A blog to share about Adrenal insufficiency, Addison's Disease, Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, Music, Inspiration, Scrapbooking and other elements viewed through the lens of my life. I'm hoping that others who are traveling this journey may find some commonality, and maybe some information and inspiration.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I've been enjoying vacation and working many hours on some family heritage projects instead of writing blogs.

We had a very nice, quiet Christmas. Tonight will be another story! We've had firecrackers that sound like bombs going off around here since before Christmas. Tonight is going to be noisy!

Happy New Year!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tranquility and Joy

As I sit in the peace of early morning, listening to doves coo and water drip from the ginger leaves, I am reflecting on joy. In the case, very specific joy. The joy of my granddaughter in anticipating Christmas. The joy she had when we went shopping for presents for her siblings and friend. The joy she had making gift tags to put on them. Her joy is so simple and child-like because she is a child.

It reminds me of Jesus' admonition that we must become like little children to enter his kingdom. This was spoken in the context of the disciples' concern for rank and position in that kingdom. And Jesus' response was to direct them to be like little children. If you observe young children, they are not concerned about climbing the ladder of success. They aren't concerned with power over others, or even what their life will be like in five minutes, much less tomorrow or five years from now.

So what does this have to do with joy? I think it has everything to do with it. Joy doesn't come from being busy or successful or famous. It comes from simple things. Love. Trust. Enjoying what we have and who we are. Living in your present, not your past or your future.

So my wish and prayer for the world today is Joy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, December 17, 2010

#reverb10 for December 10

Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

Hmm - did I make any wise decisions this year? Maybe it was to choose Family as my word of the year. It certainly played out to be a year of the family. For one, there were family needs to take care of that were very unexpected and demanding. For another, we got to enjoy time with every member of our immediate family, far and near. And my depth of understanding of other family members has certainly deepened. So, yep, I'm going with choosing Family for my word of the year.

In case you are wondering, picking one word to focus on for the year is inspired by the wonderful Ali Edwards at aliedwards.com. She's a wonderful designer, scrap booker, and inspiring person who also happens to have a son on the autism spectrum. Ali is teaching a class in 2011 at Big Picture Classes for people who want to focus more on the word for the year. I have to say, I've heard about this idea of picking a word for the year before, but this is the first year I've actually picked one. I'm very glad I did. It helped remind me, when life was going crazy around here, about what I wanted to focus on, and what was important. It helped keep me from having a pity party a time or two. And it made me more conscious to be aware and thankful for the family I have, with all it's weirdness (which includes me, by the way). 

Explanation of my total fail

I've totally failed to keep up with the #reverb10 and here's why. We've had pneumonia. Almost all of us. Out of 10 immediate family members who have been in the vicinity, 6 of us had pneumonia. Most of us are still recovering from it. Slowly. The antibiotics have taken care of the cough and fever part, but the extreme fatigue is carrying on. Maybe in another week we'll be somewhat normal.

One result of the fatigue and slowness of brain is a total lack of attention to #reverb10. So I'll play catch up.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#reverb10 Catch Up Number 2

December 7Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

I've discovered some new online communities this year, as well as a local women's business group. My biggest sense of community always comes from my relationship with God and with my family.

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond

I'm different in a lot of ways. Homeschool, how I practice my Christianity, how I take care of my body. Nothing that is unique, mind you, just different from the norm. I think what lights people up is feeling my genuine love and affection for them. 

December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

It was a friend's daughter's wedding. Specifically the father-daughter dance. It certainly had me in tears. It  was so wonderful to see this beautiful young woman so obviously loving on her dear dad. Food, drink, none of that mattered. It's always the heart things that speak to me.

OK! Caught up, in spite of being ill with a nasty something. Heading for the doctor tomorrow, hopefully. 

#reverb 10 Catch Up

I'm horribly behind. Life has gotten in the way. Illness mostly, but also just being busy with family and work.

