Monday, December 31, 2007


10. NAR NAR CHAI LA DAKPO MA-GYAB NA RIL RIL OWE LA DO CHAR BAB-YOUNG Which mean, you will get stone of showers on your round head, if you don't control your long tongue.

9. Michael go to the refrigerator three times before I talk to him in the morning (for cream in his coffee). He no talk until third time there.

8. I no drink the coffee anymore. When I drink the coffee, everything Michael say, WRONG!

7. You talk to your mama like that in India? Bam, bam! (After hearing Woohoo speak to me.)

6. After going to a Catholic Mass with me, she's been saying, "Alleluia!" at the end of nearly everything.

5. You cannot cut your hair after sun go down, your spirit will go right away.

4. Little Boy think he king! (Speaking of her son.)

3. I live like rock star! (She said this even when the floors were plywood, there was no central heat, no completed bathroom in the house, no oven, no stove, no dishwasher, you get the idea.)

2. I love to watch wrestling on TV! It's REAL, Sister Carrie!

1. "I LOVE IT!" said approximately 100 x a day.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

(View outside my window now, but picture provided by


I'm still turning over the idea that peace comes at the end of desire, yet we are to ask for what we want. Here are my latest ramblings/musings/ahas:

I still think peace comes at the end of control. Period. But some of what we are trying to control comes in different shapes and sizes and masquerades as the needs for:






I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if you disagree! Bring 'em on!


Friday, December 28, 2007


I throw the I Ching and the answer to my question comes. I have a lot of questions. I'm confused about a lot of things. Don't know the things to say or do to make things "better" and doing nothing feels like doing nothing. So I throw the I Ching with this question in my mind, "What do I do now?" The answer comes, "There is wisdom in the disinterested truth."

I had not heard this term before, don't know how that's possible with a family full of lawyers, but I was familiar with the concept.


The end of desire.

I put on my chains and drove the last 60 miles yesterday going 25 MPH in a wintery storm. Some of the drive was treacherous. Some of it was still. And peaceful. And so, so beautiful. White, white everywhere.

While I made this drive, I let one song play over and over on the stereo, "The End of Desire" by Jennifer Berezan. The chorus soothed and kept me company all the way.

"It’s high as a mountain it’s deep as the sea
It’s wide as a valley
It’s full and it’s empty
It’s everything I want when my wanting retires
It’s all that begins
at the end of desire
the end of desire"

Now I'm here, safe and nestled, fully cozy and lacking nothing. It's easy to not desire when you are not lacking.

Driving over I felt a deep resonance that attachment causes suffering, and peace comes at the end of desire. I also believe in the Law of Attraction, and that what we want we draw towards us. How do we live with both? How do we end desire, and ask the Universe for what we want? Are these not opposites?

Now, feet up inches from the wood stove, rocking back and forth in the antique chair, I try to hold these two beliefs and see how they might have more in common than first meets the eye.

Control. That is the difference. We end our desire for control. We don't end our desire. We want health. We want happiness. We want peace. We must end our desire for controlling how that all comes to be, how that looks, how that will shape up.

Live and let live, right? Live simply so that others may simply live? How do we love someone, and end our desire for controlling them? How do we want what is best for them, without controlling things how we see best?

When I asked my question, "What do I do now?" I wasn't really asking that. I was seeking affirmation that what I wanted to do was the right thing to do. I was not interested in the disinterested truth. I wanted the truth to be my truth, that with the right plan in place, I could control the behavior of another.

H.H. says, "Yes, I am a Buddhist. I have a strong faith toward Buddhism, but I should not have an attachment toward Buddhism. If I attach myself to it, then that's against the essential teachings of Buddhism."

A disinterested truth.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Sitting on my brother's sectional, we all watch "The Wizard of Oz" on TV. Sonam, my raised in India sister-in-law, has never seen the movie. Neither has my raised in the good ol' US of A son. We turn it on late, only 40 minutes to go until the end.

Woohoo, Michael and I try to explain the movie to Rojo and Sonam.

"The Lion wants courage."

"The Tin Man wants a heart."

"The Scarecrow wants a brain."

"Dorothy wants to go home."

Michael, Woohoo and I have each seen the show so many times we can recite the lines right along with the actors.

"Poppies, poppies, poppies will put them to sleep," we say in our best Wicked Witch of the West voices.

"See The Horse of a Different Color?" we coo. Get it?

They don't get it. Nowhere in Rojo's or Sonam's background is a cultural reference for that.

Nor is there any comprehension of needing a brain, heart or courage.

Let alone "going home." These two know that home is where the heart is. They are always home. Always.

A friend that reads my blog (my favorite kind) came over for coffee before Christmas. I have the most darling Christmas coffee pot, creamer, sugar bowl and matching mugs. I don't entertain save for coffee, and I invent ways to use this during December.

We sit in my family room duly admiring the darling dishes.

My friend says, "You know where the yellow couch is, right? I don't have to say it, it's so obvious it's embarrassing."

"NO! Where?" I say, not having a clue where she's going with this.

