Monday, March 31, 2008

amy, meet amy

Most regular readers of this blog are aware that I have some intense things going on in my personal life. Let's just say that this is a new era, my life is changing a great deal, and I am trying to keep perspective and do what I can to make sure that these changes have more positive than negative effects (for myself and my children).

In an earnest email exchange recently, a dear, very wise friend (who happens to be a kick-ass creativity and writing coach) took time out of her own hectic life to offer me some "navigational and loving support ideas," as she so accurately called them. She urged me to take advantage of this transitional period to try something new that will symbolize a new time in my life, "an AMY TIME."

Over the weekend the kids went with their dad to the Pompanuck Farm Institute for a country sojourn. This gave me the opportunity not only to spend time with family and friends, but to get reacquainted with this person I am, and see who I am becoming. Yoga helps, as do other forms of exercise. The right music makes a big difference. And, of course, writing--and reading. I've finally gotten a hold of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat. Pray. Love. after about a million people recommended it to me, and have been clutching it like a sort of life preserver.

I am blessed with an amazing team of friends and family. It's so great to have them on my side. And more and more, I feel like I'm on my own side, too.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

NJ redux: the bus for us

So I figured out the best way to reach my destination in New Jersey: via the Port Authority! Yesterday I went to a wedding shower for my dear cousin Dana and took my first-ever bus trip out of the city. I was running late, as usual, so had to rush to grab a ticket and literally run up two flights of stairs and an escalator. I envisioned running after the bus as it was pulling away, but when I got to Gate 405 I saw a whole queue of passengers lining up to the door. They were somewhat amused by the crazy lady huffing and puffing and asking if this was the 46 West bus to Pine Brook.

It was, and the ride was smooth, quick, and uneventful. It was weird being dropped off by the side of a highway, but my Uncle Phil was waiting at the stop, and then whisked me away to the Valhalla Lake Club for a lovely brunch.

After the party I went back to Uncle Phil and Aunt Cheryl's house to hang out with the fam--I especially enjoyed spending some quality time with my cousin Shelley, who lives in Ohio. The bus home was just as convenient (although it showed up at the stop a bit late), and fortunately we didn't hit any traffic going into the tunnel. I think this will be one of my preferred modes of travel to and from the Garden State!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

life as they know it

Well, it certainly has been an exciting weekend for us! Today Bobby, Stella, and I visited the home of three of my personal heroes: Michael Berube, Janet Lyon, and their amazing son, Jamie. Michael's book, Life As We Know It: A Father, A Family, and an Exceptional Child was one of the first things I read after Stella was born. I found it comforting and helpful on so many levels to read of their experience as intellectuals and academics whose second son was born with Down syndrome.

I'd been hoping to meet them ever since I realized they had moved to the town where my brother David lives. This weekend it finally worked out, and our Stella Bella had a grand time exploring their lovely home, with Jamie as tourguide. Michael and Janet generously shared experiences, advice, and coffee with me--and Jamie generously shared a stuffed doggie with Stella! He also performed feats of memory and, in the photo above, attempted to balance a plate of pepperjack cheese on his father's head. Truly a wonderful visit with an inspiring family.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

and the winner is...the amazing VICKI FORMAN!

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it--one of my bestest mama blogger friends, Vicki, has won the 2008 Bakeless Literary Prize for creative nonfiction! Her powerful, beautifully written memoir, This Lovely Life, will be published by Houghton Mifflin.

Please stop by her blog to congratulate her, and to read about her lovely and amazing family. Then go to Literary Mama and read up on her Special Needs Mama columns.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

happy world down syndrome day!

March 21 has been designated World Down Syndrome Day (get it? trisomy 21, 3/21?). This website has more information about commemorations 'round the world.

Now I need to go keep Princess Stella from getting black bean quesadilla on her Cinderella dress!

harold and kumar got nothin' on me

I haven't seen the movie, but I can relate to the main characters' being lost on the highways and biways of our great neighboring state of New Jersey. It never fails: No matter how explicit and clear the directions, I simply cannot find my way around!

I learned of this deficiency while trying to get to family events in Bergen County and was painfully reminded as I roamed around the Woodbridge area yesterday trying to meet a friend for coffee. It took me almost as long to find the Starbucks on Route 1/9 as it had to get from the state line to Exit 10. But at least I got to spend a few minutes with my friend. And I got my latte.

Monday, March 17, 2008

beating the retreat

It's spring break, and here I am in Maryland for a few days, getting away from it all, whatever "it" is. Of course, so much of "it" comes with one wherever one goes. Sigh.

In any case, just spent a rejuvenating weekend with two of the smartest, kindest, coolest, dearest people I know: Jane and Ned. Many delightful hours of conversation about poetry, music, teaching, parenting, and a few other, less serious topics. I left with a head full of wisdom and a bookbag full of newly burned cds--Robyn Hitchcock, John Wesley Harding, Elliott Smith, etc.

Now I'm retreating on my own at a remote location in the countryside. I'll write more about it later--for now, enjoy the pond, which is right outside my window. Time for a hike!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Governor Paterson

It's just been announced: Spitzer has stepped down, and David Paterson is our new governor.

The circumstances are hideous, but I couldn't be more pleased at the outcome. Our first African-American governor, and one who (having a disability himself) is known for his advocacy for the visually and physically impaired. Columbia and Hofstra grad, father of two.

Go, Gov!

And hey, I just found out that they proclaimed March Developmental Disabilities Month in New York state. Who knew?