Monday, April 20, 2015


"Keep your eyes on the stars, and 
your feet on the ground."
- Theodore Roosevelt

When we say someone is "grounded," we mean they are sensible, practical, balanced, down-to-earth, low-maintenance, realistic, without pretenses or illusions.

To feel grounded, to be grounding, to ground someone -  all good things.

Even when a child acts out and a parent grounds them, it can be a good thing. A time when distractions and privileges are removed, and one is forced to stay and be "home."

Most of us are in need of more grounding.

Recently, someone I greatly respect and admire, who happens to have English as his second language, said, "Wil puts me on the ground."

And while there are moments/hours/days that he puts me in the ground, for the most part, he is my biggest grounding influence.

It's very difficult to be high-maintenance, full of pretense and illusions when you've got someone forcing you to keep it real all the time. If you think, for one minute, that it's all about you, or even a little bit about you, then you're welcome to borrow any number of special needs "children" I know, to get you over that, fast.

Have a friend who recently had abdominal surgery. From the time she was told she needed the surgery, to the time she had it, was a short period - not enough, probably, for her special-needs son to get used to the idea. Shocker: her surgery and recovery were not about her. Her son had one heck of a time with "her" recovery, the changes and disruptions to the status quo.

If you believe that you co-create your life with whatever/whomever you call your higher power, that you signed up for these exact challenges and opportunities to evolve your soul and learn whatever it was you came here to learn, then you have to accept that getting over yourself is part of it.

It's not about "you."

I believe that's because there is no "you," there is only "us," and "you" are not separate from the collective Us, You are  Us.

We are one.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

An Echo in Innocent Souls

I have a meeting today to discuss one of my many hot buttons. The "button" is the way in which many people view those with intellectual/developmental disabilities, and the various slang, attitudes, even gestures and facial expressions used when casually throwing around words like "idiot," "stupid," "dumb," or the forbidden r-word.

It's pervasive and to a large degree, acceptable. I just heard someone say, "The man developed a horrible disease which left him unable to speak, and he was not able to share his brilliant mind with anyone. Nobody could see how wonderful he was."

One does not need to be "brilliant" to be "wonderful." 

Because there are no accidents, one of my favorite daily e-mails today spoke on this issue, 
Piro-o-Murshid Inayat Khan in the daily e-mail called Bowl of Saki:

"The great personalities who have descended on earth from time to time to awaken in man that love, which is his divine inheritance, have always found an echo in innocent souls rather than in great intellects. Man often confuses wisdom with cleverness, but a man can be clever and not wise, and by cleverness a person may strive and strive, and yet not reach God. It is a stream, the stream of love, which leads towards God."

We've worked so hard to bring awareness and equality to the marginalized, the oppressed, the minorities of this country. Let us not forget to include those with intellectual/developmental disabilities in our streams of love.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Things We Know Are True, But Still Don't Believe

There are no accidents.

Worrying doesn't solve anything.

Most of the things we worry about, never come to fruition.

It's the little things.

The qualities in others that bug us, are the qualities in ourselves we need to examine.

We are one.

What we resist, persists.

We can't change others, we can only change ourselves.

There is no scarcity.

Cooperation does not involve a fight for power.

Honesty is the best policy.

The first person to say, "I'm sorry," wins.

All we have is the present moment.

Love is all there is.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Purging and Pondering

Life, we know, is cyclical. Some cycles follow the moon, others, the seasons. I find myself very effected by the light/dark rotation, the days-of-the-week, the patterns, rhythms, and circles of nature, and of life.

It's been over seven years since I gave this house a good purging. I was 44 and in a definite period of Then-and-Now. I'm 52 and in an altogether different space and place in my body, in my thinking and in my soul.

I've got something going on now that has probably crossed over into OCD, but I don't care. There is an urgency, a deep need, a craving for "space." With my children about to be 21 and 19, there is more than ever, a clarity about what was in the past, what is in the present, and a making room for What is to Come.

I don't need my high school cap and gown.

I don't need my children's baby teeth.

I don't need the shoes I wore for my wedding.

I don't need every card or letter ever written to me - regardless of how sweet and lovely they may be.

I don't need the old crib and matching bedding, complete with bumper.

I don't need the photo albums containing all the pictures of students I taught over 20 years ago.

I don't need all the old Barbies and trucks, and any attachment to what my theoretical grandchildren will want to play with.

There is a lot of things I'm able to identify as being Not What I Need Now, as I clear and make way, empty and leave open the drawers and spaces made clean.

I recently heard that it's important to remember that acceptance is not the same as resignation. Resignation will take you down. Acceptance will lift you up. 

There is nothing more concrete than going through your earthly possessions and physically holding them in your hand, and being lifted up by the understanding that you aren't the same person that first beheld it.

As Easter was about to roll around again, Wil started talking about Devohn, the Easter Bunny. Some of you will remember that Wil has had a long infatuation with the Easter Bunny, and came up with the unlikely name of Devohn many years ago. 

Wil and I were asked to lead a small group of kids preparing for baptism at Easter. We enjoyed the experience very much, and were excited to stay up late on Holy Saturday, and welcome them into the waters at the Easter Vigil. We went to Bi-Mart and made up little gift bags to give "our" kids: a chocolate Cross, Easter candy, and a toy Devohn for each one. "I need to have a Devohn, too," Wil said. So, of course, instead of four Devohns, we bought five.

Wil came home and wrote this note, taping it to the mantle in the living room, just as he does his yearly Santa note (Go to my room top of stairs and say hi to me, Love, Wilson):

I sent a text to Devohn's helper, and reminded him that we were expecting him to reappear outside our house, as he had graciously done the year before. I prayed Devohn was still in existence, and easily accessible, as we'd not communicated about this beforehand. Devohn did not disappoint.

Now, each morning, Little Devohn wakes up, goes downstairs, and gets ready for his day while his "dad" is at school. Wil gently prepares a few snacks and some entertainment. "Now, you stay there, Devohn, and wait for me. I'll be back later. Be good."

And Devohn is good.

And that is where I "am." I am home with Devohn while he plays with his toy and eats his carrots. I am purging and pondering. I am coming face-to-face with the past, and being in the present. Every empty drawer and inch of extra space on a shelf a reminder that if we don't make room for things, they can't find their way in.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Backseat Driver

Last night I dreamed I was in a car with my friend, Kim. I knew that it was Kim's car, even though it didn't look like Kim's car. Thing is, we were both in the backseat, I in the middle, she on the right-hand side, by the window. I looked up and saw that indeed, no one was in the driver's seat. I turned to Kim and asked, "Are you driving?"

She said, "Yes, my mom bought me a special car, I can steer from this little panel on the door. She knew I would need a second way of steering when she saw the children I have."

"As great as that is, I'd feel so much better having you up there, in the driver's seat, making more precise and controlled driving decisions."

As can happen only in a dream, she was instantly transported, and safely behind the steering wheel, bringing me much relief.

Let's part-of-me this dream, shall we?

