Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Nearly fifteen years ago a handsome man and his darling look-alike son, knocked on my door.

"Hi! I'm Greg. This is Leo. We live across the street. FedEx left a note that you'd accepted a package for me?"

And the rest is history. Greg is married to Toeless. Greg and his kids made this delightful "short," a five minute movie.

Do yourself a favor, click here, smile from ear-to-ear for a few minutes, then rate it.

You'll be glad you did!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm driving Woohoo to school this morning and she says, "In health class last week, we all had to say what some of our family rules are."

This will be good, I think to myself.

"Oh yea? So what did you say were ours?" I reply, scanning my brain quickly for one single time in her life I've ever actually uttered the words, "The rule is __________."

"I just told him, 'In my family, there's only one rule: Be kind.'"

Glad to know it's not just the bad rules that can go unspoken, that are effective.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Spent most of yesterday reading this book.

Spent most of yesterday crying.

Spent most of yesterday picking at old scabs, only to find they aren't that old, or resilient, they are easily removed, and underneath is a festering ooze of anger.

Spent most of yesterday pissed off at doctors that told me nothing was wrong, support people that weren't, and everyone on the planet with typical children.

Spent most of yesterday completely turned upside down after reading the account of the mother with the 30-year-old son, still living at home, hiring prostitutes and treating them like his girlfriends.

That did me in.


But not entirely.

And that's what makes us warriors, right? Almost being done in, but not entirely?

Over and over again.

And again.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


My Target is as torn up and turned around as my Safeway - and I've tried to be patient, but this may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Yesterday I went to what used to be the store I knew like the back of my hand, and nothing was where it "should" be. Nothing. Maternity clothes were where my Goldfish belong. Menswear was where I buy my inkjets. Never did find the CD jewel cases I've come to rely on.

As I wandered around Health & Beauty looking for a flippin' toothbrush, I spot it, grab it, and toss it in my cart on top of the toilet paper.

A young employee crouched down, stocking shelves, chirpliy says, without looking up, "Can I help you find something?"

"No thanks," I answered, "I just found what I'm looking for."

Off to find saline for STM's contacts, I again appear in her peripheral vision.

"Can I help you find something?" she asks, again, not looking up.

"No thanks - it's still me. I'm good," I answer, slightly less patiently than the first time she asked.

We repeat this routine three more times as I locate Q-tips, shampoo and deodorant, all a split second before her mantra.

If she asks me one more time, I'm going to lose it, I think to myself.

Just about to make my escape and she says, "Can I help you find something?"

I look at her, ready to blow, but something comes over me and I think, God, how I'd hate her job and I say, instead, "It's me again. I appreciate your help."

She finally looks up, saying, "I'm just on autopilot. Everyone is so crabby around here with all the construction."

"You have a hard job," I say, meaning it, my two minutes in her department about doing me in, unable to fathom the 40 hours a week she spends in it. Finally getting out of my own self-involvement long enough to look at the bigger picture.

Turns out? She helped me find something.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Just read Michelle O'Neil's post about cracking the code of something her daughter was worried about, only to discover another part of the mystery.

Reminded me of my recent conversation with Rojo.

Me: "Rojo - tell me about this new expression of yours, 'Give me an apple!'"

Rojo: "Instead of saying, 'Give me a damn minute,' I say, 'Give me an apple,' because that's not sassy."

Think of the possibilities! If Rojo's substitute catches on, or even better, gets reversed, we could have all kinds of new and exciting terms in our collective language!

"I'm heading to NYC! I've always wanted to see the Big Give Me a Damn Minute!"

"Here, teacher, you're the best, have a damn minute!"

"A damn minute a day, keeps the doctor away."

You get the idea.

Can't talk now - gotta go make give me a damn minute sauce.

* Photo from www.freefoto.com

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I think Jerri was right when she said, "We tell ourselves we're 'confused,' but almost always know, and resort to confusion when we don't like what we know." Think she hit that proverbial nail on the proverbial head!

