Thursday, January 26, 2012

First of many...

My dad passed away on Dec. 16th. By the time Christmas came around, it didn't feel like the joyous season at all. Gifts were only exchanged with people outside of my parent's family and it was minimal and sort of pointless. I wasn't feeling any of it. But I did my best to put on a good face about it all. In the back of my mind I was already wondering what I would do for New Years Eve.

By reading this blog, I'm sure you know what my traditions are for New Years Eve. It's my favorite holiday of the year. Usually my parents come down and we go spend the whole day at Disneyland. Last year we brought my grandma who was still grieving for the lost of her husband, my grandpa. My Mom and husband are very gracious in letting my Dad and I indulge in our Disney-freakness.  It is more of my Dad and I than anyone else. Mr. Bumblebee and my Mom are just good sports. But my Dad was who I could count on to help me fill that Disney-addiction I had.

So I knew that I really wanted to continue to go to Disneyland on NYE. It would be what my dad would have wanted. To continue to hold that tradition for 12 years and keep it strong. However I knew how hard it would be for me to enter those gates without my partner-in-crime by my side.

Enter: Bestie.

She knew it was going to be hard, and even though she hates crowds...she offered to come with us and to make it a day of as much fun and remembering as possible. I think she secretly expected it was going to be hard but she knew how much it meant to me. So, we started to discuss it and of course, with the two of us, t-shirts were a must! As were the mouse-ears!

 I am so glad she offered to come! I'll be honest, it wasn't the same. I missed my Dad and I missed my mom, who had opted out understandably. But it was a whole new experience and just as fun.

We made shirts for everyone. Bestie, Bestie-Hubby, and Mr. Bumblebee all wore shirts that said "In Honor of Mike" while I wore a shirt that said "In Honor of Dad".
 It was pretty remarkable. Everyone was stopping us and asking us why we were wearing them, and although it sucked to have to bring it up over and over again, everyone seemed inspired by our tribute and that made me feel good. We did all the things we would have done with my dad. It truly felt like he was with us.

I'm so grateful for these people. They'll never know how much they mean to me. And they were pros at spending a day at Disneyland on the busiest day of the year.

When it was time to get mouse ears, I bought a pair for my dad to put out at his services, which were held on Jan, 3rd. It was hard to see them made.

My sweet husband had a very special relationship with my dad. I was always very appreciative of what they had together and now I am so much more aware of how lucky the two of them were. Mr. Bumblebee hates to dress alike. But when I asked him about our idea, he said it was perfect. He wore that shirt proudly and thus it makes me proud. My dad always said, to everyone, he was the son he had always wanted.

 My bestie and I got hats to go with our shirts. <3

Half way through the day we decided to head back to my house and take a nap. The boys decided to ride motorcycles but me and the bestie took a good hour nap. Woke up and we were ready to party....tequila?

We decided to bar hop our way back to the parks from the hotels and boy was that fun and entertaining. 

Once we got into the parks, we found our way to the Small World area (as is tradition in my family) and we danced the night away and had a good time people watching.

However, when the year changed, and the fireworks did the waterworks. Its one of many "firsts" for me. First Disneyland trip without my dad, first chimichanga without my dad, first new year...without my dad.

No matter how much people tell me that there is a bigger plan, and that everything happens for a reason...I will never accept that. I willl never believe for a heart beat that what my family has gone through somehow serves as part of a greater plan. Call me selfish, bitter, whatever. I am convinced that my Dad SHOULD have celebrated this and many more new years with me. He SHOULD be here.

I love you dad 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When I get old...

For my whole life, same as most of you, it was always a matter of "When I get older..." I assumed "When I get older, I'll have a car/go to parties/have no curfew". Then it started to change "When I get older, I'll have a house/husband/dogs of my own"

I always assumed that if I ever lived long enough and made the choice to have children, my parents and in-laws would be doting grandparents, taking my kids for me on weekends away, watching them together at Disneyland and football games. I assumed that.

I always knew it was possible that I could die at any minute. I'm not stupid and I've always realized that. I've always remembered to be thankful for today. But somehow, while I realize and accept my mortality, I must have forgotten about my parents mortality. I knew I might never get to do things I wanted to do in life, but somehow it clouded my vision from realizing that at any minute, I could loose my parents.

Did I appreciate them less? Hell no. By reading this blog, I am sure most can realize how close I was to my parents. I appreciated them more than anything. They were my best friends and my guidance. I am one of those kids who do everything to make my parents proud and I loved to be that way.

