Woodstock Road

Dear Friends & Family,

Imagine living on a tree-lined street with freshly painted homes, green lawns, and some of the nicest people you could meet living inside. Woodstock Road, our street, has 22 homes; out of those 22, we have the assurance of knowing we could knock on 18 different doors if we ever needed anything. Although we all come from different backgrounds, religions, have assorted careers, support different political beliefs and different sports teams, we all come together to support each other and our street. We fondly call ourselves The Woodstockers.

Our family is relatively new on the street, it’s been nine years since we moved here, not long compared to some of our neighbors. The long time Woodstockers tell stories of past neighbors and we all look forward to who may be moving to our street when a house sells. Our kids have all grown up together. Although they attend assorted schools and have their individual activities and friends; they all enjoy hanging out together as neighbors and even lean on each other at times for support. There may not be kids at every single house on Woodstock but almost all the homes have dogs. I think that is part of why we are all so close. Everyone walks their dogs and if you happen to be outside while someone is walking by, it is the perfect opportunity to chat for a few moments.

The greatest attribute of The Woodstockers is compassion. Since Curt’s diagnosis we have been blessed by the generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness of our neighbors. I wish I could list each thoughtful act and name, but there are too many things to list and I don’t want to leave anyone out. Here is a sampling of what has been done for us: when a contractor failed to build and deliver ramps for our porch, a neighbor went home built and installed them that same day. He even made portable ramps we keep in the Cherry Bomb so we can get Curt into the homes of friends. Dinners have come from countless neighbors, sometimes planned in advanced and sometimes a neighbor just shows up with a hot meal. A week ago, a family snuck into our house at 6:00 am and set up an amazing breakfast buffet complete with a warming dish of eggs, bacon and sausage. The kids (and us) were so excited to wake up to a hot breakfast. I have called several neighbors at different times to help pick up Curt when he has fallen, one neighbor even helped me scrub the pool of blood after Curt fell on the patio. We have several neighbors who are available to take Corbin to school whenever I need them to. Another neighbor hoses our front and back yards after a rain or before a party along with cleaning all the patio counters and furniture. The propane bottles for our outdoor heaters get filled and there are always volunteers to exchange the empty beer keg for a full one whenever needed. Sometimes we wake to a pink box of donuts on our front porch bench or a rose bush on the step to brighten our day. We have caught people filling our garage refrigerator with beer or ice cream treats for the kids. The acts of kindness go on and on.

We frequently gather at each others homes or front yards to relax, have a drink and catch up. Last Friday night The Woodstockers “celebrated” the end of summer as we all gathered in The Cunningham’s front yard. Looking around at everyone I took a moment to thank God for bringing us to Woodstock Road and for all the wonderful neighbors who have truly blessed our lives.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Some of The Woodstockers at The Cunningham's End of Summer Party.

Sunday Funday - Movie Night at The Coyle's

Dinner at Dave & Robbin Hatten's Home
Robbin babysat Corbin when he was 2-4 years old.
She was such a blessing to us and Corbin (and still is).  And Dave's a great guy too!!

The amazing Hatten family, Michael, Rachel, Robert, Isaiah, Maiya, Skila (less Nichole).
Thanks for a fun evening and yummy dinner!

Cayden had a great time setting up a tailgate party before the Los Alamitos Football Game.

Clarissa & Maddie at Presents
for Delta Zeta at CSULB.
Christine & Clarissa

After Beach Clean-up Day, the Delta Zetas celebrated with the host fraternity with a beach themed night.
Corbin & Jay after their school flag football game today.
The team lost, but the after game snack of chicken was a win for all the boys.

The Coyle Family delivered a care basket, yum!

Answered Prayers

Dear Friends & Family,

As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, "If I ever go looking for my heart's desire, I won't look any farther than my own back yard." I too have discovered to look no farther.

For months I have been struggling to carry this burden alone. I had it in my mind that I must protect Curt from my feelings of sadness and anxiety. I figured he must feel bad enough about leaving us and the pain we are going through, why should I burden him with more. Aside from venting to friends here and there (and venting on this blog), most of my feelings were kept to myself. Meanwhile, I was about to have a breakdown. Last Tuesday, I was as low as I have ever been; I spent almost the entire day at work (in an empty office) crying uncontrollably. By the time I got home I was sick. Curt persuaded me to open up to him and months of emotions came pouring out. In the end he told me that it helps him to know how I am feeling. He said it makes him feel more connected. Last week, I wrote on this blog that we are on different wavelengths; that he is preparing to die and I am preparing to live without him. This week we are communicating like we used to; nothing is off limits. I feel a heavy load has been lifted from my shoulders and we are connecting emotionally and physically better than we have in months. Thank you for praying for us, your prayers are definitely being answered.

