Archive for the ‘swimming’ Category

Someone left a cutting, cruel comment on my “let there be sight” post.  I approved it for all to see.  You be the judge.

Your son is, what, 12?? And you’re bathing him and giving him “mamalove” kisses everywhere? Inappropriate much??! ? Beyond icky.

Interesting that you claim to love your Boo — yet institutionalized him. You see him once a week for a few hours. This is love, how, exactly?  Boo learns to love and live and peacefully exist in the world by… not living with mommy or daddy??

I used to judge people too, for “institutionalizing” their children.  I used to judge people for all kinds of things.  And now I am judged.  I suppose that is how it works.

I don’t know when I will be able to come back and write here.  This coincides with a serious health issue I’m dealing with; I may go to the ER tomorrow.

Oh, how words can hurt.  Hurt like fire.  Even worse than the health issue, which hurts so bad I have to knock myself out with Tylenol PM every night.  M told me “if you’re going to post all your personal shit out there for everybody to see then that’s what you’re going to get.”

Here are pictures to soften the blow to my body and my heart:


jonah battles daddy with a purple "noodle"

the pool - his favorite place

the pool – his favorite place


Goodbye for now.  I can’t handle this.  Maybe I can’t blog anymore if I can’t handle the haters.

Read Full Post »

Andy told me Jonah has a new aversion – to strands of hair.  If a stray hair is on his shirt, he will pluck it off carefully, drop it (or hand it to you) and say “bye bye hair.”  I love these little utterances, how he weaves what language he possesses, making bridges to the concepts he wants to express.

It usually becomes quickly apparent to us what he’s trying to get across.  Sometimes I wonder if his whole aggression is frustration-based.  He’s probably much smarter than his limited language might lead one to believe.  So does this mean there is a short in one of the language-learning wires in his brain?  That he’d like to tell us that what he loves and what he would like to do is something which has never even been offered to him?  I have no idea, of course.

If Andy hadn’t informed me of this new Jonah tidbit, I have to admit I’d have been very confused when, on Saturday, Jonah handed me the drink I’d just poured him, announcing “bye bye hair.”   Even with the knowledge I now own regarding Jonah’s newfound antipathy, the scene left me confused.  Juice.  Hair.  No connection.

Helpless, I turned to Andy.  “There’s probably a hair on the cup,” he said, and sure enough there was.  Andy managed to slide the hair off where condensation had glued it to the side, and he handed the drink back to Boo.

I guess Jonah has been happy enough, swimming on the campus with surprising tolerance at having to wear a life vest (which prevents him from diving or swimming underwater – two of his favorite pool activities).  He starts a 6-week summer school program on Tuesday, and then he’ll have a few weeks more of summer vacation before school starts again.

My mom chose to stay behind as Andy and Jonah and I drove to the “transfer station.”  It is tiring to drive around more after you’ve just driven an hour and a half and you know you’ve got another hour and a half to travel home.  Plus she wanted me to sign her into my Facebook account so she could see baby pictures of the newest member of our extended family.  The computer is a foreign concept to her, and admittedly I have less patience with her than I should.  “Just scroll down!  Point and click on the name, ma.  The name.”  Of course she doesn’t know what scroll down means, let alone point and click, nor can she execute these pre-school level Internet commands.  I left her after a very basic tutorial.

And what a God-awful hot day.  Neither heat nor cold seems to bother Andy all that much (and bothers Jonah, seemingly, not at all).  Andy didn’t even have his air conditioning window unit installed in the apartment; I have no idea how he sleeps in the humid, cicada-ridden, sticky air.  And so the three of us got in the car and drove away with Andy’s boxes of recyclables, Jonah happy and calm, requesting “music on?” and rocking his body back and forth to the likes of Jay Z and Rhianna.

he likes the big pillow I got for the back of the car

He likes the big pillow I got for the back of the car.

And yes, he still has to wear the eye shield.  By now he may be almost resigned to its presence.  He’s got an appointment with the glaucoma doctor on Tuesday, so hopefully we’ll know more then about how much sight, if any, he’s got remaining in his left eye.

Seeming happy kid...

Seemingly happy kid…

…but deceptively so, because on our return ride back to the apartment, we are just riding along when I am suddenly in pain, slammed against the back of the seat like some Mafia move where the backseat passenger quickly throws a cord over his victim’s head and pulls back hard: execution by strangulation.  But I’m not being strangled; Jonah has grabbed a chunk of my hair and is yanking it hard.  “Ah!  Ah!” I yell.  Andy always tells me to say “pull over” if something like this happens but I almost never do/can.  It’s all spontaneous and uncontrollable, whether I shout “Ow!” or simply “Andy!!!!!”

