Friday, May 30, 2008


"Getting the pink" is an expression my friend, Kathleen, uses. I think I've blogged about it before.

"She's not getting enough pink," she'll say when one of her three daughters is acting needy.

"Oh, she's FINE! She's had PLENTY of pink lately!" she'll say when one of her girls complains and she doesn't feel her complaints are legit.

"___________ is just upset because ________________ is getting all the pink," she might say when one girl is jealous of another.

"I called ______________ today, gave her some pink," she'll say.

You get the idea.


We're all after "it." Attention. Recognition. Time. Reassurance.

There is a Buddhist practice called Chod. Chod means "cutting through." Cutting through ego, fear, attachment.

I think "cutting through" might be the end of the need for pink.

The quest for "enough" is what I find to be the source of my struggles. Of course, "enough" is completely a moving target and subjective, even from moment to moment, thus, the perpetual suffering! For me, it's like sinking in quicksand. And, although I've never actually stepped in quicksand, my understanding is that the more you struggle and flail around, the quicker you sink.

Struggle and Scarcity seem to be BFFs.

I'm breaking those two up.

Their run in my life has been long, and gotten top billing.

There are some new kids on the block: Acceptance and Gratitude.

Can't wait to see their act. At the very least, it will be fresh and inspired!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I never heard of this dude until yesterday, St. Germain. Been reading up on him. Love him and everything about him, especially this:

"This is My Message. This is the Desire of My Heart: that each of you exhibit the fullness of the Opportunity that is afforded you to become the Christed One, to walk in the Light of the Christ. And then take My Message and run with It. Collect together, do not put It, My Message, on the shelf, but put It on the altar and let It expand, and let the Fires of the Heart of your own God Presence bring into the fullness of your own life the Power, the Wisdom, and the Love of God, and all good things will come into your life. There will be a greater Abundance of Light than you will be able to keep in your members. You will be required to give It back to God in a figure eight flow, or to release It to others and to God in Life. You will not be able to contain It. And guess what? The more you give the more you will receive, until one day you will go spinning out of control right into the Ascension and you will not even know that you are there. It matters not where you are on the Path. It matters what you are doing on the Path. For there are victories and accomplishments each and every day that are joys to experience."

St. Germain is associated with The Violet Flame. "The flame is the essence of a unique spiritual light. Mystics of all ages have glimpsed a 'spiritual spectrum' behind the physical spectrum. Radiant colors, more pure and rare than those found on earth, emanate from a brilliant, 'inner' divine light. Just as a ray of sunlight passing through a prism refracts into seven colors, spiritual light splits into seven colors, or 'rays' - each of which has specific divine qualities. The violet flame comes forth from the violet ray, which has the qualities of mercy, forgiveness, freedom and transmutation. "

"You can also use the violet flame to help family and friends. Just visualize the violet flame around them while you give the decree, and add a prayer before you start. The violet flame can also help others that you might not be aware of. After you have finished decreeing, you can ask: "In the name of the Christ within me, I ask that this violet flame be multiplied and used to assist all souls on this planet who are in need. I thank you and accept it done according to the will of God."

"Even a few minutes of violet flame will produce results, but persistence is needed to penetrate age-old habits you would like to change. You can start out with just a few minutes of violet flame in the morning to help you through the day, and you can add the violet flame to whatever prayers or meditations you currently practice."

"The Violet Flame allegedly transmutes energies allowing a soul to burn off the karmic ties that bind it to the emotional grid or physical realms. Its purpose is to transmute negative energy into positive energy."

Can't talk now, gotta go visualize the Violet Flame.



10. Am I married? Yes.

9.. Do I love my husband? Yes.

8. Does he drive me stark raving mad? Yes.

7. Is the feeling mutual? Yes.

6. Does he read my blog? No.

5. Do I wish he read my blog? No.

4. Did he ever read my blog? Yes.

3. Did I ask him to stop? Yes.

2. Does he cheat and read it? No. He's not a cheater.

1. Will I ever leave him? Never.

"Love" Artwork by Corita Kent (My favorite artist of all time)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I just got the newsletter from my sorority in the mail yesterday. Love looking at the pictures of the active members. Don't love seeing them all dressed up for an 80's party, looking frighteningly like we DID when I lived in that same house.

This is a picture of the place I was lucky enough to call home for four years.

In this home I was given the things you're supposed to get at home:







Shared responsibility







I don't care what anyone says about sororities, I can't speak to that, but I can speak to my own experience.

It was a home.

Better late than never.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Who is it that can make muddy water clear? No one. But left to stand, it will gradually clear of itself."
Tao Te Ching

So, I watched both these movies while away for the long weekend. I'm sure I'm the last human to see them, but that's par for the course. I don't get out much.

Anyhoo, great movies, and true stories,both of them. Both with themes of following your dreams, reaching for the stars, defying the odds, ignoring the naysayers and just DOING it!

