Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just home from Office Depot with my new printer, I am ready to install. I go through all the steps, even bothering to read the directions. Finally, the moment is here, I am ready to test it.
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country," I type, automatically, without a thought. As those words appear before me I think, "What the hell?" I've never given them a moment's thought! My dad taught me to do that when testing type writers, or taking a typing test. He told me to do it, so I did it.
Anyone else out there know what I'm talking about? Am I the only one on this planet that has that bit of, perhaps useless, information lodged firmly in their grey matter?
It was one thing to type those words unconciously all those many years ago, it's another thing today, entirely. I am not going to get "all political" on you. I'd love to, don't get me wrong, but that is not what this blog is about. Besides, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about when it comes to politics, so you'd be wise to ignore me.
I'll say this, though, now IS the time for all good humans to come to the aid of their country. There's never been a better time. Come to the "aid". You can take that word and massage it all you want. However you see yourself coming to the "aid", I implore you to do it.
Thanks. Gotta get down on my hands and knees and pray now. That's my "aid" this morning.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Top 5 Things I Hate About Standard Time:

1) Rojo now wakes up at 4:30 AM
2) I wear pajamas 14+ hours a day
3) All I want to do is sleep
4) When not sleeping, all I want to do is eat
5) Day seems "over" at 4:30 PM, time for bed!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Another snippet of my memoir...

Eyes wild, third drink down, Dad sets his tumbler on the coaster, fresh cigarette in the plaid beanbag ashtray, rises from the chair and comes at me.

“You’re the next Virgin Mary!” he rants. The rant sends him into a coughing fit that will end only after the stack of used napkins he's taken from fast food restaurants comes out of his pants pocket. The napkins move to the mouth, the deep, disgusting phlegm urged up from his chest, to the mouth, out into the napkins, napkins re-folded and replaced in the pants pocket until the next attack, only minutes away. He pulls Vicks Vapo-Rub from the other pants pocket, jams his index finger in the jar, slathering the menthol ointment over both nostrils. He sits back into his chair, reclaims the drink and ashy cigarette, signifying our little talk is over.

Nothing precipitates this rant, nothing comes after. Just the rant, and then more nothing.

I am twelve and have had twelve years of hearing how he hates “The damn Catholics.” I can't imagine where this Virgin Mary comment is coming from. Nothing he has ever said or done before, helps me to make sense of this out-of-nowhere threat.

"The Catholics don't believe in birth control. The world is over-populated, and it's all because of those damn Catholics."

"Those damn Catholics think the damn Pope is God. They'll do anything he tells them to do. They're like sheep headed off to slaughter."

That's it. The birth control and the Pope. His two biggies. I've heard about the birth control and Pope problems before, but never more than that. It's as though every twelve-year-old should just automatically know the significance of those two arguments against Catholicism. If not every twelve-year-old, certainly this one.

At fourteen I tell Dad I am going to go to Marist, a Catholic high school. I have held off telling him this until the last possible moment. I know I am handing him a loaded gun with this confession.

I don't know which one of us he is more likely to shoot.

His eyes, instantly mad. His hands shake even more than usual. His voice, rigid.

"That's it! Now you're going to go off and marry one of them. I'd rather you marry a BLACK than a Catholic!"

The Virgin Mary memory surfaces. Not sure if I'll be marrying anyone, if I'm going to be the next Virgin Mary. Besides, I am under-weight, under-developed and over-anxious. Getting married is about the last thing on my mind. I can't even imagine dating.

We have never discussed that night and his threatening words, but not a day has gone by that I haven't been haunted by them.


I am sitting in the small, back room of a bookstore, Healing Waters and Sacred Spaces. As well as books, there are crystals, CDs, incense and all kinds of other wonderful things to create sacred spaces. I have been here before, as a customer of the bookstore. I didn't realize they did more than sell what is in the store, but they do. They have all kinds of psychic readers that operate in the back room.

I am here to see one that has been highly recommended, I am nervous and excited. I don't even know what my question will be, perhaps I will just let her tell me whatever she wants to.

