesky flies that kept circling and landing on us. We didn’t notice any garbage cans in our vicinity, so we were ???. Some of you who have been to Alcatraz around this time of the year, may know where this part of our Alcatraz story is going…
Once the ferry arrived, we boarded and took our seats. More flies…like, A LOT. I decide to sit outside so I can watch as the boat pulls away from the pier…and hope to get away from the flies…no such luck. As I’m sitting outside, one of the boat staff comes out so he can help direct the captain. He and I start chatting and I ask him…”Uhm…so what’s with all these flies?!?” So…Alcatraz is home to a variety of birds. Taken from…”Long before humans set foot on the island, Alcatraz was home to thousands of nesting birds. The first humans to interact with these birds were Native Americans, who hunted and possibly collected eggs for food. The name Alcatraz itself came from a European explorer who named one of the islands in the bay ‘Island of the Seabirds’ for the multitudes of avian life he observed. Years after the prison’s closure in 1963, Alcatraz is now a sanctuary for seabirds such as cormorants and pigeon guillemots, and for waterbirds such as snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons.” One of these birds is the Cormorants and starting in mid-August, thousands of cormorant flies hatch from the bird colonies and swarm the area. They’re nicknamed zombie flies. They were everywhere. Luckily, they aren’t around once you enter the prison, but OMG, they were everywhere and it was disgusting. The captain of the boat even told the ladies who had long hair to shake out their hair before getting of the boat and returning to the mainland. YIKES. I was definitely brushing my hair throughout the duration of the return trip back to the pier! Here are some pics from “The Rock.” I had to force my mom into the cell with me to take a picture. She was not happy about it. Mom – you’ll be able to get out…they won’t be locking you in here…
View of SF as we head to Alcatraz Island

View of SF as we head to Alcatraz Island



On the ferry heading to The Rock. I'm surprised a zombie fly didn't photobomb our pic!

On the ferry heading to The Rock. I’m surprised a zombie fly didn’t photobomb our pic!

Welcome to The Rock

Welcome to The Rock

Mom and I sharing a cell

Mom and I sharing a cell

Ben putting Mom in solitary confinement

Ben putting Mom in solitary confinement

View of SF from The Rock

View of SF from The Rock

The next day, Ben and I had brunch at Plow, right near the Dogpatch area of SF. Plow is on a corner and both of the intersecting streets is either a major uphill or downhill. I could only stand exactly on the corner of the street while we waited for our table. Had we parked the car on either of the immediate intersecting streets, I don’t think I would’ve even been able to stand up and get out of the car because the hill would’ve been too much for me! Oh, SF and your your hills…Plow had a good brunch! Go check it out of you’re in town. After brunch, Ben and I drove around town a little bit. We stopped by Liguria Bakery to pick up some foccacia bread (It was yummy… – it’s saying it permanently closed…not sure if that’s right…), drove down Lombard Street, drove up to the top of Coit Tower, and then picked up my parents from the hotel so we could go and visit my brother at the MLB office. He gave us a tour of the office and their rooftop. After hanging at his rooftop for a bit, we dropped by dad off at the hotel and the 4 of us headed to the Oakland A’s baseball game. My brother had secured tickets for Ben and I in the 100s section for Tuesday’s game the week before we arrived and then the day before the game he was able to get 2 more tickets, but these tickets were behind home plate! Since he’d been in those seats before and my Mom was just tagging along, Ben and I took the tickets for the seat behind home plate and my brother and Mom sat in the 100s section seats. The Oakland A’s stadium is an old stadium and isn’t exactly the most accessible. In order to get to the seats behind home plate, I would have to walk to the elevator, take the elevator down 2 floors, walk down a small decline, then walk down 10 stairs, then another small decline, and then 10 more stairs. To avoid this, they drove us to our seats. Yup…we were driven to our seats. They put us on a golf cart…and drove onto the field. Pretty cool…Too bad it was the Oakland A’s stadium. =P Hehe…I kid. Check out some pics! I tried to attach the video that I shot while Ben and I were on the golf cart…but the video file was too large to upload…womp womp womp.
A's vs. Angels - behind home plate

A’s vs. Angels – behind home plate

View from behind home plate!

View from behind home plate!

Foul ball that landed in the my Mom and Bro's section. I spy a big ol' butt... =O

Foul ball that landed in the my Mom and Bro’s section. I spy a big ol’ butt… =O

Although we were driven to our seats, I still had to do the whole stairs, incline, stairs, incline, and elevator routine if I needed to go to the bathroom. I went once before the game started and made sure not to drink too much so I wouldn’t have to do it again! All in all it was a fun experience and it was my first time to an out of state ballpark! Thanks Bro!
On Thursday, we took a trip out to Sonoma, which was about an hour drive from the city. We drove out to Cornerstone Sonoma, a wine country marketplace with shops, boutique wineries and tasting rooms, artisanal foods, and art-inspired gardens. We had lunch there, did a couple of tastings, bought a few bottles of wine, and walked the gardens. The grounds were lovely! Here are some pics from that outing…
Mom & Pops amidst the crops and flowers

Mom & Pops amidst the crops and flowers

Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma

Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma

So much purple!

So much purple!

After Cornerstone Sonoma, we drove into town and checked out some of the local shops and then we headed back into the city…not before stopping off at a See’s Candy Shop so that my could pick up some candy to bring home! =) It was still a little early for dinner when we got back into the city, so we took my parents to check out Lombard Street. When I described it to my parents they didn’t know what I was talking about, so we took them to see it. We drove down the street and then when we got to the bottom, I told them to get out and see it from the bottom. You don’t actually get the full sight of it when you’re in the car driving down the street, so you have to view it from the bottom and look up. We snapped a couple of obligatory photos and then they got back in the car…to which they said…”This street must be new. I don’t remember this when we were here.” Uhm…No guys…it’s not new and it was here…even way back 30 years ago. Are you sure?… YES, parents…it was here. My parents…
Mom & Pops on Lombard Street

Mom & Pops on Lombard Street

And then it was Friday. Our week in SF was up and it was time for us to fly back to the East Coast! Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to SF and weren’t too bored by my stories or my pics!
Thanks everyone!…’til next time…


Hi all!

