Susan's Blog

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Life Goes On

So, here I am at the Hotel Monaco in Washington DC, only it’s practically a week later and I’m really home. But you know me: it is very, very hard for me to let stuff go. I have spent last week trying to get over it, my big White House night, and all I succeeded to do was maybe come up with another book idea and make my hip worse from belly dancing and running. I have had to sit with a stupid heating pad on various body parts and take Motrin around the clock because of this injury. Plus, two of my best friends are away until next week!

By Friday I had had enough. “Oh, it’s going to be a scorcher,” several friends told me. What does my mind do? Snaps into Cape Cod mode. Go find the sun. Call Dad and Mom, ask them if it’s okay if the five of us descend on them at their Cape house for the weekend. More laundry? No problem, says Dad. Shop for all your special food? Sure, says Mom. Yay! My parents totally rock. And so I go and throw the briefest of clothing into a suitcase or two and by the time Ned comes home, I have perfected my pleading eyes and the tiniest pout and we are on our way. (Ned would rather stay home because he’s always at work, but I tell him, I’m so BORED! And I miss my glamourous vacation, so I NEED this!!!) After 22 years, he still can’t resist. My husband totally rocks.

So we had two wonderful days in the hot sun. Ned and I had an all hors d’oeuvres dinner Saturday night at a favorite place in Orleans (seafood cakes, satay skewers, blackened shrimp and scallops, and shrimp and pork potstickers. Nice Kosher selection).

The boys had a great time. Nat loves listening to my music on his iPod
shuffle.

And the puppies, well…

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Summer Love

You were my summer angel
Your eyes, how they shone
Just last night we were talking about
How much our love had grown.
–Carly Simon

He calls her “flower fairy,”
She laughs
But with him she is,
Sitting perched, awaiting, wings humming —
The sting of wanting, spark and tingle on rounded enchanted skin
The flow of nectar
Pink and radiant
The buzz around them, heavy, warm, and close
Summertime, though late
Still happy.
–me

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cinderella Woman

It is 12:22 pm and yet the clock is striking midnight. The airplane is turning back into a pumpkin (or maybe a banana?) and my handsome prince has long shed his tux and is back at work. My beautiful ballgown is hanging in a bag for the drycleaners and I’m about to go food shopping.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Boy of My Dreams

Dreamt about Nat last night. He was throwing a chainsaw at people and then he ran away. I was screaming at his teachers that they had to find him, and they seemed not to even know that he had a disability. Finally I got him to come back by yelling, “Natty, I’m going to give you chocolate when you come back.”

When he got back he was an old man, with a shaggy head full of silver hair and a beard. The teachers made him sit on his hands. I wanted to cry when I saw this but I felt I should let the school do what they do.

As you can see I am a bit anxious about Nat’s placement and progress, and about my ability to help him in time. He is almost 17!

Nat is in an ABA school; ABA is very big where I live and in many parts of the country. I have my reasons for putting him there (read the book) and I am reluctant to move him. However limited their approach, they treat him like a star there and they will train him for jobs and (perhaps) independent living. I hate the underlying assumptions of ABA, which imply that the student is a creature made up of behaviors, both desirable and undesirable. It is far too simplistic and black and white for my view of people. And I just read Autism Diva’s post on the TEACCH method and it made me wonder further if I should try to find such a program around here since moving to North Carolina is out of the question for now (Ned just got a wonderful new job in January and I feel like New England is in my blood, for better or worse). I contacted our school district liaison a few weeks ago with concerns about Nat, and she gave me a little bit of a run around. She’s a good egg, but still I wish she would get over the idea that nothing can get done during the summer.

In the next few weeks I am going to educate myself more about TEACCH and the use of visuals around our home. A friend has offered to help and when I get back from this adventure in Washington I will take her up on it.

Oh, Natty. It is so hard to know if I’m doing right by you.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

In the Pink

Going home today. We have a lot to attend to prior to our trip to DC which is coming right up. Here is the gown I will probably wear; Dad and Mom bought it for me as a gift and Ned loves it. Here’s the best part: it is a Bloomingdale’s designer dress, bought at — Filene’s Basement!!! How’s that for Yankee style?