I press into the back of the seat, my head firmly against the rest (he’s gotten me from the space between the headrest and the seat). I manage to work my arm above my head to press the hair against my scalp, since there are a few inches between his grasp on the hair and my head.  It takes the usual 2-3 minutes (though it feels much longer) for Andy to disengage Jonah’s tightly grasped fists from the chunk of my hair, and I immediately get out of the car, my hand still pressed against my head and half expecting it to come away with a whole long lock of my hair.  Instead I got a bunch of tangled strands, and more strands were all over the car (and likely all over Jonah).

Bye-bye hair indeed.

When I got back in the car I pulled the seat as far forward as possible, leaning right on the dash.  We made it to the apartment without further incident, though shortly thereafter mom and I decided to leave because he came after me again.  This time I recoiled back quickly, told my son “bye, sweetheart,” and walked out the door.

My mother played one of her favorite CDs on the way back:  John Williams conducts the Boston Pops with rousing renditions of such patriotic gems as “America the Beautiful” and  “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” made surreal by the events of the scant time we’d just spent in Rhinebeck.

“I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.”
~ Julia Ward Howe

Last night I called to see how Jonah’s day had been after Andy had brought him back to his residence.  Usually Andy calls, but I took a turn.  One of his caregivers told me he was calm and happy for the remainder of the day, having requested (and eaten) a grilled cheese sandwich and then showered and gone to sleep earlier than usual.

For some reason, after I hung up the phone I went deep into my head, calling forth these realities as though they were fresh and razor-sharp instead of the dulled, standard emotions they have come to elicit.  For a few minutes, I was in anxiety-attack mode, feeling as though I’d just dropped him off at the school to live, unreal realizations hitting me in waves of panic and nausea.  Someone else is telling me how my child was today.  Someone else has prepared his food, guided his daily activities, put him to bed.  Someone else.  Other people, far away.

How did this come to be?  How did I come to be okay with it?  Is it just that I had no choice, lest I go mad?

I am glad the floodgates of my angst were dammed again soon, that my mind-storm did not last.  I breathed my way slowly back to the commonplace lethargy of acceptance of our reality, and then I slipped further away – into the cushion of sleep.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday’s visit with Jonah was surreal.  I guess I’m still jet-lagged and I felt like a dullard, all in a fog and very tired.  But Jonah was a good boy, calm and smiley.  He got his haircut but it looks like all they cut was the front.

still a ragamuffin boy

still a ragamuffin boy

I gave Jonah lots and lots of mamalove, kissing his hand and his head and his face, giggling with him, hugging him tight.  Andy picked him up for visits 5 days in a row, I think, this past week, because Jonah had no school and he was being a very sweet boy.  Naturally, Jonah will ask for his daddy to help him do a lot of things now – daddy give bath?   Boo is truly a lucky boy to have such a wonderful father.

To come back from paradise to grey skies and this cold Northeast is harder than I’d imagined.  Had I no responsibilities, I would short-sell my home and possessions and move – do not pass go –  to the Kona coast of the Big Island.

Where we stayed

Where we stayed

But I can’t, and I wouldn’t leave my Boo, and I can only hope to visit again.  Hawai’i has a whole different feel – mellow, smiling people and breathtaking beauty everywhere.  I took more than a thousand pictures.  The black lava rock is mineral-rich and yields growth of palm and grasses.  It is not as expensive as people say.  The tourist places are, of course, but we found delightful markets where we could buy snacks and drinks, and even a tiny eatery where you can get a full breakfast for $5.  I met more people than I imagined who now live there but were former tourists who felt Hawai’i’s pull to be irresistable.  I understood.

The island sang to me; it got inside my soul.  Although I’ve traveled a good piece of this world, no other place has felt this way to me.

No road rage, honking, “us vs. them,” anger, rushing, or stress…and what seems to be a healthy mutual respect between visitors and locals.   And my God, the sunsets framed by palm trees.  Sapphire waters.  Pineapple, mango, apple-bananas, macadamia nuts.  Mongoose and dolphins, whales and sea turtles.  White, black, and mixed-sand beaches.  Weather that never varies from its 75-82 degree breezy perfection.  We never saw a drop of rain, though if you travel to other parts of the island there is rain aplenty.  It is not crowded at all – I’ve seen crowds 100 times the size at Cape Cod and Ocean City.  If you can do it, go.  Go!   Boo would have loved it; I wish it was in any way possible to bring him. I am going to get that child to the ocean this summer.

