Monday, June 30, 2008


Rojo, Woohoo and I left Eugene last night and came over to Sisters. Had to get here in time for the garbage trucks, don't you know. And so, Rojo and I have been up since 5:30 waiting for them, and still, they don't come. We are fully dressed, have been for 2 hours, doors and windows are open so we can hear it before it gets here. We are poised and ready, like a runner in her/his blocks. If only the gun would go off and we could leave our position and move on with our day... There are showers to take, groceries to buy, ice chests to pack, drives to take.

We are going to "WUG" - Wilson Urbigkeit Goodwin, our family-owned campsite. Year 41 for WUG. I have 41 years of memories I wouldn't trade for the world. Woohoo feels the same way - looks forward to it all year long. Rojo? Not so much. But there is a hammock and he has agreed to go there just for that. Pretty sure he'll want to swing in it once, then turn around and come back to Sisters - skipping right over that whole swim in the river and communing with the relatives piece.

STM is still in Eugene - his favorite track events are today and he doesn't want to miss. And, because he more than does his share when he's around, he has earned this. And, because it means so much to him, it's important to me. And, because it's not twice as hard to "do Rojo" by myself as it is with him, and vice-versa, we take turns. No sense two people being on the edge of utter breakdown at all times. Spelling each other is the name of the game.

What a difference a year makes. A year ago I was on the verge of separation - had had it with this man. Now? I get it. He gets it. We get it. We've moved to a new place in our old relationship, one of peace, acceptance, true love. Not the clingy, needy, resentful, co-dependent, bullshit love. True. Love. Doesn't mean he doesn't drive me straight up a tree MOST of the time. But I love him. He loves me. We love each other. There is stability.

For the first time in my entire life, there is stability.

And the good news? I'm not bored. I'm happy.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Eugene is having unusually high temperatures, and a record number of track fanatics converging. Makes things interesting. The Links were hot and cranky, but comfortably dressed, sunscreened, hydrated, hatted, etc. My sister-in-law, however, her sister, and 148+ other Tibetans, wore their native garments, HEALS, and walked in peaceful protest from 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM, ending the night with a candlelight prayer vigil.

"It's pretty much just window dressing at this point," my brother said, not too hopeful that the Tibetan/Chinese story is going to turn around any time soon. And maybe that's true. And maybe it's not. Not enough can be made of a people that fully support the world's most promising amateur athlete competition, while raising awareness to the brutality and inhumanity shown to their country and its natives.

Sonam, my SIL and her sister, Suthi, made 165 sandwiches, packed them in coolers and passed them out to hungry supporters yesterday. From her modest income she bought all the groceries, and she and her sister created a sandwich making assembly line that would have done Henry Ford proud.

At one point Sonam was scrambling for someone to help her load coolers into a car, she'd separated from the march and was trying to do it all alone before realizing it was humanly impossible. She looked around and saw a hungry, hot, homeless teenager. "You help me with coolers? I give you sandwich!" she said to the boy.

He did. He was happy to help. He took his sandwich and she gave him another for good measure.

That's the Tibetan spirit.

As we turn our gaze to China later this summer, let us keep in mind the beings you won't see, the ones that have had to flee their own country and take refuge wherever they can find it.

For the full story, go here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


10. Thought I ran the dishwasher yesterday - didn't - asked Woohoo to empty it - she did. Not sure which of us gets the bigger L on our forehead for that one.

9. Why do they call them hot "flashes" instead of "steamrollers?"

8. Who do I need to talk to about getting them to stop?

7. For the fifth summer in a row Rojo is pretending to be the garbage truck. Lord. Have. Mercy.

6. For the third summer in a row Rojo is the ice cream truck, when not the garbage truck.

5. We had to text/e-mail/call everyone we know yesterday to find out what day is their garbage day.

4. We go straight from Eugene to Sisters and he's worked it all out if we leave at 4:30 AM on Monday morning, we'll arrive in Sisters in time for... THE GARBAGE TRUCK.

3. Rojo asks me 100 x/day, "What time does the ice cream truck come in Sisters?" No amount of telling him, "THERE IS NO ICE CREAM TRUCK IN SISTERS," seems to curb his inquiry.