But here's the next #rever10 prompt

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

Oh, there are so many. I'll pick a recent, early morning. The air was cool and smelled spicy from the surrounding eucalyptus trees. There was only the slightest of breezes. I was full of gratitude for living here, for the air and the plants and the smells, and for feeling good.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I am always inspired by nature and small children. Sitting in our lovely garden, walking along the beach, spending time with grandkids and young students. They all give me a sense of wonder.

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I let go of unrealistic expectations of my husband and my grandson. Since 'discovering' Asperger's and his own conclusion that it describes him well, I've realized that it's all too easy to expect things from others they are unable to give. I'm learning to be OK with who they are. This has been a long journey in some ways, but it has really come into focus just in the last month.

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

The last thing I made was a scrapbook page. This one:

I did it entirely digitally, which is my most frequent means of scrapbooking these days. No materials needed other than my computer, Photoshop Elements, and some photos and digital papers.  I was full of gratitude for having these people in my life.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Evaluation #1

Yesterday was my grandson's first evaluation. It lasted about an hour and a half to two hours, and the doctor's conclusion is ADHD and sensory integration disorder. He has a further evaluation coming up, so we'll see what they say.

Personally, I don't see the ADHD. This is not a hyperactive child. At all. I've taught quite a few hyperactive children, and maybe they were at one extreme or something, but my grandson mostly just wants to stay at home on the computer. He doesn't move fast. I would put him on the hypoactive end of the spectrum.

The sensory integration diagnosis is no surprise at all. He has noise and light sensitivities for sure.

Yesterday was a difficult day for many of us in the family. Too much going on, surprise (to me)decisions made, plans not working out.

Oh, and in the midst of it I realized that a certain little boy's mom is probably an Aspie too. Quite a few signs, but when she was growing up, this wasn't even on the radar. Never a 'normal' child. Obsessed with her books, still a huge fantasy novel reader. Physically a little out of sync, difficulty making friends, naively trusting people when she got older. Averting eyes frequently during conversations. And more.

I certainly do wish that this had been more widely known decades ago.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I'm following #reverb10 for one word a day to write and think about 2010 as the year wraps up .

Since it's the 2nd and I didn't get my post up yesterday, today is 2 for 1.

December 1 One Word
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

My word for 2010 is Family. I actually chose it in January, being inspired by Ali Edwards to focus on a word for the year. And boy, this turned out to be a year of family focus! Our youngest daughter was in a car wreck that left her injured and needing help most of the year. She has 3 kids, including the one with autism and the one with suspected Asperger's. That's the most all-encompassing thing for me about 2010. In addition, her husband, who is in the Navy, has been out to sea a lot of the year, which always makes everything harder.

Not that it's all negative, in spite of the stress and my daughter's pain. I did get to spend a lot of time with my grandchildren, which we all thoroughly enjoy. And my daughter and her boyfriend and my older son and his family have all gotten to visit this year. It's amazing to me, though, how much of the year ended up being very much focused on this one word.
So yes, 2010 was the year of Family.

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Since I'm not an author, I'm going to change this a bit. What do I do each day that doesn't contribute to  reaching my goals? Can I eliminate it? I'm not sure I want to. My biggest distraction is being online. I do want to focus that more and spend less time dinking around, but let's face it. At the end of the day, when I'm tired and want mindless activity, Facebook fits the bill for me. I don't watch TV, so I hang out online. Are there other things I could be doing? Definitely. Do I have the energy to? Definitely not.

No real news on this front today. My grandson was evaluated today to see which social skills group to put him in. He stutters pretty badly, which was the impetus for all this evaluating. Asperger's eval is on Monday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

There are so many things to be thankful for. Family, friends, having access to such amazing bounty, living in such a beautiful location.

I'm also grateful for small things today. The new recipes turned out well. Everyone enjoyed the meal. The grandkids got along almost perfectly, with a small exception.

Highlight of the day: S1 came home on leave today. He's in the Army. Next year he'll be deployed on Thanksgiving.

Missing today: D1 & her boyfriend, who live far, far away. D3 & her sailor hubby - he's deployed & she was in Japan visiting for the port call. But thanks to the amazing technology we now enjoy, we've gotten to video chat with them via Facetime. (We're an Apple family-it's a requirement to be an Apple user if you want to marry into our family :)

Here was our menu:

Figs & Brie from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef

Butternut Squash Soup with Smoked Paprika from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef

Honey Brined Turkey with Herb Reisling Gravy recipe from Whole Foods

Dressing following the advice from NPR

Mashed Potatoes from Pioneer Woman

Green salad with pears and avocado with a choice of dressings from Hawaiian Vanilla Company

Canned cranberries - I had intended to make a fresh cranberry chutney, but forgot to add the ingredients to the shopping list, so they didn't get purchased. Oh well - better luck next year!

Homemade pumpkin pie recipe from pickyourown.org

Pecan Pie purchased at Whole Foods.

The pumpkin pie was the only recipe I was disappointed in. The pumpkin I used was a really wonderful heirloom pumpkin. We'd already eaten a lot of it, so I knew it was a delicious pumpkin. I was expecting a fabulous pie, but it really wasn't. I think next year I'll be happy to buy the pie, and just eat my pumpkin as a vegetable instead of dessert!

My favorite bits were the figs & brie, the butternut squash soup, and the honey brined turkey & Riesling gravy. Those are definitely keepers. The potatoes were really good, too. Add them to the list. Along with fresh cranberry chutney next year.

One of our guests is a friend of the family who likes to tease the grandchildren. One of our neuro-typical granddaughters, who is 8, has learned to laugh at his silliness. Her brother, the 10 year old who is being evaluated for Asperger's has not. The friend keeps telling him not to be so literal and gets a bit irritated with him for not understanding. I'm hoping once we actually have a diagnosis, we'll be able to communicate better to him how this isn't possible for this little boy. It wasn't a blight on the day, but it was a big reminder that all is not what would be considered normal. He & his autistic sister spent a lot of their day on the computer and watching movies. And my husband is looking forward to tomorrow, when D3 comes home and there are less people living in our house. He loves his grandchildren dearly, but between his age and Asperger's, it's a stretch having a house full of children for a week.

But I want to add that these are really special people in our family, who bring us great delight in addition to the challenges.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Log Your Memory

I'm a scrap booking enthusiast. I've recently found this great product from Log Your Memory: http://logyourmemory.corecommerce.com/

In addition to regular planner pages, the logbook has weekly scrap booking challenges, among other goodies. I'm just starting to work on the weekly challenges. This is my page for Week #47. The challenge was food related, so I thought about the food I loved as a child and the food I love now. It was fun to reminisce about the food I used to love eating and what I love to eat now. The list has definitely changed since my childhood!

The papers I used are from www.OScraps.com, though the kit is no longer available on that site. It's called Coffee Epicure by Leiko Beck Designs. She can be found at www.leikobeck.com. Not surprisingly, Leiko lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, home of wonderful Kona Coffee.

What a Weekend

What a whirlwind this weekend has been! Daughter #3 headed off to Japan on Friday to see her dh, so her three children are living here with us this week (that's in addition to the dil and grandbaby already visiting!). Friday night I had a wedding rehearsal; Saturday was the wedding - oh, so beautiful - and reception. Today was a large piano recital. By the time all of that was over, it's time to get home, make supper, get everyone bathed and ready for Monday morning!

My grandson's developmental differences are now seeming very obvious to me, especially in a setting like the recital today. He played his piece very, very well, but his demeanor and behavior during the long wait before and after he performed stood out to me as being not that of a 10 year old. Some of it was pretty subtle, some not. But oh, he has a good heart! Music is not his passion, but he seems to enjoy it well enough and does well. His passion is trains. He is now regretting giving up his large collection of Thomas trains. I was very surprised when he did it, and I'm not sure he wasn't yielding to some pressure from his parents to give up childish things. I'm thinking some more grown-up train sets need to be part of his Christmas this year.

His evaluation has been delayed due to his mom's trip - it's rescheduled for next week.

On a side note, I have discovered that my autistic granddaughter's psychiatrist is probably the most knowledgeable in the state about autism and related issues. I'm glad to know it, since my grandson will most likely be his patient as well.

I know that for many who get a diagnosis, it's a life-shattering revelation, but for us, it's more of a clarification. It gives us an explanation for all the little oddities we've observed but didn't have a good explanation for. My heart hurts a bit for him because he'll have some struggles I wish he didn't have to face, but I'm also very encouraged to know that many adult Aspies live full, happy lives and have a lot to contribute to the world. I wish we'd known sooner, but finding out now is better than not knowing. At least we can take appropriate steps to help now, before he's a teen.

It's also helping things around here. With all the reading and discussing I've been doing regarding Aspergers, I'm certainly learning to be more patient with my (almost certainly) Aspie husband.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Foot kindness

I've ordered a pair of these:

It may seem out of season, but it isn't here - this is year-round wear. It's time to replace last summer's worn out slippers and give these a try. I'm working on my alignment - hope these help.

RUA Rib Thruster?

On a totally different note, I've recently discovered Aligned and Well by Katy Bowman. She's got some very interesting videos about good alignment. I never realized until I read this how much I compensate for kyphosis by thrusting my lower ribs out. RUA Rib Thruster?

Monday, November 15, 2010


While I was explaining the symptoms of Asperger's to my husband, he said something to the effect of "I think I have that." I was floored. Not that I didn't see him in the symptoms, but I was floored that he saw himself in them. I've always known he had quite a few "quirks," but I had never put them together as being related or part of a larger syndrome until this whole topic came up in relation to our grandson.

Here are a few of my husband's reactions that fit:

he is very uncomfortable in group settings
he doesn't like to meet new people
he gets a headache and gets very tired and stressed by fluorescent lights
he sometimes talks on and on even though the rest of us lost interest 5 minutes ago
he remembers long lists of which actors were in which movies
he is sometimes rather rude but thinks he is just being honest
he sometimes seems to be uncaring and distant, even though he is a very caring, loyal person in reality
he can play Scrabble on his iPad the whole day, and is very focused on improving his score
he is always very concerned with the details of how planned events will unfold
he has a certain level of physical clumsiness, or, more accurately, a lack of finesse when it comes to touch and other people - things like patting babies just a little too hard, when he means to be gentle

As I learn more about Asperger's, lightbulbs are going on in my mind in relation to my husband. Why he reacted a certain way, how he could have said what he said, why he sometimes seems so removed from family life - there is a long list of things that now all make sense.

He has not been professionally evaluated, and I'm pretty sure he has not interest in doing that (he has a strong dislike for visiting any kind of doctor). But the indications are pretty strong, at least in my mind, and I'm inclined to think he's right, especially since he saw himself fitting the pattern so readily. I think it is almost a relief for both of us because it gives us both a better understanding of his past, our past together, and our ongoing relationship.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


We are about to start a new journey. First, a little background. My daughter and son-in-law have a special needs child, their youngest. She has some profound needs and developmental delays, including an autism diagnosis. I'll write about her another day. Perhaps because of her needs being so obvious, we may have missed signs of Aspergers in the oldest, who is now 10.

He stutters, and it isn't improving, so they took him to a speech therapist. In the course of evaluating him, they began to suspect Aspergers. Since we are always hungry for information, we checked the symptoms, and, yep, it looks like a distinct possibility. He's very bright, he's advanced in math and becoming a good reader as well, though that has been late in coming. He has been almost entirely home schooled, and his only experience with a regular school setting was a huge disaster.

The interesting thing is that now that this has been brought to our attention, we have realized that many of these traits are present in other members of the family. We've always been fine with being a little different, out of the norm. And of course "normal" is such a subjective term. So some of these little quirks have always been viewed as just quirks.

So as we explore this new situation, I'll be sharing it here. Come along for the ride.

For information on Aspergers: