Friday, May 31, 2013

Gratitude


I am not a fan of homework. I was not a fan of homework when I was a student, although I did it without fail, and at times even did it well. I was not a fan of homework when I was a teacher, and only assigned it out of peer pressure or mandates from the administration. I think there are better ways for young children to spend their time after school, than doing more of the same thing they just did for 6-7 hours. I have most certainly not been a fan of homework for Wil, and have been quite vocal on the subject. He doesn't have much, but any at all tips our scales to the danger zone.

He is now finishing 10th grade, and has been in school since he was two. He just recently came home with his first meaningful, practical, do-able and dare I say significant, homework assignment. For two weeks he was to keep a gratitude journal. Just jot down (or in his case, have me jot down) five things a day for which he is grateful. He was not supposed to "re-post," but stretch himself to think of different things each day, as each day brings new things for which to be grateful. Wil totally rocked this assignment, the list rattled off his tongue as he ate garlic toast, bananas cut into slices, baby carrots dipped in water, and taco meat each and every single night. He even elaborated. In each and every case, two weeks of gratitude times five a day (too much math for me), the "what" was not a what, but a whom. He has so many people in his life that rock, he never repeated a name, not once, and mine didn't even get on the list!

What we water, grows. Wil waters his garden of people in his life that rock, and that garden is bountiful.

I am so deeply grateful.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Replacing the Batteries


I have a five-year-old MacBook which replaced another MacBook, and let's just go ahead and say it, I am a MacBook lover. I feel like this particular MacBook and I have been through a lot together, at times I've felt like she's been my best friend, as melodramatic as that may sound. We wrote a book together, we travelled, we watched whole series of old TV shows together.

In the last month my trusty friend has grown less trusty. She's been slowing down. When unplugged, she tires quickly. She stopped waking up whenever she fell asleep. I actually took her in a couple of weeks ago and they couldn't find anything wrong with her. She passed all her cursory diagnoses, and it was going to cost me $50 to do a more thorough one, and much as I love her, I just brought her home and switched her to "never sleep" and pretended that wasn't a problem.

It nagged at me - who doesn't need to sleep? Sure, I turned her totally off at night, but not so much as a nap for my girl? Really? Then Tuesday morning my mail wouldn't load, and that was the deal breaker. This girl has to get her mail. This time I got all official, I even made an appointment and reconciled myself with the fact it may cost me $50 and we might have to part for a few days. I was ready. I packed her up, took her in, and the Macologist, Nick, that helped me last time (because there are no accidents), totally remembered me and my laptop, and "our" problems. He held her in his arms, felt her all over, then he said, "Feel right here? See how this bulges slightly?" I had noticed that her battery wasn't flush with the rest of the bottom of the computer, but didn't think too much about it. "Maybe you just need a new battery."

I know you're all dying to hear about all the tests we ran and conversations we had about said battery, but suffice it to say that yes, my girl needed a new battery. That was all. E-mail is now working beautifully, she is even sleeping soundly and awakening refreshed and rarin' to go upon being disturbed from her naps. St. Nick even cleaned up my hard drive and now everything is running faster and better. I think I was in there less than 30 minutes total, and got out for under $150.

Much as I'd like to think recharging old batteries is the way to go, the fact remains, sometimes we need to do more than recharge. Sometimes we need to replace. Start new. It's not fair to put anything, or anyone, in a "never sleep" mode.

Never.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Bigger PIcture


I am not one to get too political on this blog, for any number of reasons. I did, however, watch and thoroughly appreciate The Bigger Picture on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. Reverend Ed Bacon, Elizabeth Lesser, and Mark Nepo formed a panel talking about issues in the world today, and what is behind them. It was excellent. I have a huge bias when it comes to medications for anxiety/depression and ADHD. When Oprah gave statistics and then asked the panel if they thought we were becoming a pill nation, their answers were perfect (because they agreed with me). I'll skip to the chase: if medications can help you step more into your life, they're good, if they keep you out of life, they are bad. ADHD meds were not discussed, but let me just tell you that it is my firm belief that while there may be mis-diagnosis/mis-prescribing going on, there are also a lot of people going undiagnosed that could greatly benefit from the right medication, not to mention all the people that "get to" live with them.

