Monday, September 28, 2015

The minutiae of a random weekend

Dear Reader 

I have been absent without excuses and now I am back just plunging you back into the excruciating minutiae  of my life without explanation.

This is a post I found in my drafts from July  that I am editing and publishing


Somewhere earlier this month I resolved to prioritize my life according to my values and decided to be more patient at him

The patience thing is really paying off

I am back to truly enjoying R

It was 9 am when I sort of woke up - I do this pretty regularly on weekends when R lets me ( also I had slept at 2 am due to an interesting book)

DH finally urges me to wake up as my sister has been sending alternating kisses and threats on Skype(this is her signature move)

My mum and dad are staying with her right now so I talked to everyone.

My sister talked about the difficulty of finding a good protein shake in India - she has finally found a chocolate one which she does not like to make into a smoothie- but makes it into a paste and eats it as baby-food.

This is MOST strange but it works for her.

 She takes the tablet outside so I can hear the rain pouring.

Monsoon is serious in India

In her house they have a big balcony from which you can see the Himalayas as well as the road downstairs to people-watch.

In this way you can satisfy your spiritual and social side both

R was of course made to exchange pleasantries which he did in a most reluctant fashion and only under the threat of not going to the Mall today ( holiest of places to him)

DH and I chitchat in bed.

We usually do Facebook sitting side by side.

He argues on politics and I look at funny things and pictures.

I also make fun of the people who post all the cheesy stuff ( like "marriage is 90% hard work and 10% romance" "Mothers are the best. Share if you love your mother . If you don't share it means that you don't love your mother")

I find this really funny article on bad spellings in India.

DH and I  are in splits  and R is so jealous that he had not had any attention that he put his face right next to mine and shouts "Mama sleep in R's bed"Image

I plead for 5 minutes so I can get my Nespresso and then sit with him and read for a while longer.

We go downstairs and got everyone fed ( R his Kale/spinach puree to counteract the junk he will eat for the rest of the day, DH Chole Bhature  and me protein shake )

I get ready

This is a selfie since DH is shouting at me to hurry up and would most certainly have not taken a photo.

I have cut my hair short as really love short hair though DH says that I have the hair of "all-middle-aged women now"

I have told him that since I am 40, its fine for me to look middle aged now.

 But I have also resolved to grow it out again.

Who wants to look middle aged even if they are- that too to their love?


Last weekend - I cleaned out my cupboards and was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of clothes - I have and had sworn that I would never buy any clothes for atleast two years.

DH assures me that this resolution would not last 24 hours and he was quite right. Enough said

We get R's  shoes ( as he has outgrown everything).

We do his two rituals

Ritual 1: Take photographs of the elevator at Polo Ralph Lauren. " Its a Schindler" he tells me gleefully and watches through the gap in the door.

Ritual 2: Buy an oven roasted sandwich with creamy sirracha sauce and black olives and a bottle ( not cup) of Sprite at Subway

Then we drive home

Over the years I have realized that our best chats are usually in the car

In other situations we tend to have a lot of electronics. But not in the car

Its why I have started to enjoy road trips.

Apart from cursing at the other drivers (who are too-slow/reckless/stupid) DH is really fun in the car

We make fun of pretentious homes and signs( The Villas at the Lake starting at the low 700's) make up stories about the people in the cars next to us
( today there was a lady in a Fiat actually shouting with hand gestures at her DH - saw her later in the Mall holding hands), air grievances ( who is the one that cleaned up R's closet ultimately?) and generally connect.

We run a few more errands. have a great time at a Walmart of all places and eat a yogurt parfait that I am really partial to (from Mcdonalds) and then finally head home

Today even without trying I have done 10K steps on fitbit

I am super tired so just do a few chores while listening to Agatha Raisin on my phone and then make dinner( Asparagus and Turkey Cutlets - the latter which DH had cooked last weekend and I had portioned and put away in the freezer ) and watch Seinfeld

Then I clean the mudroom

 In a box I find Christmas ornaments that R had made in 2007 - just 3 years old in the best special needs school I have ever seen in Knoxville.

 His photo is so sweet and the ornaments so darling that I just sit and cry.

Oh goodness - I have so enjoyed these years and this child and I wish i could live them again.

All this nostalgia and sentimentality wastes a lot of time and its very late.

R's Saturday tradition is to sleep downstairs in the couch and he has already brought down his fan( he must have a fan on or he cant sleep)

We cuddle and I tell him all the usual nonsense of how lovely his company is and bid him goodnight

I write this in bed until DH demands that I turn off the lights .


