Monday, September 30, 2013

The Young Folks

Temple Grandin believes there are three types of specialized thinkers::

1. Visual thinkers (they think in pictures)
2. Music and Math thinkers
3. Verbal Logic thinkers

She herself is a visual thinker. If I had to pick one, I'd say I was, too, but certainly not "specialized." We've known with Wil from the beginning, that his mind thought musically. During the 18 long months he did little more than cry, he'd show a bit of interest in some jingles that came on TV, and even pause the crying for a blessed moment or two.

Fast forward to the age of the iPad and the birth of iHeart Radio. Wil could spend all day on that thing, and has become a music aficionado. He loves all types of music, truly, all types, and has encyclopedic knowledge of bands, their songs, their genre, and which station in which state is most likely to play their music. He loves everything from the Steve Miller Band to Katy Perry. He's good at math, too, no mathematical genius, but his mind thinks mathematically. He can add and subtract effortlessly. I, being visual, am still seeing the problem, borrowing, carrying, and all that nonsense, long after he's come up with the answer. He doesn't solve the problem, he knows the answer. He has math sense that will elude me to my dying day.

Wil plays the piano and sings all the time. He's never had a lesson (but he will, don't you worry, he will). His right hand never misses a note. His left is a bit loud and thumpy, but still, pretty amazing. When he wants to learn a new song, I put Scotch tape on the keys and then write with a Sharpie, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. He follows the numbers to get the tune the first time or two, and then he's set. That song is permanently locked in his data base, and at his ready any time, day or night.

We were at the yogurt shop on Thursday with his former Resource Room teacher, her husband and new baby (the one for whom he's the godfather). We were all chatting away, and all of a sudden Wil broke through the conversation with the question of what was the name of the song on the radio. We all recognized it, but didn't know the name, let alone the band. He persevered and I brought out my trusty iPhone with the Shazam app and in a few seconds was able to tell him it was "Young Folks," by Peter, Bjorn and John.

This morning, four days later, he asks during breakfast, "Remember the Halloween video I watched when I was eight? They played 'Young Folks' on that video."

No. I do not remember the Halloween video. I do not remember him ever paying more than five minutes of attention to any video whatsoever at age eight. I do not remember the song from a video I do not remember.

But I do remember that he is always right about these things. It gives me some insight into the way he thinks, that a song from long ago could so lodge itself in his brain that he was able to access it nine years later when he had another piece to go with it.

I don't need to tell you that autism is on the rise, as high as 1 in 50 boys will be diagnosed with it. The young folks today ain't the young folks of yesterday. There's no telling where the world will be when we put to use the specialized brains of these people.

Imagine the possibilities.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I might have to call TFBS on Brene Brown's claim, after all. I'm not sure I can get behind her statement that if you can't ask for help, your giving comes with judgment.

Some of my friends and readers have made some compelling arguments - many of us used to  ask for help, but the help came with too high a price, or we were let down, the problem made bigger, the help not helpful, the disappointment greater than the cost of going without the help.

We've been burned by "help."

Did I tell you about my hairdresser? She had this freak accident and ended up tearing her meniscus in her left knee, as well as really chewing up the bottom of her big toe. Walking was very painful and standing on her feet (which she does all day) was awful. She improvised, she brought in a chair to sit on, she got a brace, she did what she could. She met with her psychic friend, and the psychic said, "You injured your left side because the left side is our receptive side. You must learn to receive."

Every other hair dresser in the salon, as well as the receptionist, had offered to help. "Let me know if you need any help!" they said. She didn't "let them know," and eventually they just set about creating a system for her to reduce, if not eliminate, her going back and forth in the salon all day. Eventually, she conceded to the need for surgery, and they called all her clients and rescheduled everyone that was booked during the week she'd need to take off, and helped with the overflow.

She received.

