Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · Family · Life · Life story · Mother · Recovery

The Derailment

Have you ever started writing a book about your life and then life shows up to remind you what your life was really like? Well that is what happened on January 6, 2018. Thankfully I have solutions for those moments, people I can reach out to, places I can go share and I no longer stay captive to those feelings. The feelings that a look can bring. The look from across the table that can take you back to the age of when you were 12. To the memories.  Don’t open your mouth or say a word Christine. I look back now, I look them right in the eye. I didn’t say anything by the way, my children were at the table and I am older and a bit wiser. I choose to protect them- I try my very best to protect them; today.

My truth is I looked them right in the eye when I was 12- that might have been one of the problems. The problem for them, not for me. The them was my Mother and the visit that caused the derailment was with her sister, my Aunt Lupe who is only 2 years older than me.  The simple question asked by my son at the family gathering was when was the last time you saw each-other. The last time, as we all sat and pondered from either ends of a very long table, was when I was 12. Good-times the age of 12 was for me. I was already using on a regular basis. I had a voice. A voice that I would use to never have me taken back to Yuma, Arizona again. A place I had never seen until just a few summers earlier.  A place with people I never knew existed – family.

Family is a funny thing, or at least my family is. I choose to look at it that way now- funny. In actuality it is probably sad to some, disturbed to others and still others probably sick and twisted. Still to some who viewed it from the outside it was perfect and everything was in order for a single mother raising two children. It is what it is to me! It is what shaped so many areas of who I am and how I responded to life’s situations when I was younger.  I respond differently now, I have grown. In spite of what happened or the choices I made I have an amazing life.

As I started to write this book I wondered to myself when I would get into the nitty-gritty.  Would I write about my here and now or would I just jump in. Well that visit was enough to remind me why I am writing. This is a healing process- something no one may ever read but myself. As I type I read and re-read again and again. Is that what I want to say? Is that what I want to write? What if they read it? Who cares- it’s my story! The life that I have is a beautiful one and as I type out these words my grandson Vincent is playing on his Nintendo Switch- he just woke up and we have already decide what game I will buy him today. I am one French Press in of my favorite coffee and can see the chicken’s scratching up the leaves looking for worms.

Well it is evening now and I have had a very long day of basketball games and shopping with the grandson and daughter- now I have three grandsons here and the oldest on the way. A total of four grandsons I have so far- names oldest to youngest – Angel, Vincent, Anthony and Roman. Amazing! These boys know who I am. I am here with them, I am their Grandmother. I may not have been the best of mother’s but I am a perfect grandmother.

Now back to 12 or at least to the events leading up to 12.  Imagine if you will going a long trip in a little car, mostly in the middle of the night. I was about 9 maybe? This is my recollection by the way and if you ask my mother or even my brother I am sure it sounds way better. A long ride straight through with a few bathroom breaks ending in a place I had never been before with people I didn’t know. My grandmother Virginia, her husband Toribio and my aunt as I mentioned Lupe were at the end of that road trip. We would spend a few weeks there. I remember feeling not right at a young age in this place.  Could it be the way my mom was acting? Probably- Mama this and mama that. I had never seen this from my mother.

My mom don’t get me wrong is an amazing woman who did the best she could do. She came from a time though when, in my opinion, the boys were served first if that makes sense. She was raised on a farm, a hop farm in Weatland, California and was the oldest of six. I am sure that meant a lot of cooking and cleaning not just for them but the farm hands, which back in the day was the children too. Back in a day when you did what you were told and probably kept your mouth shut. Please don’t talk to me about the respect your elders time. My elders were fucked up!

On to Yuma, Arizona as a child and coffee with Michael in the summer. We were imagining remember- go back there and close your eyes. What was it like to visit at age 9 for a few weeks and then to drive back at the age of 10 on that same trip only to be left in the middle of the night with those strangers that were your family for the whole summer.  You woke up to find your mother had left you. With people you didn’t know or like! With a girl, your aunt, who was 12 who certainly didn’t like you. She had her friends and things to do- summer sports and outings and you were a bother.  I busied myself with swimming and TV and one day mom drove back up to get me. Let me set the scene. I can’t even almost, the tears are welling up as I type.  She drove up and for the week, she sewed my aunt a new wardrobe, I got her hand-me-downs, what she couldn’t make her she bought her, I got her- hand-me-downs, then we drove home. I was happy to be home.

