Forked ton



My son has a gift. When he was small….around five, we found a mouse on our back porch. It was a tiny thing with a long tail. He was not afraid of it at all. He picked it up and swung it around by its tail. They became the best of friends. He played with it for a long time. When it was time to set it free (and wash our hands) we dropped it out in the ferns in our back yard. The little guy looked up at my son with longing in his beady little eyes. It was almost as if it was saying, “Can’t I stay with you?” sniff sniff….it was magical. And a little weird.

I’ve finally had a chance to get into the pool I spent my entire life savings on this week. It’s been hot as….Phoenix, and it is an easy way to keep the grandson happy and not making messes inside. My son decided to grace us with his presence this week as well. We were splashing along when I spied a tiny, TINY, lizard holding on for dear life under the lip of the pool.

I am not afraid of lizards, how could I have been after living in Florida, but I called my son over to get the little guy. I was holding the grandson and didn’t think I could wrangle two wild beasts at once. My son came over and got the lizard to climb into his hand. He was perfectly happy in his hand. In fact, he staying with my son for quite a while. He rode in  his hand, climbed up his arm, walked across his chest, and finally built an impromptu next in his hair. I can handle the body walking, but when something other than a hot guys hands get in my hair…there is a problem. My son had no problem with it. He walked around with this tiny lizard for over an hour.

I told my son he must be a lizard whisperer. He said no, he just understood living things. I have to agree with him on this. My son may have trouble expressing himself, getting along with other, and saying things that are appropriate at times, but he can get along with any animal.

When we got our last dog, she would stand over him like she was protecting him. Our cats will sit on the back of a couch or chair and groom his hair. He literally has an animal magnetism.

I think most people with autism have a special awareness that gives them insight into the animal world. Maybe they don’t have any preconceived notions about the difference between man and beast. Maybe they really can communicate on a higher level. Maybe they smell better. I don’t know. All I know is that if I get lost in a forest, I want my son with me to ‘talk’ to the beasts so they don’t eat me. Cause I said so.

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Transit Shawns



I used to say that I hated change. I didn’t like moving especially. That really stunk because we tended to move every two years for a long time. Each time we would move, I would sink my roots deep and hold on for dear life, only to have to rip them up after about 24 months. I didn’t like it.

When I look back, I think I might have been confused about things. I was always making changes. I would rip wallpaper down, paint walls, move furniture, and switch the kids rooms. I was always causing changes. I think deep down, I liked the challenge changes brought.

During the six years we lived in Florida, I think I switched the kids rooms around at least once a year, if not more. It was an addiction. It kept me busy. It probably drove my family mad.

I tried a bit project a few weeks ago. I had a few days where I was free from both schools, so I decided to purge my room. I made a lot of progress. I have 5000(slight exaggeration) empty hangers in my closet now. I also have four large piles in my bathroom containing clothes, shoes, purses and other such items. I ran out of steam. I always used to finish projects or come close to death trying. This time, I got to the, “time for a snack and netlix” point and just left it. It’s really annoying, but it’s going anywhere.

My daughter came over today. We had a ‘plan’. We were going to go and paint and clean her new house. Apparently, the mortgage company had a different plan in mind that included us waiting till tomorrow to do our plan. We used our time wisely by swimming, eating, watching cartoons, and napping. At one point, my daughter said the magical words, “can we just craft today.” Normally, this would have sent me singing and dancing up my stairs. Today, I took another nap.When I awoke, I told her she could help me finish cleaning my office. Another project I had pooped out on.

We spent the rest of the day moving virtual mountains in my office. It was like the old days. I realized what I had been missing on my other projects was a slave. Maybe not a ‘slave’, but a helper, coworker, errand runner. Someone to keep me motivated, talk to me, and run up and down the stairs for me. It was magical. I think she needs to move back home. Cause I said so.

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Night crawlers



My son never remembers his dreams. He is convinced he doesn’t dream at all. That is sad to me. I love getting lost in a good dream and not wanting to wake up. Of course, I usually don’t want to wake up, but a good dream makes it even more appealing.

I can tell we are getting close to back to school time. My dreams have started to contain a similar theme. Any teacher will understand. The dreams focus on our hopes and expectations of the coming year, as well as our darkest fears.