What part of me is in the backseat of my life, trying to steer from there?

What part of me has children that require a second/different/unusual, perhaps, way of "steering" them?

What part of me is more comfortable having someone else drive?

What part of me gives to my children a special "vehicle?"

What part of me is a backseat driver to others?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Got another download from Mary last night: "You don't know."

I knew right away what it was I didn't know, I don't know what's best for other people.

What a relief.

It's exhausting playing the If-She/He/They-Would-Only ___________ game.

If you believe we all come "here" to learn a pre-determined set of lessons, and I do, then who am I to say how one goes about learning them? I'm probably interrupting the process with all my good ideas. Anne Lamott calls this the disease of Good Ideas for Other People.

The good news is, this disease does not have to be chronic, and one doesn't even need to see a doctor or alternative health care provider to cure it. One only needs to know that they don't know.

Witness, rather than suggest.

Love, rather than judge.

Let go, rather than control.

Easier said than done.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Awaken into Action

Not enough can be made about Terry Whitaker's latest endeavor. She has partnered with two like-minded people, Beth Banning and Laura Pedro, to create a 6-week virtual event like no other. Awaken into Action has some of the world's most inspiring thought leaders: Gary Zukav, Maya Angelou, Bob Thurman, Michael Beckwith, Barbara Marx Hubbard, the list goes on and on (and on).

Do yourself a favor, click over to Awaken into Action and take a look. The teachings are all available online at no cost, for up to 72 hours after they air. If, however, life does not allow for you to catch them during that time, there are two different options available for purchasing the event, to watch and/or listen to, at your convenience.

It's a new year.

It could be a new you.

Awaken, into ACTION!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


The older I get, the harder it is to sleep well through the night. One thing I've found that helps, is to wear a sleep mask. Mine came from WinnCo and set me back $1.67.  I love it and everything about it. I love the texture against my skin. I love that the light from the clock does not shine in my eyes. I love that it mutes the world and separates me from it. I love that when I put it on, it signals my body that I am done, it's time to rest, I'm off duty.

Last night, I woke up and realized it was not on my face. I couldn't find it anywhere. My hand reached around and it was in none of its usual hiding places. I finally turned on the light, and wouldn't you know it? It was in my other hand. I was holding it the whole time.

It was a ruby slipper moment. The power, the magic, what I was looking for, was with me the whole time.

I am loving my word-of-the-year, all five days of it: Observe. My friend, Val, asked me, "What is the difference between witnessing and observing?" I've been mulling that over ever since. Finally, I did what any normal person would do - I Googled it. Found this article. I've now changed my word to "Witness." Observe is to strengthen the ego. No, thank you, mine is plenty strong. "The scientist observes, the mystic witnesses."

It's not easy see what's right in front of us, what we're "holding." It's hard enough to observe it, a greater challenge to witness it. But worth the effort.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


It's been quite the week. Wil had two wisdom teeth removed on Monday morning. Fortunately, he only had two wisdom teeth. Fortunately, they were both on the top. Fortunately, those are supposed to be easier to remove/recover from. He's done very well. Bleeding was at a minimal, swelling isn't great, but not terrible, pain is gone, and was easily controlled from the beginning.

It was quite a year. 2014 kicked our butts in ways that are not bloggable. Let me leave you with this advice: Never say to the Universe, "I can't handle one more thing," as you will be sure to get "one" more "thing." It is not up to us to decide what we can and cannot handle. You would have thought I would have learned that one a long time ago, but apparently, I needed a refresher course.

It has been quite a 23-year marriage. Yesterday, STM and I celebrated our anniversary. We left Wisdom Teeth Boy with my mom and drove up to the mountain to have lunch and marvel at nature. The day was perfect, the weather ideal, the nearness, yet distance, from home, just what we needed.

We sat by the window, looked at Mt. Hood, watched the skiers come down, and lifted our glasses. "To us," we said, clinking and sitting back into our chairs to relax, relish, and reflect.

I am occasionally visited by Mary in my dreams, I don't see her, but I hear her voice, loudly and clearly, and there is a deep knowing in me when this occurs. In the wee hours of New Year's Eve, I heard, "Observe." Just that. One little word, but I "knew" what she meant.

There is a tendency to react. To respond. To repeat patterns and behavior either because it's worked, or because it's habit, but mostly, because it relieves our own anxiety, to do so. Not, because it is helpful.

The word-of-the-year, for me, is observe. The word feels passive to me, almost like a cop-out. But, indeed, it is far harder and requires more self-awareness, than "action," which is generally reaction.

Here's to 2015, a year to put a beat in between what "happens" and what we "do" about what happens. A year to challenge our patterns, beliefs, habits, reactions and relationships.

A year to observe.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Succession of Moments

Every year I think to myself, that I'm going to come up with some super neat winter solstice "thing" to do, possibly involving a group of friends, possibly involving a day of silence, possibly a lot of things.

And then I do none of them.

This year is no exception. The day came and went and I did not mark the shortest day-of-the-year in any significant way. I did just what I do most Sundays, with one exception: I went for an early morning walk with Kathleen. I went to church. Wil, Nancy and I went for lunch at Burgerville. Nancy and I went for an afternoon walk. I took a nap. I made dinner.

Last night, however, my mom and I went to a Christmas concert at our church. It was lovely. The music, the greenery, the people gathered round, all of it. It was a perfect way to be surrounded by every kind of light, on the darkest day-of-the-year.

Perhaps one does not have to mark big days, in big ways. Perhaps, as my hero, Corita Kent says, "Life is a succession of moments, to live each one is to succeed."

As we move into a week of "big days," let us "succeed" in each moment. Living. Breathing. Being.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Sacrament of the Present Moment

I am a part of a women's spirituality group. We meet once-a-month, as a group, for a Saturday retreat, and once-a-week, privately, with a spiritual director. It's a nine-month commitment, which began in September, and will conclude in June. I felt the timing was right for me, and these nine months were already going to be a time of deep discernment, and I might as well have some community and structure around that.

Last Saturday, we were studying a body of work, talking about how to enter the world with action. All good, right? I had no trouble with the transcendental precepts of Be attentive; Be reasonable; Be responsible; Be authentic. I struggled mightily, with Be intelligent.

What, then, does it mean to "enter" the world with "action?" I would argue that spiritual purity, does not come from a place of intellect.

Do those people that may never be launched, that need others to help them even be in the world, let alone "enter" it in any splashy way, not take "action?"

Must one ask, "How?" Must one ask, "Why?" Must one "understand" or march through a formal thought process of any kind, to be in union with "God?"

Richard Rohr (if you're not already receiving his daily e-mails, click the link and sign up immediately) says,  "I am convinced that the purest form of spirituality is the ability to accept the 'sacrament of the present moment' and to find God in what is right in front of me."

Some people are able to find God in an Orange Crush-flavored candy cane.  

