Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 success!

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

August 20, 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in March of 2008 in Los Angeles. That day we took Mattie for a boat ride in Long Beach. You can see the Queen Mary, which is now a museum, was in the background of our voyage. Mattie was into boats big time and always loved a boat adventure. One of the things Mattie wanted to do when he grew up was to captain a boat.

Quote of the day: To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say. ~ Rene Descartes

Things have been looking very brown in Los Angeles for quite a long period of time. It isn't what you expect to see when you come to California. You expect greenery. But Southern California is very concerned about conserving water and if you see green, you know people are actively trying to water. What I have been noticing more and more with each visit is that people are migrating to drought-prone garden areas.... which means they are planting flowers that don't require a lot of water to thrive. The Waterworks Districts of Los Angeles even offer their customers a rebate for removing water-inefficient grass with drought-tolerant landscaping.

In the city of Burbank, where my parents live, failure to comply with the City's water wasting rules may result in a fine. Fines are $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second violation, and $500 for every violation thereafter. Burbank City Council has moved irrigation (watering grass and plants) restrictions from 2 days per week to 3 days per week now (on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays - before 9am or after 6pm).

My mom and I took a walk today and here are some of the sights we saw.
Check out this vegetation wall! It may look like a cactus, but upon touch, these green structures were very smooth.
 What do you think of this?!
This reminded me of the top of a pineapple!
A walkway to someone's home!
A front yard with metal sculpture!

The next series of photographs truly captures how beautiful a drought resistant garden can be. Typically I am into flowers and grass, but this does make you reimagine gardening!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in March of 2008. Mattie was staying with my parents in Los Angeles, while I went to a conference. When I got back from the conference, we toured around town together. This was Mattie at the Arboretum. We walked through the bamboo and as you can see Mattie loved it. Mattie liked the maze like feeling that bamboo produced and in fact he was intrigued by bamboo even as a baby! Whenever I go to the Arboretum now and pass this same patch of bamboo, I can't help but think of Mattie and this moment in time!

Quote of the day: Never let a day pass that you will have cause to say, I will do better tomorrow. ~ Brigham Young

This is the view outside my parent's windows. It is a very different sight from my life in Washington, DC. Here it is a very peaceful, quiet, and somewhat isolated.
Yet within minutes of driving, you are right in the heart of the city of Burbank, made famous by Johnny Carson.

This is what Burbank is known for... motion picture studios....... Warner Bros., Universal Studios, Disney, and NBC.

There is NO doubt you are in Los Angeles, when surrounded by palm trees and no humidity.
This is the view of the city
of Burbank from up in the Hills.

The city of Burbank.

My mom and I went to walk around Fashion Square Mall today. Of course it NO LONGER looks like this. This was how the mall used to look like from the 1960s through 1980s. In fact, when I was in high school, the mall was still like this.... an outdoor mall. Now of course it is two stories tall and enclosed. It looks like any other mall, which is unfortunate. However, I remember it when it was simpler and truly community oriented. Some things are not progress or an improvement.

But what truly stayed with me today were the characters and attitudes of those around me at the mall. I never felt like I fit into Southern California as a teenager, but now as an adult, this feeling is even more heightened. To me it is a very different culture here and what I observed at the mall today was what I would call age discrimination and distain. Many of the sales clerks are twenty somethings and they made me feel as if I did not exist or was even worth paying attention to. I have very little tolerance for this attitude or to feel disrespected. All I can say is one particular sales clerk was lucky I was with my mom, because if I were alone she wouldn't have known what hit her. This is a feeling I have NEVER experienced in Washington, DC and though I have issues with the DC area at times, it is my hope that this Los Angeles materialistic mind set remains here.

August 19, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in March of 2008. I recently found all of these photos from our trip to Los Angeles. Which is why I am posting them this week. In a way, they are like new photos to me which I haven't seen for years. However, despite not seeing them in a long time, the content is very familiar to me. That March I took Mattie to Los Angeles so I could attend a conference in Hawaii. While I went to Hawaii, Mattie stayed with my parents for a few days. When I returned from the conference, we did things together around LA. This photo was taken at the Arboretum. A place Mattie always liked visiting. The Arboretum has amazing plants and what intrigued Mattie was the freely roaming peacocks on the grounds.

Quote of the day: Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. ~ Martin Luther

Check out who was sitting in my parent's backyard today. This lizard sighting would have brought great joy to Mattie.

