Thursday, May 25, 2017


I've been conflicted over something for awhile now. I've been processing it in my prayer time. I've been processing it with my inner circle. I've been been processing it in my psyche. I have not come to a clear "answer."

In the most general of ways, I asked Wil about it, while driving. "What do you think I should do?" I said.

"You should cross two streets," he said from the backseat, where he prefers to ride.

I looked in my rear-view mirror to see his face. Was he teasing? Serious? Saying something random? Revealing a deep, inner wisdom?

I have no idea. It does no good to press him on such things, he doesn't like to be questioned, and all attempts to further the conversation, gets you nowhere.

I've come back to his statement, however, and have turned it over and over and decided he's right, whether or not he meant to be helpful, he was. We cannot get anywhere by looping in our minds, spinning and circling, chasing our tails. Eventually, we have to "cross a street." We have to see where things look from that angle, from the "other side."

Crossing two, even better.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

No More Making Do

We have a front-facing attic window, that for several months out of the year has no need for a covering, but for several others, it does. The afternoon sun pours through the window, into the storage closet, out into the adjacent room, and the heat spreads throughout the upstairs.

Wil and I spend a disproportionate amount of our time year-round, on heat management. He closes vents. I open them. He closes shades. I open them. He shuts doors. I open them.

I need the light. I like things to move, to breathe, to flow.

He likes a dungeon. A dark, still, closed off space in which to have his being.

Today, I went up to the storage room at the top of the stairs, and it was hot and still. I looked at the old pillowcase, hung by two small nails - right through the fabric, and I saw myself nearly 14-years-ago when we first moved into this house, "making do." For all these years, when winter has turned to spring, I have hung that same old pillowcase, on those same hastily hammered nails, and walked away for months. Never giving it, them, the system, another thought.

I'm all over the Internet today, I need a proper curtain and rod for that window. I move as though my life depends on getting that handled. Today. Right. Now. I can't stand it another day. How have I looked up at my house each year, and seen that forlorn-looking thing hanging there, and been alright with it?

Didn't see it.

Didn't notice.

Didn't care.

Now, I do. I see it. I have noticed. I care.

And so it is, right? We can only change that which we put our attention towards. That to which we bring gentle awareness. That which we look at with new eyes, and see what can be done to change it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

To Every Thing

Yesterday, I woke at 3:30 and was wide awake. I got up, made coffee, and sat in sacred silence. I wrote the following blog post, but didn't post it. It wasn't time. It was time for me to write it, but not to share it. I listened to Chris Brunelle's comforting voice, for hours.

I felt my mother-in-law's spirit in a way I'd never felt before. It was "right here," and I prayed in thanksgiving that her sister, best friend, parents, and husband of 60-years, surround her in her final days, and offer her peace and their outstretched hands, to help her cross over.

We knew she was failing.

We knew she didn't have months left, probably not even weeks, but we thought we had days, at least, still with her.

After leaving my prayer space, walking Flicka and getting just a few houses away, I got a call that she had just passed.

These last few years, and especially weeks, have enough material for a book, and maybe that's what they will become. For right now, I sit in gratitude for that which we cannot see or prove, but can See and Prove. We exist on different spheres and fields of energy, all at the same time.

There are no accidents.



The song comes to me, perhaps I've heard it at church and it just got stuck. Perhaps it has come as a message. Perhaps it's "just" a song. I don't think so.

"To every thing, there is season, a time to be born, and a time to die..."

Over and over again those words play in my head, a melodious backdrop to the crisis we are in, a constant reminder, a chant.

The words, the repetition, the truth, they comfort me as we do what you do in a crisis. You block out everything else. You attend to only that which is right before you. You gain focus, clarity, presence. The gifts of crisis.

Maybe crisis isn't the right word for it, not when you're talking about 89 years of a life well-lived. Transition. Transition is a better word. The reverse of transitional labor in the birth process, the pain and nearness of what is about to happen: death.

May the angels come to greet you.

May He wipe every tear from your eyes.

May you know sorrow no more.

May you find peace and joy in paradise.


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8King James Version (KJV)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reusable Cup

I have a thing for long-burning candles with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on them. I generally get them at the grocery store, and they come in a tall glass container and will cost you about $1.99. They burn for days (seven straight, is how they were designed). I burn two during prayer time, and they last for months. Few things in my life give me a greater bang for my buck.

Found a new design at Fred Meyer, recently. Different shaped glass, and I impulsively bought four. I gave three to my fellow Mary-loving friends, and kept one. I quickly understood that I was going to need more than that for myself, and so promised myself the next time I was at Fred Meyer, I would get more.

Wil helps with an after-school program on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 90-minutes, and I have that time to kill. I often run errands. Sometimes I take my book and find a place to go sit and read until it's time to get him. I recently had a list of things to buy for my mother-in-law's birthday, and Fred Meyer seemed the place to go for one-stop shopping. With the exception of the three inexpensive candles I bought myself, everything else on the list was for another.

Took the receipt home, and was about to recycle it, but glanced at it before doing so. The receipt listed each candle as a "Reusable Cup."

Like any normal person, I've spent several days reflecting on that word, "reusable." Re-usable. Able to use again. Differently, perhaps.

It makes total sense to me, that Mary would lead me to understand ways I can be be of use again, differently, perhaps.

While it's very likely my lists: To Do, To Buy, To Go, To etc... are going to remain other-centered, when all is said and done, how do I remain reusable? How can I be of use differently?

Thursday, March 23, 2017


All this hurrying soon will be over. Only when we tarry do we touch the holy.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines tarry as a verb meaning to stay longer than intended; delay leaving a place.

The Synonym Finder lists such words as: remain, stay, abide, dwell, reside, live, settle, anchor, plant oneself, be established.

The word abide has long fascinated me. Wordy people will get this, others maybe not so much. Some words are just really evocative and "fun" to mediate on.

I recently hosted an evening in which a card reader came to do just that: read cards. She had with her Tarot, and two other alternative decks. I chose one called Ask Your Guides Oracle Cards. She did a 7-card spread: that which is passing away, that which is bridging, and that which is coming. 

That which is passing away, is, fortunately, exhaustion.

The Divine Helpers are here - step back and let them do their thing. It's not all up to me. "Overdoing is fear in disguise." She said I had an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. She also emphasized that I've been using distraction to keep me from focusing on what I really want.

As my friends, Greg and Terry, said, "I hope you didn't pay too much for that reading." Sometimes we do have to pay to have pointed out for us, what's right in plain sight.

Seven seasons of "Sister Wives" can't watch themselves, and that's why I'm here. While I know TV is a distraction, it is also a way of resting, a way of healing the exhaustion, a way of getting water to the roots that have been thirsty for a long, long time.

