Thursday, December 31, 2009


Today, the eve of a new year, is a blue moon. No accidents. Let's make next year rare and special in its love.

Are you in?

* Photo from


And happy 18th anniversary to me! Can't talk now, off to celebrate wedded bliss, but I'll leave you with this thought for 2010, a great quote from your friend and mine, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama:

"May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those that have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Portland got a sneak attack of snow today, at least I hadn't heard a word about it. Could be it was blasted all over the news: TV, radio, Internet. I wouldn't know. I was stuck in front of MarioKart. All. Day. Long. Anyway, long about lap 2,002 Rojo caught a glimmer of something out of his peripheral vision, and announced it was snowing. Sure enough, it was, and it kept up until we had quite a few inches accumulate.

I'm grateful we were all home, safe and sound. When I finally did turn on the news it was filled with nightmare stories of traffic at complete standstills for hours, five minute commutes taking 3 1/2 hours, accidents galore.

What gets me most about the snow is the quiet. After a day of listening to electronic sounds buzz, cheer, crash and race, the quiet is a relief from all that. There is a stillness that snow enforces, and I welcome that.

And it better all be gone by tomorrow because I have plans.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Wooho has her dearest friend, K., visiting for the winter break. Her friend lives in China now, but comes back to Portland each summer and December. The two girls pick up right where they left off and there isn't a doubt in my mind they will be friends for life, and indeed, are soul mates - mates of the soul.

K. is the same friend of Mary Christ fame, an expression I've stolen and am now passing off as my own on a daily basis. I actually cooked dinner tonight and the five of us sat around the table and enjoyed the time together. After STM and Rojo excused themselves, the girls and I got into an interesting discussion about God, Jesus, heaven, hell, souls, reincarnation and angels.

K. asked if we'd gone to Mass on Christmas or Christmas Eve and we said no. Then Woohoo said, "I don't believe in that. I don't think you have to go to church. I don't believe you'll go to hell if you don't. I don't even know if I believe in God."

"I think Jesus is a myth," K. said. Woohoo quickly chimed in with her agreement and promptly added that the last 10+ years of religion classes are all a bunch of bull, and Jesus didn't die to save us, and that doesn't even make sense.

I got to quickly throw in my theories on enlightenment, reincarnation, Jesus' personification of love, and that indeed, I believe love WILL save us, and perhaps that was the message.

"What's up with angels?" K. asked. "Are they dead or are they alive? Are they here or not? I've been meaning to ask you that."

"Both," i answered. "I believe angels are enlightened beings. Some have chosen to remain in this realm to help us in a tangible way. Some are in the spirit realm and help us in other ways. I think there are angels among us and angels all around us. Both."

"Like Rojo," Woohoo said, "although I can't believe any angel would swear as much as he does."

* Photo from

I'm a routine girl. Give me a routine and let me stick to it, and I'm a happy, happy girl. I'm out of my routine during this l-o-n-g winter break. Way out. So far out I can't see my routine from here. This happens every vacation and I fight it every time.


This time I'm trying something new. I'm trying to detach from my routine, knowing it will be there waiting for me in seven (short!) days, and I'll be able to pick it back up and cloak myself in it soon enough. In the meantime there is a new routine to accept - the no routine, routine. The one where instead of doing laundry and emptying the dishwasher as my compulsive nature would so glory in, it has me playing Mario Kart on the Wii with Rojo before I've even had breakfast. It has me not making any plans so that I can go with the flow of the day as it unfolds, instead of forcing a clock on a day that has no sense of time. It has me walking by rooms that need cleaning, rugs that need shaking, gifts that need to be put away, and counters that need wiping. It has me walking away from what doesn't even matter in the scheme of things, and straight into the arms of what does.

Rojo looked at me yesterday after we'd been hanging together, spontaneously made the sign of the cross on his forehead, chest and shoulders while saying, "Cross my heart and never die, mother of Jesus."

I would have missed that if I'd been anywhere but right there.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


STM tried to get Rojo out shopping for me for Christmas. "I know what she wants," he said with assuredness. "I don't need to go shopping. I'm going to give her a big hug for Christmas."

He was right.

That's what I wanted. I hope you all get what you want, too.

I wish you all the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of holidays, the brightest of new years.

Love, love and more love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Rojo is in 7th grade and already his friends are talking a lot about where they're going to go for high school. We don't know where Rojo is going to go to high school (and all prayers/candles/burnt offerings are welcome). We dodge the question every time he brings it up. He's already established the fact that he's going to go to college here in Portland, live at home, and just be gone from 8-3, same as now. From his lips to God's ears.

Today, driving all over town with me he piped up from the back seat, "I don't think I'm going to go to college after all."

"Oh, you aren't?" I asked.

"Noooooooo," he answered rather sassily, "remember? Duh? I'm going to get MARRIED? I'm going to be a DAD? Remember?"

"I didn't forget, but I didn't know you were planning on getting started so soon!"

"Yes, I am. And I'm going to wear a nice dress at my wedding."

"OH!" I said a little too cheerily.

"Yes, remember how for the Advent program we had to wear a nice dress? I'm going to wear a nice dress for my wedding, too."

Got it.

* Photo from

Monday, December 21, 2009


Rojo spent Friday night at my in-laws. Bright and early Saturday morning, in anticipation of seeing Kunga, he persuaded my mother-in-law to brave the mall and take him Christmas shopping for a gift for Kunga. 8:50 AM had them outside Barnes & Noble waiting for them to open, and to their joyous surprise, they already were. By 9:30 they were already home and wrapping Kunga's gift.

This is the first and only time Rojo has initiated picking out a present for another person. He's been badgered into picking something for others but has never actually stopped to consider what they would want. Until now. Apparently he really took his time, looking carefully at several books before making his selection. Rojo himself is not big on books, but he knows Kunga is.

The gift tag said," To: Jo Jo From: Jo Jo" in Rojo's writing. The Tibetan's use cho-cho for brother, Kunga and Rojo call each other Cho-Cho Kunga and Cho-Cho Rojo, but it sounds a lot like Jo Jo.

The minute, and I do mean minute, Kunga walked in the door, Rojo handed him the gift and said, "Here, do you want it?"