Age 11 you take that same drive again during the summer. Oh by the way during those summers my brother was at the most amazing summer camps I heard back at home- he didn’t have to stay because he was older I guess and could watch himself.  Back in Yuma (we are still imagining but this was my reality) you wake up to the fact she left you again in the middle of the night! You cry a lot and treated not so nice because of it. You are a bother once again to a girl who was now 13 and a family who you know a bit more but didn’t care for more either. So you sit  alone in one end of the house watching something called MTV.  This was new to you and saved your life because you didn’t have that in Sacramento, California yet. You are now writing letters home to your best friend Jessica who lives across the street. She tells you of the foreign exchange students living at your house, in your room- more exciting times and fun for my brother.

Age 12- FUCK YOU! Let me share with you a secret- I had many. I started using at the age of 9, a young girl whose grandfather started giving her drinks sitting in parked cars; not all the time but on a regular basis. Who by the age of just 11 he tried to pull her close in that parked car to kiss her. I was old enough by 11 to know he was my grandfather, I also had enough sass in me because he was giving me more on a much more regular basis by then so I had a mouth. When he made his move and I pushed him away I had lost the trust of that man who was pretty much my father figure and something turned in me. Instead of telling my mom, who I didn’t trust because she had left me, who worked out-of-town and was never there anyway- I told that man I wanted more. More alcohol and by this time more marijuana which he was giving me too.  I was all that and a bag of chips in my neighborhood!  Fun times.

I would not sleep that night in Yuma. You would not leave me again! Mom taught me to drive that trip on our way, just me and her in her little Plymouth Champ 5 speed- we drove stick then people. So I now knew where I was, I knew the freeway, the streets from the freeway to grandma’s. You know you have that feeling when things happen.  I saw my mom gathering things on the sly. I saw a suitcase packed, but not my things- I would not sleep. I remember sitting on the couch late into the night.  I remember them sitting at the table talking in Spanish- she stopped me at a young age speaking Spanish so we didn’t have an accent and they could talk about things in front of us we wouldn’t understand. I remember the sounds of the car starting and pulling out of the driveway. I woke up. I remember running out of the house screaming down the street not to leave me, to come back for me. It was 4am and I was told to get in the house. I remember not lasting long in Yuma, Arizona again- I knew where I was. At the age of 12 I was hitch-hiking back to Sacramento, California. Needless to say they got me not far away, sent me home and I never had to return there again. It would be the last time I saw my aunt Lupe, I was 12. Until, that is, at my grandson Vinnie’s birthday on January 6, 2018 when my son Niko asked when was the last time you saw each-other.


Addict · Addiction · Autism · Bloggess · Family · Life · Life story · Mother · Recovery

What It’s Like Being Her Mom

I know what it is like to be the mother of an Autistic child- I don’t forget ever, it’s impossible.  We also get the added enjoyment of ADHD, Anxiety and Depression all diagnosed and rolled up into the most brilliant beautiful 16 going on 17-year-old girl named Irene. Sometimes though I just don’t think anything of it, it’s just a day like any other day. Some days are harder, some are easier- they just blend. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for Irene though.

It has been a while since we have had a complete meltdown, they look different today.  I am not sure if it’s the 3 years of Social Skills classes, the 3 different psychotic meds she’s on currently or just the fact that she is getting older and the kids don’t pick on her as much?  Maybe the world is becoming softer to the world of Autism? The stares have lessened, the kids teasing and poking fun because they know if they poke just enough she will start screaming uncontrollably and then the tears start- that is fun for some to watch. Please don’t talk to me about medication on such a young girl either, I struggled with it myself considering I am a recovering addict for so long and probably added undue trauma to my child by not easing her symptoms earlier. She has made great strides with medication, especially since she was diagnosed Depressive. Prior to Social Skills and meds what it looked like for us was borderline Schizophrenia and having done the research I know we are not out of the woods yet on that one.  The silent giggles and laughter to who I do not know. I try not to worry, I have faith, but I live in reality as well.

