Childhood Trauma

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Blink Of An Eye

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This weekend was fabulous. Well, any weekend is fabulous if you are at the beach…how could it not be? We hiked the cliffs and just enjoyed spending time together. I worked in my garden, watched a few sunsets and sat on the back deck watching the marine layer slowing edge its way to shore. Our raven visited carrying a huge egg in his mouth which he promptly cracked on the shed and ate. Several furry antlered bucks grazed in the woods and I heard the wild turkeys in the hedgerow. Oh… and the seals were out with their babies zipping through the water…first here and then there as slippery as can be.  Really, it was lovely especially after last week with B which I will probably go into later this week.

We were heading home and for once the kids were not fighting in the car. The sun was setting with the pinks and oranges filling the sky. Then in the blink of an eye everything changed.

I received a text from my best friend. It read:

Mary is at the hospital. Her husband is in ICU. He was in an accident and cannot feel his legs.

Mary is my niece. Seems her sweet husband was out on a four wheeler which flipped. He has broken ribs, vertebrae and possibly paralysis. Surgery in the morning.

Now I am not a big prayer because I think God knows what is needed but if you are so inclined I am sure a few prayers would be appreciated for this young man and his young family.

In the blink of an eye it can all change. We all know this but when it comes home to roost it makes you remember just how precious life is and just how important it is to love and be loved.

And so I leave you with this quote that I read earlier this week. I cannot think of anything better.

“The purpose of life is to convert time into love.”-David Roberts, Puyallup, Washington

What shall you do with this second and what will you convert it into?

 

Friendship

This morning I had a long overdue coffee date with a wonderful woman. We are about the same age and are both on the road of discovery about ourselves while deciding what we want the second half of our lives to look like. We have a lot in common in many regards and I hope she is on the way to becoming a good friend.

After coffee was over it occurred to me how much I miss having close female friends. Sometimes I miss it so much it feels like a piece of me has been ripped away and left abandoned out on an isolated road. Alone.

Don’t get me wrong I have some wonderful friends. But due to our constant moving or their moving; these women that I cherish and love are scattered throughout the United States. There is N… my been with me forever friend who has seen me through my youthful indiscretions and has nursed me through the past year. There is C who knew me as a teen and with whom I share a birthday. There is L who makes life something to laugh at and enjoy to the fullest even when I am whining like a baby. And there are several other special ladies who I know would be there for me if I picked up the phone. But what I need at this juncture of my life, and what I miss most, are a couple of good girlfriends to go to coffee with every Thursday to catch up on each others lives.

It is hard making friends at my age. It’s an art really. The type of art I have really never possessed in sufficient quantities… because I don’t do acquaintances. I do… “I’ll save your life if you’re in a raging river”… types of friends. I would do anything for them and they would do just about anything for me. These are the plunging off a cliff, Thelma and Louise, kinds of friends.  Frankly, there are not a lot of people I want to risk my life for or go down with at my age. But I am still willing to try to find those kinds of inspiring and fun people and offer them all that I have to give… which is quite a lot.

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There are other reasons I find making friends difficult. Sometimes when you have special needs children with challenges it makes it difficult to make friends. Most people have no clue of all the things you have to do to make your life work. They don’t understand when you have to cancel at the last-minute because of a major meltdown that is occurring ten minutes before you are supposed to meet. And being around others whose children also have challenges can be draining for both people because it seems as if too often you are both drowning at once and just holding on by the thinnest of branches. While things have improved in my household sometimes I feel like past behaviors hold me back because I am unsure when those issues will rear their ugly heads again. It makes me afraid to risk “those” looks and “those” whispers from someone I thought was special only to find that they really aren’t. Sometimes I wonder if that isn’t how my sons with autism feel.

There is also the issue that most women’s lives are so full that they barely have time for the friends they currently have much less making time for someone new in their lives. With old friends you know what you have and how to relate. Most people just don’t have the energy to figure out the quirks of a stranger. And I get all of this. I truly do. But damn, it just means that so many of us are missing out on something that is so good.

But really, I don’t want a lot of friends. I just want a small group of coffee klatching Thursday morning women to hang with. Some 40-60 something gals who won’t try to convert me. Won’t try to change me. And will love me despite all my idiosyncracies.

