Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!



And happy anniversary to me! Nineteen years today, and I can honestly say, we're happier than we've ever been, not in small part because we've learned a few things about patience, kindness, and forgiveness along the way. Plus, our minds are shot and it's easier to move on when you can't remember anything for more than five minutes.

Happy New Year to you, my friends!

love.

love.

and more love.


* Photo from psdgraphics.com

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holding On 'til Then

Rojo and I just wrapped up another full day of Mario Kart. He talks the entire time he's playing, narrating what's going on in his half of the screen and bossing around what I'm supposed to be doing in mine. Plus, the game itself is noisy and he turns the volume way up. I'm ready for a sensory deprivation tank. I must look like it, too, because out of nowhere he says, "Mom, don't forget we're going to die at the same time. Think you can make it that long?"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Easily Disrupted



Courtney wants me to update my blog. Hmmm... guess she doesn't count music videos and pictures of Christmas cards true "posts." Hoping no one would notice. See, here's the thing. I love to write. I can't not write. I write in my head all day every day and it's enough to make me, and everyone around me, crazy. Nonetheless (best word ever - feel free to steal it), it's nearly impossible for me to write when kids and the husband are home, and they are home, have been home, and will continue to be home for several more days.

Still. STM is watching his 1,000th (I swear) episode of "Prison Break" on his laptop, Rojo is watching a Scooby Doo movie, and Woohoo is at a friend's. Even Flicka Link (x3) is contented and for the next 60 minutes it is unlikely I will be disrupted. By them, anyway. The laundry threatens to disrupt me, as does the dog hair that is flying around like nobody's business, as it's been six days since I vacuumed last and that's about five days too many when you have a profuse shedder, however cute she may be. E-mail threatens to disrupt me. The leftover Christmas candy/cookies/treats threaten to disrupt me. Even Ingrid Michaelson playing in my headphones threatens to disrupt me as there is a good chance I may need to go to iTunes and make "Everybody" repeat a few times, then I'll get tired of it and need to go in and put it back on that play the next song thing.

See the problem? See why I need SABBATH? Sorry. A word like Sabbath should probably not be yelled! Oops! So many things zinging through my brain all at the same time, and with no priority listing. The drivel is just as loud and clamoring as the biggies. Does anyone else have this problem, or just me?

Plus, I have all the Christmas stories to catch you up on and don't even know where to begin there. I guess I'll start with telling you how this year Rojo asked each person for something different for Christmas. He didn't even tell us what he had asked for (or even that he had). My mom just said one day, "Did you know Rojo wants 'Christmas' socks for Christmas? Do you have any idea what he means by 'Christmas' socks?" With a little digging I learned he wanted slipper socks like she wears. Yes, women's socks. Yes, she bought them. Yes, he's wearing them right this minute, actually.

He told Woohoo he wanted pajamas with Santa on them and she and I searched the city looking for them until going to Old Navy, seeing their one and only pair on the mannequin, and thereby beseeching the poor sales girl to strip the mannequin on the spot and selling us the pair, which, again, were women's and again, yes, he is all too happy to wear. They really couldn't be cuter. Santa has a jaunty magenta hat on each of his repeating pattern heads and there's a lovely shade of green going on there, too.

He told STM that he wanted a BIG tiger from Santa, but he told me he wanted a SMALL tiger from Santa. Darned if that Santa didn't find matching big and small tigers. Rojo was thrilled but not surprised. Why should he be? It's what he asked for! Why am I always so surprised when I get what I ask for? Why is he never?

Rojo told my in-laws he wanted those chocolates wrapped in gold like coins. Got 'em. Told my sister-in-law he wanted a Boston Terrier T-shirt. Got it. He didn't really get a whole lot else from the family, but he did get a BCS T-shirt with the Fightin' Oregon Duck on it from Kathleen, and he's proceeded to wear it three of the six days since he opened it. You know that Oregon is in THE championship, right? You know they're playing Auburn, right? You know that Rojo loves Auburn, right? You know that I've HIDDEN his Auburn T-shirt from him so he doesn't start a riot in the streets around here, right? You know I'm not kidding, right? Did you also know that Rojo has determined we need a BCS party and has created a guest list and fortunately his favorite people are my favorite people, and they are coming? No, you didn't know any of this because I've been too busy running around like a chicken with my head cut off and not stopping to have a big part of my Sabbath, which is WRITING.