As I look around the small room at all the lovely things placed tenderly, I am certain I am safe. There are flowers, candles, incense, statues and a fountain. Lovely art hangs on the wall. Surrounded by beauty I am calmed.

The clairvoyant is lovely, normal looking, sweet, her words gentle and loving. She tells me lots of things, all fascinating. I take copious notes. After 45 minutes of rather surface level information, I tetatively ask if there's anything she can tell me about my son.

"My son," I say. No more. Not his age, not his multitude of diagnosis. Nothing.

She describes my son to me exactly as I would describe him to someone else.

She gets it.

She gets him.

Shivers run through me.

“Your son has the soul like that of the Dalai Lama. It is nearly pure. He has no ego. He is here to teach.”

At 43 now, I have been holding the words my dad spoke for 31 years. Never understanding them, always fearful, always confused. Always both worried he was right, and worried he was wrong. The conversation pops into my mind, fresh, not scary now. I hear my dad's words juxtaposed with what this woman is now saying.

Her words are a balm. She beautifully articulates what only my own soul has felt. but my voice has not dared to speak. For the ten years I have been this boy's mother I have known he is like no other. If nothing else he has freed me from my father's curse.

Maybe that is all.

Maybe that is enough.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Let's Re-Define "Abuse"
I'm up on my high horse, again, but the view from up here is cloudy. I'm all for abolishing abuse of all kinds, but I think we need to be clear about what abuse is and isn't. I would say that anytime another is treated without respect and dignity, they are being abused. What would you say? Of course the severity of abuse varies greatly, but mis-treatment is mis-use of another, or ab-use.
If a child is raised to think they are "golden", is that a good thing? What happens to that child as they grow into an adult, having lived their entire childhood revered, praised without exception, almost worshipped. What if not once in a child's life the parent(s) says, "What you did was absolutely unacceptable and you need to atone." Or, God forbide, "No. I don't agree with that decision."
I know people that grew up thinking everything they did was wrong, that they were nothing but failures. I know people that grew up thinking everything they did was right, and guess what, they grow up thinking they are failures, too! I think both are forms of abuse. So what gives? I think the answer is in what we believe about ourselves, without regard to the external "voices".

Monday, October 23, 2006

My sweet son, Rojo, just came into my office to see what I was doing. He came with his smile and a song. His song, "We're Suffering", is one of our favorites. We don't like to suffer, but we love the suffering song.
I was working with Rojo and another "special" friend of his, trying to make math facts more fun. Everytime they got one right, we'd "high five" and I'd say, "Oh, yea, who's on fire?" Like with everything, I beat that dead horse silly, until finally the friend said, "Can I not be on fire anymore?"
"Sure, Sweetie, you don't have to be on fire, but how come?"
"Because I don't like to suffer!"
Realizing, too late, the literal thinking both these boys had, I apologized for suggesting we celebrate their suffering. They both forgave me, and suggested we just switch the chant to, "We're suffering", instead of "Who's on fire?" We decided to "go big" with that. We stood, invented hip movements, a whole snapping of the fingers component, and a bit of a head swirl.
One year later, the three of us are still "suffering", and loving every minute of it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

It's Fun with Fonts Day!
I'm still happy, happy, happy, and mostly because not enough has been made on how fun FONTS can be. (I really mean colors, but fun with colors just doesn't have the right "ring" to it.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I was fortunate to meet the lovely and talented YOUNG Amanda Berlin at a writing workshop earlier this month. Her blog is fantastic, please do yourself a favor and check it out!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"There is no duty so underrated,
as the duty of being happy."
Robert Louis Stevenson
I'm happy.
Happy, happy, happy.
Problem? I think not.
My daughter is not happy, I made her walk six full blocks to school on a perfectly gorgeous fall morning.
My son is not happy, he wants Hot Tamales for breakfast, and I would prefer he eat from one of the four food groups.
My husband is not happy, apartments have leaks he must repair, deals must be re-negotiated that he thought were "handled".
I am happy, though.
Happy, happy, happy.
Just doing my duty over here.
My list for today says, "Be happy!"
Check, check.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It is my honor, and sincere thrill, to introduce my new favorite blog! My friend, Terry, the world's best story teller, has been persuaded to write, and she's unbelivable. Terry, a.k.a. "Toeless in Philly" to my readers, started a blog after attending Jennifer Lauck's writing workshop in Connecticut a couple of weeks ago. Take a look, tell all your friends, and keep coming back! Her writing, and her story, will hook you from the start!