Here are a few pictures, of the 1,273 or so that I took!

Buddha Point at our resort was a great place to watch the sunset

Buddha Point at the Hilton Waikoloa Village was the perfect place to watch the remarkable sunsets

hangin' loose with a lovely hula dancer

hangin’ loose with a lovely hula dancer

even though jonah is an expert swimmer, i can't even go underwater without plugging my nose!!!

Even though jonah is an expert swimmer, I can’t even go under water without plugging my nose!!!




...and sea turtles...

…and sea turtles…

...and dolphins...

…and dolphins…

...oh my!

…oh my!

and the view from our balcony (lanai) at sunset

and the view from our balcony (lanai) one sunset

Read Full Post »

I don’t know if this is a surprising fact or not, but I’ve never read my blog all the way through.  But sometimes I read old entries, especially when they show up on my “top posts” list – partly, I guess, because I wonder how or why certain entries ended up there.  And partly to see how often I say the same shit, or whether or not I’ve ever given a blog post the same title twice.  And partly to document events & things I will otherwise flush down the memory toilet.  And for a bunch of other reasons.

One thing I realized is I start stories and then don’t finish them.  Like the whole Humira saga, when I had to pay more than two thousand dollars out of pocket for Jonah’s medicine and then fought through miles of red tape for weeks to get reimbursed – and even then only with the help of a few incredibly kind, kick-ass professionals.  I never re-visited that story.  Maybe I just forget to re-visit things…0r even mention them in the first place.  So today for you I have a list of stuff I’m pretty sure I never talked much about.  Some are opinions.  Some are confessions.  Some are boring.  All are true.

1.  I got reimbursed in full for Jonah’s $2k Humira refill.

2.  In ten days, for ten days, I am going on vacation to Waikoloa, Hawaii.   (Yes, my house is being watched).

3. I have been living from Guster show to Guster show for a few years now; this truth became evident when I realized I immediately purchase tickets the moment they are available, each and every time I get a tour announcement e-mail from them.  Just bought tickets for yet another show; they’re playing near Boston with Dispatch.  Someday Jonah will come with us.  I hope so anyway.  (They’ll have a summer tour on top of this and I’ll buy tickets to at least one show on that tour, too, the moment they are made available to me).

Saturday June 8th
Mansfield, MA @ Comcast Center w/ Dispatch
$42 – All Ages – 6PM
Ticket Presale (January 28th @ 12PM, use code “CIRCLES”) | Info & Facebook RSVP

4.  More and more often I find myself wanting to find ways for Jonah to swim.  He is so happy in the water.  There is a hotel near my house that offers an indoor swim club, and there is always the Center for the Disability Services, though their pool is literally 90-something degrees and necessarily full of chlorine.  Maybe Andy can help me find a place down near where they live where we could bring him.

5.  I secretly (well, obviously not so secretly) love that Jonah sucks his thumb.  He does not flap or rock, but he does walk in circles, and he loves to suck his thumb.  I even love the way he sucks his thumb (watch the end of yesterday’s post‘s 19 second video).  Maybe it’s because I was a thumb-sucker too.

6.  Sometimes I feel happy that I have more freedom now that Jonah doesn’t live with me.

7.  Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling happy for feeling free.

So it goes.

Read Full Post »

“The walls are painted in red ocher
and are marked by strange insignia,
some looking like a bulls-eye,
others of birds and boats.
Further down the corridor,
he can see some people; all kneeling.

The carpet crawlers heed their callers:
We’ve got to get in to get out
We’ve got to get in to get out
We’ve got to get in to get out.”

~ The Carpet Crawlers, Genesis

I dreamt of strange, vague, nightmarish, nondescript apocalypses, of dying people everywhere, irradiated, burning from the inside out.  Of Andy and I trying to get to Jonah.  It’s hard to breathe, see, or hear.  All food is gone, and the sun is obscured by black falling snow.  The car is on empty and finally stops, and a landslide of mud and logs is coming at us, certain death, and I’m trying to handle that but then suddenly we see Jonah in a huge pool.  A police woman tells me sternly to remove him from the pool.  “There are carpet crawlers on his raft,” she explains, and is gone.  Andy and I climb in the pool with Jonah, and Jonah reaches out to grasp one each of our hands, sliding off his raft.  He pulls us down to the bottom and we can breathe the water and see just fine and are no longer hungry — and the carpet crawlers are, after all, only on the surface.   Then, slowly, the water drains, and we drown gasping in the air.

