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Journal of gratitude, entry #16: California
California bear
Today is day #16 of my gratitude spree. I'm grateful for California. Technically, I'm grateful for Southern California, since I've never even been north of Pasadena/just south of Nevada on the 15 (in the state of California).

I spent 16 years in Arizona, and I loved the place. My childhood was awesome there. I loved the sunshine, and summers were my favorite (probably because school was so hard -- not the subjects, but the socialization aspects). After my accident in May 1999, my dad had already accepted a job in San Diego. I was living away from my parents at the time of my accident, and I probably wouldn't have followed them to California. I would have stayed in Arizona and never have fully known the splendor I was missing. But, fortunately for me, I didn't really have a choice, and I did get to know how awesome it is to live here.

After I was finally out of the hospital in September of 1999, I remember taking walks with my mom in our neighborhood. I remember the smell of the bushes and how there were still flowers blooming. In Arizona, flowers only bloom for like maybe seven days out of the year, so it was cool to see them at the end of the summer, at a time when I would never see flowers in Arizona. The smell of the bushes was so woodsy, musky, dirty, rugged and new. We didn't have scents like that where I grew up. Since that first time, seeing California in my neighborhood, have grown addicted to seeing the beautiful golden poppies which bloom wildly on the side of the freeway every spring. It's beautiful: a fire of flowers in an unexpected place.

The weather here is also very desirable. Even though it gets hot, it still cools down most nights in the summer, and you can leave your window open, which we often do. You could never do that in Arizona during the summer, with a low of 90°.

Anytime I want to do something or see a show, or go somewhere cool, I don't have to travel very far. In fact, in the past couple of months, I've been to Disneyland (several times), a hockey game, a baseball game, SeaWorld, seen the world's largest dinosaur structures, and went whale watching where I saw a blue whale. It's nice to go to comic con in July, and also see a host of awesome bands at shows year-round. In the past, I've been to a taping of the Jimmy Kimmel Show, and I've been trying to get in to a taping of Jeopardy!, which is very possible considering my location.

Places, though, are all about the people for me. I would have stayed in Arizona if I hadn't gotten into my accident because of the people. I love my friends in Arizona, and I always will. However, it's amazing how awesome my new California friends are. I love them tremendously. Sometimes, when I think about if I could prevent myself from becoming paralyzed, I will sometimes indulge myself in a fantasy where I'm not in a wheelchair, and I am married, and I'm a mother, and it's a beautiful fantasy. Then, I think of all the wonderful people in my life now, that, if I hadn't gotten into my accident, I would have never met, and I don't think I could change it. Which is a real testament to the fiber, character, and love of these amazing California people, because, in case you didn't know, being paralyzed is hard. Every single day.

I love California, and I am so glad I am here. It boggles my mind how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful and wonderful place, surrounded by such amazing, awesome people.

Here I am whale watching with my mom. My friend Doug took this awesome picture. :-)

Here we are at SeaWorld, with Kevin, Kellie, Steven, River, and my mom.

Here I am at Disneyland with Janet, my mom, and my adorable, beautiful grandma.

Here I am at a Glee concert with Hayley & Kristin (who took this picture).