I saw so much of myself in Hilary Swank's character in "Freedom Writers." That's the kind of teacher I was. That's the reason I'm not teaching anymore. Couldn't do it half way. Once I had two kids of my own with special needs, I just couldn't give to the other kids like I needed/wanted to. Saw so much of my husband in the Patrick Dempsey character, too. Tried hard, unsuccessfully, not to label the guy a huge jerk.

Was he a jerk? He just couldn't hang with her once her passion took over her life. That's not what he signed up for. Are we automatically jerks when we say, "Hey, I didn't sign up for this, and I know myself well enough to know I can't do this, I'll only pull you down with me." Does that make someone a jerk, or just honest?

And what about her character? Should she have chosen her husband over her life/passion/career? When do ones vows to another become null and void? Can marriage survive one outshining the other, or must the shiniest dull it down? Wouldn't want anyone else to feel bad! Gotta keep everyone's ego in mind when out there pursuing your dreams!

And in "Once" two musicians come together to prove the point that two heads are better than one, that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

I've got a story like that one, too. The story couldn't hold tight, though. The whole got too great, now we're back to two separate sums. Doesn't mean the whole wasn't really great, though, while it lasted.

In both movies the main characters had parents that were solidly in their corner. Perhaps that was the aspect that touched me the most. Although I didn't have a parent that believed in me like that, can I be that parent? Can I be the parent that listens to my child's music and says, "Fucking brilliant!" like the father in "Once?"

Can I be the mother that watches the granddaughter so my daughter can go pursue her dreams?

Can I be the parent that helps my child do whatever it is they want to do, even if what they want to do is not what I want them to do, like the father in "Freedom Writers?" Can I get on board like that? Can I admit when I'm wrong, when my child knows more than I think they know, when their passion is all consuming, can I get behind it, instead of in front, blocking it?

Both movies stirred me, muddied the waters of what I think.

Good movies do that.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I usually add a fourth F - I'll let you guess what it stands for and where it fits in the line up. You'll be right.

I love my family.

I love fun.

Seldom do the two go hand-in-hand.

For me, family fun, and it's grandmother, family vacation, are just big ol' oxymorons.

We are all four, plus a friend of Woohoo's, ("K" of Marychrist fame), on a little Memorial Weekend "vacation." Worse yet, we're in Sisters, which is where I come to get away from all these people. Now they're here with me. On my turf. In my space. And the space ain't big. Can you say, 1/4 of the size of our house? Oh. And it's raining.

We brought bikes, badminton, STM even built a ping-pong table. The outdoor community pool is supposed to open this weekend, but it's too. damn. cold.

And I've got been sick. Fever. Chills. Sore throat.

But, yesterday we all rallied, got in the car and drove to Bend to go bowling. Rojo was really excited.

"I'm going to be Ricochet. That is going to be my name, and everyone else needs to have a bowling name, too. Here Mom," he says, handing me the Scotch tape and a Sharpie, "write my name on my shirt so everyone will know my name is Ricochet."

I pull off a strip of tape, stick it above the words Oakland Raiders that mark his t-shit, and begin to write.

R -i -c - o - c

"Mom! That is not my name! My name is not Ricochet. It is Rick O'Shea!"

Off comes that strip of tape and a new one takes its place.

Ricochet Rick and the girls climb in back, I sit next to STM. He's got zero hands on the wheel, his knee is doing all the work, and he starts a little story about the creek we pass. His head turns 1/2 way around to the girls (he assumes, correctly, they are the only ones interested in his creek story).

I feel myself grow so tense I could burst a blood vessel in my neck. As he tells the girls the creek story, a familiar story plays in my head. "Well, isn't this just typical! He's not even watching the road! He's so overly confident in his skills he's going to get us all killed. Why can't he just put both hands on the wheel, 10 and 2, like you're supposed to, and follow the RULES? Why must he always be above the law?"

I close my eyes and fake sleep the rest of the way to the bowling alley, figuring what I don't know can't hurt me, or make me homicidal.

We get to the bowling alley he asks everyone's shoe sizes. The girls shout out theirs, I shout out mine, and I tell him to get a size 5 for Rick O'Shea. We go in search of the perfect balls and STM comes back with the shoes. Rick's don't fit.

"I'll be right back," he says.

He comes back with another pair. Larger. They fit perfectly. I already know the answer but want to hear him say it.

"So, what size ended up fitting him?"

"Size 5," he says, quietly.

Nice Carrie stayed in Portland. Bitchy Carrie says, "Oh! The EXACT size I told you to get?"

He gives me the, "You're just determined to have a bad time, aren't you?" look.

And I realize, he's right.

I try to give myself an instant attitude adjustment and eventually, by my second turn up to bowl, am starting to get into it. Plus, I'm kicking everyone's butt, and that's always good clean fun.