Violence, terrorism, gun control, other hot topics were all discussed with such wisdom. Do yourself a big favor and take the time to watch The Bigger Picture.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Don't Be That Guy!

The scene: STM is trying to make a smoothie, I am trying to clean up the kitchen, Wil is trying to drive us crazy. It is 6:30 on a Sunday morning and he is 100% unmedicated and ready to roll. We are under-caffeinated and cursing the 3-day weekend. I rinse an empty plastic vitamin bottle and throw it in the recycling bag under the sink.

STM: Why do you rinse it? It's not dirty, just throw it in there.

ME: Because you're supposed to, and I like to follow the rules.

STM: You go through life trying not to be the problem, don't you?

ME: Yes, and I think everyone should go through life trying not to be the problem! Do you know how many problems we'd have in the world if everyone tried to not be the problem?

WIL: 22!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thrilling, Pt. 2

Because there are more "thrilling" things to tell you about in the name of ELD (every little detail), I bring you...

1) STM has discovered the joys of online shopping. To say he eschews shopping is a gross understatement. To say that he is also super picky so shopping for him is a challenge, again, gross understatement. To say that he is in desperate need of many a garment is... say it with me, a gross understatement. Enter the savior, Nordstrom.com which provides fast, free shipping, and fast, free, easy returns! Win/win!

2) For the 10 years we've lived in this house I've somehow missed this nasty dust trap behind the pedestal sink in our bathroom. You don't even want to know what and how much I pulled from that baby yesterday when I discovered the horror. I kind of want to tell you, so "impressive" it was, but I also kind of want you to still like me, so I won't.

3) People always ask me when I do a book talk, "What is Wil into now?" We've had the blue twos, we've had the red Volkswagen bugs, we've had the Lifesaver popsicles, on and on the list goes. Well, the answer to what he's into now is iHeart Radio and Volkswagen Vanagons/Westfalias. Like, big time. He has his phone set on the camera setting whenever we're in the car so he's ready to snap a picture of any and all Vanagons, and quickly text random people the captured image. There is one in our neighborhood, and don't kid yourself for a minute - we plan our routes accordingly to make sure we don't miss a golden opportunity like that!

4) I decided at the last minute on Thursday that I needed help with a party I was throwing for one of Wil's teachers that is leaving. Don't you know it, my friend, and one of Wil's godmothers, Nancy, totally answered the bell, dropped what she was doing and became my co-room parent with a moment's notice. I have the best friends in the world. Amen.

5) I'm super excited for "The Bachelorette" to start a new season on Monday, because life without bad TV, is no life at all. And that is bad TV at its baddest.

6) This morning I cleaned my desk. I mean to say, CLEANED it. Took everything off, scrubbed the living daylight out of it, threw a bunch of junk away, updated the To Do lists and put it all back together in an organized fashion. Ahhhhh... My idea of bliss.

I think that brings you right up to the minute. If there's any other exciting breaking news to report, don't you worry your pretty little head, I'll make sure you are well informed.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Defining Decade



As the mother of a nineteen-year-old, this is fascinating to me, so therefore, it should be to you! : )

Her book, THE DEFINING DECADE: Why Your Twenties Matter is excellent, too!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thrilling

Long time no write, sorry! It's not that there isn't anything to write about, there just isn't anything interesting to write about. Take a look:

1) I went to the Nike Employee Store today and bought... socks. Just socks. Nothing but socks. And only three pairs. "No shows," if you must know.

2) We went from summer to winter in Portland. Had all the screens vacuumed and in place because we'd been having days over 80 degrees. The minute, as in the exact minute I got the last screen up, the weather dropped 40 degrees and the rain has yet to stop.

3) I made a list of all the home maintenance projects we have around here and fell into such a stupor I had to distract myself with the last two episodes of "Felicity." Yes. I am 50-years-old and have recently watched all four seasons of a show that was on over a decade ago, and intended for teenagers.

4) Couldn't remember where I'd seen one of the characters before, Megan, so had to spend quite a bit of time and energy figuring it out. Turns out she was the crazy patient of Violet that cut the baby out of her on another favorite show of mine, "Private Practice."

5) "West Wing" is my next series in the queue. I have never seen that show. Can you believe it? Never.

6) Wil is the manager of the Project Unify soccer team at his school. He's about 50/50 with attendance, if it's too far away and will get him home too close to bedtime, then forget about it. The only reason he went yesterday was because it was in Wilsonville. Wilson-ville, "his" town.

7) I am still having a ball doing book readings/signings and going to book group gatherings. I love the questions people ask. I love hearing what parts move them and why. I love reading something that I hope will make them laugh, and it does. I especially love when something I read speaks to someone in an unexpected way. A big no accidents when that happens. As humdrum as my life is for the most part, that thrills me every time.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, STM


STM is 54 today, and in celebration, he's going on a 54-mile bike ride. While that is pretty much the last thing I'd ever choose to do in the name of "pleasure," I love that he loves it and I love that he's able to do it.

In honor of my special-needs son's dad, and all the other dads and/or other partners out there we don't often hear from or talk about, I bring you my Hopeful Parents post for the month.

Please click here to read more. Thanks!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dear Colgate

Dear Colgate:

My son sent me to the store to buy him "spearmint or watermelon" toothpaste. Those two flavors are very hard to find, if not impossible. I browsed the vast selection before finally selecting your Cool Mint with Mini Breath Strips, Max Fresh. I thought I might be able to convince him that "cool mint" was a euphemism for spearmint.

First thing he asked me when I picked him up from school, was if I'd gotten the spearmint or watermelon toothpaste. I told him I got him one I thought he'd like. He rushed through the door, wanted to brush his teeth the minute he got home, and while still holding the toothbrush in his mouth with one hand, grabbed paper and pencil and wrote with the other:

(From scale 1 to 105 I give this toothpaste a 103.112)

Upon spitting and thus allowing his mouth to speak the praises of the toothpaste quite loudly, he said, "Bring on the greatness! Oh, yea, this toothpaste is great! I give praise to God! It curls my toes!"

So. If you're looking for a product endorser, look no further.

Sincerely,

Carrie Link


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Far Beyond


Elizabeth Aquino recently posted about a conversation she overheard at the grocery store. The woman's comments were intended to be funny, but were offensive and ignorant, instead. Some might say we're getting too sensitive and everything is off limits these days and at risk of being considered politically incorrect. Not so much. What we say reflects what we think. What we say and think, matters, yes indeedy.

Conversely, I went into the bathroom at Target this morning and overheard a heartening exchange. A mom and her daughter (7? 8?) were at the sinks washing their hands. The mom said, "There's a boy at your school with special needs. He interacts with people differently. He will need a little extra patience and kindness."

I almost piped in and said, "Let me just take a moment to thank you for saying that. I have a son with special needs, blah, blah, blahty blah..."

But I didn't. That was not a mother that needed encouragement from me. She was already a team member.

I had just come home from Target when I got online and read Elizabeth's post. What we say and what we do ripples far beyond the people we think we're reaching. Beyond the ones we intend to reach. Beyond the ones we inadvertently reach. Beyond.

And far beyond that.

The Little Couple


I gave blood yesterday and usually it doesn't bother me at all. I drink a little extra water, and forget about it for the most part, but last night I was feeling downright dizzy, puny and otherwise poorly. I did something I never do - climbed into bed with my clothes on at 5:00 PM and turned on the TV. Our TV was on TLC (because I'm addicted to "Long Island Medium") and there was "The Little Couple." I'd seen advertisements but had never watched the show.

Four 30-minute episodes later I can say I'm hooked. The line and sinker, too.

Fully have the DVR set to record all episodes, both repeats and new because my friend Google tells me there are several seasons, and far be it from me to miss out.