He did.

Rojo had picked out a book about puppies - just right for a four-year-old. Just right to give a Buddhist for Christmas. Just right from one brother to another.

* Photo from

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Had a great weekend - my brother, sister-in-law and the cutest four-year-old in the world came up. Forts were made, food was eaten, kids chased each other around the Christmas tree. It was perfect.

Rojo had us all gathered in the living room several times for "church" - a variation on the "yelling game," whereby he mostly sings, "Glooooory, glory to God, gloooooory in the hiiiiiiiiighest" approximately 321 times. In a row. My nephew Kunga prevailed, however, and "church" became a sing-along. We sang "Frosty the Snowman," "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Deck the Halls" (with bows of jolly), and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!" My mom came over both days and it was just plain fun.

After Kunga and Rojo went to bed last night we watched a silly movie then old episodes of "Bewitched" On Demand- took my brother and me right back to our childhood like nothing else quite could, and to a good place.

My brother reminded me of a Christmas Eve service my mom dragged us both to as adults. The service was so bad, the singing so off-key, and the whole thing so hilarious, we both got the giggles and embarrassed my poor mother to death. To this day all my brother has to do is start to sing "Tiny King" and I'm hysterical with laughter.

It's good to be together again with your family of origin every now and then, to see where and who you were, where and who you are, and where and who you're becoming.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm at HOPEFUL PARENTS today. See you there!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I don't have time to tell you about the pipes that burst over in Sisters and the 3-5 inches of standing water throughout that has rendered the house a disaster area, literally.

I don't have time to tell you about all the great song lyrics playing on my i-Pod that are sustaining me through the day, bringing me insights and wisdom I want to share with you - eventually.

I don't have time to make clever Top 10 lists.

But I do have time to tell you about a good man. This man is the 5th grade teacher at Rojo's school. Both my kids were fortunate enough to have him, to be surrounded by his gentle, gracious, kind and pure love. For Woohoo his project-oriented curriculum was a refuge - a way to demonstrate her knowledge that accentuated her strengths. She learned to work cooperatively with others to build, to create, to learn and to grow. She gained self-confidence in herself as a student, as a "tween" and as a person.

Rojo bloomed under this man's grace, too. His friendships really took hold and were nourished by a man that valued cooperation over competition, community over individuals and love over fear.

This good man announced on Monday that he's retiring for personal reasons. Immediately. He will not be back after the winter break.

I don't even have a kid in his class, and I am reeling. It's a loss. It's a loss for the kids that have been with him since September. It's a loss for the kids that have had him and love to come back to say hi and be welcomed back into his warm presence. It's a loss for all the students that won't have him in the future. It's a loss for the staff, for the community. It's a loss.

We will miss him.

We will remember him.

We will thank him.

We will love him.

* Photo from

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Jenn, do you talk to God?" Rojo asks his wonderful aide.

"Yea, Rojo, I talk to God."

"When?" he persists.

"In the morning and usually at night," she answers patiently.

"You should talk to God right now, out loud, I want to hear you talk to God."

"No, Rojo, I'm not going to talk to God right now out loud, it's private."

"Just talk to God right now, Jenn, just let me hear you talk to God right now. Just let me hear you talk to God!"

They back and forthed a few more rounds before she asked, "Rojo, how about you, do you talk to God?"

"No," he answered.

Maybe he doesn't talk to God, out loud, with words, but the boy has a direct line to God the likes of which I've never seen before.

Talking's over-rated.

P.S. We have only one spot left in each of the writing classes Deb Shucka (Catbird Scout) and I are leading in January. If you're interested in an in-person class in Portland, or an on-line class from wherever you live, please let me know! We'd love to have you join our circle!

* Photo from

Sunday, December 13, 2009


"Knock-knock," I say.

"Who's there?" he answers.


"Danielle who?"

"Danielle at me, I heard you the first time!"

Rojo laughs, "Don't YELL at me, I heard you the first time!"

We've been working on knock-knock jokes for many years. Could it be that they're starting to click? I try again.


"Who's there?"

"Frank's eye."

"Frank's eye who?"

"Frank's eye needed that."

"THANKS, I needed that!" Rojo squeals.

And that, my friends, is what you call delayed development, not absence of development.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I'm telling you people, the feng shui stuff really works. I mostly worked on my prosperity and helpful people areas of my house (which, of course, are opposite each other and directly affect one another). It took me all of five minutes. Maybe ten, including digging out the old Monopoly game and sorting through the pieces until I found Park Place.

Tuesday I got a call from the behavioral/developmental pediatrician's office we've been frequenting for eleven years. I assumed (never do that) that they were calling to confirm Wednesday's appointment. No. It went a little like this:

"Hi, Carrie, this is Robin. You called a few weeks ago because your insurance had denied a claim and you wanted us to re-code and re-bill? Well, I did, and we've been reimbursed, so you have a credit now."

"Oh! That's great!"

"Yes, well, actually I looked into several of your old bills and realized for quite awhile now you've been being incorrectly billed. You have a $492 credit."

Could nearly $500 come at a better time? No. It could not.

I'm not allowing myself to even go to the place that bemoans the fact that this problem goes back a very long way and nobody has caught it until now, I'm just super thankful for the most helpful of people, Robin.

I needed the chimney cleaned and was getting the run around from one company. Finally I sat down with Mary, calmed myself and she said, "Start all over." So I went back to Googling and called the first place that came up with the new search information. The woman that answered the phone? Carrie. Spelled the right way, too. Carrie was super helpful and my chimney was arranged to be cleaned the very next day with zero run around.

Next I needed to get a referral for Woohoo from her high school counselor. Her name? Kerri (spelled the wrong way, but still very cool, don't you think?). She was exceedingly helpful and happy to be so.

THEN I had to do some banking and was vibing which branch, what time to go, which person to form a line behind, and guess where I ended up. Go ahead, guess. Behind Carrie's line. She didn't have a name tag, but when I gave her my bank card she said, "Oh! Your name is Carrie, spelled the right way, you'll get the Carrie-to-Carrie service today!"

All within 24-hours.


Get the book.

