Wednesday, December 31, 2008


10. Continue exercising the "no" muscle - I hear it gets stronger with use.

9. Let go, move on, forgive, and heal. (Think: Serenity Prayer)

8. Learn to procrastinate - not everything needs my immediate attention - some things will just take care of themselves if given the opportunity. That's what they tell me, anyway.

7. Go visit my friend, Terry. Sit at her kitchen table in my jammies 'til noon, drinking coffee (decaf. now), and laughing with her and her family until my sides ache. For days.

6. Walk/talk/laugh/analyze/process/grow/challenge/share with my dear friend, Kathleen, 3-4 times a week.

5. Be nicer to my husband - not so stingy.

4. Have more sex with my husband (see #5).

3. Laugh. Laugh my *&% off. Big, deep, can't catch my breath belly laughs. Frequently, if not daily.

2. Replace judgment with compassion.

1. love.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


God, how long has it been, two years? Three? More? All Rojo has eaten, virtually, has been toast. Not just any old toast, either, Seattle Sourdough lightly browned, crusts cut off, smeared with butter and heavily shaken with garlic salt. Sometimes up to a loaf a day between breakfast and dinner - the only two meals he eats.

And for two years, three, maybe more, I have Windexed the hell out of the breakfast counter when he's done, soaped up the wooden stools, pulled the stools from the bar, swept the crumbs, and then spent the rest of the day finding greasy, salty, garlicky spots on everything. Everything. We have few articles of clothing left that haven't been permanently stained by butter. All our furniture has been heavily affected.

About a week ago, just in time for an early Christmas present, he announced, "I'm sick of toast."

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

He requested "taco," instead, something he hasn't eaten since preschool. "Taco," is really shredded chicken breasts with taco seasoning. He eats bowls of it, cold, with a fork, approx. 1/2 a breast at a time.


Until recently the boy hadn't had a serving of protein in 8 years.

What's next, vegetables? Fruit?

Anything is possible.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Got a friend here in Portland, fellow mother, writer, wife, snow prisoner for the last 2 weeks. Every few days we e-mail each other to say, "So, is it funny yet?"

Today she e-mailed, "I'm thinking of moving my office out into the garden shed."

I told her if she did that, I'd move mine out to the freezing/dirty/decrepit detached garage, circa. 1920. Sounded like paradise. I said, "Heat is secondary."

She wrote back, "I'm getting me a cheap-ass rub and a space heater!"

Right now it's a toss up what I need more, the detached working space, or a cheap-ass rub.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


This was hard to whittle down, read me some good books this year, but these are the stand outs.











Friday, December 26, 2008

is for the beetle that came on Christmas, filled Rojo with joy, and finally moved us all on to other topics (for now).

E is for how early Rojo woke up on Christmas morning - 3:50, three, five, oh, my hell of God.

E is for the cool electronic "scoreboard" he got that doubles as a clock, and has his favorite college team's logo emblazoned on it.

T is for thankful - he stopped us all mid-opening and led us in (albeit, a "bad word"- filled) prayer of thanks to God, Christmas, Santa, and Bernie Mac.

L is for love that filled our home.

E is for everyone that he had go around the room at the end of the day, and say thank you.

It's funny what 14 days of being snowed in with the three people you love most in the world, will do to you.

"Funny" is just my cute little way of saying I do not like the person it's turned me into. I know there are spiritual lessons all over the effing place. I know there are gifts upon gifts of this unstructured, wide open, day after day of nothing time together.

I know that.

I know that being "given" the opportunity to talk about beetles, college fight songs, water bottles and YouTube "bleeps" is fertile ground for getting myself on the Eightfold Path, and keeping me there.

I know that.

I know that I am blessed beyond belief to have a loving, healthy, happy family. I have a warm, safe, dry, lovely home big enough for us to spread out. We've had our electricity and Internet working beautifully throughout the last two weeks of foul weather. We weren't planning to travel, and our family is close by and our Christmas was lovely. Just really, really lovely.

And tomorrow I will find the camera cord, upload the pictures, put away some of the mess, and begin missing the season as it moves from "coming" to "going."

But tomorrow is years away from today.

Today is the day after Christmas, and most of the women I know liken Christmas to a marathon, and even if they've finished the marathon nicely, full of vim and vigor, the day after, they can hardly walk.

It's like that.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Last Minute Gift Suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To every child, a good example.
To all, charity.
To yourself, respect."

Author Unknown

Monday, December 22, 2008


I'm a day late in recognizing and appreciating the gifts and beauty of the winter solstice.

I'm late in recognizing and appreciating the gifts of pretty much everything today.

Day nine of being snowed in has taken its toll.

No walking/exercise.

No personal time.

No "normal" rhythm to the days/week, just hour after hour, day after day of talking about the beetle.

