Monthly Archives: March 2016

Save Your Brain

I was honored to be included on a trip to Washington DC last week with the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation for Brain Injury Awareness Day. 


I chose to work with this group because Patrick’s story is so similar to my son’s story and I felt drawn to them. It was wonderful to meet Karen Zegel and her husband, Doug. They are passionate about the issue of stopping CTE and concussion safety for youth athletes. 


We all got together at the hotel the night before and I heard the stories of the collected women. Some had lost sons to CTE and some had lost husbands. It was all very sad and it made me even more sure that I was on the right path in my quest to inform anyone and everyone I come into contact with that it’s not “just” a concussion and that helmets do not protect the brain against concussion. 


Debbie Ploetz’s story was one that made me realize that even if everything seems okay for now, somewhere along the line, the result of all the concussive and/or subconcussive hits, may take its toll. Greg Ploetz died from CTE. Here’s the video:



The next morning, we all met at the Cannon House Office Building for breakfast and to get to know each other. 


Then it was on to the Brain Injury Awareness Fair. I walked around the room to see what people were there to showcase. I shared with each person my own personal quest and got some very good ideas of ways in which I can proceed and reach more people.


I was so happy to meet and speak with Mike Haynes. Mike is a pro football Hall of Fame corner back. The exciting thing is that he never played football until he was a sophomore in high school. Not only is he is in the Hall of Fame, his brain is okay!


I had a meeting with my Congressman’s legislative aide. In the end, we weren’t able to meet with the person we were supposed to meet with but we were able to share our concerns with another of his staffers. I’ll be following up with the Congressman, though, because this is too important to just leave to chance that he will hear about if from someone who isn’t me. 


Some members of our group had really great and positive sounding meetings with their representatives. It became apparent that it will take us some time and that we must bring even more interested people with us as we continue to strive for a legalized standard of care for concussion in youth sports. While it may take some time, I know that we will achieve our goal blow by blow, one step at a time.


If you know of any parent groups that are interested in safety in youth sports, particularly with regard to concussion and brain safety, please have them join with us on the Save Your Brain facebook page



Book Review: The Girl In The Blue Coat

Girl in the Blue CoatGirl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It takes place in WWII Amsterdam. The Nazi’s have occupied the country and Hanneke is trying to get by. She works as a receptionist but then her boss asks her to help him procure and sell items on the black market. She feels that she is doing a good service until she realizes that her friends are into even more than she is.

While trying to find a girl for a woman who is her customer, she realizes that her boyfriend’s (who died in the war) brother and his friends are doing a whole lot more than she is to save Jewish people. They want her to become involved with them but she is single minded in her quest to find one girl, Mirjam.

The story is full of twists and turns and I wasn’t really sure how it would end up. I liked this book a lot and would recommend it to those who like historical, especially WWII fiction.

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Book Review: Mean Sisters

Mean SistersMean Sisters by Lindsay Emory

This was a fun book! I got right into the story because Margot, the main character, was so cute. The story is set in the Delta Beta sorority, Margot’s employer and her sorority. She just loves the sistershood she had when she was in college and can’t quite let it go. She loves her job working for the sorority even though she lives out of a suitcase as she travels from campus to campus. Margot is sent to visit her alma mater. When the house adviser drops dead during the chapter meeting, Margot feels it’s her place to keep the girls calm and figure out whodunit.

What ensues is funny and quite unexpected. Not your typical murder mystery. This is a great book. The only thing I wondered is why it was called Mean Girls. Yes, there were a couple of mean girls but overall, because of Margot and her love for her sisters, I didn’t find the girls mean.

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Illinois International Pageants

I was super excited to attend the Illinois International Pageants this past weekend in Chicago. Pageanting is something I do with my stepmom and it was so great to see her. It had been way too long!


Before we headed in to watch the pageant, I stopped for a photo in front of the step and repeat.


At intermission, I actually got my stepmom to visit snapchat with me! 

Click to play!

Click to play!

Then we went in to watch the rest of the pageant. I was super impressed with the contestants and their commitment to their platforms. It would have been hard to be a judge!

When the judging was complete, the following ladies were crowned:

Nicole Zwiercan – Mrs. Illinois International

Jessica Kumpula – Miss Illinois International

Lindsey Pearlman – Miss Teen Illinois International

I was hoping to be able to introduce myself to Nicole before we left but that didn’t happen. I will look forward to meeting her at the National pageant in July. Congrats to the new titleholders and to director, Beverly Turkowski and her staff who put on an awesome pageant!

Book Review: Multiple Listings

Multiple ListingsMultiple Listings by Tracy McMillan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this book and said, “That was a really good book!” I loved it.

At first, I wasn’t so sure. Ronnie being in jail made me wonder how I was going to like this story but he ended up being my favorite character. This book has great characters. Nicki, Ronnie’s daughter grows so much through the book as does her son, Cody.

There much love and happiness woven through a tale of this unconventional family that truly becomes a family over the course of the book. Ronnie has been in prison for 17 years. When he’s let out unexpectedly, he shows up on Nicki’s doorstep. She doesn’t’ want to see him but Cody is intrigued.

My biggest thought as the book progressed was I hope Ronnie gets to be the chef at the restaurant. This is a great, heartwarming book and I highly recommend it!

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Under My House. With A Rabbit.

rabbitIf you visit my twitter profile, you may wonder at my location. It says that I’m

Under my house. With a rabbit.

And you might wonder, what?!?!

I was watching the Superbowl in 2014. I’m one of those people who actually loves the game of football and I use the commercial breaks to use the restroom, do dishes, or whatever. I rarely just sit and watch the commercials. But that year, I caught this one:


And I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I immediately changed my location on my twitter profile to read

Under my house. With a rabbit.

I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who even saw that commercial. That everyone else used that commercial to use the restroom, do the dishes, or whatever. 

But I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen since Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. Trust me, if you can remember the funny ones years later, they were really funny!

Anyway, now you with know what I’m talking about when you notice my location on my twitter profile and need wonder no more. 😀

The Akdar Shrine Circus

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be able to hang out in the Safety Station with Fire Marshall, Tom Hufford, and the Tulsa Fire Department.


There was SO much safety information to share and I was so happy to be able to share concussion safety information. 


Over the four days, I spoke to so many people and it was gratifying to hear them thank me for sharing the information because they had no idea that concussions were so bad. My goal and my mission is to share with as many people as possible that a concussion isn’t “just a concussion”. The Safety Station was a great place for me to share this message. 

The clowns were a blast, too!


Many thanks to Tom and the Tulsa Fire Department for letting me hang out with them at the circus!