One of the weekend days is a fun day.

Today unfortunately is the work day  - Sunday.

Still I wake up late- DH is already up - perched with his tablet  looking smug at being the first one up.

Last night  he was deaf to my challenge of " are you a  spineless worm who is going to sleep or a brave lion who will stay awake and read with me"

R comes up to- he snuggles with us for while with his tablet

 - but to prevent DH and me from chatting-  remind me that since last night's special treat was that he sleep in the couch in the living room  - that now its time for  "snuggle with mama" on the couch.

This is one of his signature moves to make a separate world with me.

I go downstairs make a cup of Nespresso. I cuddle per request and  watch an old rerun of "How I met your Mother?"

Then Miss D is here and R is off - he is wearing shoes with laces for the first time ever.

DH loves to eat out so we go to our new favorite restaurant La Isla

DH and my food tastes are for the most part mutually exclusive but this restaurant has both pork( his fave)  and beans and rice( mine)

We  walk around  downtown Redmond and chat about all the changes we would make, were we in charge of the decorations and management of downtown ( instead of the troglodytes that have made the current decisions until its time for our reservation)

The food is epic. Fried plantains  - are maybe my favorite thing to eat of all time

Once we get home we start on the epic job of cooking and preparing for the week. Here is my lunch tower for the week
Also we make R's Dinners ( pureed veggies with chicken ) and DH chops up a lot of vegetables that we will use up over the week

This dreary set of activities takes about 4 hours - Then R is whining to go to the club for the bounce house.

I am so taken aback by how easily he is climbing( to be sure other 4 year olds are climbing right along with him- but  it still feels like great progress)

We return home and OMG  I still have so much work left !!!-

I had many grand ambitions on Friday and had started decluttering the mudroom and my jewelry cupboards - so I get my book on tape on and get to work solidly for the next several hours.

And that my dear friends is a typical weekend at my home.

Full of work and fun and love.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bits of January in Seattle

My dear friends 
I have taken to writing about once a month – but even though not as frequent as before, I am still glad that I am a regular writer because I love to read this blog.

I am also back to taking photos.

A blogger I used to read – wrote that she felt that by taking photos and writing – she had almost created a distance between herself and her life - as though she was seeing her life through a lens

But – this is not true for me. Taking a photo and writing a journal commemorates that this moment is precious and worth recording. Plus there is the pleasure of returning to it when the moment has passed

Here is what happened this month

Eat less, Exercise more

In the past 4.5 months, I have lost all the weight that I gained in the last 2 years i.e. 22 pounds

I never thought I would be the kind of person who would have 30 pounds to lose – but I became one

I still have this another 8 pounds to go to my "goal weight"

3 years ago was weight was my fat weight - now this is my thin weight and people give me compliments all the time because they are not used to it!

The program I am on comprises 4 parts – doctor, dietitian, trainer and psych.

The trainer is very helpful and the has made me the type of person that works out and goes to the gym and showers in the locker room without a qualm at all the women around who walk around unselfconscious in the nude

I have learned a lot about myself

My dietitian's - main use was in making sure I was accountable.

All my other observations around how I feel about food( don't care that much) why I overeat( reward rituals/habit/boredom), why dietitian bugs me so much ( because food and control are linked in my mind) came from my own reflections

Ultimately the diet is a very useful part of the program but I don't think I ever felt good about my dietitian. I always took my weight myself as well so I never had the thrill of the "Yayyy 2 pounds down" when I went to see her

The trainer and exercise was after a few weeks what felt trans formative (even though I am sure my outward appearance was more changed by diet)

I realized that that is because the diet is what not to do, about stopping and controlling and feeling bad about lack of control, feeling greedy and having low will power.

But exercise is about something to do: something active. It reduces my stress and gives me joy.

I try to walk a lot

I have a Fit bit 

I have bought the awesome TRX

Happiness Rituals on the weekends

After the Thanksgiving and Christmas break and realizing how much we all love slow time – we are all working extra hard during the week to ensure lazy weekends

DH shops on Thursday and Friday – we finish laundry on Friday and then each of us take turns to cook Saturday morning and Sunday Morning to cook for the week

DH is also on a health spree – he already works out daily at the gym but is adding diet as well- so we both have our special foods – I make a lot of Chicken Tortilla soup /DH makes a lots of Chinese stir fry.

Here is what a typical weekend looks like. As you will read through this – you will see its full of many of our simple happiness rituals

We all wake up in a tangle of arms and legs as usually R is in our bed in the morning and many kisses, cuddles and compliments are exchanged (lots of teasing from DH which is his love language) 

I go down to make either Darjeeling tea/Nespresso. If I turn on the coffee machine he will usually just stand in the kitchen

But when I pour the leaves out in the saucepan, he knows that I will wait at least 5/10 minutes for the leaves to soak.