Today we went to the LA County Museum of Art to see two exhibits. One was called Del Toro: At Home with Monsters and the other was an interactive rain exhibit.
I have to admit that I usually find something worthwhile or positive about every museum experience I have, but with that said, Del Toro's exhibit did not speak to me in any way. Quite the contrary it provided a very visceral distain and disgust for what I was seeing. Furthermore what upset me about this was the incredible drawing of people to this exhibit. In just a few short months after opening, 25,000 visitors have seen this exhibit so far. Del Toro has a real following. I am not so taken aback by his love for horror. But it is his love and fascination with death, torture, and inflicting this horror on children that disturbs me greatly. I would also say that he believe that through the macabre, witchcraft, and horror one can find one's self. Totally not speaking my language, and yet it was a psychological study to try to get in Del Toro's head as well as in the heads of those around me. I must admit it wasn't a place I wish to dwell for a long period of time.  
Guillermo del Toro (b. 1964) is one of the most inventive filmmakers of his generation. Beginning with Cronos (1993) and continuing through The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Pacific Rim (2013), and Crimson Peak (2015), among many other film, television, and book projects, del Toro has reinvented the genres of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Working with a team of craftsmen, artists, and actors—and referencing a wide range of cinematic, pop-culture, and art-historical sources—del Toro recreates the lucid dreams he experienced as a child in Guadalajara, Mexico. He now works internationally, with a cherished home base he calls “Bleak House” in the suburbs of Los Angeles.
Taking inspiration from del Toro’s extraordinary imagination, the exhibition reveals his creative process through his collection of paintings, drawings, maquettes, artifacts, and concept film art. Rather than a traditional chronology or filmography, the exhibition is organized thematically, beginning with visions of death and the afterlife; continuing through explorations of magic, occultism, horror, and monsters; and concluding with representations of innocence and redemption.

An example of what was on display. A page from a notebook. Keep in mind that MANY of the objects on display came from Del Toro's home.

The show is divided into eight themes or motifs: Childhood and Innocence; Victoriana; Rain Room; Magic, Alchemy and the Occult; Movies, Comics, Pop Culture; Frankenstein and Horror; Freaks and Monsters; and Death and the Afterlife. References to his films tend to be scattered throughout various sections of the exhibition.

Del Toro at his "Bleak House." Again, this is the name of his house.

In the "Childhood and Innocence" room, it was noted that many of Del Toro's films center on children as protagonists, witnesses or victims. They are not insulated from fear, harm or even death. "In fairy tales, ogres and wolves ate children, and I think that it goes to the roots of storytelling, to have children as vulnerable," del Toro explained in the press notes.
The exhibit was filled with video clips and life like monster models.
Can you see the disturbed faces in this art? What frightening me is those around me found it beautiful.
Del Toro believes that "Humans are frequently false" and trapped by "a series of fantasies that we accept socially that are absolutely terrifying" based on geography, gender and race. "These are accepted fictions that separate us from each other." Monsters are "the patron saints of otherness."
 No comment is needed here.
 Del Toro's drawings
 Clearly this fellow had a bad day

 Monsters on magazines
His fascinating with Frankenstein.
What do you say about this?
Do you see the eye in the palm of his hand?

TWO minute video of del Toro's house.................Del Toro's Bleak House is a place where every day can be a dark and stormy night, even in sunny, drought-stricken Southern California. Del Toro drew on his experiences as a special effects designer to create a rain room. The room features a rear-projected lightning effects and a false window spattered with silicone raindrops while a thunder soundtrack plays:

Random International’s Rain Room (2012) is an immersive environment of perpetually falling water that pauses wherever a human body is detected. The installation offers visitors an opportunity to experience what is seemingly impossible: the ability to control rain. 

Rain Room presents a respite from everyday life and an opportunity for sensory reflection within a responsive relationship.
Founded in 2005, Random International is a collaborative studio for experimental practice. They use science and technology to create experiences that aim to question and challenge the human experience within a machine-led world, engaging viewers through explorations of behavior and natural phenomena. In the decade following the studio's inception, the focus of Random International’s artistic practice has continuously evolved and today encompasses sculpture, performance, and installation on an architectural scale.

A gallery visit is approximately 10–15 minutes. During the allotted time, 18 to 22 people may enter the gallery while five to seven people may proceed into the rain at once.
A shadow of my mom and I as we walked through the rain.

