Friday, July 31, 2009

DREAM, by Priscilla Ahn

I was a little girl
Alone in my little world
Who dreamed of a little home for me
I played pretend between the trees
And fed my houseguests bark and leaves
And laughed in my pretty bed of green

I had a dream
That I could fly
From the highest swing
I had a dream

Long walks in the dark
Through woods grown behind the park
I asked God who I'm supposed to be
The stars smiled down at me
God answered in silent reverie
I said a prayer and fell asleep

I had a dream
That I could fly
From the highest tree
I had a dream


Now I'm old and feeling gray
I don't know what's left to say
About this life I'm willing to leave
I lived it full, I lived it well
As many tales I live to tell
I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now
To fly from the highest wing
I had a dream

Click here to listen to "Dream."

Thursday, July 30, 2009


1- umbrella
1- swimsuit
1- pair of knitting needles
1-1/2 started knitting project
1- wadded up plastic bag
1- set of origami paper
1- volleyball jersey
1- 1 pair of corduroy pants
1- paperclip
1- penny
3-bobby pins
1- CD case with no CD
3-pairs of shoes (tennis, flats, flip-flops)

Answer: They were all in the same drawer in Woohoo's closet. We've been doing a major room makeover (2nd in 2 years. This. Is. It.) We've been going through every drawer, every nook, every cranny, every everything. This, however, was my favorite. Here are some pictures of all the fun:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


A recent blog comment reminded me of this piece about fear, and keeping a chair for it. The post quoted Clarissa Pinkola Estes as saying:

"There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here."

My cousin Jane e-mailed with a P.S. to the Because, Try and Hard Elimination Diet discussion. "Since we know all emotions derive from either Love or Fear; when we feel we might be in a place of 'fear,' with worries, insecurities, low self-esteem, we could recognize that something is causing concern. Then we need to choose to go to the 'Place of No Concern.'"

I will hold a chair for Place of No Concern.

I might hold enough for a dinner party.

* Photo from

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Was having coffee (actually a "Fantasy Island" - coconut, pineapple and orange - smoothie) with my cousin, Jane, yesterday. Every time she caught herself saying "because" she stopped, turned around, and said what she was wanting to say a different word. Then she did the same thing with the word "try." Finally, she explained.

"Try, Hard and Because are 'communication allies.' They impede clarity and create excuses instead of stating 'what is.'"

I'm going to try to eliminate those words from my "diet."

Who's in?

* Photo from

Monday, July 27, 2009


Walked into a Tibetan Buddhist store yesterday, just killing time while Woohoo and her friend shopped for jeans a block away. We're at that phase where she doesn't need me to help her shop, but needs the rides, so I find myself enjoying parts of my own city I've previously ignored.

The Tibetan man that owns the shop (we go way back, he used to be in another location), was talking to two people, a man and woman, about singing bowls.

In a deep southern accent the woman said, "Now we just need to arrive at a price. I was in here last week, I also bought a bunch of stuff from you at Saturday Market yesterday, what can you do for me?"

I would never in a million years suggest to a shop owner (in Portland, Oregon) that the price ON the item was not the price I was willing to pay, so my ears perked up.

"You will be very happy," the man said, his two long braids giving an extra swing as he smiled from ear-to-ear.

"You never know about me," she drawled.

"Oh, she's tough to make happy," her husband said in his matching drawl.

"I make her happy with price," said my friend, the Tibetan.

"Well then, I'll need to pay attention to your technique," quipped the husband good naturedly.

All three laughed: the shop owner, the husband, and the wife.

I thought, That's why their marriage works. They agree on which one is the difficult one.

My next thought was, STM is lucky to be married to the easy one.

Now to convince him.

Friday, July 24, 2009


In the last few days Rojo has come running in from watching TV to ask me what the following words mean:

1) Mob

2) Rumble

3) Slasher

4) Bouncer

Parental Controls, anyone?

(Actually, it turns out he was only watching Slamball, but still.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009


The kinds of deep, powerful, vivid and memorable dreams I had two summers ago that helped to change my life, are back. They took a long break and I missed them, but they are gloriously back and with their return has come an unexpected bonus: I seem to wake up "knowing" what they mean.

I could be wrong, however.

But even if I am, there is nothing better than waking up with a sense of clarity - even if it means you have to now get off your butt and make things happen.

