Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The four of us are "vacationing" for a week, and more than once the thought has occurred to me, we need another family here to make this work. So, any takers? Here's what we're looking for:

1 boy, any age, to wake up at 5:30 with Rojo and squeal with glee. Must like to count water fountains, watch "Wheel of Fortune" and "i Carly," watch him "play" basketball, and repeat themselves many hundreds of times per hour.

1 teenage girl with whom Woohoo can argue. Girl must prefer the hours between noon and midnight, and like to live in squalor. Sense of humor required, as well as good self-esteem as Woohoo is one of those "I can eat anything I want and never gain a pound" type of girls.

1 husband to watch Fox News and endlessly discuss the intricacies of domestic affairs. Must know the unemployment rates of every state (both reported and actual). Must own a mountain bike and be able to keep up for 2-3 hour rugged rides.

1 wife that will do all the cooking (I will do all the shopping and cleaning). Must like to sit under the shady tree with a good book, looking up every now and then to share a good laugh and/or cry. Must walk at precisely my speed and laugh at all my jokes and never tire of my vents. Must enjoy a good Margarita promptly at 5:00.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The garage sale went better than I'd expected, especially considering there were multiple opportunities for my pain body to become activated.

What I didn't expect was all the surprise visitors. You see, this is a neighborhood-wide garage sale, it's "famous." People come from all over to have the ease of garage sale after garage sale as well as well-placed port-o-potties and opportunities to support youth groups, and other worthy causes, by buying a hotdog or snow cone.

The traffic started about 7:30 A.M. and didn't start to die down until after 3:00 P.M. In that time one of Rojo's preschool teachers came by, his 6th grade teacher and two former babysitters. Old neighbors that have moved and were back visiting, neighbors that still live right where they always have but whom we seldom see, and friends from every chapter of our lives.

The whole thing ended gloriously when a friend from high school - on the hunt for soaker hoses - showed up. She didn't find her soaker hoses, but she met up with another friend, stopped by to get me and said, "You know it occurred to us, we could be drinking Margaritas right now." 15 minutes later the three of us - one old friend and one new and me - were drinking delicious Margaritas on a hot summer day, and laughing until we made spectacles of ourselves.

We sold all our junk, Woohoo made some money for her room makeover project, and several family members worked together harmoniously.

Last night I was keyed up from the day and having trouble sleeping. Eventually I did sleep, and I dreamed of the garage sale. People kept coming up to me with odds and ends and were asking, "How much?" Finally someone came up with a lobster cage filled with books. I knew it was some kind of sign. Time will tell just what kind of sign it proves to be.

All in all a good day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Can't talk now, got a garage sale to get ready for.

The one I said I'd never have again.

The one I said I'd sooner pay people to take this *&%$ away before I'd haggle over a quarter.

The one that involves multiple sellers with multiple coded price tags, with multiple inherent headaches and mix-ups.

That one.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Been awhile since I've been to the eye doctor. In fact, been so long I could no longer remember the name of the doctor that had examined my eyes, or just how long it had been, but it's been at least five years. Or. Ten.

Red veins started appearing on my eyeballs over a year ago, and finally vanity alone forced me to schedule an appointment to have them checked out. Of course with the phone phobia and all, I was limited by which doctors I could see in the Portland area, namely those that had an on-line scheduling option.

So, I pretty much got on Google and finally found an eye clinic nearby, one with a million doctors, and me with no preference other than which one could see me the soonest to assure me I wasn't going blind.

Got there and boy, have things changed since the last time I had my eyes examined, so much high tech equipment. I was eye-dropped, tested for glaucoma, had my field of vision tested, and a bunch of other things I wasn't following.

My right eye passed with flying colors, the left one? Not so much. The young doctor, approximately 1/2 my age says with his face 3 inches from mine, "You have amblyopia, 'lazy eye,' undiagnosed. This is my specialty. You also have cataracts on this eye. Also my specialty. Very unusual for someone your age, but we'll get your vision improved in that eye, don't you worry."

He then went on to suggest a test that clinic didn't have, so I'll be joining him at his other office in a couple weeks to have a P.A.M. test, whatever that is. Then we'll know if I'm "looking" at surgery. Didn't feel too bad that I didn't know what that test was, as neither did the assistant, the receptionist, nor the other eye doctor that walked by as we were discussing it.

Couldn't help but have "No accidents" run constantly through my head as I marveled at how my phone phobia landed me with the one guy whose specialty is just what I've got.

Oh, and the ugly red veins that brought me there? Just ugly red veins. Nothing wrong, nothing you can do about them. They're the result of UV damage. Ironic, as I've lived my entire life in NW Oregon, where the UV rays have to be amongst the lowest on the planet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


"When we talk about gaining the perfect wisdom of a Buddha, we should not think that we need to create qualities in ourselves that are not there already, and acquire them from somewhere outside of us. Rather, we should see perfect Buddha wisdom as a potential that is being realized." The Dalai Lama

* Photo from urban.csuohio.edu

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I must admit, I've been following the Jon and Kate drama. Like millions and millions of people, I tuned in last night to hear (and read) of their decision to split up.

The whole thing makes me sad, and although I have plenty of opinions on the matter, my greatest opinion is simply this: marriage is hard. That any survive is a flippin' miracle. That any survive after kids is a bonus miracle. That any survive when there are extenuating circumstances around the children (i.e. sheer number or need), is a miracle beyond all miracles. That being said, it's not because they have eight kids that their marriage has failed. The stress and strain of the extenuating circumstances is a fire that burns a person down to their true essence, and sadly enough, sometimes there's just not enough there to work with after the burning.

I have a new theory - one I've been working on for awhile, but the Jon and Kate thing has brought it to the light. It goes a little something like this: When your marriage is tanking, it really doesn't matter how well anything else is going. When your marriage is running smoothly, it really doesn't matter how well anything else is going.

Sunday was my in-laws 57th wedding anniversary. The fact that they've been married 40 more years than we have, blows my mind. We all got together for Father's Day/anniversary and my mom (divorced three times) asked for their words of wisdom. My wise father-in-law said, "Don't you have to be wise to have words of wisdom?" My mother-in-law quietly said, "He's been a good listener."

I think somewhere along the way Jon and Kate stopped listening to each other.

I know I've been guilty many times of not listening - not wanting to hear, and definitely I've failed to speak in a way that could/would be heard.

But after trial by fire my husband and I have finally learned how and when to speak.

And how to listen.

And when to just abide.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Even though yesterday was Father's Day, I'm the one that scored the perfect morning. Everyone else was either sleeping over somewhere or otherwise engaged, so I got to do what I seldom get to do: luxuriate.

The perfect cup of coffee.

The perfect book of inspiration.

The perfect background music.

The perfect candle in the perfect scent (and I generally can't tolerate scented candles, but Spanish Amber is TDF).


Sunday, June 21, 2009


This is your sixteenth Father's Day and you've earned each one,
This is your real job, yet you still make it fun.

There's been "knee," the Jo-Jo Man and marking his shoes,
There's been doctors and meetings and even blue twos.

You have counted the drinking fountains in parks near and far,
You have learned to make toast like a flippin' rock star.

You're up with your boy at the dawn of each day,
You're up with your girl when at night she's ready to play.

You're the kind of father I wish I'd had,
You're the one I'm proud to call my children's dad.

I love you.

I appreciate you.

*STM and Woohoo at WUG 7/95

Friday, June 19, 2009


In yesterday's post about the widening gap between Rojo and his "typical" peers, I mentioned that Rojo will need help with the burning-of-the-regrets portion of the 7th grade retreat he'll be attending in September.

Because he won't have any.

Been thinking about that ever since, and as Michelle O'Neil said in her comment, "I'd say a person who lives with no regret has already gone further than most."