Time spent with Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn (and their 18 kids) while fascinating, is not helping me to to touch the holy. It's been helpful, and I would't call it a waste of time, for it did just what it needed to do, but now it is to move from being idle, to tarrying.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Good Question

Over the years, I've created a private sanctuary in my closet. When we remodeled the house many years ago, there was some weird space left over, only accessible through the bathroom. Because of the sloped ceiling, large window, and odd-shaped space, there was really only room for one rung, so although it's a walk-in closet, literally, it's not all that usable as a closet for clothes (although, that's where all my clothes are).

It has become my prayer room. I have a soft place to rest, a shoe-rack-turned-bookcase, an altar for candles and holy items, and the most brilliant part of all, a mini-fridge and coffee maker. Flicka and I are able to get up before everyone else, come into the sacred space and start our day with prayer and cuddles.

The best part about it is, there isn't a reason in the world why anyone else would ever go in there. It's not on the way to anything, it's, in fact, hard to get to. It's inconvenience is its genius.

Wil used to come bounding in and disturb the peace, the minute his eyes popped open. I've re-trained him not to do that until 6:30. He's on his own until then, and so, the earlier I get up, the longer I have in the prayer room. Today, Flicka and I were in here before 5:00, the dark and quiet of the morning, the low-vibration of the Earth, the feeling of Sunday, palpable and calming.

I remember the "Seinfeld" episode where Jerry, Kramer and George are in the back of a taxi, and are talking about the different ways days-of-the-week feel. Kramer can "feel Tuesday" and George and Jerry think he's odd for doing so. I can feel each day-of-the-week, week-of-the-month, and month-of-the-year. Through the window, I see the turning of the seasons, the ebb and flow of sunrise, the differences in light and dark. There is a pattern, a rhythm, and tempo to the days, months and years.

This morning, I was in prayer and "heard" the question, "Do you have a cross inside?" I first was confused as to whose voice it was I was hearing. Was it external? Was it my sub-conscious? Was it Mary's? Being the very literal person that I am, I first thought of the crosses I have on the inside of my house. A moment later, I moved to the question of where and what my internal crosses may be. Of course, there are many. Enough to reflect on that question throughout Lent. 

Yesterday, I saw my best friend from junior high. We were only active friends for two years, before I moved away. But, those seventh and eighth grade years were biggies, and much of my personal work has come from the effects of those years. Some years of our lives are more concentrated than others, more full of upheaval, change and transition. We move through understanding in stages, and the "crosses inside" must be peeled back, layer by careful layer.

I'm grateful for the both the literal and figurative time and space in which to examine, and re-examine,  the cross(es) inside. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy Birthday, Like, Like, Like

"Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world."
Etty Hillesum

I decided months ago what I would give up for Lent this year. If anything, it's more of a gift I am giving myself, than a sacrifice. What will be hard is breaking the habit. What will be hard is resisting the urge. What will be hard is the FOMO.

I'm reading the story of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu's week-long communion in Dharamsala, THE BOOK OF JOY. It's an antidote to all the fear and hate that abounds. It restores hope. It is not complicated, we just make it so. Peace begins with us. There is suffering, the First Noble Truth. What we do in response to that suffering, is our choice. If we were to be pierced by an arrow, we would feel pain. To remove the arrow and keep stabbing ourselves with it, would be ridiculous, but mentally, that's what we do.

I'm teaching a little class at church for school-aged kids that are going to be baptized at Easter. We are talking about Lent - a dedicated period of time in which we increase prayer, giving and fasting. Over the years I've fasted from coffee, alcohol, one year I even fasted from Target. This year, I'm going to fast from social media, and with the time I would ordinarily spend on that, attempt to spend that same time in prayer.

With all that's going on in the world, in this country, and even in my own neighborhood, I am aware just how much I'm taking those "arrows" and stabbing myself over and over and over again with them. I am clear that this isn't working, and that if all this turmoil doesn't call me to action, it's wasted turmoil. I know I can't solve all the ills of the world. I know that I can't react and respond to every cause. How and what I do in response, needs greater contemplation. Greater clarity. Greater peace within myself.

For all of you having a birthday, happy birthday. For all of you posting cute pictures of your kids, pets, vacations and loved ones, know that I "like" them. For all of you posting what's on your mind, the outrage, the opportunities for action, the galvanizing of forces, know that I support and appreciate those efforts.

I am Peace, surrounded by Peace, secure in Peace
Peace protects me
Peace is in me
Peace is mine - All is well.
Peace to all beings
Peace among all beings
I am steeped in Peace
Absorbed in Peace
In the streets, at our work, having peaceful thoughts,
Peaceful words, peaceful acts.
                                                         Buddhist meditation

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dishing Up the Dirt

OK, all you foodies, you will want to be first in line for this amazing cookbook! My "niece," Andrea, is one kick-ass organic farmer, creative, healthy cook, and over-all wonderful person. There's not at thing not to love about her, not a thing.
Andrea has been posting daily recipes on her blog for years, yet, somehow, she created all new recipes for this special, season-by-season, farm-to-table cookbook. Her ability to put yummy ingredients together in ever-new ways, astounds me. 
Andrea's mom, the liz (whom I've often written about), drove out to Parkdale, yesterday, to be with Andrea as she opened her advanced copy. Only Andrea would bake something to give the UPS man:

You can pre-order your copy of the book right now! Her local bookstore is happily taking orders of the book which will be signed by Andrea and can be shipped worldwide. Follow this link for that.
You can pre-order on Amazon right here.
Pre-order from Barnes & Noble right here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wishing a Life Away

I remember a brief conversation I had with a co-worker, over 25-years-ago. "I can't wait for the weekend," was how it started. Then, she went on to say, "then I'll say that again next week, and then how I can't wait for summer, then how I can't wait for retirement. I guess I'm wishing my life away."

You know how sometimes it's the "accidental" exchanges like that, that stick with you?

Personally, I struggle with holding the paradoxes of time. I don't want my birthday to roll around again. I don't want the school year to end. I don't want my 13-year-old, beloved Flicka Link to get any older. I don't want the parts of my life that are working, to stop working.

I can't wait for the era we're in, politically, to end. I want the hazards and inconveniences of winter to be over. I want it to hurry up and be bedtime. I want the humming to stop, the thumping, the steady beat that permeates the house. I want some of my seemingly endless responsibilities, to lessen.

I sit with the conflicting feelings, the want of endless peace and quiet, for instance, while knowing that for that to be the case, I would have to lose everyone I hold dear.

I fully believe everything is on a continuum. Everything. And what I really am needing to do, is just move the needle a few ticks, back into the "normal" zone - out of the red zone, to feel "better." I don't need endless quiet, that would drive me mad. I need more quiet.

I don't need bedtime, weekends, retirement, etc. to "come." I don't need days, seasons, phases to end. I need to sit with it all, hold it all, be with it all and let it all co-exist in the messy, chaotic, growth-producing, ass-kicking way that life does.