"Mom, can we have 4 games instead of 5 today? It's the only thing that takes my mind off the beetle."

So we upped the games to 4.

Then 5.

Today it'll be six, and so on, until that beetle shows up on Christmas day.

"I'm more excited for Christmas than I've ever been," he announced yesterday.

And it couldn't be cuter.

And he couldn't have more of the Christmas spirit.

And I couldn't have less.

* Photo from

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Rojo has me watching endless episodes of "Nanny 911." He likes it for the "bad words" which artfully get cut out, whereupon he tries to figure out what the missing word was.

Fun times.

I watch it and try to guess how long it's going to take the parents to "get it." Their behavior is the problem, resulting in their children's "mis" behavior.

Episode after episode this is the case. The parents call Nanny 911 to come and fix their kids, and the nanny fixes them, instead. And the parents always act surprised when they put two and two together.

Two and two - the hardest numbers to add in the universe.

Recently a woman I used as a "coach" asked for a testimonial. I wrote that she was most helpful to me by pointing out the obvious - which was, of course, not obvious to me.

When I asked the "random" person if she had a message for me, she also pointed out the obvious, which, in a nutshell, was that I was personifying the definition of insanity - continuing to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Although her message to me was particular to one situation, I could see how universal it was for me.

Two and two.

Very hard to add.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I read the book, The Celestine Prophecy a LONG time ago - barely remember anything about it except the notion that when we keep bumping into people, it's because they have a message for us, and we might as well just come right out and say, "What's your message for me?"

Or something like that. That's my dim recollection of the book. And since then I've tried to remember that, that there is a reason why we "accidentally" keep hearing from, or seeing, the same "random" person.

This has been happening (again) to me lately. One person keeps "popping up." We've never met, but we know some of the same (significant) people.

Finally, yesterday, having a strong sense she would "get it," I just e-mailed to ask, "Do you have a message for me?"

And she did.


Note to self: Don't wait so damn long before asking next time.

* Photo from

Thursday, December 18, 2008


STM and I just watched this movie, "Lars and the Real Girl," last night - came highly recommended to us, but when we read the back we weren't so sure. Still, we brought it home, plugged it in, and sat back.

And were totally enraptured.

And maybe it's because we live with a boy that thinks Elmo is his soulmate. Elmo gives advice, courage, and company. Elmo is loved like the Velveteen Rabbit - in this house he became "real" a long time ago, and we all think of him as a member of the family.

And maybe it's because we live in a community like Lars', where everyone "goes along with it," where Elmo is a respected and contributing member of his society.

And maybe it's just because it's a great movie, that shows the power of love. Period.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Look what came in the mail Monday, despite the snow, despite the ice, despite the fact that I didn't even 1-Click it until Thursday night.

Not sure why I doubted Rojo when he told me it would come Monday (just because the shipping information said otherwise, I guess).

Not sure why I doubted Rojo when on Saturday, before all hell broke loose with the weather, he adamantly insisted no school for the following week. (Probably because I didn't want him to be right, and I still can't get through my head that arguing is not a good idea, it doesn't really change the fact that he is tapped in.)

Not sure why it's taken me this long to just surrender - we're in for three weeks of togetherness ("vacation" was scheduled to start at noon on Friday, anyway).

So, today I will just go ahead and cancel my plans for the rest of the week. I will drag up the round card table from the basement, and pull up a chair. I'll find a great jigsaw puzzle and make myself cozy by the fire. I'll sit near him as he Googles, watches his latest litany of favorite TV shows (Bernie Mac, iCarly, Nanny 911), and we'll talk about "nothing."

And it will be everything I need.

But just don't know it.


Monday, December 15, 2008



No school today.

Rojo predicts no school for the rest of the week (and the weather forecasts seem to be backing him up).

Can't talk now, gotta go work on being grateful...

(My SIL just sent me this great pic. of their rooftop - love the Tibetan prayer flags in the snow!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008


STM and I went Christmas shopping and left Woohoo with Rojo, to "keep him alive." When we returned Rojo was in front of his computer, fully engrossed in Googling something. He's an excellent speller, and can maneuver Google like you wouldn't believe - seriously, he's so fast and so accurate, it makes me dizzy to watch, so I don't. I just occasionally peer over his head to make sure he hasn't stumbled on anything inappropriate. He did find a bleeped out version of Sesame Street's The Count, but that's not so much inappropriate, as just plain funny.

Anyway. All this is leading to the fact that by the time I got home and took a peek, he'd been Googling for a good hour.

On blue water bottles with black tops.

For over an hour.

He has a red water bottle with a black top, and he'd really like a blue one, too, you know, for trading off when the red one is dirty. His teacher wants the kids to bring eco-friendly reusable water bottles to school, rather than the recyclable ones you use and "toss." Sometimes "Red" is dirty, and this can make for a rough morning.