With all the lonely people out there you would think it wouldn’t be that hard to find but it is. Which makes me thankful for all that I do have in my life. Yet, I am greedy and I want more. Much, much more.

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Fire On The Mountains

This morning I went out for a walk and it looked like Christmas with the snowflakes flying silently by. But I knew things weren’t as they appeared because it is summertime and everyone is sweltering in the 100+ temperatures. So I looked up in the sky and this is what I saw:

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and ash as thick as snow flurries were turning my hair the color it would be if I just stopped buying those boxes of dye.

As someone who lives in California, all too often, we find our state on slow burn and because of this I know the website for Cal-Fire by heart. A quick glance showed me that this fire is a little too close for comfort for it is near to  our little cabin in the woods. With this information in hand, I did what any good Californian does…I raced to my insurance agent’s office to pay the annual bill that was due in 5 days.

As I explained to the insurance agent we bought this place 10 years ago and we have never owned a house for this length of time before this one. It is special to us in that way. It is a 100 year-old cooks cabin that once served meals for lumberjacks  who were falling the huge Redwood Trees that were as big around as small houses.It’s a place we added onto…a cabin which offers solitude and warm memories. It is a structure made of ancient Redwood trees whose knots fall out onto the floor from time to time and where one lone plastic grocery bag stuffs a now knotless and gapping hole. It’s a place of mystery. A place where we find bones and where an massive ancient oak stands next to the house where it slowly losing its branches. It needs to go but we don’t want to spend the $1000 to take it down quite yet…so we wait, and will wait, until we just cannot wait any longer.

When we added on to the original cabin six years ago, we ripped out the wall between the old and the new structure and when we did thousands of acorns fell on our head, placed there by the woodpeckers over many years. And in this small community residents refer to the local bears as “BIG RATS” This is a home where you will find webs designed by crafty and talented arichnoids and where deer hide in the middle of town during hunting season. Here you will find a mouse who emptied the mouse bait from the box in the kitchen and who placed each tiny pellet between the box springs and the mattress of our bed.I swear it looked as if he had crafted the poisoned pellets into a shape that looked just like a big *FU.*

I love it up at the cabin where there is no phone, no cable TV, and no internet. It is plain and simple like the era in which it was built during a time when folks danced jigs in old barns and people mended clothes instead of just throwing them away.

And now there is a swift moving fire that has charred over 12,000 acres in less than a day close by. A powerful fire that is only 5% contained. One that is moving closer by the minute. It is still probably 10-15 miles from our cabin but it is a fast moving fire whose voracious appetite is not easily satisfied. (Actually,  I just found out it is now just 5 miles away)

This evening I saw these amazing photos taken by Trey Spooner Photography which really captures what is going on as a thousand firefighters battle a blaze which is too close to my heart for comfort. And as the ash rains down upon me I just hope that the tears don’t soon follow.

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Trey Spooner Photography

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*A special thanks to Trey Spooner Photography whose amazing photographs help people understand what our brave firefighters are facing and who imposes a sense of beauty and majesty on such a devastating scene . I am sure that a few prayers for the firefighters and their families would be appreciated.*

JUST AFTER I POSTED THIS I WENT BACK TO THE CAL FIRE SITE AND SAW THAT THE  TINY TOWN MY CABIN IS IN IS UNDER MANDATORY EVACUATION. PLEASE SEND A FEW GOOD THOUGHTS OUR WAY. IT WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

 

 

 

Comfort

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The other night B hurt my deeply. He didn’t mean to but he did.  We were dialoging and I got to choose the question. It was: How do I see our future together?

His response, ” Is this tomorrow’s future? Like how do I see tomorrow?”

“No it would be in ten years.” I replied.

“So how about in one year,” he shot back.

And so it went until I told him that whenever there was talk about a long time future together he avoided it and it hurt me deeply.

Perhaps I push too hard.

Perhaps I want answers that aren’t ready to be given.

Perhaps I demand too much.

But with tears in my eyes I said to him,”It hurts when you don’t talk about a long term future together. It makes me feel very insecure and sad. And it makes me wonder about why we are doing this at all. For when you love someone you talk about the future. Remember how you felt before we got married? All we wanted to do was talk about our future together.”