Anyhoo. Sorry, Courtney, that's just a smidgen of the madness running through my head at any given moment.

Sabbath



Traditionally, the Sabbath is a day of rest and reverence. A holy day. A day to quiet oneself. We don't Sabbath well, as a culture. We go. And go. And go. We're much better at doing than at being, and I am no exception.

A friend of mine and her husband once took a whole year and called it the year of Sabbath. They withdrew from their book clubs, church groups, regular social engagements, committees that they sat on, etc. And there were a lot, because they are wonderful and involved people and other wonderful and involved people love having them come and be wonderful and involved, but it had come to a point when they couldn't simply cut back, they needed to make a declaration. Take a stand for holiness. And quiet. And Rest. I didn't know them at the time, but I love hearing this story and come back to it over and over in my mind.

My New Year's goal is to put more Sabbath into each day. More reverence. More holiness. More rest. More stillness. More quiet. More listening. More being.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Have a Sane Christmas


Look at the Christmas card Kario sent me. I laugh every time I look at it, and can pretty much think of at least one person that fits each of the descriptions!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ascension Attitudes

I have heard that the three Ascension Attitudes are love, praise and gratitude. In my Angel Blessings book, it says the big three are love, gratitude and surrender. I love that because to me praise and gratitude are a bit redundant (and if I've said it once I've said it a million times, don't be redundant). However, surrender is MUCH harder than praise, don't you think? Surrender? C'mon, that's HARD!

I think we all think - at least I know I do - that if we surrender, our lives will get worse, not better. We believe that our fear of bad things happening is what's keeping them from happening, and that we have some mind control over bad things happening, and to surrender that mind control will open up the flood gets and let all kinds of hellish things in. Don't we think that?

I know that growing up I was repeatedly told to surrender my life to Jesus. No way was I doing that. I knew the minute I let him take over he'd "make" me a nun, and I wanted no part of being a nun. Never mind that we weren't Catholic (anti-Catholic, in fact), never mind that I had wonderful nuns as teachers in high school and they seemed happy in every way imaginable, never mind that now I fantasize  about life in a nunnery. Never mind. No way was I letting go and surrendering to God's will.

Every morning I draw an angel card and then meditate on it for as long as my monkey mind allows me to before I cart it back again. Naturally, in the time since reading about the three Ascension Attitudes I've drawn the Surrender card at least 50% of the time. "Quiet" Mary.

Today I drew the thing again. I always go to the book and read the corresponding information, and since I've read that flippin' page a million times lately, I practically know it by heart. However, today I read words I hadn't digested before: "Deep surrender opens the connection with your Eternal Self which is your personalized manifestation of an important aspect of God."

By surrendering, we are able to manifest in us, aspects of GOD.

Not enough can really be made of that.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In My Dreams


(Get ready to see a lot of Quiet Mary - just sayin')

First had a dream that I walked into the hairdressers and my gal was talking to some older woman. The older woman said, "Let's just get this over with as soon as possible." Then the older woman began to drink like a fish. Somehow my awareness kicked in and I realized this older woman was my hairdresser's mother, and together they were going to do my hair! I called a meeting, sat them both down at a table in the back room, and announced that this simply was not going to work for me. I did not want anyone DRUNK doing my hair, for starters, and did not care for  the let's-just-get-this-over-with attitude one tiny bit. So. I'm learning to be assertive, if only in my dreams. It's a good start, right?

Next dream I was trying to find some privacy to get dressed, but there were people everywhere. Finally found a spot in the woods (!) and someone found me there, too! I told them that I thought I had some ANIMALS I needed to give birth to, and would they be a sport and UNZIP the back of my body (!) and pull them out, please? Only if it was not too much of a bother. They obliged, and out came some damn thing that I can't even remember. A bird? A dog? Not sure. Then I said, "I actually think there is more in there, would you please check, as long as you are there anyway?" They pulled out TWO more animals of some sort and then zipped me back up and away I went.

I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO GIVE BIRTH, people! OMHOG!