Can’t believe it’s September already! I’ll give everyone a round up of the last few months so I can catch everyone up on what’s happened and then I’ll follow up with a post on our week long, West Coast trip!

My brother moved out to San Francisco (hence the week long trip out there, as mentioned above) at the beginning of March. He got a promotion with MLB to head up the replay office out there…so, off he went!
I got 2 new tattoos. Back when I was in the hospital, my cousin (Annie) and her daughters (Amanda and Morgan) had discussed all of us getting a tattoo – same tattoo for all of us…something that symbolized/recognized my journey since the accident. 3+ years later, I finally decided on something to get. I already have 2 tattoos and was done with tattoos, but those ladies kept asking me when I was going to decide on a tattoo for all of us to get. So, I finally gave in and I decided on a tattoo for all 4 of us to get. The one that we all got is a symbol that loosely translate to…where there’s a will, there’s a way.

where there's a will, there's a way...

where there’s a will, there’s a way…

Amanda's tattoo

Annie's tattoo
And then I got an additional one for myself. This symbol is the Swedish symbol for Malin and the loose translation is…you have to face setbacks, in order to go forward. I got this one on my neck, in white ink.
You have to face setbacks in order to go forward...

You have to face setbacks in order to go forward…

If you come across a different meaning for these symbols…don’t tell me! Mmm..maybe tell me…? I don’t want to end up like one of these people that walk around with a tattoo of a Chinese symbol/character and think it means one thing when it means something completely different! Luckily, the one on my finger is small and the other one is on my neck and in white ink…so, hidden…for the most part. =)
Ben had surgery on his nose. He finally got his deviated septum fixed. He’s snoring much less and when he does, it’s much quieter! It didn’t make the snoring go away 100%..but a vast improvement. Thanks Harrison!
Ben and I went to an NYPD fundraiser with some of my NYPD ESU buddies and while we were there, Ben bought a bunch of raffle tickets. He threw a few into each of the prizes…and what do you know?!?…one of our raffle #s was called! We won something! A pretty good something…Round trip airfare on JetBlue and a hotel package in Vegas! Since we had just been to Vegas last November, we gave our Vegas hotel package to Ben’s parents and we saved the RT airfare for ourselves. Pretty sweet! I, we, never win anything! Thanks for inviting and taking us with you, Bobby! XOXO
In May, we went down to Asheville, North Carolina. We flew down for Amanda’s college graduation from Mars Hill University. Asheville was nice. Graduation was nice. We did a lot of eating while down there. Fattys. =) CONGRATS again, Amander. Proud of you!
July is a month of events for us…Ben’s birthday, my birthday, and our anniversary. This year we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. 10! Ben made a reservation for us at the River Cafe, down by…the river…in Brooklyn. It was our fancy, adult dinner. =)
My dad celebrated his 70th birthday on August 24th! The big 7-0! We celebrated with dinner at Bowery Meat Company down in the Lower East Side. Here’s a pic of him after dinner, with his birthday dessert!
Happy Birfday Pops!

Happy Birfday Pops!

Did everyone see the lunar eclipse? We didn’t really, either…haha. We tried. We went to Fort Totten, which is about 5 minutes for our apartment, and attempted to catch a glimpse of the eclipse. Fort Totten is next to the Cross Island Expressway. It’s a former, active, military base that’s now a park that surrounds the preserved, Civil War fortress. We arrived with snacks and were ready to see the eclipse. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the proper glasses and didn’t realize that you needed the glasses in order to see anything eclipse related. I thought all the hubbub was that you shouldn’t stare at the eclipse if you didn’t have the glasses, but not that you wouldn’t actually be able to see it. D’oh! So we were standing around like a bunch of a**holes waiting and waiting and waiting…I was like, I have the timeline of the eclipse and it should be happening now…but nothing. And it didn’t help that it wasn’t getting darker. Luckily, there were people at the park with the glasses who were nice enough to let us borrow them and take a peep. The second we put those glasses on….Woah! What a bunch of idiots. Haha! Good thing we asked to borrow their glasses…otherwise, it would’ve been really anti-climactic and pretty disappointing. But, we had snacks! Can’t have a proper viewing party without some snacks!
2017 Lunar Eclipse

2017 Lunar Eclipse

End of August, beginning of September means it’s US Open time again! I signed up this year to volunteer again and was chosen. Due to the ongoing construction over at that tennis center, which led to the repositioning of many of volunteer booths, many of the booths were smaller this year. I didn’t volunteer at the USTA Membership booth this year, like I did last year, but but still had a lot of fun at my Subscriber Central booth. Hung out with some really nice, fellow volunteers, met some really nice USTA/US Open employees, and met some nice fans…except for one tool. Let me explain. Quick backstory first. Most of my and my fellow volunteers’ role at the subscriber central booth consisted of helping season ticket holders scan their subscriber card at the little scanner stanchion that was located in front of our booth.
So…I’m sitting in a chair next to the scanner stanchion and these two guys come up to our booth, who are season ticket holders (Season ticket holders have their ticket in a clear holder that’s attached to a lanyard that they wear around their neck.) and they start talking to one of the US Open workers in our booth. The two of them were probably in their early 20s, probably under 25, but at least 21, since they were drinking alcohol. As the two of them are chatting with the US Open worker, my fellow volunteer asks if they’ve tried to win today’s prize. He asks what prize? I tell him that subscribers/season ticket holders could scan their card once a day for a chance to win the $50 gift card. I ask if he has a card. He replies yes. Here’s where it gets good. He’s holding his drink in one hand and then reaches for his wallet from his back pocket with his other. Well, now both hands are full. One hand needs to hold the wallet and the other needs to get the card out of the wallet, but that second hand is still holding his drink. What does he do? He just hands the drink to me and waits for me to take it out of his hand…uh..excuse me? What the F***ck?!? No words, just hands his drink over to me. No – Can you hold this for me? Do you mind holding this for a sec? Or how about…just give your drink to your friend to hold OR just put it down at the counter that’s a foot in front of you?!? Since I’m “working”, I take the cup and then place it onto the counter. And then like 2 seconds later, his friends picks up the drink, takes a sip of it, and places it back on the counter. So oblivious. Back to the original douche…he’s scanning his card but it’s not working. So I ask him, “Have you registered your card yet? If you haven’t registered it, that may be the reason it’s not scanning.” To which he pulls yet another classy move…following my words, he just holds his card in front of me. Again, no words…just puts it in front of me and expects me to take it from him and take care of his problem. What is wrong with people? Learn some manners…you rude, oblivious mofo! Other than that, the Open was great! =)
I didn’t get to hang out and watch as much tennis as I would’ve liked, but that’s because we left for San Fran a few days after the start of the Open. Here’s a pic of my friend Wade and I…Team Orange! Thanks for helping me get food and walking me to and from my car! XOXO Thank you to Mary for getting me coffee from the lounge and brining it to me at our booth! And big thanks to Jaime and Hakim for helping me get to and from the parking lot to the gate!
Wade and I in Grandstand at USOpen