"It's in your living room, Carrie. YOU have a yellow couch."

And while it's true I have a yellow couch, I have never realized I HAVE A YELLOW COUCH!

There's no place like home.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I like to do whatever Michelle O'Neil does, and she wrote about the biggest hits of her kids' Christmas, so I need to do that too.

When we took Rojo to visit Santa a few weeks ago, he sat on his lap and looked bewildered when Santa said, "What do you want for Christmas?" Rojo, fully believing in Santa at age 11, but not fully believing in the whole "wanting" thing, answered, "You tell me," to Santa.

"How about a train?" Santa suggested desperately.

"Yes! That is a great idea, Santa! Yes! I want a train!" Rojo exuded.

Hopping off Santa's lap he comes rushing over to me, "Mom! I am going to get a train from Santa!"

Now, a little back story. The boy has never shown an interest in trains. We've had train videos. We've had all the Thomas "system." We've had trains, trains and more trains at our house. Not. One. Bit. Of. Interest. I finally packed them all up and gave them away. Years. Ago.

STM decided to spiff up his old train set from childhood, still in a box in his parents' basement. We wrap it in Santa paper (you all do that, right? Separate paper from Santa?) and put it out on Christmas Eve.

Rojo wakes at 6:00 jumping up and down (literally) and says, "I want to go see my train! Where the hell is my train? Is that my damn
train?" he asks, pointing to the box lying beside his bursting with gifts stocking.

Pulling the wrapping off so fast it all but sparks, he sees the train, grabs it, hugs it, dances, swears, yells, jumps and is thrilled for the rest of the day. Doesn't actually play with it for more than 5 minutes, but thrilled.

He had fun opening his brand new Nintendo DS Lite, and several hundred dollars worth of other "things" but the train, ah, the train.

As he brushed his teeth (in the laundry room sink, where he always does, don't ask me why) he says through his foamy mouth, "This is the best Christmas I ever had."

"I'm so glad," I respond. "What were the two best things about it?"

"The train!" he answers.

"Yes, that was such a great gift from Santa. What else was great about Christmas?" I probe.

"You were there!" he answers with a look of total "duh" on his face.

He just bought himself another year of "Not a mark on him!"

*Photo from Jupiter Images

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Today is Christmas. I'm delighted to discover that this year I have a high number of friends not celebrating Christmas. This year I know a lot of people of different faiths, and that thrills me. None-the-less, today is Christmas, and to you, my friends of all faiths and non-faiths, I wish you a merry, merry day.

Thank you, each of you readers, lurkers, commentors, "real" friends and "virtual" friends, family and loved ones everywhere, for your presence in my life.

Love, love and more love. Period.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


My brother has been living in my dad's old house since before my dad died eleven years ago. Sonam has lived there with him for four years, Kunga for two. In those years the house has been remodeled and most noticeably, re-energized. Literally, the old, angry, drunken, cigarette smoke-filled house has been replaced with all that is right with the world.

My dad had travelled extensively in "the Orient" when he was young, and our home was filled with all kinds of his relics from those days. He never explained any of them, to me anyway, when he was alive. Sonam has now made the scary dragons and sharp-edged artifacts soft and lovely with her understanding of their role in Buddhism, and her feminine touches around the house.

In what is now their shrine room, are two giant deities, one of Buddha, one of Tara. Michael and Sonam paid over time for them, and finally had enough to have them sent over from Asia. Then Sonam and her sister, Suthi, carefully painted them. The shrine room isn't ready yet, they still sit on the floor but will one day sit on their own specially-made tables.

Before it was Michael and Sonam's house, the shrine room was my parent's master bedroom. It is the room in which my father died.

Now, instead of being able to walk in and say, "Dad died here," we enter to do a practice that is meant to instill peace, love and compassion for all sentient beings.

Tara and Buddha have not been consecrated yet. They have been filled, literally, with prayers and painted according to strict protocol, but until a lama that Sonam hand-picks comes and blesses them, the deities must remain blind-folded with a holy katya. They are vulnerable to evil spirits if their eyes are open and their beings are not consecrated.

Perhaps we humans should have holy katyas wrapped around our mouths and typing fingers until we've been blessed, consecrated. With our mouths and loose fingers we can forget to use skillful speech. We can forget to be our highest selves. We can forget that we are on this path together, to help, encourage, walk alongside each other with love, peace, compassion, tolerance and patience. We are not meant to walk behind or in front of each other on the path, but alongside, in cooperation, not competition. There is no scarcity. There is not a special guest list for enlightenment, all are welcome, the more the merrier.

We humans tend to forget that what we preach, so must we practice. We can forget that sticks and stones can break bones, and words can break spirits. We can forget that it is easier to add words, than to take them away, once spilled from our careless lips they are never to be fully gathered and made whole again.

That expression my mother used all the time? The one that she thought gave her carte blanche? "Do as I say, not as I do?" Yea, that one. I'm not a fan of that one. What we say and what we do are not easily extricated from one another, once mixed together they are like a casserole, once put together, the ingredients are impossible to separate. I vote we all try to align what we say and what we do, but that's just me.