* Photo from

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Took the kids to see Santa yesterday at the mall. A family tradition that won't die just because they are now fifteen and thirteen. Rojo is as excited this year for Santa as he was... last year.

We told Woohoo she didn't have to actually go tell Santa what she wants this year, she could skip it, just watch as Rojo sat on Santa's lap and told him what he wanted. But being the super kid that she is she said, "No, it means a lot to Rojo. I'll do it." And so it did, and so she did.

Rojo plunked himself right down on the armrest of Santa's generous chair, and Woohoo plopped down on the opposite armrest. I wildly took pictures and STM held our coats.

"What do you want for Christmas?" Santa asked Rojo.

"I... I.... What do I want, Mom? Oh, um, ah, I want a big Cookie Monster," Rojo said with hesitation, even though he's been telling me for three straight months he was going to ask Santa for a big Cookie Monster. Buckled under pressure.

And yes, Rojo will be getting a three foot Cookie Monster for Christmas - just like the one in the naturopath's office that started this whole thing (don't even ask how much this costs and how hard it was to find). I said to STM, not believing my own words as they flew from my mouth, "Are we actually going to spend $_______ getting a three-foot Cookie Monster for our 13-year-old?"

Then we both said in perfect unison, "Yes."

Because he wants it. He really, really wants it.

And it's Christmas.

And he asked Santa.

And he's expecting it.

And there are worse things for thirteen-year-old boys to want.

And we love him.

* Photo from

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Let us accept the invitation, ever-open, from the Stillness, taste its exquisite sweetness, and heed its silent instruction.

Paul Brunton

Such a hard time of year to find stillness, isn't it? I am fighting the chicken-with-my-head-cut-off urges with every shallow breath I take.

My 2,000 item To Do list is going to have to wait. Wait until I've taken at least a few minutes to heed the silent instruction of Stillness.

* Photo from

Monday, December 07, 2009


Met my best friend from high school for coffee Saturday. Friends for 32 years now. She has actively stabilized my life more than once and I am forever in her debt.

She is one of the few people I can say, gladly, hasn't changed a bit. She is the same rock solid, clear thinking, ego-less person she was when she was fourteen.

She has a daughter a year older than Woohoo - in fact, I was visiting her sixteen years ago when she went into labor a week early, and stood outside her hospital doorway as she quietly gave birth without one drop of medication. That's who she is.

Our second children were born within three months of each other, and for a few years we made the effort to get our four kids together as often as possible, despite the two hours that separate our homes.

But then it just got harder. Harder with the kids' schedules. Harder with busy lives and careers. And frankly? Harder with Rojo.

I've been thinking a lot about how we were friends that saw each other daily, then roommates in college, then roommates out of college, at each other's weddings and at the births of our children, and now it could be 6-8 months between phone calls. More than the busyness, more than the geographical distance, more than anything, its that widening gap thing again.

When we gave birth to our second children our lives were parallel. Thirteen years later we're not fooling anyone. We're on two very different paths as mothers, as women, as travelers.

It was really good to see her again on Saturday. It was really good to see all the ways I still need her to ground me. It was really good to see that although we no longer travel the same road, we are still on this same journey. Together.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

OMHOG, you have to watch this video. Get out the tissues.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A must for all those Quan Yin/Tara/Mary lovers on your holiday list! She Carries Me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I'm back, did you miss me? I missed you too, perhaps more than is healthy.

STM and I took a 48-hour break from life to celebrate our nothing-but-bliss eighteen year marriage (plus six years of dating, but who's counting).

We didn't go far, we didn't spend a lot of money, we didn't do a lot of anything. But do you know what we DID do?

We laughed.

And laughed.

And laughed.


Photo from

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Was hurrying through New Seasons right before Thanksgiving and the clerk asked if I'd like to donate the cost of one Thanksgiving dinner for a homeless person. I said yes. Total cost? $1.88.

Day after Thanksgiving we were all in the car and drove up next to a homeless person on a corner with a cardboard sign. "I am really homeless. I wouldn't lie to you," the sign said. We rolled down our window and the dear soul hobbled over and averting our eyes, gratefully accepted our small donation. Then he turned, looked right at me (in the passenger seat) and said, "And thank you for giving me such a nice Thanksgiving dinner yesterday."

* Photo from

Monday, November 30, 2009


I was deeply saddened to learn that one of my fellow Hopeful Parents writers, The Accidental Caregiver, died suddenly the day before Thanksgiving.

When I read what he wrote just three days before he died, I was even more moved. It's almost like he knew he was going to die, and he was getting things right for his wife after he was gone and could no longer advocate for her.

I was asked to write a piece on coping - part of a Warrior Parents series a columnist is doing. Been brainstorming all weekend as to how I do actually cope, and the news of The Accidental Caregiver's death has made that question all the more timely. I don't know of any of the details of his death, only that he had a heart attack, but I do know this: the stress of being the full-time caregiver of a special needs child, did not help.

I originally named my blog Fully Caffeinated because that was my quip when asked, "How do you do it?" I am no longer fully caffeinated and I no longer quip. I'm not sure I really am "doing it."

I'm tired. I'm so tired that no amount of sleep touches the tired. I'm the mother-of-a-two-year-old tired. I'm the tired old people are. I'm tired.

And blessed. So deeply blessed. My boy is a joy. He is happy. He smiles big and often with deep dimples and twinkles in both eyes. My boy has language. My boy does not smear his poop on walls. My boy does not have pain. My boy does not have anxiety that cripples him. My boy is friendly and has friends. My boy loves to go to school and is adored and respected every minute he is within those sacred walls. My boy is part of a community. My boy is part of a family. My boy will be fine.

I took my boy for ice cream Saturday. He grinned at me between spoonfuls and I said, "God, you're cute."

He put his face right up to me and said, "Looks like you're talking to God when you say I'm cute."

And he's right.

And that's how I cope.

* Photo from

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It's not too late to give thanks, right? Never!

Inspired by Courtney Sheinmel's list, here is mine, stream-of-consciousness style!


Happy children. Funny husband. Healthy mother. In-laws that are low maintenance. Darling nephew. Cousins. BFFs. My kids' teachers. Words. Prayers. Candles. Kris Delmhorst. All my many wonderful friends. Meg Hutchinson. Travel. Dar Williams. My kids' schools. Retreats in Sisters. Tracy Grammer. Mountains. Rosie Thomas. Seasons. Edie Carey. Books. Rose Cousins. Writing. Holy friends. Lucy Kaplansky. My neighborhood. Heather Masse. Desk top fountains. Laptop computers. Mary. Perfect coffee. Sleep. Dreams. Journals. Altars. Walking. Health. Laughter. Ticonderoga pencils. Love. Poets. Mystics. Pajamas. Bathrobes. Perfect mugs. Advil. e-mail. The Internet. Helpful people. Good doctors. My reliable 12-year-old car. Trader Joe's. Safeway friends. Forgiveness. Forgetfulness. Peace. Healing.

* Photo from

Friday, November 27, 2009


God came to my house and asked for charity.
And I fell on my knees and
cried, "Beloved,

what may I

"Just love, He said.
"Just love."

St. Francis of Assisi from the book, Love Poems from God, by Daniel Ladinsky

* Photo from

Wednesday, November 25, 2009



*Photo from

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A big weekend for dreaming around here. First I had one I'm still trying to figure out: I held a neighbor girl, now a fourth grader but a toddler in my dream, over Kathleen's washing machine as she peed all over Kathleen's clean clothes. When Kathleen came home and discovered what I had done she said, "Now I can't hear the angels talking." Anyone want to interpret THAT one?

Next night I was standing in a pitch black kitchen with an old friend. I was preparing to leave and trying to gather up all my things. She pulled out a bunch of plastic bowls and said, "These are yours." (Again, it's pitch black.) I opened the refrigerator behind me to shine the light on the situation and when I saw the bowls she was trying to pass off on me, I said, "That's not my stuff."

Uh huh. A. Little. Like. That.

Can't talk now - gotta go open refrigerators, light candles, flick on all the lights and re-examine what's actually mine.

And what's not.

*Photo from

Monday, November 23, 2009


As those of you who visit here regularly know, Deb Shucka and I are offering a writing workshop in Portland starting in January. We are amazed and excited that so many of you have asked about the possibility of an online memoir writing class, as well. So it is with pleasure that we are announcing one, to begin Monday, January 11. (We still have 2 more spots in the in-person class, if you live in the Portland area.)

Many of you are in situations where going to a class won’t work, but you’re hungry for a memoir writing community and for the accountability attending a class creates. If you’re looking for a safe place in which to tell your story and receive support and feedback, whether it’s your first effort or whether you’ve finished a book, this class will satisfy that need.

We will provide prompts, deadlines, teachings that will add to your craft tool kit, and detailed feedback for your writing. You will write, share your writing, and offer gentle feedback and support to each other.

Please contact us for cost and additional information. We’re looking forward to learning and writing and moving closer to the light of truth together with you. or

Thursday, November 19, 2009


“You’d like 100 more ‘Freeze Frame’ posters for your Athlete’s Foot store? Got it! They’ll go out on Monday.” I hang up the phone, returning the beige mouthpiece to its base, eyes resting on the cord that is so stretched and kinked it now catches in the wheels of my rolling chair. That’s okay, I’ve only been at NIKE a few months and I heard our whole department is going to move. I’ll get a new phone then. Probably a new chair, too. Maybe even a new computer that will make it easier to enter all the posters that everyone is buying. This one is so huge it needs its own desk. I hear that someday they are going to get so small they can fit on your lap. That will never happen.

I don’t even know who any of the athletes are that are in the posters I sell all day, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ve memorized their information so when anyone asks me I can tell them about Ronnie Lott on “Lotts Lot” or “Dr. K,” Dwight Gooden, from the New York Mets. Some people even still buy John McEnroe’s “Rebel With a Cause,” but mostly people just want the two we have of Michael Jordan. His first one, “Air Jordan” is really why I even have this job. The posters were selling so well and so fast that they couldn’t keep up, they needed to hire a whole new person just to manage the Retail Poster Program, and that’s me. I take home $723.43 a month and Michael Jordan, who is three days younger than me by the way, probably takes that home every day. Or possibly every hour.

It’s kind of funny since I got my only B in junior high in PE and I don’t have an athletic bone in my body, that my first job out of college is working here – where everyone is young, in shape, and spends their lunch hours running. I am young – 23 – but that’s it. But here's the thing, although I am an unlikely fit, I like it here. I love my boss, I love my co-worker, and I love talking to all the vendors that buy the posters, and my friend at the warehouse that distributes them. It works.

They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and that is true – at least for me. In this case I know Teri, the administrative assistant that works for my boss’ boss. We went to college together and ran into each other at a wedding.

“So, are you teaching?” she asked.

Staring straight into her bangs that looked exactly like a sausage roll, I answered, “Can’t find a teaching job in this entire metropolitan area, so now it’s just time to find a job, any job.” I caught an image of myself in the mirrored centerpiece and re-adjusted the bow I had tied around my neck – red, to go with my wide red vinyl belt I wear over my tight white, tea length skirt, and red patent leather flats. The DJ was playing Dionne Warwick’s, “That’s What Friends Are For,” I hummed along. I loved that song.

“Well,” Teri said, “you should apply at NIKE. Use my name. We’d get to work in the same department, it would be fun!”

And it was.

Then one day after we did move our whole department to another building, I drove up, turned off the radio that was playing Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know?” parked and went in. There was a huge screen set up in the common area, folding chairs all around. I went to find Teri in the coffee room and asked, “What’s going on?”

Teri had her head in the frig, pulled out some whipping cream, poured a dash into her cup and turned to me, “Want some?” she asked.

“No thanks, I’m good,” I answered. I could hear Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” coming from the speaker above our heads. “So what are all the chairs and that big screen doing in the middle of everything?” I asked, grabbing a package of hot chocolate and mixing it with a wooden stir stick in my Styrofoam cup.

“The Space Shuttle Challenger is going to launch this morning – you gotta come watch, they are putting the first teacher up in space, Christa McAuliffe – maybe you’ll be the second teacher up in space, wouldn’t that be cool?”

“Just getting a teaching job would be cool, but yes, doing something that had the whole world watching would be super cool.”

Later I pulled my chair up to Teri’s and we watched for 73 seconds and then all of a sudden the Challenger exploded. I was so shocked I felt nothing at all. No tears came. No words. No feelings at all – just disbelief. Don’t they test those things? I thought it was impossible that something that cost so much money and took so many years to build and plan, could just explode like that. Nobody knew what to do. We sat there in stunned silence. A woman that looked to be nine months pregnant began to cry.

Nobody got any more work done that day, we sat together, strangers and friends, Footwear and Retail Posters, afraid to turn off the TV, afraid to miss any details of the tragedy, afraid to go back to normal.

* photo from

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Come see me at Hopeful Parents today.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Rojo's praising of the Lord is so loud it wakes me up. "Table of plenty, table of plenty, come to the table of plenty" he sings. And sings. And sings. And plays on his electronic keyboard. And piano. And drums. And recorder. And harmonica. And every window of the house. And door. And kicks to the beat against the breakfast bar.

STM says, "Look at his joy. Such joy. We are so blessed. How long do you think it would take a stranger to become annoyed," he asks, "two days? Eight hours? What do you think?"

"Fifteen minutes," I say.

I finally extricate myself from the madness and turn on my computer - ready to put on the big, over the ears headphones and escape into my happy place. has e-mailed me with today's word. Oh, goody, my word for the day! Yea! I love this! I always feel so smug when I know the word and happy to learn a new one when I don't. But today? A little too close to home.

Word of the Day for Tuesday, November 17, 2009

perseverate \per-SEV-uh-reyt\, intransitive verb:

1. To involuntarily repeat a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.
2. To repeat something insistently or redundantly.

* Photo from

Monday, November 16, 2009


This week's writing assignment is to write a piece from a particular year, without telling the year. We are to use cultural references, songs, TV shows, events, etc.

Here's what I've got so far from my year:

* The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after take off
* Pam Ewing dreamed the whole prior season
* Whitney Houston sang, "How Will I Know?"
* "Oprah" goes national
* Dionne and Friends sang, "That's What Friends Are For."
* Michael Jordan's posters, "Freeze Frame" and "Air Jordan" are flying off the shelves across the county

Saturday, November 14, 2009

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
I talk to Mary. I'm sure that doesn't surprise you. And sometimes, I swear she answers me. Not a voice, but words come into my mind and they are not mine, so I'm guessing they are hers.
I've been really putting her to work lately, setting her off in a million directions, and putting all my burdens on her. Yesterday, as one particularly sticky situation that could have gone either way, went "my" way, or at least the way I felt was the most positive, I thanked her. "Mary, thank you. That was really great. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
"Think nothing of it," she said.
At first I just thought she was being modest, but I've come to know her better than that. She was being literal. Stop thinking. Put the gratitude in my heart, and get it out of my brain.
* Photo from

Friday, November 13, 2009


While feet kick wildly at the breakfast bar, and in between humming "The Farmer in the Dell," Rojo says, "Mom, I am never going to break up with J. I am always going to be there for her. I am never going to make her life miserable. I am always going to be there if she needs me."

Then he went back to kicking, singing and eating his 25 pieces of bacon before saying, "I wish I had a bodyguard."

"I am your bodyguard," I said while making bacon slices 26-30.

"No. You cannot be my bodyguard, you have small muscles."

I beg to differ.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


10. Main characters names on "iCarly"
9. Names of all of Malcolm's brothers on "Malcolm in the Middle"
8. Sexual orientation of Sponge Bob and Patrick
7. Jon and Kate's sextuplets names and birth order
6. Tune to every Pac 10 college fight song
5. The exact hours of operation for "The Surf Shack" where "we" are obsessed with getting ice cream
4. Obscure college mascots
3. All the major advertisers for "Wheel of Fortune"
2. The order the advertisements are placed
1. What Pat Sajak is going to say before he says it

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Last week's writing assignment was to revise and/or expand a previous piece and include a specific bird, a description of the weather, and the color red. I revised the piece I wrote about Grandma's hairpin, just for those of you keeping track. : )

This week has had me tossing and turning, as was the intention, I am sure. We were to do a handwritten quick write for eight minutes starting with the sentence, "I am still afraid to write about..." until we got to the "nugget" of what our piece would be about. THEN the piece was to include MONEY, SEX (or a veiled reference to it), a TABOO (mine or someone else's), and a SECRET (mine or someone else's).

A friend called and shared a very personal story with me that had all four. Eureka! I thought. I was going to cheat and just write out her story, because let me tell you, it's a goody. But her story is not mine, and last I checked, this is a memoir class, and not a tell-me-all-about-your-friend's-life class.

And so I did it. I wrote about something I'm afraid to write about. And someday I may even post it on my blog, but not today. Sorry. Some things are healed by sharing them with others, and some things are healed by bringing them out of the body, onto the page, and then burned.

My friend, Jerri, wrote a blog post about being faced with a difficult situation, and choosing to walk straight into the fire. I've been thinking a lot about that, and fire in general, and it's various properties. I've always been afraid of fire, but there's a purifying component that comes from it that cannot be forgotten.

Sometimes we have to look up, push our chests out, swing our arms with command and walk straight into our fear, straight into the dangerous, straight into the fire.

And out again.

* Photo from

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"What are reborn are our habits.
Enlightenment is the ending of rebirth,
which means a complete nonattachment
or misidentification with all thoughts, feelings,
perceptions, physical sensations, and ideas."
H. H. The Dalai Lama

Sometimes I think my life is straight out of "Groundhog Day," the same stuff coming up over and over and over again, almost, almost comically so. What I'm working on now is the whole idea of nonattachment. I say to myself, when triggered (1,000 x/day), "Detach." And about 1 out of 1,000 times it actually works.

I might go for twice today. God knows there will be plenty of opportunity.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.

William Wordsworth

Are you interested in memoir writing as a way to heal and to explore the truth and meaning of your life? Are you looking for a safe, warm, and nurturing environment in which you can begin to write your story? If you're ready to express the breathings of your heart, there is a writing class starting in January with a spot in the circle just for you. Please e-mail me at and I'll give you all the details.

Click here to read Hope Edelman's post about coming out as closet mystic. : )

* Photo from

Friday, November 06, 2009


I'm picking up Woohoo from high school in a little bit and we're off. Just the two of us, girls' weekend. We are headed to Bellevue to visit my cousin and her daughter that is Woohoo's age.

My cousin just texted me that the Coronas are chilling.

Can't wait until we are, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I have always had it, but after last night, I am bursting with it.


I had the honor of hosting Hope Edelman in my home last night to help promote her book, The Possibility of Everything. It was a night filled with old and new friends, laughter, sharing, and hope/Hope.

I urge you all to read the book and to see Hope if she comes to your city. If you'd like to be on her mailing list, please let me know and I'll give her your e-mail addresses so you'll know of her schedule.

My favorite of favorite moments was when Hope "came out." She told the story of sharing with a friend her spiritual journey and the friend said, "I don't think you're a cynic. I think you're a mystic, disguised as a cynic."

The disguise if officially off now, and as Hope shares her mysticism with us, it is an honor.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


So, last night I had two telling dreams. In the first one it suddenly dawned on me that I had a five-day-old newborn I'd completely forgotten about since it's birth. I'd done zero for this child. Hadn't fed it. Hadn't changed its diaper. Hadn't held it. Hadn't done jack %$#@. I think it was a girl (what are the chances?). When I finally remembered her she was totally fine and took to eating like a champ. She ate and ate and ate and could not get her fill.

I went straight from that dream to one where a surly teenage girl was staying at my house and I couldn't control her behavior, so I took her cell phone and locked her in her room. Didn't like her attitude. Didn't like the mouth on her. Didn't like her.

Where, oh where should I start with the part-of-me exercise?

* Photo from

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

When you realize
how perfect everything is
you will tilt your head back
and laugh at the sky.

'The Enlightened One'

Yesterday I took Rojo back to the magical naturopath. He's gained 10 1/2 lbs. 9 1/2 to go. So, of course, we also got the results from his allergy testing: gluten, dairy and egg. The big three. The three that are in everything. I'd prepared myself for this fact, it only stood to reason that if I got him eating and gaining weight, he'd be allergic to everything I was giving him.

Since he was a toddler different people have suggested the GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) diet which has been hugely helpful to so many children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It's never been because I doubted their claims, it was always a matter of feeling so overwhelmed with the thought of getting him to eat anything, let alone GFCF foods, that I just didn't take it on.

Until now.

The naturopath agreed we are still months away from diving in, and that at this point (because he is asymptomatic) we are still just trying to pack on the pounds and get him to try new foods. I will slowly turn this ship around, introducing more GFCF foods and slowly replacing some of his favorites with their healthier options.

My brother has an expression, "Slowly, slowly." It's his answer to most things, and it infuriates me every time because it's so counter-intuitive to my way of being. But I'm seeing its wisdom.

It may have been "perfect" to have put Rojo on a GFCF diet years ago, and perhaps he would have been a different boy all these years. But we didn't.

We will, slowly, slowly.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


What I say to myself when I'm taking a shower:

Wash away anxiety, shower me with peace.
Wash away doubt, shower me with hope.
Wash away scarcity, shower me with abundance.
Wash away fear, shower me with love.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


For at least the last three years Rojo has declined all offers to get a new Halloween costume, instead opting to wear the red M&M costume we bought at Goodwill for $1.50 a million years ago. It's comfortable. There is no mask. It's predictable. It's red. It's perfect.

As soon as we turned our calendars to October he started in. "Mom, the Halloween carnival is on Friday, October 30th. I am going to wear my red M&M costume and Rosie is going to be a green M&M.

In the back of my mind I made a hazy note to check in with Rosie about this, but I kept forgetting.

Finally, about two weeks ago I saw Rosie when I picked up Rojo from school, and I said, "Rojo tells me you are going to be a green M&M with him for Halloween, is that true?"

"Yes! I am!" she chirped.

I put the whole matter in the "handled" section of my life and forgot about it entirely.


A friend and teacher at school came by on Thursday evening so we could go have dinner. She said, "Rosie is trying to get ahold of you. She is wondering about the green M&M costume." That's when it dawned on me that Rosie thought I had it, and I thought she had it.

I knew it was not a matter of going to the store and buying another one, I haven't seen them for sale in years, and Goodwill was probably closing, and I could see Rojo's simple dream go up in smoke. Not an option.

I racked my brain until I remembered that Kathleen's daughter had been not only an M&M one year, YEARS ago, but I thought a green one. I called Kathleen's cell phone. Yes, she thought it was green and she thought it might have survived her recent purging of the costume box, but she had a distant memory of lending it to someone and couldn't remember getting it back. She'd check when she got home.

My friend and I went off to dinner and about the time the wine arrived, Kathleen called. The green M&M costume had been located, she would put it on her front porch for me so I could get it on my way home and take it to Rosie.

And that's just what we did, except when we got to Rosie's house she wasn't home, and I feared she had her mother out searching the town, in vain, for a green M&M costume. I tried calling their cell phone but nobody answered. About an hour later Rosie called.

"Carrie? Did you try to call?"

"Yes, Rosie, I wanted to let you know I found you a costume and I put it on your front porch. I hope you aren't out looking for one right now."

"We were picking up my sister from soccer and then we were just about to go looking for a costume. Your timing is perfect."

No, Rosie, you're perfect.

It takes a village.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"I like not to know for as long as possible because then it tells me the truth instead of me imposing the truth."

Michael Moschen

* Photo from

Thursday, October 29, 2009

(This week's writing assignment was to tell the story of a name.)


“Mom, I hate my name. I want it to be different. I want it to be Missy, or Sheri, or Dena. Nobody has my name and I don’t like it.” Mom is in the kitchen making me toast for breakfast, and I am sitting at the breakfast bar waiting. The accordian screen that divides the kitchen from the dining room, is folded up behind me. I twist in my seat and my knees bump into it. I’m growing. My legs didn’t used to do that. I should be growing, I’m in third grade and my teacher told us all this was going to be a big year for growth.

“Carrie,” Mom says while putting just the right amount of butter on my toast, all the way to the edges but not globby anywhere. She cuts it in half diagonally, just the way I like it. Triangles. “You have a beautiful name, it was your great grandmother’s name. Here, let me show you.”

Mom hands me my toast and as I nibble it from one corner to the next, she comes over to my side of the breakfast bar and reaches for something in the cupboard below. It’s the chest that holds the real silver. She opens the dark wood box and inside it’s all purple and soft with a special place for each knife in the lid, and special sections for salad forks, dinner forks and spoons down below. In the place that’s not special, the extra space, are the big forks and spoons, serving pieces, Mom says, and the butter knives.

We use the real silver on very special occasions: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter and maybe on a birthday. Maybe. Someday the real silver will be mine because I am the oldest and the only girl and the one that will put it to good use. Mom has not actually told me this, but that is my guess, and I think it’s a good one.

Mom looks at all the pieces in the section of mixed up pieces, and pulls out a spoon. “How come that spoon is not with the other ones?” I ask Mom.

“Because it’s special,” Mom says. So, I was wrong, that section below is not for the pieces that are not special, that section is for the pieces that are. “Look at this spoon and tell me what it says on the bottom.”

I take the thin silver spoon in my fingers and touch where the three engraved letters are on the handle. “CEW,” I say, “what does that spell?”

“Those were your great-grandmother’s initials,” Mom says, “Your father’s grandmother. You were named after her.” Mom sits down on the stool next to me and continues. “When I was pregnant with you I found this spoon in a drawer. I’d never seen it before, so I asked your father about it. He said CEW stood for Carrie Evans Wilson. I knew right then that that would be your name, and your father agreed.”

Mom didn’t say, “For the first time,” or “for once,” or anything like that, but I think that’s what she was thinking. She and Dad don’t agree on much, at least that’s what I think. It’s not like they really fight, either. It’s confusing. One thing I’m not confused about, though, is that they both love me.

I keep twirling on my stool and eating my triangle toast and just thinking how special that spoon and my name are, and how special I am. Missy, Sheri and Dena would be more popular names, for sure, but they wouldn’t be as special.

* Photo from

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Song of the day by one of my favs, Dar Williams. Click here to watch the YouTube video.

"What Do You Hear in These Sounds"
Words and music by Dar Williams

I don't go to therapy to find out if I'm a freak
I go and I find the one and only answer every week
And it's just me and all the memories to follow
Down any course that fits within a fifty minute hour
And we fathom all the mysteries, explicit and inherent
When I hit a rut, she says to try the other parent
And she's so kind, I think she wants to tell me something,
But she knows that its much better if I get it for myself...
And she says

Oooooooh,aaaaaaah, What do you hear in these sounds?
And... Oooooooh,aaaaaaah
What do you hear in these sounds?????

I say I hear a doubt, with the voice of true believing
And the promises to stay, and the footsteps that are leaving
And she says "Oh", I say "What?"...she says "Exactly",
I say "What, you think I'm angry
Does that mean you think I'm angry?"
She says "Look, you come here every week
With jigsaw pieces of your past
Its all on little soundbytes and voices out of photographs
And that's all yours, that's the guide, that's the map
So tell me, where does the arrow point to?

What do you hear in these sounds?
What do you hear in these sounds?????

And when I talk about therapy, I know what people think
That it only makes you selfish and in love with your shrink
But Oh how I loved everybody else
When I finally got to talk so much about myself............

And I wake up and I ask myself what state I'm in
And I say well I'm lucky, cause I am like East Berlin
I had this wall and what I knew of the free world
Was that I could see their fireworks
And I could hear their radio
And I thought that if we met, I would only start confessing
And they'd know that I was scared
They'd would know that I was guessing
But the wall came down and there they stood before me
With their stumbling and their mumbling
And their calling out just like me...and...

Oooooooh,aaaaaaah, The stories that nobody hears...and...

Oooooooh,aaaaaaah, and I collect these sounds in my ears...and

Oooooooh,aaaaaaah, that's what I hear in these sounds...and...

Oooooooh,aaaaaaah, that's what I hear in these......
that's what I hear in these SOUU OUUUN NNNDS!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I try not to complain, but let's face it, there are things/people/events that get to me, and pretending they don't is not helpful to my healing. I'm all about what's helpful to my healing these days.

Perhaps the best part of the book, Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life, is that you are asked to start off by complaining. Just a free-for-all. Complain, complain, complain. Make a list and make it long. List every little thing that has you out of sorts.

The point is to see the patterns, and to determine which areas of your home/life are most out-of-whack, and which ones are in balance. The spiritual intuitive was right, I had far too few Helpful People in my life. All my other complaints fell into one of two other categories. The rest of my home/life are chugging right along.

By complaining freely, I was able to see that I was wrong, not "everything" sucks, just a couple biggies, and I could focus on them and feel some relief right away.

I'm determined to feng shui the house without spending a dime, and the book gives great tips on how to do that. I'm moving plants, sticking things under the cushions of the couch, inside drawers and under rugs. I'm already feeling the ch'i move about in a way that's helpful to my healing.

And that's helpful. To my healing.

* Photo from

Saturday, October 24, 2009


My dad used to tell me that his mother had a saying, "Tomorrow never comes." My dad instilled this in me as a work ethic, to not put off until tomorrow, what could be done today. I over-learned that one.

Thursday night I put Rojo to bed, happily, I thought. Half an hour later he came into our room crying, "I feel so left out. You are talking to Daddy and I am all alone in my room."

He was inconsolable, and cried for 45 minutes straight. "I am too stressed to fall asleep," he said. Finally, nearly two hours later, we got him to sleep.

Friday morning he woke up, was happy, hyper and had moved on. "Last night I cried like there was no tomorrow," he said, then holding his arms out, palms up, he said, "but here it is."

My grandma and father were wrong. Tomorrow does come.


* Photo from

Friday, October 23, 2009

Exactly. Watch, and you'll never say, "idiot," "stupid," "dumb," or "retarded," again.

They are here to teach.

Are we learning?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


"Through our senses the world appears. Through our reactions we create delusions. Without reactions the world becomes clear."

From Jack Kornfield's, Buddha's Little instruction Book

* Photo from

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

*This week's homework was to start with the line, "I didn't know it at the time, but everything was about to change."


I didn’t know it at the time, but everything was about to change. Actually, “about” is over stating, it, but still, looking back, that’s when it all began, my thing with Mary.

Dad’s in the living room. He’s always in the living room when he’s home, just him, his beanbag ashtray, Salem menthols and a gold colored plastic cup filled with ice and some kind of alcohol. I don’t know the name of it, but I do know this: it stinks and it’s not his first. Mom calls the glass a tumbler and Dad goes back to the cupboard in the kitchen at least three or four times per night to refill the tumbler and the ice. He likes it cold, I guess. When dad and his tumbler get going we all know to stay away. Nobody even needs to tell me this, it’s just common sense, I mean who wants to be near all that smoke and sit in a dark room while dad does whatever it is he’s doing besides drinking and smoking, mostly watching TV, I guess, and something Mom calls brooding.

When Dad’s not in the living room, then Mike and I turn the TV around, we just shove the stand it’s on and move it so it’s not facing Dad’s chair anymore, and people that want to be serious about watching their shows can see it. We watch “Brady Bunch” on Friday nights and right after that we watch “The Partridge Family,” then it’s time to go to bed.

But the night that changed everything, I walked into that dark, smoky room to get the book I left in there after school, ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME, MARGARET. I walked right into that room with Dad, the Salems and the tumbler and Dad bolted from his paisley covered rocking chair he got in The Orient. “You’re the next Virgin Mary!” Dad said. Only he didn’t say it like that so much, more like, “Yooooou’re… the… neeeeeext… VIRRRRRRGIN… MAAAARY!” like he was really p.o.’d. I’m not sure why he was the one sounding p.o.’d, I was the one that just wanted to get my book and get out, I wasn’t expecting to hear that.

Now I’m not sure what to do with that information. I’m pretty sure he’s wrong, I mean how many Virgin Marys does one world need, anyway? Grandma says Jesus will come again to judge the quick and the dead. She says quick means living. I don’t see why Jesus would need to actually go through that whole being born thing again, though, I mean he’s already been here once, you know?

But here’s the thing. Now I’m obsessed with Mary, which is a problem because we are not Catholic, and Mary is for the Catholics, and being a Catholic would be just as bad as being a Mormon. Dad actually said to me, “I’d rather you marry a BLACK man than a Catholic!” And he was just standing in the kitchen that time; he hadn’t even gone into the living room with the Salems and the tumbler yet. So, there’s the problem with Mary. Liking her is opening a whole can of worms.

The Catholics worship Mary, Mom says. We are only supposed to worship God, and possibly his only son, Jesus, but that’s it. The rest are false gods, and you don’t even need to put a capital “g” in gods because they are not even important. That is one thing that Mom and Grandma definitely agree on: false gods. People that wear a lot of make up and spend a lot of time in front of the mirror are vain, and making beauty their false god, too. Pretty much anything can be a false god, anything that makes you forget about God with a capital “G.”

“Dad,” I asked him once, “why don’t you like the Catholics?”

“Because of the pope,” he said, “and how the pope won’t let them use birth control.”

I know all about birth control, we learned about it last year in 5th grade. I also know that Mom and Dad practice the only 100% reliable method: abstinence. That’s because Dad sleeps upstairs, and Mom sleeps downstairs, and you have sex right before you fall asleep at night, so that’s how I know.

Maybe if Dad had said he’d rather I marry a Catholic than a black, I’d be obsessed with African Americans. Maybe if he'd said I was going to be the next Amelia Earhart I'd be preoccupied with flight. Maybe I’ll never know. But from that moment on, I wanted to know more and more about Mary, and if Catholics were my route to her, I would put myself on that path, however round about.

* Photo from

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


"Only a powerful soul can offer love. Only a powerful soul can afford to be humble. If we are weak, then we become selfish. If we are empty, we take; but if we are filled, we automatically give to all. That is our nature."

Dadi Prakashmani, 1922-2007
Indian Peace Activist and Spiritual Leader

A powerful soul, a soul full of power, that's the soul that can love. Rojo said to me yesterday morning while typing madly on his computer, "Mom, I just love your soul." I actually can't believe he said that, because if there's one thing my soul is not these days, it's filled.

There are a lot of things on my To Do list and all of them important, but none of them as crucial as making my soul powerful. Full of power.

* Photo from

Monday, October 19, 2009


The magician-turned-naturopath e-mailed and said for Rojo to get into the 10th percentile for weight (so as not to cause a CARDIAC concern - holy $#%@), he needs to weigh 82 lbs., 20 lbs. above where he was when he first saw her. We're up six, maybe even seven so I had a little chat with Rojo.

"Rojo, you need to gain fourteen more lbs. You've already done a great job of gaining six, so let's do something special. Every time you gain five more pounds we'll do something fun. You can be thinking of what you want to do for each of these times!"

"I already know what I want to do, Mom, I want to go to Starbucks and get ice water and watch the shot clocks."

There is a Starbucks just down the road from us and it's on a busy corner. If you get your ice water and go sit outside and pull the chairs to the middle of the corner of the sidewalk, thereby impeding pedestrians, dog walkers and strollers coming from all directions, you can see not one but TWO cross walk signs that countdown numerically, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then the orange hand goes up to indicate STOP.

So, needless to say, that's exactly what we did.

He watched, and help count (loudly) for the "shot clocks," and I observed all the people going by and tried to look nonchalant as they struggled to get around us.

I saw a little family, man, woman, four-year-old boy and two-year-old girl going by. The man gently placed his arm around the woman, then moved his arm across her back in a brief but tender gesture that deeply moved me. Then he took off his sweater.

I bet she said she was cold so he's taking off his sweater and giving it to her, I thought.

So, needless to say, that's exactly what he did.

That's lovely, I thought. That kind of pure love.

I looked over at Rojo. He shows me that kind of pure love every single day. My eyes filled with tears and I hoped he'd keep looking at the shot clock and not at me.

So, needless to say, that's exactly what he did.