Then later, when I'd finished my very important and totally unmemorable business, I went by to check on the animals I'd just sort of given birth to. They were all nestled in some sort of outdoor cozy shelter with their animal-appropriate mothers, sleeping, eating, resting and in all ways doing great.

So, all's well that ends well, but still. Let's review the facts: I had only a vague sense that I was pregnant and even then, only as an afterthought I took care of the whole birth thing. Then, after a completely detached experience of getting them out of my body, I wanted nothing to do with the actual raising of my offspring. Too busy.

I know this dream is not about my parenting. I am going to go ahead and give myself an A on that front. What this dream is about is my DREAMS. A total afterthought. Detached. No time for. I check in on them from time to time and guess what? They are still there! Somehow living despite the complete negligence I have for them.

Quiet Mary, my ass.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Level Up



 Meet my friend, Greg. He's actually much larger than this in real life - and his personality is even bigger.

Greg can do pretty much anything. Including making really great short movies. You have to see his latest, Level Up. Not only is it DELIGHTFUL, it stars his son, Leo, and their daughter, Sophie, is in it, as well. Greg just happens to be married to my friend, Toeless, and we all know you know about my friend Toeless! Not enough can be made of this movie. Have a watch! Send your friends! Laugh! Smile! Enjoy! And THANK THE GOOD LORD YOU ARE NOT STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL!



Here's a trailer to get you wound up!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quiet Mary


On Sunday, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of my Mary-loving friends had a gathering for all of her Mary-loving friends. We ate chocolate, drank Prosecco with pomegranates dropped in (yummy, pretty and in keeping with the theme), and made Mary art. One of us (so not me) is a theologian/art teacher. Is there a better combination? Really? 

She led us through the art project and even let us all veer from it totally and do our own thing, like all good art teachers/theologians should do, if you ask me. This is a picture of what I ended up with. In Mary's hair is written the Hail Mary over and over again. We were supposed to chop up Mary's face into sections and in each section do a repeated pattern of something that represented Mary: bumblebees, roses, fleur-dis-lis, pomegranates, etc. I was all set to do that, had penciled out my sections and was ready to go to town when I stopped and announced that I didn't want to do that. Not like me at all to buck "authority."

The friend/teacher said, "You don't have to. I can imagine for you that it would be hard to hear Mary through all that noise."

Visual noise. Yes, that was it, exactly. Although I had looked at the prototype and admired it greatly, I didn't want to have it in my home, much less create it. 

Thank you, Quiet Mary. I can hear you now.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Simple



Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
- Leonardo da Vinci


Got to have lunch with one of my oldest and dearest friends on Saturday - just 90 minutes together as we don't live in the same city, and that was as long as we had to meet halfway and attempt to catch up, before returning to our busy/over-committed lives.

There are low-maintenance friends and then there are zero maintenance friends, like this one. We could (and do) go months without e-mails/calls/visits and then one of us contacts the other and we pick up right where we left off. Have been doing that for 33 years, fully expect another 33+ years of the same thing.

She is, and I mean this as the ultimate compliment, just the same since the day I met her, which is to say: simple. She has no ego whatsoever. Is never confused. Never in crisis. Never "going through a hard time." Never at a crossroads. Nothing. That is not to say that her life is not complicated, but she? She, is simple.

She will retire in ten more years from teaching first grade to very low income students. She takes kids from families with very little support or means, and teaches them to read. Teaches them to believe in themselves. Teaches them to fly. Year after year after year after year. I asked her what she'll do when her kids are both gone and out of college (eight more years until then), and then when she retires. "We'll simplify our lives," she said.

It was always their priority that there be a full-time, at home parent, and she was the one trained for a career with the passion and talent, so her husband has only worked very part time and at very low paying jobs, and only when their girls are in school. They have made it work. Not only have they made it work, they have one daughter ready to head off to college in the fall, and another one not too far behind. Their girls are impressive in every way imaginable. 

And in large part, because they've kept it simple.


* Photo from http://citysimplicity.blogspot.com




Friday, December 10, 2010

Black, White, and Grey



A friend came up to me yesterday at a school gathering and asked if we could go for a walk, have coffee, something, and talk about some of the themes of my blog: motherhood, being over 40 (and damn near 50), mid-life, marriage, etc. Never had anyone tell me what they consider to be the themes of my blog before, and it was enlightening.