2. We had to go to Safeway at 12:00 yesterday to buy ice cream for him to "sell" in his "truck."

1. While at Safeway I decided I needed to start driving the Beer Truck. I bought a rack. Then I grabbed another one. Just. In. Case.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Eugene is hosting the '08 Olympic Track & Field Trials, and we are going! The whole fam damily will be there for the next 3 days - it's an exiting thing for us: I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, "Tracktown, USA" and my husband ran at University of Oregon. Eugene also hosted the trials in 1972, when legendary runner Steve Prefontaine made history. Everything that's right about Eugene will be in full swing, and so will we. All four of us. Lord. Have. Mercy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Someone" has too much time on her hands...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I first "met" Patricia (Pat) Wood through her blog, which, BTW, currently shows a highly unflattering photo of yours truly. But last night I got to meet Pat in the flesh at her book reading at Annie Bloom's. Amazing. Pat is amazing, her story of being published is amazing, how she was just "downloaded" one morning the premise for Lottery, all of it, amazing! But most amazing is her true "getting it" of those with developmental/cognitive challenges or differences.

A friend of mine, Joan, was with me last night. We are both raising "Perrys." Joan is wonderful for many reasons, but she taught me a highly helpful technique a few years back, for the stopping of unchecked tears due to menopause/being highly sensitive/life. "When the tears start to come and you can't make them stop, but want to, just think, can of beans. There is nothing emotional about a can of beans."

I've used the "Can of beans" strategy many times, and usually it's quite effective, but not last night. When Pat got to talking about why she REALLY wrote the book, and after looking at me dead in the eyes and saying, "I wrote it for people like you," I lost it. I tried to sneak a look at Joan and could see that "Can of beans" wasn't cutting it for her, either. we were both right on that verge of "ugly cry."

To those of us raising a Perry, read this book.

To those of us that love a Perry, read this book.

To those of us that don't want to be "one of those people" that marginalizes the Perrys of this world, and I know that covers everyone that reads this blog, read this book.

Love, love, love, that is the soul of a genius. Pat's a genius.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I went to see a professional recently, about my whole "aggressively letting go" process gone amok. She said the most helpful thing: "When given a choice between chaos and stability, you historically have chosen chaos. You are more familiar, and frankly, more comfortable, with chaos. Your challenge now is to choose stability."

This week of retreat has given me nothing but time to reflect and see how right she was. Chaos, over and over again, and if chaos wasn't a choice, I created it so it became one.

The astrologer I keep mentioning, said something very similar. He said I had a see-saw chart which consistently put me in the middle of conflict, a place where I was proficient, skilled, and so flippin' comfortable.

Well, no more. When things start to feel "boring" I am going to work like hell to reframe them as "stable." I've grown all I need to in the chaos department, there are lessons for me to learn in the stable end. Lots.

* Photo from

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I've blathered on and on before how I'm part of a huge family, tiny immediate family, but big ol' extended family. My mom had six brothers and one sister, and that is important to the story. My mom was BETWEEN the six boys, right in the very middle, and let's just say, she has "issues around that."

Yesterday I got to have lunch with a cousin of mine, one of the "older boys'" daughters. She lives out here in Central Oregon, and we got to dine while looking at rim rock and miles and miles of beautiful God's country. The food was excellent, but the conversation was even better.

Throughout the conversation I kept thinking to myself, "So! THIS is who I'm like!" I love all my cousins, they are amazing, but I'm not like them. My astrologer said I often feel displaced in time, and that is so true. Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about the misplaced zygote (I don't remember her exact term, so don't quote me on that one), but basically she talks about those of us that grow up feeling, "How in the hell did I end up in this family, who ARE these people, and where are MINE?" Turns out I am in the right family tree, just not on the right branch. That's OK, I can scoot.

So my cousin, Mary, and I were talking about our lives, our childhood, our parents as siblings, our upbringing, theirs, etc., and I told her the story of how my mom had had our portrait taken, just her, my brother and me, right after the divorce, as a symbol of our new "family." Almost immediately she remarried, and one of the first things her new husband did was take that very portrait and have my brother and me PAINTED OUT. He literally chopped us out of the picture, then what parts still touched my mom, he painted over them. Then he framed the picture and put it on his desk. For years that picture sat there. I clearly remember saying to my mom at 14, "I'm no psychiatrist, but isn't that a bad sign?"

She didn't seem to think so, evidently.

The fact that he was a diagnosed, but unmedicated manic-depressive, (that's what it was called in 1977) chain-smoking whack job didn't seem to concern her, either.

Both of Mary's parents are dead, and we talked about how we feel close to our deceased parents, and with the years since their deaths, the peace and change of perspective that has come.

"I am becoming less compassionate towards my mom, instead of more so. I'm doing something wrong here," I confessed. "And frankly? I don't see this story turning around in this lifetime."

Mary didn't either.

And so I scoot, and prune, move and adjust, shift and realign with the tree of life, my family.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Repeated Stress Injury - time for The Glove. The other non-option is to stop spending my days pissing time away at the computer. Not. Going. To. Happen.

So, I'm all gloved up and fumbling around, trying to get used to the damn thing (at this point it's just one, my touch pad hand), but I just had to tell you all that Woohoo called last night, and our conversation went a little like this:

ME: "Hello?"

HER: "MOM! My report card came! I am going to read each class and tell you what I got each trimester before, and then what I got this time, OK?"

ME: "OK!"

HER: "Blah, blah A! Blah, blah A!" Blah, blah, A!"

The girl got SIX A's!!!! Count 'em!

ME: "I am SO proud of you, and so happy! And that isn't luck that got you those good grades, that's EFFORT!"

HER: "And Mom? You know how I'm OCD? Well, at least I admit it, right? So I'm keeping track of how many hours I sleep every night. I have a list of best websites to shop for new school clothes, another list of where I personally want you to take me when you get home, a list for...."

ME: "Yes, we'll take care of all that when I get home. I promise you'll be properly attired by September 2nd."

HER: "But back to my report card, that's really good, right? You might want to blog about it."

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Stillness within one individual can affect society beyond measure." Bede Griffiths

Lots of people have said to me, "It's so great you have a place to go to get away." They are right. It is great. It's better than great, it's heaven on earth.

Not everyone has a "place" to go, I get that. But if you did, would you?


All the people giving me the, "You're so lucky you can get away" business could do it too. But they won't. Not that they can't, they won't.

"I would never trust my husband with the kids!" I've heard, which makes me wonder why they're raising kids in the first place with such an "untrustworthy" creature.

I don't think not trusting the spouse/partner/grandparents/friends is really the issue. I think it's that they don't trust themselves to let go of control.

That was true for me, until the holding on of control became impossible, and the letting go became the only option.

Control is an illusion - we never "have it" so what could it hurt to let it go?

What's the worst thing that could happen?

Sometimes you are living the worst case scenario, and that is in and of itself a gift, because you've got nothing to lose.

And everything to gain.

* Photo from

*This quote, and yesterday's, both came from, a great site! I subscribe to their daily quotes, and they are always fantastic.






An absolute must for everyone I know that is raising teenage daughters!

And what a writer! OMG. "I was in limbo, and limbo is nice because no one asks you any questions, and no one wonders where you're going or where you've been, and life is one big dancing bear Grateful Dead sticker on the window of an old Volvo."

But, after reading all about Madness, Marya's book chronicaling the 10 years since she wrote Wasted, and her alcoholism and bipolar disorder, I need something a little lighter, so I'm reading this, instead:

I do love me some irony.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Operation Solitude was interrupted slightly for two good exceptions, Gayle and Andrea. I broke from my reverie in the hammock and met Gayle for coffee during the day, and Andrea for a beer in the evening. Gayle used to be the secretary at my kids' school, but moved over here a few years ago and hasn't looked back. During the years Gayle was there, Rojo had to go to the office for medication daily, and so he and Gayle got to be buds. Any bud of Rojo's is a bud of mine, and vice-versa. It's really as simple as that, love my kid? I love you. Don't love my kid? Watch out.

Andrea is the daughter of one of the teachers at the school, the liz, the person that first urged me to blog and reads this one faithfully, and frequently comments under the pseudonym, "Anonymous." She is 24 and just moved over to this part of the world two weeks ago.

So great to see and connect again with people that have been instrumental in my life. Touchstones.

On the way back home I had the most gorgeous view of the sun setting on the Cascade Mountains, the full moon up high in the sky. Mercury comes out of retrograde today - I don't know a lot about astrology, but I do know that when Mercury is in retrograde it messes with everything, and I am fully expecting today to have a settling effect on "things."

While Mercury settles down I look towards my day of more hammock time, more reading and understanding of addictions, and a few naps sprinkled throughout. And when my brain needs a rest and my eyes need a feast, I will look up from my book and out at this:
Life, it doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"In a world of tension and breakdown it is necessary for there to be those who seek to integrate their inner lives not by avoiding anguish and running away from problems, but by facing them in their naked reality and in their ordinariness."
Thomas Merton

DRINKING: A Love Story

Just finished this book. I know, I know, who reads books like this on vacation?


While I thank God (and even more profoundly after reading this book) that I don't struggle with alcohol, I know so many people that do/have, including two of the three parents that raised me.

I am pretty well versed in Al-Anonese, been to my fair share of meetings, been a visitor to more than one rehab program, but still, this book really pried my eyes wide open to the thinking behind the drinking. Scary. And so, so heartbreaking.

Caroline Knapp does an excellent job of giving you a behind the scenes look at the life of an alcoholic, an active alcoholic, one that knew for years and years she was an alcoholic before she finally got sober.

If you, or someone you know is in this crazy love affair, I recommend this book. I didn't love the writing, and had a hard time caring about the author, but she made her point, and she made it well.

Next fun reads:

Eating disorders and bipolar disorder, two more issues that have touched so many that I love...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I was packing up my things yesterday and something on the bathroom floor caught my eye. As I bent down to take a closer look, I realized it was a sewing needle. Right there, on my bathroom floor, for no good reason whatsoever. I don't sew. Nobody in my house sews. And if I did sew, I would not do so in my bathroom. I don't know how that needle got in there, and everybody else that lives in my house claims ignorance, as well.

Must be the ghost, aka, Don Wilson.

Ever since my dad died 12 years ago he's haunted the four houses I've lived in. It's stuff like that, things disappearing then reappearing, weird things, and until yesterday, I hadn't realized many of them tend to be sharp objects.

He was always shouting out reprimands for careless regard of potential danger when he was alive. "WALK with those scissors!" "Always point them to the floor!" "Don't just reach your hand in a drawer without looking, you might slice it on a knife!"

When we first moved from house two to house three, my serrated-edged knife went missing. I figured it just got lost in the shuffle, and would eventually turn up. Six months later when it still hadn't, I bought a new one. The very next day the old one showed up in the knife drawer, right where it belonged all along, just lying there minding its own business like, "What? Who? Me? Yea, I'm back."

He once stole my entire set of keys. They were gone for weeks. I had the locks changed, duplicates made, finally was back in business and one day went to grab my purse and there they were, the original set, right next to my purse.

Woohoo recently claimed her money was missing (she keeps it in an oatmeal box - doesn't everyone?). We searched her room. We grew suspicious of every friend that had entered her room. That box was gone. About a week later she said, "Mom? My money is back - right where I always keep it. Don Wilson."

I wasn't missing a needle, but I'm pretty sure Don Wilson wanted me to find it anyway. He put it there for a reason.

When I picked it up off the floor I thought to myself, "How many emotions/beliefs do I drag around without meaning to? How many judgments aren't where they belong, just because they got swept up into some other drama, and never made their way back to their proper place?

It's time to tidy up.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I'm leaving today for a week of solitude. A. Whole. Week. Just me, myself and I.

Well, that's not actually true. The deer will be there.

And the blue jays, quail and hummingbirds.

And my deities, Quan Yin, Shiva and Buddha.

And the quiet.

And the smells of juniper, pine and fresh, desert air.

And the sounds of the beautiful fountain outside, that I will be able to hear now that the weather is nice enough to open wide the front door.

And the tinkling of the wind chimes, front and back of the house.

And in the quiet of the morning, before the doors are opened, before the fountain is plugged in, before all that, I will hear only the hum of the refrigerator and the murmurings of my soul.


Saturday, June 14, 2008


I went to a book talk last week, a fund raiser for our school. Basically you pay, get a book, come back in a few weeks to talk about it, drink a lot of wine, eat a lot of food, and shoot a lot of &%@#.

The leader of the group said, "Next year we'll all be reading Carrie's book at this event!" I tried to laugh it off by saying, "Well, in order for that to happen, I'd need to find an agent tomorrow, he/she would need to sell my book the very next day, and then maybe, MAYBE the book would actually be in print a year from now."

"Well, that's OK, if it's not, we'll just run it off at Kinko's!"

