Wednesday, July 30, 2008


"Mom, come and see the 'alleulia' show," Rojo says, grabbing my arm and pulling me towards the TV. "That is my favorite show. I like the yelling."

With fixed eyes he watches televangelists do their thing for several days in a row, then decides to give it a try, Rojo style:

"Mom?" Rojo says, "What time do you want to play our yelling game?"

"Not until Woohoo wakes up," I answer.

"So, what time will Woohoo wake up?" he persists.

"Let's say 10:00, I will play the yelling game at 10:00."

"Great! Don't forget! Don't forget at 10:00 we are going to play the yelling game! Don't forget to play it right. Don't forget that when I yell something three times, you clap and cheer, and that will be every two minutes, and a real two minutes, not a pretend two minutes."

"Okay, we will play the yelling game at 10:00, and I will remember to clap and cheer."

"Every real two minutes," he adds.

"Okay," I assure.

"So you won't forget? You won't forget that at 10:00 we are going to play the yelling game and you are going to clap and cheer every real two minutes?"

"No, I won't forget."

9:55 rolls around and he's breathing down my neck, huge smile on his face, dimples that couldn't be cuter, "Mom? Are you ready to start our game? It is almost 10:00, and we need to go get ready for the yelling game."

I traipse after him, sitting in the denim covered Pottery Barn chair-and-a-half, he's crouched down at the matching ottoman, fingers flying all over "his" computer, "words" typing across the screen. He is a televangelist, and is providing his own closed-captioning.

"Ready," I say, and he turns from the computer towards me, puts him arms in "classic televangelist" pose and begins yelling.

"Denver is playing but they cannot PLAY! They cannot PLAY, because the Broncos are in Pittsburgh. PITTSBURGH cannot play, because they cannot play. They cannot PLAY, because they cannot PLAY!"

I am to keep my eye on my watch, and when he repeats himself three times, I'm to clap and cheer. If two minutes goes by and there has not been such a triple repeat, then I am to spontaneously break into thunderous applause.

"They have the ball, but they cannot have the BALL! They don't have the ball, the ball is there but they do not HAVE the ball! The New England Patriots HAVE the ball, but they do not have the BALL!"

My mind starts to wander, I forget my duties, all activity comes to a screeching halt.

"MOM! You are not clapping and cheering! You are not clapping and cheering every real two minutes!"

"Oh, sorry, right, okay..." I stumble through my apology.

"That's okay," he says, "but now you have to write a blog about this."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We spent the day here yesterday, Seaside, Oregon, just 1 1/2 hours away from Portland. The weather was a perfect 62 degrees, sunny, clear blue sky, and best of all, we followed Rojo's month-long plan for the exact execution of the day.

"We will leave at 10:55 AM and get to the beach at 12:25 PM. Then we will go to "the claw" at the arcade and you will grab a football for me. Then we will go to the sand and I will play CFL (Canadian Football League) for three games. And you will keep score. You will write in the sand. Don't forget. Promise you won't forget. You will watch three CFL games and you will not forget to keep score."

We left at 10:55, arrived at the arcade, where I promptly turned a $20 bill into 80 quarters, and inserted at least 40 of them into a hungry claw machine, until I successfully grabbed the 4" New England Patriots stuffed football (retail value? .99).

Delighted, we then proceeded to the beach, where STM was first instructed to create a "tee" for Rojo to kick off. Donning the hockey-turned-football helmet we brought from home, calculator in his right hand, $10 football in his left, the game commenced.

"Are you remembering to keep score? Remember, it is CFL. Don't forget to keep score. Promise you won't forget to keep score?"

I kept score.

I didn't forget.

We rented two sand bikes and STM, Woohoo and I took turns on them, spelling each other from Rojo, whom we renamed "The Barker" as he barked orders non-stop.

"I'll go on a bike ride with you, Woohoo, Daddy can stay with The Barker."

Rojo beams - loves being The Barker - loves that we are all about to lose it with him, but never actually do, because just when he's pushed us to the limit, he says or does something so funny, so endearing, we all laugh.

"Dad! Will you build me a sand TV? Will you build me a sand chair to watch my sand TV? Will you find me a stick remote to use on my sand TV?"

STM follows The Barker's instructions perfectly, and for a full 90 seconds Rojo is enthralled with his sand system, just long enough for me to get a photo showing his legs splayed in perfect recliner fashion, eyes fixed straight ahead at the "TV" and the "remote" poised straight at it, clicking it to channel 55, for "Seinfeld."

"Dad! I am watching George Costanza losing it! He is saying 'jack ass!'"

Woohoo and I pull our beach blankets away from the boys and try to read our books, but The Barker won't hear of it.

"It is time for salt water taffy! We will get a 20-pack! We will leave in five minutes and we will get salt water taffy, and you will pick out 20 pieces for me, because I really need a 20-pack!"

We'd been warned that he would need salt water taffy at 4:30, and at 4:25 he gave us our marching orders.

As we walk down to the candy store he grabs my hand, holds it while simultaneously trying to break free and clutching tightly.

"I like holding your hand, Barker," I say, "but I can't tell if you want to hold it or let go?"

That's it, isn't it, he's getting older, 12 now, and he can't decide either, which side of childhood he is on.

What I do know is in light of the incomprehensible loss of Vicki's son, Evan, I know which side I'm on.

Monday, July 28, 2008

These women say what I'm thinking so much better than I can right now...



Whitterer On Autism

* Photo from

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I have sad news, a friend and fellow blogger, Vicki Forman, lost her son this week. Vicki has written extensively about her 8-year journey as a mother with a special needs son, and her book on the subject will be released next summer.

I know you will join me in sending her, and all their loved ones, love and light through this difficult time.


Saturday, July 26, 2008


10. Failed GPS system that had us driving around in circles for 1/2 an hour
9. Cab I finally had to take, that took 1 1/2 hours to go 4 miles due to "worst traffic I've ever seen," says the cabbie
8. Middle seat between two huge men for 3 1/2 hours to Denver
7. Plane that was supposed to just briefly stop in Denver, then continue on to Portland, had "Emergency Landing"
6. New and improved plane couldn't take off due to weather
5. Sat in Denver airport two hours, by gate, thinking it was boarding time, but boarding time kept changing
4. Finally boarded plane, sat in it, unairconditioned, between two new, huge men, for TWO hours
3. Couldn't land in Portland due to air traffic, so kept circling
2. Finally landed at 2:00 AM EDT, my luggage did not land - it's "elsewhere"
1. Couldn't flippin' remember where I parked my car. Blue 2 was not enough information, needed an alphabet letter, and I was coming up empty, so walked around aimlessly throughout the lot until I finally went into a shelter and called information, providing inaccurate information as to my license plate number, because although I've had it for 11 years, I only remember the three letters, and can never remember the three numbers

All that being said, it's good to be home, and I wouldn't trade one minute of the trip for anything.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

My friend is here, SUZY!!!!! She got here yesterday and we went immediately to opposing couches with our lovely, refreshing beverages, and began a wonderful gabfest that went on for hours and hours. It is Suzy's friends that own the apartment, but it is me that has been "living" here all week, so we're both laughing at me, and how I act like I own the place, and am hosting her.

We talked writing, life, wild journeys between the two, and all that's happened in the two years since we met. We both remember meeting each other for the first time, but disagree (totally) on how the conversation went. She claims (falsely) that my first words to her were, "Hi! I'm Carrie! Are you a motherless daughter?" Can you believe it? And it if it's true, which it totally isn't, can you believe we ever had a second conversation?? WHO starts conversations like that? Me, she would say.

Then, I got a wonderful surprise yesterday when Terry called to tell me she was taking the train in to see me today!!! Philly is only 1 1/2 hours away, and although she had originally told me she just couldn't swing it this week, it was killing both of us to be so close, yet so far, so we came up with a 5 hour compromise plan.

I met her at Penn Station, we walked next door to find a place to talk, sat there for five hours straight, then put her back on a train to her busy life as wife, mother, full-time career woman. Five hours, though, that I won't soon forget, nor their preciousness.

Tonight Kim is taking the train in to have dinner with Suzy and me, and the gabfest will continue. The three of us came together for one reason, and stay together for another. We live in three alternate universes, with a oneness that can't be denied.

Tomorrow I will get up and fully caffeinate with Suzy, then she'll drive me to the airport where I'll leave to go home. The best part of travel is the new appreciation for what you've left behind. And while I'll leave Terry, Suzy, Kim (and Isabel!) and Courtney "behind," their friendships are coming with.

** Okay,someone just texted me and told me the outlandish thing I said to HER, the first time we met, so I invite you, dear readers, to tell me what else I should be horrified/mortified/vilified for! Lord. Have. Mercy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Before I hooked up with Courtney on Monday, I had a few delightful minutes in the four-story Barnes & Noble in Union Square. Only having a few minutes was probably the best thing for me, as I needed to return to Portland with a suitcase full of MORE books, like I needed a hole in the head. None-the-less, I went straight to the children's section, intending to pick one book to take to Isabel on Tuesday.

Isabel is Kim's daughter, and Kim is IT ON A STICK! Kim has edited my book for me (about a hundred times), cheered me on, led the way, steered me in the right direction, and basically, made a pile of nothing, into a manuscript. So, her two-year-old deserved one paperback children's book for all her efforts, right? I'm nothing, if not generous.

Faced with a the most comprehensive children's book selection I've ever in my life seen, was daunting, pretty soon my arms were full of must haves:

And this, because no home is complete without an Elmo in every size imaginable.

So, Tuesday morning I grabbed a cab to Grand Central Station, and took a train out to Kim's. I spent the most delightful day with Kim and the Amazing Isabel, aka, the Book Nazi.

"You will read book!" says Isabel approximately every 2 seconds.

My kids didn't let me read to them like that, especially Rojo, and Woohoo is 14 now. I saved every book from my own childhood, then went into Elementary Ed, taught 12 years, and acquired hundreds of books, none of which my kids would ever patiently listen to, through a cruel twist of fate. So, to have a captive audience was heaven on earth.