A few nights ago, I dreamt that my teaching buddy who moved schools at the end of the year had returned. She burst onto campus in a flowing yellow dress and crocheted shawl that touched the floor. She was all business. She didn’t seem concerned that my expected 30 fifth graders had turned into 40 8th graders with attitude. I was a victim of moving desks and flying paper. It wasn’t pretty.

Last night was even better. I got to school on time, but there was quite a bit of a hustle going on. The place where my private office had been was not full of four desks, one of them filled with a teacher who went topless til class. I was informed that my class had been moved and I was in the broom closet for my office, along with three other teachers. My office was cramped, but had a full crib. Yay? My bedroom, yes….bedroom, was the biggest one on campus and everyone looked at me with envy and possibly hatred. When I finally made it to my classroom, it was completely surrounded with windows. My desks were small and there were about 80 of them. I scrambled to put them in order, with the students that had already arrived. The best part came when two people came in hunting something. Low and behold, a ‘land crab’ was hiding behind my curtains. Being the brave teacher person I was, I let it cling to my arm and kept on teaching.

I love sleep, and I love teaching, but sometimes….I’m not so crazy about my dreams. I hope my actual class is much better than this. Although, I did like the loose dress code…..cause I said so.

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Joy Fool


black and white flag

I took my boys to see a chick flick tonight. Okay, so it wasn’t billed as a ‘chick flick’, but it was chock full of emotions. In fact, the majority of the cast was comprised of Emotions. There was Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. It was a well-rounded cast. They did pretty well considering they were inside an 11  year old girl. yikes

My son said he wasn’t interested when he saw the previews the first 200 times. Nope, not into emotions and all that. He is 14 after all. It must have been complete boredom or lack of any other movies that drove him to ask to see it today. Whatever it was, it spurred a heated conversation about ‘human nature’ when we got home.

My son is very strong willed. He tends to get an idea in his head and stick to it, regardless of what anyone says or what science proves. He’s right, everyone else is wrong. That is, until he decides to change his mind. It can be frustrating to say the least.

For some reason, after the ’emotion movie’, I was feeling less than patient. The movie was a cartoon, not historical facts or a science lesson. It had the basic story elements of rising conflict and resolution, but I felt raw and exposed afterward. It might have nothing at all to do with the movie. It might have to do with my feelings in general about the state of the world, our country, my family, or myself. It might be my feelings of loneliness, overwhelmedness (yes, it’s a word), anxiety, or lack of……exercise. It could be that I didn’t want to see a rainbow at the top of my tool bar. It could be that I’d like someone to fix my bedroom door. It could be that I’d like to spend some time with a person that didn’t exhaust me.

Then again, it could be that my Joy just fell into a pit of discarded memories and she’s fighting to find her way back to headquarters. I’ll just wait……..cause I said so.

Peace o’ me


caution men working overhead

My son and I have been talking a lot about meditation. He struggles with autism and being able to express himself in ways that are appropriate at times. One of the coping mechanisms he has decided to use is meditation.

He has always spent a lot of time alone. It used to really bother me. I know, you might think it bothered him, but it bothered me more. I would see him out in the back yard, swinging sticks around and talking to himself and I would feel the guilt wash over me. You mothers will understand what I mean. My mind would fill with thoughts of how I was neglecting him, I was too busy, I was a bad mom, I need to………etc, etc, etc.

Many times I would stop what I was doing and go outside to spend time with him. More times than not, he would stop and look at me and tell me he needed his personal time. In a nutshell, “go away.” I didn’t understand. Now, I felt the feelings of being a bad mom mix with feelings of rejection. Being a mom is grand.

I spent a glorious weekend up in the mountains writing. It was slow going, to be sure. It might because I had to run, work, and stress to get there. You can’t just run a marathon and then lie down, you will cramp up. At least….that’s what I’ve heard. I don’t run literal marathons. I had to wait for my mind to wind down. I took a lot of naps and tried to relax. The second day was much more fruitful.

On Saturday, I did something I rarely do. I visited my husband’s grave. It’s not like I avoid visiting it, I just don’t seek out opportunities to go. It is at least three hours away in a direction I don’t go. He is nestled safely among the pines and generations of my family. I doubt he is lonely.

