Friday, April 27, 2012


At least once a week someone apologizes to me for something that didn't even hit my radar. It boggles (or "bobbles" as Rojo says) my mind that they spent a moment worrying about it, fretting, beating themselves up for something they think they said or did that could have been perceived the wrong way.

At least once a week/day someone does not apologize for something I think they should. We're never going to get this right, we humans. We're going to bungle and botch, we're going to offend and defend, we're going to hurt and be hurt. We can't control much of that, but we can forgive. In the words of my gal, Deb Talen, we can open up all our doors, let it out and let it in - forgiveness.

Forgiven, Deb Talen

You worry on
hurting anybody anymore
You worry on
small comfort
One of us seems not to tremble
You make a rift inside me
every day
Then you choose to stay
I walk the edge and
push it wider

You are forgiven
I open all my doors
You are forgiven
What a heart is for
I am no martyr
You give me reason
I try harder
and I wait
for a warmer season
You are

I hear a soft noise like a sigh,
A singing
like a lullaby
It is my heart
It is this wind
that blows through,
Where you held me closer,
Where we whisper
This is
this is true

You are forgiven
I open all my doors
You are forgiven
What a heart is for
I am no martyr
You give me reason
I try harder
And I wait
for a warmer season
You are

And it's time
to go
I cannot stay
You cannot know
My love
So dear
Will it be faith
or fear?

You are forgiven
open all my doors
You are forgiven
What a heart is for
I am no martyr
You give me reason
I try harder
And I wait
for a warmer season
You are

You are

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Triple Digits

At 15 years, 9 months, 5' 9" tall, Rojo has finally hit the 100-lb. mark. Through blood, sweat and tears, and DAILY trips for frozen yogurt, I've put 40 lbs. on the boy in two years.

Can't really talk now - gotta go take a bow, kiss the ground I walk on, and all other fitting celebrations of my awesomeness.

* Photo from

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Many days when I take Rojo to frozen yogurt after school, our friend, C., comes too. Such was the case last week when we went to our favorite haunt, sat on the red stools looking out the window, and tried to ponder what the answer was to the trivia question they had on the chalkboard. "What is erythrophobia?"

We like answering them because A) you get a free punch on your punch card if you guess right, and B) it's just plain fun to guess. We knew phobia meant fear of, but we did not correctly guess that erythrophobia was fear of blushing.

C. said, "Did you know there's such a thing as a fear of beautiful women? It's true, you can Google it."

"No, I did not know that," I said.

"Well, Rojo does not have that fear," C. said.

"Rojo? Are you afraid of beautiful women?" I asked.

"No, I am not," he said matter-of-factly.

"He definitely is not," C. said, "he talks to them all the time at school. He'll talk to anyone! He talks to everyone!"

So, we're crossing calignyephobia off the list of things to worry about. Now on to tackle his entomophobia (fear of insects).

* Photo from

Monday, April 23, 2012


Took my kids to see the musical, "No, No, Nanette" yesterday at their high school. Had a ball. See how I said that all casual like, just as though it were an every day occurrence for me to take both kids somewhere, for FUN?

Not so much.

STM didn't want to go - musicals are not his thing. The three of us really wanted to go. Nobody dragged their feet. Nobody complained. Nobody negotiated to leave at intermission. Nobody was obnoxious during the performance. We clapped. We laughed. We smiled. We "WOOOOOO'd" all our friends at curtain call.

I sat between my two kids - both bigger than me now, they each had their arm on the arm rests next to me, so were both leaning in on me, and I was able to both enjoy the performance, and the moment for what it was - precious.

Because "Two for Tea" is one of the big songs from the musical, they raffled off a tea-themed basket to raise money for the drama department. I bought three tickets. Knew in my gut the minute I bought them, I'd be the winner (let it be said I think the last time I won something I was in 7th grade). At intermission they pulled the winning raffle ticket out and called the numbers. I held my three and just waited for one of them to be mine.

It was.

I was the big winner all around yesterday.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It Must Be Nice

Every once in awhile you read something and say to yourself, "Yep. Nailed it." That's how I felt when I read Michelle O'Neil's blog post about how to afford what's important to you.

It's funny, because yesterday before she posted that, we were e-mailing back and forth about how it all boils down to intention, and when people say the wrong thing, what matters is the place the "wrong" thing came from. When someone starts a sentence with, "It must be nice to..." it comes from a place of self-absorption and victimhood, which, who has time for?