I was full going in, but I left Kim's over-flowing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Sitting here in this lovely apartment yesterday morning, sipping great coffee, e-mailing, reading blogs, looking at my incredible view of the East River, and I hear someone trying to open the front door. I go to it, say hello, and the someone on the other side says, "Hi! It's Bonnie!" Something clicks into place in my brain, and I remember being warned someone would be coming by on Monday morning. So I open up and see Bonnie and an adorable older woman, who turns out to be Bonnie's mom.

"Hi, Bonnie," I say, still in my jammies, hair all over the place, "I'm a friend of Elise's friend, my friend is joining me here on Wednesday, but I came early for some meetings with agents. I'm a writer and...." and I proceed to tell poor Bonnie and poor Bonnie's mom, my whole life story.

Bonnie is Elise's (friend of friend), personal assistant. Elise and her husband are in France for a few weeks, so Bonnie has come by to water plants, answer e-mails, and from the sounds of things going on in the office, do some shredding.

Bonnie and her mom TCB (take care of business) and I keep clacking away on my laptop. When Bonnie comes to say goodbye, I ask, "How's the best way to get to Chelsea from here?" and she gives me the exact details, the pros and cons of bus/subway/taxi, the factors to consider for each, on and on.

"I'm from Portland, Oregon," I say, and immediately see that this approach has done what I've intended, proven that I am out-of-my-league here in NYC.

"Let me give you my cell phone number," Bonnie says, "just in case you have any questions." And just like that, I'm programming "Bonnie" into my phone.

I inevitably decide a cab is my best bet, especially considering it is a million degrees here, with a million percent humidity, and I need to look my best, don't you know. I call for a cab to pick me up, and by the time I've reached the ground floor, it's just pulling up. It takes me right to my destination, but because I'm over-the-top early girl, I've got time to kill. Still not wanting to be mussed before the big appointment, I slip into a clothing shop for the AC alone. The guy working the counter is pierced, tattooed, with his sleeves cut off on his black T-shirt. He gives me the once over and announces, "YOU, look great!" I thank him and mill around until it's time to go to my appointment, thanking him again, since the whole Ann Taylor look I've got going is proof to him that he is right, I am only using him for his AC, and have no intention of buying anything.

I go to appointment number one and am delighted by each and every thing I see and hear. Love the "kid," Adam, that greets me, love all the books lined up on all the bookcases. Love the ceiling fan, love that they have their overhead lights off, love, love, love it all. Then I meet Agent # 1 and fall so instantly in love with him it's ridiculous. He is all that I hoped for and more, and we get along like a house on fire.

We finish up, I take another cab (by now it's one million and ten degrees outside) to Agent #2. Love Agent #2, too. A completely different type of person from Agent #1, but warm, kind, generous, helpful, insightful, and overall just amazing. I look around her office, and I see what I could not see from my home in Portland. I see all that she is being asked to do. All the manuscripts she has to read, all the proposals, all the query letters, not to mention all that she has to do to sell the projects she's already taken on. I am filled with compassion for her, and finally "get" that what I've heard is true, agents really want to say "yes" but they simply can't, most of the time.

After my great time with Agent #2 I go to Barnes & Noble, the designated meeting place for my time with Courtney. Courtney I met almost two years ago, and we've kept up with each other's blogs and lives. She's great, one of those people where you can just pick right back up where you left off, easy, comfortable, warm, effusive, supportive, and best of all, eager to hear ELD of my day. Courtney has a four book deal, and her first book is being released in three months - she so gets all the highs and lows of where I am in this process.

Courtney takes me to a great place for lunch/dinner, whatever meal it is when it's 4:30 in the afternoon, and we have a ball.

When I get back to "my" apartment at the end of the day, I'm so full. So full of good food, good conversations, good experiences, just good. And just full.

Monday, July 21, 2008


My direct flight to NYC, JFK is on time, without incident. I easily reclaim my luggage, walk just a few feet out the door and get into a waiting cab. I give the cab driver the address, and he asks, "What's the cross street?"

"What's the cross street?" I think to myself, "holy ______, how would I know?" But as we start driving into Manhattan, I call the friend that arranged for me to stay at this apartment, and ask her. She gives me two streets that seem to satisfy the nice cab driver.

We drive along in companionable silence, him doing his thing in the front, me looking at all the sights from the back.

"I'm here," I think, "I'm really here."

He pulls up to the approximate address I gave him, but we can't be sure, there aren't any numbers on the buildings. Signs everywhere say, "NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY."

"Hmmmm..." I think, "this doesn't look or feel right."

"I'd really like to see a number before you let me off," I say, proud of my assertiveness.

"This is it!" he insists.

As he puts the car in park and starts getting my bags from the trunk, a car pulls up with a family in it, "Excuse me," I say, "I'm looking for 755, do you know where that is?"

"Well," says the lady of the threesome, "I know that one's 795, so 755 must be right nearby."

"That's it!" the cab driver insists, again.

But I know, that is NOT it.

Still, I get out, load up all my luggage, and start walking to "it."

Dread fills me, "This is not it!" I keep thinking. I look around me, nobody else is white. Nobody else is dragging blue matching luggage around (with a darling red, leather "tote"), nobody else is dripping with pearls, this is not where I want to be.

Inspiration hits, after the wave of, "WTF?" passes, and I pull out the keys to the apartment that have been FedExed to me, prior.

