Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Induced ADHD

I have four blog posts started, and none of them are going anywhere. Started telling you about the dream I had last night where someone was asking for specific books on my bookshelf, and I was handing them over, and had some vague connection/realization that I do that a lot - just hand over whatever anyone asks for. Didn't finish that one because I got distracted.

Started telling you about all the gifts I am going to give myself this year, both "actual" gifts (exciting things like new kitchen towels), and "true" gifts, like permission to half-ass the Christmas shopping/wrapping/etc. Didn't finish that one because I got distracted.

Started telling you about how Woohoo asked that for Christmas this year, I "do my magic" on her bedroom, purge, purge, purge, "Just make it go away!" Didn't finish that one because I got distracted.

Started telling you that I think we're going to break down and get Rojo an iPad for Christmas for many, many reasons, not the least of which is the fact he sends approximately 2,000,000 texts a day and the poor people that get them and respond need a flippin' break. (Thank you Tom, Nancy, Kathleen, Aunt Julie, Meghan, Laurie, Ann, Jenn and many, many more.) Didn't finish that one because I got distracted.

Was going to ask you for your recommendations on must-have apps for said iPad, in fact, I'll just do that now before I get distracted. What are the must-have apps for an iPad? I want to load it up so it's good to go when he opens it.

Can't really finish this post, either, something else just caught my attention...

Monday, November 28, 2011

What's New Around Here

I am playing catch-up today after five L-O-N-G days with Rojo. I swear with every inch he grows, he gets one notch louder. His voice is changing, he's taller than me now, and has the "gift" my side of the family has, with a voice that really carries. It's impossible to find a place in our home where you can forget he's also in the home. Impossible.

Oh, and did I tell you STM wants to get a motor home after Woohoo goes off to college, so STM, Rojo, Flicka and I can travel together in a space smaller than our kitchen? Days on end in close quarters? "Ideally" with two TVs, so the boys can each watch their shows and I guess I'll be somewhere with earplugs AND headphones, and a giant Margarita? I have convinced STM that the first thing to do is rent one for a week and see how we all do. I'm taking bets now on who calls "uncle" first. I doubt we'll make it past the city limits.

Woohoo got into the university she was hoping to get into! WOOHOO for Woohoo! She has her colleges narrowed down to two, and they are apples and oranges. I am trying (rather unsuccessfully) to not sway her with my strong preference of one over the other, even though the "other" is where I went to college. Not a thing in the world wrong with that university, I just don't see how it would be the right fit for Woohoo. Actually "sway" is not the right word, I'm trying to not drive her so crazy that she picks the other one just to spite me.

I am pretty much living on pumpkin pie with aerosol whip cream and eggnog lattes. Every year I tell myself I'm not going to succumb, and every year I do. It's about a one-month thing that I am simply powerless over. If eggnog were available year-round I wouldn't touch it. It's my November-December "thing."

We continued our tradition of going out the day after Thanksgiving (I refuse to call it Black Friday, what TFBS), and cutting down our Christmas tree. I'm happy to report that our house is fragrant with the scent of a Shasta fir, and the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care. Our Christmas dishes are out and being used, and they make me happy. My pumpkin pie is extra yummy served on them.

STM and I had a "crisis" when the DVR was out of new things to watch and On Demand was down. We actually watched last week's "Modern Family" again, because we'd laughed so much the first time. Happy to report we laughed just as hard, or harder, the second time. That's the first show to come along since "Seinfeld," that really makes me giggle. My favorite is Cam, I belly laugh at every word and gesture from him. In fact, I'm having a chuckle right now just thinking of Cam. Cam. Cam. Funny, funny Cam!

We are going to see Santa next week, and Rojo is going to ask him for a little stuffed bear to replace Max, the one with a broken nose that I tried to fix, but to no avail. Let's hope Santa can put his hands on a new Max, because it can't be sort of like Max, it needs to be Max, but with a perfect nose.

So, some big things, some little things, your basic life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Back By Popular Demand

I wrote these YEARS ago, way before I even had a blog, and shared them with some friends. They continue to ask for them, so here they are (and they remain as true as they did then):


10. The newspaper today was as thick as the Sunday paper with all those ads.

 9.  I think while all of those people are out shopping tomorrow, I'll just enjoy staying home.

 8. That button on the turkey already popped, and it can't possibly be done.

 7.  My mother used to serve creamed onions every year, and she was the only one that ate them.

 6.  I hope you all brought your Tupperware, there are going to be lots of leftovers!

 5.  The stores are all decorated for Christmas already!

 4.  That's enough salt, Papa!

 3.  This time we're having real butter.

 2.  I'm so full I couldn't eat another bite.

 1.  Who's ready for pie?


10.  Who thinks the new mayor is a closeted alcoholic?

 9.  What is going on with all these math labs? Do you realize the long-term implications of this epidemic?

 8.  There is a real spiritual deficit in this country. Did you know that Macy's won't even let their employees say, "Merry Christmas" now? They have to say, "Happy holidays."

 7.  Everywhere I go now there are these gambling places disguised as coffee shops. I thought we were keeping all this gambling within the Indian reservations to create jobs and help these poor people make something of their lives.