We incarnated into our particular lives for particular purposes, I believe. Original soul reasons. To try and shortcut through them doesn't serve our highest good.

The mess is where the learning is.

The chaos is where the clarity lies.

The noise is where we find our quiet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Extra Love

Like many of you, I am trying to make sense of the times we live in, and am not quite sure there is any sense to be made. Too much thinking. Too much reacting. Too much fear. Too little prayer/contemplation/stillness.

I am making my way (slowly) through Richard Rohr's book, The Divine Dance. After several attempts to sit and read, I finally understood it would be most helpful for me to take tiny sips, over a long period of time, rather than one, long gulp. There was a lesson for me in that realization, that applied to so many other areas of my life. The whole idea of forward momentum. The idea of chipping away at something, even if for 5-10 minutes, rather than waiting until I "have more time." Sitting in quiet for three minutes, is better than zero. Reading five pages, consistently, day after day, will put me in the same place - at the end of the book, but probably not at a place of "completion."

Last night, I dreamed I was driving, and the steering wheel completely came off. I saw that the screw had fallen on the floor by my feet. I put the car in park, set the emergency brake, and asked the passenger, to please hand me the Leatherman from the glove compartment.

A Ph.D in psychology is not necessary, to understand that at least one meaning of the dream, is to take my hands off the steering wheel, and to ask for help from the "passenger."

Yesterday, I had spent six hours with Wil and his buddy, and they were delightful. They were also very chatty. And they spoke to me, concurrently, on (at least) two different topics at all times, while I (not the best driver in the world) was attempting to drive them all over town. The combination of multi-input stimuli, over a large amount of time, about blew all my fuses.

When the day was over, I put on comfy clothes and was going to go downstairs and pour a glass of wine. Wil was in the room at the top of the stairs. "What are you getting?" he asked. "Is it easy? Does it need cooking?"

When I answered him that yes, it was easy, and no, it did not require cooking, he said, "I'm all ears." I told him I was going to get myself a glass of wine.

"I'll get it," he said, and ran downstairs, returning with a glass and the bottle. "I'll pour it, " he said. He filled the glass beyond where I showed him with my finger, then added a splash more, "for extra love," he said.

Richard Rohr calls Mary, the model of contemplation. She allowed. She wasn't steering. She used her tools to keep herself on the road/path, while never "knowing" just where it would lead. When she got stressed and over-whelmed, she turned to her Son for some extra love.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Remember Me

I am lucky and proud to call artist Candace Primack, a close friend. Her oldest daughter was in Wil's small afternoon kindergarten class, 15 years ago, and a friendship was born that has grown through the years into something I cherish, deeply.

I have been buying her art for many years, and with each additional piece, my home looks and feels "better." I see new objects and images with time, I develop a relationship with each piece that grounds, comforts, inspires and delights me.

A few months ago, Candace had an open studio event, where people were going from studio to studio to meet local artists and purchase their art. I walked into the studio and saw, probably not for the first time, but for the first time, "Remember Me." It hung high on the wall amidst many others, it was big, beautiful, and spoke loudly, to me. What drew my eye first, was the "happy cup," the red "cup" with the "handle" and the "happiness" coming from it. Few things make me happier than my daily ritual of perfect coffee in the perfect mug.

I made the impulse decision to buy the painting, and Candace and I worked out the arrangements. It wasn't until we took it off the wall and put it into my car, several days later, that she told me the name of the piece, written on the back. "Remember Me." I knew without further explanation, that the "me" was me and not anyone else. I knew it in a way that dropped deep, yet was quickly forgotten in the life so many of us have: taking care of others. Between the duties and responsibilities, the day-to-day minutiae that can easily consume our best hours, it is easy to forget, and hard to remember, me.

I was with Candace the night before the Inauguration. We met with two other soul sisters and spent a couple hours in prayer and soulful discussion, about what WE can do, and what we can do. About hate. About love. About fear. About hope. About change. About resistance to change. About challenges. About acceptance. About division. About unity.

The subject of Candace's art came up, and she reminded me, again, of the name of my new piece. "Remember ME," she emphasized, pointing to me, "not Remember Me," pointing to herself.

I can easily look around and see those that have forgotten everyone but themselves. Those that have no problem remembering to look out for themselves and their self-interests. Can I, though, figure out how to remember myself? To discern what it most important to me, and to concentrate my time, attention and efforts into that, and not spread myself so thinly over everyone and everything that asks me to, that what I most value gets short-changed?

It's easy to remember all the others that clamor for our attention, "Remember me! Remember me! Remember me!" is a silent chant that thrums through our beings. The partners, the spouses, the kids, the pets, the elderly parents, the friends, those in our communities in need of help, our larger communities, our country, our world. All are in need of our love and attention, in a big, big way. That's just a fact and it's never going to change. There is no end to the needs and demands of others. There is no end to the number of people and worthy causes to whom and which we feel called to serve.

Fortunately, there is no end to our capacity to love.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

I Do

Going nowhere...isn't about turning your back on the world; it's about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.

This was in my very-cluttered in-box, this morning, from  It reminded me of my favorite song from "Godspell," "Day-by-Day:"

Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day

Day by day, day by day
Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray

To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day

The song's simplicity and repetition, makes it a chant. And a chant is just what I need sometimes, to help sort me out, drown out all the noise and internal mind chatter, and just settle down.

The quotation reminded me that while I'm a big fan of "going nowhere," sometimes you gotta go somewhere. Got home last night from a 7-day, 6-night "honeymoon" with my husband. We got married in Hawaii 25-years-ago this month, and felt that was worthy of the money and multiple preparations it would take to pull off a get-away like that.

It was.

I won't go into how 25+ years ago I became engaged, but was not formally proposed to. There, in Hawaii, my husband dropped to one knee, pulled out a simple, elegant, platinum band, and asked if he could have the great honor of 25 more years together.

He placed the ring atop the other rings, making a trinity. The past. The present. The future. The good. The bad. The ugly. The richer/poorer. The sickness/health. The better/worse.

My hands ain't what they used to be. 25-years-ago someone suggested I could be a hand model. Today, they are veiny, heavily spotted with age, the knuckles so large I need an "arthritic clasp" to get one ring on. I've never loved my hands more. My hands tell a story. Our story.

We left 85-degrees, yesterday, and returned to 35-degree Portland, where school has already been cancelled, and snow and ice are on their way. We got into our car at the airport, and a tire was flat. Same tire that gave us trouble before we left. Same tire I said needed to be fixed before we go, because I didn't want to come back from a great trip, and have a flat tire waiting for us. Same fight, different version, we've been having for 25 years. 

There isn't a doubt in my mind we'll continue to play this out until death do us part. We are two very different people, with very different approaches to just about everything, with a few exceptions. We are, at our cores, two people who trust and love one another, and take our vows very seriously.