"455" it says on the keys.

Ahhhhh... sweet relief, I AM in the wrong place. But now how do I get to the right one??

Clearly lost and confused, three people go out of their way to give me directions.

"Whatcha looking for?" one asks.

"That wasn't the building?" the lady that first gave me directions asks.

Then, as I am moving in the right general direction, I see my sidewalk ends, and there is nothing but a crazily busy street between me and my goal of 455.

I see a huge man with a huge dog. I walk right up to him, "Excuse me, I need 455, if I cross that street, will I be able to pick back up on this path?"

"455? Yea, that's just in the next project over," he says.

I'm in the f'ing projects.

With resolute determination I march, 90+ degrees, 90+ % humidity, so clearly a fish out of water, but also, so clearly someone that is going to be just fine, because I've got all the help in the world.

Well, 455 was not in "the projects" it was several blocks away, and truly beautiful, safe, and well within my comfort zone.

I get to 455, sweaty, relieved, thirsty, hungry, in need of a bathroom, but first, I call my friend, the one with a worse sense of direction (or at least ability to give directions) than me.

"I'm here!" I say, soon as she picks up the phone!

"You are! Great! Did you have any trouble finding it?" she asks. And I tell her the whole story.

"That's not it! It's 755," she insists, "You're in the wrong apartment!"

"That's impossible," I say, "How would I have the right keys, to the wrong apartment? It says right on the keys, 455."

"Look around, tell me what you see," she insists.

"A Viking stove, a green house, artifacts from all over the world..."

She has me go on and on, still believing I'm in the wrong apartment.

After finally convincing her that I am in the right apartment, and all right, we hang up. I take care of business, unpacking, freshening up, taking a long drink from my water bottle, and the phone rings,

"How funny am I thinking you were in the wrong apartment?" my friend asks.

"FUNNY!" I agree.

And it is. It is a funny story, not a scary story, not an OMG story, just a funny one.

I like funny.

Funny is good.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Eyes pop open, clock says “2:57 AM,” and I’m up, three minutes before the alarm goes off, ready and eager to get to the airport, and on with my adventure. I shower, dress, zip the suitcase, kiss the kids and am out the door by 3:40, arriving at the airport at 4:00, an accelerated drive without traffic.

I find the Economy Lot and look for Blue 2, in honor of Rojo’s many-year fascination. There is a spot, just one, right by the sign. As I grab my luggage from the back of the car, the shuttle bus drives up, sees me, patiently waits for me to click the car locked, and I’m on the bus, seconds after parking.

Inside I effortlessly check in, load my bags onto the X-ray, and head for security. Waltz right though and am in a non-line, just a gathering, for Coffee People at 4:29.

“What? It’s not open yet?” I say to the woman next to me.

“No! I’ve been standing here since 4:10, and they promise to open at 4:30, and my watch says 4:30!”

“Well, you better just go ahead and take your rightful place at the front of the line,” I say, smiling, “clearly your caffeine needs are most urgent.”

Then the man standing next to me says, “I’ve been awake for three days!”

“Okay,” I say, “you’re first,” and then I sweep my arms, Vanna White style, and say to the ever-growing crowd, “we’re lining up on basis of need,” and they all chuckle.

Coffee People officially opens, and everyone gets into a well-organized line, once the ropes are put in their proper place and order is created. I find myself somewhere in the middle of the line, no longer near either of my two new best friends.

“Medium coffee with room,” I say with some expertise to the gentleman in front. He rings me up, hands me my coffee, and I walk to the “condiment” bar for cream. There’s my NBF, the man that’s been up for three days. He’s got two extra large cups, and appears to be traveling alone.

“I’m going to miss the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee that’s all over the East Coast,” he says. This tells me two things: 1) He is not from Portland, and 2) He doesn’t know squat about good coffee, but his rumpled clothes and bed hair endear me to him anyway.

“I’m going there now,” I say, “to the East Coast.”

“Oh yea? Where?” he asks.

“New York,” I say.

“Ah, New York is great,” he tells me.

“Where you on the East Coast for business?” I ask.

“My mom died. I was there for her funeral, so yes, I guess you could say, ‘business’.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I say, and while I take off the lid of my coffee to add the cream that he is now done with, and is handing me, I spill the whole cup all over the counter.

“Here,” he says, extending one of his extra-large coffees with cream to me, “I’ve got an extra.”

“Oh no, I can’t do that to you! You’ve been up for three days! You need both of those! I’ll just go get a refill, it’s fine, I’ve got lots of time.”

I go up to the counter and ask for a rag to clean up my mess, explaining that I’ve spilled my coffee all over the place.

“Oh, we’ll get that,” the man says, taking my cup and refilling it, handing it back and saying, “no charge.”

I find a table, set up my computer, check e-mail and sip my coffee. Already the kindness of strangers has me wrapped in a warm embrace.

And then, when I board the plane, the flight attendant smiles warmly, welcomes me and points me to my seat. On her neck? A strand of pearls.