I think at least half of the problem in the giving game is receiving help, not just asking for it. If I have judgments about giving, that's where they are - in my worthiness to receive. My judgments come in the form of deciding what others that offer help, can and cannot manage, and what is and is not too trivial, mundane and silly to even bother them with. I've got Nancy buying me things at Costco when she goes, and a friend ordering wine at wholesale prices for me. I feel guilty each time.

Guilty? What did I "do?" They offered, I accepted. I need a little judgement about that dynamic.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Judgmental Giving

I don't know if you caught the Oprah's Lifeclass with Brene Brown, or know of Dr. Brene Brown's work, but I am a big fan. She said something that really has me thinking, and I'm paraphrasing, but the essence was, if you can't ask for help, that's because you have a judgment about what help is and who needs it. Therefore, when you give, you are always giving with judgment.

At first I thought about all the ways she was wrong, and then I realized that was just a defense mechanism, because she's so right. At the very least, we judge giving help as good, and asking for help as bad.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

And That's the Truth with Dan Pallotta

This is a great interview with Dan Pallotta, conducted by none other than my dear friend, Terry. I watched Dan's TED Talk, and like Terry says in this interview, I, too, realized I held a common bias - that non-profits should have low overhead. If you share that bias, I would encourage you to watch his compelling arguments to the contrary.

A couple points in the interview particularly struck me, the first one being the misunderstanding that people that are gay and come out, do it once and are done with it. "Sometimes I come out four times in one week," Dan says. He gave the example of how he and his partner are raising triplets, and a cab driver recently asked him how his wife felt about having triplets. He could have side stepped it, he could have lied, but he came out to the cab driver because not only was that more authentic, it held more integrity for his family.

As a special-needs mom, I feel like my "coming out" days are increasing. I am not saying it's the same thing, don't get me wrong, but what I am saying, is it struck a chord with me when Dan said that. More and more I'm getting casual comments and questions about what my 17-year-old will be doing after high school, and more and more I'm torn between being honest, kind, full of integrity, and also self- preservation. There is just so much energy one has for this type of thing.

Dan is an accomplished man, and at one point in the interview Terry steals a famous STM line, "You're not watching enough TV, as 'they' say!" she tells him. I love that she has morphed STM into "they" and I love that she used it. STM and I use that expression a lot (I think I've even blogged about it), because there was a day (and by "day," I mean decades) where we, too, were not watching enough TV. We were doing/going/moving and shaking all the live long day.

No more.

These days we are watching plenty of TV, which brings me to another interesting point Dan made. "Look at your calendar and see what is on it that makes you excited - what are you looking forward to, and do more of that. Follow your passion."

These days, what gives me endless delight is looking at a calendar, and finding at least one day in the week that doesn't have much on it at all, and if it does, it's something like, "change the beds." Put me in my house with great music and candles, and point me towards the laundry room, and I'm a happy, contented, if not blissful, woman. Give me a day like yesterday, where I was running around from sun up to sun down, scarfing Cliff Bars in the car and calling them breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I'm, shall we say, not a happy camper.

Following your bliss isn't always blissful. I do think we make things more complicated than they need to be, however, and if you're at all interested in simplifying, here's a great list of ways to get started.

So, be inspired, be encouraged, be provoked, and enjoy the interview!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Reading

Ok, just got back home after the reading, and my head is aswirl, but I'll take a stab at telling you about it. I won't share much about my friend's reading, other than to say it went all the way back to Christ and the crucifixion. Fascinating stuff. She said my friend, Susan, and I are "twin souls," souls created at the same time, and alternating teacher/leaner roles throughout many, many lifetimes.

My reading placed me in a past life where I danced along side, Lillie Langtry, one of King Edward's mistresses. I'd never heard of Lilly Langtry until today. She lived from 1953 - 1929, which means she was still alive when my dad was a young boy, and I can bet my bottom dollar, he knew all about her.

One thing that Marie said, we tend to reincarnate with the same cluster of souls over and over, which, I believe I've written about before. Often our parents, our spouse/partner and kids, are in our soul cluster. We take on different roles and genders, being parents to our parents, and kids to our kids, etc.