Those lyrics can apply to marriage, too. To see each other more clearly. To love each other more dearly. To sometimes lead, sometimes follow, and sometimes walk along side of each other, through this thing called life. 

Our vows, a chant.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


It was after noon before I brushed my hair, yesterday. I'd been up since 5:00, had run a million errands, all in my sweats, and finally got in the shower about 12:30. Decided at that point, what was the point of even washing my hair? Just ran a brush through it and called it good-enough. 

Started thinking about all the time I used to spend on my hair each day, sometimes over half-an-hour, blow-drying, curling, spraying, examining it from every angle with a hand-held mirror, and trying to get it just so. I cannot tell you the last time I used a hand-held mirror, to see my head from any angle. What my hair looks like from the back, is none of my concern these days. I don't care.

In the 1950's house I grew up in, we had a fancy mirror/medicine chest system, comprised of three mirrors. The two on the ends opened, and you could position them in such a way that you could see the back, front, and center of your head. When you got up close and squeezed them in, it had an infinity effect - you went on forever.

I woke up this morning with that image. While I think it's important to look back from time-to-time, it's not important to dwell on the past. While it's important to look forward, to plan, to get excited, to anticipate, to prepare, it's not where our heads should "be." What's behind us and what's before us, isn't as important as what's right in front of us, the front view, facing forward. 

We go on forever, we are infinite, but all we can control, all that is ours, is this moment. The now.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Many and One

I've had two people tell me they're waiting for me to say something profound, to help them understand what just happened in the world.

I, myself, don't understand, and have been a bit of a recluse the last two days, trying to avoid human contact as much as possible. I've stayed off social media. I've felt the division so strongly in the world, that it makes me afraid to even open my mouth at all, anxious about the response I might get.

Couldn't sleep last night and made the mistake of turning on the TV. CNN was showing live, the riots in downtown Portland. It was surreal. This was not "elsewhere," this was five miles from my house.

Openend up my email this morning and found this nugget from The Universe:

These are the times, Carrie - when hopes are dashed and chaos abounds - that golden opportunities, prized ideas, and new friends emerge into the view of all, but at first are seen only by the few who look. 

Let's go crazy, 
    The Universe

The few friends I have talked to about the news, had one thing in common: it's a time for action. It's a time to decide what most matters to us, and to get behind it. We can't be complacent. We can't stay in our grief and overwhelm, we have to get moving.

One thing I heard discussed in the after math, was the assumption that certain blocks of voters, would vote a certain way, and either they didn't all do that, or they didn't vote at all. I think any time we put each other into categories and restrictive, assumptive boxes, we are asking for trouble. Do you fit tidily into just one anything?

At our church we sing a song I love, Many and One reminding us that we are called to bring mercy and peace to this world. After we have recovered from the shock and depression, we must look up,  out and forward. We must seek to unite. We must see what we have in common with those on the "other side," and how to work together to serve those that need our help.

We must remember that while we are many, and it feels like an Us vs. Them situation, we cannot resign ourselves to that way of thinking, we have to see that we are One.

Monday, October 24, 2016


I hate this election and everything about this election, and have started many a blog post to tell you just that. Instead, I am going to tell you how I took Wil out to lunch at the most disgusting "restaurant" after church on Sunday, and it and everything about it was doomed from the start. First of all, the place was hard to find. The only reason we were going there was because he'd done his research, and they served Tropicana fruit punch from a self-serve dispenser, and what's better than that? The line to order was miserably long. And slow. Lots of little old ladies and their coupons. Lots of inefficiency and disorganization. I wanted to turn and walk out a number of times.

Wait, we did, and when we finally got our food, Wil tore into a tub of barbecue sauce and it sprayed his coat, covering his front and both sleeves. I helped him out of it, pulling it inside out and placing it in the re-usable bag I always carry in my purse. We finally finished our "meal," hurried home, and I threw the inside-out coat and the re-useable bag, in the wash and started it.

Heard a clunk-clunk-clunk but was all about getting into my walking clothes, and getting outside. Came home, pulled out the coat and thought it felt awfully heavy. It was then that I put it all together, and realized I'd not gone through the pockets, and of course, Wil's phone was in one of them.

Now, it's not a smart phone or anything fancy, but he loves it and we want him to have it for all the reasons people want and need phones. We carry insurance on it because believe you me, this is not its first run-in with water. Not two months ago we replaced it because it went in a swimming pool, after he deliberately took it from his shorts, and put it into his swim trunks, got in, then reached in his pocket to make a text before realizing what had just happened.

I get it.

He was super cute when I told him the bad news. He just kind of smiled that, You're a real piece of work smile, and I assured him we'd get it replaced, AGAIN, and he'd be back in business, AGAIN, but we'd have to wait around all day for the UPS delivery tomorrow, AGAIN.

Today, before we headed out to run our errands, he ran back in the house. When he met me in the car he said, "I wrote you a note so you wouldn't forget to take my phone out of the pockets before you wash my coat, next time."

No promises.

Friday, September 30, 2016

We Can Sit Wherever We Like

Wil and his friend, Timmy, are taking a rhythm and drumming class on Wednesdays at noon. We pick up Timmy, I drop the boys off, then have an hour all to myself, that just so happens to coincide with lunchtime. This week, I decided that I would seize the beautiful fall day, and walk to a nearby restaurant, and dine on something other than pizza or hamburgers for a change.

We eat out a lot, but the restaurant choice is never mine, and to eat in a healthy (vegan, even) restaurant with a cloth napkin, and be seated at a cute little table in a hip neighborhood, was a real treat. A sweet-faced young man looked at me and asked, "Just one, today?" I don't know how he knew I was alone, and not just the first to arrive, and maybe he didn't know, maybe that's just what he says to people that walk in alone.

What I do know, is that once he got busy serving, a woman with purple hair, many tattoos and a lovely smile, began greeting the new arrivals. Two woman walked in, and I overheard, "We can sit wherever we like." That sounded a bit confrontational to me, so I looked over and saw that the hostess was still smiling, and the two women were delighted with their table.

Next, a man walked in, and again I heard a woman say, "We can sit wherever we like."

I was confused. I put down the book I was reading, and looked up. The hostess was indeed the one letting the patrons know that "we" can sit wherever "we" want. Like I says,* it was noon, and the restaurant was quick to fill up. Over and over I heard, "We can sit wherever we like."

It turns out the "hostess" wasn't the hostess. There was no host. There was no hostess. There were only employees that worked together in a restaurant, and at least one of them wanted to make sure that the everyone that walked in those doors, felt like part of something larger than themselves.

We really can sit wherever we like, when you think about it.

The choice is ours.

