Monday, June 20, 2011

How the Flug Pooh did we make it to 31 years?

June 14, 1980….
We were clueless as to what was coming down the pike on that blissful day, June 14, 1980.
Fourteen years later, it got all tangled up.  We hit the knot of a special needs child-we'd hit the flung pooh years.  I wondered if we'd become a statistic, you know, one of the four out of five marriages with special children that ends in divorce.  We'd agreed that divorce was not in our marital vocabulary (I'm sure everyone agrees to that early on).  However, we never dreamed we'd have this very difficult mountain accent in our marital journey.  We thought, happily ever after, but "happily" we have found, is hard fought for.  Still, it was forever, for us…so 'slowly-by-slowly' (as my Ugandan friend Jaja would say), we fung shui'ed our flung pooh marriage (which wasn't really flung pooh'ed, necessarily, just high centered on autism).

The early years….

The latter middle years….(oh how I wish my belly still looked like that!)

The middle years….

A few years ago…and counting...

we had seven hours of giddy freedom, nonfat lattes setting in the cup holders, backpacks and snacks loaded, we bombed down interstate five in "Ol' Silver, my Monero.  We were on our way to the Shasta Wilderness area to hike and picnic for our anniversary.  Zach was comfortable, at home, and in the capable hands of his reliable caregivers.  

With this blog in mind, I asked Web why he thought we'd made it thus far in our marriage.  We came up with wit (very important), grit, vision for the future and love that grows into the strong vine of commitment, with a little hill of hope and a molehill of maturity (the mountain I believe, is a desire to please God and the heart and head to know what that is).  We are committed to each other as best buddies, patriarch and matriarch of this family that we have helped to create, to stand beside the other through this tough go, so that the proverbial dream (Lord willing) of, "two rockers on the front porch, glass of lemonade and grandchild on the knee" becomes a reality. 

Sometimes, I'm sure we both want to run away, I have my days for sure, but thus far we haven't, for long anyway (a drive, a hike, or a bike ride and we're back at it).  We cry together, talk openly about our feelings and encourage each other to look on the positive side when we feel we can't go on, I mean, five all-nighters in a row is killer…but somehow, we keep going because, opting out, we feel, would be an assault against our mutual trust and love.  Everyone looses.  We would become one of the four out of five marriages in families with special needs that slide into the ditch…and besides, we’ve always liked bucking the odds.  Bottom line-we really like each other…and thinking back, no one said the words easy, but I sure thought it.

Anyway, back to our anniversary road trip…we bought ready made sandwiches from our local health food store, grabbed some kefir water, some fruit, chocolate bars and a bag of chips.  We jacked our jaws like a couple of old women.   The weather was in the 80’s for the first time this year, the moon roof on the car was open wide, the soundtrack to, The Horse Whisperer hummed us down the long winding country roads; on either side, pastures dotted with cattle and horses (the aroma of freshly mown hay...livestock manure…seriously, I could get high on country).

When we arrived at the Shasta Lavender Farms ( we found that the lavender hadn't bloomed yet, ding-dong, we couldn't pick a bushel like we'd hoped, but we enjoyed our cup of lavender lemonade and a visit with the manager whom we found, also has four children, two with special needs.  Dear lord, there is always someone with a harder go.

The warm car, this nice quiet space with nothing pressing…we couldn't make a decision to save our lives.  Shasta was just so far away and the roads to get there…so off roads vehicle'ly.  We ate our sarnies on a concrete picnic table near Lake Shastina (we arrived at this rather stark picnic area via paved roads), packed up and came home, tucked Zach into bed, ate strawberry shortcake on the couch and watched a fun movie (Bottle Shock); laughed our heads off and went to bed satisfied with the life we've made of flung pooh (we decided, home is the best because that is where Zach is).  It was a good day, as many are.

Contentment is learned, I'm still being educated.  I had to open my eyes wide and take in the beauty of simple everyday things rather than closing them and wishing for things that could never be (I believe in biblical terms, this "wishing" is called "lusting", but lusting isn't as pretty a word as wishing).  Enjoy a few hours away from the pressing, an evening drive, or reading a Winnie The Pooh book to my nineteen-year-old, while I sip something delicious from a favorite mug.  White sheets drying on the line, or moving slowly with the sun as it sets, the soundtrack from Out Of Africa sparkles in the background.  My wide open eyes widen even further when I see Zach slip, what looks like the spine to one of my antique books under the crack in the door, it is in fact just that, he ripped another one :-/ and not only that, but found a good use for it he thinks (back and forth, under the door it slides).  This letting-go, this slowing down, it is healing for me, stress relieving, because in my world and most likely your's too, I live in the midst of feng shuied chaos.  Some days, the ability to breathe through, smile and look for the good, means the difference between withering, or blooming.  Let's face it, sometimes the good is hard pressed to find, but press in and you will find.