He replied,”I am trying to just take one day at a time. My therapist wants me to be in today’s moments not projecting out into the future and I have found I am more peaceful living that way.”

And with tears in my eyes I explained, “I understand that and it is a good way to live. I am trying harder to live in the moment too. However, when this happens, when you refuse to talk about a future ,it takes me back to when I was a 9 year old child who didn’t know where she would be sleeping or who she would be staying with. It puts me in a scary place. So for me the future is very important. It reduces my anxiety about our relationship and talk of it makes me feel secure. It makes me feel like I know where my head will be resting and that is really important to me and that scared little kid who still lives inside of me.”

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B looked at me. Hard. Tears coming to his eyes.

“Come here,” he said with open arms. “Let me  just hold you,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me moving me closer towards his heart.

And so he held me. He stroked my hair. Then, quietly, he began sharing his thoughts of what the future with me looked like. And it was then that I knew he really heard me and understood why “knowing” the future was so important to me. He opened himself up and shared because it was what I needed.

Comfort means different things to different people. It may be provided in different ways and at one time it may be meaningful, at another, not so much. But providing comfort because you have heard a need and you wish to answer it is probably the greatest thing that we can give to one another. It promotes good will. It promotes understanding and healing between two people.

So today, instead of asking what we can do for our partner, perhaps, we would be better off asking how we can comfort them. For when we do a strange thing begins to happen. Love awakens. Love strengthens. Love endures. Because by stepping outside of our own comfort zone to comfort another, we ultimately get provided with a kind of comfort we didn’t even know was needed.And as it turns out, we end up giving and getting a gift more precious than gold.

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Food …The Children Should Not Suffer

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I live in one of the poorest most economically depressed counties in the entire United States. It’s a place where English is most often the “second” language and where individuals follow the fruit and vegetables, often picking in 100+ degree heat. It is a place where poverty is rampant but food in the fields is abundant, illegal drug use is prevalent and the gulf between “haves” and “have nots” is wider than the Grand Canyon. Frankly, there is no bridge big enough to traverse this giant chasm.

Make no mistake about it, I am a “have.” I have a roof over my head, money in the bank, and clothes on my back. My life is plentiful. But all around me are reminders that this just isn’t the case for so many. I do what I can…carry McDonalds cards in my car and hand them out to folks who need a meal. But that is just a miniscule drop in the bucket with what is truly needed in the area.

Today on the short drive from downtown I saw three different adults searching trash bins for bottles and cans that can be turned in for change. And while it is shameful that any human being is forced, for whatever reasons to live this way, I am not as worried (though I am concerned) about them because they are resourceful. It is the children that I worry about especially during the summer, for it is the children who suffer.

During the school year kids from low income homes have the opportunity to have free breakfast and lunch at school yet President Trumps budget calls for an elimination of this program. Continue reading

If I Die- My Advice To My Boys

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For about the past ten years whenever I travel I tend to freak out before I go. While I never used to be… I am now scared of flying. My family expects this of my now and laugh at my trepidation. I originally told B I was not going to China with him because I had an overwhelming feeling of dread. So now, as I contemplate this trip I have decided I need to leave my sons my thoughts on what I think contributes to living a good life just in case I trip on a yak and fall to my death on Everest. I thought of all of these things off of the top of my head instead of consulting the internet so that is probably why the list is what it is.

