Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

“I’ve got my clipboard, text books
Lead me to the station
Yeah, I’m off to the civil war
I’ve got my kit bag, my heavy boots
I’m runnin’ in the rain
Gonna run till my feet are raw…

Slip kid, slip kid, second generation
And I’m a soldier at thirteen
Slip kid, slip kid, realization
There’s no easy way to be free
No easy way to be free

It’s a hard, hard world

I left my doctor’s prescription bungalow behind me
I left the door ajar
I left my vacuum flask
Full of hot tea and sugar
Left the keys right in my car

Slip kid, slip kid, second generation
Only half way up the tree
Slip kid, slip kid, I’m a relation
I’m a soldier at sixty-three
No easy way to be free

Slip kid, slip kid

Keep away old man, you won’t fool me
You and your history won’t rule me
You might have been a fighter, but admit you failed
I’m not affected by your blackmail
You won’t blackmail me

I’ve got my clipboard, text books
Lead me to the station
Yeah, I’m off to the civil war
I’ve got my kit bag, my heavy boots
I’m runnin’ in the rain
Gonna run till my feet are raw

Slip kid, slip kid, slip out of trouble
Slip over here and set me free
Slip kid, slip kid, second generation
You’re slid’ down the hill like me

No easy way to be free…”

~ Slip Kid by the Who

I have purchased a home DNA kit and I have spit into the spit kit as instructed and returned it via US Post Office to Californ-I-AY.  In two to three weeks I will know how much I am of each piece of what I am.  I will know genetic markers for predispositions to disease, and I will be able to provide Boo’s doctors with important genealogical information they all say they wish they had.  It also will be able identify blood relationships if they are 1st cousin or closer.

I’m thinking who do they have DNA on?  Then I realized:  Famous dead people and criminals, and the handful of people like me who have done this DNA test.  I seriously doubt Laura Ingalls Wilder and me, born 102 years apart, are first cousins.  But I could, sadly, be Jeffrey Dahmer’s cousin.   Or Snooki’s, which is almost as bad.

Pandora’s Box, I know.  I know.

Going to see Boo this morning at my mom’s house; Andy is driving him up.  My mom’s next door neighbor said we could use their pool so it should be awesome.  Beautiful day.  I’m drinking coffee and playing records on my new little turntable M bought me the other day as a surprise.

I listened to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2  (I always liked the “Rach 3” better, but #2 was Gina’s favorite and so I listen to it a lot).  I can be with her when I listen to it.  It’s been almost ten years since she killed herself and I have yet to find anyone who looks so forward to the Philadelphia Orchestra coming to SPAC as me.  Maybe my friend Dimma is close.

Under the stars with wine and cheese on a soft lawn with quiet folks and a gentle breeze to the warmed-up evening.  A half-circle half-outdoor amphitheater.  Inside is great too.  Gina and I once finagled front row seats to an Itzhak Perlman (the famous Israeli violinist)  performance.  He has polio and must sit for his performances, which brought him even closer to us.  My God I tell you it was like being wrapped up in something so wonderful we could hardly breathe.

Oh Gina.  Maybe I’m related to YOU!  Do they have your DNA?  Do they take some when you die?   I tried to watch a layman’s cartoon lesson on DNA strands and chromosomes etc. but I don’t even have the foundation of basic knowledge on which to build any understanding of it all.  Obviously I skipped chemistry and physics in favor of a creative writing class.


…and it is late evening.  Oh how Boo loved swimming in the pool today!  He was a happy, playful, lovey boy and we had a wonderful visit.  I will leave you with some pictures:

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Well I know I can’t be posting poetry all the time but poetry comes out of me in cycles, and when my mind shapes a poem I must write it.  I know most people don’t like poetry, especially mediocre poetry, so I apologize for placing it, perhaps, where it does not belong.

Jonah had a relatively good day in school yesterday, which was very cool to read in his log book – he’d gone roller skating and loved it.  He loves yoga too, and his scooter they pull him around on with a weighted-vest.  My sensory-craver boy…

Then D came over and Andy and she and I brought Jonah and the clippers outside, to the outlet halfway down the driveway – and between the three of us, we buzz-cut his hair.  D did the actual buzzing while Andy held Jonah and I sat on the driveway holding Jonah’s legs between Andy’s legs so he couldn’t kick or thrash.  He was hopping mad, of course.  It looked like a circus act, with hair flying everywhere and Jonah twisting around.  Good thing the neighbors weren’t out.  Afterward we had a near-bald boy who immediately ran inside to look at himself in his bedroom door mirror and run his little hand through its baby-chick-head softness.  I went outside to the driveway where all boo’s hair was scattered and picked up a lock.  Maybe it is silly, but I want it to hold when he is gone and I can’t be with him.

Of course he gave D and I plenty of trouble on the way to H’s house and pool.  Safe hands? he’d ask D, wanting her to hold both his hands.  She’d turn and hold his hands, then he’d try to pick his nose or swipe stray hairs from his face, so she’d let go, only to have him beg for safe hands again.  Over and over.  He kicked the back of D’s seat and head-rest, hit the windows HARD, flat-palmed, and screamed his loudest, his someone-is-murdering-me screams, laughing and giggling afterward.