Until we do reach a state of enlightenment, can we all agree to open our eyes to see beauty? Open our ears to hear truth? Open our minds to seek wisdom? Open our mouths to speak kindness? And open our hearts to love? Can we agree to at least try?


Saturday, December 22, 2007


The kids and I are in Eugene, Oregon this weekend. More specifically, we are staying with my brother's family, in my childhood house. It was a house when I lived here, it is a home now.

This year there will be no Santa coming down the chimney to bring toys to my little nephew, Kunga. This family is Buddhist, and Santa is not in my sweet nephew's 2-year-old vocabulary. That didn't stop my kids and me from bringing him gifts. He's a typical boy, loves dump trucks, fire trucks, school buses, pretty much anything with wheels. He also is being introduced to the wonder of Fisher Price and "Little People."

I don't know about you, but Fisher Price was INTEGRAL in my child development. My brother had the garage, I don't think I had jack shit, but my cousins, wow, they must have been rich, they had the castle, airplane, A-frame, house, airport and I think I remember a hospital and some random horses. Heaven. Pure heaven!

We got Kunga the dump truck/bulldozer construction site. He can hardly stand it, he's so excited. He has the attention span of, oh, I don't know, a TYPICAL child, but not a typical 2-year-old. He has been playing with that damn thing all day. All. Day. Without anyone needing to make truck sounds, show him how fun it is, etc.

I don't wish he had ADHD, I don't wish my kids didn't, but key-rist, the differences are stunning.

Sonam, my darling sister-in-law, shows me the other Fisher Price toy they inherited, the house, with a few stray Little People. BTW, the Little People are HUGE now, I can't believe a child ever choked on the old style Little People, but I guess they did, or could, anyway, ain't no way they're choking on these suckers now!

I take each Little Person from the house and hold it up to Kunga.

"Kunga, who is this?" I ask, showing him the brown-faced, curly, black-haired lady.

"That's Oprah," he says, matter-of-factly.

I laugh until my sides split, gather myself, then hold up the next one. This time a rather androgynous looking person with short, brown hair.

"Kunga, who is this?" I ask.

"That's Aunt Carrie," he says without a trace of irony.

"From your lips to God's ears, Kunga, from your lips to God's ears."

Thursday, December 20, 2007


See this cute little ladybug sitting on a pretty leaf? Darling!

See this cute little ladybug sitting on my TONGUE? NOT SO CUTE!

I swear to God, I just about swallowed one!

WHAT is a ladybug doing in my water glass in winter? In my tightly sealed home? Please tell me HOW it got there, and how I can be so possibly distracted that I didn't NOTICE the giant ladybug in my glass before filling my mouth with a huge gulp of water and its poor little unsuspecting body!

Luckily for ladybugs, I have a killer gag reflex. I coughed that thing up so fast it would have made your head spin. She was FINE! I opened up the door and set her free. She will survive.

Ladybugs symbolize good luck. I'm pretty sure she was the lucky one this time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Key-rist! I've been roared by Jenny Rough at Roughly Speaking. What an honor!

OK, so I am supposed to list three things that make great writing. Well, let's see:

1) HUMOR - I like to laugh! If you have a sad ass story to tell, you don't have to be Robin Williams, but you need some humor to break up all the sadness. Some of my favorite books have depressing stories, but aren't depressing to read. That was what I loved about Blackbird, my favorite book of all time.

2) Cut to the chase! Be succinct, but don't forget to paint the reader enough of a stage that they feel they are there.

3) Make me think. Challenge me. Turn something I hold as true, and force me to re-think it, but don't piss me off. It's a fine line. I want to open my mind but not blow it all to bits.

OK! There you have it! Now I am supposed to tag 5 writers. I tag:

Kimmy Pie

I also know it's a crazy time of year for everyone but Holly (see her blog) so I will understand if you deal a chimp to me.


Had my regular dental check-up today. I am a dental wonder. WONDER, I tell you. Nothing pleases a good dentist more than seeing me bite together. The joy on their faces would bring tears to your eyes, TEARS!

I've had what dentists technically call, one &%$#@@ up jaw/bite/mouth forever. Well, not forever, for the first 39 years of my life. And now I don't. Now I bite together and teeth touch, there is occlusion, closure, and this, apparently, is really, really important.

Closure. Yes, it's a nice thing to have when one is attempting to speak, eat, swallow and breath. It's also, as I've recently discovered, a nice thing to have in life, overall.

The tricky thing about closure is, you don't always know when something has come to an end, so you don't do any closure activities/ceremonies, nothing, about it. Then, when you wake up in a cold sweat one night in your bed of knotted sheets and soggy pillows, you sit bolt upright and say, "Key-rist! I guess that is OVER! WTF?"

So, I made my dentist turn cartwheels in his office today, and came home and had a LONG telephone conversation with someone that helped me to feel emotional closure. We actually spoke for 158 minutes, according to our anal retentive telephone systems. Through that mega conversation we laughed, raged, got teary, and most importantly, got to to the bottom, the end, the finale of a project we've been working on for a year now. Closure.