He didn't grow impatient. He didn't grow tired, with dogged perseverance he just kept putting different key words into Google to try to find what he was looking for.

Finally I grew both tired and impatient, after only 5 minutes of watching from the sidelines. I got up closer, looked at his most recent Google search, and he had typed, "BLUE WATER BOTTLE LIKE THE ONE I HAVE."

He thinks Google knows him.

And his water bottle.

And what he means.

And who am I to second guess the boy?

Maybe Google does.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Rojo is in 6th grade, and his teacher, Mr. G., has a black plastic beetle he hides in the classroom each day. When kids have extra time, they can go look for the beetle.

EVERY SINGLE DAY when I pick Rojo up from school, he starts in on the beetle talk.

"I did not find the beetle today! Angelic found the beetle! Angelic always finds the beetle!"


"My BFF, Maddie, and I found the beetle today!"


"Mr. G. is only giving us clues about the beetle, but he will not just tell me where that damn beetle is!"


"Mom, what does it mean it is spending time in jail? Mr. G. says the beetle is behind bars. What does that mean?"

I pick Rojo up at 3:15 and then we head over to pick up Woohoo at 3:30. For the entire 15 minutes it's all beetle talk.

Every day.

Since September 2nd.

So, I wasn't all that surprised when he started talking about asking Santa for a black plastic beetle for Christmas.

Now he's trying to spread the good idea around.

"Woohoo? Would you like Santa to bring you a black plastic beetle, too? I can ask him for two!"

"Daddy? Do you want me to ask Santa for three black plastic beetles, and I can give you one? Would you like a black plastic beetle?"

He hasn't offered to order me one from Santa yet, but I'm sure he will.

I'm sure he will.

* Photo from

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


There's been a death in the family, "someone" very near and dear to me and a part of my life for o, these many years, apparently has passed on. It was the stench of the rotting body that first gave it away - something just didn't smell right. She'd been acting a little funny, not her usual high-performing self, but I blew it off. I should have taken her to the "doctor," seen if anything could be done.

And now it's too late.

My fullycaffeinated e-mail address is gone. I hope she passed peacefully, knowing she'd lived a full life - no regrets.

I can hear her from the other side, and she says things like, "We had a good run, we came into each other's lives both needing each other, and now we don't - you're not fully caffeinated anymore, you're 1/2 caf, at best, and I prefer to live more authentically."

You gotta love "someone" with integrity.

Not sure yet what this means for the name of this blog, I can only handle so much abrupt and difficult change at a time - I'm thinking a subtitle may solve the whole "problem," so I'm open to suggestions.

Until then, a moment of silence, please, let us honor Fully Caffeinated for a life well lived.

(My new address is:

* Photo from

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


We went to see Santa yesterday after school - STM and I figure this is our 15th time, and, gulp, perhaps the last...

Woohoo was a good sport, we didn't make her tell Santa what she wants for Christmas, but we did make her pose for a picture - some traditions just aren't going to be broken no matter how old you are - sorry.

Rojo was all over it like a cheap suit. He talked to Santa for a long time, but when he got up to leave he realized he'd forgotten to tell Santa what he wanted. Santa could see his internal struggle, and got up OFF the chair, and followed Rojo all the way over to us, patiently nodding and listening as Rojo struggled to get the words out of his brain and into the loving ears of Santa.

Eventually the words came out, "I... want... you... know... it's's pretend... it's small..., it has tape on it...Mr. G. puts it on the's a BEETLE!"

Santa winked at me and said, "Okay, Santa will take care of that, but Santa is also going to bring you special things he's picked out JUST for you."

Rojo beamed, looked up at Santa (eye contact is rare) and said, "Oh! That would be great! Thanks!"

Earlier in the day rock star Jenn, had Rojo do his grammar work on the computer, and they tied it to Christmas. Here it is:

Christmas Presents

I like Christmas because every 12 months is Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Presentes are fun to open. What I want for christmas is a fake black beatle with tape on it
And playtao and new white board markers and books and candy. That’s what I realy want. I will open in it on the 24th.

I'm thinking Santa can get the job done for around $10.00, $15.00, tops.

Monday, December 08, 2008


There is a scene in the movie "Father of the Bride," where Steve Martin stands in his upstairs hallway and overhears his two kids calling out, "Good night, I love you," to each other. I get teared up just thinking about it.

When that movie came out in 1991 STM and I weren't even parents, but we looked at each other and said, "That's what it's all about."

On Saturday night we got all dressed up and went to a Christmas party. Woohoo was Rojo's hired babysitter, and he was downright giddy in anticipation. Often times we leave them alone, but all she has to do is "keep him alive," for which I do not feel the need to pay her. But sometimes I actually hire her to do more than just keep him alive, I pay her to engage fully with him, and he looks forward to these times like there's no tomorrow.