On the note of "answered prayers", Clarissa is loving Cal State Long Beach. She has reconnected with some old friends and met new ones at CSULB. She just finished "Rush Week" and was selected/accepted by her top choice Sorority and is now a Delta Zeta. Between work, classes, studying and her social schedule she is one busy girl. Although she is on the run a lot, she always makes time for Curt and they still have lots of laughs together!

Thank you all for reading, encouraging us and praying. This is one tough ride, thanks for sharing it with us!

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Friday: Dinner at the Fish Company with Jim & Colleen
then back to our house for dessert with Larry!

Saturday: Mark & Kelli took us on a tour of their hometown - Downey, we saw the homes they grew up in. It was fun to hear their childhood memories as we drove around.
We had dinner at Mark's favorite mexican restaurant, Casa Gamino.

Corbin loves hanging out with Mark & Kelli....and Dad.

Clarissa & Chelsea at her first Sorority Dance.

Clarissa & Friends at the Rascall Flatts Concert

Happy Birthday Barbara!

Cayden was having fun taking photos with Clarissa's Mac

More Fun!

Being Joyful in Every Circumstance

Dear Family & Friends,

Below you will find photos of our seemingly happy life. I don’t know how much longer I can go on pretending that all is ok when it is not. How can I feel so alone while I am surrounded by so many people? I asked Curt the other day, “How do you feel when friends around you are talking, laughing, making plans for the future and living their lives?” He answered, “It doesn’t bother me, it only bothers me that I can’t help you more as far as prepping the house for parties and cleaning up after. It is hard for me to sit and see you work so hard.” His grace annoys me at this point in our conversation.....so I go on with more questions......I won’t go into those today, I want him to feel what I am feeling. He is the only one that “gets” me. We used to feel the same about everything; friendships, people, politics, religion, finances, etc. Since the disease, we are on different wavelengths; I am preparing for a life without him and he is preparing to die. If only I could be as gracious and dignified and accepting as he is.

At church on Sunday we learned that the Apostle Paul encourages Christians to live joyfully in every circumstance. This evening Curt and I were discussing “being joyful” in our circumstance. We agreed that we have lived joyfully for over two years with this disease and we are growing weary. Our hearts are heavy. We will pray for more grace and joy, please pray with us.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin
Happy 12th Birthday Corbin!
September 3, 2011

Corbin was "flocked" for his birthday! We woke up to flamingos all over our front yard.

Corbin wanted a big brownie for his "cake" this year!

Corbin had a great time celebrating with his friends. They swam and played on the giant obstacle course!

The party continued into the evening.
After his friends left, it was time for teenagers and adults to join in the festivities.

Nathan, Jacob, Alec, & Aiden

Staying warm by the fire. Barbara, Joyce, Kelli, Lisa, Jaime, Carolyn & Bill

Jacob, Connor, Clarissa, Emily & Megan
Krystal, Zach, Jessica & Joey

George & Denise & Curt!

Steve-O, Janet, Ray & Nazila 

Cayden's First Day of School
Sorry for the mug shot looking photo!

Corbin's First Day of School
In my morning rush, I didn't think to try and take a bit
of a creative photo. Sorry for the mug shot also!

Clarissa & Jessica on their way to their workout.
They surprised their personal trainer in wacky 80's outfits!

Dinner at Nelson's at Terranea in Palos Verdes
With Jim, Colleen, Paige & Chloe

 Celebrating Larry's Birthday at Northwood's Inn

Happy Birthday Larry!

 Corbin adds so much light and laughter to our lives!

Fellow Muscleonians

Dear Friends & Family,

As we sat in the "Green Room" waiting to enter the studio to watch the filming of the MDA Telethon, Corbin leaned over to Curt and said "Daddy, it is so good to meet all your fellow muscleonians." I think Corbin made that word up and it perfectly describes the children and adults who are helped by The Muscular Dystrophy Association which raises money to support over 40 different types of muscle diseases.  Here is our story:

We have never been people who like to be in the spotlight so this was a big decision for our family. In the end, we are glad we did it and hope it helped the MDA raise money for research so someday there may be a cure for this disease.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Ziemke Family TV debut!! MDA Telethon this Sunday!!

Hi Everyone,

Tune in this Sunday, September 4th for the MDA Telethon. The Telethon airs from 5:00 pm until 12:30 am on KCal Channel 9. We have been told by friends that they have seen excerpts of us this week promoting the telethon. We have not seen any of the footage they filmed in July and have no idea how it was put together. The MDA has been very responsive to our needs and seems like a well run organization that truly cares about the people they are helping.

Our family will be in Hollywood at the KCET studios watching The Telethon live!!! If you choose to call in and donate $$$ your call may be answered by Clarissa and Cayden who may be working the "on camera" phone lines. Our family's interview will run sometime between 5-7pm. They have a great line up of entertainment for The Telethon so it should be a fun show to watch.

The Ziemke Family