So he will settle down on the couch with his iPAD and wait patiently for me to finish brewing and making this most delicious tea

I hand DH his tea and then I have to go sit in R's bed and we read our separate books together. I have negotiated to sit on "his side" as it's the one with the bed side table for my tea

He quickly swaps the pillows so that "my pillow" where I put my head on each night when we write his journal
He loves the smell of my hair and does not want to mix up the smells
People talk about the greatness of unselfish love - but I have always liked most to be loved selfishly
When someone wants you and your presence because of the joy it brings them.

DH calls R my "little psycho" – but how can I describe the deep gratitude I have for what R gives me?

When I am an old woman and look back on my life I think I will find that the best thing in my life might be that R loved me like this once.

On alternate Saturdays – R has social camp and in this time DH and I go to pictures. We are finding new happiness rituals- thing that we can do together that don't involve food. We have watched "The Imitation Game" and the "Lord of the Rings" – we literally had not been to the movies in almost all of R's life and we are enjoying this so much 

We jump on the new trampoline that DH has set up outside, go to the park when it does not rain and we always go swimming.

R LOVES The pro club – he is also a real dandy and loves to use ALL the products that there are there – deo, mouthwash, hair spray. You should see him matching his scarves and shoes and how he preens when he blow dries his hair

In the little bathroom downstairs he has arranged all his beauty products in the same order - so as to have the Proclub experience at home.

Sundays we usually take a long walk while his therapist is here and then finish off with movie night (the old Disney "Three little Pigs" have been a great success)

I am reading a LOT these days – thanks to my new Kindle Paperwhite and its been amazing.

Work is very stressful right now and my insomnia is back and so I am making a lot of effort to shut down( with almost no success) – but I have to say these rituals are make my waking hours quite joyful

A huge developmental leap

R has had a huge developmental leap and its killing us !!!

He is very very mischievous - interested in EVERYTHING.My nerves are completely shot.

Here is an example of a typical evening. The other day DH and I were trying to do some paperwork so DH could file taxes. In the 30 minutes or so that we were upstairs
1. R shut down a computer – in which DH had opened all his files
2. Emptied a frig and stuffed it full of Sprite bottles and
3. Called 911

I had to talk to the operator and she asked to talk to R on the phone and luckily he scripted out " I feel good" and that he felt safe ( when she asked him) .

Whatever he reads or hears he will try out – the other day I ruffled his hair and was shocked by how sticky and awful it felt – he told me proudly "R take care of hair – R put shampoo and conditioner in hair". I guess the back of the bottle left out the part about rinsing it with water .

Then he is obsessed with perfume – he has a little lair in the mudroom – a laundry basket in which he puts all his treasures – the other day I found all my super expensive perfumes and equally expensive pashmina shawls. He will also usually tell me virtuously that he will "not do .X" and then he will immediately sneak around and do it behind my back. 

He is very very sorry afterwards - here he has fallen asleep on the couch after being in trouble literally holding the little plastic heart that DH got him for Valentine's for comfort

Sometimes I laugh and sometimes we are exasperated – but always we remind ourselves to be grateful for this developmental leap (though it is much easier to parent that quiet child who ignored everything in the house)

He is also into the good things - like baking his cakes, makes his music lists  , 

Has set his piano in our study room ( never has a boy hated being alone more) - he tries to make sure he is always with us 

Thinks about traveling all the time , plotting the trips he will take on a new map we have got him 

He is also fully autistic – obsessed with elevators, department stores, Santa Claus etc – just continuing to blossom on develop on his own path.

And in conclusion

This February it's been 8 years in the world of Autism and 2 in the world of Crohn's.

Every February feels like a milestone of sorts to me as both diagnoses were around the same time and each of them has felt like an end of life as we know it

But we have recovered and have for the most part been very happy.

This, I think is the secret to happiness after diagnosis.

To accept that life just is.

That this right now, is it

No postponing joy for when you have more time, more money, less illness.