What?  D and I would ask each other, unable to talk above the noise.  No wonder I am going for a hearing test this afternoon.  Between Jonah, my concussion, and all those loud 70s/80s/90s concerts I saw (like KISS, Rush, Def Leppard, Jane’s Addiction, and every other band where I’ve sat too close to the speakers on purpose), my ears are suffering.  I always did like my music loud.

Then Jonah started to beg for hot dog.  Hotdogwithmustard?  he asked repeatedly.  Hotdogwithmustard?  My plan was to stop at Stewart’s on the way to H’s, but then I called H and she said she still had some from the last time I brought some over, so she prepared one in her microwave, God bless her, so it would be ready upon King Jonah’s’ arrival.

Finally Jonah got both his naked swim and his hot dog and all was right with the world for a few moments, though the entirety of our visit was maybe 15 minutes, tops.  ADHD?  D and I were half-jokingly recalling the blessed days (which we used to complain about, believe it or not) when he would perseverate on just one thing at a time.  Let’s ride the escalator 75 times!  Let’s stare into the street sewer for a half an hour!  Let’s go on the merry-go-round 8 times in a row!

Going on the assumption that most folk prefer pictures over poetry, I’ll make sure to come back later and post some.  I might even upgrade my account so I can post video.  I’m taking pictures and video of Jonah with ever-increasing frequency, as if I can capture and visit him whenever I want.

“The candlelight flickers
The falcon calls
A lime-green lizard scuttles down the cabin wall
And all of these spirit voices
Sing rainwater, seawater
River water, holy water
Wrap this child in mercy…”

~ Spirit Voices by Paul Simon

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Someone nominated me for Babble’s Top 25 • 2011 autism spectrum blogs, which is cool and kind of humbling.  Even though the title says it lists the ‘top 25′ it actually has the top 100 or so, based on readers’ votes.  If you read my blog and like it, will you please click on the link above, find Normal is a Dryer Setting (I think I’m number 33 or something right now) and then click on “I like this?” 

My goal is to make it into the actual top 25. 

Thanks.  🙂

It’s supposed to be 95 degrees or so today, and we’re planning to go back to my savior-friend H’s house after work so fish-boy can swim some more. 

This morning when I got to work, I was unloading the dishwasher.  We have these very tall, heavy glasses and I held one in my hand for a second and really, really wanted to throw it at a hard surface, just to watch it smash…to see the shards fly…to destroy something.

But I didn’t.

“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful. How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow?  It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

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My good friend H, bless her, invited me and M and Jonah over to her house tonight and Thursday night to swim.  It’s all for Jonah, of course, and I soak up every moment of his dolphin-happiness;  at his request, swimming sans swimsuit again.

At one point he came climbing, seemingly happily, up the stairs of the pool and onto the deck, where he ran past me and went to dig his little fingers into H’s son D’s face.  We managed to avoid any injury, but only by a hair.  We re-directed Jonah back to the pool, and brave little D spent just a moment hiding behind his mom before smiling again and throwing balls into the water for Jonah to play with.  He’s a sweet little boy, almost 4.  I marvel at his words – his brain and how it works so differently from Jonah’s.

It’s always a swim-and-run, as Jonah decides abruptly when it is time to leave and simply starts heading toward the car – but this time Jonah scored himself a hot dog and some black soda as well, the little scamp.

When M and I got home, he surprised me by having DVR’ed old-school Bugs Bunny cartoons, and one of them was my absolute favorite – with Marvin-the-Martian:

Now Lewis Black is on TV; M and I saw him at the Palace Theater last year.  He just said:  “The Republican party has bad ideas, and the Democrats have no ideas.”

I think he’s right.

Anyway, I feel better tonight.  I feel grateful.

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On Friday I reached out to a LinkedIn contact whose description said she was an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) specialist.  She was incredibly kind and has made a social story for me to read to Jonah as he gets closer to transitioning out of Wildwood and into Anderson.

Also on Friday my mom and I drove to Anderson for a tour (her first, my second).  She was very brave about the whole thing and only cried a few times.  We got to see his room, and the bathroom (with a bath tub) is right across the hall from him.  Today I’m going to work on his social story and make a list of all the things I still need to do (get doctors to sign things, give us prescriptions and permissions…buy things on the list I haven’t yet gotten him.  I’m even sending him to school with my beloved GUSTER book bag).  These last 5 weeks are going to go fast; but then again, summer always seems to fly after the 4th of July has passed.

Emotionally I have good days and bad days, just like boo.  It is worst when I approach the cash register with a pile of his towels and bedding or whatever.  One cashier even asked me if I was going off to college – which was flattering, considering I graduated from college 20 years ago, but her question also required some sort of response.  I smiled that just-smile-Amy look I have on my face a lot these days and told her, simply, “no.”

