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.

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