Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Scarecrow

The day after my astrology reading, I went for a walk with my dear friend, Val. Val is just the one you want to walk with after any kind of metaphysical experience. She is great to process things with, and she is likely to have some nugget you are looking for, downloaded to her in the process. Case in point, we're walking and I'm telling her all about Wil's Cardinal Cross, and how the astrologer said his work in the future, both literally and figuratively, is in the church. Val spotted a crow feather on the ground, "The crows are talking," she said, "we need this."

We keep walking, her holding the crow feather, me prattling on and on. I tell her how I get all fired up when people dismiss those with disabilities, as not having something useful to "say." I tell her how the astrologer says my chart indicates I have lots of public speaking in my future around that topic, and how in a million years I never would have predicted I'd end up a public speaker (and still find it far-fetched).

We move back to Wil and his chart. "The astrologer said in the next two-and-a-half years Wil is going to be more in the 'intersection' than we had thought he would be, which is going to be very weird for us."

"I just had an image of the Scarecrow in 'The Wizard of Oz,' for Wil - standing in the intersection pointing the way for others that have lost direction," Val says.

"Oh, my God," I say, "the crow feather! The Scarecrow! And how about the Scarecrow being the symbol for those "without a brain," that really do have a brain, but they are dismissed as those that don't?"

We both get chills running up and down our spines.

I don't think Wil's work in the "intersection" is to scare anyone or anything away, but to re-direct those that are limited by their beliefs, their conditioning, and their limited thinking about people with brains that work differently.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

True Success

I would post more often, but I'm very busy being truly successful by this definition. Leave it to ol' Toeless Terry to nail it!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Be the Altar

I had my about-once-a-year astrology reading on Wednesday. I've been going to this astrologer since 2006, which doesn't sound like a super long time, but nonetheless I feel like we've been through a lot together. It's quite an intimate relationship. I, at least, feel like "it's" all right there in front of her, no pretenses, no fancy footwork, no posing or re-framing. What she sees is what is there, written in the stars - things you know about yourself and things you don't, things you want to know about yourself, and things you don't, things you're trying to figure out about yourself and things you've got all figured out.

If you've never invested in a reading with a good astrologer, I encourage you to consider it. For me, it's intensified and accelerated therapy. Whatever it is you're pondering/struggling with/considering/moving towards or away from, after a reading you feel less cluttered, more affirmed, centered, pointed in the right direction. How can you put a price on that?

She reviewed with me my lifetime lunation cycle:

As we all know, we cycle through a darkness and light cycle each day, each month, and throughout our lifetime. It's not all in our head - there are periods where we are planting, and periods where we are harvesting, periods of ripeness and periods of being fallow. The trick is to move with the cycles, and not against them. I am two-and-a-half years away from my next summer solstice, and that's exactly what it feels like to me - there is something around the corner that is not quite ready to come up, but is just below the surface. We talked at great length about what that/those might be and what to do in preparation. We think it might have something to do with my preoccupation with the rampant intellectualism that is still mostly okay in our culture.

The other thing I wanted to look at was Wil's chart, and what is coming up for him. A year from turning 18, two years from being done with school, lots of ideas but no big plan, I was needing some astral direction. The astrologer has done Wil's chart before, and when she pulled it out this time she said, "Oh, there it is again - the Cardinal Cross  - the symbol for the oneness of all life. Is he very spiritual?"

"Very," I said.

"It's too bad he doesn't live in India - India would know what to do with a person like this. This is the chart of high spiritual teachers."

"Does he have an altar in his room? Could he be an altar server? You know what, never mind, he is the altar," she said.

I left an hour later with renewed mission in the holy work Wil has to do in this world, and my role in facilitating that.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Taking Turns

Today was one of those days where I felt like I was in my car all day - haven't even read a single page of GONE GIRL. Every turn I tried to make was thwarted by traffic, detours, construction, bridge building, or faulty directions by Siri. So rattled, at one point I very nearly turned right onto a one-way street going the opposite way, and I would have, too, had it not been for the urgent and persistent honking of the car directly behind me, warning me of my almost-disaster. I did wave a thank you to her upon correction and redirection, then quickly turned at the next possible corner to avoid any sort of awkward eye contact from mirrors.