For P, A and R… Love CLHD 12/20/15

  1. While most business transactions are no longer done with a handshake honoring your word is still the most important thing you can do.
  2. Look at the important people in your life. What do you admire about them? Why do you like to be around them? Take those qualities and make them your own.
  3. Saying, “Yes, sir” to your date’s father is a good way to begin.
  4. When you know in your heart that what you are doing is wrong have the courage to walk away even if it means leaving your friends behind.
  5. Whether you like it or not there will be a lot of people depending on you when you reach adulthood. Do those things that will earn their respect, love and trust.
  6. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. If it works out it builds character. It it doesn’t work out it builds character and you learn something valuable about the situation and/or yourself.
  7. Mama’s boys are a good thing as long as Mama is in the spot she belongs…behind your wife.
  8. Sharing feelings is often difficult for men. Do it anyway. Better for someone to know what you are thinking than having to spend all their time guessing incorrectly.
  9. Say “I love you” when you walk out the door. You never know if you will walk back in again.
  10. Never put “it” in a person you don’t want to wake up to everyday for the next 20 years.
  11. Having five children with five different women is cruel, stupid and condemns you child to less than a life he/she deserves. Be responsible. Don’t do it.
  12. Honesty truly is the best policy.
  13. Help others out when you can. It’s good for you and its good for the world.
  14. Be A Boy Scout. Be trustworthy, brave, helpful,clean and friendly. Doing these things never hurt anyone.
  15. Chivalry is not dead. Open doors for your girlfriend, wife and older women just because it is a nice thing to do.
  16. Be the kind of boyfriend/husband that every woman wishes her husband was.
  17. Sex is sex and love is love. Don’t confuse the two.
  18. Women are not a prize you discard after you obtain them.
  19. Too many notches in your belt only weakens the structure until it can no longer do the job of holding up your pants.
  20. Remember how you would sit for hours making legos. Find something that you love that much and spend time doing it.
  21. The way you act influences others. Act in the way you want to be remembered if you were to die tomorrow.
  22. Friends are important. Nurture those relationships and don’t abandon them for a girl.
  23. Have enough character to return the guys underpants that were run up the flagpole.
  24. Save for a rainy day. Cardboard boxes fall apart in the rain.
  25. It’s difficult when society says tough guy=real man. Be a tough guy only when you want to be and don’t be stupid about it.
  26. Bar fights are nothing to brag about.
  27. If you are drinking more than two beers a day you are taking away time from things that are really important.
  28. Two of you are a minority in this country. Expect to be stopped by the police for no real reason at all. Talk nicely, be cooperative, and make no sudden moves.
  29. Pick a woman who loves you boldly and completely. Make sure she is your best friend and has your back at all times.
  30. You will have many disappointments in life. Don’t wallow in them.
  31. You are responsible for your own happiness. Don’t put that on anyone else.
  32. Don’t follow orders blindly.
  33. Make a bucket list when you are young and work to finish the list before you die.
  34. You don’t have to change the world but changing your own neighborhood is something to shoot for.
  35. Lead by example.
  36. Don’t wear your pants down to your knees. It isn’t a cultural thing, it isn’t a societal thing…it’s a disregarding yourself thing which makes you look like something you are not.
  37. For goodness sake. No tats on the face. You’ll just look like a thug and most people won’t give you a job.
  38. You don’t have to accept a dare.
  39. It is easy to love in an emergency. It is harder to love in plain day to day living. Love like its always an emergency.
  40. When you are fearful keep going forward and face your fears head on.
  41. Drag racing can kill and often has unintended consequences. Don’t do it.
  42. Decide early on what is acceptable and what is not. Make a list of those things and stick to it. Then update that list every once-in-awhile on a quiet day when you have plenty of time to contemplate.
  43. Things will change with time. Try to go with the flow.
  44. Don’t make a promise unless you intend to keep it
  45. Your EVERYTHING MUST BE FAIR IN LIFE Certificate was lost at birth. You cannot order another one.
  46. Be sure to tell you wife two things you appreciate about her each day and compliment her three times a day.
  47. If you want a happy marriage YOU must be happy.
  48. There is no shame in apologizing. Don’t let your pride in the the way of being the first to do so.
  49. “Boys will be boys” is not an excuse for anything.
  50. There are girls that will love you, there are girls who will use you, and there are girls who only want you to be their baby daddy. Abstain until you know which is which and if you can’t do that ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use a condom or two.
  51. Telling your mother when you are 18 that you are going to be a daddy will make her CRAZY…don’t chance it.
  52. Volunteer your time and resources when you are young. You are often more useful, you will meet some great people and someone is always needed to move the boxes.
  53. Don’t be a bully with your fists or your words. There is someone who will always be bigger and badder than you and karma will ensure you will meet them.
  54. Don’t be afraid to try. EVER…unless it is something stupid.
  55. There are people in life that want to bring you down. Don’t let them succeed.
  56. Canoeing is a good way to forget life’s troubles.
  57. Success doesn’t happen through magical thinking. It takes hard work, dedication and the willingness to be flexible. Do all three.
  58. Teach what you know. Learn what you want to teach.
  59. If you want to learn be willing to listen.
  60. If there is something you are good at work harder to become great at it. Anyone can paint but it takes dedication and lots of practice to be asked to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
  61. Enjoying life means you cannot be a couch potato or a video game player. In order to get something out of it you have to put something into it.
  62. Save a life at least once during yours. Throw that starfish back into the water.
  63. You will probably change careers several times during your life. Do what makes you happy but make sure it pays the bills.
  64. Start investing in a job that has a 401 K and max it out every year. There is nothing more terrifying than coming to the end of your working years realizing the money you have saved can fit into something the size of a shoe box.
  65. Gardening is a good way to teach your children responsibility.
  66. Everything in moderation is still a good adage.
  67. If your first priority is to make your wife happy in bed you will reap untold rewards.
  68. Use deodorant everyday. If you don’t you won’t get the girl, you won’t get the job and you will have to shout at the people standing five feet away from you.
  69. Own at least one tie and one good pair of dress shoes.
  70. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with others who believe in you too. You deserve nothing less.
  71. Everyone has numerous strengths to draw upon. Find yours and improve upon them so that you know they are fully developed when you need them
  72. Read something everyday.
  73. Giving up and giving in too soon rarely accomplishes anything of value.
  74. Spend one day each week refusing to talk or act out of negativity.
  75. Be friends with those who are different races, ethnicities and religions than you. The blessings you reap will be a 1000 times greater than those first few minutes of being uncomfortable and unsure.
  76. The person who acts like they know everything knows nothing of true value.
  77. Real men ask for help (and directions)
  78. Vacations are important.
  79. Mid-life crisis’ are real. Don’t be a jackass during yours.
  80. Don’t confuse status with truth. A luxury car only means big payments and nothing about who is driving it.
  81. Your Dad was a great man. Take the parts you admire and incorporate them into your life.
  82. Make sure that the person you give your heart to really appreciates its worth.
  83. Having common interests is very helpful to sustaining a marriage.
  84. It’s just fine to cry. What you will learn from doing so will enrich your soul more than the tears ever will.
  85. There are times that your life will be beyond hard. Know that I am there in some form holding you tight.
  86. Keep your imagination open and running like when you were a kid.
  87. Never forget to put down the briefcase and play a game of hopscotch
  88. “If you can’t beat them join them” is no excuse for anything that happens afterwards.
  89. Fulfill your dreams before having children so you don’t resent them.
  90. Not everyone will like you. Deal with it.
  91. Be respectful to your elders.