So - "confusion" has been cleared I know what I know. Knowing what you know is good.

Knowing what you don't know, that's good, too. So often we don't know what we don't know.

When I was at Kelly's funeral, I was talking to someone that was in my English class senior year. I told her how the subject I'd chosen for my term paper in 1981, seemed obscure at the time, and it was difficult to find information. I remember sitting across from this classmate, don't remember what her subject was, but wished I'd chosen it, as she seemed to have a big stack of books from which to draw great quotes, and I had like two.

My subject? Autism.

Wednesday My Jenny was on Oprah, talking about autism, and Mother Warriors - her book, and those of us, the mothers in the field, in the trenches, in the cross-fire.

Wouldn't have any problem writing a term paper on autism today - and what I know is I'm not confused about all my different emotions around that. I'm glad there's a broader understanding of autism in the world today, as it's really not a new "problem." I'm sad that there are so many of us "in the club." I'm thrilled there are people like My Jenny making a big difference to a big number of kids and their families. I'm frustrated with people that accuse mother warriors of not "accepting their children for who they are." I'm amused by the irony. I'm in awe of no accidents.

And I'm grateful.

Grateful to my English teacher for teaching me how to write. And do research. And put the two together.

Grateful my warrior days are, for the most part, behind me.

Grateful I know what I know - that what I am most of all, is blessed.

* Photo from http://i229.photobucket.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Conquer the angry man with love.
Conquer the ill-natured man with goodness.
Conquer the miser with generosity.
Conquer the liar with truth.

"The Enlightened One"

Have a little internal struggle going - trying to discern if something I think I simply "can't" do, is something I simply "won't" do, or if there's anything simple about it at all?

How do you decide what's an impossibility, versus what's a resistance to the very thing most in need of doing?

Pretty much thinking since I'm in such a froth over it, there's my answer: If I couldn't do it, I wouldn't feel conflicted, but since I'm spending an inordinate amount of time creating elaborate structures of justification, it's a won't.

And as I'm creating these elaborate structures, the above quote pops into my e-mail. And it feels like a piece of the puzzle.

And if feels like a whole separate thing.

And it feels like both.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


It's really true: It's not what you know, it's who you know. And I, dear readers, know the scheduler of the SNACK SHACK!

So, although we are not on the books again until October 14th, I've been reassured that at today's home games, Rojo can "help" as much as he wants.

And that? That, fills my cup to over flowing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Every once in a awhile you need to go to a wedding, sit beside your husband of nearly 17 years, partner of of nearly 23, and watch two young kids exchange vows, rings, and passionate kisses.

Every once in awhile you need to look over at all the guys your husband went to high school with, sit beside their wives of nearly 20-25 years, and think, "Look at them. There they are. Still together."

Every once in awhile you need to sit between your two squirming kids, wish you'd not brought them, but glad that you did, and think, "Look at us. Still together."

Every once in awhile you need to wait for the bride to start the wedding, and take those extra few minutes and think of all the marital journeys sitting in that sacred space together, and marvel at it all.

Every once in awhile you need to let all the back stories, of all the people you know in the sacred space, pass through your mind. Don't let them linger, just let their struggles, their joys, flash upon the screen of your mind's eye, and just be with it. All of it. The better. The worse. The sickness. The health.

Every once in awhile you need to think of the line from "Fiddler on the Roof," "A bird and a fish can fall in love, but where will they make their home?" And you need to realize you are a bird, and you married a fish, and at times you leave each other gasping for air, and although it's never been easy, it's sacred. And strong. And worth it.

Every once in awhile.

Friday, September 19, 2008


10. My favorite time of year - love the heat of the day and the cool of the night.

9. Love the darker mornings where the Marys light up extra bright.

8. Woohoo's great start to high school - well begun is half done.

7. Rojo's amazing support team that allows him to be in the school he is, not just surviving, but thriving.

6. At 49-years-old, my husband has decided to start taking drum lessons - midlife behavior could be a lot worse.

5. My neighbors support different politicians for president, but can live next to each other in perfect harmony.

4. One of Rojo's longest/most special friend, Rosie, is leaving her house extra early today so she can come here and ride her bike with Rojo to school today - because he asked her to.

