Thursday, March 30, 2017

Food is Fuel and Other Random Thoughts

I'm a foodie, and I cannot lie. I enjoy it, I savor it, it's a total sensory experience.

Food is also a fraught thing. I know I'm not alone in using it as a pacifier, a band-aid, or relating it to all I've ever loved and lost.  It's a handy drug, needing no script.

The upside is also the downside. The more you consume, the more you need, the more you fall apart.

Despite my own doctor's admonishments, I kept on keeping on. I'd think about making any necessary changes to my life and eating habits tomorrow.

Until the scale started hitting alarming numbers, even to me.

So on January 1, I undertook the following project. Mindfulness. Watching what I ate. Making sure I hit the gym at least 3 times a week. Making sure I walk 10-13 thousand steps a day. Making sure I remember to breathe. The stakes are actually fairly high, putting aside the thought I need to live until I'm 150, anyway. I'm trying to manage 3, or 4, or 5 medical conditions on diet and exercise alone.

Here's the update on how that's working out for me:
  • Down almost 20 lbs
  • Wine and beer consumption down 61% (I did the math twice)
  • Improved strength and mobility
It would be really nice to get down another 10 lbs, but I'm feeling good, and happy (or at least as happy as I can be),

It's not a diet, it's a complete change to the way I approach food and exercise.  For me, there's no separation of how I feel physically from how I feel mentally and emotionally. The problems haven't changed, but my ability to deal with them has, for the better. 

Other subtle changes that have coursed from this are more real-time, in-person interactions, more time spent out in nature (enjoyed stopping with my younger one last night at dusk to admire the colors of the sky and the song of the spring peepers), and generally a more spiritual awareness of how my attitudes and interactions affect other people. 

Bottom line:  think small. Start small. Create one new good habit a day and make sure you consciously make it a part of your life. Great things begin with a single step. 

Monday, March 20, 2017


In the monumental task of deconstructing all the strongholds in my life, there's the gaslight.

Gaslighting is a hot topic, because that's happening in the world writ large. But gaslighting has been going on in my own private Idaho much longer than that.

I find myself awake in the middle of the night, ripping out the rot that has settled in my soul, from years--decades, really--of people taking advantage of my better nature.

And then convincing everyone around me that it never happened. And that I was crazy.

This has been an ongoing affair.  And up until now, I've been quiet, because, you know, my sanity might get called into question.

Except now the price for my silence is my sanity.

You see my problem.

But, if I cannot speak, I can at least act. Actions speak volumes. I can choose not to engage.  Yet, choosing to not engage is not enough.  I feel the overwhelming urge to call bullshit.

Will choosing not to engage call bullshit loudly enough?

Time will tell.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Screaming into the Wind

Wow, where do I start?  My kids are growing up too fast, and this world is changing faster than I can keep up. Feeling overwhelmed, bullied, left behind. How much of any of these perception, and how much is actual?

I'm not a good person to ask. Years of fighting tooth and nail for the boys have left me scarred, scared, and with a case of PTSD that would shake a combat veteran. I realize I am coming to an end of many things, and I am in the process of making peace with as many things as I can make peace with. Took the boys to confession last night.  Made a gift for my husband that won't be ready until after Christmas (it's okay, something for him to look forward to)

My main goals since autism were to get the boys do adulthood as functioning citizens, not clients. We are most of the way there, age-wise, but their lives are open questions given all the variables from political, ecological, and societal perspectives.  I'm finding myself focused on 'next world' stuff. I want them both to have a relationship with God, as I do. I'm finding that to be my overwhelming priority, almost to the exclusion of everything else.

Why?  I'm not sure. All I know is that I am cycling from sad, to tired, to quiet despair. I am feeling my age. I am feeling my mortality. All the petty pains of day to day living are little more than distractions to the business at hand.

I pray a lot. I pray for us all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


It's been a little while, hasn't it? It's been so long, that I'm not even sure where I left off.  (Pausing a moment to read back and reflect. WOW....)

Since that last post, the old job has come to an end and I've changed jobs twice.  I had planned at the end of the first one to stay home and get our lives in order, and three days into CEO at home I had my first email for a phone interview. Two months after that, I'm back in the fire.

However, I'm not here to talk about any of that, because it's not that important. What I want to talk about is some of the stuff we are struggling with. The kids are all right, but they could be doing better. In particular,  we're struggling with erasure.