Is it just me, or is Blogger being umbelievably tempermental and frustrating when it comes to posting pictures? I've been trying for HOURS to get this darn thing "up".

Here's my Rojo with his BFF, Big Bird.
We all know (and can't get unstuck from our heads once we hear it) the song, "The Little Drummer Boy", right? The poor little boy has nothing fit to give a king, except the song in his heart, from his little drum.
Ba-rump a bump, bump, rump a bump, bump, rump a bump bump.
I've got me a little drummer boy, too. My little guy isn't poor, he just has absolutely no need, use or appreciation for money. There isn't a "thing" this guy wants/needs/asks for.
We celebrated my mom's birthday yesterday, and my daughter made a banner, baked a cake and wrapped presents we had purchased.
My son wanted to give Grammy something, too. He took from his bed his most favorite thing in the world, Big Bird. He put Big Bird in a gift bag and gave it to my mom 2.5 seconds after she walked in the door. This Big Bird has a soul, almost as big as my boy's, and is seldom far from him. He loves his Grammy more than he loves himself, he wants her to be happy and feel celebrated, more than he wants his own happiness, at least for 24-hours.
My mom teared up when she opened the bag. "Really? You're giving me Big Bird?" she asked.
"Well, kind of, for 24-hours, and then you give him back, OK?"
Ba-rump a bump bump, rump a bump bump, rump a bump bump.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My husband jokes there are two kinds of people, those that pay rent, and those that collect it.
I say there are two kinds of people, too, those that always have a pen on them, and those that never do.
For years I was a pen person. "What do you need? I'm sure I've got it in my purse! Kleenex? Advil? Band-Aid? A pen? Do you prefer pencils? Got that too!"
I have deliberately taken all that shit out of my purse (well, not the Kleenex, gotta have that). I am choosing to believe that whatever I need, the Universe will provide, and I'm trying the theory out with pens, first. I am choosing to believe that there are always people around willing to help, and my life will have more pens coming into it than I can shake a stick at!
So far, so good. I'm even getting "right" with all the different colors and ink-flow issues going on in my checkbook register. Big for a recovering OCD-er!
Now you try:
The Universe will provide me with everything I need, and then some.
People are kind and willing to help me.
Repeat until you can say it and mean it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom
Today is my mom's birthday, 76 and looking good. Born 9 years and 3 days after my dad.
My mom is a P.K., Preacher's Kid, born between two set of boys and forever affected. My grandparents had three sons, my mom, three more sons, then my aunt. My grandmother always joked that she would have loved another daughter, but wasn't willing to have three more sons just to get one.
"The Boys" went on to make names for themselves. In a town where four of them lived, as well as my mother, when giving her last name she was repeatedly told, "Oh! I didn't know there were any girls in the family!"
In the small studio apartment my grandmother lived after being widowed, she had but one surface to display photographs of her huge family. Above the dresser she hung the high school graduation pictures of all six boys. On the dresser, behind all the other pictures, my mom's and aunt's sat. Forever a bone of contention with my mom, she never got a satisfactory answer out of my grandmother as to why the girls "didn't make the wall".
I recently spent time with an astrologer. She told me it was in my charts that I would do the work my grandmother and mother had always wanted to do, but didn't, due to societal and family pressures.
It feels good knowing I am not doing just what is right for me and my daughter and possibly generations to come, but for generations that have come before, as well.
Happy birthday, Mom.

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Not one of God's children can be evil.
At worst, he or she is hurt.
At worst, he or she attacks others, and blames them for their pain.
But,they are not evil.
Yes, your compassion must go this deep.
There is no human being who does not deserve your forgiveness.
There is no human being who does not deserve your love."

Paul Ferrini American Author and Inspirational Speaker

From the site: www.inspirationpeak.com, home of the love. t-shirts.

