Thursday, April 30, 2009


The nine months I was pregnant with Rojo were the same nine months my dad was actively dying. My dad was a HUGE "Wheel of Fortune" fan, and most of the conversations we had involved that show. Vanna White was pregnant near the same time I was, and the way he felt he was monitoring my pregnancy, was to watch that show each night, see how "fat" Vanna was getting, and let me know.

He died a month before Rojo was born. One of the few things that calmed Rojo during his screaming-filled first months of life, was the sound of that damn show coming on - the song, the chanting of Wheeeeeeeel ooooooooof Fortuuuuuuuune, the spinning of the wheel - click, click, click, click, click.

Throughout these last nearly thirteen years, Rojo's gone in and out of a "Wheel of Fortune" phase. Right now he's back on - in a big way. We play the game constantly, and watch it religiously each night, the six nights a week it's on. We rest on the Sabbath.

He is EXCELLENT at guessing the puzzles, the other night I did one for him and he got the whole thing with only the 3 A's in place.

To watch him struggle to draw the little lines and fill in (correctly) my guesses, is painful, but part of the process. Sometimes it's more than I can bear and I get impatient, my need to do it "right" versus his need to be the one in charge.

But then there are moments like the one we had last night where he marked off the correct number of lines indicating the correct number of letters, with the space in the right spot.

"It's a place," he said with a satisfied look on his face.

I couldn't get it for the longest time, not until I started with A and ran through the alphabet. "H" I finally said.

"Yes! There are two H's!" he said enthusiastically, placing them in the two first letter of the word positions.

"L" I said.

"Yes! There are 3 L's!" he said, filling them in excitedly.

"Oh, my God, you're funny," I said, when I finally got the puzzle:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Just wasn't feeling a blog post today - couldn't get anything going, didn't care, didn't care that I didn't care. Wasted some time by checking my dashboard widget for the word of the day. Wouldn't you just know it: Apathy.

One entry found.

Main Entry:
Greek apatheia, from apathēs without feeling, from a- + pathos emotion — more at pathos
1 : lack of feeling or emotion : impassiveness
2 : lack of interest or concern : indifference

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Getting any kind of details out of Rojo about Outdoor School has been a lot like pulling teeth (raise your hand if you're surprised). In fact, the term "monosyllabic" comes to mind.

"Was it fun?"


"What did you do?"


"Did you eat?"


"What did you eat?"


And so on.

But, the one thing we've heard about in excruciating detail, is the punch.

"Mom, they had PUNCH at Outdoor School! It's red and they put it in a pitcher and in the pitcher is ice and you pour the pitcher and the ice and the punch comes into your glass. Can we get punch? Can we pour it in a pitcher? Can we just keep refilling the pitcher after it's gone? Can we put ice in the pitcher? Can we just all drink the punch from the pitcher with ice?"

Yesterday my cell phone rang. "Jenn" came up on Caller ID. Jenn is Rojo's aide and that is pretty much the only call I take. No. Matter. What.

She was calling about the punch.

They hadn't been able to get off topic all morning - he wanted the NAME of the exact punch they drank at Outdoor School, and of course Jenn wasn't there so she could only guess. Rojo had poor Jenn Googling "punch" until she found the label he recognized.

"That's it!" he said upon seeing the Hawaiian Punch label.

"Oh!" Jenn said, "That's called Hawaiian Punch."

"No, that's not it then, ours was called Oregon Punch," he said.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Dear Woohoo,

This week you turn 15, which somehow sounds so much older than 14. You ARE much older than you were a year ago, too. Much.

A year ago you were in eighth grade, middle school, at the end of a long stretch at the same school. You walked in a young five-year-old kindergartner, and walked out a ready-for-high-schooler.

But now you're rounding out your freshman year and are thinking of things like driver's permits, dates to dances, and the shifting sands of friendship.

You're able now to discern the wheat from the chaff, the true friends from the false ones, the ones that have your back and the ones that don't.