There is "intelligence" to that that supersedes conventional intelligence, to which far too many people worship, if you ask me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Yoga Money

I made the commitment to get back into yoga this fall. I'd give myself a solid C for effort. Some weeks I make it there twice, others once, and some (many), not at all. There are a number of reasons why I'm not able to attend, and many of them are very valid. In fact, many of the obstacles are beyond my control. And sometimes, when the day is packed, and yoga feels like "one more thing" squeezed in, I opt not to go, in favor of a more relaxed pace to the rest of the day. I choose to look at this as self-care.

I love my yoga class and all of the women in it. The instructor is idea (hi, Anne Marie!). Every time I'm there, I'm glad I am. I get all the benefits of a good yoga practice: greater strength, flexibility, balance, relaxation and community.

The cost of the class is nominal, and most of us pay in cash, each time. I've taken to keeping an envelope in a drawer, marked "Yoga Money." When I break a $20, I put some aside for yoga.

What's happened, is I have way more money in that envelope, than I have yoga sessions. I've decided that that money will now go towards anything that gives me the benefits of a good yoga practice: greater strength, flexibility, balance, relaxation and community.

Happy hour, anyone?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pray, Coffee, Repeat

My morning coffee and prayer time, is, by far, my favorite time of the day. I actually love that Flicka wakes me up at 5:00, ready to start her day, as that gets me into my sacred space long before I'm on duty.

I can't imagine one without the other - who doesn't savor every sip of their perfect coffee, while sitting in "prayer," however that looks? Meditation? Reading from sacred books? Journaling? Chanting? Holding a mala or rosary, and reciting prayers? On the very rare days that life does not allow for at least a little bit of this time, I feel off-centered, ungrounded, lop-sided.

A couple of days ago, I got a text from my friend, Laurie, saying she was throwing a very spontaneous happy hour at her house, and could Nancy and I come? She said another mutual friend of ours, Jen, would be there, and that Jen had a present for me. Nancy and I cleared our very busy social calendars, and walked up to Laurie's.

When Jen arrived, she had a darling gift bag with her, and she started to hand it to me. "It's not anti-fungal cream, is it?" I asked. I couldn't imagine what Jen would be giving me as a gift, and thought, perhaps, it would be an inside-blog-reader joke.

It was not anti-fungal cream, or a joke of any kind. It was the perfect gift: a mug, with the perfect words, Pray, Coffee, Repeat.


As this season heats up for so many of us, adding additional obligations, duties, and commitments to already-full lives of obligations, duties and commitments, may you find your "coffee," and your "prayer," whatever that may be, and however that may look, wherever you can find them.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Slight Problem

Wil sends me a text from the living room, "We have a slight problem though I am going to go to bad at 9:15 tonight because I got a watch South Beach towing now to 915 so I will be ready for bed at 9:15 though you might have to stay up till 915 for me because these are the only nights next every Wednesday have to stay up till 915 so we suspect that please and I am going to go to bed at 9:15 tonight because I need to watch South Beach tow"

I text back, from my bedroom,  "OK, but when are you showering?"

"9:02," he responds.

This goes on for quite some time, culminating with his "need" to finish the last episode, which, apparently, is some sort of finale.

By the time all is said and done, he's not showered, with brushed teeth, etc., until 9:45. I am shot.

Nonetheless, we must still partake in the mini-Advent ceremony, 'round the ol' fake Christmas tree.

"Care, I'm going to read six sentences, and you're going to look at the candy cane we're blessing, when I do."

I dutifully follow him around the tree, as he stops, reads a line from his little book, and points to the candy cane getting the blessing.

"Right here. The blue one. 'Alleulia, alleulia. Behold, the Lord comes to save his people; blessed are those prepared to meet him. Alleluia, alleluia.'"

"Now, we're doing this one. The Orange Crush one."

We both move into position, and he continues, "Receive, O Lord, these offerings we bring you in commemoration of Stain Francis Xavier, and grant that, as he journeyed to distant lands out of longing for the salvation of souls, so we, too, bearing effective witness to the Gospel, may, with our brothers and sisters, eagerly hasten towards you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

At 10:00 I am finally released from my duty, and can go back to watching bad TV. It's hard to care too much about whom gets kicked off "Survivor" (for the 29th season), when you know that right down the hall, someone is blessing candy canes today, bearing effective witness to the Gospel, tomorrow.

There is no slight problem.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dear Lord,

Just read Elizabeth Aquino's blog, and decided to copy her.

You might want to, too. 'Tis the season to need extra reinforcement.

Let me remain patient and filled with lovingkindness, as I await the oral and topical prescriptions, to clear the all-over-my-torso-and-now-my-arms, fungal infection.

Let me remain patient and filled with lovingkindness, as I am forced to put on "real" clothes, instead of the near 24/7 yoga pants, sports bra, etc., that got me into this predicament.

Let me remain patient and filled with lovingkindness, as I learn the peppermint tea I've been drinking in the name of good health, is the culprit to my heartburn.

Let me remain patient and filled with lovingkindness, as I block some people from Facebook, because seeing their posts makes it difficult to remain patient and filled with lovingkindness.

Let me remain patient and filled with lovingkindness, as I am asked to say a special prayer for a very special candy cane, the Dr. Pepper one (see last post).

Let me remain patient and filled with lovingkindness, as I await the eggnog latte and chocolate-dipped Trader Joe's cookies to kick in.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Dear Santa

I believe I shared in a post last year, about this time, that I'd finally convinced Wil we needed to e-mail Santa, as opposed to going through the ordeal of a one-on-one at the mall.

This year, he didn't even suggest the mall, and we agreed that we'd fire off our e-mail before church on Sunday. And by "before church," I mean 7:30, as he "needs" to leave for church at 7:45. He rides his bike up to church (total riding time: 5-6 minutes), parks it, then stands outside in all kinds of weather, and greets the people before the 8:30 Mass. He then attends "8:30," hops across the street for coffee and donuts, only to return by 10:00 to greet prior to the "10:30."

In July, he added the 5:30 Saturday night Mass to the line-up.

But, I digress. Wil's three-times-a-weekend Mass attendance, is a post all on its own.

We found a great on-line site and Wil made me the secretary, taking dictation. He asked for three things:

1) $100 iTunes gift card to buy apps (I talked him down from a million dollars)
2) An air freshener that you plug-in
3) Pineapple juice

Here is what he wanted me to add at the end:

"I've been very good, very sociable, and very, very, very athletic. Super athletic. I've been a great sport. I've been a great, great, great boy."

Then, after church, we went to Bi-Mart to buy, "Lots of candy canes. Tons."

We came home and prepared for the solemn hanging of the candy canes, on the newly erected "fake" tree in his room. He got out the Advent prayer book he'd received at church, and read a passage. STM and Woohoo gathered round, Flicka Link, too. He would read a sentence, then pause. "Please hang a candy cane," he'd instruct me. This went on for several minutes, until at last, the tree was perfect.

He then grabbed his iPad and took the following picture, quickly sending it to the three of us, plus my mom, so we'd have the image forever.