* I say this just to annoy my husband.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Still Stuck

Couple nights ago I dreamed we were going to move and share a house with another family we know, whom also has a child that experiences a disability. I was very optimistic how all that was going to work, how we were going to share time, talent and treasure, until I got chided for using the wrong bathroom. When I looked around the house again, I realized she was right, I'd been using the one near their bedroom, and I hadn't even noticed the one right by ours. This is never going to work, I decided then and there.

Last night, I was driving with Wil and my friend Kim, and I can only assume her son, Tim, was in the backseat with Wil, but he was uncharacteristically quiet, in the dream. Like I said, I was driving, and that can only mean one thing, I'm bound to get us lost. Kim is a very good driver and navigator, and in the dream she was also trying to help, but I went too far down some weird road, and then couldn't find a place to turn around.

Eventually, I turned into some sort of site and made an attempt to turn around but it was impossible. The road ended and the only choice would be to make a jump for it, and try to cross the abyss while flying through the air. Because we were nearly wrapped around a large tree and at a dead stop, there was no way to gain enough momentum to even consider the risky move.

We were stuck.

We couldn't go forward and we couldn't go backward.

We couldn't leap into the unknown.

We all got out and walked to some building, which turned out to be a lodge of sorts. There were other guests also staying until they could get un-stuck. I was given confusing directions about where to go to reserve a room for the night, how one actually gets out of there, and ended up even further lost and confused. The staircases were "wrong," and unusable. The front desk wasn't where I was told it would be. The route out took two days by foot, led by a man with a cane. "But I have a car," I said, "what about that?"

Mid-dream the other people I was with switched from Kim and Tim, to my cousins and their families. They seemed to have no problem figuring out a solution to the situation. I could see them down in the lobby making reservations and treating the whole situation like an unexpected vacation. I couldn't even figure out how they got to the lobby from where we were, let alone how they seemed excited about the whole thing.

Finally, I ended up in the side office of a very nice woman, and cried that I had a child with special needs. I didn't have any food he would eat, I couldn't find any restaurants. We were due home and there was no way I could wait until tomorrow to start a two-day, slow walk back.

The dream ended when I woke up. There was no clear ending. There was no satisfying resolution. There was no disastrous result, either.

Sometimes, when you go down a weird road for too long, it's very difficult to find a place to turn around.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


10. Wishing I'd been a journalism major

 9.  Being super glad I'm not a journalist in today's world

 8. Reading a lot of memoirs and judging them (both the memoirs and the memoirists)

 7. Making long lists of possible titles for possible books I could possibly write

 6. Checking Amazon to see if my great titles are already taken by writers much better than I

 5. Immediately emailing various people to let them know my great ideas have been dashed

 4. Watching YouTube videos how to download a library book onto my Kindle

 3. Browsing through tons of books I have no intention of ever reading

 2. Drinking a lot of coffee in various coffee shops, while "writing"

 1. Watching Pets Who Hate Donald Trump, instead of doing almost anything else

Monday, September 5, 2016


Is it just me, or are you all getting asked all the time, "Doing anything fun today?" or some iteration of that theme. I get asked at the grocery store when I'm checking out. I get asked when I'm paying for our froyo. I get asked as we're paying for our pizza.

I want to shout back, "This is the 'fun' thing we are doing today!"

I don't.

I know they are just being polite and trying to be friendly and start a conversation. They are trying to take an interest in me/us. They are just doing their job.

So I don't shout at all. But nor do I ever have a satisfying reply.

It makes me feel like my life isn't fun enough. Like I'm not out there whooping it up like the other customers. Like I've somehow failed at fun and need to go home and study more, so I can pass the test the next time it's offered.

I think my (ridiculous) irritation comes from me assuming they are describing "fun" as "pleasure," and "pleasure" as equalling "happiness."

I think I think every question needs an answer.

I think I think too much.

Over-thinking, is not "fun."

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Yesterday, I took Wil and a friend of his to lunch. Generally, when Wil and this friend, Timmy, make plans, the plans are 99% Wil's plans, and Timmy has to go along for the ride. This time, however, Wil made a stab at being considerate, and suggested we go to New Seasons, and eat outside on the roof, because Timmy had been suggesting that for quite some time.

New Seasons, for those who don't know, is a high-end grocery store, that happens to have a roof top dining option. While it's been in our neighborhood for almost a year, and I've been there many times, I had not attempted to figure out how the whole buying-your-food-downstairs-and-taking-it-to-the-roof thing, worked.

To say Wil is neither an adventuresome, nor healthy eater, is an understatement. I didn't know what we'd find there that he would actually eat. Timmy and I settled on build-your-own burritos, and I talked the man behind the counter, into selling us a plain ol' bowl of shredded, seasoned chicken, for Wil to eat. "Taco," as Wil for years has called such meat, was going to be just the ticket. This was going to be the day I high-fived the Universe and reveled in our success at branching out, trying new things, doing something fun and different.

I had hoped to time our trip to New Seasons to avoid the noon-hour rush, but circumstances had us arriving there at exactly that time. "Circumstances," being Wil's random, but hard fast rule that we'd leave the house at 11:51. When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't crowded at all. Then, I remembered seeing all the school buses and back-to-school hubbub in the morning: Portland Public Schools had started up again.

We got our trays, paid for our stuff, hiked up two flights of stairs, found a great table with a view of the area below, and enjoyed the perfect weather.

For about 2.5 minutes.

In his perfect bowl of organic, cage-free shredded chicken, Wil found a tiny bone.

That was it. He wasn't eating another bite. No amount of combing through the rest of the bowl to prove there were no more bones, that that was not going to happen again, that it wasn't normal to find bones, and was just a fluke, would convince him.

My bliss was broken. I then became aware that the only other people up on the roof, were moms with toddlers. The table next to us had two women with strollers, their toddlers happily eating all the healthy food they put in front of them, while the women discussed the preschool options in the area. I couldn't help but over-hear. I couldn't help but be wistful. I couldn't help but see that at times, it feels like we're going backwards.

If not backwards, not forward. Maybe more of a "Groundhog Day," type thing. Stuck. Time marches on around us, and we stay in the same place.

There is evidence all around us, to the contrary. I know that. You don't need to reassure me of that or remind me of "how far we've come." For sure, we have. Big time.

But the grief/acceptance cycle isn't predictable or linear. Chicken bones can get stuck in more than your throat.

They can stick in your heart.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Last night I dreamed I was about to take a final. I was somewhere between the age when people typically take finals, and the age I am now. I was some vague age taking some vague final for some vague class. I had not studied. I could not remember having been to the class for quite some time. The final included memorizing formulas of which I had not ever bothered to learn. It was 30 minutes before the final, when I finally remembered I was to take the final. Emotionally, I was a mix between freaked out, and perturbed that my plans for the day would have to be altered, if I wanted to get to that final.

Had a dream a couple of weeks ago, one of those back-to-school dreams, that teachers know so well. Was assigned a new school, a new grade (kindergarten!), and showed up to work for the very first time, on the first day of school. Walked into my new classroom, just as the kids were arriving. Had nothing arranged. Had nothing planned. Had nothing ready for the day, let alone the year.