So why don't I feel like a whole new person today? Why was last night the night I awoke with tangled, soggy sheets and mind whirling with disappointment, outrage, deep sadness, deep regret, and humiliation? What's up with that?

So we all agree there are no accidents, right? Everything happens for a reason? Our enemies are our best friends? We are all each others' teachers? Blah, blah, blah? My mind gets this. My soul gets. My body doesn't. My body wants to shake. My body wants to sweat. My body wants to yank things off walls and throw things from shelves. My body wants an outward display of closure. It wants to look around my environment and SEE the end of an era, not just understand it in the abstract. My body wants concrete signs of the end.

When my body, mind and spirit all come to the end of this road, then, and only then, there will be closure.

True closure.




The end.

The new beginning.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Rojo's name has morphed. It went from Rojo to Rojo-de-do-de-do, to Rodeo-ho-ho, and now even HE is referring to himself as Rodeo. Yee haw! Ride em' cowboys!

So, Rodeo comes into my office and says, "OK, Mom, I'm going to ask you a question, and you have three choices for answers. You can say, 'SURE!' or you can say, 'Maybe,' but you cannot say, 'No.'"

Not bothering to explain that is not really three choices, I agree to hear the question.

"Can you go to Safeway and buy a bottle of Aquafina?"

"Right now?" I ask, looking at my watch and planning my "out."

"Yes! Right now! You will go to Safeway and you will buy me one bottle of Aquafina. You will open up that thing they have like a refrigerator? The one you just walk right up to and open? The one you just open up the door and take the Aquafina?" His eyes bounce with joy just talking about the refrigerator containing bottles and bottles of expensive and environmentally disastrous tap water.

"Oh, I don't know, Rodeo, we have two cases of water in the garage that you've already talked me into buying."

"Mom! That is not one of the answers! You are supposed to THINK ABOUT THE QUESTION BEFORE YOU ANSWER IT!," a line obviously borrowed from his teacher.

"OK, I will think about it."

"Great!" he beams, bouncing off like I just handed him a winning lottery ticket.

I go back to writing and forget all about the Aquafina.

For a full two minutes.

"MOM," he bounces back in, "did you have time to think about going to Safeway? BUT, before you decide, Daddy says you can either take Woohoo to Youth Group, or you can go to Safeway, we need bread."

I quickly depress Control/Save and trudge downstairs.

"I will take Woohoo to Youth Group, and on the way home I will get the Aquafina and bread from Safeway!" I announce to the gathered family, smiling proudly at myself for killing three birds with one stone, and thinking evilly how I can work this in my favor later.

I do just that, and when I return triumphant, I am met at the door by a very sad and deeply troubled young boy.

"I was scared to death! You did not take me to Safeway! I wanted to GO with you to Safeway! You were supposed to TAKE me to Safeway, not buy Aquafina without me! I do not want that stupid Aquafina! That is a BAD bottle of Aquafina! I am so sad you did not take me to Safeway! Why did you not take me to Safeway? Why did you scare me to death?"

He cannot catch all the tears pouring from his eyes, both sleeves and two Kleenex are not enough for the spillage. He is hardly intelligible through all the sobbing. His little heart is BROKEN - fully broken. He is holding the Sharpie pen in his hand, all ready to write his name on the bottle of Aquafina that HE wanted to choose from the special refrigerator, and I've gone and blown his plan all to hell.

"I am so sorry, Rodeo, SO sorry! I didn't understand! I thought I was supposed to bring it back for you!"

"No! That was NOT what you were supposed to do! You did not follow directions!"

I quickly determine that this is one of those times when I must give in, buckle, turn things around at all cost, or it will escalate to the point of no return, and frankly, I'm just not up for that scene tonight.

"OK, get your shoes and coat on, let's go."

One last wipe down of the face and he's pulled himself together enough to get himself in the car.

Still snuffling, recovering from the aftershocks of sobbing, he says, "Were you trying to deal me a chimp?"

"Beg pardon?" I say, eyes on the rainy windshield, mind a million miles away.

"You were trying to deal a chimp to me, weren't you, Mom!"

"Excuse me?" I say, now fully intrigued with what he is saying, and mind frantically searching for the real meaning.

"Ahhh..." I say, as it slowly dawns on me, "No, I don't think I'm dealing with a chimp, Rodeo. I'm sorry about the mix-up."

"That's OK, Mom, I won't deal a chimp to you either."

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I'm from Eugene, Oregon. And if you've never heard of it, that's OK, you've been affected by it. I. Promise.

In 1971 a man named Bill Bowerman, while coaching a bunch of runners at the University of Oregon, decided he could improve upon the shoes the runners were wearing. He grabbed his wife's waffle iron and made the first NIKE. Green and yellow, U of O colors, go Ducks! The rest, as they say, is history.

Eugene remains the running capital of the world.

I am not a runner.

My husband was. He ran and was wicked good in high school, still holds two school records 30 years later, even after everything was converted into metric. His records can't be touched.