Fourteen years ago I took this picture of you with your favorite friend, Bear. He was bright and pink and well-stuffed. Today he is not so much your friend as your pillow. He is still pink if you catch him in the right light, he's shrunk, grainier, his plush has mostly rubbed off. You've made him Real. I swear I look into his scratched up black eyes and a soul looks back at me. Your love did that.

Fortunately, I think you were too young to remember when Rojo insisted on taking Bear to the grocery store one day when you were at preschool. He dropped him and it wasn't until we got home that we realized we'd left Bear. We called the store, we got Daddy, and every manager and all four of us searched every inch of that store until we found him. I never let Rojo touch him again. He takes a lot, but he can't have everything.

I know it's hard being Rojo's sister. The minute he was born the pie got cut disproportionately. You may not get 1/2 of our attention and energy, but I guarantee you get all the love in our hearts.

We couldn't be more proud of you, you are wise and kind, funny and generous. You are honest and sweet, hard working and responsible. And while we may be winding down the number of years you will live in our home, you will always live right in the middle of our hearts.

Happy birthday, Woohoo.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Bus was due to pull up at 1:30, STM and I were both poised ready at 1:25, nearly frantic by 2:15 when if finally arrived. How did he do? Did he sleep? Was he warm enough? Did he eat? Did he take his meds? Was he up at 5:15 and driving everyone crazy? Did he cry? Was he lonely?



Won't say, so probably, yes.

Not really, but that's okay.



I found him first, gave him a big hug which he endured with a smile, but it was Daddy's arms he was looking for.

"So, Mom, did the ice cream truck come when I was gone? Did you remember to take in the garbage and recycling on Thursday when I was gone? What time is Woohoo coming home? Can we go to the park?" HE was full of questions, there was no getting OUR questions in edge wise! He was wearing JUST what I sent him in yesterday, plus a shirt. Why actually CHANGE your shirt, when you can just layer another one on TOP! (He is his father's son.)

Finally - and painfully - extracted that he'd slept until 6:45(!) and then Tsunami took him to the nurses for his meds, and because he was QUITE janked up and the rest of his cabin was asleep, he and Tsunami played tether ball and basketball for 45 minutes until the others woke up.

How do I properly thank a person I've never met, probably never will, but who made it possible for me to sleep Thursday night? I'm putting love and blessings out into the ethers, and praying they find their target.

When St. Kathleen left yesterday she handed the baton to Tsunami and two of his Rojo's friends, one in charge of reminding him to pee, and the other charged with keeping him warm. "I'll just go ahead and lay out his hat and warm clothes on his bed, so we don't forget," said 12-year-old-going-on-40, N.

Several times throughout the day Thursday, Tsunami would flash Rojo the thumbs up sign and say, "I got your back, Rojo, I got your back!" Finally, after about the fourth time, Rojo turned to St. Kathleen and asked, "What does 'I've got your back' mean?" After she explained it was just an expression, that he didn't actually HAVE his back, that it just meant he would watch out for him, take care of him, defend and protect him, Rojo was able to fully relax. I actually think Rojo knew 2 seconds into meeting Tsunami that he "had his back" but nonetheless, always nice to know your back is safe and sound, and nobody plans to "have" it.

I may never meet you, Tsunami, but don't you worry. I have your back.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Woohoo comes home from school on Thursday STARVING, wants to know if I'll make spaghetti with meat sauce. Again. Made it Wednesday, too. But she's now the Only Child and is milking it, and that's okay. That's better than okay.

So I'm standing at my very nice and hardly used six-burner, cobalt blue Viking stove, stirring and simmering and the phone rings. Scares the hell out of me for two reasons: 1) Nobody calls us - I've got everyone well trained to e-mail me instead, and 2) Thought for sure it was Outdoor School calling to tell me there was a problem, since it had been a full hour since St. Kathleen had left Rojo up there, "alone."

It was our attorney. I say that all, "we have our own personal attorney on retainer" type of way, and that couldn't be further from the truth. But we do have an attorney we used five years ago when we wrote up our first and only Wills, and now we're using him again, so basically, yeah, we "have" an attorney. ANYWAY. He called because he'd received our revisions and had a few questions and clarifications he needed made before committing our dying wishes to paper and making them bound by law.

