Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Been thinking about new dishes for years. My set is from Target - less than $50 for the whole shebang, and it shows. I'm down to 5 salad plates, 6 bowls, 5 dinner plates and 7 mugs. Even those are in bad shape - chipped, stained, cracked, you-name-it.

Thought about getting Fiestaware - classic, great color choices, go with everything, durable, easy to replace pieces, etc. Did some pre-shopping, looked at prices, added it all up, left the store thinking too expensive. Plus, how would I ever decide which bowl, which salad plate size, with so many to choose from. Blew my fuses so I tabled the whole thing and continued using the Target stuff.

Had to go to the mall for something else (new jeans for Rojo, if you must know, he's growing like a weed). Had a few minutes to kill before I had to pick him up from school, so wandered into Macy's. There was Fiestaware in 4-piece boxes, $50, with a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE deal. 8-pieces for $50? Wow!!! Didn't have time to make the purchase before getting Rojo, so went home and ruminated on it for several more days.

Got my friend Nancy to save her Macy's coupon for me (we don't get the newspaper, but as I recall Macy's ALWAYS has a coupon in there), then marched myself back there yesterday before getting Rojo from school again. Allowed plenty of time. Was so tickled with myself for getting the sets, giving her the coupon, and even presenting a gift card I'd found when I helped Woohoo sort through her disaster of a room. She had no idea if there was money on the card still, but I am nothing if not cheap, so I took a risk. Yes, a full $2.55 left, made me happy.

Got home and showed STM. "Where are the rest?" he asked.

"What do you mean? I got 8 pieces, they're right here!"

"You got eight pieces, but didn't you want 8 place settings?"

Um. Yea. About that.

Went back today and got the other SIX place settings, even got to use my coupon, too. They're in the dishwasher now getting excited to go in my cupboard, and I'm excited to learn how to add.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nothing Says Romance Like...

For Christmas I asked STM for two things, one being doorknobs for the remaining four doorknob-less doors to our home that we moved into 8 years ago. I knew the minute we moved in after renovations, the renovations would stop, and I was right. "Just a few doorknobs," he told me. Eight years later....

Don't have my doorknobs yet, but they are on order. Progress.

The other thing I have asked him for for each gift giving occasion since my cousin's husband died and left her with all kinds of *&^% to handle on top of everything else during her time of grief, was an If I Die List. I'm not even an authorized signer on STM's business accounts. I couldn't pay the bills if I tried. If he died tomorrow, even with an iron clad will, we'd be in a world of hurt.

So, for my birthday next month I am definitely getting both doorknobs AND the If I Die List, and on Wednesday we are meeting at the bank and signing in all the right places so that I can write checks with abandon the minute he dies.

To be fair, I have created my own If I Die List. There are accounts I have from which I pay certain bills. There are passwords and all kinds of things that are just in my head and he'd never know what to do with if he had to, either. I'm cleaning all that up and giving him the method to my madness.

A friend of mine's husband was full of vim and vigor one day, in ICU the next. Stuff happens. It may not be the most romantic of gifts, but if, God forbid, we ever need to refer to the lists, we'll sure feel loved.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Going Bigger with Nothing

Didn't do a damn thing today. Well, sure, did walk the dog, did some laundry, took Rojo and his friend "Baz" out for yogurt, even made dinner and cleaned up. But there was plenty of napping, solitaire and Netflix, too. And by plenty I mean hour after hour after blissful hour. Kept thinking, I should go though all those stacks on my desk, or I need to deal with that closet I keep not dealing with, or any number of other things that need doing around here, but in no particular hurry.

On the solitaire game I downloaded, there is a cool "hint" button. When you are stuck and can't figure out another move, you press "hint" and it will show you possible moves. You feel ridiculous when you missed an obvious one or two, and vindicated when it flashes, "No useful moves detected."

Long about the 10th "No useful moves detected" today I realized that while there was plenty I could be doing, none of them were truly as useful as sitting on my can.

 * Photo from http://my.greasy.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jumping and Falling

So, we decided to find a good home for our trampoline. Neither kid has so much as taken a single jump on it in ages. Their friends like to jump, but even when they come over, they don't often make it out there, and let's face it, their friends are getting older, too. The trampoline was a great investment, it's been well used, and now it needs to go.

