Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No political statement....

just an observation that the litter you find
while walking through the District is true
to its political nature.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


We've had two "emergencies" at our home lately that must be recorded for blog posterity.

1. We make the boys use the potty before bedtime, sometimes twice, if they had an accident the night before. Last week, remembering the extra laundry load that day, I made Asher try to use the potty a second time. He yelled to me from the bathroom after his unsuccessful attempt, "It no work, Mama....(referring to his p*nis) I tink its BROKEN!"

2. I was making cornbread in the oven to go with our dinner. The boys were downstairs playing and I had gone upstairs. Pretty soon, I hear Asher shouting, "EMERGENCY! EMERGENCY! Come downstairs....EMERGENCY!" I had never heard Asher use that word so I was especially alarmed. I run down the stairs and Noe (a big fan of the cornbread) was spooning out cornbread from the oven. Luckily, it was basically done and he was very careful not to burn himself or make a mess, but it still scared me.

There's no place like Zion

I had such a great time with my family of orgin in Salt Lake City last weekend. I had almost forgotten how majestic the mountains are in winter, how quirky the Mormon culture is in the valley, and how good the homemade rolls are at the Lion House.

Some highlights of my weekend: Park City for sure, spending time with my adorably blond nephews and exchanging Thomas stickers and candy for their love and affection, reading books without interruption in cozy quilts at my sister's cute house, lots of encouragement and laughs with my mom, brother and sisters, experiencing Cafe Rio for the very first time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

U.S.A. 4, U.S.S.R. 3

Sunday marks the 29th anniversary of The Miracle On Ice, widely considered the greatest moment in American sports history. Perhaps more amazing than the fact it was so long ago is how much it still resonates. I'll never forget going to the theater with Jen to watch "Miracle" and hearing people cheer at the end of the sequence below when the underdog U.S. team knocked off the mighty Russians.

And here's how it happened in real life. For me, this never gets old:

Monday, February 16, 2009

What I Learned This Weekend

1. The single parents who make the best of it, you have my eternal respect. And I say that knowing my weekend alone with the boys didn't remotely approach the hardships that single-parent homes deal with on a daily basis.

2. The boys will NOT be ignored! You do so at your own peril. They were not shy about expressing their feelings whenever they felt we needed to go outside or they needed something to eat or drink. Part of me was proud of their assertiveness, and part of me was at wits' end if it happened while I was telecommuting or in the middle of a phone call with one of my reporters. During one such conversation, I had to lock myself in the bathroom.

3. I consider myself an involved/engaged father, but I still found myself pleasantly surprised during small moments such as...

--Asher quietly reading to himself (he pores over his books like a Rabbi pores over the Talmud) and running to me for help when he doesn't recognize a word.

--Noe harrumphing and stomping off to his room after I told him to keep his voice down, then in a quiet moment later on offering a smile and a kiss when all was forgiven (The first part sounds bad, but trust me, I'm happy when he shows any kind of emotion that isn't stimmy or withdrawn).

--Noe and Asher riding the Reston trails together on their bikes, and Noe staring down Asher every time he'd blow past him up a hill, a la Lance Armstrong during a mountain stage.

--Any time the boys would be cracking each other up about something and having their laughter fill the house.

4. The boys are really growing up fast. It's exciting, but it also makes me wonder where the time went.

5. People talk about having a regular date night, but I think a mom having an occasional weekend away from the kids can be pretty refreshing. Certainly, work and other circumstances make that tough for most of us. But if it can be had, take it.

Couple of Inauguration Week Leftovers

Finally got these off our cellphone. From an Inauguration Week exhibit that featured replicas of the Oval Office, Air Force One and other presidential tidbits...
Asher picking up after telling Mrs. Landingham to get Transportation Secretary Sir Topham Hat on the phone.

"How you spell 'Barack Obama'? B-A-R-A-C-K-O...."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

This one goes out to the love of my life, whom I'll be missing very much this weekend...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Trip to the Doctor or Why I am Such a Great Mom

Last night I dragged the boys to the doctor at an hour that they should have been heading to bed. Noe has been suffering through a cold for the past couple of weeks and I was fairly convinced it was time to pursue some medication. Ed was working late.

We walk into the doctors office and I am immediately assaulted by two nurses. They heard Noe's breathing and thought he was having respiratory difficulties. I had to explain that he was "stimming." Since he got his cold and can't breathe well out of his nose, he has become an obsessive heavy breather. It's a little bit disturbing, if you're not used to it....although I can track him through our house much easier now.

