Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Woohoo and I are taking a Yoga class from a Lithuanian woman. I love her heavy accent and actually find it helps me to focus, as I have to work so hard to understand her directions. She throws extra letters into her words, heart becomes hearlt. Roots becomes rloots. Sitting becomes seating. I love her and everything about her.

But as much as I love her, I want to fly completely below her radar. I want her to notice me not a bit. I want to come in, lay down my mat, disappear, and when I am done, leave. I don't want her to come over to me and help me readjust into the correct position. I don't want her to tell me with a bright smile, "Yes! This is it! Beautiful!" like she does with the others. I don't want her to have an opinion of me or my efforts one way or another, and this neurosis is just one of the many reasons I've stayed clear of Yoga for lo these many years.

On Sunday I went for a bonus class, Woohoo was still out-of-town on Spring Break and Rojo was otherwise engaged. I sneaked into the studio, found a low profile position and had almost made it entirely through the class, escaping her notice entirely. We were in Savasana - relaxation pose, also called corpse pose - I was home free. Nothing to do but lie there and breath, I mean, how can you screw up corpse pose?

Over she comes, grabbing my ankles and tugging on them gently. "Give it to me," she says. I open my eyes (corpses have their eyes closed), and she is looking at me with such tenderness it is more than I can humanly bear. She nods, repeats, "Give it to me." I "give it to her," having no idea what "it" is, but I make every effort to Raggedy Ann my legs and let her move them wherever it is she sees fit. I think I'm done, eyes closed, I breathe, relax, and suddenly she's at my temples. "Give it to me," she says.

I think it was a matter of a language barrier, I'm sure she was talking about my tension, trying to say "let go, relax," but there's something much more powerful in the phrase, "give it to me" than there is in the command, "relax." It's as though she were asking me to turn all my worries over to her - if even for a moment.

Maybe she was.

Maybe I should.


* Photo from

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


We have a ghost at our house, not just any ghost, it's my dad, actually. He loves to take things that are/were in plain view and make them simply vanish. He's been doing this for years. He's taken keys that were lying right next to purses, knives that had just sliced bread, and on Sunday, he took my grocery lists.


They were there, everyone saw them, and then they were simply not there. I'd written them on extra-large Post-Its, so I thought perhaps they'd inadvertently stuck to the bottom of something else. I searched the house, my purse, both cars, even drove back to New Seasons where I'd dropped off a bunch of plastics to recycle, thinking maybe they'd stuck to the bottom of that.


And so it was that Sunday afternoon found me shopping at Target, Safeway and Trader Joe's without a list. It was at first so disorienting, as I am a slave to the list and shop in a logical pattern throughout the store according to said list. It finally dawned on me that a list is nothing more than a shopping agenda, and perhaps its time to lose the agenda.

And the only thing I got home without that I really needed? Walnuts. And turns out the recipe was fine without them.

Thanks, Dad.

* Photo from

Monday, March 29, 2010


What's the difference between giving up and letting go?

What's the difference between settling and surrendering?

What's the difference between ambition and discontentment?

What's the difference between striving and having aspirations?

What's the difference between being restless and having a calling?

What's the difference between narrowing your focus and closing doors?

What's the difference between dreaming and not being present?

What's enough?

* Photo from

Saturday, March 27, 2010


That's an interesting word, don't you think? Gravity? Both in the law of physics sort of way and in the very serious way. Gravity.

April is right around the corner and is Autism Awareness month. If you aren't already gravely aware of autism, you will be. The statistics are staggering. It is impossible that your life will not be somehow touched by autism, perhaps minimally, perhaps with great gravity.

Rojo's educational assessments have all been conducted, and early in April STM and I will sit down with a school psych, a special ed teacher, a speech path and an autism specialist, and learn of their verdict. He either will or will not have an educational diagnosis of autism at the end of that meeting.

And none of it matters, he will still be the same amazing, brilliant, complicated, enlightened being after the meeting as he is right now. The only difference will be the direction his paper trail leads towards his future.

There are days when Rojo's uncertain future overwhelms me completely. I am covered in fear and doubt and well, the gravity of the situation. Then there are days I bask in his presence and think I am the luckiest woman alive, and to spend the rest of my life enjoying his daily, delightful company is a fate saved only for the most truly blessed.

GRAVITY PULLS YOU IN is a gorgeous anthology written by parents of children on the spectrum. Many of my fellow Hopeful Parents writers are contributors, as well as our own Drama Mama who has, I'm just going to go ahead and say it, the best piece in there.