3. Rojo can coin a new phrase at school, "Give me an apple," nobody knows exactly what it means, but it's quickly adopted into everyone's lexicon, anyway.

2. We have our health, home, electricity, basic and beyond, needs met.

1. love.

* Photo from http://shalomrav.files.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Woohoo is playing on the JVII volleyball team, and having a ball. But nobody is more excited than Rojo.

As soon as teams were made and schedules given, a clipboard got passed around asking the parents to sign up for a few shifts at the "Snack Shack," a fundraiser for the sport

teams, whereby many bags of popcorn and slices of pizza change hands.

Oh, and water bottles.

And candy.

"Mom! I will help you at the Snack Shack! I will help you sell water bottles and candy! You will tell me what the people order, and I will just RUN and get it, and hand it to the people! I will just run and get them their candy, and run and get them their water bottle. You will just tell me, and I will do all the running!"

That was in August.

Everyday since then it's been a steady stream of, "Mom! Only _________ more days until we work the Snack Shack! You will just tell me what the people want, and I will just RUN to get it! The people will say, 'I'll have a water bottle, please,' and you will tell me, 'Rojo! One water bottle, please,' and I will just run and go get it, and then I'll hand it to the person and I will say, 'Here is your water bottle!'"

So, yesterday was Snack Shack day and Woohoo had been home sick Monday. Rojo got worried.

"Mom. We will still work at the Snack Shack even if Woohoo is too sick to go to school, right? Even if she is not playing volleyball, we will still sell water bottles and candy at the Snack Shack, right?"

Tuesday morning and Woohoo was still too sick to go to school. Again, I raised my right hand and placed it on the Bible and swore the Snack Shack plan was still in effect.

Tuesday afternoon I pick him up from school, and he's not even fully in the car, door still wide open, backpack flung on the floor, and he starts in, "Mom. You did not forget the Snack Shack, did you? What time will we go to the Snack Shack tonight? What time will I sell the water bottles and candy?"

I assured him we were all systems go for the Snack Shack, and we would leave at 4:15, watch the end of Woohoo's team's game, then be right on time to start peddling at 5:00, as planned.

"Let's go over this one more time," he says, all business, once back at home. "In fact, let me write you a script so you can study your lines. Then you will put the script in your purse and have it at the Snack Shack, just in case you forget. But you will not forget, right? You promise not to forget?"

He digs out paper and pencil and writes me the "script," "OPEN REVERFARTER FOR WATER" and "OPEN DRAWER FOR CANDY."

"Do you understand your job? Do you understand that you will open the refrigerator for water and hand me the water, and I will run and take it to the person? Do you understand that if the person wants candy, you will open the drawer, and I will just give it right to the person, just like that? Do you understand? Do we need to go over this one more time?"

After many more promises that I would deliver on my end of the bargain, we headed on over to the Snack Shack.

He worked up a sweat with all the running back and forth, and endeared himself to most the student body, many parents, and the principal.

When our 1-hour shift ended he was reluctant to leave, just sure he'd left shoes too big to fill. Anyone can hand out candy and water bottles, not just anyone can do so with such unadulterated joy.

Got home and he didn't miss a beat. "Mom. I would like a Snack Shack milkshake please." I got out the blender, milk, ice cream and went looking for the scooper. When I turned around, I saw this:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


This picture tells a different story - just five years after the "All-American Family" one. This story is a little closer to the truth.

I've had a song stuck in my head for over a week, and one line in particular, "All families are not the same. They’re not just what you see within the picture frame." And maybe that's why I was so struck with the picture of my original family - struck by the fact that it looked great within a picture frame - struck by the story it told, and the story it held.