Wade and I in Grandstand at US Open

And that concludes my recap of the last few months.
Stay tuned for my post about our trip out to the West Coast…complete with pictures! Post should be up by the weekend!
That will be followed up by a post that I’ve had in my drafts for a bit now. Spoiler alert – it’s going to be about how people suck…not all…but there are some special people out there (said with tone of sarcasm, a bit of side eye, and a smirk…) =)

Thanks for following, reading, and sticking with me!

Hello 2017!

Hi everyone!
Sorry for being MIA for SO long. I fell out of the groove of posting and didn’t realize it would be so tough to get back into the groove. Since my last post was about 6 months ago, there’s a lot to catch up on!…here’s a recap of the last few months…

August 2016
Ben and I drove down to Baltimore to visit his cousin. It was way too hot…and I didn’t even get to take a dip in the hotel pool. This was also around the time that I was casted as an extra on a popular cable TV series..more about that later!
I attended my first Bruce Springsteen concert with my cousin, Annie. Bruce was great. MetLife Stadium and their staff were very accommodating. After we got our tickets scanned and went through security, an attendant came up to me and asked if I needed a wheelchair to take me to our seats. “Sure!” Crowds of people not paying attention to where they’re going, a potentially long walk to our seats, not knowing where we needed to walk in order to get to our seats…Yes please, I think I’ll take the wheelchair ride and escort! He took us to our seats, dropped us off, and when the concert was almost over, he came back to pick us up and wheeled us out to the parking lot. Awesome! All of that went off without a hitch. However, the concert experience itself, was not exactly drama free. It probably happened within the first hour of the concert. We had seats in the handicapped section of our section, which meant you either sat in your wheelchair (if you brought your own) or you sat in a folding chair. The handicapped section is at the top of the stairs of your section. So, our seats are at top of the landing with a railing in front (that also holds the cup holders) and our feet are at the heads of the people that are in the row directly below us. ( I hope that description made sense…) There were a pair of guys to our right (probably in their 20s) and a couple below/in front of us and the guys. One of the guys had his beer in the cup holder and went to take the lid off of the cup. The beers are sold in clear solo cups with lids on them. I guess the cup was filled to the top and when he removed the lid, there was some beer that “sprayed” onto the woman in front of him. She turned around and said something to him and it seemed like he apologized. It seemed like this was an accident, but after that, I was watching from the corner of my eye, for any “suspicious” activity. Cut to, oh about 15 minutes or so later, and the guy is telling his friend about the incident. Mind you, I couldn’t really hear what they were saying, but I could tell that that’s what he was talking about b/c of what followed immediately after. Next thing you know, the friend takes the lid off of his beer, holds the lid over the woman’s head, and then proceeds to shake the lid so that beer splashes onto her. Now, I’m sitting there thinking, ugh….WTF?!?…why was that necessary, you idiot! The woman then turns around and is visibly annoyed. The two guys act like nothing happened and say it was an accident (which it clearly was not). The guy the woman is with then gets involved and now the four of them are shouting at the top of their lungs and saying ridiculous things back and forth to each other. After a couple minutes of shouting, the woman grabs the guy’s beer (the guys are sitting, b/c our seats are half a level above the couple, and the couple is standing with their backs to the stage) and throws it at the guy! It gets all over the guy…AND gets all over my right foot and leg. And that was followed by a “WHAT THE F***?!?”, from yours truly. The guys had the audacity to point towards me and sort of give this look and motion of, “Look what you did!!” to the woman. Uhm, no, you don’t get to do that when you were the A**holes that escalated it! Luckily…my leg is waterproof! What is wrong with people?!?

September 2016
I volunteered at the US Open. It was my first time volunteering at the Open. I met some really nice people, watched some great tennis, and overall, had a lot of fun. I worked at the membership booth, which was indoors, thankfully, since there were some really hot and humid days! My friend Wade, who’s a volunteer veteran, was my partner/helper in crime. We’d meet up at the end of our shifts, grab dinner, and then watch some tennis. They were long days…tiring and fun, but long days! If I can, I hope I can volunteer again this year! See below for some pics!

