Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Breaking My Silence...Sort Of

Many times I have wanted to post a Blog Entry entitled "Me:  Exposed".  But I felt like too much of me was already "out there".  So I started to pull back from my regular blog writing.  I never really stopped writing.  But it was in old school paper-n-pen diary. For months, that was my safe place.

I'm back now.  It has been an epic journey for me.  A journey that may offer enlightenment to someone else. Maybe not unique in the overall picture, but tailor-made to teach me, strengthen my resolve, and help me grow. 

Eye-opening events. 

Life-altering moments. 

Lessons learned. 

Life being lived. 

Love being shared. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Vision

Since you've been gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on,
Yeah, yeah
Thanks to  you
Now I get, I get what I want

~ Kelly Clarkson
"Since You've Been Gone"

Have you heard that song, "Somebody I used to Know" by Goyte?  I don't even know the correct pronunciation of "Goyte", but I do know that his/her/their song gets me going.  I'm finding myself into all kinds of music these days.  Classical  Music is becoming one of my favorites. A song without lyrics can be just as revealing as haunting lyrics.  And it's subjective, kind of  like photography.

This summer I've been conducting my Photography 101 home school course.  My goal is to learn something new every day.  The Internet has some great places to research and study the rules, mistakes, and enthusiasm for Shutterbugs like me.   I read somewhere that the only photographer I need to compare myself to is the one I used to be.

I think that can apply to life in general.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Missing in Action


 That's where I  have been. 


Friday, July 6, 2012

The Sweetest Thing

This grainy, out-of-focus picture taken of me presenting Isaiah with his Special Olympics "Challenge Day" medal this past spring helped us win our own prize. Sweet.

Monday, June 18, 2012

MIA due to CXVB

Looks like I'm back from an unexpected hiatus.  My Netbook has taken a beating over the years,  And I'm sure the swan dive Isaiah helped it perform off the kitchen table didn't help.  Random keys ceased to work, which is fine unless I need to type a word with a c, x, v, or b in it.  I've missed The Blog.  So much has happened since the last entry.  Instead of attempting to put it all into words, it seems the best thing to do would be a Picture Post. So stay tuned for that.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gooey Brownies

S:  I hope we win our first game.

Me:  Have faith in your team!  And remember:  it's not whether you win or lose - it's how you all play the game!

S:  (blank stare)    Uh, have you seen us play?

Truth be told, they aren't that great.  Savannah described her softball team as the Bad News Bears of junior varsity.  She's on a team with a few girly girls, some more concerned about getting their hair messed up by the batting helmet than hitting a home run.  But in my eyes, they might as well be World Champions.  They accept my daughter for who she is.

Asperger's Syndrome is quirky thing.  It limits social skills and peer relationships.  Savannah hasn't had any real, typical friendships.  She prefers solitude.  Reading, creating stories, obsessing over vehicles - which is her thing.  (If you are considering an automobile purchase, vintage or right off the showroom floor, you'll want to consult her first).  It can be difficult to steer conversations in another direction. So when she shows an interest in anything else, I'm eager to see where it takes us.

When she first mentioned playing for her school's team it was at the suggestion of one of her teachers who happens to coach the upperclassmen. When she agreed to attend a practice, I was thrilled.  She was grinning when she got into the car afterward.  She was officially on the team and looking forward to a competitive season (too bad her team wasn't...) They haven't won every game, but that's the last thing on my mind. 

I'm just so proud of my Brownies. 

They are adjusting and settling into our new normal.  Happily expressing themselves, growing, and doing well in  school.  Mariah recently placed third in her school's Science Fair.  She'd probably have placed higher if I had regained feeling in my left index finger sooner.  We both learned a valuable lesson: insulated wire + battery terminal  = heat.  Yowza.  She was selected  for a musical program taking place at a local amusement park. Singing and performing seem to take Mariah to her Happy Place. 

Everywhere Isaiah goes lately seems to be his Happy Place.  His IEP meeting this month was encouraging. Everyone gushed at how well he is meeting his goals. I adore his team and appreciate that he has been able to have the stability of a small, familiar environment. We were out and about the other day when a friendly woman approached and greeted my son by his first name. She knew Mr. Popularity from school.

I really need to get out more.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Toby McKnight told me that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.  We were in junior high school  - way before the Internet, iPhones, and instant streaming. Initially, I misunderstood what he said.  Challenger had been plagued with issues prior to that doomed mission - a mission that was different in more ways than one.  There was a teacher on board.  Televisions in school offices everywhere were tuned in for the historic launch.  What I thought Toby said was, "The space shuttle didn't go up!" So my flippant reply was, "Oh they'll never get that thing up!"