So, do yourself a favor, click over and have yourself a giggle.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today is my Hopeful Parents day - please click on over! Thank you to those that let us know there were problems accessing Hopeful Parents. The whole site has moved over to Blogger to correct the problem - as a result, you may need to "follow" again on the new site - lots of good posts you won't want to miss!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Simple Pleasures

You just gotta love an almost-sixteen-year-old boy that is thrilled, thrilled with his $2.00 bottle of Sauve shampoo, Refreshing Waterfall Mist. Who delights in going to the store to pick out a new bottle, because his old one, Tropical Coconut is low, and he wants to smell good. He opens the lid of every single "flavor" they have and takes in a big whiff. Carefully considers which one will make his hair smell the best - "Care, you know I gotta smell smokin' hot."

We went on the shampoo expedition first thing Saturday morning, and he hasn't stopped thanking me since. He's lowered his almost 5' 9" head down so I can take a whiff, no fewer than 10 times. "Don't I smell smokin' hot?"

He was so excited to get in the shower on Saturday, he could not wait for his usual right-before-bed time. "Care, I am going to take my shower at 3:02 today so I can smell smokin' hot for church tonight. Won't I smell smokin' hot for church tonight, Care?"

He did.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Ultimate Gift

Typically, the weekends are a breathless race to the finish line, Rojo keeping me on a schedule from the minute my eyes pop open, to the minute his close. I hadn't even put both feet on the floor this morning before he started in with the day's agenda. Trying to fit in walking the dog, actually spending time with "the other one," and doing everything else that needs to be done in a weekend, can make it quite stressful.

I was "on schedule" for taking him to his 10:15 "appointment" when STM came home from a long bike ride and said, "How about I take him, then I'll take him to Home Depot. He wants to go to the one in Troutdale today, so we will be gone a couple of hours."

So. I find myself With Woohoo asleep for at least another hour, the dog, boy and husband all gone, and "nothing" to do. You know as well as I do what that means, it means we start with a fresh "cup" of coffee, the iPad for a few rounds of solitaire, then I'm going to go sit in the rocker on the front porch with a blanket, and read more from THE KITCHEN HOUSE, which I've barely started, but already love.

Thank you, STM, for the ultimate gift. I love you, too.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Golden Hat


This boy had a golden hat.
The hat was magical. It could talk.
The boy did not have any voice. He had autism.
His hat was always with him.
His hat was lost one day.
Now he had no way of telling them his stories.
His mom and dad became sad.
They taught him spelling on a letterboard.
It was hard.

by Keli Thorsteinsson

Simon & Schuster contacted me awhile back, told me a little about a new book, THE GOLDEN HAT,  and asked if I would be willing to take a look. I was honored to do so, especially after knowing my friend Arthur, and the story of his daughter Carly finding her voice that autism had kept locked away for years.

It all started when Kate Winslet met a mother and son, Margret and Keli, while doing the voice-over work for their movie, A Mother's Courage. Keli has nonverbal autism, and Kate was so moved by their story, she and Margret stayed in touch. One night after her kids were asleep, Kate went to brush her teeth and a great idea popped in her head: she would ask celebrities to don her hat, take a picture of themselves wearing it, and "Think about the fact that many individuals with nonverbal autism have never been able to communicate. Now express something that's important to you; this quote will be included in the book."

A huge and impressive list of celebrities put on the hat, took the self-portrait, and (most of them) included a quote. Many did express something important to them. Reese Witherspoon, already a favorite of mine, wrote, "Love one another..." Kate herself wrote, "I'm here and I love you." Jude Law wrote, "What a wonderful world." Brigitte Lacombe said, "Be kind."

Some wrote bizarre things and I'll be honest, it lowered my respect for them. I appreciate that they are helping a good cause (more on that in a minute), but it boggles my mind that they don't have more important things to say than, "Get off my property," (Woody Allen), or "Knock, knock... who's there?" (Ethan Hawke). I guess I find it insulting, as though they aren't taking it seriously enough, making it all about them - getting the laugh, the attention, the glory.

This is serious business. My favorite part of the book is the section featuring people with nonverbal autism (including Carly), and the first words they communicated (and the age at which they did so), through augmentative communication devices. Margret's son Keli's first words at age ten, were, "I am real." I needed the celebrities in the book to get that, and many did, but many did not. These are real people, every bit as important, every bit as impressive, every bit as deserving of attention and praise.