But, I still didn't think that if I ever might be without one of my parents. I foolishly pictured my future being with them...maybe not picture perfect but I assumed they would always be there. I realized that one day they would get very old and pass away. But I didn't think it would happen before that.

Of course, there is nothing like a parent's death for one to realize their own mortality. I had a very good grasp on my mortality but my dad's passing has really shaken things up to a new height. My dad was 56. I'm 27.

When I get older...I just want to live.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I've lost several people who have been close to me throughout the years. I've always been very strong to get through those difficult times as my heart hurts. However, with my dad passing...the hurt is different. It's unbearable and suffocating. 

I also tend to make drastic decisions when I am hurting. Like I'll go hack 6 inches of hair off. However this time...I took it to a whole new level.

No one knew of my decision but a select few. I had mentioned it right after my dad passed, like a few hours.   Mr. Bumblebee immediately said "You are grieving...give yourself some time before you decide something so drastic." I realized I was gonna have to go rouge and I was dead set on doing this. So after the memorial service, I quietly declined a few family invitations so I knew I'd be alone. I called up my bestie to hold my hand and we did the following...

Did it hurt? Like hell, but it in a good way. I love having it there and I don't regret. It feels good that in some way, my dad is going to be with me every step I take. I know he is.

I just miss him.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The World Seems Normal

The world seems normal.
My city seems normal.
My work seems normal.
My home seems normal.
Dogs seem normal.
I look normal.
But I don't feel normal.
I don't feel like myself.
and I miss me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Lots of sympathy cards. Almost 2-3 a day and it's been almost a month. For awhile there it was 10-15 a day. But still, they are trickling in. I know that everyone means well but one thing that always stops me is when people say "we pray/hope you find the strength to get through this difficult time." 

I have the strength people. That's how my dad raised me. To be strong and determined. He gave me the tools I need to carry on with my life. 

It's the "will-power" that is a completely different story...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dear Dad

Nov. 7th, 2011
Today you had your normal routine procedure for the removal of your stint in your gall bladder. I talked to you on the phone for a second and then you got off because you were feeling nocuous. About two hours later I received a phone call from B(sister) asking what happened to you, I didn’t know so I text mom to find out you were back at the hospital throwing up and in pain.
Nov. 8th, 2011
Today I called my mom to find out you were admitted to the hospital with pancreatitis. I came to visit you after I got off at 12:30. I spoke with mom mostly because you were either sleeping or in pain.  The doctors were filling you up with fluids and pain medication to calm your pancreas down and they figured you would be better soon.
Nov. 9th, 2011
It was another day of fluids and medication. By all accounts you should be on the mend. However mom mentioned you were starting to get confused.
Nov. 10th, 2011
Mom said you were more and more confused. She said you were acting very out of character and it was beginning to scare her.
Nov. 11th, 2011
Mom called me first thing in the morning. She had a very hard night with you. You became increasingly aggravated and started to be very hurtful towards her and also not making a lot of sense. The doctors assured her that it was all the medication you had in your system. Mr. Bumblebee and I did our own research and the pain medication you were on his infamous for making people extremely aggressive and upset. Mom immediately brought this to doctor’s attention and they started changing your pain medication. The doctors were also worried about your lungs and that your breathing was getting labored. They were also worried about your kidneys showing sign of kidney failure.
Nov.  12th, 2011
Mr. Bumblebee and I came to visit you. You were very out of it but every now and again you would have a lucid moment. We talked to you about the football game, UCLA vs UTAH. Aunt A and Uncle K came to visit and you were joking a lot with Uncle K. You seemed to be getting a lot better as the day progressed. That night you were a little aggravated again because you were having a hard time sleeping. They gave you Benadryl around 9 pm and we said goodnight.  All your scores were improving.
Nov. 13th, 2011
It was your anniversary. You were much more lucid and stronger. You were getting up on your own almost and walking to and from the bathroom.  We watched a little football with you and you ate a big lunch and even bigger dinner. Mr. Bumblebee and I left the hospital thinking you would be coming home Wednesday or Thursday.
Nov. 14th, 2011
I went into work on Monday morning feeling so confident that life was going be back to normal. I even thought you’d probably go to the game on that Saturday but maybe we wouldn’t tailgate. By 11:30am, mom sent me one text saying that you were in full liver failure. Mr. Bumblebee and I left our jobs immediately and came to see you. You were much weaker than the day before. You could barely talk and your breathing was much worse. Your kidneys were shutting down again. We sat with you and they decided to try to move you to Kaiser Sunset. You were thrilled about that. You asked  Mr. Bumblebee to make sure the lawn was getting mowed. I don’t know if you meant it or if you were just out of it, but it felt good to  Mr. Bumblebee that you felt confident enough in him to put him in charge. While we were sitting there with you we started to notice a lot of changes in you. It got very scary very fast. I called mom over to look at you and in a second we had a ton of nurses moving you downstairs to the ICU. You were very out of it but I could tell you were scared which made us scared. They took you downstairs and we followed. Once you got downstairs they kicked us out of the room for a while so they could prep you. We were all very scared and seeing you in ICU didn’t help. Eventually they said you were gagging and acting like you were throwing up. They were worried that you would inhale some vomit so they decide to give you the breathing tube. We made them sedate you before they did it because we knew how scared you would be. They were also giving you IV lines in your thigh. By this time, Travis was on his way to the hospital, B (Sister) was on her way, and grandma, uncle K and aunt a were all on their way as well. While we were waiting for them to finishing things we all sat around very quiet. Mom completely lost it. She was so scared. B and I were upset too but we did our best to stay strong in front of mom. Eventually it was  Mr. Bumblebee who came to the rescue and held mom while she cried. Eventually the rest of your entire family came. Everyone was there. But we could only let two people in ICU at a time. I was very overbearing. If anyone was gonna be with you, I felt like I wanted to be there with you. I didn’t want to give time to anyone else because I wasn’t going to waste a minute with you.  Mr. Bumblebee and mom spent a lot of time with you while B and I broke down in the hallway. I held B while we cried and shaked. I never went back into that waiting room. Eventually they were going to try to move you straight to UCLA. However, a bed at Kaiser Sunset became available first and so they moved you there first instead. The paramedics came and started to pack you up (which took forever) but they were very nice. We watched you go into the elevator and then mom,  Mr. Bumblebee, and I ran to get into the cars and get to sunset. We made great timing but you still beat us there. We couldn’t go in right away and so we waited until you were set up. We finally got in to see you around 1am. We got B and Travis sent home and I sat with mom while  Mr. Bumblebee went to get the jeep and bring it to sunset. We just watched you and it was very quiet.  Mr. Bumblebee came and got me and we went home around 2am. I don’t think any of us slept that night.
Nov. 15th, 2011
It was your first full day at Kaiser – Sunset. We were there bright and early. You were still asleep but we would see you move and get scared from time to time with the tube down your throat. We panicked and would get someone to come give you more sleeping medication. They also found that you had pneumonia which means you had a lung infection and wouldn’t be able to be on the transplant list until it was clear, at least 8 days. It scared us to have to wait so long, but we knew it was for the best. We wanted you in tip top shape before you went into surgery. Grandma met us at the hospital and we took you home to SCV. We came back and we were there till late. A lot of family that didn’t make it the previous night at Panorama were visiting you again at Sunset. Around 11:30pm at night we got the call in that they were moving you to UCLA. We were thrilled. Our prayers had been answered. As they loaded you up and got you ready for your third ambulance ride, we got in the car to be ready for you when you got to UCLA.  Mr. Bumblebee and Mom were in the Jeep and I was in my car following behind.  