If you were to walk the planet believing you've been every color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, intellectual and class level before, wouldn't you walk the planet differently? But, I digress.

I guess not only was I a dancer in the past life that came through today, but in many, many past lives. Funny, because as a kid all I wanted to do was sing and dance on Broadway. I lacked absolutely everything necessary to do such a thing, so abandoned that dream long ago, but something stirred when she said that. Maybe I'll take a dance class. In the meantime, maybe I'll just dance with a broom in my kitchen to the tunes on Pandora. She also said I could "dance" psychologically and figuratively, not just literally.

She said I didn't come into this lifetime to learn anything in particular, but to have another human experience. That was different from being "on holiday," which some souls are, meaning they are taking a "bye" this lifetime from the suffering they've endured for many lifetimes, and are just coasting along this time, before resuming samsara. Later, when I told her I thought I'd come into this incarnation to provide a way for Wil to "volunteer" as a soul to help lead us out of this mess, she agreed, and then she went on to say many lovely things about my mothering that I'm too humble to repeat. She also warned me about letting people suck me dry, and how it was essential I recharge by being 100% alone. She was singing to the choir on those points, I've learned both the hard way.

We talked about the deja vu experience, and she said it's actually our subconscious knowing what's going to happen before it happens, so when it happens, it feels like it has happened before.

I did a past life regression before, and was, apparently, the most difficult to "put under" that this man had ever experienced. That used a hypnosis method by which I was asked to pull up past life memories. I'm not saying it wasn't real or even useful, but it was a big challenge for me. This experience was different, Marie held my hands on top of her outstretched ones, across the table. We each closed our eyes, and for 10-15 minutes she "had one foot on the other side" and shared what she saw.

She said the same thing I've heard over and over again, we all have the ability to use our left brains to see/hear/know things, it's a matter of being open, practicing, trusting, and developing that skill just like any other.

Blessings on all your lifetimes.


Monday, September 16, 2013


I have a dear friend, Susan, and we have a karmic connection. I don't know that for a fact but it certainly feels that way.

And, we're about to find out.

Susan has an incredible house and yard. She is generous with sharing both, and is often the host of lovely, if not magical, gatherings. She hosted my book launch, and that will live in my memory forever as one of the most love-filled nights of my life.

One hot morning last week, Susan had me over for espresso in French demitasse cups, with sugar cubes that had each of our initials on them. We drank water poured from a beautiful carafe into elegant stemware. We sat under a grape arbor at the perfect little table, with a beautiful, antique table cloth, ironed within an inch of its life. One reason I believe Susan and I have karma, is I am all about the, "Nothing fancy," and she is all about the, "Let's get FANCY! Life is for LIVING!" Her joie de vivre is contagious.

We had one of those glorious two-hour conversations that felt like two minutes. One of our most favorite things to talk about is spirituality. I shared my thoughts on reincarnation, and Susan was very open, but at the same time, a bit skeptical. We talked about a couple people that have come into our lives in such big and powerful ways, some briefly, some for the long haul, but the relationship's intensity defies the confines of this lifetime. To me, it only makes sense that it's past life stuff being picked up from where it left off, old lessons that haven't quite gotten to the finish line and are presented to us for another shot at it.

Susan texted today and said, "I know I'm breaking the no-call rule, but I just have to talk to you." I called. So glad I did. Susan was unable to shake our reincarnation conversation, and did some Googling. One thing led to another, just like it always does in a universe where there are no accidents, and she found a woman here in the area (sort of), that does past life readings.

Her name is Marie Friend. FRIEND of MARY! Come on. You have to go read that blog post of hers I just linked to, it's all about children (like Wil) that do NOT come back to continue on with the unfinished lessons from past lives, they come to help heal.

Susan called Marie right up on the phone and found she had openings coming up, she mentioned her friend (me) would probably want to come too, and Marie was all about making that happen. Long story short, they couldn't settle on a day that worked and then Marie said, "Well, I know it's short notice, but I could do tomorrow." As fate would have it, we were both able to slightly juggle (way less juggling than normal), and we are GOING TOMORROW!