Yesterday M and I took Jonah to swim at my friend H’s house.  Her 3-year-old was there but he was floating around in a pool toy so whenever Jonah told him “bye bye,” H could navigate her boy away from King Jonah of the Pool.  Meanwhile Jonah cavorted, swam around, went underwater, and jumped in about 80 times.  When he was done, though, he was done.

“All ny-yah,” he said (rhymes with pie-yah) which is his invented, alternative way to say “all done,”  and he climbed out, ran down the pool stairs, and started to make for the car.  “whoa, whoa, little boo,” I said as I caught him up in my arms.  After chasing him around the pool deck for 10 minutes or so, I got him dried off and dressed, and we quite literally swam-and-ran.  Five minutes later we’d thanked H, said goodbye to the other people there, and were back in the car, where Jonah promptly smacked my face when I put him in his car seat.  I’d already taken off my glasses, so it wasn’t too bad, as Jonah’s smacks-in-the-face go.  All in all I’d say he did really well there.

M is working on his car today, using instructions from online and the knowledge he learned from his dad, working on cars growing up in the ‘sticks’.  He’s doing stuff 90% of non-mechanics wouldn’t attempt, I think, but what do I know?

M is very supportive to me through all of this, helping care for Jonah whenever he can and holding me when I need to cry about what is happening.

But I’ve found an outlet – a way to turn the negativity into positivity – a method through which I can focus on something good, something that makes me feel like I’m not rapidly approaching the unimaginable age of 42 without having done anything of any real significance.  Now I am changing what I can, where I am, within my means and ability.  Whether this sudden need to do something good is inspired by chance, middle age, or Jonah’s leaving, I don’t care to analyze.

I have always loved this story:

Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977):

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

This story has appeared all over the web in various forms, usually with no credit given to Mr. Eiseley. Loren Eiseley was a anthropologist who wrote extensively. He was the ‘wise man’ in the story, and he was walking along a beach after a storm and encountered the fellow throwing the starfish back.  Sometimes it is a little girl throwing the starfish into the ocean, sometimes a young man, once even an elder.

I want to be a star(fish)-thrower.  Like that lady I found was for me.

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“…there is love, there is peace in this world…”

~ Guster

Jonah had lots of fun swimming the other day in a pool whose owners had kindly offered us its use while they went away for the weekend.  He wanted to swim sans suit, so we let him.  It was wonderful; he laughed and played.  What should be common is rare and precious.  Here are some pics, and more I took recently, capturing beauty…breathing it…internalizing the warmth of the sun, the smiles of my son… 

I love to take photos and wish I was 1/100th as good as my cousin D.

he loves to swim along the bottom of the pool

~~~ he is a creature of water ~~~

…which was fun to take pictures of too…

I loved these flowers M delivered to my work, surprising me because I have been so sad – they are even more beautiful now that all the lilies have opened their eyes…

I love this plaque my sweet friend D gave me – my favorite thing to see each day when I wake up.

And I love how many of the trains we see have gorgeous graffiti:

And of course I adore Match Game & Richard Dawson, my campy 70s escape-love.

(Here he’s even promoting my profession).

Every time I get knocked down, I get back up again, damnit.  So far I’m doing it, whatever this is that I’m doing. 

Thank you all for your collective conscious loving energies, prayers, and encouragement.
I am literally powered by it all.  I keep going because you push me gently along…so thank you.

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bye bye

When Jonah was a baby and toddler, he didn’t wave bye-bye the way other little kids do.  I remember watching these other kids, usually children of Andy’s old friends (a lot of them clustered around Jonah’s age), wondering why Jonah couldn’t do what these kids could.   At one particular birthday party, when a nine-month old waved and said bye-bye to me, I damn near fainted in amazement.  They can do that?

On the other hand, Jonah had his share of unique accomplishments.  He sat wide-eyed with his head up almost immediately after birth and was walking unaided at 8 months old…so it’s not as if, for a short while there, I didn’t have that parental pride of “my kid did something early.”  In fact, Jonah continues to surprise me with new feats every day.  He takes more naturally to water than any kid I’ve ever seen.  He runs like the wind.  And he can hold a tune – pitch and rhythm both very nearly on target.

Still, for the longest time, no bye-bye.  Certainly never spoken, and not gestured either.  It seemed to mean nothing to him.

I don’t recall when he first started with bye bye, but now it’s one of his go-to phrases.  However, instead of embracing its traditional use – to bade someone farewell upon parting – Jonah prefers a less common meaning: please leave now (the please, of course, being optional).

There are many occasions where Jonah will employ the bye bye method of disengaging himself from an annoyance.  The annoyance is usually a person:  me, wanting to five him a bath.  No!  Bye Bye!

His father, asking him if he’s got a poop in his diaper:  Bye Bye!  No!

Children on the playground who, curious about my pebble-hoarding son, stray too close.  Bye Bye!

His teachers undoubtedly hear a lot of bye bye.  And the counter people at McDonald’s.  His babysitters.  The lady who cuts his hair.

Bye-Bye, mama!

I guess he’s making up for all those years he didn’t feel like wrapping his quirky little mind around the concept.

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