So yesterday I took Jess out for brunch for her birthday. We started talking about Kate Power and Steve Einhorn, and in they walked. Just like that, we mentioned them, and there they were - within minutes.

Then we walked back to Jess' so she could give me a tutorial of Facebook, and I told her I had this one song, one line, stuck in my head and it wouldn't shake loose.

"Which song?" Jess asked, her cat, Emma Lou purring and shedding in the small space between us on the couch.

"Leela and Ellie Grace's song, 'This is My Family,'" I answered.

"You mean this one?" she asked, simultaneously clicking her computer over to her recently uploaded photos and videos.

And there, right in front of me, was this video of THAT song, THAT artist, playing in MY house in Sisters! (That's Rose Polenzani tapping her toe and seen briefly.)

To make the story even more interesting, Leela Grace was not "supposed" to be at my house. Jess ran into her and she was camping out because the town was all full up - Jess, being the generous spirit that she is, invited her over.

So she could sing that song.

So she could reach across the ethers and deliver a message.

And it could be carried on.

And we could all remember that the definition of "family" is forever evolving - but always means the same thing.


This Is My Family
Leela Grace

This is my family
All families are not the same
They’re not just what you see within the picture frame
It is the day to day
It is the way we feel
It is the words we say that make something real

[chorus] This is my family
We live within these walls
They do not look like me but I don’t care at all
And this is my lover’s loom
Where she weaves the love
That fills up all the rooms and covers all of us

This is my family
It does not look like yours
But we’re not the enemy
Why do you wage these wars?
For we are bound by soul
And we live by heart
Now why is it your goal to tear us apart?

The laws don’t make our ties
It’s not by blood we’re bound
But it’s in love we rise
This is the home we’ve found

[last chorus] This is my family
We live within these walls
They do not look like me but I don’t care at all
And this is my daughter’s loom
Where she weaves the love
That fills up all the rooms and covers all of us

(© 2004 Leela Grace, BMI)

Monday, September 15, 2008


Two years ago this month, I met Courtney in NY at an author salon. Her warmth, kindness and exuberance

were anything but what I'd heard about "typical Manhattanites." Two years later I've had the pleasure of coming to know her even better, through blogs, e-mails, and in person. But yesterday I had the distinct honor of getting to read the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of her debut young adult novel, My So-Called Family.

Michelle O'Neil nails it when she says she's "Blume worthy," and I know to we serious Blume lovers, that is sacrosanct.

Having taught those middle grades, for whom this book is targeted, and just recently passing through them as a mother, I thought Courtney beautifully put us in the head of 13-year-old Leah, who has a mother and a "donor," not a father. I was particularly interested in this subject as I have a friend pursuing this path to motherhood.

Courtney has three other young adult books scheduled for release. It's a gift to live through those middle years and remember them so poignantly. It's a gift to put a 21st century spin to age-old angst. It's a gift to read and know Courtney.

Look for your copy of MY SO-CALLED FAMILY at your nearest independent bookstore October 21st.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I am the worst possible combination: Overly-opinionated and under-informed, when it comes to politics.

And perhaps this picture helps explain that, at least to me. Found it when I was looking for pictures of Kelly. Think it was taken in 1968, when my dad was running for State Rep. in Oregon.

Aren't we just the most all-American family you've ever seen?


It explains a lot.

To me.

Friday, September 12, 2008


The high school friend that first let me know of Kelly's death, has a "weird" e-mail address, it contains the word "Tuilleadh." When I asked her about it, all she said was, "It's Gaelic."

I wouldn't let it go. I know you're not surprised.

So I Googled tuilleadh, and found out it means "more." Still, I wouldn't let it go.

I e-mailed her, "Please tell me more about 'more!'"

This is her response:

"Tuilleadh 101:
It's practical and philosphical.
It means nothing and it means everything.
Nothing because it's just an email address, everything because it could be a way of life.
It's Gaelic, so like the Irish, it is hard to pin down to one meaning and even harder to pronounce.
Practical: a little unexpected extra (more) in a package - something tangible. Say you sell a book to someone and put a cd in the package of the music you were listening to at the time. Don't tell them its coming, just put a little something in.
Philosophical: to do a little extra or unexpected "thing" (go further, go beyond, do more) for friend, family or stranger. Not to give them a gift as in a wrapped box, but to give a moment. A moment of time or the random act of kindness, put a little of you in.
Whoa. Now would be a good time for a Guiness!"


Totally. Stealing. Tuilleadh.

Tuilleadh = Twill-uhach
T= tongue at teeth
ui=wi (short i sound)
ll= l
dh=ach (as in Bach when spoken by a classical music fan)

2 syllables with the stress on the 1st, in the 2nd syllable the sounds run together. Best practiced when paired with an Irish lilt and perhaps a beverage.

Photo (and shirt) from rdr.zazzle.com

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NOTE: To those offended by the timing of this post, I apologize. I in no way am trying to disrespect the solemnity of this day in history.


If I danced to this song once, I've danced a thousand times. It's impossible for me to hear even three notes of this song without being instantly transported to the 1980s.

I've been in a 1980s state of mind since August 25th, when I learned of my friend's death. And I've been processing, processing, and more processing. And I came up with something this week that I didn't know was there. I liked high school a lot more than I thought I did.

Turns out? I had good friends. I had good teachers. I was "successful." And I had more than my share of celebrating good times.

So why the ambiguity?

Two people in high school were jerks. Two. 2% of my class, less than 1% of the student body, yet I've allowed 98% of my memories to stay attached to them. Cut, cut, no more.

And life at home wasn't the best - but now that I've met a million people and read a million memoirs, I realize it wasn't the worst, either. Not by a long shot. Just felt like that at the time. But that time was 30 years ago. Cut, cut, no more.

Today I keep moving from attachment to old and outdated memories, to more accurate, fair shakes of recollection.

Today I revisit the past with 45-year-old eyes, and let the myopia of a teenager's view fall away.

And today I celebrate.

CELEBRATION: Kool & The Gang

Yahoo! This is your celebration
Yahoo! This is your celebration

Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)

There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you

Come on now

Let's all celebrate and have a good time
We gonna celebrate and have a good time

It's time to come together
It's up to you, what's your pleasure

Everyone around the world
Come on!

Yahoo! It's a celebration

Celebrate good times, come on!
It's a celebration
Celebrate good times, come on!
Let's celebrate

We're gonna have a good time tonight
Let's celebrate, it's all right
We're gonna have a good time tonight
Let's celebrate, it's all right


We're gonna have a good time tonight (Ce-le-bra-tion)
Let's celebrate, it's all right
We're gonna have a good time tonight (Ce-le-bra-tion)
Let's celebrate, it's all right


Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on!
It's a celebration!
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)

Come on and celebrate, good times, tonight (Celebrate good times, come on!)
'Cause everything's gonna be all right
Let's celebrate (Celebrate good times, come on)
(Let's celebrate)...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Last weekend our place in Sisters just went from The House of Healing to The House of Folk Music Extraordinaire. These unbelievably talented, beautiful, soulful women all graced the home with their presence while attending the Sisters Folk Festival.

And although I wasn't there, I am certain the house will never be the same, and when I next visit, their blessings of music will be felt throughout.

The Wailin' Jennys

Rose Polenzani

Leela Grace

I was already familiar, and in love with, The Wailin' Jennys and Rose Polenzani, and now, of course, am thoroughly obsessed with Leela, and her sister, Ellie, Grace.

Last year, for a whole different reason, the home was filled with the beauty of Kate Power. Her husband, aka Cute Steve, wasn't there, but he rocks, too.

For the same occasion the house held my gal, Tracy Grammer, who was hugely helpful in launching the Sisters Folk Festival, originally.

All these tremendous artists came to me through one tremendous music promoter, and friend, Jess.

I thought I had music in my life before I met you. I was so wrong.

I thought the house in Sisters was ideal before, again, I was wrong.

Now it is.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


And by obsession I mean this: Playing on my iPod -playing in my car - playing in my kitchen - playing on my computer!

To get your music and shot in the arm, click here!

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Went through old yearbooks Thursday as part of my grieving process. Read all the messages, counted up all the "Don't changes," and "Stay just the sames."

Friday morning another 31-year friend, Megan, and I drove the two hours to Eugene to attend the funeral of one of the Class of '81's finest. We had so much to catch up on, we (me, of course) drove right past all the Eugene exits.

The funeral was beautiful - the priest gave a lovely homily about how most people have a "State Fair" mentality - blue ribbons, winners and losers. Then he shared about his time with the Juanican's, and how they farm with such a different mentality. Much time is spent helping their neighbors grow the best corn possible, knowing the wind will blow their neighbors' seeds in their fields, and they will benefit. Then the next year the wind will likely blow in the opposite direction, and their healthy seeds will blow into their neighbors' fields, and benefit them. Cooperation. No scarcity.

Then the priest said Kelly was like those Juanican farmers - always helping everyone to grow the best crop.

I believe the 650+ people crowded, standing room only, in that church, concurred.

At least 500 of those people gravitated afterwards to the reception. Again, standing room only. So the class of '81 did what we do best, we got a bunch of cold beers and stood in the hall and told stories. There were plenty of "I can't believe we did __________ and didn't all get killed," tales, then one of us would remember we were at a friend's funeral, and she did get killed, and suddenly that wasn't so funny. And then it was again. Line between tears of sadness and those of happiness blurring down our cheeks.

We picked on poor Joe - the shyest guy in the class, and as soon as we got him blushing and sweating we went in for the kill.

Megan and I came home yesterday, after too much eating, drinking, laughing and crying. We fell into a companionable silence and then she said, "You know how we always wrote in each other's yearbooks, 'Don't change?' I'm glad I changed!"

We all changed. And we stayed the same. And the things we loved about each other then are still there, but there is more there, too. Life. Life has happened to us all.

And we didn't change and we changed.

And we stayed the same and we didn't.

And Kelly would be proud.

(Pictured, with Joe Conklin, top to bottom: Margaret ("Sully") Sullivan, Mary Ficker, Ruth Schmidt, Paula DuChateau, Megan Light, Diza Hoglen, Karen Revis, and Mark Heidt)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

KELLY T. CAMPBELL March 16, 1963 - August 24, 2008

Somehow you found it in your big heart to befriend this little lost soul in 1977, and remain a champion of my soul ever since. You were the first friend I had after moving back to Eugene and starting in a new school, a new step-family, home and life. I will never forget your kindness then, nor the 31 birthday cards that have arrived without fail, ever since.

You loved big, and you will be missed big.


You were from Eugene and Catholic, from questionable notes and Brother John of the Cross.
You were from friends with broken necks, "Here, let me help you."

You were from class reunion organizer and come to my house let me serve you.
You were from Roger, Elaine, Doug and Chris, three stair step kids with you on the top.

You were from first car with a phone and brown cigarettes of your mom's.
You were from a house with cleaned daily toilets and own phone number for the kids.

You were from "Birth Months" and Visco, from Mrs. Murphy and Sr. Helen Nelson.
You were from Keegan, surprise parties and Brother John.

You were from Marist and St. Paul's, and "We Are One."
You were from cooking and gardening, from "May all your wildest dreams come true."

You were from Sun Valley, Idaho and a man named "Campbell."
You were from Kamikaze Kids and mopping The Pit.

You were from "Go Ducks!" and Aunt Lucille.
You were from Karen and Mary and friends 'til the end.

You were from Nick now at Marist, traditions continuing.
You were from Dan in 8th grade and little first grader Sara.

You were from memories and celebrations, from Dance-A-Thons and fun.
You were from teenage to middle age and I'll never forget you.


Have you heard about the multi-media book series entitled, The 39 Clues, which debuts on September 9th? This groundbreaking series combines reading, on-line gaming and card collecting. If you haven't heard about it yet, you will, as Stephen Spielberg has already picked up the movie rights. The books haven't even been released yet!

A Children's Place (Portland, Oregon) has the exclusive honor of hosting celebrated Young Adult author, Rick Riordan, of Percy Jackson fame. Mr. Riordan is the first author of The 39 Clues series. His book,The Maze of Bones, will be released on September 9th when the on-line gaming will also begin.

Rick Riordan will be speaking and signing at A Children's Place on Monday, September 15th at 7 pm. Due to the excitement of this signing, it will be a ticketed event. Tickets are the price of the book, $12.99, will provide you with one book and admit 3 to the event. Tickets are on sale now at the store. Or, you can call the store (503) 284-8294 to charge and reserve your tickets and books.

Since the on-line gaming begins on the release date, September 9th, you will be able to pick up the book on the 9th and bring it back to be signed on the 15th. At the event, you will also be able to have one other book signed.

See you there!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Note: I renamed the Top 10 List as it implied my son's teacher was resistant to having Rojo, which he isn't in the slightest. Also, in all fairness, Rojo's WONDERFUL Resource Room Teacher and Assistant were in the meeting, and many of these actually came from them. I just got a little piggy with all the credit. We are blessed, blessed and more blessed with Rojo's school situation, and I could not be happier about it.

10. Rojo still has trouble writing left to write, top to bottom, and instead, will likely turn in a page of "nothing" that actually is brilliant, if only you can crack the code. BTW, there will only be capital letters - no lower case, and no cursive. If you let him work on a computer, his eyes will see what's in his brain, and will accurately show you his understanding of the assignment. It's 2008. Let's go with the computer.

9. Rojo cannot tie shoes, button/unbutton, or rip open a bag of snacks. He will need help with all these things.

8. Rojo will know the exact mood of every person in the school. He will also know their first and last name, and will assign many of them personal nicknames. He will be able to tell you all the members of their family, their ages, and the names of their pets.

7. Don't ask Rojo to draw - he either can't or won't or both, but it's not worth it. Instead, ask him to tell you the name of every single college in every single division. Then ask him to resort that information in his computer of a brain, and have him tell you, alphabetically, all the colleges with Bulldogs as their mascot (I believe there are 12 - but you'll need to have him verify that).

6. He will not stand in a line. He will stand adjacent to the line, but not in the line. Allow him to stand in the front. He is a born leader anyway. No - the others will not mind. No - this is not fair, but this is really not a big problem in the scheme of things, is it?

5. He will not be studying ancient civilizations in world history with the rest of his class. This is not relevant to him. Nor will he be picking a foreign country to study when the time comes. He will be studying the US. The boy has not travelled out of the Pacific Northwest. The rest of the country is foreign to him. He will teach you fun facts that will not be in any book, but will make your own appreciation of our fair country even richer. Trust me.

4. Don't ask him yes or no questions, you will get "I don't know." Ask him to tell you what was funny on TV last night and you'll get a 15 minute story that will have you laughing your ass off.

3. The other kids genuinely think he's funny, and will try to get him going. He is not the class mascot. Please discourage this.

2. All the great things you've heard about him from all the other teachers? True.

1. You will come into the school year with your heart one size, and will leave with it a minimum of two times bigger. This will not be painful, nor sudden, but long about March you will pull me aside and say, "I'm really going to miss Rojo next year." Happens every time.

* Photo from www.pfleghaar.com "Arrow Through the Heart"

Monday, September 01, 2008


Anyone that knows me even slightly, knows my favorite holiday is Labor Day. And yes, that IS because the kids go back to school the next day.

Do I love my kids?

Not as much as I love Labor Day.

Can't talk now - gotta go back to dancing on the roof.

* Photo from flickr.com