We're giving it to a young family we know from school and church. Actually, I wrote about my "chance" encounter with the father, Mike, and his two kids over a year ago, but I can't remember what I named that post, so can't find it for you - sorry. Maybe you'll remember, though, Flicka climbed up on the play structure at the park, and Mike's kids ended up taking Flicka for walks with the leash, and Mike and I struck up a conversation. Turns out we are both raising sons with special needs. Turns out he went home and Googled me, found my blog, found my e-mail address. Turns out his wife, Amy, is in my support group now, and we're all on our way to becoming BFFs, because, as you well know, there are no accidents.

Amy and the kids came over to measure the trampoline and let the kids jump. We had texted Amy earlier in the afternoon to see if they could join us for frozen yogurt after jumping. Amy said they'd love to, but would it be okay if we went with Mike, because she had a doctor appointment, and she and Mike were going to switch at our house Rojo and I were both down with that idea. Rojo chatted Mike up one side and down the other, going so far as to invite their whole family to move to Disneyland with us when he graduates from high school (that plan is still very much in effect).

At yogurt we sat in five side-by-side stools, ate, visited, and then it became clear the kids were all done, and it was time to skedaddle. We walked them to their car, said goodbye, and no sooner had Rojo jumped into my car and buckled up, did he say, "I like Mike. He's the right kind of man."

Both parents handled both kids beautifully - like they should write a book or teach parenting classes type of good. Rojo particularly related to Mike, I think, because he's the type of dad Rojo aspires to be. Whenever Rojo tells me about his future parenthood, it always includes him taking his kids out for ice cream.

Some people take the jump into parenting. Some fall into it. Some were born for it.

* Photo from http://trampolinegame

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blame the Planets

There's a reason my blog posting has been spotty at best, and there's a reason there's not much I can do about it. The reason is this: my writing planets are all out of whack. STM and I went for our annual check-in with our friend the astrologer, and she said it was all right there on my charts. "This is not a time for writing. In fact, do you want to know when you're going to feel like writing again?" Of course I did, and the answer was right there in her handy dandy book, "September 19th. Until then, only write when the mood strikes you, and that might not be before September, and that's fine. There's just no wind behind that sail until then."

And that's just exactly what it feels like to me, like there is just an occasional breeze, but no wind there. Problem is, there's not much breeze, let alone wind, behind anything lately for me. Apparently all that was on the chart, too. "It's a period of rest for you. I know that's a four-letter word, but it's important that you take this time and do just that."

In the seventeen-and-a-half years I've been a parent, this is the first time I'm not racing through my days and nights breathless, racing to get it all done. This is the first time my days have had windows of time where I sit in the over-sized chair with Flicka and play solitaire on Rojo's iPad, or read a book, or take a nap. This is the first time I've sat with STM in the living room at night and watched whatever it is he's watching on TV (you don't even want to know).

I told the astrologer that I felt like I should find something more useful to do with my time, volunteer, start a project, plan for Rojo's transition to adulthood, something. She said that there was a force equally strong in my chart that wanted to learn new things, not for a degree or even for a career, but just for the pleasure of learning. Right now I can't imagine having the brain capacity to learn a single thing, and nothing even sounds fun or exciting, but the idea that something might sound fun and exciting after this period of rest, is fun and exciting.

"The back 9," these years I'm entering where I'm getting closer to the "club house," I believe will be the best and most fulfilling of my life. There is no end of possibilities, but for now, I rest.

* Photo from www.awakening-healing.com

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Unique Qualities

Toeless' husband, Greggy, is taking a class, and the professor wanted them to list their unique qualities - things they did easily and well, that others may not. The assignment was to ask others to help them identify them, which is brilliant, since so often we are blind to our own gifts.

I told him that he had way more than one, but if I had to boil it down, it was his unbridled enthusiasm, his genuine interest in others that made you feel like you were a rock star, every time you were around him. I've only known a handful of people in my life that have that quality. It's not like other people make me feel bad about myself, it's just that there is something, well, unique about the way they make anyone feel that comes into contact with them.

I've been thinking and writing about this for awhile, especially in terms of Rojo's unique gifts, of which there are many. His purity, his vast love, his compassion, his generosity, all amazing. I think the one that makes him stand out more than anything else, though, is his lack of ego. He simply doesn't have one. There is no spiritual wrestling match going on inside of him, no angel/devil on his shoulder, no posturing himself, no concern over how to make himself get ahead/more. Zero.