P.S. Go check out my pal, Michelle O'Neil's blog at: http://www.michelleoneilwrites.blogspot.com/


Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, lived a man. The man lived within the kingdom and was known by all, but to himself, he was but a stranger. Everywhere the man went he was greeted by the others in the kingdom. He was a friendly sort, and proud of the fact that he had so many acquaintances.

Whenever the man sat with just himself, he was disturbed. He befriended amber liquids in bottles a plenty. With his friend, Amber, by his side, he was never left alone with just his thoughts, and the man felt "better".

One by one people tried to get to know the man, but Amber was a jealous and possessive friend, and she always won the heart of the man. Men, women and children came into the lives of the man, but Amber made sure the man stayed alone, impervious to the love of others.

Many people tried to convince the man that Amber was not a worthy lover, that Amber did not have the man's best interest at heart. The man would not listen. Time after time after time the man chose Amber over others.

Eventually the people that loved the man gave up. They knew the hold Amber had on him was stronger than their love. They tried to understand this, and not take it too personally, but it was hard for the people that loved the man. "How can something in a bottle, be more important than me?" the people thought.

With lots of help from books and wise advisors the people grew to understand Amber, and she at least lost some of the power in their own lives, if not the man's.

The man eventually died, with only Amber by his side. The man would have been 85 yesterday if he'd lived.

If he'd lived.

If he'd lived.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It's 5:08 AM and I am fully dressed, FULLY. Hair? Check. Make-up? Check. Clothes? Check. Belt? Check. Just one teensy weensy problem, these are all yesterday's. Yea, funny thing, stretched out on my son's bed at 5:30 PM yesterday afternoon, and well, you know the rest. My husband and I had plans last night, I went into our bedroom to chat with him about them and he was cat napping, "Good idea!" I thought. Not wanting to listen to the snoring, nor give him any funny ideas, I ran for my son's totally unmade and stretched out "for a minute".
Just one question. Who sleeps in a BELT?

Friday, October 06, 2006

There is a movie everyone ought to run out and see, actually, "boot up" and see, you can watch it on your computer. It is called "The Secret". I will just go ahead and tell you what the secret is, but you have to promise you'll still watch the movie, OK? Promise?
The secret is the law of attraction. Like draws like. What you put your mind towards, you draw more of. It's very much like the power of positive thinking "fad". It's very simple.
Like all things simple, it can take many lifetimes to master. The Dalai Lama says, "Let love, peace and compassion be your religion." Simple. Go ahead and work with it for awhile, and you'll see why he is the enlightened one, and we're all mere humans.
The key to "the secret" is to tell the Universe what it is that you DO want, not what you DON'T want. If you keep telling the Universe what you don't want, you'll keep getting it, and vice versa. See? Simple!
Examples: Keep telling the Universe you "don't want debt". The Universe hears "debt" and you stay locked in debt. Tell the Universe you want prosperity, you'll get prosperity. Tell the Universe you want your husband to stop being such a giant pain-in-the keister, and guess what!? Tell the Universe you want your husband to adore and appreciate you, you'll change the entire dynamic of the relationship. Tell the Universe you want to lose weight, you'll actually stay or gain weight. Tell the Universe you want a fit and healthy body, you'll start to attract that.
All right now, People, get out there and don't keep The Secret a secret! Promise?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

While galivanting across the country, my wonderful husband more than kept the home fires burning. He grocery shopped, cooked,cleaned, changed beds, did laundry, checked homework, had a kid home sick for two days, got everyone to all their appointments and extracurricular activities, and managed to work a few hours each day, too. When I got home he said the sexiest thing I've ever heard him say, "Your job isn't a one-person job."
I'm in love.

Monday, October 02, 2006

OK, FIXED! Take a look now!
WTF??? I have spent 4 hours, count 'em, trying to get the before and after photos to f'ing upload. Nothing. The Universe is completely uncooperative, and I've about had it with the Universe. Just who does It think it is?? When the Universe loses the attitude, I'll try again. Until then, stare at the before picture, and let your imagination run wild.