If I Die Soon…Advice To My Daughters

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For about the past  ten years whenever I travel I tend to freak out before I go. While I never used to be afraid; I am now scared of flying. My family expects this of me now and they laugh at my trepidation.  “That’s just crazy mom,” they say with a smile.

I originally told B I was not going to China with him because I had an overwhelming feeling of dread. So now, as I contemplate this trip I have decided I need to leave my daughters some thoughts that I think contribute to living a good life just in case I trip on a yak and fall to my death on Everest. I thought of all of these things off of the top of my head instead of consulting the internet so that is probably why the list is what it is.

For N and G… Love CLHD 12/18/15

Here goes:

  1. Wear a bikini every chance you get when you are young and take a zillion pictures. You will never look this good again so you might as well document the heck out of it.
  2. Any person who tells you that you can’t do something doesn’t know you immense capabilities. Don’t listen to the naysayers.
  3. You never NEED a man. EVER. It’s okay to enjoy one though and be with one because he makes you happy and looks after your interests on the same level as his own.
  4. Report serious wrongdoing or abuse of power.
  5. You are a woman in a sea full of them. Stand out while supporting one another and for goodness sake don’t go poaching someone else’s man. You deserve more than sloppy seconds.
  6. Don’t worry about what others think and do what is unexpected. Your life will be so much more fulfilling if you do.
  7. Fulfill your dreams before having kids so you don’t resent them.
  8. Backpack…somewhere…anywhere…at least once in your life.
  9. Don’t be in a hurry. Get your degree then travel for awhile before doing your life’s work.
  10. Listen to your intuition. Really listen and follow it. It will rarely let you down.
  11. If some nut job forces his way into the car, steer into a building, another car, a light pole…anything. A car is replaceable but you are not.
  12. The first time a man hits you leave and never look back. Oh and be sure to say F*** You on the way out.
  13. You have an obligation to participate in the political system. Do so wisely and anyone who is a hater- work to defeat them.
  14. Don’t shave your legs for a month.
  15. Always walk to your car with your keys in your hands and your thumb over the alarm button. Look before you get in. If ANYONE makes you nervous go back to the store. NEVER be afraid to yell HELP or create a scene.
  16. Do what makes you feel good at least once a day.
  17. Chances are if you are a hater someday you will be the hated. Don’t hate.
  18. Not everyone is going to like you. Deal with it.
  19. There are times in your life where nothing will go as planned. It’s okay…you will come out the other side perhaps a little scathed but destined for something that is meant just for you.
  20. Those things you think are really important are usually not as important as you think. Let them go.
  21. Enjoy sex and have a lot of it. Enough said.
  22. The only thing worrying creates is more worry.
  23. Love is the greatest thing in the world and love is the worst thing in the world but do your best to love like its the only thing in the world.
  24. Age 20…one piece of candy = more. Age 50…one piece of candy = 5 pounds, three new zippers and having to have your wedding ring re-sized.
  25. You can love whomever you want as long as they aren’t already taken.
  26. Always ask if you need help. There is no shame in it.
  27. Corners are for mice.
  28. Make a bucket list when you are young and then work to hard to cross everything off of it before you die.
  29. You can revise your bucket list at any time.
  30. Test drive the stick shift before you marry it. There is nothing worse than being married to a manual when you like to shift from high to low gear when you are going for a joy ride.
  31. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t be a snob.Have compassion.
  32. Offer a hand up whenever you can
  33. Carry a McDonalds gift card in the glove compartment of your car to hand to a homeless person who is down and out…you may be there too someday. One never knows.
  34. Give 100% to what you are doing and then when you are done… rest.
  35. You are many things and many people rolled into one. Don’t just be the one that is the easiest. Be the one that makes your life feel complete.
  36. Be respectful to the elderly.
  37. Everyone has a story. Listen.
  38. Don’t drink and drive.
  39. Don’t make a promise unless you intend to keep it.
  40. Plan for the future but don’t live in it. This also means you should have a small water and food supply readily accessible in order to survive something unexpected.
  41. Remember your kids might see what you wrote on Facebook someday. Be nice.