Because this book hits me so close to where I live, I'll be honest, I put off reading it for a long time. Didn't know that I wanted to spend my free time reading about what I live. I ordered the book and then just let it sit there for weeks, afraid to "go there."

I am not only glad I went there, I'm glad I basked in the wisdom, honesty, diversity, different perspectives, and community of these fellow travelers. Whether you are a traveler or experiencing autism from your armchair, you will be moved by this book. Let the gravity pull you in.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


As we approach Autism Awareness Month in April, Monica Holloway, author of Cowboy & Wills, has teamed up with Autism Speaks to launch Who’s Your Cowboy?, a Facebook application where users can upload the story of their own “Cowboy.” Readers have been posting wonderful stories of relative/friend/dog/cat etc. who changed their lives.

The winning stories will win a signed copy of Cowboy & Wills and a “Who’s Your Cowboy” T-shirt (with art from the book).

Come on over and tell us YOUR story!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It's Spring Break around here, Woohoo is off on some big adventure, Rojo and I are together 24/7. Won't be blogging much, but can be found at every neighboring park, playground, ice cream shop and Dairy Queen within a three mile radius.


Saturday, March 20, 2010


"Mom, let's go to the park and play basketball and then let's go to Dairy Queen and get a milkshake."

It is a gorgeous spring evening and so I agree to his requests. He runs upstairs to change from his uniform into basketball clothes. We get the calculator which he will hold in his right hand and use as a scoreboard, and a big red and black (go, Blazers) basketball to hold in his left hand. We drive to his designated park even though three parks are within walking distance of our house. He finds a court, Flicka and I find a spot in the sun and we find a bench on which to watch/wait/clap/cheer and help sing at "halftime."

We have two quarters, there is no telling him that when you divide the game into two, you end up with halves and not quarters, there are always two quarters, never four. "Mom, we'll have an eight and a two," he shouts over at us on the bench as he takes a few warm-up shots.

"A real eight minutes," I say, zipping up my jacket all the way to my chin - there's a sudden breeze and I can already tell I'm going to get cold sitting here if his "eight" turns into a 20.

He dribbles, shoots, scores, calculates, coaches, plays the fight song and is the on-air commentator for the greater part of 20 minutes. "Let's not be in a hurry," he says, reading my mind. "When we're done let's swing on the red swing and then do the tittie-totters." I fight the urge to tell him nearly fourteen-year-old boys should not be saying tittie-totter, and instead, agree to not be in a hurry.

Meg Hutchinson's new song, "Hard to Change," has been running through my head for days (when Hannah Montana's "Best of Both Worlds" isn't), the lines, "I can barely hear you, over these machines, turn them all off, and tell me 'bout your dreams," loops through my brain and I look over at Rojo. He's forced me to turn off all the machines and just be with him, "not in a hurry."

"Mom, when we are done we will go to Dairy Queen and get a small vanilla milkshake with a long red spoon and we will not be in a hurry to drink it. We will sit there and we will not be in a hurry. We will just sit there. You will not be in a hurry. Don't forget. Don't forget to not be in a hurry."

Meg's lyrics cycle back around, "Want to hear the silence in my life, but I bought all these tools to save time, well if they save so much - then where's all mine?" What's the point of having high speed Internet, DVR, answering machines, cell phones, etc., if I don't' have time to watch an eight and a two basketball quarters, and sit beside my beautiful son in a plastic bench and watch him drinking a small vanilla milkshake with a long red spoon?

"Mom?" he looks up at me between bites, "we're having a double date."

And we did.

Friday, March 19, 2010


It was Amber at Believing Soul that urged me to read Caroline Myss' Sacred Contracts. That book changed my life, my view of the world, and helped tremendously in losing the victim mentality. I "found" Amber's blog, through Jerri's blog.I can't quite remember when or how, but I know that through the years we've learned a lot about each other in a way that's intimate, despite the fact we'd never met.

Deb walked into my living room and into my life three years ago and nothing's been quite the same since. We have a sacred contract with each other that feels old, feels easy, and feels important.

Wednesday - St. Patrick's Day, notice who remembered to wear green - the three of us got together. Amber was in Portland for a quick visit and Deb and I met her for lunch.

Three believing souls coming together in person, long after they came together in spirit.