One boy was asked by his mother, "What have you been doing all these years?" and the first word he communicated (age nine) was, "Listening." A girl that started communicating at age eight said first, "I don't like flattery."

These people are here to teach.

The Golden Hat Foundation raises money to create housing for adults affected by autism, a cause near and dear to my heart. Do yourself a favor, buy this lovely coffee table-style book for yourself, your loved ones, and maybe one for Woody Allen.

Friday, April 6, 2012

No, as a Matter of Fact, I Didn't Know That

So, Rojo walks into the kitchen and asks, "What are you doing?"

"I'm making turkey sandwiches for Woohoo and me."

"What kind of turkey," he asks, having never had a bite of turkey in his life I can't believe he's asking me, "pepper? Roasted? Honey? Smoked?"

"How do you know so much about turkey?" I ask.

"Well you know I'm part Turkish," he says, without missing a beat.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Little Lies I Tell Myself

I tell myself (and everyone else), I only drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day. See that poor excuse for a coffee cup on the left? That's 6 oz. That's what is considered a "cup" of coffee. I don't waste my time on that cup or the horse it rode in on. Ditto the second one on the left. By the time you get to the pink and white polka dot mug, you've gotten my attention. That is just about right for "cup" number two long about 10:00 AM. I don't get out of bed for anything less than the one on the far right.

Other little lies I tell myself include, but are not limited to:

* If I don't do it, no one will.

* Whatever it is I don't want to do is going to be painful/difficult/hard/expensive/brutal.

* Life is hard and only going to get harder.

* If I haven't done "it" by now (whatever the "it" of the day is), I'll never do it.

* There is a scarcity of time/money/attention/energy and I already don't have enough of it.

Breaking these negative thought loops is a challenge, but fully caffeinated, I know I can do it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Autism Awareness

So sue me, I missed Autism Awareness Day on the 2nd. I find it hard to believe that there's a soul alive that's unaware of autism. 1 in 88 kids has it. If you don't have a kid with it you most certainly know of one that does.

Having said that, someone innocently asked me on Sunday at church if we'd all had a nice Spring Break. At which point I ripped him a new one. "NO, we did not have a nice Spring Break. It rained an inch a day. We talked about the ice cream truck and played ice cream truck songs on the computer from 6 AM to 8 PM. We..." I ran through my entire litany of things I'd been just storing up for that very reason.

I then called Nancy and said, "Can you believe that anyone that knows me, dared to ask if I had a nice Spring Break?" I was outraged. Righteously so? No. Nonetheless? Yes. It hit my "You Just Don't Get It" button which is about as big as the Sears Tower.

My friend Val, that has a kid on the complete opposite end of the dreaded Bell Curve, does get it. "Did you survive Spring Break?" she asked me Monday when I popped by her office for something.

"Thank you for not asking if I had a nice Spring Break," I said.

"I know better than to ask that," she said with a smile.

"Did you survive with grace?" she asked?

Obviously not, or I would not have bitten the head off of a man just being nice. Survival can't be the only goal, we can't forget about grace.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Moving the Chains

So, I'm not sure if it's that we had a sunny day (after, I swear to God, an inch-a-day TFBS that we called "Spring Break), or if it's that Mercury, Mars and Saturn are about to turn around and go direct, or if it's that I had the slip cover lady over to measure, thus forcing me out of "the" chair, but whatever the reason(s), I got up and got going yesterday.

I made phone calls that had been on my list for months. I scheduled appointments. I made new lists and satisfyingly scratched things off the old one(s). STM came home and I told him all about it. "I don't have a case worker yet, but I called Joan, and I found out WHO to call (and who not to call). I have a lunch date with Kerstin (who has an almost 17-year-old with special needs), I am meeting on Wednesday with a woman from "independent housing," I am meeting next week with someone to talk bout the pros and cons of guardianship/SSI/Medicaid and waivers for transitional services. I have put the wheels in motion, and it feels good. And scary. And overwhelming. But better than sitting here pretending it's all going to go away. Even if all this is for 'nothing,' it feels like something."

"So, you're moving the chains. I'd say you got yourself a first down," he said. Now, I know " " this much about football, but I do know that a first down means progress. Doesn't mean a touch down, but it means you are that much closer to one.

What struck me about yesterday was how many people were very happy to help. Very happy to meet. Very happy to tell me what they've learned and show me the ropes. Every time Rojo's needed a guardian angel, he's received ten.

And so have I.


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...