I'm not quite sure what's going on with the large, white shape on the left. It could be the sun shining in through the window, but I don't think so. I think it's the Holy Spirit, filling the room of a very special boy, with a special tree, special candy canes, and special instructions to Santa.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


NOTE: I started this post in September. Then, life got in the way, and I never finished it. I'm finishing it today, because I'm tired of life getting in the way of me finishing what I want to finish. And by "finished," I don't mean finished. Nothing is ever finished, is it?

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Well, hello, Wilson!" said the Nike Youth Games/Special Olympics volunteer at check-in. I looked at Wil to see if he was wearing a name tag I hadn't remembered him wearing. I replayed the last minute in my head: Had he said his name? No, he hadn't said anything, he'd simply walked up to the table.

"I remember you from last year," the adorable, young, volunteer said.

She remembered him from LAST year? There are hundreds and hundreds of kids here, how could she remember HIM?

But she had.

Wil participated in his second Nike Youth Games event held in conjunction with Special Olympics. He played soccer on a Project UNIFY team and was matched with (not against) three other teams from the area. If you want to know all that's right with the world, look no further than a Project UNIFY team. A unified team has both players with and without intellectual disabilities. Those with intellectual disabilities are "athletes" and those without are "partners." There are strict rules about how many athletes must be on the field/court/etc. at a time, and how many partners. Athletes get to make the goals, the baskets, the points, what-have-you. Partners are there to support the athletes in every way. It's a wonder to behold. If you're not tearing up after a Project UNIFY game, you have a stone for a heart.

I recently watched (the best show on TV) "Super Soul Sunday" with Timothy Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics. Amazing man. Amazing family legacies. Amazing inspiration: his aunt, Rosemary Kennedy. Rosemary Kennedy had a traumatic birth, which left her with an intellectual disability. It was not easy to "see," and the family kept it hidden (in shame). Rosemary functioned approximately at the age of an 8-12 year-old. At 23, her father agreed, without his wife's knowledge or consent, to a prefrontal lobotomy for Rosemary. It left her incapacitated. She lived until 86.

It's easy to go down the Her-Life-Was-Tragic road, and believe me, I've gone down it. I've also gone down the How-Could-You-Stay-Married-To-A-Man-That-Does-Not-Consult-You-Before-Such-A-Thing? road. It's not a pretty road. Or, very helpful.

Eunice Shriver took the family secret and she put it front of the country, in a time where the intellectually disabled were the most stigmatized population in the country (one could argue that they still are). The first Special Olympics were held in July 1968, in Chicago, Illinois.

There are over 4 million Special Olympic athletes in the world now.

Over 4 million people are now getting opportunities, and respect, that is long over-due.

Rosemary Kennedy, you are remembered.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Victories

Been awhile since I posted. Thank you to those that have noticed, and a special thank you to those that have checked in on me, to make sure everything is okay. I am okay.

I just finished reading Anne Lamott's newest book, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace. I am a big Anne Lamott lover for many reasons. I love that she's a hot mess most of the time, yet writes about the biggies: grace, forgiveness, love. I dare say, I've learned more from her in her screwed-up way, than from many that pretend to have it all figured out.

Anne is 60 now, and says she knows less than ever. That resonated with me. I, too, know less than ever about almost everything.

Last night I dreamed I had a swollen left palm. I pierced it somehow, and out came fluid. In the fluid were two tiny fish - larger than microscopic, but not by much. The fish left my palm, left the small amount of fluid in which they'd lived, and left for the great beyond.

My dream then switched to me sitting at a computer, and two large cats were surrounding me, one was actually wedging herself between my chair and my back, pushing me into the computer and making it almost impossible to type. I knew that the tiny little fish that had left my palm, had turned into big, strong, determined cats.

Life is like that, isn't it? Parts of us that start off small, almost microscopic, leave us and go on to turn into other things, sometimes almost unrecognizably so. It is not up to us what happens with the stories, the events, the people, the "fish" that were part of us at one time. We have to pierce open ourselves and let them go, let them become what they will. Or won't.

That is one of the few things I still know.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Eggnog Lattes

Did you hear all the fuss about Starbucks dropping eggnog lattes from their seasonal menu? I am an eggnog latte lover, and look forward each year to the red cups, the November 1st launch, and the occasional trip into Starbucks just for that very drink.

I went in yesterday and discussed all the hoopla with the barista. She was quick to say it was never going to affect the Pacific Northwest, but what about all those other poor souls out there, without their eggnog lattes?

"It's just eggnog, people!" she said with disdain.

"Yes and no," I responded. Of course, it's "just" eggnog. But life can be stressful and challenging, and sometimes it's the "eggnog lattes" in our life that get us from Point A to Point B all in one piece.

Could I live without eggnog? Starbucks? Red cups? Absolutely. It is, after all, only eggnog.

But by the same token, there are plenty of days when adding that stop in is the best part of my day. A little love from Carrie to Carrie. A splurge, if you will. A few minutes, and dollars, as in investment in my over-all well-being.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Making Flowers Bloom

Gratitude is a flower
that blooms in noble souls.

Pope Francis

We all know that you can't think your way out of a rut, you have to "do" your way out. 

We all know that like attracts like, and when you're in a dark place, you're drawn to others in a dark place.

We all know that it's easy to over-generalize and globalize; that when several things are not going well in our lives, we can easily feel that nothing is going well.

We all know that the lies we tell ourselves are big and powerful and hard to break through.

One thing I just learned was that 60% of what we do is habit. The key to life, therefore, is developing good ones.

Digging for, discovering and delighting in all that is positive in our lives, is worth making into a habit.

I've been having my own go-round with life-sucks-thinking. I decided to finally write some much over-due thank-you notes. After writing three, I decided to keep going. I used up my Trader Joe's $. 99 cards, then dug out my special occasion stationary. What am I saving it for? It's to be used, and what better way to use it, than to say thank you.

It helped. It opened up the channel of gratitude that I'd silenced with despair. It didn't make the things that are hard and despair-making go away, but it brought a perspective that was missing.

We're all noble souls. We're all fighting a hard battle. We're all just doing the best we can with what we know.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Top 10 Things Bugging Me at this Moment

10. People that say, "Inneresting."

9. People that cannot get the proper use of me/I (this includes almost everyone)

8. The general assumption that everyone prefers an 80+ degree day, over, say, a perfectly fine 65 degree day

7. People who don't use capital letters

6. People that insert an apostrophe before every word ending in "s"

5. People that try and sound smart by using "badly" to describe how they feel (see: bad vs. badly)

4. People that don't spell out words, and resort to using R, U, C, 2, etc...

3. Smugness

2. People easily bugged by things that don't matter

1. People that distract themselves from what they really need to focus on, by writing Top 10 lists

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Found this on my windshield after shopping at New Seasons. Actually, that's not exactly true. Found it on my windshield about five miles down the road, after shopping at New Seasons. Almost drove back to see if every car in the parking lot also had one, or if I was special.

I didn't quite know what to make of it. I am not one for evangelizing. I'm not one for trying to convert someone to another way of thinking. I am, however, one for random acts of kindness, and in the end, chalked it up to just that.

