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Showing posts from October, 2011

Living Without

One of my never-ending sources of inspiration is Miss Britt .  After discovering her blog, we were fortunate enough to meet her and her family in real life  during the first leg of their cross-country RV adventure.   This past week, she wrote a piece for TLC Parentables  about the things her family has learned to live without. I am constantly grateful for all that we have. More and more, I have been feeling this pull to minimize and scale back. While there are some things that I love and can't seem to live without (more on that later), I find myself asking the question, "Do I really need that?" quite a bit lately. Britt shared the things that her family has eliminated from their life (without much sacrifice) so I thought I would share my own list: 1. Cable TV   We dropped our cable in July and I haven't missed it. There are times when I wish I could watch something on NBC (our antenna doesn't seem to get a good signal for the local affiliate). I'm sure

Waiting to exhale

This has been a difficult week but it ended well. On Sunday, I heard the news that a child was missing in the woods north of our house.  Not much later, I learned that the child in question was Robert Wood, Jr. For those of you living outside the Richmond area, Robert is an 8-year old with autism. He is nonverbal and his skills are somewhat limited.  He wandered away from his father and brother during an outing at a local park on Sunday and they have been searching for him all week. I was nervous as a parent who could only imagine how challenging it would be to know your child was missing.   I was riddled with anxiety as someone who works regularly with children with autism.  I know that these kids can sometimes bolt and run, even when you are providing conscientious care.  Any time a child goes missing it is stressful but when that child cannot communicate effectively, the risk is that much greater.  I was also sad and scared because I know Robert. I know his personality. I know h

Therapeutic Writing

I attended a writing workshop this weekend.  It was led by Carol Henderson , an author who has made a career of writing and helping others learn how to be better writers.  She also happens to be a mother who has lost a child. The workshop was organized by Noah's Children  for mothers and grandmothers who have lost a child (or grandchild).  We were a small group, bonded by our own horrific events and looking to explore our grief through writing.   While the intention of the workshop was not to be "therapy", the writing was a great way to tap into those complex experiences that surrounded Charlotte's death and the grief process.  Of course, there were tears all around but it was a safe space in which to share.  It was good to write and have the option to share...or a room that could carry the weight of our grief.   The seeds of some interesting thoughts are germinating in my new writing journal.  Many of these kernels of truth may never see the light of d

Follow Friday: A few new favorites

Happy Friday! What a busy few weeks it has been.  Considering today may be the end of the world...again...I guess everyone is just trying to make the most of it.  If you missed my Instructions for the Apocalypse the first time the world was supposed to end this year, you can catch a refresher. No reason to leave the Earth unprepared.   In case the world doesn't end today, here are a few books to add to your reading list: Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland My rating: 4 of 5 stars What a great read! I have always been fascinated by Louis Comfort Tiffany's artwork and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel of historical fiction. Told from the perspective of Clara Driscoll, one of the lead designers for Tiffany's windows and lamps, the story was built on the historical information left from the day (personal correspondence and other documents). I loved the author's meticulous detail in describing the methods by which the women created these amazing works of art. It

Adventures in Domesticity

We all complain about housework. There are a few rare birds out there who love to clean. I admit that this is a huge weakness of mine.  It's not like I don't know how to keep house. I like to be organized. I know how to clean. There are some aspects of cleaning that I don't even mind.  It just doesn't seem to happen.   Cleaning just constantly sinks to the low place on the totem pole.   Here are a few of my stumbling blocks: My husband and I both work. A lot.  Roger's jobs have him running around, away from the house, 45-50 hours a week, including evenings and weekends. My primary job has me working 40 hours as well.  On top of that, I usually come home and tackle CJSTUF duties in my spare time. By the time 9 PM rolls around, I'm not in the mood to clean the bathroom. When I have a free day on the weekend and nothing  else is scheduled, I can get a lot of cleaning accomplished.  Those days are few and far between.  I frequently quote Miss Scarlet

Battle Scars

I'm very eclectic when it comes to movies. I like dramas, comedies, and thrillers. If you checked my Netflix queue, you would frequently find foreign films, independent films, and documentaries rounding out my list. I even love a good slasher flick every now and then. It all depends on my mood.  Sometimes you know what you're getting into with a movie. Roger and I went to see  The Blair Witch Project right before going camping in the middle of a Virginia State Park. Not one of our smarter moves. If I ever need a good cry, I just pop in Sophie's Choice or ET . If I need to laugh, I put in anything by Mel Brooks or Monty Python .  These days, I tread lightly when it comes to films that revolve around death or illness. It can be a slippery slope. There can be a certain amount of catharsis  in watching these films and I think that's healthy. At the same time, it can open up old wounds. You have to be ready to cry. The other danger with these types of movies is


What a week it's been!  I found myself frequently surprised this week.  Here's what topped the list: Sting turned 60.  What? Are you kidding me? How is this possible?  I don't care how old he is.  He's still making great music and he's still sexy as hell.  I'm lucky to say that I've seen him live, in concert, twice.  Perhaps if he keeps touring, I'll get to live out my life's dream of becoming one of his back-up singers.  Someday.  Someday.   Steve Jobs died I wrote only 6 weeks ago , at his retirement, about Steve's impact on the world. While I knew that it would only be a matter of time before his body succumbed to the pancreatic cancer that invaded his body, I had no idea how the death of someone I never knew personally could impact me so deeply. It was inspiring to see the many eloquent and beautiful tributes that floated around the Internet on Wednesday and Thursday.   We've been fighting the war in Afghanistan for over


I've been really happy lately.   It feels really good to say that.  Just in the last week, I have found myself reflecting on my feelings.  I've had more than one person say to me, "You seem really happy."  They are right. I am.  It feels kind of strange. When you go through a challenging time in your life, a lot of people will empathize by saying "Cheer up" or "Things will get better" or "You need to look on the bright side."  It's understandable.   People look for happiness. They're drawn to it like a magnet.  There have been many times in the last (almost) 3 years when I have wanted to tell the people who said these things to fuck off  leave me alone.  Sometimes I probably even did  give them a few choice words.   I think it's ok to be sad sometimes.  It's important to acknowledge the anger.  It's important to feel the pain of heartbreak. It's ok to wallow in a little self-pity for a while. It's