  42. Clarity bring rewards. Think before acting.
  43. A good bra makes all the difference in the world but there are times to burn it too.
  44. Anytime someone says they know you better than you know yourself…don’t believe them.
  45. Be kind just because it is the right thing to do, just don’t be stupid about it.
  46. Read
  47. Say NO freely and with force when needed.
  48. Save money for a rainy day. Cardboard boxes fall apart when wet.
  49. Learning that you can’t always get what you want is helpful to figure out early on.
  50. If you have to get high more than once a month you aren’t being your own best friend.
  51. Never go to bed mad.
  52. Tell your spouse everyday three things you appreciate about them and be sincere.
  53. No eye rolling unless you are trying to get a part in a play.
  54. Never let yourself get more than 10 pounds overweight without losing it because somehow it rapidly grows to twenty.
  55. Forgive yourself. Often.
  56. Only give a loan if you can be pleasantly surprised if you ever get the money back.
  57. You should never have more “best friends” than the number of phone numbers you can remember in your head.
  58. Make mistakes just don’t be a jackass about it and keep making the same stupid ones…especially as it concerns men.
  59. Life is fluid. Try not to live in rigidity.
  60. I used to believe you could never love a child too much and then I met some adults who had.
  61. Don’t chew gum. It is totally non-biodegradable and will be around longer than we will.
  62. There is a reason why they say patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, I never had enough. I hope you do.
  63. Every time you have sex with a different man you give a little piece of your self away. Make sure you have enough of the good pieces left for yourself.
  64. Orange juice is good. Vodka is better.OR-G is superb. Together they are amazing. Reminder see #38.
  65. Love yourself first in a healthy non-narcissistic way…the rest will follow.
  66. Winnie the Pooh and Piglet had a great relationship. Aim for that.
  67. Your EVERYTHING MUST BE FAIR IN LIFE certificate was lost at birth. There is no way to order another one.
  68. Ugly women wear layers while beautiful women wear smiles.
  69. Compliment, compliment, compliment when you truly mean it.
  70. Exercise your body and your mind.
  71. It’s good to be smart so don’t let anyone make you feel bad for being so.
  72. Don’t act dumb in front of boys.
  73. Don’t have too much pride or stubbornness to apologize first.
  74. Learn to just sit comfortably with yourself as a way towards self-discovery.
  75. There is a difference between loving and spoiling.
  76. Go to the doctor once a year and get your yearly GYN exam. Please.
  77. Loyalty is rarely overrated.
  78. Your children are not really YOURS…you just borrow them for awhile.
  79. When you have no words just hold hands.
  80. Perfection doesn’t exist. Stop searching for it.
  81. I have spent too much of my life being negative. It doesn’t do anyone any good. Please don’t do that to yourself and others.
  82. Laugh hard and loud. A good snort in public is good for the soul.
  83. Your husband will make mistakes. You will make mistakes. It isn’t necessarily the end of your marriage even though it feels that way.
  84. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I already did that for you and your allotment is all used up.
  85. Sometimes you just have to work harder whether you want to or not.
  86. You are beautiful just the way you are. Believe it.
  87. If you hate your body in some way you just end up hating yourself. Stop it.
  88. Acceptance is a wonderful thing in most aspects of life. Try to partake of it often.
  89. If you see that your love for someone is like constantly riding a rollercoaster it is time to apply the emergency brake and get off the ride.
  90. Drama is for the stage only. Don’t create it and don’t accept it into your life.
  91. Never give up unless you are doing something stupid.
  92. Most things (except becoming pregnant) will not matter six months from now.
  93. Know I loved you.Deeply. Happily and sometimes in a flawed way.As you know I was far from perfect. I made lots of mistakes. Sometimes I did things out of fear rather than love. Don’t do that.Take the good of me with you, discard the bad and don’t take too much of me with you on your own journey. You are who you are and are under no obligation to be anything like me. Find your own path…mine was just for you to walk alongside me for a while but your own path awaits. Make your steps count but skip along that path too. Skipping clears the head and makes you feel alive again. You have but one life on this earth. Make it amazing for you, your family and for humankind. That’s all you can do. I love you…always have…always will.
  94. And please remember everything on this blog is copyrighted 2015.

Autism 101

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AUTISM 101

Often times we have our best conversations in the car so tonight (2011) while Paul and I were out together I decided to broach the subject of autism and explain to him about the condition he has. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hey, Paul have you ever heard the word autism?

Paul: I’m not sure but I think so.

I pause wondering if I should go on

Paul: So what is it?

Me (Describing Paul): Well, it is something that some people have. Sometimes a person with autism hears noises louder than other people. LIke they might hear the refrigerator sound very loud whereas most people can not really hear it. Or sometimes for someone with autism lights seem very bright. Sometimes people with autism find it hard to be touched or they are really ticklish. Do you want me to go on?

Paul: Okay.

Me: Sometimes people who have autism find it hard to look other people in the eyes when they are talking to them and sometimes it is very hard for them to sit still. For some people with autism the tags in their shirts make them itchy. Sometimes it is hard for them to talk to other people. But people with autism are usually very smart and often they see things in ways that other people don’t which makes them good artists or good with computers or good playing a musical instrument. Their brains just work a little differently than many people, but hey, everyone is different. Some people have brown hair, some people need a wheelchair to get around. Having autism is just like being a boy or being Korean or having blue or brown eyes. It is just a part of who a person is but not the whole person. Do you have any questions?

Paul: “Mom, do you have autism cause if you do, I still love you just the way you are!”

Times Past

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I still remember the things my parents did for me that my children or the kids in my neighborhood will most likely never experience. Sometimes that realization makes me sad. Some of this disconnect from my past stems from where we currently reside but some of it is due to the change in times. It seems strange to me how so much of the innocence I experienced of 50 years ago is gone and seems unlikely to return. Things like:

My father standing out in the bitter cold, night after night, pouring water over a homemade ice skating rink. Sliding the water here and there to make sure that the surface was even in thickness and perfectly smooth like glass. Then after several days of hard freeze he would lace up my skates while my wobbly ankles would cross precariously as I put one foot in front of the other, my blades slowly carving up his masterpiece.

Watching our black and white television where killers or carve-them-ups were not allowed to enter our household. Cuss words were unheard of too. The only things on television back then were shows which presented people trying to do their best and to help one another. In short, they showcased families/individuals who loved each other and the positive in life.

My parents pulling us through the streets on sleds to see the Christmas lights that decorated each set of eaves as the snow fell over them; creating a colorful shimmer that I remember to this day. Then, should we complain of cold (which we always did), my mother would magically pull out a thermos of hot chocolate to warm our bodies and our hearts. Such a simple way to show love and concern.

My grandmother making homemade mittens and scarves while my aunt sewed us outfits for Christmas. In addition, my mother always sewed my halloween costume (once out of old drapes) whereas I have yet to sew one. Most kids today have never experienced the thrill and the patience while waiting for the perfect outfit to emerge out of odds and ends that litter the sewing machine table.

Most of today’s kids will never hold an ice cream social, a play, and sell trinkets to earn money for charity. Back in the day, my mother would gather the squirmy and oh-so-hyper six-year-old neighborhood kids together for rehearsal everyday for the entire week prior to the performance. Then we would sell tickets to the big event to all the neighbors. Afterwards, my mother would load all the thespians into our dark blue Rambler station wagon and off we would go to the charity of choice to deliver the money we had collected. Being that this was in the days before digital photography I have grainy superimposed pictures to remind me of these times but I do remember the sense of pride and accomplishment I felt for doing something to help others. It’s something that appears to be lacking from the experience of many kids these days.

Crisp fall days during which my parents took us to the Franklin Cider Mill where we watched the apples being pulverized by the turning of the water wheel and where we ate fresh hot powdered cinnamon donuts on picnic benches while the cool wind blew the sticky sugar off our treats.

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s the grocery aisle was a real treat. I remember picking my breakfast cereal not for taste but for the records by teen heartthrobs David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman or the Monkees that were on the back of the boxes. How glorious the sound after taking the time to carefully punch out 45’s from the cardboard box. Decoder rings and invisible pens were also prized possessions.

Once upon a time science was  new and exciting and at the forefront of our lives. When discoveries were made it was a time for everyone to rejoice along with renew our sense of national pride. In 1969 when I was just a kid I remember my mother waking me up to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.It was really late and our black and white television was fuzzy with the pictures being beamed back to earth. Now big discoveries are so common place that it seems as if the breath-taking excitement just isn’t there anymore.

Riding our bikes within a five block radius and exploring the world like children are suppose to be able to do without fear of injury or death. No wonder so many kids these days are afraid of failing…they never got the chance to try the little things that instill confidence.

Knowing all the people at the stores where we shopped. Back when I was a kid there was the crooked old man (Mr. Banner) who ran the milk store where milk was kept in bottles not cartons. There was the butcher who always smiled at me as he wrapped my mothers picks in white butcher paper. I also knew the liquor store owners because they had a penny-candy section that upon occasion I was allowed to peruse. The Chinese couple (The Kims) at the cleaners were favorites as was the old French lady who made the sweetest potato bread I had ever tasted. These days, unless you live in Europe, those relationships are missing from our children’s lives and its such a shame because these are the people who taught me that people who were “different” than me and my family were loving, kind and interesting. It was they who inspired me to seek out individuals who might teach me a thing or two as I journeyed through life.

These and so many things shaped me as I grew up into the imperfect person that I am but without these experiences I am convinced that I would have thought that the world was a harsh and lonely place; a place that so many of today’s kids believe the world to be.  A life without happy, positive and inspiring memories is hardly a life at all. And that is why I worry about so many of our youth of today.