STM, my husband, ran himself to a full scholarship at Boise State University, and did well. He really wanted to run for the Ducks, though. All really good runners seek a spot on the U of O track team. A guy named Phil Knight ran there. Some kid called Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazaar, Mary Decker Slaney, maybe you've heard of them? Research the history of track and you'll find these names in every case.

Finally, after two years as a Bronco, STM abandoned his full scholarship and decided to transfer to U of O. He could run for the team, but not on a scholarship. He would have to run (100 miles a week) and work, and go to school. But he did. And he was amazing.

We were two people living in Eugene at the same time, but we didn't meet there. It wasn't until I had graduated from the U of O's rival state school, Oregon State (go Beavers! Yes, I said Beavers. I know, I know, believe me, I know, and to make matters worse, their colors are black and orange) and got a job in Portland, that we met.

Little ol' me, with not a BIT of sports interest or ability, got her first job out of college working at NIKE. (That's a whole other blog posting.) At that time NIKE had many buildings all over Beaverton, Oregon, not the "Campus" they have now. I got put into a building for "Footwear" and so did STM. Neither of us had a job remotely related to footwear, but we had a more Universal "job" - meeting each other, I guess.

We met, we dated, we both left NIKE, and here we are today.

Tomorrow, we are invited to be guests at the NIKE Employee Store. My old boss still loves me (Hi, Janell!) and lets me "in" once a year. STM and I are going to shop for ourselves. We are going to spiff ourselves up with current NIKE fashion. Imagine that. We are going to buy a thing or two for the kiddies, too, but mostly, we are going to walk through the door of our past, together, before we walk out the door to our future, together. For better or for worse. For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. We've had the worse, the poor and the sickness. We're thinking 2008 might be our year for better, richer and healthier, in all the "right" ways.

Go, Links! Our colors are True and Blue.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Broken sheet of glass

Helium filled underwear (allowing one to spontaneously lift off the ground)

Fire escapes

Paper towels

Attempted rape

Lunch at McDonald's with my mother

Driving a car with no control over how car maneuvers

Trying to write a check but keep making mistakes

College entrance exams

Vacuum cleaners



What do all these things have in common? They were all part of my SAME damn dream last night.

I'm going back to bed. I'm fully exhausted.

PART OF ME EXERCISE: All these aspects of the dream had me trying to gain control over an uncontrollable situation. Here goes:

The broken part of me is trying to clean up part of me. The more I force part of me to do what I want, the more part of me tries to escape part of me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


OK, so I got out my old 1984 wall calendar last night, right before going to bed. What? What's that you say? You can't believe I still have my wall calendar from 1984? Really? You can't? Well then you don't know me very well! Believe it, baby. Believe. It.

So, as I was saying, I got out my old 1984 wall calendar last night, and I finished a project I started 23 years ago. Twenty. Three. Years. Ago.

What's that you say? Who has a "To Do" list that is 23 years old? Well, again, I do. Get over it.

23 years ago I got the calendar of a lifetime, artwork by Corita Kent, my GURU, may she R.I.P. It's a series, 12 pieces that flow from one to the other with their words and with the paint brush.

The theme is moments. Loving all of them. Loving the dark moments. Loving the light moments. Loving the moments in between.

I'll be damned if the message isn't just as pertinent to me as it was in 1984.

But here's the funny thing. I'm a neurotic keeper of the birthdays. I always know when everyone's birthday is, and in 1984 I was even WORSE. Almost every day has the name of someone I guess I acknowledged. Scary thing is, 3/4 of these names don't ring one damn bell for me now. Not. A. Bell. Who the hell were these people that I just HAD to recognize, that I can't even conjure up a face for now?

They were flashes in the pan. They were in my moment then. Not now.

But some of the names? The other 1/4? I am still in touch with. 23 years later they are still in my life, and I love them more now than I did then.

They were the real deal. Life-long friends. They were in my moment. They ARE in my moments now.

Is one better than the other? Can we find just as much value from a short-lived friendship, as from a long one?

Maybe. Some come in, burn bright, then explode and disappear. But while they burn bright, that moment of intensity is so bright its glow carries you for many "moments" afterwards. Many lifetimes, maybe.

Last night I had dinner with three old friends, For eighteen years we've been friends. I was a young, single, poor, hopeful, naive new teacher when I met them. I am older, married, saddled with kids and minus the naivete now. Still hopeful, though. Still think I can make a difference in the world. Eighteen years and we are all still trying to make the difference in the lives of children. We are still who we were then, in that moment. We have had many moons and moments pass between us since, but we really haven't changed much.

Are friendships here to change us? Do others change for having known us? Can we make a difference in the lives of others and yet maintain the status quo? Is it possible to throw ourselves into the lives of others and not ripple their waters? Do we make a small kerplunk or a big, giant, tidal wave? Does it just depend? On what?

The moment. Different moments, different stokes for different folks. We are all different. And so much alike. We need each other. Sometimes we need a small kerplunk that reverberates quietly for years and years. Sometimes we need a messy, crashing wave that comes along, sweeps clean all that is not anchored down in our lives and washes it away. When the storm recedes we see what is left. What is left is real. What was illusion is gone. Those stormy friends can be very significant, no matter how short-lived. We are profoundly changed from having known them.

