Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2012

A Tremendous Loss

Me playing with Thomas in one of his last shows. Today I awoke to unimaginable news.  Thomas George, one of my fellow ComedySportz players and friends, died in his sleep last night.  Thomas was just a little bit younger than me.  I played in his last ComedySportz show on Friday night.  We were supposed to play together last night as well.  He never showed up at the theater.  I am shocked and sad.  Although I have mentioned ComedySportz (CSZ) a few times on my blog , I have never really talked about the impact it has had on my life in just one short year.  Roger and I stumbled upon CSZ through a Richmond Mom fundraiser.  We were invited by Kate Hall to participate as "guest performers" in November 2011.  We had such a good time with the two-day event, we decided to audition for the major league troupe last January.   I had no idea that we would make it into the troupe.  We really went to the auditions on a lark.  For those of you still out of the loop, ComedySpo

There is No Why

The terrible tragedy of Newtown Connecticut rocked our world on Friday.  Other than the initial headlines and President Obama's eloquent and moving address to the nation, I have avoided the mass media coverage.  I haven't even listened to NPR.   All I do is leak . I am sure it has probably already started. It probably started even before the final body counts and the identity of the shooter were known.   The question of WHY.   Here's the thing: we can ask all the questions we want. Journalists and pundits can debate these issues, dissect the facts, and hypothesize until they turn blue in the face. The simple truth is that there is no WHY.  We can question whether mental illness played a role in Adam Lanza's crime but there is no reason to do so.  Show me a similar incident in history when mental illness was not a factor.  People living in stability don't kill other people.  We can question whether more security at the school such as armed guards or stric

We Never Forget

The year is waning and yet everything seems to be ramping up, doesn't it? We always try to pack so much into a few weeks out of the year.  Sometimes I have to remember to slow down. This weekend, Roger and I had an opportunity for a road trip to Tiffin, Ohio. Never heard of it, you say? It's a small town in Northern Ohio, home to two private universities and a community of some amazing individuals.  Because of some of Roger's music connections, CJSTUF was selected as the beneficiary of Tiffin University's annual Holiday Concert at the Ritz Theater .  Roger also had a chance to perform as the "special guest" with the Jazz Vocal ensemble, singing, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year".  ( Editor's note: he rocked!) Hey! Who's that famous author in the coffee shop ? During our visit, we had a chance to meet many people. We had a book signing at a local coffee shop on Saturday with front row seats for the Christmas Parade!  Eve

Love is Blind

Photo by Britt Reints We often hear the phrase love is blind . One interpretation of the phrase is that when we are in love, we see past the other person's weaknesses.  We overlook their iniquities, usually to a fault.  This does not last. We can ignore and avoid those silly annoyances for a time, but if left out there in the open, resentment of some sort usually sets in. We want the other person to change.  The truth in science suggests that there is a certain amount of blindness in the euphoria of a new relationship but that finding our perfect match involves all of the senses and quite a bit of discrimination.  We are biologically built to find a mate who will meet our needs, physically, emotionally, and socially.  Here is yet another view: when we find ourselves blinded by any challenge, we rely on our loved ones to support us and guide us through the darkness.  Although the blindness can be disabling, forcing one of our senses into isolation can often heighten

Four More Years

This post is not about politics. But it is about Election Day. This was quite a week. We voted. Candidates won. Candidates lost. We said goodbye to political ads for another year or so.  It was a lot to take in.   Charlotte: Election Day 2008 With all the events of the week, my thoughts continued to return to Charlotte.  I thought about how she always went with us to the polls.  Four years ago, she braved the lines and the rain to vote TWICE; once with me and once with her dad.  On election night, Charlotte had long since gone to sleep but Roger and I stayed up till after midnight, watching history unfold.  In the morning, we told her that Barack Obama was our new President.  She could recognize his face in magazines and on television and would say, "That's Barack Obama. He's our new president." Who could have guessed that barely two months from that date, as the President took the oath of office, we faced a whole new world that we never expected?  Who cou

Bright, Sunshiny Day

This has been a heck of a week.  Lots of craziness ensued with the anticipation and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the monster storm/perfect storm/weather event that could not be stopped.  Schedules have been disrupted, property has been damaged, and lives have been changed.  The recovery begins. My Mountains In between the madness, I took a scheduled trip to Boone, NC.  The primary purpose was a guest lecture opportunity at my former alma mater, Appalachian State University .  One of my former professors is teaching a class on syndromes and wanted some assistance with the autism portion of the class.  When I agreed to do this back in June, I had no idea what this weekend would have in store.  Originally, the weekend was going to be a road trip with my mom.  Friday morning, she woke up with a head cold.  Given the potential for nasty weather as well as my mom's intolerance for cold, we thought it best for me to make the trip on my own.   Not a big deal.  I loaded up the ca