By the end we're all high fiving, knuckle touching (with explosions) and whooping it up.

Just like a regular family.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don't go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won't laugh at you." Jim Rohn


I think I've blogged before how we bought our house from nuns, right? And two of them lived here and did their ministry from here?

Although it wasn't on any of the paperwork, we signed a spiritual contract when we bought the house, and made a solemn vow in person to the Sisters, that we would continue to use the house for healing work.

Through the years I've opened it up to lots of cool things: Inspirational authors; writers coming together in community; the healing of rage, and more.

Last night I brought in a man trained in Shamanic Journeying.

I hadn't even realized that all the people I'd invited to come here before were women. The speakers/leaders/guests, all women. Last night we were led by a man, and exactly half the guests/participants were men. We were four couples, lying end-to-end on our living room floor, journeying into the spirit world, and our subconscious selves.

The Sisters hadn't been so lopsided, their work included men and women, always. My "work," up until now, has not included men. Men were "them," and women were "us."

Haven't had the best experiences with the men in my life.

When we were done journeying, we sat around in a circle and shared our adventures. My journey didn't take me very far, it was really great, and I loved everything about it, but it wouldn't get more than a "C." Some of the people in the group went to amazing, deep, profound, and impressive places, solid "A" journeyers. But what struck me, as I looked around my living room, at this group of unbelievably amazing women AND men gathered, was just how far I've come.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I had the most incredible evening last night. Four of us, two men, two women, went to the top of Council Crest in Portland, and held our own Wesak ceremony. At the top of Council Crest is a circle marked with the directions of north, south, east and west. In the very center is a disk. When standing near that spot, your voice reverberates. Everything you say takes on new import and magnitude.

Mountains Hood, Adams and St. Helens are all in perfect view. All that is right about Portland is laid out before you, in verdant splendor. All the trees are in bloom and piles of pink dogwood blossoms lie everywhere. Huge, old azalea bushes in every shade of red, pink and purple boarder the grounds. It's spectacular.

When we arrived we set up a make-shift alter, right there on the disk. A special cloth, a flower, a small statue of Buddha (Wesak is his birthday celebration). Bikers, runners, walkers, lovers were in and out of our sacred space, talking, snapping into their toe clips, drinking from their water bottles. The minute we settled in and began our celebration with the singing bowl, the crowd vanished. We were left totally alone.

After calling in our guides, the wisdom of the four directions, ancestors and all that is holy and good, we sent our blessings out over the top of the crest, down into the valley, out into the universe.

Three of my favorite people on my left, right, and straight in front. My friend, her husband, and her friend that she's introduced me to, the Reiki Master. I sat in awe of this place on the globe, and my universe within it. Beauty in all directions, mountains, landscape, humanity.

My friend's husband was a Jesuit priest for years, then he met her, and his vocation got tweaked, but not changed. He is still a man of God, if not of the cloth. He is love, pure and simple. As I saw him get into full meditation pose and honor Buddha, the profound healing that Wesak is famous for, flooded my soul.

I love that there are people in the world that hold their own beliefs strongly, yet flexibly.

I love that old can meet new and they can get along.

I love that all good is good.

Monday, May 19, 2008


"Do you want to go to the park and count drinking fountains, Mom?" Rojo asks twice a day.

And twice a day we drive to the park, the one that sprawls at least a mile long, and many football fields deep. We walk the ground together, and count the drinking fountains. We've found six. Rojo is convinced there are seven, and if we just look hard enough, we'll find that last one.

His almost twelve-year-old hand in mine, almost as big. Where once he reached up and I reached down, we are all lined up now. Nearly shoulder-to-shoulder, eye-to-eye, as we walk, hand in hand.

Is it habit, I wonder, that has him reaching for my hand, holding it awkwardly, still not sure how one fits within another in a comfortable way?

It is affection, perhaps?

Is it the need to steady his awkward gait on the uneven grass?

Is it purely spontaneous, no thought whatsoever, just the purity of a child responding out of love without ego?

I hold his hand and listen to him talk about the fountains.

"There is one hiding in the trees, Mom," he says.

"One by the tennis courts."

"One by the baseball field."

"One is on the other side of a fence, but Daddy lifts me over and I get a drink. You don't have to lift me over, but we need to go see it, anyway. That is number four."

"Number five is by the bathrooms."

"Number six is by the white pick-up truck that works here."

"I know there is a number seven, though," he says every time.

He's probably right. One thing I know for sure, is when we find it, we'll be together, holding hands.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


A dear friend introduced me to the ancient study of the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes. She taught me how to throw the coins, determine which side was Yin (tails), and which side was Yang (heads).

She taught me how to add them up, record the results, look for changes, and interpret the readings. She taught me how to set my intention, journal the process, and reflect on the "answers."