The twelve calendar pages were cut from their binding last night. Each page cropped to fit its own frame, then inserted inside between glass and cardboard. Shiny glass on the front, strong, sturdy cardboard on the back. One side with the glory, one side there for support, taking a back seat to the spotlight, but making the other side useless without it. Two parts that aren't good until they come together. Two types of friends, no good to us unless we have both. Some friends are shiny and get all the glory. Some are strong, sturdy, there every time you need them, happy to recede into the wings of your life stage, catch you when you fall, come out when you need a hand, then go back quietly again until the next time.






Forever friends.

Big, splashy friends.


Monday, December 10, 2007


God, there's nothing better than when two beautiful things/people/events/etc. come together to make something WAY better than the sum of its parts. LOVE that. Love everything about that!

Way back in June I had the profound experience of spending an evening with two ROCK STARS! Well, not rock, better, FOLK STARS! Tracy Grammer and Kate Power. Kate told a beautiful story of having a song "downloaded" to her by the Universe. She wrote the song, "Travis John" and what happened continues to happen. Synthesis. Synchronicity. No accidents. Then Kate sang the song for us. We wept. Then Tracy sang the song for us, her own rendition. We wept. The beauty of these two women's voices. The beauty of the lives they touch by singing. The beauty that Tracy has vowed to sing "Travis John" at every concert until the war is over. Beauty, beauty and more beauty.

So, here's the song, and the story. You need both these CDs, for sure.


Under a foreign sky,
my fate awaits me.
There but for God go I,
do not forsake me.

I am a boy,
full of promise,
full of freedom;
And now the joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Before the western sea,
my home was in the valley.
There with my family,
I took to manhood early.

I was the one
my brother called,
my mother looked to me,
her fine, strong son;
And now the joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Finding my way to go,
the call that I should answer;
My country's own hero,
like music to the dancer.

I am a boy
full of promise,
full of freedom;
And now the joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Under a weeping willow tree
you planted roses.
There in my memory,
where my eternal ghost is.

I was a boy
full of promise,
full of freedom;
And now the joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

And now the joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Kate Power

"Power's song, 'Travis John' speaks to the grief of war and the heroic idealism of America's youth. Travis John Bradach-Nall was one of the first Oregonians killed in Iraq (July 2, 2003). 'Travis John' captured the attention of local media, who responded with newspaper articles and radio airplay. A special feature on Oregon ArtBeat (OPB) was created to tell the story of the song, the boy, and the studio where it all came together, only to discover that 'Travis John' was unknowingly recorded in the studio that was built by the boy the song was written for.

'Travis John' won 1st prize at the 2006 Kerrville Folk Festival in the 'Music to Life' song contest for social change sponsored by the Public Domain Foundation founded by Noel Paul Stookey. Adopt-a-Minefield is the beneficiary of the prize money in memory of Cpl. Travis John Bradach-Nall. The song was judged by a panel of judges including Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, Mary Travers, Judy Collins, Cheryl Wheeler, Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, Christine Lavin, Len Chandler, John Stewart, Tom Chapin & Holly Near." (Information from Artichoke Music)

To order Kate's (and her cute husband's, Steve Einhorn) CD, "Pearls," click here.

To order Tracy's new CD, "Book of Sparrows," click here.


Sunday, December 09, 2007


"People! They're the WORST!" says Jerry Seinfeld in one of my favorite "Seinfeld" episodes. Cracks me up every time.

And there isn't a more irritable person on the planet than me. If it can bug? I find it buggy. Having children with some extra buggy tendencies (read "constant behavior") has forced me to be more patient. Yea, the kids. And the 50 mg. of Paxil I religiously pop into my mouth on a daily basis.

"They are my child abuse prevention pills!" I quip. And it's true. Before the meds I was so snappy, grouchy, reactive and all-around bitchy.

Last night I dreamed I was packing up my stuff and I put it all on a boat. Then I swam beside the boat in a river. All of a sudden the river got wild and the boat filled with water. I had to grab, really quickly, what I wanted to save before the river swept it all away.

I grabbed my meds.

And the kids' meds.

And my cell phone.

And my camera.

That's it.

Just really glad to know even in my sub-conscious state I know what matters.

Then I woke up this morning with this song in my head. Although I am bugged by the "says you were half now you're whole" part, but still. I'm a lucky woman. I need people - even the buggy ones.



People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world,
We're children, needing other children
And yet letting our grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside,
Acting more like children
Than children.
Lovers are very special people,
They're the luckiest people
In the world.
With one person, one very special person
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you were half,
Now you're whole.
No more hunger and thirst
But first be a person
Who needs people.
People who need people
Are the luckiest people
In the world!

With one person, one very special person
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you were half,
Now you're whole.
No more hunger and thirst
But first be a person
Who needs people.

People who need people
Are the luckiest people
In the world!