But with me, nothing is ever simple. I still want to go to the mall on Sunday to see if a particular black one is there (black column, jersey, rhinestone straps and rhinestone spider webbing across the back). But I do love this one. It also goes with my political leanings (slightly pink).

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Rainy Day People #12 and 35

Yesterday was rainy. I felt a bit out of sorts because my whole right side, from my hip down, aches. (Probably from the new exercise, bellydance. I am overdoing it, as I always do new passions.) I took naps and used a heating pad.

We tried to go to the ocean anyway; you never know around here, what it will be like right at the beach. There is often totally different weather there! But not yesterday. The sky was overcast and at first Max wanted to simply shut himself in the car rather than try it. Once on the beach, Nat had a bit of a pinching fit and kept telling us he wanted it to be hot and sunny. Ned held onto him and told him that we all did. I said that the weather is from the sky, not Mommy and Daddy.

We set up and all tried the water, which was cold. The cold felt good on my leg, so I stayed in. After a bit, I set up a chair with my legs in the water and read the newest Glamour, which promised to tell me the 40 all time Do’s and Don’ts of fashion! I love and hate those. I laugh when I see the dont’s, and yet I also feel angry at the narrow confines of what’s acceptable in fashion and this culture, and this kind of “Do” and “Don’t” is a main contributor.

The heavy drops hit me a few minutes into reading. Ned and Nat were out there, of course. I ran for the blanket and started gathering stuff up. Everything was getting soaked. Ned and Nat arrived. We made a fast exodus along with all the other crazy beachgoers, back to the parking lot.

The rest of the day was spent indoors, reading, talking, trying to fix my leg, and making arrangements for our Washington trip. I talked to all my friends about it, what to wear, etc., and I think we’re coming home a little early to take care of Ned’s tux and my dress. My friend Emily has an old bridesmaid gown she thinks might work, and I looked at what Bloomingdales has.

Ned spent a few hours helping format my father’s new Haiku book. He is submitting it to IUniverse, a self-publisher with a very lovely product. My former agent is a Senior VP there and is taking good care of him. Still, the formatting is a pain, so Ned to the rescue. Then, the Internet kept failing here, so no one could do anything online (Max and me), so Ned had to talk to Verizon for a while. Mom kept picking up her friend’s poetry memoir and showing us various poems she liked, in an attempt to get us to think about better stuff. But I was too stressed about my upcoming trip and Ned was preoccupied. I realize I hardly talked to Mom all day! Very unusual.

Hard to keep Nat occupied on such a day. Ned and I were very distracted and Nat was so disappointed about the weather. He and Ben and Max did a big floor puzzle, and Nat was amazing at it! Max was reading Fahrenheit 451 for — High School!!!! And B was drawing a lot, plus trying to get people to play bocce with him.

Mom told me Ned and I could go out to dinner. I jumped on it, but knew that Ned would be a bit reluctant about the money. It is very hard these days. We continue to be in spending mode, even though we should be in saving mode. I am bringing in very little with my freelance, so now I am trying to get a job teaching at a local college. Anyway, I convinced Ned we’d go light somewhere.

As we were leaving, I heard Mom offering to read to Nat. He kept saying, “Grandma will read it, Grandma will read it.” We knew that this meant he did not want to read with her. Nat said, “Grandma will sit over there and read it.” “It” was a Doctor Suess book. Mom finally just took the book, sat down, and read it to herself! Because Nat had asked her to.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner…

I hope that blogging this doesn’t somehow jinx it, but I have just been invited to dinner at the White House. Yes, the one down in Washington, D.C.! The President is hosting a dinner for the Special Olympics in honor of Maria Shriver, and I am to be a guest. I am sitting here in the middle of my parents’ Cape house, shucking corn, and my legs are shaking. Ned is napping, Nat is pacing, the Puppies are playing on Max’s computer. Life goes on, but I am going to the White House!