Of course what he actually said was, "The Space Shuttle blew up!"  I stood there dumbfounded.  He wasn't making any sense.  I remember the somber tone of the school rest of the day.  I remember watching the replay of the explosion over and over again on television that night.  A somber tone of a nation followed.

Discovery was the Shuttle that gave us all hope after the tragedy of the Challenger.  The first Shuttle to go back into space.  It also became the first shuttle I would ever see airborne with my own eyes as it "flew" its last mission from Florida to D.C. this week. Thanks to my tipster brother, I didn't miss it. 

The emotion of that moment Discovery came into view on the back of a 747 and escorted by a minuscule jet, in comparison, is now etched into my memory.

Not bad for a weekday morning.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vice Grip(e)

Parenting children with Special Needs has taught me to be less judgmental in all areas of my life (except driving - some people are still idiots behind the wheel).

As much as I attempt to "understand and appreciate" other's choices, there are a few things that people continue to do in 2012 that simply stump me: 

(1) Smoking.  With all of the studies.  All the restrictions.  All the warnings. People still smoke cigarettes.  Hats off to anyone who has quit successfully.  It is definitely a challenge, but it is definitely worth it.  No one around me smokes,  but it takes me aback when I see people flicking butts out of their car windows (which is a whole 'nother annoyance).

(2) Super-Sizing.  Even before the infamous documentary was released, it was safe to assume fast food was best in moderation.  I remember that going to McDonald's was a treat for us back-in-the-day.  It wasn't anything we did regularly.  It has been a quick, easy choice for me as a parent, but I know a steady diet of that crap isn't a good idea.  Asking them to increase the portions seems like a recipe for disaster, literally.

(3) Tanning.  Obviously not everyone is born with my melanin and my ability to bronze automatically in the sun.  But with so many other - less carcinogenic - ways to brown up, I can't grasp why someone would bake herself on purpose.

Ah well.  I eat pork, chemically relax my hair, and hate to exercise.  And I could eat Chick-Fil-A seven days a week, but they are only open six.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Nook Hook

In my defense, it was "The Hunger Games", after all.

Remember a few months ago when I declared e-readers were the work of the devil didn't hold a candle to actual paper books? That no matter how colorful a Nook or how on fire a Kindle was, they would never replace books in my life?

Well, I've been Nooked.

Mariah's entire school received brand new Nooks courtesy of Panera Bread. They sponsored a mind + body fitness field trip at a local resort. The Nook was the students' surprise parting gift.

I was impressed, but not interested. Have I mentioned I have a bookmark with strips of bacon on it?

Enter: The Hunger Games and all of its mania. I am a firm believer in "reading the book before watching the movie". And Bandwagon-Jumping is one of the few sports in which I actually participate. The decision was made on a gloomy, wet Pajama Saturday. Dowloading the book to the Nook was e-a-s-y. And even though I attempted to "lick my finger and turn the page" on more than one occasion, that e-reader won me over. I bought and downloaded the second book of the series less than a week later.

Flipping through an actual book is still enjoyable. And there's nothing that can replace the stanky perfume samples and maddening subscription cards that rain from fresh magazines. To reaafirm my faith in the Paper Word, I took the kids to the public library last week. I gushed to them about the countless hours I have spent in libraries during my lifetime. With renewed enthusiam I approached the librarian at the information desk. Newly-minted Library Card in hand, I inquired about "Mockingjay" - the last book of the Hunger Games series. The one I had been more than a little eager to finally read. That's when I heard the snort and giggle from Librarian #2. My odds of hitting the recent record-sitting lottery would have been better than getting my hands on that book. I was informed the waiting list was a mile-long.

I could hold my place at #115 for a library book that could be borrowed and downloaded to an e-reader in about 11.5 seconds.

And that, my friends, is Reason #6,780 why robots are destined to take over the world.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


The following conversation took place last week after I picked up my 14 year-old from school:

S: Today I heard that a boy likes me.

Me: (Trying not to drive off the road. Blink. Swallow hard. Breathe.)

Me: Oh really ? (Keep calm and keep her talking) Do you like him?

S: I don't like him like that.


Me: Well, remember to respect yourself and make sure he respects you. He hasn't made a move on you, has he?

S: NO. Could we talk about something else?

Me: Well, he'd better keep his hands to himself.

S: (Putting in her earbuds, probably ascertaining the risks of jumping out of a moving car)

Me: But I can see why he would like you. You are witty, funny, beautiful - I know if I were an 8th grade boy --

S: (Dying. Visibly.)

Me: Too weird?

S: Uh, yeah.

Me: Good talk.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hooded Fears

My son has been known to scarf down Skittles candy and delight in the sweetness of an iced tea. He can be naughty at times, but he is my child and I couldn't imagine life without him.