This following the Guster show Friday night at the Capital Theater in Portchester, NY.  Maybe the significance is we had to sit next to four drunken assclowns who drank and drank and drank, laughing and talking through all the songs because dammit we were in the wayback (second to last row balcony) and they could get away with their obnoxious douchebaggery.  The girl with the Coach bag asked me to watch her coat in between drinks.  I wanted to say “You think there are coat thieves back here in the balcony of a Guster show?”  Her steroid-large boyfriend paused his constant texting after every song to hoot and holler, laughing.  Why are you HERE?  I wanted to ask them.   Sigh.  I’m getting old.

But then the music took over and I forgot about wanting to punch the moron.

It was an awesome show.  I even got a few decent pictures from my far-distant perch:

Ryan and Luke

Ryan and Luke

April, Charlene, Adam, Ryan, Luke

April, Charlene, Adam, Ryan, Luke

Brian, under spotted light effects

Brian, under spotted light effects

Dwight Yoakam?  Isn't that the country singer who played Dole in Slingblade?

Dwight Yoakam?
Isn’t that the country singer who played Dole in Slingblade?

I dislike Westchester.  Lived there for a year.  But I had to get in to get out.  That night I had the carpet crawlers nightmare.

Next morning M dropped me off at Andy’s, where we met my mom and drove to pick up Boo.   Everything seemed in slow motion – even Jonah, who was more subdued than usual.  Even his lone aggression, aimed at Andy, fell short of notable.  I brought Guardian Gus the ScareMeNot for Jonah to hold, and all was right with the world.


Later Jonah took a bath and put his head right underwater.

Later Jonah took a bath and put his head right underwater.

It reminded me of that creepy dream, but we had a good day and Boo was, for the most part, a very good boy.  I hugged and kissed him soundly several times without suffering any consequences.

When I got home M and I took a long nap and then stayed up til almost 2am.  Today feels like it should be Monday (because we took Friday off) but then neither of us has Martin Luther King Jr. Day off.  It all balances out, but today I’m cooking homemade something and relaxing to episode after episode of All in the Family (speaking of Martin Luther King Jr. Day).

Watch my favorite part of my favorite episode.  I can watch it over and over.

‘Twas a good weekend.  I am appreciative.

Read Full Post »

I’ve been kind of sick for too long a while.  I’d rather be sicker and have it over more quickly.  There is simultaneously optimism and fear inside me – and a disheartened kind of grief.  A good, gracious man I know died on New Year’s Eve; he was only 61.  I’m not sure what’s going on inside my head but I need to watch videos like this and seek out information like you get here in order to continue to have faith in humanity

I have to remind myself there are so many amazing things. 

I forgot to bring my camera on my trip to see Jonah yesterday, so I’ll have to share older pics.  Jonah was a good boy.  He didn’t want me to sing, though, even though he was in a parroting mood.  Andy had on the radio and Jonah was humming snippets of the top 40 music and saying things to himself… then suddenly he’s quiet, moving his thumb easily and naturally into his mouth as he turns to look out the window.  It was a warm day – maybe even 40.  My mother and I were quiet on the ride home as she tolerated my music:  things like Kula Shaker, Paul Simon, Radiohead, and Death Cab for Cutie, this day.  I won’t subject her to Greenday or the Grateful Dead; I know where to draw the line.   It was a good visit tinged with the usual feeling that comes inside when you are driving farther and farther away from your innocent ten year old son. 

Today I made chicken cacciatore and M and I are watching Dick Proenneke’s Alone in the Wilderness.   It’s such an amazing documentary that tears come to my eyes as I watch it.  This man built a cabin in the middle of Twin Lakes, Alaska (where he was the only human) and lived there for thirty years, 1968-1998, until he was 81 years old.  He carved spoons and bowls out of wood in a matter of hours.  He could chop down 40 trees and shape them into useable logs to build the cabin, all before noon.  Amazing things.  He built carriers for food and moss.  Caught fish and avoided bear.  Somehow didn’t go insane even while so literally alone.

The things he accomplishes – the way he thinks, the way he moves through the world — it’s so mind-blowing sometimes I have no reaction but to laugh out loud in astonishment.