I think most of humanity could use an Individual Educational Plan, a plan in which we strive to be ego-less 80% of the time, a plan in which a team of ego-less specialists train and assist in that, mark our progress and keep us on track. I'm thinking we turn the tables, get the ones like Rojo and many others like him I know, to let them do what they came here to do... teach.

* Photo from http://upload.wikimedia.org

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm at Hopeful Parents today, writing about something I've written much about already, and will likely write about again soon! Thanks for joining me!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I can't speak for everyone (but would dearly love to), I just know that one thing I don't do nearly enough, is celebrate. I think, I'll feel so good when that is done/settled/over/successful/etc... and I count down the days until it is. Then the day comes and goes without so much as an extra-shot in my cappuccino.

Well, no more, I tell you, no more. I gathered three dear friends for happy hour in early January to celebrate the fact that none of us killed anyone all of Christmas vacation. We may have each considered it, but none of us actually did it. Big.

Not every event needs to include Champagne, food, a gathering and a lot of hoopla, but something, some way of marking goodness.

Top 10 Things I Could Celebrate Just Today:

10. I finally mopped the kitchen floor that's needed it for a good two weeks

 9. The sun is out and it's a gorgeous, cold, January day

 8. Yesterday the sunrise was so spectacular I couldn't stop talking about it

 7. I even noticed the sunrise and took time to look at it (albeit, I was walking with Kathleen and she drew my attention to it)

 6. I am getting really, really good at solitaire

 5. I have time to play solitaire

 4. I bought a bunch of primroses and planted them in my window boxes yesterday - they make me happy every time I look out the window

 3. We may have finally found the right med/dosage for Rojo's ADHD, after MUCH trial and error

 2. I get to go visit Toeless in February!

 1. STM closed a deal he's been working on for MONTHS!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


We did get Rojo an iPad for Christmas, and a friend of mine with one mentioned that solitaire was highly addicting, so, naturally, within ten minutes of her telling me that, I'd loaded that app and was well on my way to developing a problem.

You can play a game in 2-3 minutes, so easy to say, "Oh, just one more..." until pretty soon you've pissed away an hour or three. There must be something about the game that occupies the right hemisphere of the brain, allowing the left brain to be free to roam. I find myself getting almost trance-like while playing, deeply relaxed and reflective, rather than obsessive. Let's just say it's working for me - that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

My dad taught me how to play solitaire (and other card games). He had such a sharp mind, could always see and explain strategy, was always three steps ahead of me. I realize now, at almost 50, how exasperating I must have been for him - not as quick, not as ambitious, not as competitive, no matter how hard he tried to get me to be. When I finally made up my mind about where I was going to go to college and told him, he was underwhelmed. When I finally decided in my sophomore year I'd be a teacher, again, underwhelmed. I always felt like he was disappointed, that the bar was too high for me, that nothing I did made him happy.

During my hours of solitaire, I've been able to see it a different way. As a woman now with a daughter choosing between the very college I went to and one that's "better," I see how a parent could feel the way he did. No matter what she chooses she'll be fine, and I will not be disappointed, she can and does make me happy, and I hope she feels she clears the bar every day, all day long. It's just that I think she's great, and is headed for greatness, and want greatness for her. But what is "greatness?"

Although I am a long way away from being the doctor my father hoped I'd be, don't have an impressive resume, haven't done a lot that the world might call "great," my life has been, and is, indeed, great. I know that if my father were here he'd agree. I am happy. I have ALL my needs and damn near all my wants met. I have tons of people that love and care for me. I have laughter, I have health, I have, by all definitions that count, greatness.

I'd say the iPad has already paid for itself.

Monday, January 9, 2012


So, it's been decided around here that Rojo is ready to try summer camp. My friends with older kids with different abilities recommended one in particular - a whole camp just for this very thing. Not cheap, but a week without Rojo is a vacation for the rest of us, and nowhere are we going to get a vacation for the cost of camp, and so, we justify. Plus, Sandy, the woman that runs the preschool Rojo worked at all summer (and four blessed days during Christmas vacation), suggested camp numerous times, and this one most enthusiastically. I've been psyching Rojo up for this for months, and have him sold. His only condition is that he be home on his birthday.

My friend Joan reminded me when online registration began and urged me to do it immediately, as the camp fills up in the first week, and people registering even a couple days after registration opens, are often put on the waiting list for the weeks they request. Joan gave me paperwork, e-mails, links, you-name-it, everything I would need to make sure I got my place in line, on line, on time.

Today was the day. Had Post-its to remind me to set the alarm so I'd be up and fully caffeinated before the 6:00 opening of registration. I slept fitfully, looking at the clock several times in the night to make sure I hadn't over-slept. Woke up at 4:30 fully awake, lay there for half an hour, finally got up, caffed up, and booted up the computer. I was ready to click in all the right spots on the Website the minute the clock turned to 6:00:00. Did just that, and I was number 36 in line. Didn't even think about getting in line before 6:00, such a rule follower am I. I impatiently waited to move up in the virtual line, which thankfully only took about 5-6 minutes. I felt like I'd won the lottery when it said I was first in line, and then when the Website magically opened and had slots for me to enter information, I was on a high. Because I am notorious for being in a hurry and making careless mistakes, I was painstaking in my entering. I was just to the place where I was filling out emergency contact information, when suddenly the site put me back in the virtual line, this time, #76. I know I didn't push the browser or the refresh button, both which had been cautioned against. I just deleted a phone number that was incorrect (which the computer had automatically entered and I needed to substitute for right information), pressed "tab" and BOOM, to the back of the line I went.

The expletives flew. I put on pretty music, lighted the candles, did a few (shallow) cleansing breaths and tried to get myself right. Had to wait about 15 minutes to get back to my first place in line, and then JUST as the site opened up for me, BOOM, Safari quit unexpectedly. That has only happened to me a handful of times in the five years I've had this computer, and NEVER when I was doing something of significance (Facebook doesn't count). Oh, and let me back this up and tell you that at 5:00 Rojo was sound asleep and I had the quiet of the house. By 6:00 he was awake and thumping loudly, making the whole house pulse with his unmedicated hyperactivity and joy. By the time I got in line for the THIRD time (back to number 36), STM had left for work and he was ever-present with his uncontained joy. Let me just tell you, the LAST thing you want when you're trying to register your special needs child for camp, is the "help" of your special needs child.

"GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW, I'M TRYING TO REGISTER YOU FOR CAMP! IF I DON'T DO IT RIGHT NOW, YOU CAN'T GO!" I shrieked. He took his joy and thumping and went and bothered Woohoo. I paced, I made the bed, I threw a load of laundry in, I brushed my teeth, neurotically checking the queue every 2 1/2 seconds. Finally, finally, just as Woohoo and Rojo had gotten themselves dressed and ready for school and were about to leave, I got on. I entered all the information (pages and pages of does he need help with this, that or the other thing questions), and submitted. RECEIVED! WOOHOO! Rushed downstairs and said goodbye to the kids. "You need to play solitaire on my iPad," Rojo said, "You need to calm down."

He's right. I'm going to make a cup of herbal tea, light another candle, breathe deeply, play a little solitaire, calm down, and thank God there is a camp so great that people are queued up to send their special needs child (ages 10-35) there. A place where campers go back year after year after year. A camp that campers say is their favorite week of their whole year. A place set up to accommodate them - make them feel successful and gain confidence. A place where they aren't special because they need help - everyone there needs help. They are special because they just are.

 * Photo from http://pdx.edu

Friday, January 6, 2012

Year of the Dragon

When Sonam was up visiting this past weekend, we spent a fair amount of time looking up everyone's Chinese zodiac sign, and seeing who is compatible with whom. Fortunately for our husbands, they are both compatible with us - good to know. STM is a pig, I am a rabbit. Sonam is also a rabbit. Her husband, my brother, is a goat. Woohoo is a dog, Rojo is a rat, Kunga is a rooster. My mother is a horse. It was amazing to see just how accurate they all were, except for STM's, he didn't really sound much like a typical pig (no comment).

We used this site to calculate our sign. I don't really understand it all very well, but find it fascinating. Sonam, having spent her whole childhood and young adulthood living in a Tibetan refuge camp in India, knows a lot more about it. Her mom can tell you all about the elements, all about compatibility, traits, luck, fortune, etc. Like I said, fascinating.

Sonam and I both had good 2011s, which was a rabbit year, so it makes sense that we rabbits would find "luck" in 2011. According to this, 2012 is going to be my lucky year, too, because I'm a not only a rabbit, but a water rabbit. Think it has something to do with me being February/Aquarius, although I've been told Aquarius is not a water sign, it's actually an air sign - so confusing.