It's been a crazy few weeks, as you might have guessed by my unintended hiatus.  The biggest news is that I was selected by Style Weekly, a local Richmond publication, as one of the 2012 Forty Under 40 .  It is quite the local honor and I am humbled to be a part of such an incredible group of men and women.  It has been very interesting, though, to be "recognized" by not just friends and family but seemingly random people who I barely know.  As Roger has said, I'm "fa-moose".  I guess that's better than notorious. I have still been writing. I attended a writing workshop led by Carol Henderson for the second year in a row. It was an inspirational and therapeutic experience. At some point, I will probably share a few of my musings as soon as I can "flesh them out" a bit.  There are also tons of thoughts in my little brain. If only I could get them out all at once! The speaking and signing events have been a little slow as of late; how

Thoughts on Mortality

It was a lovely birthday week, even if I found it to be a bit exhausting! I was greeted with so many birthday wishes.  I was treated to breakfast in bed by my dear husband, my coworkers decorated my office, and I received messages of love throughout the week on Facebook, via phone, via text, and a few actual birthday cards.  I received $120 in donations for the Autism Speaks walk coming up on the 29th ( you can still donate if you're interested) and I'm hoping that the Lady Godiva Program and Eagle Rare Awards received lots of clicks this week.   Thank you to everyone who made the week special.  I suppose it was inevitable, but thoughts of mortality crept into my consciousness this week.  Of course, I thought of the terrorist attacks in the days leading up to my birthday. It seemed somewhat easier this year to "celebrate" despite the collective grief and remembrance that our country now faces every year at this time.  Maybe it was because we had crossed over

Room for one more

There was big news on our cul de sac this week.  The neighborhood grew by one. Yes, friends, you heard it here first.  We got a dog.  Well, to clarify, my brother got a dog and we will be helping to take care of him.  So technically, he's my "dog-nephew".   Meet Cisco! Cisco is a 12-year old hound mutt. His previous owner recently had a stroke and was unable to care for him properly.  He has had some wonderful "interim care" by the owner's sister and brother-in-law.  We got to meet him last week just to make sure it would be a good match and on Friday, he arrived at my brother's house for good.  He is wonderful.  He is mellow and loving. He knows a few basic commands. He rarely barks and it seems that he will get along well with other dogs. I love the fact that we have taken in an older dog.  As you probably know, older animals are usually tough to place with families.  Lots of people want cute puppies or younger dogs. I, however

They say it's your birthday!

Well it's my birthday too!  Not quite, but soon! Okay, with apologies to the Beatles, my birthday is approaching. I am not telling you this because I want presents or lavish parties.  In fact, I would prefer to not make my birthday a big deal.  It's not a significant year and, quite frankly, I have plenty of physical reminders that I am getting older.    I do have a few wishes, though. If you would like to give something in honor of my birthday, please consider making a donation in my honor to Autism Speaks .  Our school is participating in the upcoming walk on September 29th and I would like your help and support.  Autism Speaks does a lot to help families managing the difficult diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder with research, advocacy, and family support.  You can follow this link to make a donation. Take the $5 you would spend on a beer or a card for me and give it to them.  If you have even more money to burn , you can always donate to some of my other

Pain Management

It has been a difficult week, no question.   First of all, I'm starting to realize that my body is getting old.  I have been taking some great exercise classes at Mom's Treehouse this summer. I love the fact that these classes have offered camaraderie and an opportunity to exercise.  They have, however, also helped me realize that I have very weak knees.  My lower back and knees have been aching this week and even with trips to the chiropractor, I'm having to be gentle with myself.  I'm reminded of what comedian Louis CK says about getting older.( warning: there is language...but it's HILARIOUS!) Secondly, we lost another cancer warrior this week.  Drew Goodman 's battle with the nasty disease ended this week. Although we knew this was coming, it still hurt like hell.  Every time a family loses another child, my heart breaks all over again. On top of all of that, work has been a little crazy.  It's nothing unbearable but on top of the other challe

Seeking Balance

I am finally sitting down to write a blog after almost three weeks of absence.  It's not like I didn't have things to say. The word "blog" has been on my to-do list every since we returned from Boone .   It just didn't happen.   Every time I would set out to write, something else would get in the way.  I was busy in my new job , which has involved some long hours and hectic days of late. I was busy keeping things updated with CJSTUF , getting preparations going for our various fundraisers, including the upcoming Art Auction this October.  I was rehearsing (or playing) at ComedySportz .   I did happen to find enough time to write a piece for Richmond Mom about the latest news at Chick-fil-A .  That seemed to light a fire in the discussion boards.   Oh, and somewhere in all of this I was trying to find moments to relax.  At times like this, I realize that the amounts of time and energy at my disposal are finite and precious.  There is a co


Roger and I spent the weekend in Boone, NC.  It was a refreshing, albeit short, weekend away from home.  We got to see a few old friends, do a little PR for the book with a signing, and get a little R&R in as well.  It was good to go home. Even the view from the car puts me at ease.  I know.  I’m not from Boone.  As most of you know, I’m from Florida.  The thing is, Boone feels like home.  It was our home from June 1999-May 2001 when I was enrolled in graduate school at Appalachian State.  Between the friendships fostered during those years, the vibe of the college town that encompasses ASU, and the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone feels more like home to me than just about any other place I’ve ever lived.  Other than my mother’s house, it’s the only place from which I’ve ever felt homesick.  Since I graduated, we’ve been back about half a dozen times. Each visit has been short but sweet, usually in passing to or from another destination.  Every time I start

Does the Pain Ever Lessen? Questions for a Grieving Parent-Part 1

About a month ago, I invited readers of my blog to submit questions they had for a grieving parent .  I wondered if there were questions that people had always wanted to ask but never quite had the courage to verbalize.  I received some intriguing suggestions.  In forthcoming blog posts, I am going to attempt to answer each question.  It seemed most appropriate to begin this post on Charlotte's 7th birthday.  The pain associated with grief takes many forms.  As I mentioned recently, I often feel the pain ebb and flow like waves on a beach .  There are times in my life, such as near holidays or anniversaries, where the waves seem tsunami sized.  The pain is sharper. I am more sensitive to some of the things that "trigger" my sadness. I'm probably more grumpy and easier to anger as well (apologies to anyone that gets caught in the wake). Sometimes I feel like I might drown.  Once the tsunami subsides, though, life resumes to this place that I call normal . Two

The Waves of Grief

There has been so much activity in the last few months, it has been easy to forget about the dates on the calendar until they sneak up on you.  Between book release events , CJSTUF activities , and my new job , I have had plenty to keep me busy.   At the same time, I feel my heart getting a little heavier every day.  I think it started right before Memorial Day. We were finalizing our vacation plans, looking forward to spending a few days with family at my father in-law's house in Tennessee.  I realized, looking at the calendar, that our vacation would end on July 8.  I would be back to work on July 9: Charlotte's seventh birthday.   Each day since that realization, life has been a little more challenging.  I feel more emotional.  I feel stressed.  Sometimes I wonder if I am feeling more stress about her birthday because of all of the other stressful things in my life right now (work, lack of time, etc.)? Is it challenging just because I am heaping something new onto

CJ's Daddy

At the beginning of chapter 3 of Four Seasons for Charlotte , I wrote: "If someone had walked up to me on the day that Roger and I meet and said, 'This is the man you are going to marry,' I would  have questioned that person's sanity." Readers who haven't known Roger and I for the decade and a half (plus!) that we have been together have remarked amusingly on this comment.  In fact, they have demanded photographic proof of the "hip graduate student majoring in Jazz Studies with long hair, a dangly earring, and wild clothes."   Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you photographic evidence: Exhibit A:The college ID, circa mid 90s.  Yes, Roger had hair.   Exhibit B: The fashion choices.  This was during a trip to Key West in 1995.  Note the stylish weightlifting pants and funky hat. Also note that Roger was not a weightlifter. I think he felt a deep fashion bond with the car we found along Duval Street.     This was our first trip to

Gaining Perspective

It never fails.  The minute I start blogging about not blogging for a while , I get flooded by writing opportunities.  Sometimes the absence is due to lack of inspiration and sometimes it is due to lack of time.  For whatever reason, writing about writing seems to get me back on track. Today I went to Virginia Blood Services for my regular platelet donation.  I have been donating blood since high school but I started donating platelets almost two years ago on Charlotte's birthday.  I have been making that my de facto mode of donation ever since.  My goal this year is to make at least 12 donations and I am on track to make that happen.   Sweet Abbie I think about Charlotte, and the other kiddos who require platelet and blood donations during their treatment, every time I make a donation.  Today, I thought especially about Abbie Waters since a blood drive was held yesterday in her honor .  I dedicated today's donation to her.  Giving platelets is a little more labor in