He builds tools, tables, chairs;  intricate, near-perfect hinges; neat, even boards for shelves and working surfaces.  He narrates most of the movie, sets the camera on a tripod and films himself measuring, building, climbing, chopping, carving, cooking, gardening.  Everything handmade.  A plane would come only, I think, twice a year to bring him very basic supplies.  Are there still people like him, people who know civilization but choose to leave it, with talent and skill and that true harmony with nature?  I am in such awe of it.  No wonder I love Laura Ingalls Wilder.

For me these people speak of possibility, and resilience, and determination.  

It’s good for me today.  So here are some random things while I make my exit to watch some more about Mr. Proenneke:



Silly Me

Silly Me




ScareMeNots recycle!

The Hudson River in March 2002Rhinebeck NY

Baby Jonah...Looking right at me.

Baby Jonah…
Looking right at me.

Gustav Klimt'sThe Kiss

Gustav Klimt’s
The Kiss


my child of the water

Read Full Post »

I felt anger yesterday.  And resentment.  Envy.  Ugly thoughts.  I don’t belong on facebook because of my hyper-sensitivity, but I’m on it to be the Scare-Me-Not mommy.  Facebook, childishly, really hurts.  I look around the site and see things that make me jealous, or left out, or angry.

Sisters on a beach vacation – beautiful, strong sisters I wish with all my heart were my own.  Family at Yankee Stadium – something I’d love to be invited to (and have vocalized this wish to my mother many times when she was one of the crew) but have been left out of over and over again until I gave up.  Young couples with their arms around each other, grinning ear to ear.  Friends who get 3 vacations in one summer.  The beach, the beach, the beach.  Their children playing together, jumping in the waves.  More sisters, four or five, all grinning, all looking like one another, all there for one another, no matter what.

(Oh, to bring Jonah back to the beach.  To hear him gleefully cry “the ocean!” again.  Now, it’s impossible.  Next year I will plan ahead and see if I can hire someone like Joe to go with me to help me with him – and we’ll take him to Cape Cod. )

The young family living in Hawaii.  The really nice rich cousin whose family goes to Rome, or Milan, or wherever else the 1% go for vacation.  The family who has little material possessions yet is drowning in love.

Then, the people fighting diseases, fighting for causes, fighting for their children…trapped in the midst of horrible things – all of them rooted deep in faith, all of them brave and uncomplaining.

And then there is me.

I don’t have the diplomacy to keep my mouth shut and I don’t have the grace to be uncomplaining and I don’t have the faith to hold me up.

For all those who so kindly commented on my last post, you see I am mostly just a little girl, emotionally – frightened and bratty as hell.  The spoiled only child who grew into the downwardly mobile idealistic hippie chick college student, who grew into a married woman who had a baby largely because she knew the child would have an amazing father (never even considering what kind of a mother I would make) who grew yet again into a numbed, dumbed-down version of herself – a broken, tired, jealous, Peri-menopausal mess.

There is no heroism in me and very little strength.

The acts of kindness I like to commit are only a conscious effort to combat what I know about myself…to have something, anything, to put some weight on the other side of the scale.  I like to believe myself a Buddhist, a least a little, and a Christian, a little more, and yet I fall so short of the ideals, the teachings.  I can’t stop these tight, tears-behind-my-eyes, ugly feelings that come roaring up inside me like a sickness.

So yesterday, when all was said and done, I eventually reaped what I had sown – ripe seeds of nasty, intrusive, pissy, uncalled-for emotions.

But I’ll get back to that later.

My mom and I drove down for our Saturday Jonah visit, and, as Andy said later, “he was on his A game.”  He was so amazingly good.  Almost too good.  What do I mean by that?  I guess mostly that it’s easier to leave him behind when he is aggressive and scream-y and difficult.  When he’s so good, I want to hold him close to me and never let go.

I taped a small “conversation” I had with Jonah but I’m not sure how easy it is to hear.  If you listen closely, at the very end, Andy asks, “Jonah, what’s a fart say?” and Jonah blows a raspberry.

And not only did he go swimming at the river,

He dropped his purple “octopus” in the river and then just pointed to it. “Go get it!” I told him…

…so he did.

Jonah and his dad, running back to the car at Jonah’s request to go to “grocery store?”

Andy, strapping Jonah into his car harness as Jonah laughs hysterically and clutches “purple octopus.”