* Photo from

Friday, July 18, 2008


Y'all are going to be so disappointed when you hear what's behind Door #1, and I gotta tell you, I'm going to miss all the inadvertent intrigue/attention I've created! What's been interesting has been the speculations, and seeing how everyone's guess has more to do with them, than with me. Note to self: Most of what people say and do, has nothing to do with me. I tend to forget that one.

So, here's the whole, anticlimactic story in a nutshell:

* Last Friday a friend, and fellow memoirist, e-mailed and said, "Hey, I've got the use of a friend's apartment in NY the week of 7/21, why don't you fly out, join me, we'll write, laugh, have Beer O'Clock, etc?"

* My first response was, "I'm there!"

" My second, third, fourth... responses were, "Key-rist! I shouldn't be spending a bajillion dollars to fly 3,000 miles to go write, I should be spending that money on paying someone to stand over my desk with a gun to my head, and make me write, right here in Portland!"

* Then a brilliant friend said, "Hey! Contact the agents that still have your book, tell them you're coming to NYC, and see if they'll meet with you!"

* So I did, thinking, "If I can get even one appointment, it will be (financially) worth going."

* With each day that passed, the cost of the trip went up, as well as my blood pressure. Waiting to hear back from agents had me a total wreck. What to do, what to do?

* I started praying for signs. They appeared all over the place, like bricks to the head.

* While still waiting for responses, I went ahead and booked the ticket, planning to leave on Sunday, in case one of the agents said, "I could see you Monday."

* Right after I booked the ticket I heard back from two. Both said, "I could see you Monday."

* I'm scared.

* I'm excited.

* I'm nervous.

* I'm confident.

* I will be all alone in NYC for three days, until my friend gets there. And, while I pride myself on my fierce independence, I can't find my way out of a paper bag, I have no, ZERO, sense of direction, and the idea of being left to my own devices in NYC has me a little freaked out.

* I am, however, totally expecting to get along with the help of strangers. Strangers ask me for help all the time, I'm thinking there's some karmic activity involved here, and I will get all the help I need, whenever/wherever I need it.

* I wasn't going to blog all this, didn't want to jinx it, didn't want to risk putting it out there, then potentially having to blog that everything fell through, still no agent, blah, blah, blah...

* Then, when arguing with myself over all this, this quote popped in my e-mail: "To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself." - Soren Kierkegaard, 1813-1855

* And so I dare.

(BTW, all prayers, thoughts, candles, vigils, burnt offerings, etc. are welcome on Monday!)

* Photo from

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rojo had a great birthday! The Monday before his birthday, he said, "Did you remember to get me a garbage truck for my birthday?" Well, unbelievably enough, no, I had not remembered. But, thanks be to the Internet gods, I was able to find THE PERFECT GARBAGE TRUCK and clicked away, ensuring its prompt delivery.

And it didn't come.

And I got quite panicky.

And Rojo asked every single hour/day, "Did my garbage truck come?"

So, his birthday comes, still no garbage truck. We go bowling (11:15, this had been planned, to the minute, for three months, count 'em), come home, have lunch with the whole family gathered round our dusty, seldom used dining table, and lo and behold, ding dong, Mr. THANK THE GOOD LORD, UPS GUY shows up with the garbage truck!

Well, it required assembling, but two power drills later, that sucker was good to go.

And he has not stopped playing with it since.

Today he said, "Did you want to take a picture of my garbage truck for your blog? And did you want my cat, Tom, to be in the picture, too?"

Yes, I did, as a matter of fact, funny he should ask.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I chose Door #1: Excitement/Risk/Unknown

* Photo from Jupiter Images

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I'm sorry I'm being all mysterious, all will be revealed soon, but for now, suffice it to say I am still chasing my flippin' tail on whether to choose Door #1: Excitement/Risk/Unknown or Door #2: Safety/Stability/Known. The decision is made doubly hard by the fact that I'm trying to change my ways, and stop being Chaos Girl, and start being Stability Girl. Discernment, it seems will not be mine.

So, like the OCD person I am, I'm pacing the house, mad as a hatter, not able to land. "Go to the yellow room," an inner voice tells me. (We have really sophisticated names for all the rooms in our house.) So I go to the yellow room, and, still unable to sit, I start reading all the artwork on the walls. We have four Coritas in that room. For those of you that have missed my multiple blogs on the virtues of Corita, and for those that haven't, that woman NEVER disappoints, may she rest in peace.

My eyes land on the print above. "The secret is to risk disaster, hope for triumph and describe the forms of the incarnation." Next to that it says, "Save one=love one an alphabetics stand outside stains everything begins again with a cool two fingers over two eyes opening the third to what eternally happens. The third stands with me and confuses my immediate vision. Turns my shoulder into a hill and pours me like salt into my own wounds. The third eye does not read recognize... " and there, the print is so tiny, so illegible, I'm only left to guess as to its ending, its meaning, its message to me.

"The third stands with me and confuses my immediate vision." Hmmmm... yes. That "third eye," that one that "sees" the unseen, the intuitive/divine vision.

I have a vision. It is not confusing to me what it is, it is only confusing to me how/when it's going to come to be. And, while I search for discernment, I have plenty of material from which to describe this incarnation.

Monday, July 14, 2008

THE LINK MEN, 7/14/96

Happy 12th birthday, Rojo!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


So, I'm faced with an exciting decision to make, out-of-the-blue (of course there's no such thing, there are no accidents) I got an offer to do something really exciting. And expensive. And scary. And risky. And, and, and...

So, very un-Carrie-like, I decided to sleep on it (as opposed to my usual head-first dive into a decision, one way or another, just to have it made and be done with). That's when I had the dream of the wild horse.

A friend trained in animal symbolism, read yesterday's blog and sent me this: "The horse carried people and their belongings into new uncharted territory and the challenges that it held. If horse has come to you, you are being offered a gift of safe movement. Is there somewhere that you want or need to go? Horse can help you get there, whether the place is physical or spiritual. Is their a new venture you want to undertake? Call on horse to help you create it. Are there challenges in front of you that you don't want to deal with? If so, the horse asks you to awaken your inner power and move forward with courage."


Then, I consulted the I-Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes. And, naturally, it said, "The four fundamental aspects of the Creative–'sublime success, furthering through perseverance'–are also attributed to the Receptive. Here, however, the perseverance is more closely defined: it is that of a mare. The Receptive connotes spatial reality in contrast to the spiritual potentiality of the Creative. The potential becomes real and the spiritual becomes spatial through a specifically qualifying definition. Thus the qualification, "of a mare," is here added to the idea of perseverance. The horse belongs to earth just as the dragon belongs to heaven. Its tireless roaming over the plains is taken as a symbol of the vast expanse of the earth. This is the symbol chosen because the mare combines the strength and swiftness of the horse with the gentleness and devotion of the cow."

While I realize you can ask a question to the Universe, and interpret the "answers" anyway you want, there is no doubt in my mind that I am called to combine strength and swiftness, with gentleness and devotion, and that, is exactly what I am planning to do, no matter what I do.

* Photo from

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Last night I dreamed I was walking along the beach, a solid wall on my left, a huge, HUGE wave approaching on my right. The only thing keeping that wave from getting me was a wild horse. Just by running alongside the huge wave, the horse was able to keep it from approaching. It just got higher, but not closer.

When I first saw the horse there was a man lying on the back of it, no saddle.Then he gracefully slid off down the back, and jumped the long distance from the tall horse to the sand below. When he did so, the wild horse took off, so fast, so naturally, so beautifully, and so scarily.

As soon as the horse was out of sight, the wave approached with a vengeance, and pounded me, and all the others on the beach, into the wall.

I had a "wild horse" friend. I tried to ride along for awhile, no saddle, always "knowing" that eventually I would fall. I was only keeping the wave at bay, the crash was coming...

So maybe this dream is insight into that story. Or not. Maybe it's all just different parts of me...


Solid part of me.

Wall part of me.

Wild part of me.

Horse part of me.

Huge part of me.

Wave part of me.

Separate part of me.

Crashing part of me.

* Photo from

Friday, July 11, 2008

So, Rojo is 12 on Monday and still eats toothpaste, still writes on the walls with Sharpies, etc., etc., etc., but I'm telling you, that boy is TAPPED IN!

Last night I was tucking him in, I said, "Who do I love?" We have done this routine for years, the response is always the same, and it goes a little something like this:

ME: "Who do I love?"

HIM: "Me."

ME: "How much?"

HIM: "Every day, all day long, my whole life."

But last night, he didn't say, "me." He started down the list of all other possible suspects.

HIM: "Woohoo"

ME: "Yes, I love Woohoo."

HIM: "Grandma and Papa?"

ME: "Yes, I love Grandma and Papa."

And on and on it went until he came to a friend we'll call Belle.

HIM: "Belle?"

ME: "Yes, I love Belle."

HIM: "But you do not talk to Belle on the telephone anymore."

ME: "No, that's true, but I still love Belle."

That blew my mind, then he blew it even further by asking about a woman I've known for a decade, whom I prefer to call TOXIC WOMAN.

HIM: "What about ____________'s mom?"

I knew exactly who he meant, but pretended not to.

ME: "Who?"

HIM: "You know, the mom of ____________?"

I have said, I thought to myself and never out loud, certainly not in front of him, "My GOD, how I hate that woman! That woman is corrosive! That woman is dangerous! That woman is to be avoided at all costs! That woman, that woman, that woman..."



I forgot about the period.

ME: "You're right. I need to work on loving ____________'s mom."

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I don't know a lot about generational dynamics, professionally speaking, but I am having all kinds of "fun" watching them play out in my life.

I first heard the term, "Family Constellations," from Ruth King. Ruth trained with Bert Hellinger, and uses his system in some of her Healing Rage work. It's powerful. That, I do know, first hand.

"I swear, the healthier I get, the crazier my mother gets," I told a trusted friend, also a trained therapist.

"That's exactly what happens," she went on to explain. Then she gave me the quick and dirty Family Constellation explanation, that I had forgotten since working with Ruth.

Hellinger speaks of the Orders of Love He says, "The solution to life in family occurs when each of its members takes his/her appropriate and actual place, takes upon his/her roles in life, taking care of himself/herself and avoiding intervening in other's destiny."

"Intervening in other's destiny" has me chasing my own tail.