Rain Room uses approximately 528 gallons of water within a self-contained system. The same 528 gallons will be recycled and used throughout the entire run of the exhibition. The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day.
My mom and I walking into the room. The beauty of this is while you walk slowly, the sensors in the ceiling perceive you and shut off the water as you are stepping. So if you move correctly, you NEVER get wet! I assure you I did not get wet as I had my camera out taking photos.
Video experience of the Rain Room
Chris Burden's Metropolis II is an intense kinetic sculpture, modeled after a fast paced, frenetic modern city. Steel beams form an eclectic grid interwoven with an elaborate system of 18 roadways, including one six lane freeway, and HO scale train tracks. Miniature cars speed through the city at 240 scale miles per hour; every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulate through the dense network of buildings. According to Burden, "The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars produce in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st century city."
The huge scale of Metropolis II

August 17, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tonight's photo was taken in March of 2008. We took Mattie to a Noah's Arc exhibit in Los Angeles and as you can see he was having a ball. Running around, investigating aspects of the arc and participated in all the activities they cleverly created for the children. Typically this wasn't something Mattie did, he usually liked exploring things in his own way and time. But this exhibit was really made for him. There were hand on things, things to crawl and run around in, and even creative activities to build your own arc. It was a great day and memory for all of us.

Quote of the day: The happiest excitement in life is to be convinced that one is fighting for all one is worth on behalf of some clearly seen and deeply felt good. ~ Ruth Benedict

I went out to lunch with my parents today before heading the museum. Check out this dessert! It was truly wonderful and believe it or not, it wasn't heavy or too sugary! It was filled inside with very gooey chocolate and fresh cherries!

After lunch, we headed to the Huntington Library. Which is a private, nonprofit institution founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, an exceptional businessman who built a financial empire that included railroad companies, utilities, and real estate holdings in Southern California.
Huntington was also a man of vision – with a special interest in books, art, and gardens. During his lifetime, he amassed the core of one of the finest research libraries in the world, established a splendid art collection, and created an array of botanical gardens with plants from a geographic range spanning the globe. These three distinct facets of The Huntington are linked by a devotion to research, education, and beauty.

My Dad and I by the entrance of the museum and garden.
My mom in the garden with the Canna Lilies.
Pomegranates growing in the gardens.
Black Eyed Susans in their glory.
In 1910, Henry E. Huntington began acquiring a large collection of outdoor sculptures, personally deciding on the exact location for each piece of garden statuary. Some of the statues were moved as many as three times until Huntington was satisfied. Love is a common theme among the garden sculpture, most of which dates from the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Henry Huntington and Armand Hammer never met each other, but the two businessmen had at least one thing in common: they both established great art collections that form the core of major museums in Los Angeles. In an exciting “meet-up” of sorts, 15 important works from the Hammer Museum take up temporary residence at The Huntington, offering visitors the unprecedented opportunity to enjoy masterpieces from both collections in one place.

Garden of the Rectory at Neunen -- Van Gogh painted this in 1885 while living with his family in the Netherlands. He set out to paint the bleak landscape of the Dutch winters. He purposefully picked a dark palette of greys, browns, some yellow and white. This was a sharp contrast from the vivid colors he used after moving to Paris.

View of Bordighera -- Claude Monet (1884) fell in love with the Italian Riviera town of Bordighera. Monet said that to paint this, he needed "a palette of diamonds and jewels because of the blues and pinks of the landscape.

Hospital of Saint Remy -- Vincent Van Gogh (1889) -- a place Van Gogh spent time after suffering recurring mental health issues.

While viewing this with my mom, I heard a docent descripting this piece of art to her group and she explained that Van Gogh had schizophrenia but she likes to look at this painting without taking into context his illness. Literally I was rolling my eyes. First of which, research shows Van Gogh suffered with Bipolar Disorder and not schizophrenia. In addition, I think it is always VITAL to take into account one's mind set and frame of reference when creating anything, or when interacting with someone for that matter. So how she can discount this and how it may have influenced what Van Gogh wanted to express is beyond me.

This stunning photo is the hallway of the Huntington Gallery. Which at one time was the actual house of Mr. and Mrs. Huntington. So the in reality you aren't only seeing incredible art, but you are getting to walk through a museum that once was their working home.
Henry Huntington was an avid reader and book collector. This was his library within their home. The wood in the library came from England.
A view into their incredible gardens from the second floor of the house.

Though it was TOO hot to walk around outside, the Gardens that surround the museum are beyond noteworthy and extensive. There is a themed garden for practically every occasion.
The chapel's stained glass window within their home.

A famous room within the Huntington because it showcases the Famous "Blue Boy" and "Pinkie."

This was Sarah Barrett Moulton, better known as Pinkie. She is permanently housed in the Huntington Library. Thomas Lawrence painting this life sized painting in 1794. The painting was commissioned by her grandmother, when the girl was age 11. The sad part about this is Sarah died from tuberculosis shortly after the completion of the work.

A room in their home/gallery
 The dining room

A garden right outside their home.

The Huntington just expanded their gift store and it was incredible. Truly something for everyone. Check out this wonderful tote bag my mom and I found. It says, Love you to the Moon and Back. This is a saying I always said to Mattie and therefore I had to purchase it. He was with me today in mysterious ways.