And I couldn't imagine his life being senselessly taken away.

I'm not going to debate what happened to Trayvon Martin last month. Only two people know for sure and one of them is dead. For anyone willing to listen, the facts speak for themselves.

This incident has put a mirror up to my face. My own issues with judgement. I have made assumptions about the young man coming toward me down the sidewalk. The way I have surreptitiously locked my doors at a stoplight while driving through "da hood". But I don't go looking for trouble. And I know far too many bright, witty, intelligent, gifted, young black men who are up to ALL good to paint them with a broad brush. Truth is, our irrational fears and ugly generalizations make me sad and fearful for my children. Especially my son.

If keeping Isaiah safe were only as easy as throwing away all of his hoodies...

Thursday, March 22, 2012


"Don't let yourself get cold."

That was the advice of the experts as I faced my first winter separated.

Get a goose-filled jacket. Buy flannel sheets. Wear layered outfits.

The less cold I felt, the less cold I would feel. Winters here can be notoriously uncomfortable and terribly inconvenient. Freezing temperatures, windchill factors, and Cabin Fever would do little to squash my Personal Season's feelings of isolation and sadness. I wondered aloud how was I going to get through.

Mercifully, winter proved to be one of the mildest on record. Spring had sprung before I even had a chance to pull out my big coat. Boots went unworn. Despite an early, brief surprise snowfall - we had no measurable winter precipitation. The dark days I dreaded? Sure, they happened, but not nearly as often as I had anticipated. And it always seemed like the next day restored sunshine and promises of better weather to come.

I believe God sent me a few gorgeous days in the middle of winter to remind me His promises for my restoration and renewal were not only on the way, but upon me.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose

~ The Rose

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gramme-tically Correct

On a snowy night in Northern Virginia a few weeks ago - a school night no less - I became a Rocker Mom. Through a high school friend, I met the sister of the bass player (Zach Rudulph) for Andy Grammer (if you don't know who Andy Grammer is, Keep Your Head Up). They were playing to a sold out crowd at a local club and I surprised myself by jumping at the opportunity to go. But not before morphing into a giddy preteen, texting to my mom "can I go, plz?" and asking my friend what she was going to wear. The concert was so much fun. And after 3 or 4 opening acts (I lost track), Andy and the band made their way onto the stage.

One of the highlights of the evening was when a singing Andy jumped off the stage, made his way through the crowd to where we were seated in the VIP section, and gave Zach's mom a bear hug, before diving back into the crowd.

Despite the fact that I clearly needed an epic "Mommy's Night Out" replete with partying like a rock star, there were subtle signs that I might be too old to do this on a regular basis: (A) my ears were still ringing off the hook the next day and (B) I'm not 100% sure why I woke up sore all over.

Ah, but I'm going to keep my head up.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

When I Haven't Been Blogging: New Year's Edition

Some of the best things in life are the unexpected things. Case in point ~ this heavy, wet, beautiful Surprise Snow that fell on January 9, 2012

Two weeks into 2012 and I am already convinced this could be the best year. Ever.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I think I had convinced myself that I had invested in a life that now refused a decent return. But the benefits of being faithful and patient were always going to pay off. All I had to do was believe. Keep moving forward. Keep God first in my life. My Season of Sorrow is passing and the time to fulfill my destiny is here.

When I Haven't Been Blogging in 2012, here's what I've been up to:

Washing Clothes. My machine spun its last cycle a few weeks before Christmas. The hair roller and Play-Doh trick clearly not a lasting fix. It went out with a bang. Well, actually more like a zap. I got shocked. So now 2-3 times a week, I schlep over to the laundromat to do a few loads. I have discovered that the 22 minutes it takes the entire wash cycle is just the time I need to do nothing but pray, reflect, meditate, and relax.

Moving. Sometimes we have to take what can be perceived as a step backward to actually step forward. But packing and moving without benefit of the military has been - how should I say this...? "Eyeopening". They say if you want to know who your true friends are, announce either you are moving or need a ride to the airport.

Studying. For the multifaceted "Praxis" pre-professional test. When I pass it, it will take me one step closer to being a certified teacher. The Reading and Writing sections are second nature to me. However, the Math continues to kick my butt.

Reading. Vernice Armour ~ the first African American woman to fly combat missions in the U.S. Marines ~ wrote a book. Zero to Breakthrough is an awesome guide to living life to the fullest. Just the kick in the pants I need to stop making excuses, tap into my God-given talents, and re-ignite my passions.

Blushing. Absolutely no knee-jerk relationship status changes, but it is nice to feel like a girl again.