No accidents.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm at HOPEFUL PARENTS today - see you there!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My father was a defense attorney. He was paid to defend people who had clearly broken the law - get them off on technicalities, reach a plea bargain, have the charges dropped.

Defending yourself was the name of the game at my house. I was not taught to "own" stuff, to say, "Hey, you know what? You're right, I'm sorry." Defend. Defend. Defend.

It is very much in both my nature and my nurture to go straight to, "Oh, yea, well, what about YOU?" when called on something.

You know what? It's exhausting. I think there's something to be said for at least checking in when criticized, at least stopping temporarily and asking yourself, what part of this is true? at least considering it before dismissing it entirely. As Eckhart Tolle (my hero) says, "Relationships are not here to make us happy, they're here to make us conscious." So often we learn most from those with whom we disagree, but it's just no fun.

And so, for me, for now, the goal is to let the defense tactics rest. I don't have to make others wrong to be right, and the surprise discovery? I don't even have to be right at all, it's enough that I'm here reaching for the light and doing my best, as flawed as that might be.

It's enough.

* Photo from

Monday, March 15, 2010


A friend and I have been e-mailing about our own struggles to recognize, and then excise, ego from our lives, or at this point, even tiny parts of our lives.

"It's all just head trash," she said.

I'm finally starting yoga, been three times in fact now. It's been on my To Do list for about five years, make that ten. It's hard to justify adding one more thing to the already packed schedule and stretched budget, even when doing so makes all the sense in the world. What finally put the yoga puzzle into place is it's something Woohoo and I can do together, and both benefit from. Never mind that she's nearly 5'8" and weighs in under 110 lbs., it's just one more challenge for my ego to feel good about myself as I stretch and bend alongside her.

I find myself trying so hard to be at yoga when I am at yoga, and not be in my head with the endless lists running on continual loop. So little of what runs through my head is of any real value or concern, so much of it is head trash. If it's not my ego replaying a conversation, then it's just one "Don't forget to_________" after another.

I think that the next person/doctor/therapist/vet/dentist/orthodontist/teacher that says, "Just have him/her do _________ once or twice a day," might very well receive a volcanic eruption of my head trash.

There is simply no more room. My brain space is a Tandy computer that has reached it's maximum storage capacity. It's running sluggishly these days and needs a whole system clean up. Large chunks of what I've been storing need to be deleted, dragged to the trash, and deleted again. When the "Are you sure you want to delete?" question comes up, I need someone to help me say, "YES," make all the head trash go away and never come back.

Then I could put "breathe" on my list, "be," "stretch," "listen," and "love."

* Photo from

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Are you the caregiver of a child(ren) with special needs, of any age? Complete this survey and you will be automatically entered to win a Target gift card for either $50 or $100!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


And my friend, Michelle O'Neil has a beautiful blog, I hope you're all reading it on a daily basis.

Our mutual friend, Courtney Sheinmel is a beautiful writer with more than one beautiful published book, with more beautiful ones on the way (including one with characters named Carrie and Michelle, btw).

Go to Michelle's blog and watch the trailer.

It's beautiful.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

"If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." That was what I heard growing up.

That is what I believe.


I'll be back when I have nice things to say.

Until then: love.

* Photo from

Monday, March 08, 2010


Two mornings in a row I've awakened from nightmares involving Flicka. Just like when I was a new mother and I dreamed I'd left the baby somewhere, or went to the closet to get a pair of shoes and there was the baby in a shoebox - you know the ones.

Two nights ago I dreamed I walked into my dad's house (he's been dead nearly 14 years), and opened the freezer in his garage. There was Flicka! She was fine, despite the fact that I was the one that had shut her in an airless, FREEZER and forgotten all about her!

Last night I dreamed I suddenly realized I'd forgotten all about Flicka and she had been locked in my car for 24-hours straight - no window rolled down, no food, no water, no potty breaks. I went running to the car when I finally remembered her, and some family was picnicking on the grass alongside where my car was parked. I then noticed someone had picked the lock on the car and one of the back doors of the car was open. Flicka had been let out by a stranger, a concerned, well-meaning stranger. When I found her she was happily lying on the backseat waiting patiently for me.

What part of me have I put in the freezer (deep freeze, even), perhaps as long as 14 years ago?

What part of me has not given myself enough oxygen, food, water and breaks, and has required that well-meaning strangers come and provide me the access to those?

