My Guy


Today is our 10 year wedding anniversary and on November 27, it will be 18 years since our very first kiss.  Ryan is the milestone keeper in our life with a romantic heart.  On the other hand, I can be the typical “guy” in the relationship.  On our 5 year kissing anniversary, I had a pocket watch engraved for Ryan with the wrong date!

Before my stroke and brain surgery, I know I took our love for granted.  Examining what is special about your love and the thought of losing it is something I thought too little of before Year One.

It is especially hard to think about all the emotions that swirl in my injured head when I think about what I want to say about him. It is time I try to put into words how much Ryan really is my everything.

Our hospital days were insane.  This is the man who slept in little cramped corners in all three hospitals. This is the man who showered me and helped me with the toilet.  He dealt with administrators, paperwork, and insurance while I was unconscious for two days after surgery.  This is the man who calmly kept me going even when I felt like falling into the abyss.

In our new world, Ryan perseveres.  He still deals with insurance claims weekly with all the “ahem”, wonderful customer service reps.  He drills me on segmentation of phonemes to write simple words like “carry” and “face”.  He reads books to me with the most beautiful tone that can’t match.  He endures my angry hippocampus.

These are all qualities that have always been a part of what makes Ryan this wonderful human being.  Ryan is kind.  He is brave.  He is always evolving.  The lionhearted strength of his character is forever a part of my deep admiration of him.

All of these words are really tiny tokens of a man who fills my heart with such a brilliant light.  18 years later I am closer to Ryan than when we first fell in love or when we said our marriage vows.  I am truly, madly, deeply in love with this amazing man.

P.S. Master Julian Shutterbug took this pic!


A First.


I either walk in my neighborhood or do Cardio Step-Up in front of my television every day.  Ryan or my friends walk with me two miles a day.  My lovely friend Eva walks with me almost every Sunday at dust.  It is a ritual that I love and reminds me to breathe the fresh air and sunshine with loved ones.

Lately the weather has been rainy, cloudy, and cold so TV has been my buddy while I workout.  But today there was a break in the clouds.  So, before I had a chance to think, I asked Ryan if I could do my walk by myself.  Ryan has been trying to get me to be more independent and this was a great trial run.  I was out the door, on my own – afraid and excited all at once.

Before my stroke, I never thought about crossing the street at a busy traffic light or catching myself on an uneven sidewalk.  Dialing a number and giving out clear directions to the person on the other line was automatic.

I worry about having a stroke while I am walking down the stairs.  I am scared that the blind spots in the right corners of my eyes will deceive me as a car comes out from my right side.  Numbers get twisted in my fingers.  Is “7” really seven or is it “6”?

Instead, all of these things are physical and mental hurdles I have to quietly master.  I know “911” and all my important numbers are two clicks in my iPhone.  My health insurance card and drivers license are in my front pocket.  I walk down the stairs steadily and hold the railing.  I look twice as I cross the street.  I call Ryan at the half way mark so he knows I am safe.  I am fine.

I smelled wet pavement in the air.  I felt my heart beat and the sweat on my bushy brows.  I said hello to a nice woman.  I am really happy today!

Low brow, high brow


I am so lucky that we live so close to Ryan’s brother, sister-in-law, and niece.  In 15 minutes we can be at their door step at anytime.  Going on these little adventures makes my life pretty great.

The Bunny Museum in Pasadena is a sight to view at least once in you life.  Candace and Steve have opened their house to the public to share in their love of all things bunny.  Elijah Woods is a fan!

This wonderment stunned Greta at first, but then she was laughing and smiling.

Unfortunately, I did not fare as well.

Greta was more than happy to go to our next adventure.  I was glad to go somewhere that had good ventilation.  Greta’s parents made sure she was in the perfect black attire.

The Dennis Hopper Double Standard exhibit at MOCA was something I wanted to see.  The photograph, Double Standard, seemed less powerful placed along Hopper’s other black & white photos from the Sixties.  The floor to ceiling grid effect of hanging pictures did not draw me in either.  Greta had fun though.  There were giant billboard paintings of Hopper’s photographs.  Greta’s mother taught her how to identify parts of the face.  Because the paintings were so large in scale, they were easy for Greta to point to the eyes, noses, and lips of the paintings.

Elated to be in the open air and ready to dance.

Over all it was a week of celebrity Los Angeles culture for the wonderful Romero family.

Planes, Golf, and Family


I flew for the first time since my brain surgery to see David, Noemi and the kids.  I was all nerves on the way up.  I got the worse cabin pressure and a slight nose bleed.  I was not looking forward to the flight home, but my mother-in-law (Wendy-Mom) had a great solution to put paper cups over both ears to relieve the air pressure.  It really worked!

Noemi made sure we were all well feed.  She is a wonderful cook and a supreme baker.  I was a fiend for her Cabernet Sauvignon brownies.  She is a ball of energy and a fantastic sister-in-law.

It was so fun to see the kids.  Each one of them have character and sweet little souls.  Gabriel was my protector and helped me read Captain Underpants.  Julian was a love bug and kept me laughing at his goofy games.  Katrina was my play buddy.  We rode horses to the King’s Castle and she showed me how to walk up and down the stairs.

Katrina was deep in concentration on the putting green but was all about fairy style with Uncle Ryan.

Julian the card shark.

My in-laws came to see me too.  David and Noemi had just finished a major project by a landscape architect on their home.  My favorite place to sit was on the bench in the front lawn near the rock fountain and the trees.  We were so busy enjoying the landscape, we forgot to take pictures.  We also forgot to take a picture with our favorite Aunt Debbie and Cassie!

Ryan gets his good looks from Dad!

Ryan’s mom is gorgeous inside AND out.

The Doudna Family are pretty terrific too.

4th of July

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It has been too long since my last post.  I have been working on techniques to write a post without taking 4 hours to finish.  It is really hard work and it sucks a lot of the time too, but overall it is so rewarding to see the outcome.

Alright, on to the fun stuff – the pictures!

The three amigos.

We took a hike near Mount Washington.  There was a bunch of poison oak at the beginning of the trail and we thought we would have to turn around.  Instead, we met an awesome stranger whose secret garden lead us past the toxicodendron divesirsilobum.

My brother is smiling AND his eyes are actually open.

What path are we on?

David leads the way…

…to little wild tomatoes AND


Happy Independence Day!



I was scheduled to transfer to the regular hospital wing at UCLA on April 16 when we got a great surprise.  Ryan and I were still in the intensive care unit when we got the chance to meet a wonderful volunteer and her therapy dog.  I regret that I forgot the volunteer’s name, but it was not hard to forget the white Newfoundland, Dreamer.

It was incredible to see a living creature sitting on me.  I swore I felt my blood pressure lowering on the spot.  It was definitely the highlight of my day!

I got to visit Dreamer one more time in the regular hospital wing.  I also got to visit another dog in rehabilitation at UCLA at 1 West.  That dog taught me how to work on my fine motor skills.  He would let me patiently feed one Cheerio at a time using my thumb and index finger.

The People Animal Connection Program at UCLA is amazing!

Glendale Peak


I am writing this blog to help me relearn how to write.  Since my stroke, I have good days and bad ones.  This was a day that started with a bad morning of me feeling blue and ended good by getting me outdoors.

Rattlesnakes love dogs!

Walking uphill is hard.

Los Angeles smog is still beautiful.

Our “top” point.

I was not ready to climb stairs just yet.

Ryan is a handsome guy!