Things we get to work on, and when I say we I mean Irene and myself- her father and siblings are very much in the picture but it’s just not the same.  It’s Irene and myself mostly together against the world.  Sometimes I forget that – I get wrapped up in life and the things I want to do as an adult. I forget that if I am not there she is pretty much alone, the truth is that when I am there she is pretty much alone too. I have to force her out, planned adventures that must have a lot of quiet time. That sounds so much like myself I cannot even explain.

At times I forget about the crowds and the sounds- I forget about Autism and Anxiety altogether. I fail. She is not like my other children. She is special.

I recently took Irene with me to an out-of-town convention that I had worked on for almost two years.  I wanted her to see the sights. I wanted her to see what her mother had done, what took me away from her and my family on late nights and all day meetings, where I had dragged her to events leading up to and what for. I wanted her to see. I failed to recognize the commotion, sounds and fear that it might cause my child- I forgot. I knew I would be paying a lot of money for banquet meals she would not eat, I was paying for her to sit with me. Irene eats about seven different things and four of those are a potato in a variety of different ways. Before the meal was over she had asked to be excused to the hotel room and at that moment I knew.

I knew she had left her earmuffs at home, she had left her headphones which are actually her security in the hotel room- she had even left her knitting and her phone was dying. These are the things that comfort her. These are the things that allow her to join in with others, but allow her to escape at a moment’s notice. These are the things that sometimes, I say sometimes, stop her from pulling her hair out or mutilating her body by picking at imaginary things that are not there- scarring herself. I cannot stop these things from happening and I know she can’t either. It hurts. It hurts me that my daughter is hurting and I can’t help her. No one can, this is just our life.

You come to grips with it. This is it. These are the things she does. Will it be forever?  Will she grow out of it? Who knows? My job – to try to remind her to stop pulling her hair out in a kind and loving way that does not seem like nagging bringing her to tears. To try not to cringe when I see the gaping whole on her chest that she has gouged out because she knows if it can’t be seen people won’t stare. The truth is they stare as she is doing it. Where? In class, at dinner out, in the grocery store lines and anywhere she gets bored at. I try very hard to let it go as she is doing it because I know it upsets her.  I don’t think she’s aware she’s doing it- they have just become her new mannerisms. Such as when she bounces off the walls at home down the hall or the humming when things are going really good. Those are the things I look for, the things I know that when I see and hear I know everything is alright in her little world.

The struggle. With all of that there is an even harder struggle. The struggle that she looks just like everyone else. That she is smarter than so many her age. No one thinks she is different and they suggest just let her go, go run off and hang out with the other kids. I know better. I want to let her run and go hang out. I did once- I won’t do it again. Within an hour she had shot a gun and been kissed by a boy. A boy she had never met nor seen again. A boy who could have done anything and she wouldn’t have stopped it. Would she have? I don’t know. I knew better and I fail sometimes.

How do I trust the world with Irene? The tears well up as I type these keys. My child. The brilliant young girl who has her whole life ahead of her. As she gets ready for AP exams and SAT’s I secretly wonder to myself does she understand? She has hundreds of emails and letters coming for colleges, I am not sure if she even knows what any of that means. I have to remind her and ask constantly for more information. There is no excitement, there is no “normal” joy. It’s just another day and another college- the latest from Vassar.

I am both excited and afraid. How do I let her go? Do I let her go far or do I keep her close? The truth is I know already. None of it matters because she will either do great or she won’t- just like any other kid. There are no safe guards. I hope I can find a place where she is comfortable, where she will thrive. A place that will understand and be accepting. A place where she and I both feel safe. She will need help and that is my job as her parent to make sure she gets everything she needs! I know that! She can do it!