Last night I was standing on a precipice, trying to throw a laundry line from my little edge way over to the other side. How I thought I was going to actually STRING the laundry from the line is a whole other issue. But as I stood there throwing, my foot slipped, and I started to go over. I would have died for sure, but I grabbed on to some measly clump of dried grass and hung on for dear life.

Then I pulled myself back up to safety.

Next dream I was in a car with Deb. She was driving us along a road that was at a 45 degree angle, and to stay on our side of the solid yellow line, we would have had to defy gravity. So we didn't. She drove on the wrong side of the road with all the confidence in the world that we'd be fine, and her confidence filled me, and I, too, knew we'd be fine.

Third dream featured a person I've never actually met but always admired, and one that represents what I'd like to be in my dream of dreams: successful author. In the dream I kept dancing (literally - like a fairy) around this author, unable to speak or make actual contact with them.

When I woke up I knew two things:

1) I love the estrogen patch that allows me to sleep through the flippin' night again.

2) I have been scared, and my fear is what (and only what) is keeping me from having what I want from this life.

Fear is TFBS.

Tonight I plan to dream up my action plan.

Stay tuned.

* Photo from

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I was talking to a friend of mine whose sister has a 13-year-old daughter with Down's Syndrome. "You two should sit down together, you are both talking about the same things, how hard this passage is, and how most people just don't get it."

Apparently my friend's sister, we'll call her J., was being praised by a born-again Catholic. He was extolling her virtues. "I'm so proud of your decision to go ahead with a pregnancy in which you knew you were carrying a Down's Syndrome child." Blah, blah, blah he went on, and as he did, J.'s temperature rose. Unable to contain it one more minute she said, "Make no mistake, I am pro-choice. We knew that no matter WHAT we decided, our lives would never be the same. We made the choice we felt WE could best live with, but it's a hard choice. Everything about this is hard. You have no idea HOW hard it is."

And on her good days J. can tell you how much she has learned from raising her special needs daughter, how she's a better person, how she views the world differently, and how her other children will know a kind of compassion and understanding beyond their years.

And on her bad days she will tell you how embarrassing it can be. How taking her daughter into new and unfamiliar situations can drive her to drink, how tired she is of the "toddler years," and how there are days she begs of God, why me?

You see, we special needs parents are just humans, not heroes.

The next time you see one of us struggling with, or enjoying the hell out of our special needs child(ren) in public, smile, and give us our humanity.

Thank you.

(Photo of STM and Rojo looking for drinking fountains. Again.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


A blog post I wrote awhile ago got so much attention (okay, just by one person, but she REALLY loved it), that I thought I'd expand. I mentioned that Rojo is skilled at "holding space" with another's pain, and that I wished he could teach lessons. Since he can't, I'll try to explain what it is he does.

Quite simply, he moves to wherever the person is, and sits or stands near them, and just looks at them with the most loving look you've ever in your life seen.

He doesn't say a word.

He stands (or sits) until the person is noticeably better. Then he goes back to whatever he was doing. I think he's "namaste-ing" them - his light is greeting theirs. He is seeing their divinity and just bringing his into their sphere.

And maybe that's what his love for the number 8 is all about. As some of you pointed out, an eight turned on its side is the infinity symbol.

He's multiplying love and light to infinity.

* Photo from

Monday, July 20, 2009


You know that "Seinfeld" episode where Jerry and George pitch their idea about "nothing" to the NBC execs? (And if you don't, please don't tell me. I like you just the way you are, and if I learn of your lack of "Seinfeld" trivia, it might come between us.)

On the episode the NBC exec. introduces his daughter to Jerry and George, and Jerry asks, "How old is your daughter?" The NBC exec. replies, "15." George says, "That's a fun age." Jerry looks at George like he has two heads, and everyone across the wold laughs hysterically.

I think about that line all the time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Look what my friend Kario sent me.

The voodoo doll, hmmmm... only one doll and so many possibilities...

And the patch? They work. Perfectly.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm over here today, at HOPEFUL PARENTS. Click over and join the fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Rojo seldom asks for anything. I would say never, but that would be a lie. He asked, repeatedly, for the Touch-N-Brush he saw advertised on TV. He is the WORST toothbrusher on the planet, but thanks be to the good Lord and fluoride, he has a minimum of cavities. I was all for something that encouraged tooth brushing.

And so I bit.

I wrote down the 1-800 number and spent a good 30 minutes with a non-human, placing my order. When it arrived I put it where I wouldn't forget it come birthday time (one of my favorite "tricks").