How many of "my" decisions really have been mine? My mom was a teacher, I became a teacher. My mom had a daughter, then a son, I have an older daughter and younger son. My mom always wanted to write a book. I've written a book. And on, and on, and on...

The question is not whether our two lives are dysfunctionally fused, the question is how am I going to take my own/appropriate/actual place in my own destiny?

I have a friend that is adopted. She's known forever that she was adopted, and has grown up issue-free with that fact. Her adoptive parents loved her, adored her, ate her with a spoon, she couldn't have, and didn't, ask for better. She is now married, happily, has three amazing kids, a beautiful home/life/church/community/friendships/etc. This is a highly functioning, funny (should totally be a comedian), confident, got-it-all-together woman.

Enter the birth parents...

It's her story to tell, not mine, but through a fascinating turn of events, she first met her birth mother, and then, eventually, her birth father.

She looks like her birth father.

She has siblings that look like her.

She has mannerisms that resemble her "family."

She's freaking out.

There was nothing "missing" in her life. She was happy! Now, Pandora's box has been opened.

We sat under her grapevined arbor, drinking espresso from matching demitasse cups, two women with "enough," talking about nature versus nurture.

"But why does it matter?" She asked. "Why do I care? Why do I need to know these people? Why do I need to meet my siblings? Why is any of this important?"

"Because it is," was my not-so-great response. "It's not that you don't have 'enough,' you do, or that your adopted family wasn't great, they were, but you are part of another family, whether or not you ever meet them."

She may be (and is) fine with her lot in life, but a system was broken when she was given up for adoption, and that family is affected. It is not her job to fix them, heal them, rid them of guilt or blame, but it does "matter."

Doesn't it?

* Photo from, entitled "Earth-love-hug"

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I had lunch with three of my woo-wooiest friends on Monday. Heaven. Pure. Heaven. In fact, the whole, "Whenever two or more of you are gathered..." comes to mind. There was divine
energy ping-ponging in such a fashion I'm surprised we didn't put an eye out in one of the surrounding patrons.

One of us had just had a birthday, July 3rd. Another of us said, "Hey! My birthday is January 3rd, that's exactly six months later!" That, in and of itself, was interesting enough, but as we kept discussing our various lives, interests, talents, struggles, tendencies, and putting them against our astrological charts, we learned these two had nearly opposite charts. One was all "below" and the other, all "above." The "below" person is introverted, quiet, she minimizes her amazing gifts and talents (in my opinion) and tends to sublimate them. The other person with the "above" chart is quick to say, "I can do that!" This person is extroverted, vivacious, demonstrative, confident, etc.

On the drive home I started to think of my own chart (pretty much an "above" chart, too) and then think of who do I know that is born on the "other side" of me. It blew my mind. An inordinate number of old, dear, EASY friends have birthdays EXACTLY 6 months after/before mine, August to my February.

Are we two parts of the whole? Do we balance one another? Alter egos? Light and dark? Above and below? Extroverted and introverted?

I don't think we ever need another to "complete" us, but what about BALANCE us? I need me some balancing, and my August people all do that for me.

Anyway, the food at the restaurant was delicious, and I've been enjoying chewing on that conversation ever since.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Well, after MUCH procrastination/distraction/various other avoidance tactics, I wrote the flippin' pages I needed to write. That's the good news. The bad news is that in doing so, I painted myself in an emotional corner. I'm stuck now - no way out, only option is to step on the newly painted floor and make a big mess.

I hate big messes.

But I can't just "stand" here.

And so I venture from my emotional corner, one tentative foot at a time, gingerly moving forward and through the emotions that got all stirred up.

* Photo from

Monday, July 07, 2008


So, I'm supposed to be rewriting, right? And of course I'm not, right? BUT, you will be oh so impressed when you hear what I HAVE been doing!

* Ordered all of Rojo's uniforms for school, which involved measuring him, tremendous guess work as to how much he'll grow, and inventorying all the hand-me-downs to first see what we already have that will work!

* Cleaned all three coffee makers (three story house, three coffee makers, duh).

* Weeded my entire yard, front and back, all window boxes, planters and have made a nice start on both adjacent neighbors' yards.

* Decided yesterday was the day I'd finally burn me some Peter, Paul and Mary mixed CDs, and don't you just know it, they have made over a hundred songs, so this meant lots of burning, three disks in all, then making pretty mosaic cover sheet inserts, finding the paper cutter in Woohoo's room (no small feat) and cutting them all exactly perfectly to fit in their coordinating jewel cases, after, and only after, matching the right Sharpie color to best blend with the jewel case and mosaic insert.

* Discovered that when I listen to said Peter, Paul and Mary CDs with my headphones (am I the only American that doesn't own an i-Pod and ear buds?), Peter sings to me in one ear, and Paul in the other. Mary comes through both. Love that about Mary.

* Experimented with leftover s'mores makings and found that if you put a marshmallow on a graham cracker, then put it in the microwave for 20 seconds, it will melt nicely. Any longer than that and you've just earned another way to piss away time, because that marshmallow is going to explode all over the place. Also found that instead of a marshmallow, a bit of peanut butter and some Hershey's chocolate melts nicely, and is delicious, in the microwave, too, but you're going to want 30 seconds for that concoction.