Simple Home, it certainly is where Zach prefers to be nowadays and because he is a treasure to us, we prefer to be here with him, most of the time.  It wasn't always that way.  A long time ago, we decided that if this was where we were going to hang, or be stuck, however we're looking at it that particular day, we'd make it as pleasant as possible; and we have.  A semblance of order, candles (I have a deep need for flickering) and soothing music (Zach seems to like my soundtracks), a big library (one can never have too many books, or soundtracks), a growing dvd collection to choose from, but our favorite thing is to take in our view, when time allows us to take a peek, we thank God for placing us high on a hill with a little space to breathe.  Home is, well, it's cozy-home and the landscaper/handyman (Web) is kind and really nice to look at :-) and I like the cook to (me).

Three pink recipes I came up with, which helped me work my way out of a gray day.

Lavender Lemonade
Fill pitcher half full with ice cubes
Pour 1 can organic frozen lemonade into pitcher, and make according to the directions except leave out one can of water, or you can squeeze your own and sweeten with organic maple syrup.
Steep 1 1/2 tablespoons of culinary lavender in 1/2 cup boiling water for 4 minutes, strain (push lavender buds into the strainer with the back of the spoon to get all of that good lavender flavor out, and add to your prepared lemonade.

Pink Rosemary Pate (gf)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb organic chicken liver
Salt to taste (chicken liver can take the salt)

Sprinkle organic olive oil into a 9x13 glass baking dish, add 1 pound of organic chicken livers, salt well with kosher salt, or sea salt and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let cool.

2, or 3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 medium beet
2 large mushrooms (I used small portobello, enough to make 1/2 cup sliced)

On the stove top in a dutch oven, place 2, or 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 small diced onion, clippings of 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (snip soft green tips with kitchen shears), 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms and one medium beet diced into 1/2 inch cubes.  Cover and steep till tender, about 25 minutes.  Let cool slightly before adding to the blender with the cooked chicken livers, blend with 1/4 cup of melted organic butter till smooth.  Serve with rosemary parmesan flat bread, or rye crisp.  Simi sweet, savory spread.

Rhubarb Strawberry pie (not gluten free, but could easily be by substituting a gf flour of choice to your pastry recipe.  Zach doesn't eat pie (but doesn't have to be 100% gluten free) so we can make ours with wheat flour)  This recipe is from my mother's old Meta Givens Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking.  Published in 1947.  Not a lot of gluten, or dairy free recipes back then.

1 1/2 lb.  rhubarb (from 3 1/2 to 4 cups cut)
1 cup sugar
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup butter cut into pats for placing on top of the fruit before adding top crust (My mother's addition)
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pastry for 9-inch double crust pie
1 tablespoon butter

Wash rhubarb thoroughly, trim off leaf and stem ends and discard.  Cut stems into 3/4-inch length.  Combine sugar, tapioca (may also use 1/4 cup flour, or substitute corn starch for tapioca if you prefer) and salt, add the rhubarb and mix thoroughly.  Fit pastry into pie pan.  Turn rhubarb mixture into pastry-lined pan.  Roll out pastry for upper crust and cut a design for steam vents.  Brush edge of lower crust with cold water just before laying on top crust.  Lay upper crust over pie and press edges together to seal; trim off excess dough.  Let rest 10 minutes and flute rim as desired (my mom had a three finger flute that she taught me, but I've found that every baker does it differently).  Bake in hot oven (450 degrees F.) for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F.  (moderately slow) and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until rhubarb is done. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.

Coming soon; Supplements and natural remedies for the autistic that have worked for sleep, clarity and calming and allergy friendly cookies that hold together and taste great.


  1. Ahh, how fun and satisfying to live life with you...!!

  2. I think this is my favorite post so far. You are such a great writer mom and so good at capturing life! This blog is the beginning of something big.
    I feel it. xoxo

  3. Karen, you are an inspiration, for sure! Love the pictures you paint with your beautiful words!