It's simple really, you have three coins, and you toss them while asking a question to God/The Oracle/The Universe/Your own higher self. The Yang side is odd, 3 "points," and the Yin side is even, 2 "points." As you toss the coins six times, you keep track of the "score," and those numbers form trigrams. An odd number is illustrated with a straight line, an even number with a broken line.

Then you just check the I Ching chart to see which hexagram represents your answer.

Then you consult a book which explains each number.

Or, you just skip all that and do it on-line in about two seconds.

Today my heart is heavy with the loss of that friendship. I turn to the coins. I toss them with the question, "Shall I initiate contact?" I want the answer to be yes, but my heart knows, "If you have to ask, the answer is no."

I get 5. Hsu/Waiting (Nourishment):

"WAITING. If you are sincere,
You have light and success.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Waiting is not mere empty hoping. It has the inner certainty of reaching the goal. Such certainty alone gives that light which leads to success. This leads to the perseverance that brings good fortune and bestows power to cross the great water.

One is faced with a danger that has to be overcome. Weakness and impatience can do nothing. Only a strong man can stand up to his fate, for his inner security enables him to endure to the end. This strength shows itself in uncompromising truthfulness [with himself]. It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized. This recognition must be followed by resolute and persevering action. For only the man who goes to meet his fate resolutely is equipped to deal with it adequately. Then he will be able to cross the great water–that is to say, he will be capable of making the necessary decision and of surmounting the danger."

And so I wait.

* Photo from

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

I finished my book! I know, I know, if you had a nickel for each time you've heard me say that, but this time it's different! It's really ready to send to agents this time.

There are probably 5 more, at least, "I finished my book!" blog posts in my future, God willing, but today I am happy because I did something I've always wanted to do, always knew I could do, but still struggled to do. Had it been easy, it probably would not feel so. damn. good.

I have been writing A book for 3 1/2 years, but I've only been writing THIS book since the fall. After living 45 years and writing about ALL of them, enough writing to fill a swimming pool, and enough tears, too, this book is only the last year of my life. There are a few flashbacks, but not a whole lot. Turns out? The past has obviously shaped me, but it's NOT me. Didn't know that when I started.




The last time I thought I was "done" I sent it off to someone, and this came back to me:

"Your project is very compelling, and we were impressed with your candid descriptions what must be a difficult, yet important, story to tell. We were all affected by your strength to overcome the trauma that you experienced, and we admire your dedication to help others heal as well."

Nicest rejection letter ever.

I'm sure there are many more rejections coming my way, all part of the process, I've heard. If I've learned one thing through writing this book, it's that the process is as important, if not more so, than the product. And so I screw up my resolve to do this thing, to face the coming "No thank yous" with grace and dignity. It's not ME they will be rejecting (or, Lord willing, accepting) it's my writing. Again, not the same thing. Again, didn't know that when I started.

For the last few months I've been wearing pearls round the clock. Pearls in my ears, pearls round my wrist, three strands around my neck. The book has a pearl theme to it, each chapter starting with a quote containing pearls, not all of them wise, some of them just funny, or weird.




Friday, May 16, 2008


Last time there was a highly auspicious day I didn't give you all a lot of warning, so this time I am giving you a little bit, anyway! Monday, May 19th, is the Taurus Full Moon Festival known as Wesak. It is a day of profound healing, Buddha's birthday, and incredible blessings are showered upon us all. What's not to love about that?

To learn more about Wesak, click here.

For a Full Moon Meditation, click here.

Tashi Delek! (Auspicious good fortune) to you all!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


So Rojo is in the bathtub tonight, and we're trying to get him to do the whole thing himself.

He calls me in, "Mom! I'm done! I washed my body! I washed my hair!" And sure enough, he's fully lathered when I get there.

"OK, we need to rinse you off with clean water, " I say, grabbing the small pail and turning on the tap.

"Please let me do it? Please let me pour water on my own head!"

"OK," I say, handing him the first filled bucket.

"Wait. I'm not ready. I need to pray."

Eyes lowered, head bowed, he says, "Dear Lord, please make the water not hot, please make the water not hot, please make the water not hot." Then, crossing himself he says, "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen."

He grabs the bucket from my hands, dumps it on his head and says, "My prayers have been answered!"

* Photo from

Who remembers SRAs? I think that stood for Selected Reading Assessments, and it was a whole color coded reading comprehension program used in classrooms in the 60s and 70s.

Who remembers cheating their way to the top?

C'mon, tell me I'm not the only one that figured out in first grade you could get to the next group "up" by finding the answer key and just copying the whole thing? I mean they put them RIGHT THERE next to the questions! You were supposed to check your own work! That was part of the program's brilliance, no need for a teacher!

I'm not sure if it was the SRAs or my disdain for those damn headphones at the listening center, that made me crack. Remember the tape recorder that never worked, and the kids that wouldn't shut up, and the pages that you couldn't turn until you heard the beep, and the beep you couldn't hear because the kids wouldn't shut up, and so on, and so on, and so on! Utter madness! God, how I hated reading in school!

But now I dream of this: A library in my home, complete with a LADDER. And I know I'm not the only one that shares this dream, all my favorite reader friends want a ladder too. The ladder is where it's at. I've seriously considered turning my detached garage into my writing/reading studio. A bathroom, little kitchenette, maybe even a daybed, all that would be nice, but one thing is for sure, that sucker's getting a LADDER!

So what happened between the SRAs, bad headphones and now?

A Wrinkle in Time
Judy Blume
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Anne of Green Gables
The Thorn Birds

And many, many others that transported me with their words.

Now my happiest days are those spent reading, and writing is what I do for "work."

If I can write a book that transports even one single person, I will be thrilled.

I want to return the favor.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


It's just a damn good thing I'm so self-actualized, because I took my 14-year-old daughter shopping Sunday for graduation dresses, and it was a time of acute self-awareness, for me.

Standing in the tiny dressing room with her, both of us looking at the mirror, me adjusting straps and bows in the back, her in front. She at 5'6" plus, 105 lbs., barely, perky breasts, naturally golden highlighted hair, clear skin, cellulite-free body, fitting into size 0's and looking like a million bucks, and me.

There is no getting around the fact that I'm 45, that this body has born and nursed two children. That this hair can't decide what color it used to be, or is planning on becoming. That this skin has seen too much sun and not enough sunscreen. That these clothes are not part of any current, or for that matter, fairly recent, fashion. My mom would call my look "classic." My daughter would call it "old-fashioned." I would call it "very middle aged."

And that's what I am.


How did this happen?

I can remember being the one that looked like that.

And although I can remember looking like that, I can also remember how it felt to be that age.

I'll stick with 45, thank you very much.

I wouldn't trade the "beauty" of youth, for the wisdom of age.

Monday, May 12, 2008


This is what I "got" for Mother's Day from Rojo - the use of Elmo, Sam and Lucky, for 90 minutes. Elmo was wrapped in newspaper, Sam and Lucky in kitchen towels. He wrapped them up the night before, which means he chose my happiness over his, he couldn't sleep with this tremendous trio.

In the morning he was beside himself waiting for his sister to wake up so they could surprise me. He presented me with the three bundles and jumped up and down the whole time (3 seconds) that it took me to open them.

"Look! It's Elmokins! I am giving you my brother! Little Elmokins! Do you love him? Do you love Elmokins? Do you love my little brother???"

"Yes! I LOVE him! Thank you so much!

"You get to have him until 9:00 AM. Are you excited to have him until 9:00 AM?"

"Yes! Thank you!"

"And Sam! I am giving you Sam! Do you love Sam? Do you love my brother, Sam?"

"I love Sam, too."

"You get to have Sam until 9:00, too. And Lucky! You get to have Luckykins until 9:00, too! Are you excited to have my brother, Luckykins, until 9:00???"

"Yes! I am THRILLED!"

Picking up all three of his favorite brothers, giving them each a full mouth kiss, hug and a twirl, he says, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom!"

It was.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Love, love and more love to all mothers, everywhere! Happy Mother's Day!

THE BEATITUDES - For Mothers of Exceptional Children

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech:
For you help us to know that if we persevere,
We can be understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public places,
And ignore the stares of strangers,
For in your companionship,
We find havens of peace.

Blessed are you who never bid us to "hurry up,"
And more blessed are you
Who do not snatch tasks from our hands to do them for us,
For often we need time rather than help.

Blessed are you who stand beside us
As we enter new and untried ventures,
For our failures will be outweighed
By the times we surprise ourselves and you.

Blessed are you who ask for our help,
For our greatest need is to be needed.

Blessed are you when you assure us,
That the one thing that makes us individuals
Is not in our peculiar muscles,
Nor in our wounded nervous systems,
Nor in our difficulties in learning,
Nor any exterior difference.
But it is in our inner, personal, individual self
Which no infirmity can diminish or erase.

Author Unknown (But deeply appreciated)

Saturday, May 10, 2008


We've got a pair of ducks that live in the neighborhood. Yea. That's right. The neighborhood. And this neighborhood is complete with ZERO bodies of water.

Still, we've got these two ducks. A male and a female, and from what I can observe, they've been hooking up for quite some time. You never see one without the other. They sit on our lawn. They sit on the meridian of grass that runs down the center of our street. Yesterday I walked by a house, and about flipped my wig when one of them honked at me as it lay like a lawn ornament, on a raised flower bed, right at eye level from me.

I do not know what is up with these ducks. I do not know why they find our neighborhood to be their preferred habitat. But here's what I do know: They are in perfect sync. Without a word, they move as a unit. Without a word they move through their day, together.

Here's something else I know: Some animals mate for life, instinctually. They don't need lawyers, prenups, custody arrangements, they just make a deal and stick with it.

What do animals know that we human animals don't?

Are we making things too complicated?

I know I am. Just like my astrology reading said, I need to stop always striving for more/better/different.

What if "this," whatever "this" is, is perfect? JUST exactly as it is supposed to be?

I made myself a new mixed CD (when I was supposed to be doing all those other things, remember?) and I'm really diggin' on it. It's a goody, if I do say so myself. One of the songs I burned onto it is this one, a Tracy Grammer favorite of mine.


as the sun is to the city
in the endless weeping winter
so is joy to me, and pity
when he leaves me, falsely tender
like the true love's knot we tethered
plastic ivy round the portal
for to frame the spring forever
though the blizzard took the mortal holy rose
it's always winter when he goes

as a matter of convenience
we don't speak of dying gardens
as a woman of heart and lenience
i make liberal with my pardons
i am generous with kindness
he, with smiles and exultations
though he binds his wounds in silence
i my own in practiced patience, lest he know
it's always winter when he goes

he collects the twigs and briars
i stack them up for fire
but it's chilly for the burning

he slumbers in the straw
i hold out for the thaw
but the seasons won't be turning

as I'm writing you this letter
the bluestem's runnin riot
the daisies break their fetters
and the bees will not lay quiet
if you find him where he's dancin
with his lover or his jailer
say in april's splendid mansion
i lay broken by his trailer in the snow
it's always winter when he goes

© 1999 Dave Carter / Dave Carter Music (BMI) administered by Tracy Grammer Music

I think there are really good, critical, crucial reasons for leaving. What is on my mind these days is the coming back, the whys and whens of that, the ifs or nots. The blurry, messy, enough/good/same that is the flip side of my more/better/different personality.

What do animals know that I don't?

A friend popped in with an e-mail when I was writing this (no accidents). He wrote, "Did you know that the loggerhead sea turtle has the amazing ability to navigate across thousands of miles of ocean and return to the exact beach of their birth?"

When I replied that no, I did not know that, and asked how in the heck he did, his answer was that he reads about animals, because he is fascinated by what animals do by instinct, that humans require technology to accomplish.

What if we have instincts that are just as strong, true and powerful as the loggerhead sea turtle, but we "know" too much? What if what we are called to do is just being drowned out by all the loud voices on the outside? Or, sometimes the loudest, but not the most helpful voice, that of our own mind?

Friday, May 09, 2008


I had the most amazing astrology reading yesterday with this man, Robert Wilkinson. It was love at first sound, as it was over the phone.

I've dabbled in astrology, and always find it illuminating and quite helpful. Robert didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, now that I think about it, but he told me things I'd never thought about IN THAT WAY. I feel like he shoved this huge boulder that stood between me and my life's purpose, and hauled its ass away!

I'll spare you ELD, as I took 1/2 a legal pad full of notes. I'll stick with just the "aha" moments.


10. In order to get what I want, I need to ask for it. Work on clear/definite/above board demands.

9. Don't work against my OWN best interests.

8. Don't try so hard for what's already, naturally, mine.

7. Stop trying for more, better, different.

6. Aquarians don't serve individuals, they serve All Time.

5. Stop getting involved in things that divert/distract/deflect my greater goal.

4. When feeling overwhelmed, I don't have to have a 30-point plan, just look at the facts and ask, "What is a move I can make that will move me ONE step further down the road?"

3. I'm most unhappy when I've outgrown a role I'm done with.

2. I need to heal my own self-betrayals.

1. Ruthlessly disregard lesser responsibilities.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Did y'all watch/listen to the last webcast with Eckhart and Oprah Monday? Wow. At the very end Eckhart gave Oprah a leather bound copy of his book, with this poem written in it, by the Persian mystic, Hafiz.

"I am the hole in the flute that the Christ's breath moves through.
Listen to the music."

I love that.

It reminds me of The Prayer of St. Francis, another perennial favorite of mine.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

I would say that's the biggest gift I got from the 10 webcasts, a more unifying philosophy between my various religious beliefs/practices. Eckhart helped me fall back in love with the teachings of Jesus, which, while I never stopped loving, there was some stress and strain in the relationship. He helped me understand them better, or in some cases, for the very first time.

The longer I'm on this journey as my son's mother, the more I re-process the life and lessons of Jesus. I gotta quote one of my favorite people here, Drama Mama, "I mean it - raising Jesus couldn't have been easy. People didn't understand him. They didn't have Inclusion in those days. He wasn't on the spectrum, but he was out there, you know? Misunderstood. And My Girl Lupe stuck by him."

I'm no Mary, that's for damn sure, but I do have a son that is more Christ-like than anyone I've ever met in real life. He has no ego. None. He reminds me of Eckhart Tolle and the Dalai Lama in that way. The significant, or is it, difference is my son has a major communication disorder. He is not a scholar.

Or is he?

Is he the only one I know that communicates purely? Maybe we are all the ones with the disorder, and he "gets it?"

One never need read a book to be wise.

My son is wise.

My son is a hole in the flute that the Christ's breath moves through.

I am going to shut up and listen to the music.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


10. Preparing the event at my house in 3 hours.
9. Preparing for the event at my house Friday.
8. Preparing for the event that occurs WHILE I'm having an event at my house Friday, of which I cannot attend, but am fully in charge of, anyway.
7. Prepare for Mother's Day.
6. Prepare for the birthday party at my house on Saturday.
5. Prepare for 8 things I'm in charge of making sure happen for my daughter's 8th grade graduation.
4. Find drivers for the two field trips that I still haven't found drivers for, and for which I am unable to squeeze all 27 students into my own car, no matter how long I procrastinate.
3. Shop for all the graduates and teachers (8 each).
2. Everything that already needs to be done around here under "normal" conditions.
1. Scheduling a trip to "The Betty."


10. Downloading songs from i-Tunes
9. Making pretty covers for all the new mixes I'm making on i-Tunes
8. Buying a new scanner because I don't want to ask to borrow someone's.
7. Checking Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity for the best prices on a trip I can't afford to take.
6. Checking my e-mail.
5. Cleaning my closet.
4. Shopping all over town for a "singing bowl" because I've always wanted one, and decided NOW was the time I must have one.
3. Re-arranging the furniture in the living room (again).
2. Organizing my receipts.
1. Writing this blog.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


My son, Rojo, age 11 years, 10 months, is technically not "on the spectrum." We who live in the fun world of special needs use this term to mean, Autism Spectrum Disorder.

While he shares 99% of the traits necessary to identify one as "on the spectrum," he doesn't have the primary one. He is not self-involved. He does not have the auto part of autism. Quite the opposite, actually. He is more keenly attuned to the moods, sensitivities, reactions, responses, and subtleties of others, than anyone I've ever had the joy to meet.

So, this makes my boy an anomaly among anomalies.

Wouldn't have it any other way.

Most kids on the spectrum do what we like to call "perseverating," which, according to the on-line Free Dictionary, is defined as: Verb 1. perseverate - psychology: repeat a response after the cessation of the original stimulus; "The subjects in this study perseverated" ingeminate, iterate, reiterate, repeat, restate, retell - to say, state, or perform again; "She kept reiterating her request."

This is all a nice way of saying they can tend to get stuck on something, and NOT LET GO. Sometimes this something stays stuck for hours, days, weeks, months, YEARS!!!!!

Over the years Rojo has perseverated on:

* Blue 2's. In Oregon the license plates have two stickers, one for the month and one for the year which indicates the expiration. February, "2" is blue. I would be understating things to say our lives revolved around blue 2's for over a year.

* Dairy Queen vanilla ice cream in a bowl with a red spoon - we went to Dairy Queen every single day for nearly 2 years.

* Maple bars at 4:00 PM from Safeway - This one was relatively short, only had to do it 5 days a week for about six months.

* Safeway, in general (this has been since age 2, and continues. To. This. Day.)

* Certain articles of clothing (puppy dog costume, dancing bear t-shirt, and now, basketball jerseys).

* Knock-knock jokes, which fly right over his head, but make him laugh like a hyena, none-the-less.

* For the last couple of years it's been NBA, NFL, and college basketball and football. Rojo can tell you ELD (every little detail) about ELT (every little team.) And I do mean EVERY detail. Colors? Mascot? Division? Conference? Players? Numbers? Drafts? He is a veritable font of information. He cannot be stumped.

I just thank the good Lord it's relatively age and gender appropriate, because it gives him something to talk about with his friends.

Lately he's turned his love of sports and knock-knock jokes, as well as his love of working me to death at bedtime, and made a fun new combination! It goes a little something like this:

Rojo: "Knock-knock."

Me: "Who's there?"

Rojo: "Penn State."

Me: "Penn State who?"

Rojo: "Nittany Lions!"

Rojo: "Knock-knock."

Me: "Who's there?"

Rojo: "University of Delaware."

Me: "University of Delaware who?"

Rojo: "Fightin' Blue Hens!"

OK. Do I even need to say it? WTF is naming these teams???? Nittany Lions??? Fightin' Blue Hens?

Still, it beats the hell out of blue twos.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Some people climb mountains. I don't. I don't need to don equipment, face the elements and scale the side of large, natural wonders to feel as though I'm proving something to myself.

Tonight, the Links, all four of us plus a friend of Woohoo's, went out to dinner.




Yes, the restaurant had a big screen TV with sports playing on it.

Yes, the restaurant had video games.

Yes, the restaurant served nothing fancier than hamburgers and French fries.

But, to put this large scale event into perspective for you, this is the first time, in 11 years, 10 months, that the four of us have even TRIED this!

My husband said about 4:00 O'Clock today, "I have a crazy idea. Let's all go out for burgers. Rojo can have a vanilla milkshake (his newest craze). What do you think?"

First I called the restaurant to make sure they served vanilla milkshakes, then I agreed.

As STM raised his glass of cheap, red wine and clinked it against my pint of Hefeweizen, all three kids happily plugging the machine with our quarters, I said, "You know? Even if this table catches on fire five minutes from now and we all have to run screaming from the building, I'm going to go ahead and declare this a HUGE success."

He agreed.

Some people climb mountains.

Today we reached our summit.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Today my little girl is 14. I'd like to say it's flown by. I'd also like to say that being her mother has given my life endless amounts of joy and glee. I'd like to say that while neither of those are true, there is no one on the planet I'm prouder of, and for whom I am more grateful.

My little girl has had her share of ups and downs. A year ago she was on three medications, including one that would scare the pants off you if I told you about it, but I won't. Suffice it to say she wasn't happy, and nobody else around here was either.

It was just about a year ago I decided to "leave her" with her highly capable, loving, willing, job with ultimate flexibility, father, and go "find myself." To split hairs, I left for 4 weeks, came home for a week, and left for another four. I made it my ultimate goal to figure out WTF the legacy was I was passing on to her, and to be far more deliberate in that.

I came home and wrote a book about my journey. I compared my book to Eat, Pray, Love. I stood on the platform that I don't know one single woman that could possibly take off for a year, travel the world, be paid while doing so, and come home a different person. I did, however, know at least 100 women that could find SOME amount of time to "escape" their lives, re-evaluate them, and make a profound difference in ALL relationship dynamics, not to mention their relationship with themselves.

My book is being read by agents and publishers now. It is striking a nerve and a chord, such was the impetus for the post I recently wrote about that. The reactions and responses, two very different things I've learned, fascinate me. They also fine tune my process so I move away from a state of defensiveness, to one of unapologetic, calm and a deep knowing peace. Let's just say I'm still very much IN that process, not THROUGH it (obviously).

Today my little girl is 14. Today she is not on three medications. She is not on the scare-your-pants-off one, that was the first to go. She is happy. She has a large, wonderful, true blue circle of friends that I couldn't have better chosen for her myself. She is physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, psychologically, academically, THRIVING.

I can't go anywhere without hearing beautiful compliments about my daughter, and the profound changes others are have seen in her.

The quote from the book, COMEBACK, "Results don't lie. Results will always show you what your true intention, conscious or not, was," brings me great peace. A year ago if I'd read that quote I would have gone screaming for the hills. Oh, wait, that's exactly what I DID do. I went. Screaming. For. The. Hills.

But I came back.

There are lots of ways mothers leave their children. Some never actually take a step out the door, but they aren't "there."

There are mothers that leave their children in the bottom of their wine bottles.

There are mothers that leave their children when they end their marriages with high drama and major explosives.

There are mothers that leave their children by never cutting the apron strings. They are so fused with their children that their children can't live without them. They have missed their primary responsibility as parents, if you ask me, and that is to give your children WINGS to fly. They clip them, instead.

There are as many ways to "leave your children" as there are mothers with children. And many of these mothers DO return, one way or another. They come back.

I came back.

Today my little girl is 14.

I came back.

I'm so glad I did.

I'm equally glad I left.

* Photo: "Elephant - Mother and Child" by Jamini Roy

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I'm a hare. There. I said it. I am one speedy, quick, go, go kinda gal. I derive immense pleasure from accomplishing huge amounts of tasks, in little time. And, if they all get done "good enough," that's good enough for me. A perfectionist, I am not. There are plenty of times my work is half-assed, at best.

As I continue to "do my work," I see that while society praises those of us that are highly efficient/productive, our souls do not. Our souls need stillness.

My favorite Bible verse has always been, "Be still, and know that I am God." While it's been my favorite, it's application has alluded me. Being "still" has always felt like a luxury, and one I couldn't afford. Maybe when I retired. Maybe when I got through the "To Do" list. Maybe, maybe, maybe...

Recently a fellow writer asked me to help her become more succinct. I've been told I can be quite economical, "cheap" even, with words. I told her she didn't have the proper training.

I grew up in a house with a father that was nearly deaf. For him to hear you, you had to make sure he was looking at you, articulate your words very carefully for him to read your lips, and yell.

My mother had "attentional" deficits, to say the least. If you wanted her to listen, you better make it quick and get to the point. Immediately.

I find myself married to, and mothering, three humans that have diagnosed attentional/communication/language processing disorders.

I know how to get to the point.

What I don't know, is how to meander. I do not know how to take the scenic route from A to B. I do not know how to add detail and drama to a scene, so that a reader is brought along at a reasonable pace.

I am a hare.

They say a leopard can't change his spots.

Can a hare change her speed?