My son ran an enhancement (mini course) and was the student Wing Bowl winner. He also has autism and the yearbook editor 'forgot' to include himeven after promises from the yearbook moderator that he'd be included for both his enhancement and the wing bowl. Yet, there are pictures of kids' family vacations and certain kids enjoying winter break. And these things clearly didn't happen as part of school activities.  Wing bowl was covered, featuring a hunky student and announcing the adult winner. Hmm.

Adding insult to injury, the ONE club he enjoyed and participated was left out of the yearbook. Yes, LGBT, ethnic, all clubs were included.....except for the one that features mentoring students with disabilities. 

As if they don't exist. 

Take this all another step. The guy in our backyard takes down a tree on our property. Because, you know, "You have a full plate." (I loved that tree. I am bitter.) I drive home from work to find a neighbor allowing her dog to do its business on my lawn. When I wrote her a note asking her to PLEASE keep her dog off my lawn, she scribbles me a nasty note--as if I am the person in the wrong for NOT letting HER animal do whatever it wants on my property. 

This is death from a thousand cuts. Because we are who we are, it's almost like everyone feels they can do whatever they want to us, because, we are somehow less.

If this is the way the world is going, I don't want to live in it. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I have a whopping two resolutions.

1)  Walk with Job
2) Don't be an a**hole

The second is harder than you think. 

I've been quiet for several reasons, mostly having to do with going another 15 rounds with depression and anxiety over all the impending change and second-guessing my decisions as a parent.  And some anxiety and depression radiates over that, too. 

But despite all that, we have good stuff. Nic finished his first season of high school sport, and Gabriel is getting ready to cross over into Boy Scouts AND continuing his music.  He sings a lot. I love to hear him. Despite not making the school chorus (which I strongly suspect is a biased process, anyhow), I hear him sing tunefully around the house, all variety of music. It makes him happy, and hearing him makes me happy. 

And a little less stressed. 

In my work life, I totally won launch, in my job and in all the other roles I found myself thrust into. It was an awesome experience, but I'm happy the excitement is dying down. I'm still giving university lectures, and wonder if my next step is at long last getting my doctorate and leveraging my parental experience to effect change. It's a hell of an idea, but I don't know whether it's the right way to go.  Praying on it, like I am praying on everything else. 

And in other news, I was commissioned an extraordinary minister of holy communion in November, and as such, my first commission was to help distribute ashes. Which was awesome.  And I felt very much like I was exactly where I needed to be, when I needed to be there. 

And Nic tonight met with the director of CYO and asked to help with the track team. I guess I won't be stepping too far away from track this spring. 

And maybe we'll sign G up. Maybe this will be good for him, too. 

In the meantime, I celebrate 5 years at my place of work, despite that coming to an end. It's not over yet, so I'll go out doing the best job I know how. 

I don't know what's ahead. But I'm sure it'll be fine. Whatever it is. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Road Ahead

This year, I thought, was to be the Year of Change.

It has, so far, with 10-odd hours left, lived up to its billing. Hubby accepted a job offer in this year's 11th hour, and my current place of employ will shutter sometime in the next 6-12 months.

The second half of that sentence weighs heavily, although the very fact that I've been there nearly 60 months has me counting my blessings for all the great new things I learned and all the people I've met. But the big question is, what next?

My problem is a good one to have--I can do a lot of different things well. However, I don't have a clear idea of WHAT I want to do--and I don't know how to channel my search, because I don't know what I want my next situation to look like.

It could very well be that my next step is to stay home and get our literal and figurative house in order. Both kids have clamored to have the summer off. If there is no job, there will be no camp. But there will be volunteer or employment for my older boy.  And there are opportunities for him.

In fact, there are many things going his way. He made the high school bowling team and enjoys his classes. He does not enjoy studying, which poses its own challenges. And he has his elevator posse. He's not motivated to make friends because hey, he has J and G.  A mixed blessing, that. But it gives him confidence he didn't have a year or two ago.

G remains my mystery. His band teacher has developed some ways to help him in band, and he's in chorus as well as having his K buddy. I see a lot more interaction with him and his classmates than I ever saw with his big brother at the same age.  But, he has big brother, and no one else, and that's hard.

We've enjoyed good times with great friends, made a couple trips to Maryland to see our besties, and I stole a great girls' weekend away with mine to Cape May--a first, hopefully not a last. And I am winding down the last of my current volunteer efforts in February. Going forward, I will be more selective about the use of my time. There will be more volunteering, but I don't know what that will look like, yet.

Praying for guidance on my new ministries. Which may actually be the same, just in different places. Again, I don't know where they are or what it will entail. Except that I will be happy to land wherever I land and happy to do whatever I am meant to do.

Because that's the way I roll.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

With Me in Ways Great and Small

There's a lot going on.

I guess it's best to start with the big guy in high school. Inclusion is a mixed experience, at best. He went to his first high school formal and stayed the whole time. The downside is that he didn't have a posse to hang with. The upside is that he is comfortable enough with himself for it not to matter. Much.

We had a teachable moment Friday night. I signed him up to do concession stand for the high school play. When I texted mom in charge to ask when and where we were needed, I was told that Nic wasn't needed, so don't come.

Yeah. No.  I texted back that he wanted to do it, and we would happily see them later.

Except I'm not happy. I'm pissed. She specifically asked me who this was "because I can totally free you up."

Meaning: "If you aren't in/cool/one of us, no, thank you."

We get there early. I tell Nic he gets ice cream regardless. He walks in and balks, because he feels the cold front. I nudge him ahead. I can tell from his uncertain glances that he gets the vibe and is not happy. I shrug with my mouth, he squares his shoulders, and sits tight among the chatty girls who pointedly ignore him and the crazy stage mom who is watching him and the money box like a hawk.

When intermission breaks, it all changes.

Crazy mom is otherwise engaged and becomes the mayor of the table. The girls socialize.  And Nic springs into action, engaging customers, explaining choices, and making change like no one's business.

In short, a lot of good stuff happens because he's back there.

And mom couldn't thank me effusively enough for bringing him. I exude gratitude in giving him the opportunity but am BEYOND fuming because it should not have been this difficult for either Nic or me to make this happen.

So Nic got his sundae and all was well in the world.

We had a sleepover at the Franklin last night. G was sick, so Nic went in his place. Six years ago, it was the two of us at the same place for the same reason. And I needed to go because I was running it.

Honestly, I did not want to go. I find everything hard lately. I was afraid of the drive in to the city, even though I've done it a million times. I was afraid I wouldn't find parking. I was afraid of a lot of little things. That's what happens when I get tired of fighting all my battles. I get afraid. And everything as a consequence becomes hard for me.

When things become hard for me, God makes them easier. A quick, scenic route appeared in my head, and I took it. Nic chatted and obliged when I asked him to stop if I became too overwhelmed. And amazingly, I pulled into the Franklin's garage, and a spot opened, right in front of the elevator bank at street level. Such a little thing, but such a big deal for some one like me who gets overwhelmed over the dumbest of things.

Everyone eventually showed up, and Nic and I, as we did last time, went off on our own. He had a happy, fabulous time.  And I was happy to share it with him.

We ate breakfast and departed ahead of everyone else. I enjoyed the quiet ride home and beautiful foliage along Kelly Drive (Nic remained unimpressed until I told him we'd stop off at Dunkin Donuts on the way home). Gabriel greeted us happily and was thankful for his donut.

Church--brings me to a strange place, as we were seated behind a small boy who reminded me of someone Nic attended special preschool with. All the sudden, I was 12 years ago and doubled up in tears. The past tends to double me over when I least expect it. And I see myself and another mom, now almost decade ago in a focus group with tough-looking moms. Our boys are in K--theirs are in high school, in outside placements. When I voice my (positive) experience, one mom with short spiky blond hair, hard eyes and a leather jacket eyed me coldly and asked "Are we in the same school district?" The other moms laughed.   I just met her cold gaze and wondered to myself how she got this way.

Ten years later, I totally understand how she got that way. By breaking down walls with her bare hands and wading through solid concrete up to hips for great distances. By sitting in countless meetings. By sending endless texts and emails, begging, pleading, then demanding on behalf of her child. By refusing to be ignored. By screaming "I AM" when people do their level best to ignore that you are. And that your kids are.

By making sure your kids get the bare minimum that the rest of their peers are entitled to by dint of their being like everyone else.

Oddly, I am not hardened by any of this.

But I do acknowledge that I am broken.

And somehow, despite that, I go on. Because my job in this world is my children, and God has entrusted them to me. To that end, He ensures that what needs doing, gets done.

His will be done. He knows I have none of my own anymore.