…as visions of grocery stores dance in his head…

…but we also drove to “grocery store” at Jonah’s request to buy waffles and syrup and orange soda.  I watched as my boy got his own cart, spun it around and into the store, expertly steered it past both produce and people, and acted like a good little kid, only occasionally asking for something we weren’t going to buy (and taking it very well when we said “not now” or “tomorrow” or any of the other distraction words — anything but “no.”)    Jonah acted better, even, than some of the other kids there.  Of course we did have to go to the self-check out to avoid any waiting, but still it was so incredibly cool to watch him growing and learning and doing so well.

When my mom and I left, it was with the hope we always have when Boo is good – that he will continue in this direction, steadily learning patience and life skills as well as academics, gradually improving, progressively making his way out of aggression and into verbalization.  Socialization.  Happiness.  It never happens, of course – there is always the backslide, but every time, we hope – we have learned its necessity.

When I returned home from our visit, I drove up to the Rensselaerville Falls and made a large nature art creation.  Nobody was around.  Nobody almost ever is…even when the parking lot is full, most people are on the ridiculously steep trails.  I hefted rocks that I looked at after I was done, wondering how I’d lifted some of them at all — then, with my rock-circle-wall sufficiently constructed, I began decorating it, first with two branches to make a cross, then with fallen leaves I could find on the ground or trapped swirling around a stick in the water.

I sat on a rock shelf nearby and listened to the waterfall, always rushing, never-ending, as calming and reassuring a sound I’d ever heard.  I first searched for patterns in the sound, and for a while I opened myself further and let them enter me.  When I arose from my reverie, I realized I had made this creation for Liam the Brave –  The sweet, suffering toddler for whom I made the box.

And I walked fully clothed into the area of water surrounding me, into the middle toward the next waterfall level, feet groping as the water rose higher and higher on me.  To my calves.  My mid-thighs.  My waist.  Close enough to the drop of the falls for the sound to swallow my screams, loud and long and enraged.  I screamed and thrashed around in the water as if dousing Wicked Witches into melting pools.  I cried and I sobbed.  I yelled primal, awful AAAAAHHHHHs, and, finally, raised my body tall and straight.

I walked purposefully up and out of the pool of water, back over to my rock creation, and felt the rage rise again.  I barely stopped myself from deconstructing the creation, rock by rock, and shot-putting the smaller ones into the water, smashing them against rocks, pitching them at the falls.

But I didn’t.  It isn’t mine anymore, I thought.  It’s Liam’s now.

I picked up my things – my bug repellent, my camera, my sandals – and carried them up the hill, along the trail, and back to the car.

It was not until the moment I reached for the driver’s door handle that I realized I’d locked the doors (something I almost never, ever do).

With a sinking heart, I realized I’d left my purse (with my cell phone and my keys) in the trunk.

And what did I do?  I smiled.  The karmic slap.  You reap what you sow, you jealous, angry bitch.

Instead of finding someone in the Huyck Preserve office (I was sure it was closed anyway) or knocking on a neighbor’s door to ask if I could use their phone to call AAA, I just smiled again.

I know what I’ll do.

I searched around the parking lot for a little while until I found what I thought was a hefty, perfect, pointed rock.  Then I walked over to the driver’s side way-back triangle-window, and brought down the rock as hard as I could, right in the middle of the glass.  Instead of hearing a satisfying shatter, I watched a white scratch appear as the rock bounced off.  It was loud as hell, though, echoing throughout the park.  Again and again I brought the rock down on the glass.  More and more and more white scratches appeared.  Some small nicks.  Nothing much else.  By now the glass would need replacing anyway, I realized, whether I broke it or not.

So I reached down, grabbed up the uncomplaining rock, and walked maybe two feet away from the car.  I aimed as best I could and threw the rock at the window with all the strength I had.  Rock bounced off window.  I picked it up and threw it again, where it bashed in the silver trim halfway between the way-back-triangle window and the back window.  Still I threw it again, this time making the familiar white-mark-scratch, only this time even further off mark, on the back window.

At this point I was half in tears at my stupidity and half-laughing at the strange fun of trying to bash a window in with a heavy, sharp rock.

Finally, I walked to the office, which was actually open, and found a young man inside.  “Did you just hear all that noise?”  I asked him.  “Yeah,”  he answered.  “I was about to come out and see what’s going on.”

“What’s going on,” I said, “is  I’m trying to bash out my back window because I locked my keys in the car.  Do you happen to have a hammer?”

He did.  Both a sledgehammer and a pick-axe.  He chose the sledgehammer and held it out to me.  “Do you want to do it or do you want me to do it?” he asked.  “You do it, please,” I answered, not wanting to make a wild swing and cave in the roof or something.