US Open

US Open

Wade and Teena US Open 2016

Wade and Teena US Open 2016

Wade and I taking some pics while on duty

Wade and I taking some pics while on duty

Wade Teena Bobby US Open 2016

Teena Tim Bobby Wade US Open 2016

In September, we threw a baby shower for my good friend, May. I was in charge of making the diaper cake. My first time making a diaper cake…not too shabby…have a look below. What do you think?! And I have to make sure I give my mom credit (even though she won’t be reading this), for helping me with some of the sewing aspects in making the cake…THANKS MOM! If anyone is in need of a diaper cake, Mom and I are available to take requests. We can work out a good rate! =)

Mom and I working on the diaper cake

Mom and I working on the diaper cake

Diaper Cake

Diaper Cake

October 2016
Mom and I went apple picking up in Warwick, NY, about an hour and a half or so north of the city. Mom did all of the picking. I’d never gone apple picking before, not before my accident, or after. I’d been strawberry and cherry picking, back in the day, but it had been a very long time. It didn’t occur to me that the terrain wouldn’t exactly be flat or smooth (not sure why I didn’t think of that), so I wasn’t able to do any of the actual picking since all of my attention and energy had to go towards walking and making sure I didn’t trip over any apples. Mom went to town on those apple trees. She’d walk down a row and then disappear among the trees. Eventually, she reappeared, walked back to me, and the bag was FULL of apples. I’m not even sure how she managed to carry it back by herself! And she wasn’t done! She wanted to go back, but the back was full. So, I told her to take off her jacket, tie up the sleeves, and then use that to get some more apples….heh.
Apple Trees

Mom and her bounty!

Mom and her bounty!

I went back to MetLife Stadium in October, this time for the Beyonce concert. Concert was originally supposed to be in September, but was pushed back to October b/c Beyonce had some vocal issues. Morgan (Annie’s youngest daughter) went with me. We got to our seats and she said to me, “I’m going to every concert with you!” To which I replied, “You, too, can get this treatment if you lose both of your legs!” We had a lot of fun and I remembered to bring my ear plugs, so I wasn’t deaf at the end of the concert!

Me & Morgan (photo courtesy of her Snapchat)

Me & Morgan (photo courtesy of her Snapchat)


My last thing for October…

Ian's Construction Cake

Ian’s Construction Cake

I conceptualized (Not that it’s a complicated design..) and decorated this ice cream cake (From our store, Maggie Moo’s on Bell Blvd. in Bayside…go check it out!…that was my “plug”! Hah) for my cousin’s son’s 4th birthday. Construction themed! I hadn’t decorated a cake from start to finish in ages…what do you think? Cookie dough as rocks, some crushed Oreo cookies as dirt, a four shaped out of fondant and decorated to look like the road, and a couple of construction trucks filled with “rocks” to finish out the theme!

November 2016
As for November…we went to Vegas. But prior to the Vegas trip, which was at the end of November, I saw Hamilton on Broadway, had a pigeon hit our car, and went to a Friendsgiving dinner down at the Jersey Shore.
I saw Hamilton with Ben’s mom…it was amazing! Educational, entertaining, great music, and great cast. If you can get your hands on some tickets, definitely check it out.



Cast of Hamilton, post show

Cast of Hamilton, post show

Ben and I had just gotten on the highway, to head down to the Jersey Shore for the Friendsgiving dinner we were attending, when, BOOM!!!, a pigeon hit the passenger side of the windshield. I was driving and just heard this loud noise that sounded like a rock at hit the car. I had seen the pigeons from afar and then saw something fly towards the car from the corner of my eye, but didn’t really think anything of it, until the loud THUD. I thought the windshield was going to have a crack in it. Luckily, it didn’t. Not so lucky, was the pigeon. His/her friends had successfully made the flight to wherever they were going, but this guy…met his/her demise via our windshield. I think the reason our windshield didn’t crack was b/c the pigeon flew into the car from it’s side, as opposed to straight on with it’s beak. It was kinda gross, since it left a clear imprint on the windshield, which we had to drive with, for the entire drive down…we were worried that if we sprayed the wiper fluid and turned on the wipers, we might smear the stuff all over and spread it across the windshield.

RIP pigeon

RIP pigeon

On a happier note, Friendsgiving was great. Lots of food, great company, and great weather! It was like a 60 degree day! I decorated a beach themed cake for this dinner, but didn’t get a pic of it…
Group photo...Friendsgiving PPB 2016

Group photo…Friendsgiving PPB 2016

Ben, myself, my parents, and my brother went to Vegas. The last time I was in Vegas, was over 10 years ago. Not that that trip was wild and crazy, but this was a much more tamed and grown up trip to Vegas. No late nights, no clubbing, no drinking, no strippers…We ate (nothing off the strip, except for a quick dinner before the Cirque show), took a day trip to the Grand Canyon, gambled, saw a Cirque Du Soleil show (my first), and just relaxed. The Cirque show was amazing, quite a production. The gambling was good, since we came out on top, not by much, but being up, no matter how little, is still better than being down! Ben and I stick to black jack when we gamble. I played the slots a little, but I never have any idea what’s going on, I just push buttons, so it’s gets boring pretty quickly. Food was good. I picked places that weren’t on the strip, since anything on the strip we could either get in NY or it would be terribly over priced. The Grand Canyon…what a sight!..and there was snow up there!…in Arizona! The tour we took was awesome. It was a private tour, so just me, Ben, my parents, and our guide. It was a mini van, so he was able to take us to areas that the big tours and their big buses don’t have access to. We weren’t sure if we should take my wheelchair and stick it in the trunk, in case I’d need it…and we weren’t sure if some of the terrain or space would even be accessible for my chair. So, we decided to leave the chair behind at the hotel, and I would wing it…if there was anyway that I could, we would figure it out and I would, and if I couldn’t then I’d stay behind…turns out, there wasn’t an area that he took us to where I wasn’t able to navigate! A successful trip!
Ethel M. Chocolate Factory's Chocolate Wall