Once a student, always a student.

Once a teacher, always a teacher

Aren't they one in the same? Aren't we all teachers and students, students and teachers, every day, all day long, our whole lives?

Do we ever go "back" to school?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Net Gain

Been awhile since I posted. Been busy and yet have had plenty of time to watch bad TV and in general, just goof off.

Summers are for that, goofing off.

Made a goal in May to read six books this summer. Just finished number six. That being said, two were Mindy Kaling's memoirs, and while delightful, hardly qualify as literature.

Don't feel much like doing anything that requires much brain power. Might be being over 50. Might be not being all that intelligent to begin with. Might be that at times it feels each and every thought I have, big or small, important or irrelevant, is interrupted and replaced with someone else's big or small, important or irrelevant thought.

Had a circular conversation yesterday over the change from a $5.00 bill. The ice cream truck came through the neighborhood for perhaps the second time all summer. Five notes in of, "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" and I'm in PTSD from the years and years and years of revolving our lives around whether or not the ice cream truck would come, when, and where. Gave Wil $5.00 and a drawstring bag, and told him to go find the truck on his bike.

We've come a long way.

He came back very happy, and had eaten a Minion treat that he said was $1.00. "I gave him $5.00 and he gave me back $2.50, because it was a dollar." No amount of me explaining it must have cost $2.50, since $2.50 plus $2.50 equalled $5.00, was accomplishing anything except making me want to stab myself.

I dropped it.

I was able to be happy that he had made it all happen without me. Without drama. Without stress. Without any working knowledge of basic, functional math, either, but without me.

Ran errands on Saturday morning, and he was prattling on and on about the fall football games coming up, his plans to have a sleep-over after every-other game, while simultaneously giving me Starbucks orders for people for whom he'd like to buy a treat. All of a sudden, he grins from ear-to-ear, joy in his voice and says, "I should marry myself 'cause everything good is happening to me."

My brain may be shot, but my heart and soul grow by the minute.

Thursday, July 14, 2016



Wil is 20 today. No longer a teenager. In fact, I'm out of teenagers around here, which makes me feel old and accomplished, both at the same time.

Somehow, two decades have passed, and we enter a third. We are all a little/lot the worse for wear, yet, enriched, enhanced, perhaps even a tad more enlightened.

Wouldn't wish the last 20 years on my worst enemy.

Wouldn't trade them for the world.

It's the push and pull.

It's the paradoxes that make up life and love.

It's the living in the liminal space.

It's having to establish boundaries where we need them, and break them down where we don't.

It's having to grab hold of what keeps us sane and let go of what no longer serves us.

It's a paring down and a building up.

It's a force-fit into more mindfulness.

It's a clarifier that 20 years of having that feeling of your feet in the starting blocks, ready for that gun to go off, can bring.

On a continuum between barely surviving and completely thriving, we've moved in the right direction.

Today, as we celebrated at 5:07 AM with ice cream cake and boxes to open, what the boxes actually contained being of little to no importance, we heard a "Thank you" after each gift was discovered. When I said, "Look up, I want to take your picture," he looked up. He then helped clean up the mess, put his dirty plate in the sink, and washed his hands without an argument.

He quickly changed his clothes into the new Nike apparel, before hustling off at 6:45 for the daily Mass that starts at 8:00. Last night at a church BBQ, the priest received his instructions to have the mass-goers sing Happy Birthday this morning. When asked by one friend what he wanted for his birthday, he said, "Vacation Bible School is my present. I have everything else I want."

He is here to serve.

He is here to teach.

He is here to tire, wear down, exhaust and deplete to such a point, that what goes back in has to be different than what went out.

Happy birthday to my teacher, my sidekick, my companion, my friend.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Near Miss

Well, Wil forgot entirely about "needing" ground cocoa, but did not forget about needing a lid for his certain re-usable cup he wanted to fill with water for camp. He did not forget to make it my #1 mission in life to track down said lid, before there could be any peace.

Off we went to 7-Eleven, in hopes one of their Big Gulp lids would fit. It did. The nice man behind the counter said we could have the $0.001 lid, but I felt obligated to buy something, so we looked around the store.

We were the only ones in the store, until a man wearing one of those fluorescent orange vests, walked in and headed to the coffee. We left the store with our purchase and our free lid, and got in my car. I started to drive out of the parking lot, and noticed the driveway was semi-blocked by a truck. Thinking that was weird, I stopped, watched for a second, and realized the truck was indeed in motion. Looking up at the cab of the truck, I saw that it held no driver. Putting two-and-two together, I realized the driver must be inside 7-Eleven, getting coffee (which he, obviously, had not had enough of).

I reversed, parked, ran in the store yelling, "YOUR TRUCK! IT'S MOVING! IT'S ROLLING DOWN THE STREET!" The man in the orange vest flew out of the store, hopped in his truck and drove it to safety, before hitting or injuring anyone or anything.

I don't know what I'm more in awe of, the fact that there are no accidents? If we hadn't needed that lid, we never would have been there. If we'd taken the lid and left, and not shopped for a minute, we would have been gone before the man arrived. Or, that with enough adrenaline, my brain can still kick into gear and process information?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I Forget

In the last 42 hours, I have helped my children find two sets of keys, a wallet, a jacket, a pair of prescription glasses, and a cell phone. These were not items misplaced at home, no, these were items that were left behind and had to be tracked down. In all cases, the items were found and held safe by  good-hearted strangers, until we could claim them.

It should be noted that I was not with either of my children, when they lost said items.

Had an impromptu, and lovely, visit with my neighbor and friend last night. She is busy with a demanding career and the responsibilities that come from taking care of aging parents. Although we live across the street from one another, we rarely see each other.

As we caught up, the conversation moved from subject-to-subject. I shared with her, that I'm very worried about my poor memory, the lapses between what I want to say, and what I am actually saying, the increased dependence on Post-It notes and phone reminders, to make sure things get done, and the train of life stays on the track. I shared that I made a grocery list last week, came home with everything crossed off, yet, when I went to look for the corn tortillas, they were nowhere to be found. I remember standing in the aisle looking for them. I remember not finding the ones I like best on one stand, and intending to walk across the aisle to the other stand. Somewhere between that intention and the execution, I became distracted. Could have been that I got a text from Wil with further orders for the day. Could have been that I saw something else in the store, that wasn't on the list, and when I veered for a second off my shopping rhythm, I lost the thread of what I was doing, entirely. Could have been that I thought of something else, grabbed my phone to make a note so I wouldn't forget, and then, forgot what it was I was doing while I was trying to remember what not to forget.

Could it be that I forget what I'm doing because I spend so much of every day keeping everyone else on track? "Do you have your key?" "Do you have your phone?" "Do you have your money?" "Remember when you get there to ___________."