Best thing I ever did was impulsively swerve the car into the Supercuts parking lot several weeks ago.
The best.
Not the best haircut, but the best setting off a chain of positive events I've had in a long, long time. Supercuts in Portland, Oregon led me to Richard Penna Salon in New Haven, Connecticut, 3,000 miles away. A friend and fellow blogger, Suzy, was so disturbed by the Supercut revelation, she worked over her best friend and famous hairstylist, Richard, to do a "do" for me. Richard began the whole TV makeover thing with Sally Jessie Raphael. He is the king of the 30-minute before/after looks. We had met the night before, and I assigned him the task of staying up all night to determine my new look.
Richard delivered. The next morning, 6:00 AM "my time", fully caffeinated, I sat in his chair as he outlined the plan.
"We're going for a little less Junior League, and a little more 'now'," he said. "Your hair is too heavy and too dark. It's not at all 'you'."
As the old me was colored and cut away I felt the internal change as well. Loving the new hair and new attitude, feeling a life-long dream had just come true, he took it up another notch. "I'm sending you upstairs for complimentary make-up," he said.
The pictures are worth more than a thousand words, and a thousand words of gratitude will never fully express all that I feel towards Suzy, Richard, Diane and Janine, the artists that made it all possible.
Thank you.

Once upon a time there was a woman and she had a shitty childhood. Horrible and torturous, this woman detailed it all in a book and called it her memoir. The book found its way to another woman. This woman connected so deeply with the author that she knew the two would one day know each other. She felt it was only a matter of time, and she patiently waited. Little signs along the way provided her with hope that she was indeed, on her way to knowing someone her soul already knew.
She first learned that she and the author lived in the same city, on the same side of the river.

Time went by and the woman poured herself into the lives of her children and the school community around them. The woman found herself working side-by-side on an auction with the author’s husband.
Three years later the woman found herself again doing an auction with the husband, but this time he was the ex.
The woman, having always fancied herself a bit of a writer as well, screwed up the courage and coughed up the money to take a class from the author, in the author’s home. The woman didn’t know which she was more excited about, meeting the author, or seeing her house.
Toss up.
The woman entered the author’s home and at first glance knew she was in good hands. Candles, spiritual symbols, icons and signs of practice were everywhere, not in a creepy way, in a warm, loving, peaceful way.
Immediately the woman was asked to write. There would be no warm fuzzy get-to-know-you activity. They would write.
As the group began to share what they had just written, the woman knew this would be a gathering like no other. Stories emerged that touched the woman, tickled the woman and disturbed the woman.
The weekend progressed, and by the end the woman felt she knew these former strangers better than she knew many of the people she saw everyday. Masks were off. Secrets were shared, souls revealed. They had seen into each other’s closets and psyches, each other’s pain and wounds, each other’s joys and passions.
Some of the writers stayed in touch. While not seeing each other again, they offered support and motivation to persevere, long after the glow of the workshop had worn off. They grew to know each other deeper, darker, lighter and softer.
The woman and the author stayed in touch. An event was planned by the woman, featuring the author. Details of the event planning led into discussions of life. Discussions of life led to deeper understanding and connection between the woman and the author. Mutual admiration and a love for profanity took them to the next level of their relationship.
In just a few months’ time the two women’s lives became enmeshed. Their children, their writing, their relationships all got into the vase and a lovely bouquet was manifested.
Before the woman knew what had hit her, she was leaving on a jet plane with the author on her left and a John Denver song in her heart. The two traveled all across the country. Their agenda included a talk to psychologists, a panel discussion with three fellow memoirists, meetings with agents and a three-day writing workshop.
This three-day workshop on the other side of the country would bring many different worlds into collision for the woman. Colliding worlds was something this woman had carefully avoided in her life. Colliding worlds put this woman into a state of anxiety, formerly, but the events from the past six months had changed all that in the woman. She finally understood that people are supposed to meet when they are supposed to meet, and the most choreographed dance that the woman had constructed in her head, would not stand up against the one that the Universe had in mind. After 43 years of being in control, the woman was happy to know she wasn’t. She was more than happy.
She was relieved.
She was
She was grateful.