 6.  I am calling the cable company on Monday and canceling my subscription. Have you sen the rates?They just keep going up, while the quality of programming just keeps going down.

 5.  Who wants to call _______________ and wish them a happy Thanksgiving? I'm sure they are lonely and thinking of all of us while they are in rehab.

 4.  I can never eat enough to make it worth all the trouble of cooking a big Thanksgiving meal. Even if I could, who can enjoy eating knowing that one third of the world goes to bed hungry every night.

 3.  Oh, no salt for me! You know I have terrible blood pressure! I never salt anything, I haven't for years! Of course, I do love my chips!

 2.  I'm so full I can't eat another bite.

 1. I'm ready for pie!

Monday, November 21, 2011

THAT College

Lots of talk of college in our house these days. Every month or so Rojo reminds me, "You know, I'm not going to college." Just yesterday we were standing in the kitchen and he looked up on the wall where my favorite Corita Kent print is hung, and said, "THAT's the college I'm going to. I'm going to live here with you, and go to the 'Each child is special give lots of love college.'"

He'll graduate summa cum-laude, I haven't a doubt.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Word Choice

I'm on a bit of a rampage, and we all just love a good rant, right? No? Just me?

A friend of mine called last week and was telling me how now that her son is seventeen, she needs to get crackin' with a case worker and start the arduous task of setting things up like Medicaid, transitional services, and SSI. These are things that are in our future, too, but I am letting my blinders stay on until Rojo turns sixteen, maybe seventeen, before crossing those bridges I don't want to cross.

When this friend finally got someone helpful on the phone (can you imagine the extent to which my phone phobia will flare up when I have to do this?), the kind woman on the other end asked, "What is his current eligibility?" My friend gave the initials that bring a tear to her eye and a choke to her throat each time, "M.R."

"Well, we aren't going to use that term," she said, "We'll use Developmentally Disabled."

Later, I was sharing all this with another friend of mine that has closely walked my story with me, and who is the aunt of a fifteen-year-old with Down Syndrome. "I like Intellectual Disability," she said kindly enough. At which point I bit her head off.

"I DON'T!" I said. "It's just another way of saying, 'not smart.' It's focused entirely on what we think of as intelligent, and doesn't tell us anything about the other intelligences the person may have."

I then proceeded to blast her with a long litany of people I know with high SAT scores, impressive graduate degrees, and by all standard measures are "intelligent," and frankly, make some of the most piss-poor decisions I've ever heard of in my life.

At Rojo's school they use the term "learning differences" rather than "learning disabilities." I love this, because that's just exactly what they are, differences. Rojo still can't tie his shoes - probably never will, but that boy is a wiz on his phone and computer. Nobody taught him. He innately knew how to make them do what he wanted them to do. Technology makes sense to him. It works in a way his brain can get itself wrapped around.

Rojo has a spiritual intelligence I've never seen in another person. Ever. I see plenty of "smart" people striving to attain a state of mental health and peace that he effortlessly just has.

I don't know, maybe when it's time for me to make that call I'll give them his "true" diagnosis of PDD-NOS, but maybe I'll just see what happens when I say he has "intellectual differences."

Photo from

Monday, November 14, 2011

The A Dar Never Vacations

When STM and I were on vacation, we kept spotting the same family. They often ended up eating breakfast next to us, walking on the path next to us, you get the idea. Right away my A-dar went up when I saw their little girl, who was about six or seven. I can't even put my finger on it, it was just "something" about where her gaze was, how repetitive she was in what she said, "Mom is sitting here," "Don't sit there, Mom is sitting there, "Mom is sitting there," "That's where Mom will sit," etc.

The father finally said, "I know, you've told me repeatedly." He didn't sound mad, he didn't sound super annoyed (I was), he sounded resigned. Then I watched the same father go to the buffet and bring her back a plate of all white food: toast, rice, banana. That sealed the deal.

I saw the exhausted looking mom. I saw the exhausted looking dad. I saw the game-for-anything grandparents they'd brought along to help with the kids. I saw the older, typical brother. I saw the old me that would have tried to make a trip like that work (and did just such a thing when we took everyone, STM's parents included, to Disneyland when Rojo was that age). I saw the strain between the parents, despite the fact that they were "on vacation." I saw their future. I saw their past.

I didn't say a word to them.

I remember in the earlier years when someone thought they had a kid like Rojo, and they'd tell me their story, and pass along their words of wisdom. I found it presumptuous. I found it putting the cart before the horse - they were trying to give me input I was not ready to have. I found it hard to shake their words loose from my brain, and some lived to haunt me.

I also know they were doing it out of kindness, that they recognized something in him, in me, in us that resonated with them, and they wanted to connect from that place, but that is just not a place everyone necessarily wants to connect.

So, although the A-dar never takes a vacation, my tendency to "help," must.

Photo from:

Friday, November 11, 2011

$180 Richer

We found the retainers! Rojo put on a sweatshirt today and there in the pocket were BOTH of them!

Thank you, St. Anthony!

Thank you, Don Wilson!