Another reason I don’t go is that I don’t think he is there. It would be quite morbid to think that all our loved ones and just in the ground, waiting around…, he’s not there. I’ve heard all the stories of people that go to the cemetery to talk to the ones that have gone ahead. They get guidance or peace or closure.I say to the, right on! That’s awesome! Keep it up! For me, I always had a sense of panic or maybe denial in going to the grave.

I had some extra time Saturday between ‘gigs’. I felt like I needed to go visit the grave. I went to a florist and got some flowers and drove the half hour up to Taylor. I had the radio off and just drove with my thoughts. I passed a lot of bicyclist and a large ‘resting’ deer. I didn’t get lost.

The cemetery was empty. I was able to drive right up the row next to the grave. I honestly didn’t know what I was doing there, but I said a little prayer to help me through.

It’s a weird thing looking at your own grave. My name stared up at me, confident next to my husband’s. I put my flowers down and sat on the grass. Maybe it was because no one was around, or maybe I was just ready, but I talked. I poured out my heart as I pulled the weeds around the stone. I didn’t blame, I didn’t pine, I just talked. I told him what I’m sure he already knew, about the state of things. The state of me.

After a while, I shifted and lay back against the grey stone that held my name. Memories of lying next to my husband washed over me. This was physically much less comfortable, but emotionally it felt right. We spent quite a while there, not saying anything, just being.

There is a calm at a cemetery that isn’t found anywhere else. My mind traveled away from the stresses of the day, the drive, work, and money.

When Brad was alive, he talked a lot. It was his talent. He kept me up many nights just talking. It was how he worked things out. He would say them out loud and find his way.I think he knew his life would be cut short and he talked enough in his time to fill the long lifetime of any other person. I miss his voice. I miss falling asleep to his rambling.

As I sat there, in the silence of the sunny afternoon, with the breeze gently blowing, I wished I could hear him again. I wished he would tell me what to do, how to feel, give me advice of some kind. I listened for a long time. No voice came, no feeling, no warm embrace. Just the sun, breeze, and sway of the trees.

After a while, the sun shifted and it became hot. I started worrying about ants getting in undesirable places on my person. I said goodbye and made my way to the car. As I drove away, I realized that maybe the silence was what I needed to hear. Maybe, the silence was telling me that I’m okay; I’m doing just fine and I don’t need any direction because, ‘I got this’.

Life isn’t how I planned it. I never wanted to have to try and be mom and dad. But, if I had it my way, I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much. I’d still be using my training wheels and sticking to the sidewalk.  It may be trickier out here on the road, in the fast lane, but that’s the path to where I want to go.

Cause I said so.

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Oh Deer


deer glasses

A few years ago, like 10, I had eye surgery. I’d worn glasses since I was about 12 and I was d o n e with it. My husband somehow came up with the money and we drove to Nashville to get a laser blasted into my eyes.

I still remember the day. I went in and told the technicians that I was going to be a screamer. They had better prepare the ropes, chains, straight-jackets or whatever they had, to hold me down. I told them I really, really want to do the surgery, but I was completely terrified. They didn’t believe me.

Apparently, the fact that I had given birth to six children made them think I was sporting “The Rock” as my middle name. Not so. Giving birth is not really much of a choice. You may ‘choose’ to get pregnant, but when it comes to giving birth….that stuff happens all on it’s own. There is no way any sane woman would ‘choose’ to have her body ripped in half while a screaming alien spawn crawls out. No, I did not choose that, it just happened. (I love my kids more than life)

“Choosing” to go to a place that will prop my eye lid open with dull toothpicks, fill my actual EyeBall with hardening fluid, and then shine the Light of God directly into my cerebral cortex…is way more scary that surviving child birth.

They laughed at me. Then they gave me Valium. I liked the Valium. I was fully aware of everything going on. My brain was screaming things like, “What the hell??!!! Stop it!! You are going to make me blind!!” But my body was saying, “like…whatever dude. It’s cool. Feathers are soft…” I survived just fine.

After the surgery, my eyes were super sensitive to the light. I became known as the coolest driver in town as I wore my sunglasses at night. (Thanks for the theme song Cory) It was worth the few pains to be able to read signs more than six inches away from my face. I could finally see.

I recently (today) took a drive up to the mountains for a much needed brain break (aka writers conference). I love being out in the mountains and roughing it in our shiny mansion of a cabin. “Complete with five bedrooms, Jacuzzi bathtubs, and a gourmet kitchen.” The mountain air brings out the creativity that has been stuffed into the back pocket of my brain for too long. It also frees my thoughts to become even more sarcastic, which helps me fit into the younger crowd (so I tell myself….).