I tried to run into Safeway just to get a few things, and everything was moved, as in, every thing. Scratch that, the bread was where it supposed to be, likewise the produce, but everything else had moved since the last time I was there. Just like all the roads I'd so gratefully gotten off of to come into the store, there was nothing but one way streets and road blocks, detours, poor directions and inherent frustration.

A few hours and multi-errands later, I crossed the Sellwood bridge to take Wil to the doctor. The Sellwood bridge is not fun on a good day, and these days there ain't nothing but bad days, as the ancient bridge is being replaced right next to the existing/temporary one. I almost always go over the bridge and turn right/north but this time I went under the clover-leaf and drove south. I'd forgotten because of the massive construction project, the zone is now 25 MPH, down from 45 MPH. I got too close to the car in front of me and then realized she was not just trying to drive me crazy, she was indeed, following the speed limit. I slowed way down, put a respectful amount of distance between us, and thought we were done with the matter, but she rolled down her window and flashed her hands dramatically, first holding up two fingers, then five, then back to two, then back to five.

Got it.

Tried to find a nearby frozen yogurt shop after Wil finished at the doctor and Siri fervently insisted I turn left on a street where no left turn was allowed. Had to drive forever to get myself going in the right direction. Ate my yogurt grumpily outside on the beautiful day, as someone inconsiderately sat and smoked nearby.

Loaded back into the car and packed it full of my black mood, heading on the freeway near rush hour. We limped along, finally got off on our exit, hit more construction and traffic, before heading back over the Sellwood bridge. This time I was in the lane with the right-of-way, and the traffic coming from the other direction, trying also to get on the bridge, had a yield sign. Every time I cross that bridge from either direction I marvel that the city of Portland has created its own "rule" that you take turns at that point. Invariably, the car without the yield, lets one car with the yield go, then he/she goes, and on and on it continues, taking turns beautifully, systematically, without "having" to,  without signage, without monitoring, just because it's the right thing to do - take turns.

And just like that, my good mood got its turn.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Can't Talk Now

Very, very busy being the last person on the planet to read this:

While drinking this (decaf):

Monday, July 15, 2013


I've been mulling something over ever since my 4th of July family reunion, when not one, but two cousins both said nearly the exact same thing: "I was so glad to read your book. I'd always wondered about your life, but I didn't want to pry."

I don't know if this phenomenon is unique to my family or if it's more of a greater cultural thing, but I was definitely raised with the theory, "If they want me to know, they'll tell me."

I do not subscribe to that theory.

At the same reunion my cousin's 19-year-old daughter, having just finished her freshman year of college and considering a career as an OT, also read my book, and asked if she could ask me a few questions. "How can therapists be most helpful, and what is okay and not okay to ask parents?"

Aren't those good questions? I answered that it had way more to do with intent, than with word choice. The "wrong" question with the right intent, is still the right question. You can easily tell the difference between idle curiosity, and genuine interest, and all is forgiven when someone is on the same team. As far as what therapists can do to be most helpful, again, conveying their intent to be most helpful, is most helpful. Opening that door to being someone the parent and/or child can go to for support, ideas, strategies, problem-solving, guidance, a kick-in-the-%$#, whatever the case may be, that is most helpful.

Recently I saw an old friend. She and I are part of a foursome that gets together several times a year, and has for 24 years. We have been through a lot together, shared births, deaths, divorces, re-marriages,  new jobs, retirements, and all of life's ups and downs. Or at least I thought so. I just learned that some pretty big things have been omitted over the years, I am sure it's to protect the privacy of others, I am sure it's because those things are hard to talk about and are a buzz kill when you're getting together for drinks and some laughs. I am sure that the three of us also failed to "pry" enough. We took this friend at face value when she said things like, "Great!" "Fine!" "The same!"

Maybe it's true that she didn't want us to know, so she didn't tell us, and then when she did want us to know, she did tell us. Maybe the most helpful thing we could have done was held space for her all these years until the burden was too much to bear and the cost of not telling was greater than the cost of telling.

I hope so.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Seventeen years ago today this holy boy came into the world. He came into my life exactly nine months prior to that, as his presence was known to me instantly, and of course, he was born not around his due date, but on  it. He has kept himself and everyone around him to a rigid schedule ever since.

This past year he has come into his own.

He is a long, long way from being able to live independently, but he is ever closer to being able to think independently. He knows his own mind; what he likes, what he doesn't like, what he wants, what he doesn't want, what behaviors he will accept from others and what behaviors he will not, what he will spend his free time doing and what he will not.

A couple of mornings ago I was flying around the kitchen trying to get his breakfast in front of him, cleaning up the kitchen, wiping up all the water Flicka dribbled from her bowl to her bed in some mad tail-chasing order that repeats itself each and every morning with frustrating regularity as I tried to get out the door to meet Kathleen for a 7:00 AM walk. Wil prattles, the microwave beeps, Flicka dribbles the just-wiped area, the toaster pops, I inhale one bite of my own breakfast, repeat. And the prattling isn't something you can just nod and tune out, he gets you on the hook, he's arranging things, putting his requests in, planning his life.

"We will go to Trader Joe's at 8:02 and I will get gluten-free Jojo's for dad. We will get blueberries and strawberries and watermelon and pineapple because we really need to have flavor-changing in action for our water. The water in our fridge is really old and we really need to have flavor-changing in action. We will have blueberry water on Wednesday, pineapple on Thursday, watermelon on Friday and on Saturday we will have strawberry. The water in the fridge is really old and we really need flavor-changing in action just like the frozen yogurt that gets flavor changed, we will need to do that every day so we will go to Trader Joe's at 8:02 and get all the flavor-changing things."

I buzz around the kitchen even more maniacally with each order he barks, check my watch to make sure I'm not late, grab the poop bags, a Kleenex, my shoes, the leash and set it all out by the door.

"Care," he says, "I am only sixteen for a few more days. It's really important that you remember that. Don't forget that I am only sixteen for a few more days. Time is going by. I am getting older. Just remember that I am only sixteen for a few more days."

When each day feels like the last in so many ways, times 365/year times seventeen years, it's hard to step back and see the growth, see the changes, see the distance you've travelled and see the future as one whose flavor will continue to be in action.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Signs from the Universe

Sometimes signs from the Universe are hard to discern, and sometimes, not so much. In the last two days I've "received" these messages:


I ask you - what more is there?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The God Box

In Anne Lamott's book, HELP THANKS WOW, she writes of a God box - any old box, big, little, fancy, simple, in which you write whatever it is you're swirling about on a little piece of paper, cram it into the box, and let it go for God to handle. I have now read the book twice, and decided this was the morning to get on it and get myself a proper God box.

I am working on not making things more complicated than they need to be - not striving, not pursuing, not pushing, but making space and allowing - manifesting through openness, not tenacity and bulldoggedness. So, when I awoke this morning with the God box idea on my heart, I literally, opened my eyes to look around at what was right in front of me that might work. My friend, Val, gave me this wonderful box to use as a "traveling altar" many years ago, and I have done just that with it - traveled, meditated, prayed, sat with Mary in places both far and wide. I decided to convert it into a God box - I went through each of it's many little spaces and rearranged the items in there: a cross, a rosary, a glass bumblebee, a rose crystal heart, a Buddhist mala. I think energy gets stagnant and by moving things around, giving them a wipe with a damp cloth and rearranging them, we shift and rekindle energy.

I quickly wrote down several things that are on the Top 10 Things to Worry About Today list, and placed them in the God box:

I won't tell you what they are, but I will tell you, I feel better already.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Calm Tint

Wil's room is completely torn up and mid-project, "mid" being optimistic. It is currently baby blue but has faded considerably since we painted it ten years ago. When asked what color he wants his room now, he replies, "Baby blue." With the goal being to make his room both more masculine and more mature, "we," and by "we," I mean the color consultant team: STM, me, Nancy, Kathleen, Woohoo, and the newest member, S., Wil's recently graduated assistant. S has a full-time summer job that has him at work in the hot sun from 6:30 - 2:20 each day, but has come over here several times this summer to take Wil out for burgers and fro-yo. He came yesterday to bring him his birthday present, a T-shirt from the college he will be attending shortly (and playing basketball for, too, btw).

The team has settled on the middle swatch there, which almost looks like a denim, and has the wonderfully auspicious name of Calm Tint. Don't you worry your pretty little head, I have the mattress pad, sheets, pillows and new duvet cover already purchased and waiting anxiously to be put onto the bed we have yet to purchase. And yes, I have pulled the duvet cover out of the package and held it up against Calm Tint several times just to make sure it's all matchy matchy. I've hauled his area rug off to get cleaned, I've dusted cobwebs and scrubbed corners and baseboards.