As faith would have it, your ambulance pulled up right next to us while we were waiting at a light. I saw  Mr. Bumblebee point over into your ambulance where I could see you. It was funny for a split second when we saw all of the paramedics stand up and start working on you, the lights of the ambulance turned on and it took off through the red light. I was panicked. The ambulance went straight and our directions told us to turn left. So we waited until our light turned green and then Mr. Bumblebee stepped on the pedal. I stayed as close behind as I could. We were going as fast as we could and through one light Mr. Bumblebee floored it through a yellow. I stepped on it to follow, when I heard an ambulance. Just as I was going through the yellow, your ambulance almost hit me as it was going through the intersection perpendicular to my car. We both came to a stop and I screamed and floored it again. I pulled over to the side of the road and your ambulance passed us. I screamed as loud as I could and cried. I thought I might have taken the few seconds you needed of your life. I had a bazillion pounds of guilt on my shoulders. But in that second your ambulance passed by,  Mr. Bumblebee was already speeding down the streets to get to the hospital. I followed behind. We pulled up to the hospital.  Mr. Bumblebee dropped Mom off and she ran inside to find out where you were and what your status was. I followed Mr. Bumblebee and we parked and ran into the hospital. Of course we weren’t allowed to see you while they set you up. But the nurses immediately took us aside and gave us so much support. Finally we were told you were stable and that your blood pressure had dropped dramatically, but you were ok. We would finally be let in to see you. The IC Transplant Unit was so much more intense. Your room looked daunting with all new kinds of machines around you. It looked like at any moment it would be ready to perform surgery. The doctors were thorough. They were asking us all kinds of questions, even about your finger when you broke it when you were a kid. They asked about your mental psych and overall disposition. They wanted to know about your personality, what your favorite things to do were. At this point it was almost 3am. Only one person could sleep in your room and so  Mr. Bumblebee and I headed home again.
Nov. 16, 2011 – Nov. 23, 2011
You slept. First it was clear you were fighting a lung infection and that it would be a huge hurdle for you, but they expected that you would be able to fight it. Also, your kidneys were shutting down almost completely so they started you on dialysis. We also found out that your pancreatitis had not healed and was still active. That was going to be your biggest hurdle. We needed that pancreatitis to stop necrotizing so you could be placed on the transplant list. At one point it was determined that you needed to come out of your medicine induced sleep. They were worried about your brain activity. However when they took you off the medication, you weren’t waking up fully and so it got very scary. However, one day  Mr. Bumblebee, Mom, and I were standing around your bed talking to you. We kept asking you to squeeze mom’s hand if you understood. And like the sign of hope we’d been praying for, you squeezed mom’s hand. We cried out of happiness.
I was out to dinner on Nov. 23, 2011 with my besties, they were trying to get me out, when my mom called me. She told me you had started to wake up and show signs of understanding. I was thrilled! We got a good night’s rest and came straight to the hospital the next morning.
Nov. 24th, 2011
It was a miracle. We walked into the ICU and down the hall on thanksgiving morning. We turned the corner where we could see into your room and like a beacon of hope, we saw you sitting up and you waved to us. You were still intubated but my God you were a sight for sore eyes. I knew then, you were going to be okay.
Nov. 25th-Dec 4th, 2011
I spent all of my free time at the hospital with you. We had some ups and downs, mostly with your leg. You had fallen at Panorama and the leg was bothering you quite a bit, but it was the least of our concerns. You finally got your tube out and were talking just like my daddy always did. Cracking jokes and making friends with all the nurses. On December 4th, I was going out for my best friend’s birthday. We ended up our night at Diddy Reeses and so we came back to the hospital at midnight to say one last goodbye to you.  Mr. Bumblebee fell asleep in the chair, mom was asleep in her little bed and you and I stayed up till really late just talking. You played with my hair and we just chatted. Finally the nurse kicked me out.
Dec 6th, 2011
We got news that you were going to probably put onto the transplant list. Your pancreases showed signs of stopping, not necessarily healing. However the doctors felt like they could not wait any longer. We did a few tests throughout the day and by that night you were listed! We knew you were going to be getting a liver very soon and our prayers were answered. We all slept so well that night but anxious to get that liver to you!
Dec 11th, 2011
We have waited and waited. A liver hasn’t come up yet but we didn’t give up hope. However we got some horrible news. Your pancreas was rooting inside of you. You had developed sepsis and they were putting you on hold on the list instead. We are devastated. The doctors seemed vauge. But our hopes are high. We know you are going to get better.
Dec. 12, 2011
The doctors told us there was nothing they could do. You were off the list and we had a new goal, to keep you comfortable. I refuse to give up hope Dad. I refuse to accept this. You are a fighter and I know you will overcome this.
Dec. 13, 2011
You were in good spirits in the morning, you told the doctors not to give up hope on you. But later in the day things got worse, you asked me to let you go. You told me you were tired. That you didn’t feel good. You told me to remember I’m a Madrigal and never forget that. You wanted to make sure I took my future children to Disneyland and to make sure what was important to you still always important to me. You played with my hair again and mom, B, and I cried.
Dec. 14, 2011
You told me you were still praying for a miracle. That you wanted one and I promised you would get one.
Dec. 15, 2011
We joked around for a little bit. But you were telling mom you felt sick on the inside. I don’t know what to feel anymore. But we could see you were getting weaker and more tired. You had rough nights, with your blood pressure.
Dec. 16, 2011
We came into the hospital,  Mr. Bumblebee, my sister, and I. We said good morning to you and talked to mom. Last night was a horrible night. Mom warned us. You asked to speak with Mom. You told her “I should be dead” and my mom told you “But you are doing such a good job fighting babe” and you said you wanted it to be over. You told her it was time and you wanted it to be over. You started to shout it like we couldn’t do it fast enough. We started comfort care and did as you asked us. We turned off your blood pressure medication drip and the dialysis. You drifted off to sleep as we all held your hand. It was quiet. About 30 minutes later, Nadine came in and told us she was so sorry for our loss. My world shattered into a billion pieces and I have never been the same. I miss you dad. 