My eye doctor has told me I’m ‘reaching that age’ where I need to wear reading glasses. I told him to stuff it and reminded him he is only five years younger, but I have more hair. That being said, I wonder if maybe he meant ‘driving glasses’. As I drove up the mountain in the waning twilight, I almost hit a cow in the road. Yes, a cow. I’m not really sure what a cow was doing on the side of the highway at the almost-top-of-a-mountain, but it was there. Maybe the grass is even greener on the other side of a mountain. Maybe it fell out of the back of a Prius. Maybe it got lost on the way home from a hot date with a Bull from the other side of the tracks. Whatever the reason, there was a big red cow in the road. I didn’t hit it, thankfully. I also didn’t hit the two deer that decided it would be cool to eat the grass growing out of the cracks in the asphalt IN the street.

As I careened around the treacherous curves in the road, I decided there was only one way to make it to the cabin alive. I had to ignore all those signs that said ‘stay to right unless to pass.’ I mean, who makes those signs? Is it the cows or deer? Are they trying to have a meeting? I felt like I was stepping into the follow up book to Animal Farm. The animals are out to get us and they are starting with the roads.

I’ll tell you one thing, it kept me awake. I can fall asleep doing anything, especially driving. But seeing a 6-1/2 foot tall deer standing in the road, staring me down…my eyes stayed open.

Thanks deer, Cause I said so.

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Hear Kitty



I have a confession to make. Don’t get too excited, it isn’t anything juicy, racy, or even very surprising. My ugly secret is, I don’t watch the news. No CNN, NBC, or even KFC for me. I don’t watch 20/20 or 60 minutes or even Sesame Street. You may think I am a lazy, non-caring, freeloading…whatever, but I have good reason. Whenever I do give in and watch the news, something horrible happens. The last time I put forth effort to watch the news, a tsunami hit. Maybe you remember it? Yeah, that was me.

I feel it is safer for everyone if I just get my daily updates from my Facebook feed and leave it at that.

I’d like to apologize for what happened today. I had a good streak of no news and I felt like the world was doing okay. Today, I got my hair done. I know, everyone’s doing it…but the God of Hair decided it would be cool to watch the news whilst we did the hair taming. Usually we watch something entertaining like….paint peeling or the gay guy in the next chair, but since he moved his ‘salon’ to his garage, there is not a lot of entertaining options.

I tried to advert my eyes as much as I could by taking naps, but I did see some news. Well, at least I THINK it was supposed to be news. All I remember is a bachelor is running for president (not my type), the temperature in Mesa is supposed to reach Hell status by Friday, and a white woman is convinced she is really black.

Okay, let’s just spend 5 seconds on that last one. What? I admit that in high school, my best friend claimed to be a “black woman trapped in a white woman’s body”, but I am pretty sure she was just referring to her taste in music. That girl had serious ‘soul’. This lady on the news was all kinds of crazy confusion. I couldn’t really hear all that was said over the hair dryer, but my lip reading skills are pretty good. I’m fairly certain she claims her parents are lying about her actually being born white or her mother had an affair with Micheal Jordan, or….actually, I am not sure what she said.

All I could think about while watching this very WHITE, formerly BLONDE woman talk was how I could totally relate. She says she has drawn herself with a brown crayon since she was very young. This is a big deal. I have always drawn myself as a cat since I was very young. She feels like she is really black….I feel like I am really a panther. I mean, how else do you explain my hunger for having my hair played with? Obviously I want to be Petted. Every now and then I get an itch behind my ear… my cat! And let’s not even talk about how much I love fish. I could eat it all day!

I wonder if there is an organization that can help me get the feline rights that are due to me. I think it is only fair that since I feel like I am a cat, I should be allowed to lie in a sunny windowsill all day while someone plays with my hair. I should have someone fill my plate and drink whenever I am hungry. I should be allowed to roam free, and be adored by people everywhere I go.

Who should I call? PETA? The Humane Society? The Foundation for IntraSpecies Confusion Victims? I’m entitled to some rights, I just FEEL it. I’m not going to stop til I get what I deserve.

I’m doing this! After a short nap…..cause I said so.

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