Could it be that I am bombarded from 5:30 AM to 8:00 PM, every day, with total and absolute minutiae that is made to be do-or-die? Last night, while trying to enjoy an outing with STM and two of our favorite people, I got an urgent text from Wil: "ONE THING WE NEED TO GET ALSO FOR OUR HOUSE IN PORTLAND IS GROUND COCOA."

Could it be that I'm 53 and just plain getting old?

Where was I going with this? I don't know. What I do know, is I have to wrap this up because we "need" to go get ground cocoa. Not sure what we'll do with it, but that's neither here nor there.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

To Die Before Dying

We know there are many kinds of deaths. We experience the death/loss of relationships, ideals, aspirations, images and identities we held for ourselves, hopes and dreams. Life is on a continual and multi-level cycle of death and rebirth. The old must "die" for new life to be born.

We speak of caterpillars and butterflies. We talk about the circle of life. We throw up our hands and say, "It is what it is," but for most of us, the struggle continues. The struggle to understand and the struggle to lose the need to understand. The struggle to control and the struggle to lose the need to control. The struggle to hold on and the struggle to lose the need to hold on.

I sat this morning, prayerfully shuffling the Mother Mary Oracle cards. I drew Our Lady of Resurrection. She comes to us at a time of resurrection and release. A time of light at the end of a long, dark, circuitous tunnel.

The invitation comes to reflect on the wisdom and meaning of the nocturnal animal, the owl. What has this night-time of the soul brought forward? We think of owls as serene, wise, with an unusual way of looking at things. With the help of owl wisdom, we can find peace after a "death" of any type, we can find our serenity, our wisdom, and adjust our way of looking at things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Today is the 20th anniversary of my father's death. June 7th, 1996. I was eight months pregnant. We had our house for sale by owner. I had a barely-two-year-old. My father had been living two hours away. I'd had insomnia for months. I was big, hot, tired, overwhelmed and pulled in every direction. It was  not a good chapter, and I don't often let my mind go there.

And yet, 20 years later, there's been enough time, healing, distance, perspective and dulling of memory, to make it all feel like a bad dream - one in which I've awaken from. Either that, or a story I heard about someone else. Someone, perhaps, I used to know but with whom I have lost touch.

Today,  I will light a special candle for the man that helped bring me into this incarnation. I will let it burn all day. I will reflect on the light held safely within the glass. The light that has the power to purify. The light that has the power to transform.

Friday, June 3, 2016


Had it all planned out. I had the laptop ready-to-go. I was going to spend at least a couple hours trying to write, elsewhere, since no real writing seems to get done at home, what with all the constant noise and demands, both real and imagined.

Just as I was grabbing my keys, putting on my shoes, and about to leave, my husband called. There was a family emergency, of sorts, and was I free?

While dealing with the sort-of-emergency, Wil called. He was at home with his support worker, and the WiFi wasn't working to his satisfaction. Why ask your support worker to help you, when you can just call Care?

"Go upstairs, look at the wall where the WiFi 'things' are plugged in, and unplug them," I coached.

"These?" He asked. "Right here?"

"I can't see what you're looking at. Are you looking at the wall?"

We went several rounds of that, before I asked to speak to the support worker.

Hours later, when all the emergencies of the day had been dealt with as much as they could possibly be, I reflected on Wil's questions. "These? Right here?"

It is often hard to know what we're looking at. Despite guidance, direction, information and having it right in front of us, we cannot always see it. We don't know what to do with it. It's confusing. Sometimes, we need someone else to come along and unplug us - force us to step back, take a break, before starting up all over again.

Monday, May 30, 2016


So many dreams, so little time to tell you all about them. Let's go with the most prominent one:

I have offered to help a friend with her young daughter, I am going to go across, and up the street and get her, but the day turns to black night, is filled with cars coming from both directions, with no headlights on, and I can't cross. The street turns to ocean, but the sky remains black. I levitate across the water to the other side, but it's so dark, I can't find the daughter, so I come back. When I am rejoined with my friend, the sky has turned back to day, and I try to convince her it had just been pitch-black a minute ago, I swear.

Immediate thoughts:

I was only going to be able to help for 25 minutes, anyway, so what's the big deal?

What's up with the sky dramatically, and unpredictably changing?

What's up with it only being me that saw the sudden shifts?

When did I learn to levitate, and why can't I do it all the time?

"Deep" thoughts:

Life can look dark, then suddenly, the sun comes out. And vice-versa.

We don't need other people to see what we see, experience what we experience, to make it true.

Things change.

Getting up and over the tricky parts of life (levitating) is the key.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Had a Monday morning walk planned, that I'd been looking forward to. Needed the fresh air. Needed to move the body. Needed to get caught-up on ELD (every little detail) with my friend.

As I am wont to do, I tried to cram one more To Do in, before leaving for the walk. I had two outside planters with not-thriving plants in them, and was going to re-plant with thriving plants. Moving the planters from the front to back, where I'd have a hose, and a working surface, and the new plants, seemed hard. The planters were heavy. Tried moving the new plants and all the stuff to the front, but was making such a mess, decided to go back to Plan A. Got a little make-shift cart from the garage to help transport the planter. Tried pulling it. Didn't work. Tried pushing it, worked, until it didn't, and we hit a change in elevation on the driveway, and the cart, with increased velocity due to the incline, sent the planter straight into my shin.

Hurt like hell and my first thought was how irritating. Looked down, and there was huge swelling and bruising, instantly. Walking was painful. The sheer speed and size of the swelling scared me. The rest of the day's plans were scraped, and I spent as much time as possible, elevating and icing it.

Wil really "needed" to go to Bi-Mart and get the one thing from "our" list he had forgotten the day before, from "our" very important list. Talked my now-cancelled walking partner, into taking him to Bi-Mart, as I didn't think I could drive with my right leg in the condition it was in. Didn't know until she brought him home, that she was under-the-weather, too.

Some days our plans are just big cosmic jokes.

Some days our friends go the extra mile, and put your needs before their own.

Some days you just have to accept the situation for whatever it represents, for whatever it is, for whatever it isn't, and just elevate.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Had a very fitful sleep last night. I needed to pick someone up in the "middle" of the night (10:00 PM),  and when I got them where they were going and got myself settled in bed, I tossed and turned all night. Long about 4:00 AM the land line rang. Now, before you say it, the only reason we have a land line, is it would raise our bill to cut it. Turns out someone was trying to fax something to our non-fax phone, and they were quite persistent, and no sooner had I hung up, than they would try again.

Very annoying.