*Photo from Jupiter Images

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Do something nice for yourself today, watch this.


P.S. Let's join together for peace the 7th of every month, 7:00 PM, 7 minutes. Thanks to those of you that joined us last night.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Today is Pearl Harbor Day. It is also the 7th of the month. Some of you may already be doing this, but if not, please join me and my neighbors as we stand outside at 7:00 PM, and share a 7 minute prayer for peace in this world. We light our candles, bow our heads, close our eyes, and we come together.

We are Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists, Agnostics.

We are neighbors.

We want peace.

We believe peace is possible.

Please join us.


Thursday, December 06, 2007


It's my friend's fault, really, it was her big idea. She wanted to spend time with her husband, "quality time." They decided that instead of using his vacation time taking a vacation, he would spend a week at home. He wouldn't go to work, she wouldn't either. She cleared her calendar totally, and he started buckling under pressure from work. Soon his "week" off was a little bit here and a little bit there. "TFBS!" she called.

Not happy that he was not living in the spirit of their vacation time, she cancelled it entirely.

He wanted to prove he could do it. They re-scheduled. This time she called it "Lock Down." NO EXCEPTIONS. No important meetings or phone calls, just the two of them, together, for a week (plus both weekends). Now, they do have children, and so their alone time was really only during school hours. They spent much time planning good use of those hours, trying to balance fun and responsibility. They had some household projects they wanted to accomplish, but they set aside time for fun things, going to the beach, hiking, lunch out, that sort of thing.

It was a huge success! They had a ball being together! Remembered all the reasons they got married in the first place. They laughed, they puttered around, they had fun, they rested, they relaxed, TOGETHER.

"Don't tell STM about this great idea of yours," I warned her. "He'll LOVE it, and I cannot imagine 9 straight days of togetherness. Please. Take. It. To. Your. Grave."

Well, "Lock Down" got leaked, and he found out. I knew it was only a matter of time until he got some crazy idea about doing the same thing.

He's a smart one, though, my husband. He knew I'd never go for 9 days.

"Care, I'm thinking about a little Lock Down for us. Just 2 nights, I full day, two 1/2 days. Just you and me in Sisters. We'll go to movies, we'll Christmas shop, we'll rent videos, we'll hang. What do you

Hard to say no to that. He even promised to make all the childcare arrangements.

He did.

We did.

It was great.

I've got two words for you people: Lock Down. Try it, you'll like it!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Dear Family and Friends,

Thanks for all the great feedback we got from last year's letter - wow! We didn't realize we had such power, such influence! We were able to TOTALLY RUIN life for many of you, and TOTALLY DELIGHT some of you, all with the same little ol' letter! We are hardly worthy of such import, but thanks, none-the-less!

We're happy to report 2007 has been QUITE the year for the Links! All FOUR of us are now pooping in the toilet! Hurrah!

Carrie finished her book and just about finished her marriage! Ha, ha, ha! Now her book, and her marriage, wait for the results to come in. Will an agent sign her on? Will an agent get her book to sell? Will she make it to the yellow couch? Will her husband stick with her if any of those things happen? We will see! Excitement abounds! 2008 already promises a year of drama!

Rojo never made it out of the Willamette Valley this year. If there ain't no cable, there ain't no Rojo! He doesn't like to be too far away from his daily doses of "Drake and Josh" and "Suite Life of Zach and Cody." But can we just say, thank God for ESPN? "We" know ALL the teams, professional and college! Basketball and football! We know all the mascots, too! Go ahead and try us! You can't stump us, no way, that just goes to show you what a good case of OCD can do for a person! Plus, there just isn't anything more fun than playing the "What does Boston College Stand for?" game! Come on, everybody, say it with me, "Eagles! Go Eagles, Go!"

Our little girl is a teenager now, and that prohibits us from saying anything that could in anyway be interpreted as critical, so, well, enough said! We can say, all those years of arguing? Excellent practice for the teenage years! We really like to prepare our kids well for the next stage of life, and we are going to go ahead and take an A for this one. The girl is a world class arguer! The. Best.

STM continues to be husband and father-of-the-year while his flakey wife squeaks out the last few drops of her "Power Year." She is strongly considering switching it to the "Power Decade" - one year just really isn't enough to do the kind of personal growth, a.k.a. make life a living hell for everyone, that she intends to do!

The Links continue to enjoy the benefits of finding out who their true friends are! Nothing like a dissident blog writer to separate the wheat from the chafe! We've been effectively black balled from some social circles, but that's OK, we have cable! Who needs cocktail parties?

STM and Carrie celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary this month, 22 years of togetherness. Carrie has officially spent 1/2 her life with this man now, and he is still full of surprises! Just when she thinks she's pushed as far as she can push, he opens his big, warm heart and makes more room.

Happy holidays from our crazy household to yours!

The Links

*Photo from

Monday, December 03, 2007


OK, this is my latest fascination - I stumbled on this show in one of my extremely rare TV channel surfing moments, and got hooked. TLC was running a marathon of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" and I got sucked in big time. EIGHT? And I'm sorry, SIX 2-year-olds? Lord, have mercy!