We moved all his furniture into the center of the room, and I thought for sure that would drive him crazy and he wouldn't be able to sleep, so I stripped all the bedding on the spare bed he sits on to watch TV in the little funky non-room next to his. I did the blanket, the sheets, the comforter, even the decorative pillows. As I pulled the down comforter out of the dryer and feathers flew everywhere, it dawned on me that there were feathers flying everywhere.

My boy is allergic to feathers.

His bedroom doesn't have feathers because, like I said, my boy is allergic to feathers.

Years ago I switched his comforter and pillows to down alternatives. It never once occurred to me, not in the many, many years he's been resting on a down comforter to watch TV and play on his iPad, that he's resting on a down comforter to watch TV and play on his iPad.

Can you even believe that?

I hauled the down comforter, all coordinating pillows and a huge garbage bag filled with clothes I never, ever want to see again, to Goodwill this morning. I ran into my friend, Solomon. I have come to know him because I'm at Goodwill so often doing this very thing. "Solomon," I said, "have you ever met a woman with more junk than me?"

Solomon, in all his wisdom said, "It is good to help other people." Then he handed me my receipt, wished me a good day, smiled lovingly and I drove my now-empty car back home to finish prepping for a coat of Calm Tint in a room with no feathers, next door to a room with no feathers, ready next for a boy that will be seventeen on Sunday, a boy whose nose might dry up now.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I've been out-of-town and very, very busy doing this:

And very, very busy drinking my new favorite beer, made in my hometown, Eugene, OR:

I missed just this one:

Woohoo and I took our annual girls-only camping trip to my family's reunion held every year over the 4th of July, along the Little Deschutes river in Central Oregon. Day #3 Wil texted me, "ARE YOU HAVING FUN AT YOUR SHINDIG? SHINDIG IS AN EXPRESSION FOR PARTY."

We had fun at our shindig.

I highly recommend you get yourself shindigging ASAP, if not sooner.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Stacking Rocks

Have you noticed the overwhelming (and often incorrect) avoidance of the word, "me?" As in, "______ and me." People won't say it. It's particularly apparent on bad TV (read: "The Bachelor").  "Me!" I shout over and over again while watching said bad TV. "It's okay to say me! Me is correct! Me is the word you're looking for! Take away the other person, what would you say? Would you say, 'The ball came to "I?"' No, you would not! That would sound ridiculous! So don't say, 'The ball came to _______ and I! PLEASE!!!"

Wil called me on it the other day. I correctly said "me" and he said, "You're supposed to say, I."

I about took his head off. (He is also a stickler for the proper use of "whom." I don't even know what to make of a boy who seems to have this down perfectly, and well, other things, not so much.)

While I was very, very busy gloating over my full understanding of this grammatical rule that seems to allude 90% of the population, I came upon these stacked rocks. They were on a boulder that was amongst other boulders, in a little rock garden part of an apartment building complex in a busy, hip, happening part of Portland. The rock garden is next to a restaurant and apparently people get their food and some come and sit there, play with the rocks, and someone(s) stacked them up all Zen-like. Because there are no accidents, I was sitting in the rock garden enjoying a lovely iced latte on a hot summer day, when the owner of the apartments/rock garden, drove up. I actually know the owner, he's a friend of STM's. He was stopping by to check on things, and we got to talking.

"I like the new rock garden," I said, "and I'm crazy about the stacked rocks, so cool!"

"Yea, very groovy," he said. He started telling me about how he might add one of those Little Free Libraries, or better yet, a rock exchange. "Leave a rock, take a rock, it could be really groovy!" he said, repeating his favorite word.

He then jumped to the subject of marriage (if you knew him, you'd know that jumping wildly from point to point in a conversation is very typical). "The thing about marriage is," he said, "there's no place for me or I."

"You're so right," I said. And I meant it. And I knew that whomever was spending their days stacking rocks was making a whole lot better use of their time than I was, worrying about other people's use of "me" or "I." They don't have a place in marriage, and their grammatical use shouldn't be taking up space in my brain.

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...