Ethel M. Chocolate Factory’s Chocolate Wall

Group pic at Grand Canyon

Group pic at Grand Canyon



Me & Ben at the Grand Canyon

Me & Ben at the Grand Canyon

December 2016
Almost all caught up! Nothing much for December…Hanukkah and Christmas, a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and an anniversary.
The third anniversary of my accident. Three years. Three years went by so fast. Sometimes you think, wow, it’s been three years, already? Then other times it feels like it was just yesterday. And then there are those times, when it’s just…
This year, we happened to go visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on the day of my anniversary. Neither Ben or I had seen the Memorial or been to the Museum. There was so much to see and so much information that was provided…videos, pictures, stories, TV footage, etc. The reflecting pool is huge, both sad and peaceful. The museum is fairly big. We used one of their wheelchairs, which was a good decision, since there was a lot of ground to cover and some areas were crowded with a lot of people. It’s sad and can be depressing, but it also shows how resilient we are…Never Forget.
9/11 Museum

9/11 Museum Quilt

9/11 Museum Quilt

January 2017
Happy New Year! Is it time to stop saying it yet?
Not much for January. We started January 1st off in pretty boring fashion. Ben and I spent New Year’s Eve on the couch, watching TV, (watching Mariah Carey act like a total diva) with our mugs of green tea…at least we stayed awake!
Oh right, me being cast as an extra on a popular cable TV series..I held off on mentioning anything about it in my last post b/c I wasn’t sure if I’d make it on screen or if I’d end up on the cutting room floor. While we were in Baltimore, one of my brother’s friends reached out to me. Someone he knew worked for a casting agency and they had heard that Showtime’s Homeland was looking for extras and asked if I’d be interested in trying out for it. I said, “Sure, why not?!” He sent me all the contact info and I reached out to the agency that was doing the casting for Homeland and sent them all the necessary info and some pics of me. The next day or so, I got an email asking if I wanted to be an extra as a wounded veteran on Homeland! They were filming for season 6, which takes place during the fall, but filming was done back in August. I was so worried that I’d have to be in fall clothing in the middle of August…luckily, everything that day was shot indoors..whew! AC is my friend. If you watch the show, you’ll see me in the first scene of of the first episode of Season 6. I’m also in the background of another scene at around the 00:39:25 mark..blink and you’ll miss me in that scene. I walked by Claire Danes (Carrie) at least 10 times and I chatted with Rupert Friend (Quinn), who is married to Aimee Mullins, who is an amputee.

Homeland Season 6, Episode 1

Homeland Season 6, Episode 1

So now, when people ask me if I’m a veteran…I can say, “No, but I played one on TV!” =)

I know I still have to tell you all about my fancy, skin legs, but that requires a post dedicated to just that topic. But otherwise, I think we’re all caught up now.

Thanks for reading! Sorry for the long break between posts….and for any spelling or grammar errors I didn’t catch…long post.

Goodbye June & July…Hello August. Part 2 (July)

Part 2…
Ben turned 40 on July 8th. We had cake at home on the actual day and then went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate over the weekend.

Ben and his Billy's cake!

Ben and his Billy’s cake!

Dinner at Supper

Dinner at Supper

The rain didn’t put a damper on that night. Dinner was great and drinks after were just as fun!…except when I almost had to punch a couple of 20something year olds out! When I’m in places that have tight spaces and a lot of people, it’s usually better if I have an escort. In this case, two. I had to use the bathroom and since it was located across from the bar, which was down a hallway filled with people who were hanging out at the bar, I had two escorts. Ben’s cousin, Jaye, walked ahead of me and led the way and my friend, Wade, walked behind me. Usually when I’m “escorted” at a bar, someone walks in front of me saying something like, “Excuse me…can you make some room?” and dirty looks are given (like…what’s the matter, you can’t fit?!?), until they see me trailing from behind. And in usual fashion, this is what happened with most of the people we encountered on our walk to the bathroom. But these girls, took it a step further. Both Jaye and Wade weren’t rude. They were very polite and weren’t pushy, apparently, these girls just thought that their s**t didn’t stink. Jaye politely asked if they could step aside so I could walk through. They stared him down and then stepped aside. Then I followed, right behind him, and she proceeded to extend both her arms out and make this motion with her hands as if saying, “Here you go, is this enough room?” Maybe she couldn’t tell that I had prosthetics b/c it was very dark in the bar, but my crutches were very much visible. And in any event, it shouldn’t matter. So I paused, looked at her, and said very sternly, “Calm the f**k down.” and then continued my walk to the bathroom. Get that stick out of your ass…

“Manhattanhenge” – sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice — is an event during which the setting sun is aligned with the east–west streets of the main street grid of Manhattan, New York City. This occurs twice a year, on dates evenly spaced around the summer solstice.

View from Long Island City

View from Long Island City

Isn’t it gorgeous?!?
Manhattanhenge 2016
On that same day, we also ran into ECTO-1!!!
Who you gonna call?!?

Who you gonna call?!?

It looked like they were doing some press in the actual car, so they drove it around while doing the interview…two birds, one stone. Pretty cool.