“Well I’ve never done this before,” he said before giving the window just a wee more than a tap with his giant sledgehammer.  The result was my anticipated, satisfying SMASH, glass all over the inside of my car.

If you look closely you can see where I white-scratched the back window and dented the trim.

I thanked the dude, stuck my lanky arm through the hole, unlocked the back door, opened it, stuck my body in the car, used my lanky arm to reach the front door lock and unlock it, popped the trunk, grabbed my purse, slammed the trunk shut and the back door closed, and drove the hell home.

Another view of my happy little car

And so, in one of the longest posts I’ve written in quite some time, there lies the moral of the karmic smash:

Don’t waste time being angry, or jealous, or resentful.  You’ll end up falling under the illusion of surface-sight and misunderstanding.  You’ll end up making assumptions that may not be true.  You’ll end up a grasping fool, unhappy and repellent.  There is no good in any of it.  Let it all go. 

Learn it, Amy.  And right quick.

Read Full Post »

I haven’t felt like blogging, which is unlike me, but lately it feels like I’m whining.  I feel envy and anger and grief, then I feel guilty for feeling envy and anger and grief.

In the midst of earthquakes and shootings, all I bitch about lately are first world problems:

I forgot to buy coffee creamer.

Jonah has a “management” at school (which is a euphemism for an aggression requiring a “takedown.”)

I have to write two articles for the Capital District Parent Pages this month instead of one, so I’ll have them done before I go to Mansfield, Missouri to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home & Pa’s fiddle on my birthday.

I haven’t been practicing/learning my Spanish enough.

That kind of crap.

So I went to my first organized party since I was in Four Winds.  It was my cousin’s son’s son’s 1st birthday.  (Boy, that sure dates me!)  I was afraid to go.  I’m always afraid to go to parties, especially when there are children and those children are regular ol’ kids running, playing, and making everyone smile.  I’m afraid my envy will burst through the fragile veneer of my smile – afraid I’ll cry and make everyone feel weird or uncomfortable.

Then someone says “you should have brought Jonah over,” and I’m afraid my anger will burst through the fragile veneer of my calm – afraid I’ll get snotty and say, “do you think I’d have placed my child in a residential facility if I thought I could bring him to a party?”  He’d attack the little ones and wreak havoc on the party-goers in general.  Of course it’s not as if the person who said that to me was being anything but kind and accepting, but still the anger rises.

None of this is fair.

But I kept the envy down and the anger away and simply enjoyed the people I haven’t seen for so long, all my relatives I love.  I did cry at one point, but it was only because my uncle M was talking to me and made me feel so embraced that my tears were ones of heartfelt emotion, pulled out of me by his loving-kindness.

Small steps.

On Saturday Andy drove Jonah up to my mother’s house.  It looked so threatening in the sky – about to rain, about to rain.  I begged God:  please hold off the rain until he gets a chance to swim (in my mother’s neighbor’s pool).  And then the rain did hold off so he could swim, and Jonah asked for train and we did see a train, and we ate sandwiches and chips and drank black soda.

On another note, I’ll buy a few Powerball tickets because it’s up to $305M.  Because that’s what people do…a dollar and a dream.  I never realized it before but there are all these websites where you can increase your chances of winning through statistical analysis.  I’m sure now I’ll definitely win Wednesday night, and turn my son’s school into a freaking paradise for kids with autism.

A few pictures from Saturday:

pimpin’ his Guster shirt

Jonah, in his element

My boo is still up and down, still attacking with no motivation.  Today when he aggressed, they were taking him to the pool, for God’s sake.

Nice goin’, Jonah.

I’m off to send pictures from the party to my aunt, and then squeeze in some Rosetta Stone.  Then sleep — beautiful, wonderful, awesome, comfortable sleep.

Read Full Post »

* I’m not trying to call myself a blog star (did I coin a new phrase there?), but rather to give a small nod to the first video ever played on MTV.  Almost-twelve-year-old me was there to watch it all go down, and damn it was cool.  August 1, 1981 – we just passed MTV’s 31st birthday.  Video changed everything.

It still does.  I don’t know what it is about watching the video of Jonah in the last post, but I watch it & watch it & watch it again.   It’s as if the video allows (forces?) me to step outside myself, seeing Boo through a stranger’s eyes.  I can describe him until I’ve written a doctoral dissertation –but only the video can really show you his abilities, both excellent (swimming & his sense of humor) and not-so-excellent (lack of communication, and inappropriate noise levels).  Watching the video is different than the living of it.  Different scary.  Different real.  Or surreal.