Right after I got off the phone with Susan, I was thinking about some of the people that have come and gone from my life, and I put on Pandora. The song that was playing was one that always makes me think of such a person.

You go ahead and tell me that was an accident.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Removing All Obstacles

"I'm going to hit you cold with something," STM said to me in mid-August, "I think we should clear our Fridays at least until Thanksgiving, and get after the To Do list. I think we should also put on the To Do list, some things that are fun. We aren't having enough fun in our lives."

STM is self-employed, and has been for fifteen years. At times this has really come in handy in terms of  flexibility, and at times it's been a giant pain-in-the-who-ha (i.e. the five years he worked in the basement when I had two not-in-school-yet kids).

Because I am highly driven by a To Do list and derive endless frustration from watching it grow, I agreed. Sad, but the "fun" part was really just a bone I threw him.

For three Fridays now, we've taken the "day" (really, it ends up being the hours between 10-2), and tried to mix a little business with pleasure. For pleasure, we've test driven a car, had lunch, and done a little shoe shopping.

As I've said, we are trying to pick out new carpet. I think we're both gun shy because the carpet we chose last time, has been such a disaster, we don't trust our choice. I've now made two trips to the carpet store with knowledgeable friend/interior designer, two by myself, and two with STM. We are all over the map. I keep coming back to something similar to what we already have, and STM wants anything but.

Part of me is so deeply invested in what we choose, it's ridiculous, and part of me is so ready to have the decision made and behind us, I'm ready to just say, "Have at it. Get whatever you want."

It's carpet.

That tension between what I want, in the small sense, and what I WANT in a global sense, is ever-present.

Before taking off to go carpet shopping with STM yesterday, I popped in on my support group that meets one Friday morning a month during the school year. We hadn't seen each other since June, and I was anxious to hear the updates. I gave mine very quickly before I had to leave, and talked about the tension between wanting to really enjoy these two years I do have, with Wil in school full time, and not piss them away with anxiety about them coming to an end. By the same token, I can't sit back on my laurels, there are things, big things, to attend to.

One reason I probably spend way too much time obsessing about the carpet, is that it's way easier to focus on that, than the decisions I really need to make, that really make a difference.

I'm doing a 21-day mediation and today's mantra was, Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha, which is intended to remove all obstacles. I got up early today and relished in the fact that Wil had spent the night with my mom, so there was no bacon to fry, no Flicka to let out, no tapping, humming, singing, hyper start to my morning. I put my headphones on and settled deep into the meditation.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

I was well on my way to repeating the mantra 108 times, when my phone rang. It was Wil. It was also 6:32 AM. He wanted to button down every detail of the day, and in fact, the weekend. Which mass did we want to go to? What time did we want to go to Burgerville? Could we take Mike to Mike's Drive-In and get a milkshake? Mike's name is Mike so we should take him to Mike's. What about his Halloween costume? When will it arrive? We ordered it online, so when will it be here?

I got all his questions answered, took another sip of my now not-so-hot coffee, and put the headphones back on.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

Wil texted. He made plans to go to the park at 9:00. He'd see me at 10:00.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

Wil texted again, maybe he'd be home closer to 11:00.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

Wil texted again. What time was I coming over to get Flicka for a walk?

I took off the headphones and gave up on meditating. The meditation was keeping me from being present and Wil was keeping me from meditating.

Removing all obstacles.

Monday, September 9, 2013


The school year is off and running, and not without its usual ups and downs. Somehow I always forget there will be bumps and overwhelm, exhaustion and readjustment, annoyances and redundancies, surprises good, and surprises bad. We here at the Link house, do not care so much for all that.