So, what just a few weeks ago had me "janked" and in a funk, was a mild intrusion and matter of fact exchange of information Thursday.

"You have that at age 25 Woohoo becomes the trustee for Rojo. I'd recommend 30."

"Okay, 30," I say, giving the sauce a gentle nudge.

"You have that ________ would have Power of Attorney. Who should I put for STM? I spend 2 seconds considering who should make life or death decisions for STM if I am already dead and he's incapacitated. I supply the name while pouring the noodles over the strainer and giving them a shake.

Five minutes later we've sewed up all the loose ends. Our Wills will be prepared accordingly, and next week we'll sign.

Check, check.

None of this matters to me yesterday, the only thing that matters is that my boy, MY boy, is "alone" at Outdoor School, surrounded by people that love him - old and new friends- and I'm home with my girl, making spaghetti. All is right with the world. This "Rojo overnight at ODS" marked on my Daytimer forever, is now here. Here. Not out there, not coming up, here.

And it's so fine it's funny.

If I could take back all the angst I endured in preparation for this night, I would. Now that it's here it's no big deal. I wouldn't take back all the careful planning, all the ducks in a row, step-by-step way we prepared for this day, starting YEARS ago, but I would remove and effectively dispose of the ANGST.

Now I'm applying this lesson to Rojo's future. If he can do this, he can do lots of things I have not thought possible.



And everything.

Let the planning, without the angst, begin.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


"I'm excited, am I?" Rojo asks as he jumps from the same car that only two days ago he nearly fell from. Partly it's the drop in temperature (40 degree drop in one day, welcome to Oregon), partly it's the fact that on Monday he was apprehensive, didn't know the routine, everything was a guessing game and now he OWNS the place, and partly it's because he's IN LOVE.

The picture above is of Rojo and his "girlfriend," J. He and J. have been "going out" for nearly two years. Could even be three, I lose track. I just know that every time I ask him if J. is still his girlfriend he gets OUTRAGED and says, "Mom! I told you, I'm never going to break up with her!"

St. Kathleen took this picture of the two of them, which is apparently indicative of how they move through Outdoor School. Her, by his side, gently guiding, reassuring, "holding space." Him, offering his undying love in return.

So, J. is his day in, day out, sweet and true love, but the new object of his love is TSUNAMI!

St. Kathleen says Tsunami isn't even bending over backwards for Rojo, but Rojo sees the light in his eyes that says, "I get you," and that has opened the magic door. Tsunami is a seasoned Outdoor School counselor, and specifically assigned to help this week with Rojo and another dear, sweet love of my life that we'll just call PK's son.

PK's son went up on the bus Sunday and won't be home until Friday. PK is a mess. Her son? A. Happy. Camper. Both of us have been worried sick, literally, for YEARS about how our boys would do.

They are fine.

And now so are we.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Do you love the irony that Rojo is at Outdoor School on Earth Day? He's been telling me about Earth Day for a few weeks, now, warning me we were going to turn off all the lights, reduce, reuse and recycle more than we already do (which borders on fanatically, already), but he didn't put it together that he'd be like, ON and IN the earth during Earth Day. But he is.

Another really hot day and another day of keeping that hooded sweatshirt ON and over his head - again, the "bees" which means anything that flies. Anything that crawls is a "spider." But he came home less tired, less dehydrated, and more enthusiastic.

"Mom, there's a counselor named Tsunami. He's my BFF. He is going to sleep in my cabin on Thursday when I spend the night. When Kathleen leaves then just, boom, there will be Tsunami. He will just, boom, be my counselor and help me after Kathleen leaves. In the morning I will be all, 'Tsunami, wake up! It's time to take me to the nurse's for my medicine! Tsunami! Wake up! Are you just so excited to see me? Are you ready to go to the nurse's office with me? Don't forget! Promise you won't forget!"