There was a time- a time when she didn’t talk. She stared blankly into the air, defecated on herself, cried uncontrollably and was inconsolable. A time where they said things like she will never be able to live alone, may be able to hold a part-time job with assistance. Well we are way beyond those times. We have grown and these are new times. I don’t have all the answers. I am trying to catch-up myself sometimes. So when I see other people who are just like us- I smile because I know. It’s impossible to forget.

The Chicken Lady



Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · Family · Life · Life story · Mother · Recovery

The Very Busy Lady

I am currently in Redding, California having just arrived with my two best friends, it’s almost midnight. Not sure if I should rush the keys to get this started? This is Chapter One by the way.

Well it is now after 8am and I decided to sleep, once in a while it is necessary to replenish the body and soul. My best friends Andrea and Julie did deserve to sleep I felt too after the long drive in from Sacramento, they were very tired even though I did the driving. My friends had asked if they were going to be immortalized in my book, well there it is my loves. Why in God’s name am I in Redding, California? Commitments. This is my first time here, however when I told my Mother where I was headed she assured me we had driven through previously. The truth is I have driven through a whole lot of places and most I could not tell you where.

Now back to chapter one. I have given this a lot of thought as to where to start with writing a book. Do I start with my childhood? The present? The in-between? I decided to surprise myself and just let it flow.

So a bit about me. I am a very busy lady. I have a career that I love, children still in the home, several out of the home and even 4 grandson’s; one who is actually 7 today, January 6, 2018.  His name is Vincent, named after my oldest and only brother who is four years my senior. I call the grandson Vinnie and last night we were celebrating at the local ice-cream shop until after 8pm- the reasons why we were driving in the wee hours of the night, well wee to me because I like to sleep.  Now I also have several animals, two dogs (one is my 19-year-old daughter Cassidy’s but you know how that works), one cat and 15 chickens. Furthermore I do a lot of extracurricular activities- I am of service. Service to a fellowship that has saved my life, a twelve-step fellowship and that’s all we will call that. This means that I do meetings and give back what was freely given to me, because I appreciate the life that I live today to the fullest.  Of course with the kids comes school, extra-curricular activities for them from sports to Girl Scouts, thankfully I just have one left in school with all of that stuff; but of course now we have the grandchildren to step-up with their activities and grandma cheering on the sidelines. Why not just toss some Autism in there with the youngest daughter Irene, who is now 16 and all the gifts that has to offer too.

With all that I still had time for coffee. What does that mean? Well if you read the preface you know I met a man, his name is Michael. Now I don’t know the actual day he sent me a “friend request” on Facebook, but I do remember it well.  I may have actually tried to play it cool and not accept it instantly? May have? We had several interactions with comments and by April 15, 2016 a few things happened, he sent me the first of many instant messages and I texted my two best friends who are here in Redding with me now that I had met the man of my dreams who I will be spending the rest of my life with. Of course I followed that up with the fact that I hadn’t actually “met” him yet, but that we had interacted on Facebook and that was enough. You have to really know me to know how funny that is and how much I really meant it. I am a very funny person by the way! Luckily for me I would meet Michael a few days later on April 17, 2016 at a meeting and get my first hug; I know that date because I was busy getting an MRI and was late to my usual spot.

By May 23rd I felt I had enough evidence to formulate a few theories. He was single and I wanted to meet him before someone snatched him up and I sat there wondering what if. What if is huge by the way!  What if I never asked?  If I never asked I would never know and so I summoned up the courage to ask him if he was single. If he was maybe he might be free sometime during the summer and wouldn’t mind having coffee with me. Yes that is how it went.  I asked him and because I am very busy, we are both busy people, summer seemed like it might be tangible. It also seemed far enough out that if it wasn’t viable I actually didn’t have to go. So I sat and watched him through my computer, very patiently I might add because, well it was just coffee. I can’t downplay this, I was jumping out of my skin waiting for summer to come!


Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · Family · Life · Life story · Mother · Recovery

Coffee and Kisses with a Side of Addiction

The Preface

As the story goes everyone has at least one good book in them. Or so I’ve heard? So I guess I am going to give it a shot.  I made a commitment to myself that I would start writing, or as in this case blogging everyday on January 1, 2018- it is now January 4, 2018.  Better late than never as I always say!  The ridiculous thought to getting a late start would be just to wait until January 1, 2019 because I already missed the mark I set for myself, that would be my head talking. So on with the show!

I am determined to make this a love story, my love story. The journey to love myself. Christine- a Blogging Goddess; and the road that it took to get her there. This has been a bit of a twisted road and at times a not so pretty one either.  One that those who have somehow been a part of my path might not actually appreciate the words that I clack away on the keys. If you heard me typing that is the exact sound- clacking. Those people would more than likely be my family by the way. For that reason and many more this will be the first entry of the New Year on my blog and the last entry delivered to my social media account on Facebook.  I will unlink it after this post.

Family of course chooses to remember things in a different manner at times. A more bright and cheery picket fence, all is well on the outside don’t look on the inside manner. That is how I was raised. Hush Christine, don’t you dare! This is my recollection though, a reflection of my past. At this point I really am not sure how much of my childhood I will delve into.  Let’s face it though, it is what makes us. Or it is what formed me into the woman who I have become. Am still becoming. The choices that we make from our youth will inevitably steer us in the direction we go. Whatever that direction is, either good or bad, all choices lead somewhere. Not only that, we also have to deal with the fact that sometimes “stuff” happens in our childhood that is not the norm, this said “stuff” that happens in our childhood may actually influence those same choices that we will eventually make long into adulthood. Whatever the case, I survived the choices that I made to be here today to clack these keys.

Today I am grateful that on the journey that I have taken I finally came to the realization that I am an Addict, a very grateful one. An addict in recovery. That self-realization has allowed me to grow in ways that I never knew possible. It has allowed me to live a life I have never in my younger days would have been able to dream.  It has opened me up to possibilities I never would have imagined.  I could go on but I am sure you get the picture. She, I, am unstoppable!

Now by this title you would guess possibly that this is a love story between a man and a woman, or whatever floats your boat. It is that as well in a way. I am in love. I have been in love before but not like this. My idea of what love looked like in previous years we will get to eventually in this saga of sorts that I plan on jotting down over the next 365 days. It has never looked like this though. Some very close to me know that I had thrown the towel in on love a few years ago, on partnership and companionship altogether in “that” way.  I had grown weary of the mundane games of the opposite sex and I have never been into the same-sex. That’s not my story. Weary enough so that I shut down and closed myself off towards advances of all types. Not interested was the sign that was emblazoned across my forehead, with a smile of course.  Please don’t think of me as a shrew. I had just come to the point in my life where I was very happy alone with myself, raising my two girls who amazingly enough through perseverance managed to regain custody of and still have a few years of parenting with them, being a part of my grand-children’s lives and let us not forget the dog Snoopy, the chicken’s which I have no time for all their names (yes I name them), the cat Hermes and all of the friends I surround myself with.  That is the love that I had chosen to fill my life with.  I am enough.

Wouldn’t you know it though, at the point in my life when my only goal was to reach 20 chickens in my flock, which ironically three years ago today on January 4, 2015, I received my first four chickens as a gift from an old friend; there he was.  It was as if one day I opened my eyes and voila! No seriously that is how it went. He sent me a friend request on Facebook. Now the truth of the matter is that I may have seen his picture previously with a mutual friend. I am not sure which came first, the picture with the friend or the friend request? When I saw that picture though my heart skipped a beat.  Who am I kidding it skipped several beats.  It would be funny to say the rest is history but just like anything good, that took some time.

The reality is it is not the end, it is just the beginning.  We just spent our second New Years together this year, this one actually in the same physical spot.  Although my heart goes where he roams and boy does he travel, I manage to lead a pretty full life myself that takes me places too.  We both have very full lives from careers to family and friendships; all that matters is that we have found each other. At least that is all that matters to me. So I hope if you stay with me you find some enjoyment, some wonder and some tears.  As for me I will have all those things and some healing too. I hope.

The Chicken Lady