An hour wait later, we finally saw our medical professional. She walked into the room while I was on my belly trying to rescue Asher's trains from the underparts of some medical drawers. Noe was sitting up on the standard doctor's office bed (he likes the crackily paper). The doctor looked concerned about Noe's precarious position on the high bed. I said he was fine. And then he immediately fell onto the cement floor.

Noe was ok. We proceeded. The doctor tried to examine Noe at arms length in a very high-pitched voice. She had seen his autism on the chart and assumed he was aggressive. I finally told her straight out that he wouldn't hurt her and to examine him normally. He had a sinus infection and a temperature of 100 degrees. I had sent him to school today. Way to go, Mom. I got the magic little slip of paper that permits me to drug my child into oblivion, and then we were off.

On the way out, the nurse who initially helped us came and gave me a big hug and told me that I was "such a good mother." I get this a lot at the doctor's office after they see Noe's diagnosis on the chart. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate this much more than the alternative....whispers and accusatory glances or whatever other hell mothers with autistic children were made to endure when Freud reigned king and autism was thought to be a condition caused by a mother's lack of affection. But it is still funny to me. I wanted to tell her...THANKS! We're headed to the gun club now....can't start them off too early. Then we'll probably do a little bar hopping and call it a night.

But seriously, I did appreciate the gesture. And the drugs.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Asher on Sharing, part 2

Heard from stands at my basketball game yesterday:

"Mommy, you need to SHARE the ball....SHARE the ball with friends, OK?!?"

Apparently, I'm a ball hog.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Miles Beyond My Dreams

February is Black History Month, which feels like a good time for a tribute to Miles Davis. It is because of his music that I'm a fan of jazz today. I've always loved music in various forms but jazz had always proved elusive. Until about five years ago, when I went to my local library in Sunnyside, Queens and checked out the CD "Kind of Blue," pictured above.

Little did I know that listening to it would be the most moving experience of my life that didn't involve religion or falling in love. From the opening notes of "So What," the first song on the album, all I could think was: where had I been all my life?

And a passionate love affair was born. I listened to it obsessively for months on the subway to work and again on the way home. I guess that's why "Blue in Green" (my personal favorite on the album) always reminds me of a subdued and quiet Manhattan at about 2 a.m.

So what is it about Miles' music? Keats once wrote: Beauty is truth, truth beauty. Even if you're not a jazz scholar, you can't help but notice and appreciate the inherent truth and beauty in his music. As a result, it's also the kind of high art that challenges you to listen and explore, and the payoff is rewarding.

And I also love how when you look at his entire body of work (40-plus years), there is a restless quality to it that you find in the work of any genius. In other words, he was never content to do only one style of jazz. He basically reinvented the genre three or four different times, even when the critics howled. That took a certain amount of courage, but most of all, it was a sign of genius.

So here's to you, Miles. And thank you for turning me on to jazz.

If you're interested in exploring the music, here's some albums worth checking out. This is by no means a comprehensive list, just a starting point:

1. Kind of Blue -- If you only listen to one jazz album before you die, make sure it's this one. And yes, I've long given up on trying to discuss this album rationally.

2. Sketches of Spain -- How do you follow up "Kind of Blue"? By playing Spanish-flavored music with an orchestra. See what I mean by a restless quality?

3. Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall -- This recording of a 1961 concert has plenty of strong moments. His opening solo on "Teo" still gives me goosebumps.

4. Miles Smiles -- From 1966, this album is a good example of what a great leader Davis was. Not only did he know how to pick talented players, he also got the most out of them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mourning a Death

Yesterday, I watched HB 1588 die in committee. It would have required private health insurance to cover autism-related therapies, including ABA, speech and occupational therapies. I invested my time and my emotions in getting this passed, for our family and the many others who are trying to help their kids with autism.

I'm just completely heartbroken that our elected officials don't see this injustice. Autism is a treatable medical issue, yet health insurance companies don't have to cover it? In Virginia, the Medicaid waiver waiting list is 6-8 years old. This means that autism families are left completely on their own to cover the $30,000-plus annual bills from getting their kids services.

I just can't believe that the insurance lobby won again. Call me naive, but I felt things changing....I really thought we would win. Let's just say that my post-inaugural euphoria has completely deflated.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

best show on tv, hands down....

"You know who I miss? The coach's wife."

"You know who I can't wait to meet? The principal's husband."

anyone? anyone?