In some ways my life has never been better, and in some ways, it's never been more challenging. I remember being a new mother, and talking to my friend Ruth. Her two girls were just enough older than my two, that she held wisdom I was looking for. I'll never forget what she said, "At each stage, something gets easier, and something gets harder."

I've thought of that over and over through the years, and it's as true in life, as it is in child-raising. It's too easy to focus on what's getting harder, than what is getting easier. Sometimes it requires a step back and a wider view to see that it's even true: something has gotten easier.

Today I found myself with an unexpected free day. Wil got to help at the Snack Shack from 8-2. I didn't know what to do with myself. My mom's birthday is today, and we have plans for Tuesday, when he's in school. But, I decided to call today and offer up breakfast, or coffee, lunch or birthday cake - whatever she wanted. She was enjoying her morning of answering the phone and talking to all the friends and relatives that were calling to wish her a happy birthday, so we agreed that she'd call me later with a time. She did. When I arrived at her house to take her out for dessert, there were two of my cousins and a cousin-in-law. They were just landing in town from Washington, and were quickly stopping on the way to see their mom (my mom's sister). The timing was perfect. One might even say, no accidents.

Twice in the last week, Wil has gone to bed after me. He's turned off all the lights, brushed his teeth, and put himself to bed.

On Thursday night he rode the rooter bus to a football game, one hour away. He didn't get back until 11:00 PM.

Long shifts helping at a Snack Shack. Rooter buses. Turning lights off. Putting himself to bed. Staying up until after 11:00 PM (second time this school year). All huge.

One day after school last week, we went to Baskin Robbins for a large milkshake. Seven scoops and 2 cups of milk later, we sat down outside, because the music was way too loud inside. The time before I'd actually spoken up and asked if they could turn it down a little, and they did, but this time, I opted for the path of least resistance.

The only other woman in the shop, left her inside table, and joined us outside. There weren't even tables, just chairs in a line. "It's SO loud in there. Do you mind if I join you? I didn't even realize there were chairs outside!"

What started as a surface conversation, "Do you live around here?" quickly turned to the fact that she has turned her house into a group home, and manages the care of two adults (34 and 53) with developmental disabilities. Both of these adults came to her through unusual circumstances, she wasn't even considering running a group home, but it evolved. She felt called to do the work after one friend could no longer care for her daughter, and from that she became an advocate. She, at mid-life, knowing nothing about disabilities or social services, has become an expert. She thought she'd enjoy being an empty nester, maybe travel or pursue a hobby. Instead, she found her true calling.

There are random notes left on car windshields, then there are kindnesses that make one a living saint.

While it's true that at each stage something gets easier, and something gets harder, it is also true that there are helpers all along the way. Some small, windshield-type helpers, and some that will turn their lives upside down just to do what needs to be done.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


My dear friend, Candace, and I just finished walking our dogs. She has Missy, or Melissa, as Wil calls her, and I have Flicka. Flicka has been trained to walk on the left, and Missy/Melissa, on the right. We get our pace set; one that works for a big dog with a slower pace, and a littler dog with a faster one. The dogs do their thing, and we do ours, falling quickly into deep conversation, skipping entirely over the chit-chat phase. This is one of my favorite things about my time with Candace, it nourishes me at my very roots.

At the end of our walk I said to her, "Now, go into your studio and paint something beautiful."

"You go to your computer and write something that makes me laugh," she countered.

So, given that task, I will tell you about my earlier morning power struggle with Wil. Ever since I replaced my 17-year-old CR-V with a new CR-V, we've had an on-going issue over the heating and cooling system. Wil used to always ride in the back seat of my car, but when I got the new car, we made the switch to him in the passenger seat. I should have, but didn't, foresee the endless frustration on both our parts, with all the knobs and opportunities to fidget, with the new car. He is at it non-stop.

I thought the solution was inherent in the design of the car: dual-control. There is a button that says, "Sync" and when it's depressed, the driver's knob controls the whole car, but when the passenger side is adjusted by, oh, say, a passenger, then it's get "un-synced." Perfect, right? The passenger can be as warm or as cold as said passenger would like to be, while the driver can be fully independent from the whims of the passenger.


Wil is not content just moving his knob back and forth a million times in the 10-minute drive to school, he wants to control mine, too. "DON'T TOUCH MY DIAL!" I shout each day. He vacillates between freezing me out and making my menopausal body sweat to death, and today, I was in no mood for it. None.

He'd already spent the better part of last night and this morning Googling a specific type of bubble gum (Extra/Classic), and giving me careful instructions as to where and when we would be purchasing this gum, for his new best friend.

"If you touch my dial ONE MORE TIME, we will NOT stop and get the gum," I said.

We all know what he did.

I did not stop.

He did not stop.

He lectured me for the remaining ride on his rights to adjust the dial anytime and anyway he sees fit, as the car is not all mine, it's his, too. Nothing is all mine.

Truer words were never spoken.

Nothing is all mine.

Not the power.

Not the control.

It's dual.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Case Worker

I donated blood yesterday. As I was walking up to my appointment, I ran into a friend walking up to get her kids from school.

"Where are you headed?" she asked.

"I'm going up to the church to donate blood."

"Oh, good for you!" she said.

"I feel like I've been donating blood all day," I replied, bitterly.

Yesterday was one of those days where I gave and gave and gave some more. Everyone needed something and they needed it all at the same time. I put over 80 miles on my car just putting out fires.

It's been years since anyone asked me what I do for a living, but three people have asked me in the last week. More specifically, they've said the words, "Do you work?"

I need to come up with a good answer to that question.

I most certainly do work.

Do I get paid?

Not so much.

I can no longer answer that I'm a stay-at-home mom, because the follow-up question is, "How old are your children?" When I answer that they are 18 and 20, that paints an entirely different picture from the reality.

I have spent no fewer than 4 hours this week dealing with the lock on Wil's locker at school. Multiply that by the 10 million details that go into starting a new year for him, and there you have part of the story. I have other loved ones in my life that need care, too, and in one case, that level just keeps increasing.

"Tell people you're a case worker," my friend, Megan, said when I was telling her about all this, "because everyone in your life is a total case."

We had a good laugh about that and the laughter alone, helped tremendously.

As I thought about her joke, I realized it's not true, they're not all a "total case," but they are what I "do." Does that make me a "professional" caregiver? Social worker? Enabler? Personal assistant? What am I?

Today was a better day. The emergencies were kept to a minimum. In one case, we finally got some traction and got some things done that needed doing. Anytime there's forward momentum, my spirits lift. I can not handle spinning my wheels, and anything that feels like moving backwards, sends me through the roof.