"Mom, Wednesday at lunch I am not going to sit by Kathleen, I am going to let Tsunami sit by me because Kathleen will have me for the whole ride home, but Tsunami will miss me when I leave on Wednesday, so I will just sit by Tsunami so he won't be sad when I leave. Tell Kathleen. Don't forget. Promise you won't forget."

"Mom, we are singing the 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' song! You do it in all the funny voices. I like the sad voice. I like to pretend cry and say, 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' like I'm pretend crying. That's really fun to pretend cry."

"Mom, today the Field Study counselor's name was Tangerine. Because she's orange, get it?" (Actually, no, I don't, but he seemed to get why she is orange, and that's good enough for me.) "And there's a counselor named Latte, you know, like you like? Latte, like you like, get it? Latte?"

"Don't forget to pack my suitcase. Don't forget to pack my sleeping bag. Don't forget to pack my medicine. Don't forget to pack my clothes. Don't forget, Mom, promise you won't forget."

I've had my reservations that our whole spend-just-one-night plan would work, but it looks like I've been saved.

By a Tsunami.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Outdoor School Day #1

Yesterday St. Kathleen picked up Rojo and away they went to Outdoor School. The rest of the class left on a bus Sunday, but Rojo "does not go to school on Sundays," and besides, asking St. Kathleen to go up four days is A LOT, and a Sunday, too, would be even more than I would ask of a friend of whom I've asked a lot. A. Lot.

We've been going over (and over and over and...) the plan for ODS for MONTHS. He and St. Kathleen (my BFF and his one morning/week aide for the last six years) would be "day students." They would leave at 8:00 and get there at 9:00, and stay until 4:00 and get home at 5:00, just in time for garlic toast, which all of you know by now, happens AT 5:00 PM sharp each and every single day. (Yes, there was a time we were on Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but that, my friends, was but a phase. A. Brief. Phase.)

"Mom, am I janked up? Am I excited for Outdoor School? Am I hyper? Am I just so excited? Am I going to get there at 9:00 and leave at 4:00? Am I going to be janked up when I'm there? Am I going to FREAK OUT if there are bees? Am I just so excited?"

One big blanket "yes" from me, and the litany started again, and again, and again.

Sunday he was triple "janked" and Monday morning he was "janked" times 10. Poor St. Kathleen.

The sun was shining and it was a perfect 80 degree day up on the mountain, an auspicious beginning.

St. Kathleen hit traffic and didn't get home until 5:30. A very tired and overheated Rojo nearly fell from the car. But once we fed and hydrated him - and striped him of his extra sweatshirt he'd insisted on wearing to keep him safe from bees - he came back to life like a flower, and the stories began.

"My counselor's name is Griz. Who the hell has Griz for a name?"

"We went on a HIKE. A LONG hike. I do not like hiking."

"We had cabin time. I am in K.'s and N.'s cabin. They were really janked up when I got there because they were so excited to see me."

"I did not eat the lunch. I am never going to eat the lunch. I just had the Johnny Jump-Up get me water. I will just drink water every day at lunch and make the Johnny Jump-Up get it for me."

After dinner he went digging around the house looking for our old walkie-talkies - apparently the adult counselors at Outdoor School use them, and he's hoping nobody will notice if he gets in the game. I successfully convinced him to leave them at home with the promise of playing on them ALL morning and ALL night with him, instead. Can't talk now, gotta go talk on the walkie talkie...

This is sure to be a week that will change lives, probably the least of whose is Rojo's.

* Photo of Mt. Hood, near Outdoor School

Monday, April 20, 2009


Has enough been made that I went from fully caffeinated to very little caffeinated?? I am not really interested in becoming totally uncaffeinated, though. I have my "cup" (12 oz., give or take a few) a day with the perfect amount of 1/2 and 1/2, in the perfectly selected mug each day, and I am happy, happy and more happy.

So happy, in fact, that I ALMOST always think, just one more. What's so bad about just one more?

And usually I distract myself out of it by saying, "I can't have one now, but I can have one later. Maybe."

But there are days those little games don't work, and I go to the bother of making just one more "cup."

It's never as good as the first, and I almost never drink more than 2 sips of it.

As it grows cold and I then pour it down the drain, the perfect amount of cream sticking to the sides and looking icky now, I think, how many other things do I think I want, but really don't?

There is going to come a day when the coffee loses and I win. When I finish that cup of perfect joe and sit back, eyes closed, and bask in the perfection of it.

With gratitude.

And nothing else.

They say enlightenment comes at the end of desire. I figure if I can start with the coffee, it's downhill all the way.

* Photo from

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Penetrate the heart of just one drop of water, and you will be flooded by a hundred oceans." Mahmûd Shabistarî

Someone e-mailed me and wanted my opinion on whether two people with seemingly disparate religious views (Conservative Christian and Buddhist) could make it as a couple.

My opinion is yes, yes they can make it. "Opposites" make it work every day and twice on Sunday. But what concerns me more is the question. It was the Conservative Christian's hesitancy to getting involved with the Buddhist that concerns me.

It's the doubt.

Doubt will bite you in the ass every time.

My opinion is that Jesus and Buddha line up on MOST things, and there isn't a whole lot to fight about when you both agree love, peace and compassion ROCK. There are lots of good books on the subject, and if two people are entering coupledom with wide open hearts and minds, I'd like to believe anything is possible, in fact likely.

But again, it's the question that concerns me. It's the looking for trouble. It's the doubt.

The Dalai Lama says this: "Faith dispels doubt and hesitation; it liberates you from suffering, and delivers you to the city of peace and happiness. It is faith that removes the mental turbidity and makes your mind clear. Faith reduces your pride and is the root of veneration. It is the supreme lake because you can easily traverse from one stage of the spiritual path to another. It is like your hand, which can gather all the virtuous qualities."

Thoughts, Readers? The person that asked the question reads this blog. Many of you are Conservative Christians. Many of you are Buddhists. Many of you are in partnership. What do YOU think?

Friday, April 17, 2009


Cute (and functional) as this Rubbermade "nightstand" has been for STM all these many, many years, I just went NUTS and bought the man a new one!

And it was an IMPULSE purchase! Was just walking by an antique store and saw it in the window. The price, size and color was right, and the few dings just makes it match the one on my side, all the more.

STM will be 50 in a month, we've been married forever. It's time to get our bedroom out of the college dorm look, and into something resembling permanence.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Had a counselor in grade school named Mrs. Knott. Loved her. Every once in awhile she would come to our classroom and teach us some lesson about cliques, peers, and our feelings. Looking back now and knowing what I know about public education, we probably shared her with several other schools and maybe once a week she came to our school and was supposed to perform miracles in her 8 hours a week there.

She performed a miracle in my life.

In fifth grade some guy named Ken was working on his thesis project at the University of Oregon, and he was looking for a bunch of kids to act in the Halloween movie he was making. He needed names of kids that would be good.

Mrs. Knott gave him my name.

Not sure why. I'd done no acting in school (not that there was any opportunity) and as far as I could tell, I didn't stand out when she came to our room on those rare occasions.

But there are no accidents, so she suggested my name and the next thing I knew Ken was calling my mom and it was all set up.

I played a trick-or-treater (it was called "Trick-or-Treat") and for months we stomped all over the U of O campus - the Pioneer Cemetery in particular - and made a cheesy 1/2 hour movie that showed on cable. Twice.

There was a crypt in the Pioneer Cemetery that we used in our filming, as well as the front of Deady Hall for the haunted house. We never actually went IN the crypt or the "haunted house," the camera would show us with our hands on the door, then cut away.

Close, but no cigar.

That became a pattern in my life - get right up to the scary and dark places, but don't go IN. Cut away.

But eventually we must. We must go in to those scary and dark places. All the way in.

And shut the door, maybe even let it slam shut behind us, and stay there until we make our own light and find the way out again.

Thank you, Mrs. Knott.

* Photo of Deady Hall, University of Oregon

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If doubt is challenging you and you do not act, 
   doubts will grow. 
Challenge the doubts with action and you will grow. 
Doubt and action are incompatible. 

John Kanary

(I'm nuts about the daffodils in my front yard.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


1) So
O,magazine had a really good article on mothers and daughters talking about sex. I read the article, asked Woohoo to read it, then asked her if she had any questions.

"Just one," she said.
Oh, boy, I thought, here we go...

"Where was I conceived?"

Not really where I was going with that...

2) My mom gave each kid Easter cards with $5.00 in them, Woohoo got a $5 bill and Rojo got five ones. He, within seconds, doled them out, two for STM (his favorite, just ask him, he'll tell you, and that works-beautifully-for me, since that means his "favorite" can get up at 5:15 each morning and make garlic toast), one for Woohoo and one for me, keeping one for himself.

"There," he proclaimed, "now we all have some."

3) Yesterday Woohoo came home from school upset - lots of drama (we don't miss that about high school, do we?). She was venting and Rojo was uncharacteristically quiet and attentive. He finally raised his right index finger, swept the air with it and in his best Josh from "Drake and Josh" voice said, "Don't forget the I-word, irritated!"

4) I forgot what the fourth one was, but the point is, they're cute.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Just got home from having lunch with three friends from college. One of those things that you can never plan, but sometimes they just happen - you know the times - serendipitous.



It all started when one friend (whom I hadn't seen in 7 years) found my blog and left me a comment to e-mail her. We arranged to have lunch today.

That would have been wonderful, in and of itself. I owe the "girl" a lot - she was the one that pointed out I was meant to be an Elementary Ed. major, and I never looked back.

But then a friend from Florida e-mailed to say she'd be in town visiting her brother for Easter, and could we get together. Hadn't seen her in almost 2 years, and before that it was like 10.

So we would be three for lunch, as "Florida" went to both high school and college with "Elementary Ed."

Then on a whim I let "Eugene" (2 hours south of here) know of our meeting, and she said she doubted she could make the trip. Hadn't seen "Eugene" in 3 years. Think about her all the time.
I've got family in Eugene and she's got family in Portland, but it's hard, don't you know, hard to put all the pieces together.

Until fate takes over.

She surprised us. She drove 2 hours up and 2 hours back for a 1 1/2 hour lunch with three old friends.

I don't know why all I really want to do is sit in a corner some where and cry.

The lunch was lovely.

The women are lovely.

And maybe that's the "problem." How'd I let them slip away?

Yea, yea, life is busy, kids, jobs, moves, blah, blah, blah.

But still.

Guess what matters is they're all back in my life now.

Maybe when I need them most.


(Photo of Memorial Union at Oregon State University)

If that doesn't work, click here!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

(Guess what word Rojo was saying over and over again while he bellowed from his bed, waiting for the rest of us to awaken?)

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Last week when I interviewed Suzanne Finnamore, she responded to a comment, and her response was so wonderful, it bears repeating for those of you that may have missed it:

SHE (short for Shelia) said...
Great interview. Makes me want to read it again since I'm grieving right now.

The anger stage is the worst.

Doing and saying things that you wish you hadn't is hard.

Needed someone to remind me that the things I said (and wrote even) in anger (stage!)are based on feelings/beliefs that will pass! That is very HELPFUL FOR ME TODAY!

9:41 AM

to SHE

when i wrote Split, i discovered my raw manuscript had approximately 90 pages each of Denial, Bargaining, Grief, and Acceptance....and 300 pages of ANGER.

In books as in life, i had to cut a lot of the Anger out in order to see my creation realized.

suzanne finnamore

Here's to cutting a lot of Anger to have our creations realized.

* Photo from

Friday, April 10, 2009


10. You get to see how all the other kids are doing
9. You get to watch your kid in action
8. You get to see your kid WITH the other kids
7. You get to see how all the NTs (neuro-typicals) are developing
6. You get to spy on your aide
5. You get to get down on your knees and kiss the ground she walks on, because if it weren't for her, ain't no way your kid could make it. For. An. Hour.
4. You get to see how tall/short/skinny/fat/pubescent/non-pubescent your child is compared to all the other sixth graders
3. You get to see how the teacher copes with him/her
2. You get to see how far there is to go
1. You get to see just how far you've come

Thursday, April 09, 2009


I pick up Rojo on Wednesday and he's all red faced from PE as he climbs into the back seat and slams the door shut. The PE teacher (love her, hi, Liz!) is right behind him. "Did he tell you?" she asks (chances are HIGH he has not).

"What?" I ask.

"I was like the NCAA champion in PE. Our team, UCONN, WON! I got SIX baskets! At the end I. PICKED ME UP! I was body slamming everyone! I'm like the CBK, College Basketball KING! I was on FIRE! I was just like Brandon Roy! I was ALL OVER that net!"

He beamed.

The PE teacher beamed.

I beamed.

He continued to tell me all about his conquest for the full 15 minutes it took to drive to Woohoo's school.

Then he announced he hadn't seen M. in a long time, and he'd really like to. M. is not just another GIRL, she's practically a woman - a 7th grader, the cougar! So, he was wondering could we please call M. just the very second we got home and see if M. could come over, because after all, he's the CBK, and she doesn't even know that yet, and well, he'd just really like to tell her.

Don't forget.

Woohoo wasn't in the car 2 minutes before she took matters into her own hands and called M., cell phone to cell phone and had the whole thing arranged.

I just noticed that since he became the ladies' man, he stopped asking me to sit in the living room and watch him play basketball.

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Is there a gluten free Bible? Because I'd like to start BANGING IT!

I cannot BELIEVE the difference in STM in just a few days. DAYS!

We're getting both kids tested immediately, and regardless of the tests, we're moving them (and me) in that direction.

I'm sold.

Watch out - I'm quickly becoming "one of those people."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Picked Rojo up from school yesterday, he pulls me aside conspiratorially and says, "Mom. We need to talk. We need to have A. and C. over to jump on the trampoline. I can read their brains, and they are bored. They can come to our house and then they won't be bored."

I agreed and Rojo turned to A & C and said, "Okay, girls, go home, ask your moms and get your swimsuits, because it's going to be a sprinkler party at my house!"

They agreed and scampered off.

All the way home it's, "Mom. What should I wear to look nice for the girls? What snacks do we have for the girls? Will you get some towels out for the girls?" The girls, the girls, the girls...

Boy's turning 13 in 3 months.

He's right on schedule.

The girls came, could NOT have been more darling, and a good time was had by all (especially because Portland got record breaking temperatures and that made being soaking wet a whole lot more fun).

When they left he said, "Mom. I really handled the girls well. I did really well having two girls here. I am good with girls. I think they had a nice time."

He's right.

Any girl would be lucky to have him.

But they'll never get him away from me.

(Yes, I'm aware he's painfully thin. Thanks for the concern.)

Monday, April 06, 2009


The same night it got all heavy, deep and real talking about genetic testing, one of the women was sharing that she's pulling up stakes and moving several states away to be with her love.

"It's time for me to abide," she simply said.

"Abide," I said. "I love that. I might have to steal 'abide.'"

"It's free," she generously answered.

As my friend Prema says, that word "dropped deep."

I came right home and looked up "abide" - I had a general working knowledge of it, but wanted every little detail (so me).

Merriam-Webster defines the word abide, as such:
1: to wait for : await
2 a: to endure without yielding : withstand b: to bear patiently : tolerate
3: to accept without objection
intransitive verb
1: to remain stable or fixed in a state
2: to continue in a place : sojourn

I love the word and the concept so much, I'm considering writing a whole book about it. Maybe the sequel to UNSTRUNG?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Tracy Grammer

Lucy Wainwright Roche


10. It's NOT raining in Portland, OR this weekend, in fact, there's SUN. And just so you know HOW big of a deal that is, Rojo got out the SPRINKLER and set it under the trampoline, put on his trunks and jumped around in 50 degree weather. 

9. I slept 12 hours last night. Twelve. Uninterrupted - not even one quick little wake-up to pee. Just 12 blissful hours. Haven't done that since I was about 14. I highly recommend it.

8. Today we celebrate my mother-in-law's 81st birthday at my house with "chunky chicken," rice, spinach salad and chocolate cake. I'm willing to cook for my MIL. That's how much I love her.

7. I planted new flowers in the window boxes yesterday, and looking out at them now is making me very, very happy. 

6. STM found out he is allergic to gluten! We're EXCITED! Nearly 50 years of feeling like shit, finally EXPLAINED! I am even willing to step up my "cooking" to accommodate this new development! 

5. The doctor wants both kids tested - chances are high they are gluten intolerant, too. 

4. Right now that's #1 on my denial list, but I'll move it to the "Do Something About List," soon.

3.  I promise.

2. There are fewer places in the WORLD prettier than Portland, OR in early spring. Flowers, blooms, glory EVERYWHERE. 

1. STM and I went on a date on Friday - heard Lucy Wainwright Roche open for Tracy Grammer. The date rocked from beginning to end.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


The Dalai Lama calls a sense of inferiority, LAZINESS. He says that laziness stops our progress in our spiritual practice. He says inferiority is just doubting our capabilities, which is basically TFBS*, but he didn't use that acronym. (I'd like to think he'd get a big kick out of it, however. Any man that wears a visor and laughs like he does, has a great sense of humor.)


Can't talk now - gotta go turn that over.

And over.

And over.

* TFBS = Total _________ BS

Friday, April 03, 2009


Went to dinner Wednesday night with a holy circle of women. We're all writers but we each have at least a couple more descriptors after our name: student, nanny, musician, parent, partner, therapist, yoga instructor, concert promoter, healer, searcher.

We range in age from 33 to 46. We cover many different demographics. Some of us are single. Some of us are married. Some of us have, or are considering separating. Some of us are about to partner with a capital P. Some of us are considering children. Some of us are "trying." Some of us are straight. Some of us are not. Some of us have had abortions. Some of us have not.

In other words, just a typical group of women.

Being the eldest of the group, and having been "done" for YEARS now, it was the first time in a long time I'd been with women considering motherhood for the first time.

The conversation turned to genetic testing (probably because I turned it there). I was curious where these women stood -if after making a very deliberate decision to get pregnant, would they stay pregnant, no matter what?

Let's be clear - I'm pro choice. But when it comes to the "I couldn't handle __________" argument I get all worked up.

I teared up as I told them, "None of Rojo's disabilities would have shown up on a test, and if they had, I would not have thought I could handle it. What I couldn't handle now, is life without him."

And I realized for the very first time, just how true that was.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Autism. Rojo.

There. I said it. The two together. But notice that little period in between? Still like to keep the two separate.

But today is World Autism Awareness Day and mine probably needs a little heightening.

Rojo has many, MANY of the characteristics of those with autism. But because his Behavioral/Developmental pediatrician has repeatedly answered "no" when I've asked him, point blank, if Rojo has autism, I've chosen to believe him.

Funny how it's not a lie if you believe it.

STM and I met with the attorney that did our Wills five years ago. Five years ago we had a pretty standard Will, dividing everything down the middle for the two kids, providing chunks of money (we're worth MUCH more dead, than alive. Much. More.) at certain pre-determined intervals, like college graduation, and all those other things we so naively assumed just FIVE years ago, that our kids would each achieve. We set up guardians until they reached the age of 18. We crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's, we were such good, well-prepared parents.

And so flippin' unaware.

Got a little chocked up when I asked the attorney Tuesday, "What do you know about establishing Special Needs Trusts?" and he said, "I wasn't aware you had a need for one."

Five years ago we weren't aware either.

Almost unforgivable.

But so understandable.

The crying jags and pity parties will have to wait - right now we need to establish a CHAIN of guardians and trustees, to ensure our son is loved, cared and provided for, comfortably, for the rest of what I hope and pray is a long, long life.

And one full of awareness.