Wil will not wear a watch (anymore), and cannot have his cell phone on at school (totally understandable) and does not read conventional clocks easily. He carries on his person a pretty good-sized travel alarm clock, and that is his method for keeping himself on time. I triple checked that said alarm clock was in his backpack when we headed to the car. I did not see or hear him remove said alarm clock, from the backpack, and displace it in my car. I noticed only after I was back at home and stuck there, waiting to receive a package that requires a signature, that never came, and now is likely to screw up tomorrow, too, but that's another post.

Because said alarm clock was not in place, meds were not taken on time. Because meds were not taken on time, pretty much all hell broke loose. All that coupled with the surprises bad, redundancies, overwhelm, blah, blah and blah, let's just say that Beer O'Clock came early today.

Woohoo, too, is having her share of "issues," none of which are serious, but nevertheless taxing, tiring, frustrating and kind of a buzz kill. I will say this, Woohoo is at a great college, and to hear her talk about her classes and be excited about what she's learning, is a wonderful thing. STM and I went to perfectly fine colleges, but I think for at least the first two years, we simply took classes because we had to, and we just checked them off. We weren't engaged (one of mine was "taught" on television), we certainly weren't inspired, and we definitely weren't excited.

On a completely different note, I had plans to have coffee with my cousin Nancy today. In the middle of the night Saturday I sat bolt upright in bed, and realized I could not meet her for coffee, because I had to be home waiting for the package-that-never-came. Long story short, she came to me, and I invited my mom (her aunt) to join us. The three of us had a lovely time.

True confession: I hesitated having Nancy come to my house, because our carpet in the living room is so old/dirty/stained/trashed, and we are in the process of picking new carpet. Because we're so actively in this process, the existing carpet's flaws are in flashing neon to me. Nancy actually said these words to me during her visit, "Did you get new carpet?" My mom, too, seemed surprised when I mentioned to her why the samples were all up against the wall. She thought our carpet was just great.

The truth is, our carpet is not just great. Our carpet was cheap to begin with and we've put it through hell.

The truth is, our carpet is just great. To the casual observer it does what it needs to do, it covers the floor, it's warm under the feet, and with enough carefully placed furniture, it's "fine."

The truth is, so much of what is wrong, right, in need of fixing or just fine, is a matter of perspective. One (me) gets too close to the situation and looses all perspective. Sometimes the smartest thing to do is crack a beer and call it a day - a day like all days, with its highs and with its lows.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


This is the moment I've waited nearly three months for. The moment I sit at the coffee shop with my dry cappuccino in a "for here" mug, and breathe. The moment I put my over-the-ear headphones on and with every fiber in my being, discourage conversation from well-meaning strangers. The moment I  take a vow of silence. I will not speak to another human being until I pick up Wil at 2:35 today and hear all about his day. I even crammed a long-distance phone call to a textbook company this morning at 6:30 AM, whose offices are on the East Coast, just so I wouldn't have to face that task during my "off" hours. Woohoo had a snafu with her Spanish textbooks, and long story short, I was not going to pay an additional $180 for two sets, so phone phobia be damned, those books are going back.

Yesterday Wil was especially janked up - summer went out with a bang. He was burping, farting, humming, clucking his tongue, loudly singing, playing the piano and keyboard, all day long. "I've been farting on you for three months," he announced, as though I needed the reminder.

I have a million things on my To Do list, but top of the list is: Restore Sanity. When I finish my coffee I will amble home, take Flicka on a long quiet walk, start the dishwasher, start the laundry, and relish in the sounds that the machines that make my life easier, make. They will not burp, fart, hum, sing, bang, thump their feet, or ask to be taken anywhere. They will just purr along as a backdrop to sounds my soul longs for me to hear.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

And That's The Truth

My friend Terry has her new season of "And That's the Truth" premiering today, with none other than your favorite blogger as her first guest. Some of you saw our full 33-minute interview as a sneak preview, others have seen only the trailer. You'll want to watch the whole thing and all of Terry's other great interviews throughout the seasons, which will be on each Tuesday. Terry has a wide variety of guests lined up, and nobody cuts to it quite like Ter!

To watch our interview together click here.

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...