I am going to be journeying with a group of women as part of a sacred circle these next nine months. I met with the leaders today to talk about the group, my background, etc. The three of us had a lively and delightful conversation about what our image of God is (or isn't). Later, Wil's former Resource Room teacher and her darling husband and child (Wil's goddaughter), came over for Beer O'Clock. We also had a scintillating conversation about what God is and isn't, in our minds, what we've come to believe, what we used to think, and where we are headed with the whole notion of "God."

you are
and you are not
it's good
not to get
the two confused
it is one
                        - Corita Kent

It doesn't matter what I call myself, how I answer the question of whether or not I work, or how big of a "case" people are or aren't. What matters is that I not forget that I am God and I am not. 

It is one.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Top 10 Great Things About Dropping Your iPhone in the Toilet

10. It finally answers the question, "Why do we even have a land line?"

  9. At least all that insurance money you've been paying, is finally doing something

  8. You get a five-day vacation

  7. You realize just how dependent/tethered/addicted you've become

  6. People that want to get in touch with you, have to work a little harder

  5. Most won't

  4. You have extra time on your hands because you're not playing/checking/obsessing over it

  3. You feel as though you've gone back in time

  2. You're grateful for the phone you had and realize an upgrade is unnecessary

  1. You're excited to see the FedEx truck drive up with the new one any minute

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


This happy, dancing, joyful little boy, will start his senior year in high school tomorrow. He was three in these pictures, and they are certainly worth more than three thousand words. He loved those shorts. He loved those socks. He loved, loved, LOVED that Sesame Street sweatshirt, and he wore it long after it was too small (see exhibit A):

This is a picture of Wil's best bud since kindergarten, Ian. Today Ian drove to our house at 6:00 AM (sharp, don't you know), to take Wil to the Senior Sunrise Prayer Service at the top of a butte. Ian did not take Wil to the prayer service because Ian was dying to get up before 6:00 on his last day of summer, he took Wil to the prayer service because Wil wanted to go to the prayer service. Wil did not want his mother taking him (and his mother was good with that), he wanted to go with friends, just like all the other seniors. And so, Ian took both Wil and his long-time friend, Jack. That's just a tiny example of the kid Ian is. Ian would no doubt be a stellar human regardless of whether or not Wil came into his life at the young age of barely five. But it didn't hurt. 

And you all know how we feel about Claire Rose...

Couldn't you just eat her with a spoon? Claire Rose is one of those kids that was born 40-years-old. Her wisdom is unmatched. I look up to her in all ways except literally, she's a little bit of a thing. Claire Rose has had one heck of a year, but she remains rock solid and ever the wiser for the tremendous obstacles life has thrown her.

The photo above is of two of "The Boobs," a name Wil came up with for the pack of boys that have been running around together since fifth grade. Woohoo can, and should, marry any one of The Boobs. They are all the boys you bring home to mom. The Boobs are all playing varsity football together this year. For three of them, they haven't played football in years, but the team needed them and they needed to spend each and every minute they can being The Boobs until they scatter and go their separate ways a year from now.

Based on the Special Olympics Project UNIFY model, wherein a team is made-up of both typical and special athletes, there will be a religion class at high school this year that is "unified." Don't you know it, both Claire Rose and Ian are in it with Wil.

My vow to myself is to be present to this year ahead. To really be with the moments as they present themselves and then pass. I'm done crying because it will all be over soon. I know there will be no shortage of people in Wil's life once high school is over, even if there's a shortage of typical peers. 

Thank you to each and every one of the many, many, many angels in Wil's life these last 18 years. He is deeply blessed and forever changed.

And so are you.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pat Longo

My dear friend, Terry, gave me a wonderful birthday gift. Yes, my birthday was six months ago. I just received it, because it was a phone session with Pat Longo. Pat is a gifted teacher and healer, who is booked six months out. She is perhaps most famous for being a mentor and healer for Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium.

Pat and I had an hour together on the phone. She diagnosed me as an empath. "Google 'Traits of an Empath'" she said. And so, I did. Yepperdo. I'm an empath.

"Did you suffer from anxiety as a child?"

"Do you walk into a room and immediately know what mood everyone is in?"

"Are you exhausted after being in a crowd?"

"Do you frequently have a sense of deja vu or synchronicities?"

"Do you dream lucidly and vividly?"

"Do you just know things?"

"Do you suffer from digestive troubles?"

"Have you ever had migraines?"

"Are you extremely affected by sounds, sights and smells?"

"Is it unbearable for you to watch violence or cruelty on TV? Do you feel as though it's happening to you?"

She suggested many strategies to help me both develop my own psychic abilities, as well as to ward off unwanted energies. "Do you know those big belts that professional wrestlers wear? I want you to visualize yourself putting one on each morning, right around your solar plexus, under the rib cage and above the navel."

She taught me an exercise called Ground and Surround, in which you visualize yourself in a bubble of pure white light. That's surround. Then you visualize white cords of light coming from your heels and tailbone, growing deep into the earth and wrapping around a tree at the very center. That's ground.

"Six seconds for the whole thing. Try it every single morning and all your physical ailments will go away."

She concluded the session by doing a long-distance healing with me. We were both silent, eyes closed, for just a few minutes. I got an intense sense of being whirled around on a merry-go-round at a park. I could see the colors spinning by and could feel the clockwise motion. I told her that when she was done. "That's exactly what I did. I very quickly did a healing that cleared everything from every part of your body. Clockwise."

So. All of you with all of your moods and energies, your sounds, your smells, your visual stimuli. You can't get to me. I've got my belt, my bubble and my cords.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


We are moving right along with attaining guardianship. I say "we" but mean "I." Only one person can be named guardian, and if/when I am no longer able to perform the duties, the whole long, arduous, expensive process begins all over again.

Before a child turns 18 a parent can name a guardian in their will, and subsequent guardians, should the need ever arise. For whatever reason, one cannot do that after the "child" is 18. I will be awarded guardianship of the person I've been taking care of 24/7 for 18 years, but cannot legally name my successor.


I dreaded the arrival of the processor, the person that would come at an appointed time and hand Wil a stack of papers and let him know he was being officially "served." That whole thing took less than 2 minutes and the woman could not have been any kinder. Nonetheless, the emotional toll was high and began months (years) ago in anticipation of all that it represented.

The next "ordeal" I fretted about was the court visitor. We were to expect someone to come to the house and "vet" us, for lack of a better word. Wil had to be there, I had to be there, and so I decided STM had to be there, too. Again, the nicest woman came at the appointed time. She was respectful, natural, kind, and only asked Wil a handful of questions. "I don't have any more questions for you, do you have any more for me?" she asked. He indicated no, and then she asked, "Is it OK if I ask your parents some more questions?" He then went upstairs and she quietly, graciously, asked us a few more questions. She wasn't in our house more than 25 minutes.

"Technically, I'm supposed to ask a whole bunch more questions, but I thought they'd confuse and upset him, and it's clear to me that guardianship is appropriate," she said. She is a psychologist who has done this for years. "They send us out on each and every case because every once and awhile there is a need to protect someone for whom guardianship is not appropriate."

We received word that her vetting was complete, she had obtained information from our primary care doctor, our behavioral/developmental pediatrician and a few others; all in full support of me being Wil's legal guardian.

It's a weird thing to feel like you "won," something that is so obvious, so necessary, so matter-of-fact. It's a weird thing to celebrate that your child is so disabled that everyone can see he is so disabled. It's a weird thing to be glad you "get" to keep doing what you've always been doing.

And yet, I have won.

And yet, I am celebrating.

And yet, I am glad.

There is a peace prevailing that has not been around for at least a full year. Now I am "this" close to obtaining guardianship. I have a stack of documents 8" high that I will take to my Social Security appointment on Tuesday. Included in the stack is a letter from Wil's behavioral/developmental pediatrician explaining her recommendation that I not take him to his own appointment. I have been filled with angst over that damn appointment for months, but now that it's five days away, I'm very calm.

It's so true that the fear of it, is way, way, way worse than the reality of it. Maybe it's just the way grief works, another layer is peeled back and you are exposed and vulnerable, and then you motor through until it's all swept into the cog of your normal. Not everyone's normal, but yours. Your different, but very much OK normal. Your normal that is normal if you stop comparing yourself, your child, your life to anyone and everyone else's. Your normal that is not going anywhere, so you might as well embrace it and get on with it. Your normal that is what it is: blessed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Soooooo Good Looking

Just me, or do you remember the "Seinfeld" episode where Jerry suggests that instead of saying, "God bless you," when someone sneezes, you should say, "You're sooooo good looking!"?

Just in case you need a reminder:

I thought of that the other day when I had a little follow-up chat with Wil in the car. We were following up after I had a meeting with someone, and he wanted to know how the meeting had gone. "It went great. You know, Bill thinks you're it on a stick."

"Does he think I'm good looking?" he asked, dead pan.

"Well, he said a lot of nice things about you, but no, he didn't specifically mention that he thought you were good looking," I answered.

"I do have good looks," he said, "don't laugh."

I didn't laugh.

Not until he got out of the car.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What to Give the Kid Who Wants for Nothing

The invitation clearly stated: "No gifts, YOU are the gift, and we want to thank you." We meant that. Yet, many kindly, generous souls felt like bringing a gift to Wil's 18th birthday party, anyway.

When Grandma asked him what he'd like for his birthday he replied, "Dial hand soap. The foaming kind."

When his friend Cameron asked he said, "How about a couple bucks. Let's say $2.25."

When Kathleen asked he said, "I like when you give me dollars for the ice cream truck." She gives him one-per-year, so was thinking 18 this time. "I'm thinking... maybe 40?"

When my mom asked he said, "Fancy socks."

The guests got creative. The guests got inside his head. The guests know him well. Here's a sampling of some of the great gifts he received, and is already enjoying:

* Bi-Mart gift card
* 7-Eleven gift cards
* Frozen yogurt gift cards
*  Baskin Robbins gift cards
*  Scratch-It lottery ticket
* Fancy socks
* Soap
* Clothes he can wear to church
* Tie-dye shirts
* Dollar bills

One older couple from our church wrote in their card, "We'd like for you to select a movie and come over to our house to watch it with us." I thought that was super sweet and wonderful. He'll never sit for a full-length movie, but if they're up for endless repeats of "Sam and Cat," "Drake and Josh," or "iCarly," then he's all in.

But truly, the real gifts are the villagers themselves, those invested, those with eyes, ears and hearts open to watch out for him, care for him, help guide and direct him.

And to all of them and all of you, we bow our heads with deepest gratitude.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's All a Sham

So, remember me telling you that Don Wilson took off with the pillow shams while I was away? Remember STM saying there were only two people that could have taken them, Wil or Don Wilson? Well, that's not actually what happened. I decided the bed needed changing again, so I stripped it down to nothing. After taking off a set of pillow cases, I noticed something weird: there was still a set on. There were the shams. STM had not ever taken them off in the first place, he'd "stripped" the bed, washed, dried and put back on, placing the second set right on top of the dirty shams. "How is it possible one does not notice shams on a pillow?" you might be asking yourself? Well, I asked myself the very same question. The answer is one of the following:

A) He's a guy
B) He's virtually blind, even with glasses
C) He's performed this activity so few times in his life, he's still a beginner
D) All of the above

I'm not sure what the life lesson is in all this, but I think it's one of the following:

A) Just be grateful STM tried, and don't ask for perfection
B) If you want something done right, do it yourself
C) What you're looking for was never lost in the first place
D) Who even thought of the word "sham" and why did we think they were such a good idea?
E) All of the above

Lately, I've been driving myself 1000% (private joke) crazy analyzing myself to death. The effort to awaken is so so damn exhausting, well, I just want to go back to sleep.

I've been working with the what-you-seek-is-right-in-front-of-you idea. Could it be true that often we already have what we need and want, but what we don't have, is the ability to see it? Appreciate it? Get down on our knees and be grateful for having it? I believe I'm guilty of that. They say you'd give anything to have what you have.

Deep thoughts for the day:

A) What is a "sham" that I'm spending way too much time looking for?
B) What is not a sham, that I'm not even bringing into my deeper awareness?
C) What appears to be a sham, but is actually real?
D) What is real, but appears to be a sham?
E) Where can I get my hands on a good IPA?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Throw a Stress-Free Party

10. Have it catered
9. Don't have it inside your house
8. Let the guest-of-honor be in charge of the guest list
7. Allow that there will be some "random" people, as a result
6. Believe there are no accidents
5. Don't freak when the day that was promised to be hot and dry, turns out wet, with thunderstorms
4. Believe that there are no accidents
3. When choosing your inner circle of friends, make sure that their love language is service - when they offer to help, let them
2. Have a beer and enjoy yourself
1. Believe there are no accidents, and the universe, and your village, always provides

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A "Little" Gathering

In my garage there are seven borrowed coolers, 10 borrowed tables, 21 borrowed white plastic chairs, and nine borrowed green ones. More of each are on their way.

In my hall are folding chairs, 180 large yellow paper plates and 180 small. 180 large orange napkins, and 180 small. 120 red Solo cups and 50 wine "glasses." I have forks, forks, and more forks. We've been to Costco and have enough chips to feed a small country. My fridge is stocked with 2-liter bottles of pop.

Sunday morning my brother and I will go buy cold beer and ice. Lots and lots of ice. Weather is forecasted to be 97 degrees.

I've got a friend bringing speakers, Woohoo is making a 2-hour-plus play list ("no country"). Balloons, flowers, banners are in the works. Otto's Sausage Kitchen will arrive at 11:30 and fire up the BBQ, potato and fruit salads will be put on ice. Wine will be opened.

It will be a party.

Several months ago, feeling dread every time I thought of Wil turning 18, I threw out the idea of a party. It grew. It continues to grow. I actually have no idea how many people will be here on Sunday, but 112 have RSVP'd yes, and I'm sure there are plenty that will just show up.

How can I feel anything but hopeful and encouraged, with a guest list like that? An entire village  has made the whole party come together easily and pleasurably.

Wil is turning 18, and there's simply nothing to do but party.