How do I explain what I mean?

He’s ten years old.  He’s my baby.  Too soon to be an adult and, watching that video, I became afraid of all that means and how soon it is coming.  In fact it’s speeding up, as time does when we age somehow, and if I’m not careful I will worry in a million ways which will only waste time.

Operating under the assumption that I’m not involved, would I whip out my camera to film him aggressing and post it here?  I want to say yes – but I don’t know.

Anyhow, I found older snippet-videos, most of him swimming last year.  Here are two:

In this first video we see I am trying to take a photo of Jonah (who very accommodatingly smiled wide for the camera) and then realizing – duh – I have the setting on video.

In this second one you can hear him say “all ny-uh” – which used to be his way to say “all done.”   Now he just says “all done.”  He has come a long way at Anderson.  It happens so quickly, all of this everything.  Sometimes I feel as if I’m in slow motion, watching it speed past me.

For once this writer doesn’t know what to say or how to say it.

(Like that hard as hell Spanish course I’m doing on Rosetta Stone.  They make you say words when you don’t even know what they mean or how to use them.  I say the words over and over and over sometimes before they let me go on.  Never do you know the meaning of a word.  It’s all pictures, and repetition, letting you in on the secret of Spanish 0h so frustratingly slowly. 

Then you have to spell words correctly, accents and all with this keyboard tool they give you.  Then you have to hear the differences between ridiculously similar ways to pronounce two completely different words, like the words for baby and drink.   I have to admit, in English there are single words that mean different things.  Rose.  Lash.  Stream. 

Those are just off the top of my head.  Does Spanish also have this?  Am I even capable of learning it?  I forget all the words.  I don’t understand why it is “Tengo frio” (sorry, I don’t have my accents handy) and yet “Estoy hambre.”  If I’m even remembering that right.  One means I am cold and one means I am hungry, right?  Or no?  When do you use tengo and when do you use estoy?  And why?) 

End of rant about learning Spanish.  But if you know the answers feel free to chime in.  Por favor!

In exactly one month I will no longer be the answer to the universe.  (Unless I die before that, in which case I will always be the answer to the universe).

We’re coming up on the first anniversary of Jonah’s going to Anderson.

I miss him a lot tonight.

Read Full Post »

“It has always seemed strange to me…the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success.  And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.”  ~ John Steinbeck

Somehow I think he’s right, and this is as frightening an idea as any.  Maybe the key words in his quote are “in our system.”  But whose system is “ours”?  Americans?  Humans?

When Jonah was a baby, I envisioned bringing him into my world of do-gooder bleeding hearted-ness…of keeping him at my side as we served food at soup kitchens and put quarters into meters and handed out flowers to lonely folk, bringing arts & crafts toys to kids in hospitals, visiting the elderly in nursing homes, hanging out with veterans at the VA hospital…  Oh, I had all kinds of notions and ideas.  He’d grow up learning to give back, to be a good, loving, thinking, compassionate man.

It was one of the hardest illusions to have to watch fade before my eyes — and one I want to re-embrace, if only on my own for now.  Maybe all is not lost – if we are able to mitigate Jonah’s aggressions to the point of nonexistence (or close to it),  maybe as a teen or young adult I could try to bring him with me and we can do somethings to help somebodies somewheres.  I will not die feeling as though I’ve never done anything of significance – and if I can’t teach it to my Boo, I can live it.  Andy does a lot of soup kitchen work (and God knows what else he doesn’t tell me about) where he lives.  He can’t bring Jonah along either, of course.  But we can do what we can do in his name, in honor of Boo, so to speak.

For now I watch my boy hurt instead of help others.  It is a frustrating turn of fate — like when my Fox-watching conservative mother adopted a baby girl who turned hippie.   Lo siento, madre.

So Andy brought Jonah up to see me and my mom yesterday.  Jonah wanted this and that, all kinds of things to eat and do.  My mom’s next door neighbors were away and kindly offered us the use of their pool once again.  This time I took video, and upgraded my account so I can imbed it…somehow…I think.  Let me try.  The auspiciously cool thing about it is he dived a few times during the 3 1/2 minute video, which he hasn’t been doing much lately:

I have no idea if what I just did worked.  In case it didn’t, here are some pictures:
Then, straight to the bath, as per Jonah’s request…

He scrunches down until the water fills up the tub

…and waves his arms in the wind and rain from the backseat, on the way to see train…

“…and the music of the pearl drifted to a whisper and disappeared.”  ~ The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: