Thursday, December 21, 2017

I guess it has been a while...

Last time I wrote in this space, I had just finished my first year of law school. And now, today, I am an attorney. That feels pretty surreal to me...

This solo'ish journey really began in late December 2007, at a dinner with my then husband. I learned at that dinner that we were not actually going to keep trying to improve our marriage. So, suddenly, the five year plan I had in place needed to change!  Because, if you know me, you KNOW it is ALL about the five year plan and a good excel spreadsheet.

Lots has happened since December 2007, and yet I feel pretty much the same (but with some pretty major new skills). Today's meditation poem summed up how I am today....

In These Ten Years

… I have learned many things about myself

I learned to trust myself

I practiced living small
            So that I could live large

I practiced honesty out loud

I relearned how to love

I practiced setting boundaries
            And or-elses

I practiced adoration and joy and peace

And in the end, I learned to stand my ground.
                                                      winter solstice 2017

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Oh my...

I don't earn a TON of money, but enough to pay the bills and put a little aside each year for three trips: (1) some adventure with Jerry, either camping in the PNW or traveling in a foreign land; (2) an annual sojourn to Seattle to see the latest production from Jake's group, Handwritten Productions. I travel to Seattle a lot, and can usually do it for less than $250, but the trip to see a Handwritten play includes (shhh... this is a secret) sneaking the bill away from the young people and paying for the Opening Night Festivities. This usually happens at a great pizza joint, with plenty of libations and a long night of youthful energy. This requires saving... and (3) a trip to Ashland with Jake and Sara to catch some Shakespeare or other great play. This last has not actually been an annual trip, because we have to juggle three busy schedules to do it, but I save for it every year, just in case.

I did not save enough this year. Because my transmission blew up just outside Roseburg on Sunday on our way down. We were going to catch a Sunday play (either Tempest or Two Gentlemen) and then spend Monday enjoying the town and catching up with Jeremy Thompson (one of Jake's friends, also essentially Ashland Royalty), and Wrinkle in Time on Tuesday.

A wasted day in Roseburg, finally got a rental car and headed to Ashland mid-day on Monday. And then the trickle of bad news to worse news as the wonderful Carol of C & S Transmissions, Roseburg called and texted to update me.

A thingy that houses ball bearings failed. The ball bearings turned themselves into tiny ball-bearing-bullets and shrapnelled throughout the transmission, damaging pretty much everything. Carol's Parts Team spent several days finding all the little bits and pieces for my 12 year old Tundra, and are shipping them down today. Then Carol will rebuild my transmission.

She checked with the Toyota dealership on buying an already assembled re-build. Toyota's cost is $1000 more than her cost. F*ck Toyota. So, sometime next week (hopefully), I will be able to return to Roseburg and check Big Bertha out of the Auto Hospital, with her newly transplanted transmission purring like a Maine Coon cat.

That gives me a week to juggle my budget around and figure out how to pay for this...

But, since money is a renewable resource, I'm confident I'll find enough spare change in the seat cushions to reclaim my truck. And I really love that truck.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

One down. Three more to go...

I am done with my first year of law school!! Since I am on the part-time plan, I have three more to go. Most of my colleagues have only two years left. Except the poor misguided souls who have opted to also get an MBA while pursuing a JD.  They also have three more years. But, who needs all those letters after their name, anyway?  

Oh, wait. Pot.. meet the kettle. Kettle... Pot. 

Anyway, this has been without a doubt the busiest, most engaging, most stimulating most exhausting year of my life! 

Give me more of that, please! Well, maybe I don't have to be QUITE so busy... 

Grades come out in the middle of June. I am not going to think about that. I have already earned what I earned, worrying won't change it. And there is too much other stuff to do, now that finals are over. The biggest things on my plate now are a Planning Meeting in Juneau Thursday and Friday where we will set the scope and sequence of our work with the Alaska Alternate Assessment. And ANY DAY NOW, we will hear from OHSU that we have been granted Human Subjects Approval for our autism research. 

Those two big "To Do's" are added to the normal farm clean up and management, puppy training, dog shows, a little travel for fun, and continued work to ready the "Big House" for rent. 

Summer will be spectacular!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

And hello, fuzz-face...

This little guy is 4 months old. Yes, you read that right...  
4 months. But still a lap dog, apparently. Trying to crawl into Sara's lap.

Lisa and I started the process to find a little studly dog in December, and when this guy came available, we got busy! He's from near Dublin, Ireland.

He came with the name "Jackson" which didn't feel very special at all. And since Jake and Sara and I are all Tolkien Nerds... well, what do you call a HUGE beastie with a heart of gold? 

Yes, that's right. 

Meet Beorn.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Goodbye, furry friend...

... Maggie Rose is pictured here on her first day at Cooper Hollow Farms in May 2007 (at about 11 weeks old). Not quite six years later, and Maggie Rose is gone. Cancer. She'd been off her feed since late November, but every time I got close to calling for a vet appointment, she'd start eating well again. She lost weight, maybe 10 or 15 pounds. Then suddenly, in the last week, she lost a lot of weight. 

Now I know why. 

I fell in love with Irish Wolfhounds when I was 18 and went to a dog show (my first) with a friend, Holly. Holly had an Akita, and I ended up with two Akitas in my 20s. I will be owned by Akitas again. 

But, at this show, I watched a gimongous male Irish Wolfhound being shown by an 8 year old girl. At one point, the girl tripped and dropped the lead. The dog continued on his path around the show ring. When he realized that he had lost his girl he slowed down and looked over his shoulder. When she had picked up the lead and was by his side, he nodded (!) and continued on the circle. 

I met several other Irish Wolfhounds over the years, always searching them out when I was at a show with my Akitas or later with the Jack Russells. 

Then Dave and I met for dinner in December 2007 (I thought we were working on our "homework" from counseling, in an effort to not be divorced). And he told me he had contracted with a divorce attorney and I should, too. I will admit that my first thought was: What? What about our homework? You were supposed to tell me what you appreciated about me!! Then my second thought can't be repeated in polite company. But my third thought was NOT who will I hire for a divorce attorney. My third thought was: Good! NOW I can get an Irish Wolfhound!

I liked the look of Lisa Blanchard's dogs from Washington. When she had a litter in March, I visited. Once to the puppy home in eastern Oregon, and twice to her farm in Washington. And chose Maggie Rose. When Sara and I went up to collect Maggie Rose in May, Sara liked the looks of another puppy too. And Lisa kindly (and against her long-standing tradition), allowed us to take two puppies. So Maggie Rose and Miss Molly came home with us. 

Thirty years after I first saw an Irish Wolfhound, I finally had... TWO! 

I knew going into this adventure that I would adore these dogs. And that their short life-span (about 8 to 10 years) would mean that I wouldn't have much time with them. But I am a farm girl; Life and Death are just the same thing really. And if one believes that one can only have X number of dogs at a time (a silly thought), then a shorter life span would mean the opportunity to meet more dogs during MY life span. 

But oh wow. Maggie Rose was such an amazing animal. Smart and kind and silly and loving and goofy and ... and wonderful. I miss her. Already. RIP Maggie-doodles. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

To Infinity ... and BEYOND!

Wait, what? How can it possibly be 2014 already? And paradoxically, how can it only be January 1?

Isn't that the way life goes, nowadays? ZOOM a year is gone. FLASH it will be June 1 any second now... and yet the sum of my years seem long and slowly measured. 

The first half of 2014 will see many dreams fulfilled:

(1) Sidney and I will have collected all our COAST data and analyzed it by June 1;

(2) I will have completed building my Tiny Cabin and will have rented out my house to a family by April 1;

(3) I will have completed my first year of law school by April 23;

(4) I will have completed the print-ready draft of my "Greeting Book" (like a hallmark card, but longer, and book-like) by March 31.

What will I do for the second half of 2014? Rest on my laurels... Nah, I'll find something interesting to fill my time and keep me out of trouble!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

We are the Co-Authors of our Destiny

Sidney and I are crafting this post together by phone, because we ARE the co-authors of our COAST destiny. We've just been discussing my experiences with  law school and my assessment that, if I don't make it in Law School, I have a very strong back-up plan.

However, I intend to implement the Back Up Plan WHILE finishing law school, because I have always wanted my cake and ate it, too. In other words, I don't tend to let things happen TO me. I tend to plan for things to happen BECAUSE of me. Sidney is, of course, an equally CAN DO and WILL DO kind of person. In other words, we believe we can affect our futures (an internal locus of control, as opposed to people who believe the world does things to them, or external locus of control).

The success of the COAST is now more than a Possibility; success is now verging on Probability.

We are making steady progress in our research plan for the COAST.

(A) Wrote and edited the COAST, both the full COAST and the CORE FOUR and Supplemental Eight versions and the administration manual. Developed the Student Profile form and visual graph system.

(B) Met Kate Panacionne. Kate provided some incredibly relevant and useful feedback on the earliest version of the COAST, and has since become a close friend. Kate plans to develop a teacher's edition of the COAST for her doctoral dissertation.

(C) Met with Dr. David Amaral and Dr. Peter Mundy of the MIND Institute. This was a cold call that turned into a very warm reception (see my previous blog entry on February 17, 2013: Magic Happens). Dr. Amaral suggested we contact Dr. Eric Fombonne. So...

(D) We contacted Dr. Eric Fombonne at OHSU (see my April blog entry: The Generosity of Strangers). Dr. Fombonne agreed to help us conduct our preliminary research, and his wife, Dr. Arlene Hagen, will also join the research party. Dr. Hagen directs the Child Development and Rehabilitation Clinic at OHSU.

(E) Wrote and submitted the research plan and Institutional Review Board (IRB) application. The IRB has asked for additional information, which we have supplied. Approval is anticipated in the next few months.

(F) Developed all related documents for the research project: Letters of Support, recruitment letters, permission forms, FERPA and HIPAA release forms, instructions, and thank you letters.

As soon as the OHSU Internal Review Board gives final approval for out Human Subjects Research, the flood gates of work will open, to include:

(1) Contact and confirm participation in the study of 120 parents of children without identified disabilities, aged 6 through 18. We'll be advertising in several media venues in the Eugene area, we have a commitment from an Oregon Pediatrician to approach the parents in her practice, and with OHSU's letterhead lending an air of credibility to the research project, I will again approach the local school districts for participation.

OHSU has assumed the job of gathering parents of children identified as being on the Autism spectrum AND parents of children with severe emotional disturbances (but not Autistic).

If you, dear reader, have ideas about contacting parents in Oregon to participate (OR if you yourself live in Oregon and have children aged 6 to 18), I'd love to hear from you! I'll make the comments section private, and you can leave a comment for me to contact you.

(2) Provide the survey forms and instructions to the participating parents. We will purchase copies of the ASRS and ABAS from the publishers, and of course provide copies of the COAST to each participant. 


(4) Analyze the data.

(5) Write the research report describing the project, the data, and the analysis of the effectiveness of the COAST in identifying children on the Autism Spectrum, AND what level of Autism

(6) Wait for the world to beat a path to our door...  But, because we are both "internal locus of control" people, we'll take some steps to clear that pathway. And line it with landing lights. And neon arrows. And a huge "WELCOME" mat. We'll submit a proposal to speak at a number of professional conferences, including conferences for pediatricians, psychiatrists and psychologists, and special educators. We will also be writing several grant applications to continue our research on the COAST, and will be contacting educational publishing companies to discuss distributing the various forms of the COAST.

Stay tuned!