The Dalai Lama says this: "Guilt, as experienced in Western culture, is connected with hopelessness and discouragement and is past-oriented. Genuine remorse, however, is a healthy state of mind - it is future-oriented, connected with hope, and causes us to act, to change."

Rojo doesn't have any regrets, guilt, OR remorse, and maybe if I hang with him long enough, neither will I.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Met with Rojo's 7th grade teacher yesterday. Great woman, had Woohoo three years ago and remains Woohoo's fav. teacher ev. She also happens to have an adult child with special needs - 30 now - she gets it.

She asked me the kinds of questions we all hope a teacher will ask: "Tell me about Rojo." "What are your goals for him?" "What would you like to see us work on this year?" That kind of thing.

Felt kind of silly just saying, "Love him."

It's not that I/we don't have "goals" but really, does the boy need to finish the year with algebra under his belt? Really?

She started telling me about a retreat the 7th graders would be going on first thing in the fall. "We write down our regrets and burn them," she said.

"He'll need help with that," I said. "Not only will he have no concept of what a regret is, he won't have any. Really."

"Then we assemble a lunch for a partner - I provide all the makings for sandwiches, and the kids take each other's orders and then make the sandwich according to what their partner wants."

"He'll need help with that," I said.

The 1-hour conference continued in that fashion. She with the "We..." and me with the "He'll need help with thats..."

Later, Rojo had STM running up to Plaid Pantry to replace the package of Skittles he'd absconded, and I agreed to ride along and run in for him (wife of the year moment).

I was telling STM about the conference and he said, "You're starting to make me feel like the parent of a special needs child."

"I know," I said, "that's how I felt, too. The gap gets wider and wider each year. It's hard to even see the other side from here."

Just then we saw from our car windows, a girl in a motorized wheel chair leave her home and head on down the sidewalk.

With no arms and legs.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So, guess what Rojo has me doing this summer?

Go ahead, guess.

Did you guess: Making you pretend to be Sonia (the one on the far right) on the reality show, "Repo?" If so, take an A.

He is Matt (center). Woohoo is Lyndah (brunette), and STM is Froy (left).

Need I say more? Because I hardly can.

Fortunately Sonia doesn't "talk" that much, most of what she says gets bleeped out. That's his favorite part.

I consider it getting in touch with my, how shall we say it, less Junior League side.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Those of us that walk to the left side of "normal" seek to know just exactly what normal is.

I think.

Don't ask me, I'm not normal.

But I do have friends that most definitely walk right through the very center of normal, and it's so helpful to have their input on things. It's a balm to hear, "That's perfectly normal" when I'm explaining a feeling, a problem, a parenting dilemma, a marital issue. Just hearing, just knowing, just being reassured that what I am experiencing, others have also experienced, helps.

I was teaching back in 1987 and attended a workshop for teachers on how children of alcoholics view the world. "Children of alcoholics don't know what normal is," said the presenter.

Those words I never forgot, and frequently replay in my head when I'm thinking, What the hell do I know about normal?

Those of us with special needs kids have been taught to eschew the word "normal" in favor of "typical." Splitting hairs, if you ask me, either way it means not the same. Different. Off.

Last night I had a dream in which the most memorable kids from that first class, appeared. Not a "normal" one in the bunch. They were all grown up and we stood around cocktail party style and reminisced.

When I woke up this morning and turned on my computer, I had an e-mail, via Facebook, from a "kid" in that class.

No accidents.

Has a kid of his own the age he was when I had him. "I know now what you were up against," he said with good humor.

Not every "normal" person would have gone to all that trouble.

At least if I walk to the left, I walk in good company.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I thought I wanted to know what would happen on "Grey's Anatomy," and so I "cheated" and surfed the Internet until I learned ahead of time that George and Izzy would both be killed off.

Ruined the whole finale for me.

I thought I wanted to know what would happen with my book, so I consulted a really amazing astrologer. Twice. First time gave me a false sense of "knowing" that nearly crippled me, and then I went back for more. To be fair, if I really listened to the reading with ears wide open, I'd probably hear more "truth," but I have been listening for what I wanted to hear, and it's messed me up.

I thought I wanted to know what someone was saying about me behind my back, so I found out. Wrong. Much happier not knowing. There's a reason I have a back, and it's a good place for those conversations to take place.

I've decided I simply don't want to know what's coming around life's corner. I don't want to know if and when my book is going to get picked up. I don't want to know what people think about me, unless they feel the need to tell me directly. I just don't need to know a lot of things.

This I know.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


"It is through listening that your mind will turn with faith and devotion, and you will be able to cultivate joy within your mind and make your mind stable. It is through listening that you will be able to cultivate wisdom and be able to remove ignorance... Listening is like a torch that dispels the darkness of ignorance. And if you are able to make your mental continuum wealthy through listening, no one can steal that wealth. It is supreme wealth." HH the Dalai Lama

Saturday, June 13, 2009


One thing my psyche has been working on during all these hours of sleep, is the "Never give up" philosophy, versus the concept that enlightenment comes at the END of desire, therefore, quit wanting, quit needing, quit hoping, quit never giving up-ing. Accept. Move on. Let go.

Been listening to Meg Hutchinson again a lot lately, particularly her song, "Come Up Full." Two stanzas stick out:

"So go drag your boat to the water
Just when you swear it off those nets are gonna
Come up full"

Making me think: See? It's when you swear it off. When you "give up," that you catch something in your "net."

And this one:

"At night the fire replaces the sun
Just as one good dream’s replaced by another one"

Could the holding on tightly to one dream, keep it from being replaced by another, perhaps un-dreamed dream?

I don't know, but that's the way I'm leaning.

(To hear Meg sing "Come Up Full," click here.)

* Photo from flickr.com

Friday, June 12, 2009


Stress, busyness, conflicts, end-of-year stuff, menopause, wild changes in temperature, all have been sabotaging my sleep as of yet.

And it's not been pretty.

I've missed the dreaming.

I've missed the peace.

I've missed the healing.

But yesterday I dropped everything and climbed into bed - mid day - and woke up three heavenly hours later.

Then at 7:00 PM I crawled back into my all-white bed, put my sleep mask on, ear plugs in, and fell asleep again. For 12 1/2 more hours.

15 1/2 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours has me starting to regain perspective.

But just starting.

There's definitely a nap in today's future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Just overheard Rojo saying to Daddy, "I just love today. I really do. Wednesday. Wednesdays are one of my favorite days."

Here's to Wednesday. One of Rojo's favorite days.

And speaking of Rojo, here's his latest creative writing piece. He had to take a folk tale and give it a twist. He chose "The Three Little Pigs."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


"What irritates us in the first place is that our wishes are not fulfilled. But remaining upset does nothing to help fulfill those wishes. So we neither fulfill our wishes nor regain our cheerfulness. This disconcerted state, from which anger can grow, is most dangerous. We should never try to let our happy frame of mind be disturbed. Whether we are suffering at present or have suffered in the past, there is no reason to be unhappy." HH the Dalai Lama

I'm in a most dangerous state. Going to put on my visor and see if that helps.

Monday, June 08, 2009


For weeks I've known it was coming: the anniversary of my father's death, June 7th. A man who didn't want his own grave, but wanted to be cremated and buried between his parents. And so he is.

Yesterday was the 13th anniversary, and through some psychological "trick," I "forgot," I didn't think of him all day long. It wasn't until this morning when I pulled off yesterday's page-a-day calendar and saw today's date, that I caught myself.

It's amazing what we can block when we want to, at least in the mind, the body always knows. And those around us. Felt a sense of ennui all weekend, a restlessness, a vague and nameless sense of ill-being.

But now it has a name: grief.

Thirteen years later it's not so much his death I grieve, as his life. He was a tortured soul. It made him a challenge to deal with, but now, in death, there has been healing, understanding, forgiveness. As my brother says, "Dad and I are getting along really well now."

He's come to my brother in a dream - just one, but he didn't say anything. "He's not at a place where he can communicate yet, but he's getting there," my brother explained, and I believe him. I haven't had a single dream about him. Yet. I know that soon I will, and that our souls' journey together will move to the next level.

And that will be something I will never forget.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Rojo likes to go to Saturday night Mass with STM. One reason he likes it is the cantor, the woman that leads the singing, and does so with a flair. She raises her arms indicating it's time for the congregation to join in, and she holds them up there fairly dramatically, at least to Rojo's way of thinking.

Without fail he comes home and "is" the cantor. He'll do a few "alleuluias" an "amen" or two, but mostly he just sings whatever it is he wants to say.

Over and over again.

But last night, apropos of nothing, threw his hands up in the air and started singing, "Faith of the wisdom, faaaaaaaith of the wisdom, faith of the wisdom..."

I'm sure there's a message in there somewhere.

*Photo from www.missouriskies.org

Thursday, June 04, 2009


On Saturday Rojo had me driving him to three different grocery stores looking for a Lifesaver popsicle. "Mom, do you think Big Safeway might have Lifesaver popsicles. I know Little Safeway didn't, but maybe Big Safeway does. Do you want to go to Big Safeway? Do you want to go now? Do you want to go to Big Safeway now and see if they have Lifesaver Popsicles?'

And so it went.

Big Safeway, the "Little Store" and Plaid Pantry were all tried.

No dice.

On Sunday we went to four more stores: QFC, Fred Meyer, New Seasons and finally 7-Eleven.

God bless 7-Eleven and the horse it rode in on. They had them. Individual ones with some serious freezer burn, but we bought up all they had, 4, and came home and put them away.

"Okay, I am going to be the ice cream man, and I am going to sell the Lifesaver popsicles to you, Daddy and Woohoo. You are going to buy them from me and I am going to sell them to you, because I am going to be the ice cream man. Don't forget. Promise you won't forget."

Then he got a bigger and better idea. "Mom, I am going to invite K and G over after school on Monday. I want them to come to my house after school and eat Lifesaver popsicles. Go e-mail their moms and see if K and G can come over. Go e-mail their moms right now and tell them to come tomorrow and eat Lifesaver popsicles that the ice cream man will sell them."

I e-mailed the moms, and one mercifully e-mailed back within a couple hours that yes indeed, her sainted son could come and "buy" ice cream on Monday after school.

The other mom didn't e-mail back until Monday morning and I thought the planet might stop spinning, such was Rojo's angst over this loose end. But e-mail she did, and her sainted son could, and would, also come and "buy" ice cream.

I love my village. It's not everywhere that an Elmo toting almost 13-year-old, can get that kind of response.

And respect.

And dignity.

And love.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009


10. Get kids off to school so I can watch the last episode of Season 1, Disk 2, of "In Treatment"
9. Put Disk 2 in my Netflix envelope
8. Drive to the nearest post office and mail. Immediately.
7. Check e-mail and see that yes, Disk 3 has been mailed
6. Check the mail compulsively
5. Plan out how I can watch Disk 3 today between all the comings and goings
4. Plan out how long it will take for Disk 4 to get here
3. Plan my whole Friday so I can watch Disk 4
2. Start to get depressed because eventually I'll be out of disks, but get happy again when I see it's possible to order Season II
1. Consider the fact that I need "treatment"

Monday, June 01, 2009

I was tooling around the Internet looking for quotes that include the word "abide," ones that might work to include in the as-yet-unwritten-but-totally-in-my-head sequel to UNSTRUNG, when WHAT pops in my e-mail?

"For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I, too, abide, to dispel the misery of the world." HH the Dalai Lama.

No accidents.