* Did all the laundry I didn't do before vacation, and all the laundry accumulated on vacation, then folded it in a manner fitting a GAP employee, and put it all away in freshly organized drawers throughout the house!

* Sorted out all the over-the-counter meds in the house, tossed all the expired ones, sorted them according to purpose: pain relief, allergy remedies, first aid, etc., found really cute little decorative storage units, got them all facing the same way, and laid them on just-wiped shelves.

* "Filed" everything electronically, went through all my emails, purged, sorted, hyper organized and labeled. I can find anything now - try me.

I'd finish this list but I've gotta go to Target and buy all the school supplies, heck, September 2nd is RIGHT around the corner!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

(Photo of total strangers, but I feel as though I know them, don't you?)

Rewriting is a lot like finding a picture of yourself from the 80's. You know the one.

You thought you had it all going on, looking mighty fine, then years later look at the picture with horror! You wrote stuff you were sure was flippin' brilliant, hung it out there for all to see, then later, took a second look and couldn't believe your audacity.


It's a little like that.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Got some great feedback on my manuscript the other day - so great I can't ignore it, so great I can't dismiss it, so great I am going to address each and every point made.


I want to be "done." I so, so, so want this manuscript to be "done."

Such a metaphor, it's my life, after all, that the manuscript depicts. I am in such a hurry all the time to be done with whatever phase of my life that I'm currently in, optimistic, always, that the next one will be better/more/different.

It occurs to me that "optimistic" may not be the best choice of words - it may not be optimism that the next phase is better, as much as it is impatience with whatever is "now."

The power of now has yet to fuel me, it has eluded me almost entirely.

I had dedicated today to going back into my manuscript and reworking the first 50 pages. Thing is, you can't rework the first 50 pages without reworking the whole thing.


I'm sick of the first 50 pages, I'm sick of the story I'm trying to tell, I'm wondering why I ever thought this was such a great idea, anyway.

And what if "they" are right? What if I "left my kids" all those times to go write a book, and the book is total shit and will never be published, and all that leaving was pointless, deluded, and worse, the "s" word - selfish.

What if I've spent all these months writing something for "nothing?"

Would that be the worst thing that could happen to me? Having spent months reflecting, reworking and revising the stories I've told myself, and the one I'm trying to share with the world?

No. And so, I will stop procrastinating/distracting/avoiding and pick up that #2 pencil and go back in.


And probably, again, and again, and again...

* Photo from

Thursday, July 03, 2008


A favorite song from my childhood ran through my head when I saw this...

Tell me why you're crying, my son
I know you're frightened, like everyone
Is it the thunder in the distance you fear?
Will it help if I stay very near?
I am here.

And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
Day is done, day is done
Day is done, day is done

Do you ask why I'm sighing, my son?
You shall inherit what mankind has done.
In a world filled with sorrow and woe
If you ask me why this is so, I really don't know.


Tell me why you're smiling my son
Is there a secret you can tell everyone?
Do you know more than men that are wise?
Can you see what we all must disguise
Through your loving eyes?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Go read this from my friend, Terry, originator of "Not enough has been made," "It on a stick," and most of my other best lines.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


When I went to hear Pat Wood last week, she told the story of waking up one morning (early) with the whole preface of Lottery in her head, word for word. She arose, typed it all out, and inevitably that preface made it all the way to the printed version, with only the slightest of revisions.

I get that.

Many days I wake up with sentences, phrases, or ideas in my head that I just "know" go in my book. When I make the effort to rise, and transcribe what the gods have downloaded for me, I am always happy with the results. What often happens, however, is Rojo wakes up too soon, and before I've completed my secretarial duties for the writing muse, my head is lost in the making of sourdough toast, garbage truck searches, and the day's minutiae.

Today the phrase that woke me us was, "A lease on friendship." STM is still in Eugene (I extended his extension, because I am just that amazing, and just that manipulative, he's going to owe me BIG when he gets here), Woohoo is at WUG with two of my cousins that have total proxy for me, she won't get away with anything. Rojo is still sleeping because he was up until 9:30 singing "Who let the dogs out?" kicking the wall under his desk, typing manically on his computer and in general, making me grumpy. And so here I am, alone, drinking coffee, watching the deer, quail, and the morning come to life, and contemplating the wisdom of "A lease on friendship."

It's really true, isn't it? We just take out a lease when we sign up for a new friend. Some leases are short, some get extended, and some we choose to buy out at the end. We know a good deal when we have it, and never want it to end. Some leases seem to have a one-way contract, one we never hold, never see, never consult, but seem to be operating under, none-the-less. That is the variety that holds the most angst for me, and the one that first sprang to mind when I began to turn the phrase around in my head.

What is up with those friendships? Those in which we never know what's going on? We never seem to be fully relaxed and at ease, there is always some drama about to break. And when they end, and they always do, we are left with a whole bunch of, "What happened?" Then we finish what the friendship started, the endless self-doubt, the merry-go-round of, "Was it because I said/did/didn't say/didn't do _______________?" And no amount of soul searching nor pathetic pleading on our part to the other silent half, ever comes up with an answer that satisfies.

The lease was up.

That's all.

* Photo from