He had the whole thing planned, they would walk down to "The Little Store" and buy brownie mix, make brownies together, and he would stir and then lick the spoon. Then they would eat dinner, and at 7:00 they would watch the 2-hour Drake & Josh Christmas movie, allowing him to stay up until 9:00.

"9:00? I can stay up until NINE?" He asked me, incredulously.

"Sure!" I said, happy to let Woohoo have the honors of that extra 1/2 hour of "fun."

"Oh! This is the happiest day of my life!" he proclaimed.

When STM and I got home from our party, we went around the house turning off lights, putting dishes in the sink to soak, and taking inventory on the state of the health and happiness of the children.

As we passed the newly reutilized dining room space, we saw that there were two place mats out with little card stock tents at each place, marking their places. Instead of just getting a bunch of snacks and watching TV and calling that "dinner," they had set the table, pulled up adjacent chairs, and DINED.


A little like that.

That's what it's all about.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


My e-mail is funky - only getting a few now and then, and apparently mine aren't being received, either, so if you're wondering what's up - that's the story! Hope to have it resolved ASAP! Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


So Rojo's up at 5:40 and giving me the to do's for the day, to which I'm too tired to argue, and simply nod and agree to every single one.

Finally he says, "You're in a good mood! You know, you could be in a good mood every day!"

"Good idea," I mumble.

"Don't forget!" he grins.

Friday, December 05, 2008


If you're not already listening to this CD over and over and over again, well, then you're just not fully enjoying the season! Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer's holiday CD is not to be missed! To order yours, click here!

I've listened to it so many times I've nearly perfected my harmony. I e-mailed Tracy just to let her know I was all ready to do back up with her if need be... still waiting for that reply. I'm sure she's just busy, what with the holidays and all. : )

Thursday, December 04, 2008


10. It's high time I embrace his ways
9. If you make a mistake, just write right over the top of it - who cares?
8. Left to right is just one way to write, not necessarily the only way
7. Top to bottom - again - optional
6. Everyone loves them a happy face
5. It's okay to send all your Jewish friends cards that say "Merry Christmas," because that's what Rojo wanted to say, and who are you to argue?
4. What's not to love about a 12 1/2 year old that is more excited for Santa than he's ever been?
3. It's okay to open all the windows and eat all the chocolate from the Advent calendar on the very first day
2. Some ornaments are just too precious to put on the tree - instead, put them under your pillow and have a "sleep over"
1. The Christmas spirit is alive and well, and living in our home

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Well, I promised to let you know how the whole fence mending thing went, and so I will.

It went better than I could have imagined, in both cases. I tend to forget that I'm not the only person working to better understand myself. It was obvious with both these old friends that they, too, had done much "personal work."

Put two women with shared histories together, add a large amount of middle-aged, hard lessons won, put them in a safe, neutral environment, and voila - love.

I don't think anything will change on a day-to-day basis with either of them, the roles they once played have been filled, or simply no longer exist. There is no need for "more," but there was a big need for peace.

I feel like two ghosts that had been taking up room in my psyche, have been exorcised.

Whatever sacred contracts we had with each other, have been fulfilled.




* Photo from

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

“Come to the edge.”
“We can't. We're afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can't. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

Guillaume Apollinaire, 1880-1918
French Poet, Philosopher

Monday, December 01, 2008


I took Psych 101 and 102 in college, circa 1981-82. There was no teacher, the class was "taught" on television, and I managed to go to one of the sites where it could be viewed, a number of times, the number being three.

I regret that.

I've spent the last 25+ years trying to figure out what I missed, namely the work of Carl Jung.

The term "projection" has been bandied about, and I always had a rough idea what that meant - basically that the people that drive you the most crazy, are the most like you, or something like that.

As I retroactively learn about Jung and his theories of Individuation, Shadow, and Synchronicity, I have approximately one "aha" per minute. And maybe I wouldn't have gotten it back then even if I had attended class with a good teacher. Maybe at eighteen there is a limit to understanding that only is lifted when one goes through the second rebellion: Midlife.

Or maybe now I just need to get it in a way that I didn't as a teenager?

As part of my relentless search for surrender (very similar to my recent "aggressively letting go" operation), I am really trying to individuate, to re-claim those parts of myself that I've projected on to others: The good, the bad and the ugly. All. Of. It.

That's what was really "under" one of my recent coffee dates/Operation Fence Mending. I was able to look into the eyes of a person upon whom I'd projected all over the place, and say, "Okay, I'm ready to have those parts of me back. Thanks for holding them until I was ready."

So, here I sit with a bunch of aspects of myself that aren't all that "neat," but they're parts of me, none-the-less. I'm now working to let go of the labels I've attached to them, "bad," "scary," "dangerous," and just Eckhart Tolle (touch with gentle awareness) the hell out of 'em.