I've had people call my blog an autism blog, which in some ways it is, and in some ways it isn't, which all makes perfect sense to me at this stage of life. As I'm aggressively greying (and coloring) physically, I'm aggressively greying in all my thoughts and beliefs, too. Everything is a shade of grey with little or nothing being pure black or pure white.

When I started this blog almost five years ago, that was my first post, Shades of Grey. And although it's really true that the more I know the less I know. I know more, too. I know that love is all there is.

There are times I don't have a blog post to write because all I'm thinking is stuff I've already shared and shared and shared. Feels at times there isn't a single stone left to turn. Life with Rojo is repetitive and cyclical, too. Every year at Christmas time he sings, "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Jolly," and you already know that. Every year at Easter he asks the Easter Bunny, Devohn, to come to our house and hide eggs, and you already know that. Every year on his birthday we force him to reach some new milestone, and you already know that. You also know that I've been working and worrying and trusting and praying, begging and pleading and in all ways obsessed with where he will go to high school next year.

As I've been working on my "new" manuscript these last few months, I've pulled in lots of blog posts and even parts of my first manuscript. A friend and fellow writer told me that's what I would do, "You'll cannibalize what you've already written. Stuff that you didn't know what to do with before, or that didn't work then, will find it's way into your new work. There is no new. There is only old with a different perspective - time."

While reading through a bunch of stuff I've written the last several years, both here and "off line," I see just how much I've changed. Just how much Rojo has changed. Just how much my marriage has changed.

And it's really true what they say: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

* Photo from www.davefleet.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Full of Grace



Big week for me, today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which, to my way of thinking, basically means Mary is full of grace.

Sunday is Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Call her what you want: Mary, Tara, Spirit, Shiva, Kuan Yin, Mother, Goddess, the Feminine Divine.

Just call on her.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Earnings



Just got my Social Security statement telling me what my estimated benefits are. I know it's gauche to discuss money, but allow me this: Since 1980 (I was a junior in high school) to the present, I have earned a whopping $242,118. Total. 30 years. Averages out to be 8,070.60/year.

Jealous?

Lots of school and lots of hard work and lots of different jobs I've tried my hand at, and that is what I have to show for it. In terms of money.

To those of you that have balanced work, family, kids, social lives, I bow to you. To those of you raising special needs kids AND working, and being a contributing member to your communities, I double bow to you. And to those of you that are single and raising special needs kids and working, and contributing to your community, and raising typical children, too, and caring for homes and yards and cars and extended families. I triple bow to you one thousand times over.

At first when I saw my statement with so many zeros after the years, I was a little depressed. Then I pulled my head out of my #^% and realized those were the years in which I most richly blessed.



* Photo from www.financecents.com

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sugar and Spice



Check it out, my friend Leslie's new blog. Basically, she is the antithesis of me. She can cook. She can decorate. She can entertain. She can garden. AND SHE ENJOYS THESE THINGS!

Here she is, click here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And


Shocking, I know, but I have somewhat of a Mary shrine going on in my closet-turned-prayer room. Each morning while STM is slaving away making umpteen pieces of bacon for a very hyper fourteen-year-old, I am "busy" praying in my closet with the perfect cup of coffee. It's a rough life.

Today Rojo burst through the door to the closet, with Flicka, blew out all the candles, sang three rounds of "Deck the halls with boughs of jolly," literally jumped up and down for five minutes, then stole a glance at the Mary statue I have on my altar and asked, "Is that the virgin and Mary?"

The virgin AND Mary.

I quickly said yes just to get him on his way, but then as I resumed heaven within the sanctuary of the closet, and he resumed being STM's early morning problem, I reflected on that.

We are all so many things, it's hard to classify us, isn't it? And so often what we are is conflicting. Just this week someone said to me, "Being a liberal like you are..." and someone else said, "She's a conservative, like you." Two people that know me well, with very different views of my views. I have very different views of my views, too. Lots of "ands." I am this AND I am that.

Holding all the various parts of ourselves, giving each a turn without letting any one aspect take over, is a challenge.

AND, we can do it.