P.S. The shams are still missing. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Catching Up

My family reunion, sans family, was great. Lots of this happened:

I did get some sudden and violent illness, that had me out for 36-hours. I have theories and they range from a virus, to a spiritual cleansing. There's no telling, but it wasn't fun, and yet there are worse things than being alone in a nice hotel when you're sick.

If you've always wanted to know what I look like after being sick, without a shower or makeup, now you know. Still, I love this picture because it's of me and my sister-in-law, Sonam.

We found the lily pad pond we'd remembered as children, but hadn't been able to find in years.

When I got home, STM had thoughtfully changed the sheets. I noticed that two of the pillowcases were missing. I thought they probably were still in the dryer and just hadn't made their way back to the bed. After looking around and not finding them in any likely place, I finally asked him where they were.

"I thought you knew," he answered.

"They were there when I left," I said.

"They weren't there when I stripped the bed. There are only two people that could have taken them, then, Wil or Don Wilson. Since Wil lacks the coordination to remove them (they are actually shams), then it's Don Wilson."

For those of you that have followed this blog, you know all about my 18-year-departed father, Don Wilson, that loves to take things from our home, bringing them back days, weeks, months or years later, putting them right back in the same place from where they disappeared.

I'll let you know when those shams return, but I may have to break down and buy new ones before he does. The bed looks weird, and we can't have that.

I hope you all had equally wonderful and mysterious 4th of July weekends.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Am I the Only One?

Am I the only one that hates to waste cups and fill up the landfill needlessly?

Am I the only one that keeps re-useable Starbucks cups in her car, so I can purchase, guilt-free, both hot and cold drinks at my convenience?

Am the the only one that especially hates to drink beer from a can, and makes a point to buy only bottles (better for the environment, too), but occasionally breaks the rule for this, because it is just so damn good?

Am I the only one that drove to her favorite place on Earth, Sisters, Oregon, to attend a family reunion, but did not actually bring, oh, her family?

Am I the only one that was so happy she brought the yummy beer and the re-usable Starbucks cup, so she could enjoy this:

While viewing this?

Am I the only one excited to go to WUG where I will see almost all of these people, along the same lazy river, only 40+ years later?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Angels Among Us

Part of my blog inertia is due to the fact that in a little over two weeks, Wil will turn 18. I have been in a huge funk over this for quite some time, fear and dread dating back to 2012, at least. I don't want to apply for SSI, Medicaid, or brokerage services. I don't want to hire an attorney and basically sue Wil for guardianship, so that the day after he's 18, I will do the exact same thing as I've done the last 18 years, which is to say, pretty much everything.

"The reason guardianship is such a big deal," our attorney told us, to the tune of $400/hour, "is because people have abused it. The laws are set up to protect people. Second only to being incarcerated, guardianship strips an individual of his/her civil liberties."

I'm all for protecting the most vulnerable population. I'm all for civil liberties. I'm all for everything I'm supposed to be all for, but key-rist, arranging to have your "adult" child served papers, being vetted to prove you are not out for their "money," paying through the nose and filling out reams of paper, is just not my idea of a good time.

I could go on and on about the bureaucracy of the government, the endless red tape and tail-chasing, but you probably already know all you need to know about that. What I will tell you about, instead, is about the angels among us.

I called to schedule an 18-year well-check with Wil's doctor. I was greeted on the phone by such a competent and kind woman, whom arranged to speak to Wil to get his verbal OK, that I could speak in his behalf until the guardianship paperwork came through. She was sensitive. She was efficient. It was, dare I say, easy.

Fueled by the success of that phone call, I called Aging and Disabilities Services to have a couple questions answered. Got voicemail, left a message, did not expect to hear back. Lo and behold, Michelle called back, was gracious, full of helpful information, then later called me back again because she thought of something she forgot to tell me, that might be helpful. It was.

Feeling like I was on a roll, I pushed it further. I called Social Security to get an appointment. Yes, I was on hold for a full hour, and I heard the automated message no fewer than 60 times, but I had a cold beer and several days' worth of Facebook to catch up on, so all was not lost. Once a live person came on, she, too, was amazingly knowledgeable and helpful. Extremely.

The next day, feeling like we couldn't lose, I took Wil into the bank to do some necessary things prior to him turning 18. He was cooperative, and the teller was amazing. Turns out we needed to fill out quite a bit of paperwork. "Why don't you go across the street and get frozen yogurt. I'll fill it out for you." We did just that. We sat in the sun and enjoyed a lovely treat, and when we went back, the paperwork was complete.

There is no getting around the brutal maze of a disabled child becoming a disabled adult, but there is a way through, and that is with the help of many, many angels, both seen and unseen. And to all of you out there praying for us, thank you, those prayers are felt and much appreciated.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hope for a Sea Change

I was never, ever, not under any circumstances, going to buy a Kindle, or any other e-reader. Never. Well, let me tell you, when my friend, Elizabeth Aquino published her memoir, Hope for a Sea Change, I started singing a different tune. Sure, "we" have an iPad, but "we" aren't very good about sharing it, as in, I can not so much as glance its way without Wil freaking out. Sure, I have an iPhone, but you name me one over-50-year-old pair of eyes that can, and will, read a whole book on a phone! So, I put it out to the Universe that I was ready to buy a Kindle, and wouldn't you know it, in less than a day I had my hands on a super great, gently used one, for a song. It was meant to be.

I devoured Elizabeth's gorgeous book in two "sits." That's quick for me, and you need to take into account that my already slow reading was slowed even further, because Elizabeth's writing is so beautiful, you don't want to rush over a single syllable.

Elizabeth's blog, a moon, worn as if it had been a shell, is one I've followed for years. This woman does NOT experience blog inertia the way I do from time-to-time, she is a prolific writer, and I've loved being a fly on her wall as she raises her three children in Los Angeles. I love reading about Henry and Oliver, The Brothers. I love reading about the tremendous cakes she bakes (she's a former pastry chef). I love reading about what she's reading about. But most of all, I love reading about her now 19-year-old daughter, Sophie, whom suffers from a complex seizure disorder. Hope for a Sea Change is a memoir of Elizabeth's journey through diagnosis, understanding, and a new understanding of healing.

Elizabeth has educated, uneducated and re-educated me about the benefits of medical marijuana. I went from thinking I knew what it was and wasn't, learning I knew nothing at all, to learning a modicum of the profound benefits of high CBD, low THC marijuana for patients with epilepsy. I learned all about the Realm of Caring, and Charlotte's Web.
(Early November 2013/January 2014)

The memoir will make you shake your head at What People Say. It will make you ache for the torture Sophie and her family have endured. And it will make you smile deep within yourself as you read, "... it would fundamentally change the way I looked at Sophie's disability, at the integrity of human beings, and at what healing and curing really mean."

Elizabeth has done much through the years to reshape what I think about things politically, poetically and philosophically. Her memoir will most definitely affirm the integrity of all human beings.

Available on SheBooks and Amazon for e-readers (only $2.99).