If you are looking for a new addiction, I'd recommend this one.

Monday, May 13, 2013

That's it for Me!

(Thanks, Mom. I turned out awesome.)

This is the card Woohoo made me for Mother's Day. She found the sentiment online, and she and her friend Facebooked each other and both decided it was perfect. And isn't it perfect? And don't we want to think our kids turned out awesome? Better yet, don't we want them to think they turned out awesome?

Remember the "Seinfeld" episode where George Costanza inadvertently ends on a high note and quickly exits the room before screwing it up, saying, "That's it for me!" 

That.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Laughing at the Days to Come

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she can 
laugh at the days to come. She opens her mouth 
in wisdom, and her tongue is kindly counsel."
Proverbs 31:25-26

Wil and I went to Mass Saturday night together. Somewhere about mid-way through he got restless, picked up the bulletin and started thumbing through it. He found this part printed inside:

M otivator
O ptimist
T eacher
H elper
E mpathizer
R ole Model in Christ

He points to the words, and says too loudly, while tossing the bulletin haphazardly on the pew, "Yep! That's you!"

Here's to all the mothers that are clothed with strength and dignity.

Here's to all the mothers that can laugh at the days to come.

Here's to all the mothers that open their mouths in wisdom.

Here's to all the mothers that offer kind counsel.

Here's to all the mothers that motivate, remain optimistic, teach, help, empathize and are role models of love.

Here's to all the mothers that are going to wake up tired today because they've been mothering all night long.

Here's to to all the mothers that are going to spend Mother's Day being a mother, while honoring their own mothers: hosting, cooking, cleaning, just like any other day but even more so.

Here's to all the mothers that do it all alone.

Here's to all the mothers that weren't mothered well, but mother well.

Here's to all the motherless daughters.

Here's to all the mothers just doing their imperfect best.

Here's to all the mothers that make motherhood their career.

Here's to all the mothers that must juggle that career with their other career(s).

Here's to all the mothers who have lost a child.

Here's to all the mothers who have given up a child.

Here's to all mothers.

Everywhere.

Amen.





Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Technical Difficulties

My computer is out-of-order. I will resume regularly scheduled blogging activity ASAP!f

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Short Leash



Wil's been nagging me to bake brownies with him, but the afternoons have been too busy to fit it in, what with all the yogurt places he's got me taking him to, and his hectic schedule being the Pied Piper at the nearby school playground. He got out brownie mix this morning, and frosting. No amount of telling him that frosting isn't necessary on brownies would dissuade him. Whatsoever. Just in case I wasn't sure, he wrote, "With Wilson your son" so I'd know I was to make them with him.

He then proceeded to get out another piece of paper and write down our departure times for the rest of the week:


As you can see, a lot of thought went into it. Wednesday he has Late Start so the time had to be adjusted accordingly.

Not a mark on him.


Monday, May 6, 2013

A Bad Translation



One of my faves, Eckhart Tolle, did an interview with Oprah on her "Super Soul Sunday" show last year, I watched it, and then ate it with a spoon all over again when it re-aired recently. Can't get enough of Eckhart Tolle. There he is with another of my faves. Tells you everything you need to know.

I'll just share with you two of his most recent gems:

"Guilt is a strong way for the ego to strengthen itself. Every I thought, strengthens ego."

"Stillness is the voice God speaks, everything else is a bad translation."


Amen.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

On This Special Day

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Guess who is 19?
Woohoo!


Go ahead and have a heyday with my tie-die/Birkenstock phase! Think of it as my little gift to you.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Because

Watch this and at the end you'll hear Wil ask, "Why are you putting this on your blog? Care, why?"

Because.

Because I have no time to post anything else.

Because I don't really have a lot to tell you, and yet, I do, but nothing you haven't heard a million times so I could basically just write, "Ditto," and leave it at that.

Because a music video is worth a thousand words.

Because this is why my spirit-filled boy looks and sounds like first thing in the morning. Every morning.

Amen.