Funny, I don't really believe in luck, per se. I believe in fate, I believe in destiny, I believe in karma, I believe in choices that produce consequences, but I don't really believe in luck. Maybe it's just a matter of semantics, maybe they are all words for the same thing. Whatever the case may be, I look forward to the year of the dragon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Next month I'll turn 49. In 13 short months, I'll be 50. Fifty is fine with me. Fifty is not scary. Fifty is even welcome. The thing about it is, when I was growing up I had an image of myself at 50, all "grown up," and now that it's almost here, I am coming to terms with what is and is not accurate with that image.

50-year-old Carrie would have a library in her house, one with the built-in ladder, four walls of nothing but books and a comfy chair. 50-year-old Carrie would have a music room with a grand piano, and she and her musically gifted children would all play it beautifully. 50-year-old Carrie would have "real" furniture - not just a mattress and box springs, but a proper bed. There would be matching night stands and dressers, a short one for my husband and a taller one for me. I'd have an office with a desk, credenza, doors that close and all kinds of really amazing things would come out of that room. I'd probably have my Ph.D in teaching, and be teaching teachers how to teach children - especially exceptional learners. I'd have traveled extensively, my passport having been stamped from all kinds of exotics lands. I'd have learned to cook, bought real art and had it properly framed, I'd have crystal and know how to pick out a bottle of wine.

48-year-old almost 49-year-old Carrie is realizing, if she doesn't have it by now, hasn't done it by now, hasn't been there by now, she probably never will. It's not like I won't ever travel or learn something new, I might, but then again, I might not, and that's okay. I finally realized that what is gone is not the dream, but the striving.  I simply don't want to strive any more - not for things, not for adventure, not for accomplishments.

At almost 50 I want less, not more. Less stuff. Less acquaintances. Less high-maintenance relationships. Less drama. Less obligations. Less busyness. Less involvements with things that aren't important to me. I'm all done forcing things. In fact, that reminds me of a Toeless Terry story - she had a friend going through a divorce, and she asked him why. He said, "The woman forced flowers to bloom." I've never forgotten that (and I'm fairly sure there were bigger troubles in the marriage than forced flowers, but it does beg the question, what is the point in forcing things?).

So, I don't consider it being resigned, giving up, quitting, being lazy, any of that. I consider it being content with what I have. Letting things happen. Allowing. Accepting. Being grateful for what is, and not with my eyes on the horizon for what might be.

* Photo from http://www.sitepoint.com

Monday, January 2, 2012


I was a lot more freaked out about 2012 three or four years ago, than I am now that it's here. You know, all the end of the Mayan calendar stuff. Not that I'm not a big believer that we're headed for something all right, I just don't think it's the end of the world, figuratively, or literally. I think, or chose to believe, we're headed for profound healing. I think so much of what's been off balance in our world, is going to start shifting back to center. If ever there was a year for the feminine divine to make a big comeback, it's 2012 - just sayin'.

My sister-in-law, Sonam, and nephew, Kunga, were up for the weekend. (Side note: They gave Rojo a U of O Rose Bowl T-shirt for Christmas, which he wore all day today, all the way to the Ducks first Rose Bowl victory since 1917! Go, Ducks!)

We went out for frozen yogurt all three days (Rojo and I are, without a doubt, their best and favorite customers). They had new year's resolutions forms you could fill out and get 20% off on your yogurt (when you spend $200/month on frozen yogurt, you'll save 20% every chance you get). Rojo, Sonam, Kunga and I talked about what we wanted for the new year. Both Sonam and I were, and are, hesitant to state our resolutions for lots of reasons. (You feel like a loser when you break them, it's like jinxing them, you should be working on improving yourself at all times, not just at the new year, blah, blah, blah.) We saw other people's resolutions taped along the bank of yogurt machines. There were lots and lots of "lose weight" and "eat better." But the ones that stood out to us were these:

Go to Tibet (Sonam is Tibetan, but has never been there. It's our dream to travel there together as soon as she has a US Visa - hers is Indian)

Be kind to myself

Be positive

Take time for myself


Let it go


Choose to be happy, instead of being right

Isn't it encouraging to think that right now, all over the world, there are people resolving to be kind? To forgive? To apologize? To let it go and to be happy?

Photo from www.washingtonpost.com

Sorry Not Sorry

I'm sorry I keep pointing you towards BrenĂ© Brown's podcast,  Unlocking Us , but I'm not that  sorry.* I've appreciated ever...