The second wedding we attended was in July, on a farm in NJ. It was the wedding celebration of one of my closest girlfriends. The terrain of this wedding was a little more difficult to navigate, but once I made the trek to flat ground, all was good. Bride and groom looked beautiful and despite it being super hot that day, we had a great time! Love ya Steph!
During the wedding, Steph came up to me and told me that her friend, Dina, wanted to meet me and if it was ok if she introduced us…Sure! (Dina – It was great to meet you and can’t wait to get together!) It’s always super humbling when someone wants to meet me b/c they know “my story”, what happened to me, and follow my blog. I always feel like I’m not worthy, b/c you know, I’m just doing my thing, trying to figure out life as my new normal. Always appreciate the praise and acknowledgement though, and happy to meet new people and answer any questions they might have!
Since the wedding was in South Jersey, a bunch of us stayed overnight at a hotel nearby. The hotel and room were great, the shower, not so much. One of the first things I do now, when checking into a hotel, is check out the bathroom situation, specifically, the shower. I need to see if it’s a roll-in shower or tub, and if it’s a tub, I need to make sure the hotel provides me with a shower chair or bench. I asked the gentleman at the front desk about the shower while we were checking in and he told me it was a tub shower and that the tub had a bench attached to it that folded down. Oh, ok..great! Ok…now take a look at the two pics below..
Not exactly handicapped friendly...
You look at the first picture and you think, “Oh, it’s got all these bars in the shower…great! It must be super accessible!” But upon further inspection, I think to myself, all these bars must just be a distraction or diversion to throw you off the foolishness of the rest of the shower design. Note where the handheld shower is…all the way at the top by the shower head that’s in the wall. Yes, the handheld is on a sliding bar, but if it’s positioned all the way at the top, unreachable to someone that may be fully wheelchair bound, the fact that it’s on a sliding bar, is, irrelevant. See picture 2 for such a scenario. I’m not fully wheelchair bound, by any means, but I take off my prosthetics prior to getting in the shower. So when I go to take a shower, I am wheelchair bound. Ok, let’s say for argument sake, the handheld wasn’t positioned all the way at the top and I could reach it. Now, let’s refer back to picture 1. If I were seated on the bench, that’s attached to the wall, all the way at the other end of the shower, how am I supposed to reach the handheld shower head from there?…am I to use my Go Go Gadget Arms?!? Last I checked, I’m not Inspector Gadget, so that’s not possible. Oh, and last, but not least, when we turned the water on, it came out from the shower head that’s attached to the wall, and in order for it to come out of the handheld, you had to push the button…wait for it…that’s attached to the top of the wall shower head! WTF?!? Ok, I wasn’t alone, so Ben was able to bring the handheld shower down and give it to me once I was seated on the bench. And even then, it barely reached. I had to lean forward just so the handheld could reach my back.
Now, let’s say I was by myself. How would this play out?… I take off my prosthetics, get undressed, and wheel into the shower. Oh, I can’t reach the handheld. I guess I’ll have to get dressed and call the front desk. Hi..can you send someone up b/c I can’t reach anything in order to take a shower! Said person will come to my room, bring the handheld down, wait as I turn on the water and wait for it to be at the optimal temperature, and once at the right temp, push the button on top of the shower head so that the water will transfer over to the handheld. Oh wait, you can’t leave just yet. Now I have to transfer from my wheelchair onto the bench. Once I’m seated on the bench, you’ll have to hand me the handheld, b/c even though you brought it down and off of the sliding bar, I can’t reach it from the bench. And now, I’m sitting in the shower, fully clothed, holding the handheld. Now, you can leave…thanks. And now, I, will have to loop the handheld through one of the bars, get undressed, and pull the shower curtain all the way over to the other end (not sure how I’m supposed to get that accomplished I had Ben pull it once I got it b/c I couldn’t get it to reach all the way) and start my shower. Once I’m done with my shower, I’ll need to take certain steps if I have/want to shower again. Yes..the fun is not over. I’ll need to make sure I loop the handheld through one of the bars again, so it’s readily accessible for the next time. I grab the towel and dry off a little, before getting back into my wheelchair. Once out of the shower and in my wheelchair, I can roll over to the other end of the shower and shut the water off. I mean….really? Don’t they test these rooms and set ups out? It doesn’t seem like someone actually tested out the shower set up, but instead, had a checklist of things that were needed and just installed them. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!

The day after my birthday, we went up to Greenwood Lake, in upstate NY. One of my friends, one of the ESU (NYPD) guys that saved my life, lives up there and his family runs a Bed and Breakfast…WATERSTONE INN. Go and check it out! Book a stay! Tell them Teena sent you =) Teehee.
Had such a great time just hanging out and relaxing. I wasn’t able to go swimming in the lake, since I was lazy, and didn’t pack an extra set of time. But…I did get on a waverunner/jet ski (I don’t know the difference…) for the first time! I’d never been on a waverunner before, even when I had my legs. It was awesome. Sean had me drive a almost feels like driving a motorcycle in the water. Not that I’ve ever driven a motorcycle either…but I assume…since you have to lean into your turns and it drives better when you go faster, like a motorcycle. Thought I was gonna send myself flying or tip the two of us over, luckily, we didn’t end up in the water.



Cloud Porn

Cloud Porn

Derek Jeter's house

Derek Jeter’s house

Atop of  Bellvale Farm

Atop of Bellvale Farm

Gotta go back in the fall. Apple picking season! Visit the vineyard, drink some wine, pick some apples (I’ll watch, while others pick!), do some shopping (they’re only about 25 min from Woodbury Common Outlets)

Some randomness…we were on a shopping trip at Target, when we came across this..



Ben and I picked up the book and started flipping through it, just to see the kinds of scenarios that were in there, and what does he end up flipping to..?!? Hah…coincidence?

And last, but certainly not least, I got my “skin” legs. I think I may have to make this a 3 parter. I want to show everyone pics of the legs, but I also want tell you all about the process of having them made and share pics of the process. I want to give it it’s own post.
I will try and get that up before the weekend is up. Stay tuned.

To Be Continued…
A sneak peak..

Real or Prosthetic?

Real or Prosthetic?

Goodbye June & July…Hello August. Part 1 (June)

I hope everyone’s been enjoying their summer. I can’t believe half of the summer has already come and gone.
Since my last post…I’ve been to 2 weddings, celebrated Ben’s 40th birthday, saw “Manhattanhenge”, had my 34th birthday, got on a wave runner for the first time ever (!), and got my “skin” legs!
But first, a few things that I left out from my last post b/c I only focused on the trip recaps…Blue Man Group show, concert at Forest Hills Stadium, and Property Brothers book signing!
Saw the Blue Men of the Blue Man Group with Momma and Poppa Katz. The show was a lot of fun!
Blue Man Group Outting
Ben and I went to a concert at Forest Hills Stadium in June. It was the “Disclosure presents Wildlife” show. There were multiple performers. It was a nice day, the venue was nice, I met Havoc of Mobb Deep..we had a good time!
Disclosure Presents Wildlife

Me and half of Mobb Deep

Me and half of Mobb Deep

Once we were in the venue, things were ok, but getting to the venue itself…forget it. So, per my usual routine now, when going to a place I’ve never been to before, I tend to do research according to my checklist: Is there going to be parking? Is it going to be street parking or will there be a parking lot? How much walking will I have to do from the car to the entrance?, etc. We used to live in Forest Hills so we’re very familiar with the area, the parking, and the streets. But, when we lived in Forest Hills, they had yet to renovate the stadium to hold concerts, so we weren’t familiar with what the streets would be like the day of or how they would handle the traffic. I went onto the Forest Hills Stadium’s website and the only informative info that was on there was, “The best way to arrive to Forest Hills Stadium is on public transportation. Strolling from the subway or LIRR along the streets of Forest Hills is a part of the iconic venue experience.
Please note: there is no parking at the venue or on the streets near the venue. For your own convenience, please do not plan to drive here and park.”
That information was under the section of the site titled, “Get Here”. Well, for my own convenience, I will drive there and park! And then under the FAQ section, “Is there accessible seating at Forest Hills Stadium?
Yes, we have an ADA/handicapped area at the stadium. Patrons in need of this area should select the ADA ticket type when checking out.”

Well, ok…not very helpful and nothing I didn’t already know. So, with this minimal amount of info, I decided to do a drive-by the day before. Turns out, there was a concert the day before, so I was able to ask the police that were there that night about the street closures and get a visual of what the area was going to look like. Cut to the next day…Luckily, we were able to get a pretty decent spot on the street. That was about the only “easy” thing about getting to the venue. There were more streets closed for the night of our concert than there were for the concert the night before. Great. Turned out to be a 0.5 mile walk from the first street closure to the actual entrance of the venue ( I mapped it on Google Maps when we got home to see exactly how far the walk was). We parked a block from the first street closure – so that was inconsequential. Now, a half of a mile walk, would have been nothing to me pre-accident, and it’s not the end of the world to me now, but there was ABSOLUTELY NO assistance or even any offer of assistance during that entire walk. No wheelchairs offered. No golf carts. Nothing. Now, we get it…The neighborhood around the venue consists of all private streets and they don’t want attendants of concerts to ruin the area. Fine, but by closing off a 0.5 mile area around the venue, not allowing cars to enter the closed area for drop offs, and then not providing assistance, it makes it really hard for me to go back there for any future events. By the time we got to the entrance, I was drenched in sweat and needed to fix my prosthetic ( I actually needed to fix it before I even made it to the entrance.). And here goes the next obstacle..the venue only has porta-potties, fine if I needed to just pee, but I wasn’t sitting down or touching anything in there. So…let’s just get to our seats and I’ll figure it out there. Once we’re taken to our seats, I realized there really wasn’t any private area where I could fix my prosthetic. I needed to fix my right prosthetic, which goes all the way up to the top of my thigh and in order to fix it, I basically needed to be out in my undies for that side of my leg. So, I asked Ben to get me some paper towels. I put a couple of sheets underneath my right leg so I wouldn’t have to directly touch the seat, and then I took my prosthetic and my liner off. Sat there with half my booty exposed and did what I needed to do. Gave ZERO f**ks. Then when I was done, I asked the staff, is there no assistance provided for the walk to the entrance of the venue. I was told that there’s a drop off spot, but when I asked about this at the entrance/exit when we left the venue, they didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. I had Ben carry me, piggy back style, for half of the walk back to the car b/c I was worn out from the day. So, Forest Hills Stadium – we had a great time at the actual show and the grounds are lovely. But, if half of a mile of streets need to be closed, please recognize that you need to provide some sort of assistance for that walk. (i.e. When I go to Cit Field, I can flag down a golf cart and they will give me a lift to the gate that is closest to the section my seats are in.)

We met the Property Brothers (Drew and Jonathan Scott) of HGTV in June at a book signing in Barnes & Noble. Yes, there are still B&Ns open out there. =)

Property Brothers book signing

Property Brothers book signing

They were super friendly and nice..and really tall! I put together a little pitch to present to them, b/c I’m a nerd. I asked them if they’ve ever built/renovated a house that was for someone that’s handicapped. They said they had, but not for the show and that they encourage people to apply. I went…”I’m right here!!” If you’re curious and want to see the pitch I put together for them, click on the link below!
And if anyone reading this, has any contacts at HGTV or with the Drew or Jonathan…feel free to send them my way or pass along my info!

The first wedding we went to was in June at Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua, NY. It was the wedding of one of my friends from high school. She looked gorgeous and the wedding was beautiful! It was the first wedding, post-accident, that I attended, where I needed to “dress up”. I must’ve tried on at least 5 different dresses to see what would work…something that was comfortable for me to walk in, that didn’t make me look more large and in charge than I already am (with my Serena arms), something that was dressy enough, and something that wouldn’t lead me to sweat like a pig. Looking for clothing pre-accident was a breeze compared to what it is now. To think, looking for clothing that wouldn’t accentuate my broad shoulders was a problem…pshhh….that was nothing. Now, that’s the least of my problems when shopping for clothing.
There were some stairs and a slightly, uneven, grassy area that I had to contend with, but overall, manageable. I even got in a little bit of “dancing”…in quotes b/c I don’t think I would’ve called what I did dancing, prior to my accident. Hah! But all that matters, is that I had fun doing it!

Us with the beautiful bride!

Us with the beautiful bride!

Read Part 2 for the recap of my July happenings!
– Wedding, Birthdays, “Manhattanhenge”, and wave runner adventures!

Trip Recaps and the Latest Happenings

Hi there!