And so, when I did sleep, I dreamed weirder-than-usual dreams. Most memorable was helping a young teacher move into her newly redecorated classroom, and realizing there were no chairs for the students. Suddenly, a large group of older kids and adults were all filing out to go in search of chairs, and we ended up outside, far from the school, and walked (without the chairs) in the opposite direction. I ended up in a different school (high school?) with three other people, crouched in some back stairway, all using our smart phones to determine where we were, and where we were supposed to be, and the route in which to get there.

To no avail.

Nothing I/we tried worked, and ironically, the most map-challenged one of us (me) seemed to be leading the charge.

Moral of the story: Your smart phone ain't gonna tell you where you are in life, where you're supposed to be, and the route in which to get there.

Or something like that, I'm too tired to figure it out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I've been playing, and loving, the game Masterpiece, since 1976, when it came out. We owned a game, my cousins owned a game, and between the two families, there have been a million turns around the board, amassing each of us lots of play money and familiarity with the art featured in the game.

Ten years ago, three of my cousins and I were all together and in Chicago, and able to walk through the Chicago Art Institute, where many of the masterpieces used in the game, are actually hanging. We all had our favorites, we remember which ones were "worth" $1,000,000 one time when we "owned" them. We remember which ones, despite the odds, frequently were forgeries. We remember when I mis-pronounced "forgery" and said, "fogery," and we remember how we've never let that joke die.

We taught our own kids to love the game, and have fun playing it wherever we're together. Somewhere along the line, we picked up extra games at garage sales, and each of us "kids" have our own game. When my mom moved from her house in Sisters, I donated the game to the thrift store. My aunt went to that very thrift store, and bought that very game, not knowing it was her sister that had donated it. When we helped my aunt to clean out her house before moving, I ended up back with the exact game I'd donated, originally.

Yesterday, was Woohoo's 22nd birthday. Her college graduation was the day before. Lots to celebrate and appreciate - much gratitude to be given for her, her birth, her accomplishments, and all that lies before her. We ended the evening with a game of Masterpiece.

The round of Masterpiece was a metaphor for each of our personalities: STM broke all the rules, he went for broke, he was able to completely detach from what the paintings looked like, and focus only on what they were worth to him. He brokered deals. He made the game his own, and unsurprisingly, won the game by having over a million dollars more than the runner-up.

I came in last place. I played conservatively. I followed the rules to a T. I bought and sold paintings based on emotion and connection, or lack thereof, to the painting. I played the game the same way I've been playing it for 40 years.

The values of the paintings are in one pile, and the paintings in another. Each new game the piles get shuffled, and are paired "randomly." There is no question that STM and I have been in "the game" before. We've been reshuffled and in different pairings throughout many incarnations, I believe. I don't know all the pairings. I don't know all the past-lives. All I know, is that together, we are a masterpiece.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blind Spots

Recently, I've gone on three blind "dates." That is to say, I've had coffee with women I'd never met before - women who are friends of friends or somehow linked to other women I know in the special-needs world.

We've met under the auspices of me sharing my information, experience, resources, etc. with them. And a little of that happened each time, but very little. What these women really needed and wanted, was someone to listen. Not just anyone, but someone that walked a similar path. Someone that identified with and understood their fears, neurosis, exhaustion, burdens, joys, transformative experiences, life-alterations, isolation, epiphanies - basically, life with the volume turned up.

There are innumerable ways life can turn up the volume and bring us to our knees, either in defeat or surrender (two sides of the same coin?).  At these times all our "stuff" gets activated. The strong parts of ourselves, the parts that are unhealed, the light and shadow sides of our basic personalities.

I'm trying, once again, to understand where I am on the Enneagram. Richard Rohr is breaking it all down in his daily emails. He has done this before, and yet, I still struggle to determine where I am - which probably is a very telling sign of where I am (whichever one is most in denial and out-of-touch with their shadow). I am, most likely, a TWO, the Helper, which sounds great, until you learn more about it. One thing that rings true, unfortunately, is the need TWOs have for recognition for all they sacrifice.

Oh, if I had a nickel for how often I've thought, How hard would it have been to say, "Thank you," ? Is that why I continue to go on these blind dates? Because it feels so good to be recognized and appreciated? Because I just thrive on that?

It's not fun exploring the underbelly of our personalities, really seeing and understanding all parts of ourselves, how and why they got started, and what we can do to heal and unify ourselves. But what other option is there? Perhaps, going on blind dates, is a way for me to open my eyes to the parts of me I am blind to.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Had a dream last night that I was driving a car full of people, and went the wrong way, made a wrong turn, and ended up on the wrong freeway. This was not a nightmare, this was par for the course, as I am very likely to do just that in my regular life. I have lived in Portland for 31-years, and still need people to tell me how to get where I want to go. I have gotten lost, walking, in my own neighborhood, where I've lived for 20 years. It's as though the chip for directional skills, is simply missing from my brain. Don't you dare try to tell me to go north, south, east or west on anything. Don't give me the numbers of highways and freeways, all I hear is, "Blah, blah, blah." Don't muddle things by reminding me how I've done it before - each day is a new opportunity to get lost all over again.

Because I have an excellent sense of timing, and would rather die than make someone wait for me, I always allow plenty of travel time + strong-possibility-of-being-lost time + looking for parking + general chance of delays. All this is to say, I am generally the first one "there," and spend a lot of time waiting for others. I have found ways to over-compensate for my traits and tendencies, at least as it relates to timing and travel.

In the dream last night, I was driving in the middle lane, struggling to converse with my passengers, while simultaneously looking for the way off the wrong freeway, and onto the right one, I noticed a car approaching me. Sure enough, there was one car in the fast lane, that was coming toward us, not driving ahead of us. I first saw the headlights, thought that was weird, then tried to get back to my other problem at hand. But a few seconds later, another car's headlights approached, and then another. All the cars in the fast lane, were going the wrong direction. Those of us in the middle lane were confused and disoriented. The people in the slow lane were just over there minding their own business and moving along, unaffected.

Was this a dream that reinforced slow and steady wins the race?

Was this a dream that taking the wrong route can be scary, but not necessarily a bad thing?

Was this a dream that life in the middle part of life, is disorienting?

Was this a dream that being in mid-life feels like the younger generations are going too fast and out-of-control, and the older generations are oblivious?

Was this a dream that the Middle Way is the way of wisdom?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Flow

We've all heard the advice to just go with the flow. Good advice. Hard to follow. More difficult, perhaps, than going with the flow, is identifying it, and discerning how to get in it, and making choices that keep you there, rather than letting the external conditions toss you all around.

You know when you're in flow - things click along, line up, the Universe feels like a collaborator, and not a punisher. There are more "chance" happenings, more "perfect timings," more "meant to be," experiences. It feels great, and you think to  yourself, Ah, I got this. That very thought, it seems, invites chaos and your feeling in the flow is threatened.

When you are feeling out-of-the-flow, when everything you try to do seems to make it worse, the only thing to do is stop doing. Step back. Take yourself out. Remove the boulder from the flow, which is you.