He opened it amongst his other exciting gifts (college T-shirts from all his favorite basketball teams, but that's a whole other post). He was thrilled. Actually? He was beyond thrilled. The party came to a screeching halt as Papa reached in his 83-year-old pocket for his knife to help Rojo immediately free the Touch-N-Brush from its cardboard surroundings.

"Dad, let's go put up my Touch-N-Brush. Let's go put up my Touch-N-Brush right now. Let's just go right now and put up my Touch-N-Brush."

For whatever reasons, Rojo has adopted our upstairs laundry room sink as "his." So up went STM and up went Rojo and up went the Touch-N-Brush. Fortunately the thing is super simple (and quick) to install.

On his birthday night when I tucked him in he made me promise I'd use the Touch-N-Brush before heading off to bed myself. I promised. I promised not to forget.

"Oh good," he said, "I could cry to high heaven - pretendedly."

Simple pleasures.


Thursday, July 16, 2009


After lunch with Missy on Monday, we popped in to visit my mom. If it weren't for her, Missy and I wouldn't be friends for 44 years.

The story begins in the mid-50's, when Missy's father, Henny, and my mother, Ruth, were two young single things living in Hawaii. They were part of the same friendship circle, and wonder of wonders, both ended up in Eugene, Oregon by the early 60's. My mom married my dad, Henny married Lolette, "Lo." Lo and my mom became the dearest of friends and remained so until she died 3 weeks after my dad. I couldn't go to her memorial service 2 weeks after her death, because I was in the hospital giving birth to Rojo.

Isn't that just the way life and death work?

Thirteen years ago I lost two key people in my life, and gained one.

Henny and Lo were amongst the very few people that maintained good relations with both my parents after they divorced. I'll never stop being grateful for that - they provided a safe haven no matter which parent I was with at the time.

As we chatted with my mom, she suddenly recalled a gift Henny had given her a long, long time ago - something she wanted Missy to have now, if only she could put her hands on it.

She turned around, spent 3 seconds looking at her bookshelf, and there it was. Dead center. THE PROPHET.

It was beautifully inscribed by Henny, lovely and poetic words from a "kid" written in 1958. It was lovely and poetic to watch my nearly 79-year-old mother hand it to this 44-year-old "kid" and bring the circle full.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Got a lovely surprise when one of my oldest and dearest friends Facebooked me to let me know she was going to be in Portland for a few days, and could we do lunch? She's lived in Louisiana for years now, and I haven't seen her since her father's funeral, five years ago.

Missy, Melissa now to those that haven't known her since she was a baby, is a big part of my childhood. After we had lunch I went digging in the basement for pictures of the two of us, and there were plenty. Every birthday party I ever had, there she was.

There in the pictures also, are my other childhood friends/cousins: Wendy, Julie, Emily and not pictured below, Rachel. I don't have a single happy childhood memory that doesn't involve one or more of them.

It caused me to rethink my childhood for a moment, to view it from this objective viewpoint. It was happy. It wasn't ideal, but there was happiness. I was cared for, parties were arranged in my honor, loved ones gathered, over and over again. It doesn't get much better than that, I don't think. Besides, who can't be happy living in a house with such great wall paper and a couch in the kitchen?

(L to R: Missy, me, someone I can't remember, Wendy)

(Missy, me, Julie, Emily)

(Missy's birthday this time, me on the far left, her next to me)

(Me pulling a face, Missy to the right, Emily)

(Wendy, me, Missy, someone's head, Julie)

(Me having a bad hair day, and Missy, cute as flippin' ever)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Thirteen years ago today this bundle of love came into my life. To say I've never been the same since, would be a gross understatement.

Would write more but I've got the following things to do:

* Bake a pink cake with red frosting (5th year in a row - won't eat the cake, but always requests it).

* Search YouTube for people with accents (we're going for Boston, Texas and Jamaican).

* Watch him play with his new recycling truck (goes well with the garbage truck he asked for and got last year).

* Take a soccer ball to the park and use it to play basketball.

* Return to the park later with a basketball and use it to play soccer.

* Meet the extended family at the bowling alley (4th year in a row we've gone bowling on his birthday).

* Talk about and wait for the ice cream truck that we made a special request with last night when they came by (they'll be here at 6:45 PM. Don't forget. Promise you won't forget).

* Wish Elmo a happy birthday, as it turns out his "son" has the same birthday, and is also turning 13. Go figure.

* Search the house for something to wrap up for Elmo, as Elmo has his heart set on also opening a present after bowling.

* Allow Elmo to come in the car to the bowling alley, but not the bowling alley, as the rule has been set: After 13, Elmo stays in the car. Allow my heart to break a little when we close the door on Elmo and walk away.

* Prepare to teach him to shower, as another rule has been set and talked about ad nauseam: 13 year olds take showers and their mothers give them their privacy.

* Tuck him in, read books, say prayers, kiss him and tell him he's the best boy in the world. Because. It's. True.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I'm seeing 8's in my sleep. Spent the weekend looking for them.

Started on Friday when The Wonder That is Jenn took Rojo to Target during summer school time, to play a game with prices, pretend shopping and comparative pricing - all good life skills he needs to work on. Didn't expect it to ignite a new obsession, but it did.

Saturday morning found Rojo up and at 'em. "Mom? Can we go to Target and pretend shop? You will tell me to find something and I will just boom, run and find it. You will say, 'Rojo, tell me how much Crest toothpaste is,' and I will just boom, run and find it."

Sounded innocent (and cheap) enough, so I agreed.

Don't know why or when the game morphed from boom, running and finding stuff, to boom, finding prices that ended with the number 8.

Go ahead, you try it, get to your nearest Target and tell me how many you find.

Never mind, I'll spare you. Three. There are three prices that end with 8 at Target, and those are the red tagged clearance items, so keep your eyes peeled for those - and here's a hint, those are usually found on "enders."

If you're looking for 9's? Veritable bonanza. 8's? Needle. In. A. Haystack.

Love Target.

Love The Wonder that is Jenn.

Love Rojo.

Hate 8's.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Twice in the last 24 hours I've been asked to describe Rojo to people that know of him, but don't know him. I'm a flippin' writer. I'm his own mother, for God's sake, why is this so hard?

On paper Rojo is/has this:

* 13-years-old next week
* Somewhere on the very broad, very vague, very unhelpful in understanding him, Autism Spectrum
* ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which is so poorly named it's laughable. The boy has an ABUNDANCE of attention, not a deficit - the problem is he pays equal attention to every single thing vying for his attention. The hyperactive part is fitting.
* OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, although the argument could be made that this is part of the "fun" of being "on the spectrum")
* Auditory Processing Disorder (disconnect between what is heard and what the brain understands)
* Sensory Integration Dysfunction (both tactile defensive and seeking - it's complicated)
* Poor motor planning both gross and fine (rode a bike at 12, handwriting is laborious, forget about ever tying a shoe)
* Unofficially learning disabled (by definition this is a gross discrepancy between intellect and performance - because we have no reliable method to test his intelligence, this will never be proven)

Some of the things he cannot do at this time:

* Fully bathe/shower by himself
* Prepare his own food (even a sandwich, although he does open a mean bag of chips using scissors and several attempts)
* Listen to teacher directions and get to work, he requires an aide to reinforce/repeat what the instructions are, and help him stay on task, as well as help to modify as needed
* Tie, button, snap or buckle, which means on school days he needs help dressing - summertime T-shirts and basketball shorts he's got covered

What the tests/diagnoses/report cards don't say:

* He's fully enlightened. He has no ego. None. He loves everyone, has no judgment, only compassion, and is incapable of having an unkind thought or speaking an unkind word.
* He is always in the now, with no regrets and no looking back. He has positive expectancy for the future and looks forward to the simplest of pleasures/activities, and none are beyond the next 24-hours or so.
* He never complains. Never.
* His sense of humor is highly developed and his comedic timing is dead on.
* He's incredibly empathetic, he sees/senses when others are upset and "holds space" with them so beautifully, I wish he could teach classes on how to do this. He just knows intrinsically how to be with another's pain, not fix it, not make it go away, just be with it.
* He is well loved by all: teachers, classmates, kids in other grades both older and younger, and of course, his family.
* When he smiles his dimples dig in, his eyes twinkle, and his pure, unadulterated joy washes over everyone in the room.

And that's just for starters...

(Photo of him playing the "Yelling Game," I think in this one he "is" TD Jakes.)

Thursday, July 09, 2009


10. "Good works are links that form a chain of love. "

9. "The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done."

8. "Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home."

7." Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

6."Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired."

5. "I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."

4. "Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls."

3. "It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters."

2. "I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness. "

1. "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Last July I started having some serious hot flash problems, and made an appointment with a naturopath I'd heard about. All I knew was that I was going to gracefully move through menopause naturally. It took weeks to get in with the doctor, and by the time I did, in September, the hot flashes had mysteriously disappeared. All that led us to believe they were stress related, and not menopause.

Long menopause story short, they were both. Been working with her for almost a year now and NEVER FELT BETTER.

Until end of June, aka, a couple weeks home with the two loves of my life.

Hot flashes started again - a few at night, then escalated to the level they were last summer, every 30 minutes, round-the-clock and absolutely crazy making. So, booked another appointment with her and was able to get in yesterday. I've already blogged about how much I love this woman, and yesterday was affirming of that. It was like having coffee (or herbal tea, as the case may be) with an old friend. We sat in cozy chairs with our legs tucked under us and talked for 60 minutes. She listened. Finally, she said, "You could go the natural route and I think it would be effective, but it would require several supplements and probably 4-6 weeks before you'd see any significant relief. Or," she paused, "I could prescribe the estrogen patch and you'd feel better by tomorrow."

I'm patched.

I'm going to use it for July and August, and in August start the natural supplements so that they overlap with the patch, and are in full swing by September 7th, aka Labor Day, aka my favorite holiday.

And yes, I feel better already. Only woke up three times last night, instead of 12-16. I may make it through the entire day without biting anyone's head off.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009


See this pile of unmatched socks? The pile of hopefuls? The pile of singles that have long lost their mates, but for whom I still hold out hope of finding?

Getting tossed.

Today is the day I free them of their need to be matched, and let them go to sock heaven where they can live out the rest of their soul's journey without my forcing their need to couple.

When I was a little girl my favorite book included a double page spread of unmatched mittens, and my mom and I would sit there for what felt like hours, and match them all up. She would point to one, I'd point to the match, then it would be my turn. I still have that book, it sits on Rojo's bookshelf now. Neither he nor Woohoo have been charmed and hypnotized by that game like I was. Perhaps they don't have the same innate need to "tidy" as I do.

You see? I like things neat and clean, no loose ends, no "we'll sees," no pots without their lids, no singleton socks. Life, as it turns out, doesn't work that way, have you noticed that, too?

Today? Socks.

Tomorrow? The sky's the limit.

Monday, July 06, 2009


When I went back out to WUG (acronym that stands for the three initials of the 5 original owners/siblings) after writing the "Affirmation" post, I told my cousin about it.

"I wrote a post about you," I said. She is not the extrovert so many of us WUGgers are, so I assured her I hadn't used her name or shown her picture. "I love how you said, 'I affirm that in you,'" I continued.

Adjusting her sun hat she said, "Someone said that to me once."

Clearly that person made an impression on my cousin, who in turn passed the favor on to me.

I vow to "affirm" someone today, to look deeply within their eyes, to listen intently and without agenda, to hear them, then to simply and beautifully say, "I affirm that in you."

Hell, I may even do it to/with my husband. Lord only knows how far that could ripple!

* Photo from

Saturday, July 04, 2009


This is a very bad picture of a very good image - a rainbow in the background, our flag of freedom in the foreground.

Happy 4th of July!


Thursday, July 02, 2009


The main reason for our "vacation" this week of all weeks, is that Sisters is an hour away from my extended family's annual 4th of July week reunion. 42 years in a row, and going strong.

Each day the gathering grows, the river gets warmer, the mosquito bites and sunburn lines increase. Most of these cousins I don't see all year, but when we meet up at WUG, we pick up right where we left off. We stick our now middle aged bodies into old swimsuits, apply the SPF 50, the spray with DEET, and grab a floatie. We slog through boggy water and duck under willow branches to climb to the top of the property. We 1-2-3 jump into the Little Deschuttes river and float away the last year of our lives for each other to hear, and the river to wash clean.

Beer O'Clock comes early and we move ancient folding chairs into the water and enjoy the best of both worlds: half submerged, half basking in the sun. Talk moves from surface to deeper layers as the week progresses.

We watch as our beautiful teenage daughters canoe upstream. Standing up. We remember when we were those girls, coming to WUG in between years of high school, in between childhood and adulthood, in between innocence and harsh reality.

I tell a cousin of my year - my "successes" my "failures," my hopes and dreams for the year to come. "I need a project," I say. "I need something that takes my mind away from the day-to-day minutiae, that betters the world, that makes a difference."

"I affirm that in you," she says.

And just like that, I feel affirmed, and although I know I don't need another to affirm me, I soak it, and the love all around me, up like the hot July day.