I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day Weekend and is enjoying the start of their summer!
Let me fill you guys in on what’s happened in the last month and a half…

I went to Charleston, SC in April and New Orleans, LA in May. Both of these cities, were cities I’d never been to before, pre or post accident. I’d been to both LA and Florida before the accident, so going to both those places, post-accident, didn’t involve as much pre-planning, as I was familiar with what to expect out there, to a certain degree.
April – Charleston, SC
I went down to Charleston, SC with a few of my girlfriends for 4 days & nights. It was my first post-accident trip without Ben and with my girlfriends. The airport and flight portion of the trip went off without a hitch. Getting in a cab and leaving the airport to get to the hotel wasn’t an issue, either. Overall, the majority of the trip went fairly smoothly. I think the main “issue” I didn’t foresee was how much I needed to be in my wheelchair, not because I couldn’t walk or anything like that, but because it just wasn’t “convenient”. I wouldn’t say that the sidewalks/streets of Charleston were not handicap friendly, but I wouldn’t say they were, either. It’s an old city, so it was expected that the sidewalks or streets wouldn’t be the most accommodating. A big part of being on vacation is to just walk and explore the area…and this is where the convenience issue comes into play. Even though we were staying in the center of town and located within “walking distance” of a lot of things, I ended up having to take my wheelchair out and about with us. Even though things are close, it’s hard for me to walk and explore aimlessly. Although it has been 2 years since I’ve been on prosthetics, I’m still adjusting. So…it’s hard for me to walk without a plan or set destination because I won’t know what the terrain of the streets and sidewalks will be like, how crowded the sidewalks will be with people, how wide the sidewalks will be, and if I can keep up with my friends. Factoring all of that in, I wheeled around in the wheelchair, but brought my crutches along in tow for when I wanted and could use them. This wasn’t the most ideal, since I felt like I was being a burden to my friends, but we made it work. THANKS Jenn, May, and Steph! xoxo.
Charleston was good prep for New Orleans…
May – New Orleans, LA
The Charleston trip and the need for my wheelchair while there, prepared me for New Orleans. Learning from my Charleston experiences, coupled with the planner and anal retentive sides of me, I researched where we were staying and the French Quarter, probably a little more than necessary…Knowing that we were in the French Quarter and “within walking distance” to everything, meant almost nothing to me. Sure, it was a bit helpful, but phrases and words like, within walking distance and close, no longer have the same meaning to me anymore, as they do everyone else. So, this meant that I…Printed out a map of the French Quarter, marked where our hotel was, marked the top spots of places I wanted to see/eat/do within the French Quarter (don’t get all wasn’t more than 8…I’m not THAT crazy), then calculated how far said things were from the hotel, then determined if it was walkable or if it would require the wheelchair. And then last, but not least, it if was walkable, I’d go to Google and map out the walk via Google’s street view, so I could get a sense of what the sidewalks/streets would be like…ok…maybe I am THAT crazy. And with all that said and done, I still ended up doing the riding the wheelchair and taking the crutches combo because it was either too hot or too crowded with people. I attempted to walk around the French Quarter the first night we got there, to get a drink at one of the bars, but after 2-3 blocks…I was almost completely drenched in sweat (sexy!) and tired of navigating amongst all the drunkards.
We did walk/wheel around quite a bit, ate a lot, saw both a Jazz Show and a Burlesque Show, and definitely got a feel for the people and the Southern hospitality. We had oysters (raw and char-grilled), beignets (from Cafe Beignet and Cafe Du Monde), jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, gumbo, po-boys, coffee, hurricanes, etc! Oh..and the frozen cafe au lait from Cafe Du Monde….I mean, I can’t even….it was DELICIOUS! However, I think I liked Cafe Beignet’s beignets over Cafe Du Monde’s beignets. I’d go back to New Orleans just for that combo…Cafe Du Monde’s frozen cafe au lait and a couple of beignets from Cafe Beignet….*drool* (It doesn’t help that I’m writing this post during dinner time…). I currently have another window open to see if there’s a Cafe Du Monde cafe au lait recipe/mix…hah.


Musical Legends Park

Musical Legends Park

Cafe Du Monde break...YUM!

Cafe Du Monde break…YUM!

Tulane Graduation

Tulane Graduation

One other thing to mention, before moving on to current and recent happenings. During one of our Uber rides down in New Orleans, we met a driver named Chris. During the drive, I was asking him about the best way to get to the Super Dome for the graduation (We were in New Orlean’s for Ben’s cousin’s graduation from Tulane.) and what time we should head out…blah blah blah. At the end of that trip, he gave me his card and told us that he would pick us up at the hotel and take us to the Super Dome. Sweet..I didn’t have to worry about ordering an Uber first thing, Saturday AM. On Saturday morning he called to confirm and then showed up right on time. As he started driving, he started chatting with us. (This was almost 3 weeks ago, so it may not be word for word…) He started to say something about how he asked my husband for permission first, if it was ok to make this presentation to me…I wasn’t sure where this was going, but I got the feeling it was going to be something sappy and sweet. So, as he continued, I said something along the lines of, Chris, I don’t know what you’re about to do, but it’s barely 8AM, so it’s too early in the morning for me to get choked up…Chris is ex-Military, a former Navy Chief, and coincidentally, also worked at our hotel when he was a kid, for over 10 years. He began his “presentation” about his time in the navy and then about strength and bravery and how I demonstrated all these things. He was telling me about how he had been thinking about how to make the presentation during his drive to pick us up and that he was very nervous and wasn’t even sure if he should do it. I was COMPLETELY caught off guard. Totally unexpected and not ready for that kind of emotion at 8AM on a Saturday. I don’t think I’m retelling this story properly and doing it or Chris justice. It was so sweet and I was so honored. See pin below.USN

As for what else is going on…Bad news – still looking for a job. Good news – getting skins on my legs!…which basically means, my “legs” will look like legs and not robot legs! I will try and document the process so I can write about and have visuals for everyone!
Oh and in case anyone hasn’t seen this yet on The Today Show or on social media….
Big Shout Out to A Step Ahead Prosthetics…my prosthetic place. SO proud of them for all they do and so glad they got so much coverage for this wonderful thing they’re doing for these amazing kids!