Saturday, March 06, 2010


In a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, FOOD FOR THOUGHT, I mentioned three questions asked in my Mary book:

1) Who am I?

2) What is my gift I give to the planet?

3) What is my purpose in being here this lifetime?

The comments from that blog posting have been really interesting, and it tells me I'm not the only one struggling to answer those questions. And really, could there be three more important questions? Really?

Caroline Myss does a lot of great work around our sacred contracts, the agreements our souls made before being incarnated into this particular lifetime. I believe there are people we've agreed to meet, agreed to marry, agreed to give birth to, agreed to break up with, agreed to buck up against, agreed to be hurt by, agreed to work alongside with, agreed to be related to, agreed to learn from, agreed to teach, agreed to love and agreed to struggle to love.

For me, reflecting on those agreements is helpful in answering the three biggies.

Who has helped to show us who we are, and aren't?

Who has helped us see our gifts, and what are not our gifts, and come to acceptance that we are simply not good at some things, and that's okay?

Who has helped us see what is, and what is not, our purpose on this planet?

I've had more dreams lately in which I'm cleaning up other people's messes. I'm pretty sure that that is not one of my purposes in this lifetime, but I keep struggling to learn that.

I've been listening to Wicked's "For Good" a lot this week, it's such a reminder of how our sacred contracts are not played out in isolation, but through relationship.

And it's all for good.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

"One day I just said... What if this is just what I look like, and nothing I do changes that? So how much time would I save if I stopped taking that extra second every time I look in the mirror to call myself fat? ... And it turns out I save about ninety-two minutes a week. I can take a pottery class."

- Margaret Cho

* Photo from

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Flicka Link, Flicka Link, Flicka Link. Saying it three times never fails to make me smile, if not giggle out loud. She's a delight. She's well-behaved. She has no communication disorders whatsoever. When I ask her to do something, she never has a better idea., she simply does it. The closest thing she has to a need that is special is her diet, one for "sensitive stomachs." She is in all ways, a wonderful presence in our home.

We really talked to the person at Guide Dogs a lot before getting her, about how to make sure she knew she was not the family pet, but Rojo's companion, Rojo's buddy, Rojo's responsibility. We did little things like have him meet her first, while we three stayed back. He took the leash, he learned the commands, he fed her first (and remains the feeder), he, he, he, he, he.

And it has worked.

That dog knows to whom she belongs.

Never did we consider that Rojo spent 13 1/2 years dog-less, and then the next day had a 24/7 companion, and that might overwhelm his circuits. He loves her, don't get me wrong, he grins from ear-to-ear constantly, and he doesn't even have to say "Flicka Link" three times to get that effect. But he's taken his responsibilities very seriously, and keeps internal track of when she last peed, ate, pooped, got brushed, etc., etc., etc., and well, I don't have to tell you, that's a lot for anyone!

What has evolved is his occasional arrangement of care for Flicka, so he can arrange some personal time for himself. It's a good arrangement. Turns out the boy that never wanted to be alone and sought constant companionship from us, has a greater need for solitude than anyone would have guessed.

Flicka Link, Flicka Link, Flicka Link was worth getting just for that.

Monday, March 01, 2010


I grant you I'm only 3+ weeks into this and I may change my tune, and likely will, but for now, for today, for this moment, I'm really glad we got a dog that does shed. We hear labs shed profusely two times a year, and a little all year long. Up until Sunday we hadn't seen a stray hair of Flicka Link's (x3), but then we spotted a few, and a few more, and a few more, and pretty soon I took advantage of a the warm spring day and the Shed'n Blade, and Flicka Link (x3) and I headed for the patio.

"It's the undercoat that sheds," we'd been told. "You gotta get it with a Shed'n Blade, but be careful not to hurt her. Get a bag and capture all the hair or your whole yard will be full of hair - enough to clog the lawn mower."

Flicka Link (x3) laid down happily on the warm concrete (it's not called cement, btw, you all know that, right? Cement is an ingredient, concrete is the finished product, just a little service announcement for my friends in the concrete biz). I brushed and brushed and brushed and brushed. It was rhythmic. It was soothing. It was peaceful. It was, dare I say, healing.

Her undercoat is definitely shedding, she is losing what she is no longer in need of. She is done with it. The spring is coming and she simply has no further use for it. And she is smart enough to allow someone else to help her take it all away, gather it in bunches, stuff it haphazardly in a bag, and just dispose of it.

I want to shed profusely twice a year and a little all year long.