But making the most of what we have today 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The end of 2014

Dear friends

2014 has been rather lovely and I am sorry to see it end. ( esp as it came on the heels of a crazy 2013 and an unsettled/uneasy 2012)

I was off for 2 weeks. 1 week was vacation and another was staycation/some work from home. This is a perfect recipe for a great vacation for me as it combines both Rest and Recreation

What happened in Vegas…and Grand Canyon and Sedona

Vegas is a great place for a family vacation

1. Parking is abundant

2. Loads of things for kids to do

3. Great prices on hotels – we stayed in the Hilton Grand Vacations - right on the strip in a suite that is practically an apartment and simply sumptuous and it's about 100 dollars a night
They really know how to put on a show 

We loved the High Roller Ferris Wheel 
the Bellagio restaurant - great place to stop if the crowds are exhausting 

4. Its close to things so beautiful that they make your heart fill up and burst out of your chest. I am all atingle with the beauty of nature and the amazingness of humans. The beautiful things we saw were as follows 
a. Grand Canyon: The splendor of this has just taken my breath away. We were smart to stay in the     Grand Canyon in a slightly dated lodge but it was priceless to be right there.

 b. Sedona: The sun kisses the red mountains and turns them to fire. We took a little hike and could       see the ring of fire all around us
c. Hoover Dam: Its art. No other word for this. The words inscribed here underneath the American     flag that says "inspired by a vision of lonely lands made fruitful" will be in my mind forever.

Especially after we came on this after 4 hours of driving in the gorgeous barren deserts of the        Arizona and Nevada.

R was mad to go on vacation but as is always he was sometimes a bit of a pain. Its SO great to see his enthusiasm.

First, we were worried when he was sick. Then he would NOT sleep the night before we were going to leave as he wanted to keep checking to see if it was morning yet

Then we were very annoyed when he was a whiny mess. He LOVES vacation but he wants to do the same things everywhere like go to Malls - take pictures of the elevators at Macy's etc 

Still DH and I have learned to simply keep our expectations low and enjoy life in spite of his rigidities and try to balance between his need to keep things the same( so LOADS of picture of elevators were taken)  and our knowledge that things need to be shaken up for him

I have rediscovered the pure pleasure of loitering in bed with a cup of Nespresso and a book

Since P.D James died, I am re-reading her series

Unnatural Causes: Maurice Seton was a famous mystery writer -- but no murder from his imagination could equal the ghastliness of his own death. When his grotesquely mutilated corpse is found in a drifting dinghy, ripples of horror spread among his bizarre neighbours: the cruel and cynical drama critic, the celebrated recluse, the rakish young heir, the terrified woman waiting for her killer in a lonely house.

Death in Holy orders :
When the body of a young ordinand, Ronald Treeves, turns up buried in a sandy bank on the Suffolk coast near isolated St. Anselm's, a High Anglican theological college, it's unclear whether his death was an accident, suicide or murder. The mystery deepens a few days later when someone suffocates Margaret Munroe, a retired nurse with a bad heart, because she remembers an event 12 years earlier that could have some bearing on whatever's amiss at St. Anselm's

I read a new author recoed by my trainer

Fault in our Stars Cliched plot of cancer kids and undying love. But I could not put it down. If you are in love with language, you must read John Green. Some choice quotes
"Look, let me just say it: He was hot. A nonhot boy stares at you relentlessly and it is, at best, awkward and, at worst, a form of assault. But a hot boy . . . well."

"The risen sun too bright in her losing eyes."

"One swing set, well worn but structurally sound, seeks new home. Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It's all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can't go all the way around"

"Mom sobbed something into Dad's chest that I wish I hadn't heard, and that I hope she never finds out that I did hear. She said, "I won't be a mom anymore." It gutted me pretty badly."

"His hand reached for her boob…. I wondered if that felt good. Didn't seem like it would, but I decided to forgive Isaac on the grounds that he was going blind. The senses must feast while there is yet hunger and whatever."

""I was thinking about the word handle and all the unholdable things that got handled.""

""That's the thing about pain," Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. "It demands to be felt." "

""Osteosarcoma sometimes takes a limb to check you out. The, if it like you, it takes the rest."

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves." Easy enough to say when you're a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars"

Ruth Rendell

No more Dying then: Its in the Wexford series and is an amazing psychological thriller - two kidnapped children . One mother is indifferent - almost as though she is relieved. The child was an interference to her .The second mother is devastated. I like that Ruth Rendell does not glorify motherhood
I liked his sidekick - Burden's – his inner world was fascinating - always he is so controlled but not this time

The Rottweiler 
The side story was almost more interesting - about one of the characters who has Fragile X and ADORES his aunt - has a job but no other sexual appetite at all . His mind is so childlike - all he hopes for is to have a big enough house she he can live with his aunt. I read it fast to find out the end - but it was not a good one. This handicapped child def ruins his aunt's life - I was mad at the author for making this the end

Master of the Moor
I always find it disturbing when she writes the books from the murderer's perspective ( like in Rottweiler)
Out of the three POV's in a murder ( detective, Victim, Killer ) I always like the detective perspective. Having said that - it was very well written
A man who is like a child in some ways ( married but not consummated) loves the Moor.In the moor he women with golden hair are being murdered with the hair shorn off

No man's Nightingale:

Who strangled the Rev. Sarah Hussain in the vicarage of St. Peter's Church, and why. The fact that Hussain was biracial and a single mother had galvanized bigots near and far, who resented her very existence as well as her modernizing the liturgy. When Wexford's grandson, Robin, begins dating Sarah's daughter, Clarissa, Robin gets entangled in identifying Clarissa's sperm-donor father—further upping the ante for Wexford. Is a white power group responsible for killing Sarah, or had a personal relationship curdled into fur

Put on by Cunning:

Nineteen years later, Camargue's entrancing daughter, Natalie, now a considerable heiress, suddenly reappears in Kingsmarkham. When her fiancé appeals to Wexford for help, believing that Natalie is using a false identity, the case of the Camargues is once more under investigation. Events soon take a gruesome twist and the pressure is on for Wexford to discover Natalie's true identity and to solve the mystery of the Camargue family, once and for all.

Pleasures of home

I have a sinsusy/cold/ weakfish staycation and so very relaxed and mellow

We love Binge Watching There is a lot of pure rubbish on TV after we have finished the A grade shows ( news Room, True Detective, Game of thrones) then the B grade shows ( mentalist, scorpian, elementary, Madam Secretary). Finally the real rubbish –( Mysteries of Laura, State of Affairs) - these woman-centered shows- I feel duty bound to like them.

But I don't.

A good yarn is a good yarn and vice versa. Instead we did Netflix - Liked Wolf of Wall street( about 1 hour longer than it should have been) a Bollywood movie ( rather good and about this new generation of Indian youngsters who are so materialistic and practical)

R is SO relaxed with the slacker schedule - he is just a cuddly, snuggly ball of love and charm and magic. Today DH was very la-di-da when I told him that R had asked me to read "Good night moon". I get it but its okay for five minutes of bedtime story I think.

Something so magical about me saying "And the Quiet old lady whispering " .. and R adding "hush"

In the little circle of the light from R's bedside lamp - its just the two of us in an enchanted circle.

The start of the year

The first day is AMAZING.

The sun is out shining and the ring of iced mountains that surrounds us are resplendent.

It's a perfect day to go for a drive

We do little acts of self care which I love to start the year with

We drop R off at Social group - then went to the Mall where I found excellent prices on Levis Cuve ID ( read fat ass) and I bought FOUR!!!

Then got to meet Molly – one of my online friends -short visit R was loud and annoying - but still I got to see Molly at least !!!!

The second day is a day of little accidents
Missed the trainer time and got to gym an hour early ( and I really would have loved the extra hour of sleep )
DH called me as I was pulling into the garage - so I grazed against the wall ( luckily car is 12 years old)
I cleaned ALL day- I had decided that I would clear the attic and so I did - I was listening to PD james novel ( super interesting) so it was a lot of fun

We interviewed a new therapist who has been working since 1984- so loads of expereince but  who had an AOL account( which immediately made me think dated ) but once she was here - she engages beautifully with R.

She got his attention and they read a book together. ( Pete and his buttons) She was that combination of firmness and gentleness that is super important to us.
I have asked for references but if it works out - I think she will be a good fit 

Did other nice lovely things

I had a massage certificate from my fat camo Massage was good - heated bed /vanilla fragrance .I really liked it 

But not sure that I will go again as she also said a lot of vodoo things like "let the healing begin" and I should drink a lot of water today "otherwise the massage can generate toxins which must be flushed away". Plus it was a $90 massage ( +$18 tip!!!!) . I just had to pay the tip but still…

The rest of the weekend is spend in getting ready for the week. We are sorting out cupboards and our garages etc.

This will be the year of cleaning and decluttering and organizing I think. 

I am not into making New Year Resolutions – most of the time they are forgotten sooner in a month. Sometimes life gets in the way and we have one more thing to feel bad about not getting to.

But organising is something that is becoming important to DH and me

The start of real life 

Well all good things must come to an end and we are getting ready for the start of real life.
I cannot help but wish that I could rewind the past week.

But the trick of course is to find the oases in regular life.

Happy New year dear friends and hope 2015 brings you and your loves - joy and happiness

Floortime Lite Mama

On my life as the mother of an adorable 5 year old with Autism and Apraxia