I could have barfed.

As I looked around the room and realized that either A) My book would be in print eventually and they would all read it, or B) My book would never be in print and they wouldn't all be reading it, I went into a panic.

I've asked lots of people to read the book through all its many drafts. I've picked people that know me, love me, accept me, and for the most part, are fellow memoirists. They "get it." But what am I going to do if people that live and breath, work and play, raise children and judgments right here in my own backyard, actually read this? And don't even get me started on my family! No one with a single drop of shared blood has read a word of it.

It finally dawned on me, over a week since that book talk night, that people in my own backyard, and certainly my family, may very well "get it," too.

How dare I stand in judgment of THEM! How dare I decide they just aren't the "getting it" types!

After all, to borrow my favorite quote I got from Jenny Rough's blog, "The more personal, the more universal."

Friday, June 13, 2008


While this is not an actual photo of myself, I must say, the likeness (particularly the abs) is remarkable. I haven't crossed my own finish line yet, but I can see it from here. Today is Rojo's last day of school, a 1/2 day, and 3/4 of that I will spend at the school celebrating their end-of-the-year Mass. Then I take him to Lens Crafters for new glasses, shop for last minute birthday, grad, goodbye and Father's Day gifts, come home, clean up from the beach trip, do 20 loads of laundry, put away all the junk the kids have brought home from their desks at school, etc., etc., etc.

Tomorrow we have three parties to attend, Sunday is Father's Day, and on Monday I have a reunion to go to.

Then I'm done.

I've scheduled my breakdown, fatigue, crying jags, and upper respiratory infection to all coincide for Tuesday. Happens every year. I make it through the finish line, but not one inch beyond. I collapse. Done. Toast. Wasted. Fried. Trashed.

You'd think I'd learn, but alas, I am not so great with the self-pacing, must be one of my many, many soul lessons I've come here to gain.

Who was it that said, "What you resist, persists?"

I have made a lot of headway in the balancing act, particularly in the last year, but I have a long way to go.

Someone said that balance means "about to fall over." I love that. That's what I try to keep in mind when I feel like I'm about to fall over, that as long as I'm not, I'm balancing.

Maybe this year I'll go that inch beyond the finish line, just an inch.

Inch by inch, life's a cinch, yard by yard, life is hard.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Behind me 27 fourteen-year-olds lie sleeping on the floor. In front of me lies miles of ocean, calm and settled, Both the water and the sea of bodies will awaken soon, stir and start their days. But for now there is stillness, quiet, and rest.

At the graduation Mass on Tuesday, we all joined hands and said the "Our Father." When the prayer was over hands were dropped, and arms embraced in the sign of peace. Tears filled my eyes as I reached and hugged those around me, and heard the chorus all around saying, "Peace be with you."

The 27 bodies that lie prone inside the house have been together so long, some don't remember a time they didn't know each other. Through those years they have become a family, with all the pros and cons having a family entails. There have been highs and lows, drama and tedium.

But today there is just peace.

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I am so proud of my daughter. She graduated from 8th grade today. She has come so, so far.

The school gave us back her cumulative file. In it were notes I'd written to teachers about all the different things the poor girl has dealt with over the years. It was sobering. And liberating. She's triumphed.

We've been joking all day that this is her first of four graduations, possibly five, but there's some wiggle room with that doctorate degree, she can decide on that later. My girl is going to go far. For sure.

There were years and years I hoped that to be true, but it looked a little dicey.

Today we celebrate.

One of my favorite people in the world graduated from high school on Saturday. She was the class salutatorian. If you think the world is going to hell in a hand basket, click here.Your faith and hope in the future will be instantly restored.

When this young lady was little, she was such a handful the family ended up in counseling - just didn't know what to do with her. She came home from first grade, outraged, saying, "My teacher isn't teaching me right! Flash cards are not how you learn to read!" And, BTW, everything I learned in my graduate teaching program, concurs.

She was ahead of her times. So was my daughter. My friend Terry said of my girl when she was all of three, "The problem is, she's not happy with her position in the company! You've got her at an entry level position, and she wants to be CEO!"

Pretty much.

There isn't a doubt in my mind that both these girls that "gave their family fits" are going to be just fine. Better than fine.

They are the future leaders of this world.

We are in good hands.

* Photo from

Made someone laugh the other day, told her I was "aggressively letting go" of a situation.

"Can you do that?" she asked, nearly spitting out her herbal tea, "be aggressive, while letting go?"

Hmmmm... probably not. Could explain why my approach isn't working so well.

Monday, June 09, 2008

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." H.H. the Dalai Lama

According to Wordnet.princeton, compassion is a deep awareness of and sympathy for another's suffering;
the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it


And therein lies the rub: Wanting to do something about it.

But what?

I'm getting the distinct feeling that "nothing" is an option, just holding that person in prayer may be all you can do at times, that "doing" anything may just perpetuate the suffering.

Doing nothing is very, very hard.

Most soul lessons are.

Friday, June 06, 2008


It's been twelve years now since my father died, in fact, twelve years tomorrow. Today marks the anniversary of his last day on Earth. My brother had moved up from California to help take care of my dad the last few months of his life. When he died, my brother stayed on in the house, eventually inherited it, and is now married and raising his family there.

Much new life has come into that old home in these twelve years. Much healing has taken place. When my dad was alive neither my brother nor I had any sort of satisfying relationship with him. Between his near deafness, late stage alcoholism, and 74 years of repressed emotions, he was a toughie. Couple all that with an intellect that had him attending both Stanford and Harvard, and a spiritual awareness of a gnat, there was just no entry point for deep and meaningful conversation. Ever.

"Dad and I are getting along really well now," by brother quipped several months after his death. I thought it was a quip anyway, but now see the wisdom and truth of those words. Dad and I are getting along really well now, too.

I've changed my view of death in the dozen years since his. It has not separated us, it has healed us. I feel him now, in a way I never felt him when he was in body and form. Now that he is in some spiritual dimension, he is not bound by his obsessive and over-developed mind, he's free. His freedom has brought mine.

I remember hearing the joke, "Therapy is where you discover it's not the parent you thought you had all the issues with, it's the other one." That's so true.

I think that if my dad were still alive, we'd still be fighting. Our ways of being would still be frustrating and colliding with each other, we'd still be "missing." Now we're connecting. Effortlessly. Constantly.

For the first time he is able to parent me, to guide me, protect, direct and assist me.

For the first time his love for me is unconditional, constant, accessible and felt.

I'm 100% convinced that death does not end a relationship, it just changes it. And in our case, those changes have all been for the better. His death brought new life to our story.

As I'm typing this a Deb Talan song is playing, the words have always felt like those from lover to lover, but just now I heard the chorus with new ears:

"You are forgiven
I open all my doors
You are forgiven
What a heart is for
I am no martyr
You give me reason
I try harder
And wait for a warmer season
Meanwhile you are
Forgiven "

For me, that is the greatest gift that has come from his death.


* Photo of my dad, brother and newborn daughter, 5/94

Thursday, June 05, 2008

By Rachel Bissex, sung by the incomparable Tracy Grammer

When you look in the mirror do you like what you see?
Now you’re out of high school will you live life on your knees?
Will you be a poet, a scientist, a nun?
Will you be a mercenary? Will you live life on the run?
Well it’s all laid out before you, all the joy and all the shame
Now that you’re a woman, welcome to the game

Don’t let the game get you cause it surely left me
Standing in the smoking ashes of my life’s debris
The flames lick my lips my eyes turn to ice
I used to be normal, I used to be nice

Your mama stands before you broken and confused
But take my love with you and you can’t lose

Every moment that’s passing reveals the next moment
That’s passing to steal time is passing
Who knows what is real
Who speaks the truth, age or youth?

Will you be a missionary in the forests of Brazil
Or a dancer down in Vegas eating little pills?
Will you be a politician will you bulldoze down the slums?
Will you show the world what’s right
Or will you sit back and act dumb?

It’s all laid out before you all the joy and all the pain
Take my love with you and welcome to the game
Now that you’re a woman welcome to the game

I've received a record number of graduation announcements this year, seems everyone I know has at least one kid graduating from something, and that's big. Something so monumental about the word, "Graduation."

To move forward.

To pass through.

To go beyond.

We all are, though, formally or not. We're all moving through something, trying to go forward, through, and then beyond.

Welcome to the game.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"Mom, how many friends did I have over after school today?" Rojo asks, milk dribbling down his chin, Fruity Pebbles being shoved in his mouth, eyes turned towards me.

"You had four friends over," I answer.

"But there were six people," he argues.

"Matthew, Michael, Greg and Ian, four friends," I argue back, "plus you. Five people all together."

"And Ian!" he says.

"Yes. IAN. Michael. Greg. Matthew. Four."

"And Matthew!" he says.

I sigh. Heavily.


"And Michael!" he says, dimples in full swing.

"I said Michael!" I say, "you're killing me, here!"

"But you didn't say Greg!" he says, eyes twinkling.

I fling myself dramatically on the window seat, pretend to gasp for breath, arms flailing around, he nearly chokes on the Fruity Pebbles, such is his joy.

When I stop he looks at me and says, "Mom? Let's go back to the killing."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Ten years ago, when I had a four-year-old and a screaming two-year-old, I rose from my warm bed on a freezing January morning, and went to stand in line.

At 5:00 AM in the dark and cold, I waited with other eager parents, some that I knew, some that I didn't, as we lined up to register our first borns for a private, Catholic education.

Little did I know that day, that the order of our arrival, the jockeying for positions as word travelled through the line of how many spots remained in morning, versus afternoon, kindergarten, little did I know that that behavior, that order, that line up, set into motion some sort of karmic sequence of events that are just being completed now.

Those in line directly in front and directly behind me, turned out to be the same people with whom I have had the most drama these ten years since. Some have left the school, some have bonded with force and come apart with greater force. Some became my friends and some remain my friends. Some do not.

As my daughter completes her nine year run at this school, we both reflect on the years gone by. Today is her last day in uniform, a day she's thought she's been waiting for "all her life," now one she is sad to see come. She's aware this day is significant, it's the last day any school is going to be in charge of what she wears. It's also the last day any school is going to be in charge of what she wears. A mixed blessing, indeed.

The groove we worked hard to place her in ten and a half years ago, is coming to an end. And that groove really began long before that, when we were buying our first house and doing our family planning. We always had one eye towards our educational choices, believing that choice was paramount.

Tomorrow I'll be on an all-day retreat with the 8th grade class. Reconciliation is a part of this day. There will be a healing ceremony, a laying down and forgiving of grievances amongst the students.

Tomorrow I'll be on an all-day retreat with the parents of the 8th grade class. I will lay down and forgive my grievances with some of them. I will also look around, with many tears and a swelling heart, at some of the most significant people in my life. Some of these parents have have become my family, my right arm, my port in many storms.

If I knew then, what I know now, there are some things I would have done differently, but not a lot. I would have placed my kids in this same groove, I would have made the same friends, for each one has taught me much. I would do it all again. Definitely.

But I'm glad I don't have to.

I'm ready to ring in the new.

* Photo of Kathleen's daughter with my daughter, kindergarten, 1999

Monday, June 02, 2008


The movie is SO good. Soooooooooooo. Good. I don't want to spoil it for you, you've just got to go. And take at least 5 tissues. At. Least. You will laugh. You will cry. You will smile. You will chuckle. You will rage. Just like the good ol' days with the series.





And? There is a scene where Carrie is on her Mac computer and types "love." C'mon. You gotta go just for that.

I'm ready to go again today.

It's that good.


Sunday, June 01, 2008


Three friends and I are going to see "Sex and the City" tonight. We've waited long enough. It opened two days ago, for God's sake. But we've waited much longer than that. We've waited all these years since the season finale, which we watched all together while drinking champagne and going through a box of tissues.

Two of us went in together and bought the entire series on DVD several years back. As each of us convalesced from various surgeries or illnesses, we passed the series around to make the time go faster, funnier, sexier.

The four of us met 9 years ago when we all had daughters in kindergarten together. Now our four girls are graduating from 8th grade in a week, going to three different high schools, spreading out and moving on. Not us. We'll still be here, together, in our neighborhood, holding each other up during the hard times, making each other laugh, and sharing our most personal stories with each other as only women with much history together can do.

"Friends and the City," may have been a more accurate title to the series, if you ask me. Sure, there was plenty of sex, but that's not what I remember after all is said and done. I remember the universality of the women's bond. Their way of laughing and being together. Their way of cutting right through the BS when someone was obviously hiding something. Their way of supporting each other despite their conflicting needs and situations.


That's what I remember.

That's what we'll be raising our Cosmopolitans to, and toasting tonight after the movie.