But here's the irony. The more I watched, the less I was in that "I don't know how they do it" state. I DO know how they do it! They have EIGHT children that sleep on a schedule. They have PREDICTABILITY, ROUTINE, ORDER, CONTROL in their home. They have eight children that eat what's put before them. Eight kids that are TYPICAL.

I just finished Jenny McCarthy's book, Louder Than Words. As any parent of a child FAR from typical knows, this is HELL. I'm willing to go way out on a limb and say Jenny McCarthy, and parents dealing with life and death health issues and/or extreme special needs, have it WAY harder than anyone with "just 8."

I want a reality show where they have a film crew around the clock of a mother of a two-year-old with some special needs, and a baby with lots. I want that crew to be there at 1:00 AM, 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, with the screaming infant, the mother wildly swinging the baby in an infant seat in a futile effort to let the husband and 2-year-old sleep. God knows the daddy has to get up in the morning and "work" - he needs his sleep!

Instead of a camera crew following Kate along while she manages to grocery shop with 2 carts and an impressive array of coupons, ALONE, I want a camera crew to follow the mother of the 2-year-old and infant trying to shop. Please keep the camera rolling as she tries to unload the car, put the food away, cook the dinner, and have everything ready for the husband when he gets home from "work" - he'll be hungry! Please keep the volume on while the infant SCREAMS the entire time! Please keep things rolling as the baby barfs on the mom, the mom's boobs leak, the 2-year-old wets her pants and this is all happening in full stereo in the grocery store.

Are you impressed with her use of coupons? She needs two carts, too, just for a family of four. The infant seat takes up 1/2 of one cart, the two-year-old the other 1/2, then one is for groceries. Of course neither child spends much time in the cart, so this mother wears running shoes to catch the two-year-old while wildly swinging the infant in the car seat. Wouldn't want to disturb all the nice people at the grocery store with all that SCREAMING!

Do I sound bitter? Resentful? Well Key-rist! Kate and Jon had fertility treatment. They KNEW they would likely get multiples. They CHOSE this. They paid good MONEY For this. This is what they bargained for. Are we to applaud them and make them heroic for getting exactly what they wanted? Nobody gets married and says, "Hey, honey, I know, let's have two kids, both with special needs! It'll be just like we always dreamed! The sleep deprivation! The doctor visits! The therapists! The relentless screaming! The bills! The inability to leave the house ever again! What do you say?"

OK, let me come back to center. I like Jon and Kate, they are darling. Their family is darling. We need families like that in the world. Great humans doing great things. I do not wish on anyone the full knowledge of what it takes to raise a special child, or two, or three, or... I do wish for a world where those of us that ARE dealing with atypical children are given the benefit of the doubt. We are given your compassion, not your judgment. We are given your help, not your condemnation. We are given your smile, not your disapproving looks. If you don't know what to do, say that. Say, "I don't know what to do, tell me, I want to help." We will appreciate that. And while you are at it, do not judge our marriages, coping skills, atypical adjustments to life with atypical children. Please. We've got enough to deal with without making it all OK with you.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

10 Questions for the Dalai Lama

Y'all aren't tired of me writing about my buddy, H.H., right? Good! I didn't think so! He's just so darn writable! LOVE him, love him, love him, LOVE him! The man personifies "love." He IS love. I just watched this DVD and plan to watch it again immediately. But here are the highlights:


10) He didn't wear his visor once on the video - darn.

9) He's HILARIOUS! A jokester! A trickster! And that GIGGLE - stop! WAY too cute!

8) He's quick to laugh at himself.

7) He's humble - big time.

6) When someone points out a good reason he's wrong, he's quick to apologize and publicly change his statement/opinion.

5) He NEVER veers from his message of love, peace, compassion.

4) When science and religion disagree, he tends to go towards science.

3) He believes many customs are out-of-date and need to go, especially with regards to women.

2) A monk was captured by the Chinese, tortured and held prisoner for two years. When he was released he denounced peace, love and compassion towards the Chinese. After 2 hours with the Dalai Lama he changed back, permanently, to practice/believe/integrate peace, love and compassion for all sentient beings.

1) He chose the next Panchen Lama - the Lama that will identify the next Dalai Lama after his death - and the boy disappeared immediately and has never been heard from since. The Chinese chose their own Panchen Lama and plan to "use" him to "choose" the next "Dalai Lama" In an effort to fully control Tibetans. The Dalai Lama has nothing but compassion for this "Panchen Lama."

That's a little scary - long live H.H.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

(Photo by

I'm still trying to shake off the night of intense dreaming I just had. Key-rist! I spent the entire night trying to out-smart an organized group plotting to murder me! Then I found out the whole thing was a birthday surprise! It was all a "game" a "trick!"

So, play along with me in the fun game of percept language:

There was a group, part of me, trying to murder part of me. I out-smarted part of me and kept alive part of me. I found out part of me was actually being surprised by part of me.

Say it with me, Key-rist! Yea! A little like that!