Monday, January 9, 2012


The normality of returning to your previous life is cruel.

First there are the moment where you are swept away with the familiarity of it all. You forget for a fraction of a second that your not living this life, but a nightmare. You might even breath a little easier, but just as quickly as that moment came, it is gone. Leaving you just as broken and as weak as you knew you were. If not a little worse because you now remember how beautiful your life was prior.

If its not that torture, its the torture of watching everyone around you continue with their lives. Seemingly unaware of the tragic and earth shattering events that have taken place. You want to scream at them to see if they even realize how much dimmer the world is. And so you feel alone, in a bubble of solitude and grief. It teases you since you can watch the normality that you crave but will never obtain. You must learn to live with a new normal.

And all the time, you are wondering why you deserved to have it all taken away from you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mexi-Best & Her Gringo Trophy!

Our besties are getting married today!
Congrats to my mexi-bestie and dodgerfan!

We couldn't be happier for you and I'm privileged to stand by your side while you make this commitment to each other. LOVE YOU!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Happily Ever After - The Force is With Them

My cousin J and I are very similar. So of course I was in love with some of the elements they decided to include in their wedding. 

Their table assignments were rides at Disneyland. My cousin knows me so well and put my family and I at the Star Tours table. Hell ya!
 She had everyone sign this plate instead of a guestbook, very cute and clever.
 There were the wooden spoons we burned for them. We may or may not have a little side business ;)
 The view from their location was gorgeous! The weather was yucky all morning long but cleared up just in time for the ceremony to start.
 Bumblebee Sister and "The Boyfriend"
 Bumblebee Parents
 Just waiting for the party to start.
 There he is! The groom. He looked so ready to get married.
 The ring bearer, my cousin's son, did a fantastic job!
 Here she comes!

 This is part of my gorgeous family.
 Godfather, Bumblebee Sis, and me
 Dad and his girls
 Uncle and nieces. 

 Wooo hooo Star Wars Table!
 Cousin J and I at Disneyland of course :)
 This lady cracks me up!
 Cousins!! YAY!

 The money dance...worth every penny!
I had so much fun at this wedding with my loud crazy family. I have been so busy, I've had little time for certain people and that makes me sad. Especially when I have so much fun when I am with them. I can't wait for the next family gathering...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Come to the Darkside...We have Cookies

My cousin's wedding was coming up and I wanted to do something extra special for him. It was actually a special wedding for myself. This was the first wedding in almost 10 weddings over the course of 1 year that I didn't have a role in. I wasn't bring desserts, I wasn't the maid of honor, I wasn't a bridesmaid. I was hell bent on enjoying myself fully at this wedding. 

My cousin and I were really close as kids. His dad brought him to all the UCLA football games with my family and so we played together a lot. We also had a love for similar movies. Our parents took us to the first weekend of Back to the Future, let us watch Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. We would reenact our favorite scenes and have a good laugh. 

I got these last Christmas from my sister and I had yet to bust them out, so perfect! I went to Williams and Sonoma to buy the Bride and Groom their own set and then set out to work to make a batch for them. 
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, coco powder, espresso powder, and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (Forgot to snap a picture of this part.) Beat in egg and vanilla till well combined. In three additions, add your flour mixture at low speed. Work in food coloring (black) with your hands till desired shade. (That part was a huge pain in the ass. Maybe it was just because it was black versus red or pink). 
Roll out dough on a lightly flour/coco dusted surface. Cut out cookies and freeze for 5 minutes. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool before removing.
My hubby surprised me with preordering the new Star Wars Blu Ray! Had to get some pictures of that.
Vinylmation Yoda wanted to get in on this too.

Darth Vader Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from Bake at 350 & Amandeleine


  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa (natural is OK, too)
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • black gel food colouring


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour,cocoa, espresso powder and salt; set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light an fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
  4. In 3 additions, add the flour mixture at low speed. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
  5. Work in food colouring with your hands to desired darkness. Depending on your cocoa you may need more or less. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough on a lightly floured and cocoa-ed surface. (mix the flour and cocoa together and use it like you would with straight flour to roll out cookies)
  7. Cut the cookies with Darth Vader cutter.
  8. Freeze cut cookies five minutes.
  9. Bake 8 minutes. Let cool completely.