Thank you, concerned readers! I just KNOW none of us had any bigger fish to fry than this! : )

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Vacation Was Had by One and All

Okay, I finally have my caffeine-induced wits about me enough to tell you about our AWESOME vacation! Here's the thing about vacations - they're a good thing to take! Note to self: take one with spouse more than every 10 years. We went to Vegas for 3 days for our 10th anniversary, have had a night or two here and there since then, but have not been away for a whole week alone, for 18+ years. (Nine months exactly before Woohoo was born. Just sayin'.)

It's just a really nice thing to go away and remember why you ever thought getting married was such a hot idea to begin with. Thing is, I like STM. My love for him has never been in question, but it was really nice to just enjoy the heck out of his company. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but once you have kids, it's so hard to keep the focus from totally being on them, and then throw a special need or two (or 12) in there, and well, it's easy to become co-parents of a special needs child, and not much else.

Everyone keeps asking us what we did when we were in Maui. Here's the answer: a whole lot of nothing. We didn't go to "do," we went to "be." And "be" we did. We "be'd" at the beach, at the pool, on our balcony, on long walks and leisurely breakfasts. We did golf once (he golfed, I rode in the cart for an extra $35). We took nice drives around the island, did explore the other towns both near and far, but most of the time we just hung out.

STM read the Steve Jobs book cover-to-cover (it's a monster), and I read three paperbacks that were all wonderful. (Shanghai Girls, Secret Daughter, The Miracles of Prato. Put all three on your To Read list, and don't forget The Blood of Flowers, too.)

We slept 9 hours each night. We awoke before daybreak, got our coffee and sat on our balcony watching the sun come up. We had our beer and/or wine each evening at sunset and watched the glory of that. In a nutshell: pure heaven.

And the kids. The kids had a ball without us. Woohoo said, "No stress for a full week." Nobody asking her if she did this or that, nobody nagging. Somebody cooking sumptuous meals for her each night. Someone that let her take over our master bedroom and make it her own for a week. Someone that said, "Sure!" to whatever it was she wanted to do.

Rojo was blissed out, too. We only talked to him once for 2 seconds and had a couple of texts. He was too busy keeping our friend, liz, (you can call her the liz, but you can't capitalize her name) hopping. He had her going out for frozen yogurt, playing basketball in the living room while she played YouTube videos on her laptop to provide the appropriate accompanying music, listening to him play and sing church songs on the piano or keyboard, or just having "conversations."

When we got home it was 9:00 PM and we thought he was asleep. When we went up to check on him he was SOBBING in his bed. "Rojo, what's wrong?"

"This is liz's last day!" he said through his cracking, crying, voice.

I settled him down, went back to say goodbye to liz (and tell her how sad he was she was leaving), and when I went back he was crying even more - up out of his bed, pacing around the room frantically, in a total frenzy. "My heart is BROKEN," he said. "I have a sad life!"

Of course this tore me up inside and I couldn't sleep a wink that night, even after I saw he'd settled down and was sleeping peacefully. The next morning we discovered liz had left her cell phone charger at our house, so we dropped it off after school. Rojo didn't even want to get out of the car, I made him, he said his hello and goodbye and then was in a big hurry to get home and to the school yard before it got dark.

liz e-mailed me the next day, "If you're not lucky enough to be in the Rojo circle, you will never get why it makes total sense that he was crying his eyes out last night because I was leaving, but had absolutely no time for me today!" Exactly! Nothing personal! You were here, I was sad you left. I processed all that. I'm over it. No baggage. No attachment. In the present.

liz also wrote, "Oh, my hell of God... Rojo and I are even more solidly connected than before. I want everyone to love me the way he does... deeply, no strings... no agenda. Thanks for the opportunity to be with someone who touches my soul in a way that no one else ever could."

Thank you liz for being the perfect person to make it all possible. Rest up, Hawaii 2013 is already in the works (my 50th)!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top 10 Things I've Found While Looking for Rojo's Retainers

We had a GREAT vacation (more on that in another post). The kids did great (more on that in another post), the house looked great (more on that in another post), fun was had by all (more on that in another post). Only "casualty" of the time away was one set of retainers. They went all Don Wilson on us. Vanished. Thin air. Were right there and now they simply aren't. I know they'll turn up, but now the clock is ticking and I do NOT want Rojo's teeth to move while we wait for Don Wilson to return the damn things to where he found them. This could take months (and usually does).

So, I've turned the house UPSIDE DOWN looking for them (they are $180 to replace, not something I feel like forking money over for right now, or ever, actually). Have NOT found the retainers, but I have found these...

10. 29 bobby pins

 9.  Rojo's sunglasses he lost in July (which I did replace, so now he has a back up pair for next July, roughly the next time he'll need them around here)

 8. Nine of Flicka's "chews"

 7. Balled up Kleenex

 6. Screw thingies from a drawer that broke ages ago

 5.  Dust bunnies too numerable to count

 4. An empty Gatorade bottle

 3. An empty something else, not-quite-sure-what bottle

 2. My 5 lb. weights I've been wondering about

 1. Candy wrappers


Driving a car without brakes--stopping the card Fred Flintstone style, new year at college with new roommates, a house so filled-to-over-flo...