What the heck am I going to wear? It is black tie; I was told that Mrs. Bush wears long formal gowns to these things. I have no such thing but you bet I will get one!

Other than that, I suppose I will hand the Prez an (autographed) copy of MPWA, just to make double sure he is aware of autism as something other than a tragedy people are trying to extinguish. I will show him pictures of Nat getting his medals and at his bar mitzvah! I am allowed to bring a guest and we will see if my parents can look after the boys so that Ned can go — that is, if I can pursuade him to put on a tux!

Monday, July 3, 2006

Little B is Launched

I woke up to an overcast sky this morning and felt my high spirits teeter slightly, but I said to myself, “Oh well,” and started to imagine the stuff we could do here on the Cape on a cloudy day. In the past we’ve gone to Provincetown and climbed Pilgrim’s Monument, which is something I did as a kid so it is one of those wonderful connections to my distant and happy past. Laura and I would go up as fast as we could and then run down, hoping to get into P-town as fast as possible so that we could get candy. I would get fudge and she would get — wax lips! Well, she was not much of a candy eater, so being a natural clown, this made sense.

Anyway, the sun burst through somehow and I did not have to think of something for us to do. The beach is the obvious choice when it is this beautiful out. No exercise for me this morning (except I would ride my bike the long way to the beach through the woods and the salt marsh); I did a lot of belly dancing last night and the 4 1/2 mile run so I was a bit achey. (Last night Ned downloaded Ravel’s Bolero from Itunes which makes great belly dancing. I know, I know, it has those connotations from the movie Ten, but that was not my intent.)

So we amassed at Nauset Light beach, very uncrowded for the third of July, and set up our beach tent, and tried the water. It was 58 degrees, typical early July at the Cape. Difficult to get used to, even with a wet suit. So, for a while we played in the sand until we were so hot we couldn’t stand it.

And then, a wonderful thing happened. All five of us went in, really in. (No picture, alas, because, well, we were all in!) We had four boogie boards and the waves were becoming just right (almost, but not quite, low tide). We have never before been in the water altogether. Ben has usually shunned the deeper waves and stayed sandbound. But this year, the fish switch was turned on, and he is suddenly a swimming boy! It helps that Max goes in with him with an inflatable flotation device we found from the floatys shop, a tall reassuring presence in the water next to him really makes the difference.

Ben even confessed that “once, he peed in the ocean,” a sure sign of comfort with the waves.

Ned and I took him out to the bigger waves and tried to teach him how to catch them just at the right moment with the boogie board. He didn’t quite get it, so Ned realized he had to launch him, same as he did once a long time ago with Nat and then Max. He would toss the boy into the breaking wave at just the right point and they would catch a perfect ride.
Ben’s expression was a mixture of ecstasy and fright — a perfect combination of emotions for a day in the Atlantic.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Ned and I had our 22nd wedding anniversary on July 1st. To celebrate, we did a number of fun things, most of which I can describe here. 😉

We went out to brunch at Zaftig’s, a Jewish deli kind of place in our town. Zaftig in Yiddish means “voluptuous,” so it was very apt, considering what I ate. It was a totally carbed day, so I had a bagel and cream cheese and a side of pancakes! I cannot believe how good that stuff tasted. I hardly spoke to Ned because I was in a haze stuffing my face. I did not eat for the rest of the day (except for a perfectly ripe spotted banana, also verboten on my usual cockeyed diet) because I was so full. We lazed around in the sun and also did a lot of odds and ends to get ready for our vacation on Cape Cod, which is where I am right now. Ned had to make sure the bike rack fit on the Amazon, which we have never yet taken on a vacation. The old car, the Party Slipper, could not be used with any old bike rack so we jerryrigged a Thule one and always felt nervous whenever we hit bumps. Lo and behold, the Amazon worked with our bike rack! We could not believe that something happy and easy could ever occur with that car of mine, considering all the headache she has been (although I still love her look, her ample space, and her power). She is very high maintenance, but then again, some of the most worthwhile people in the world are…

At 6:30 we got ready to go to Tangierino, a Morrocon restaurant in Charlestown where they have bellydancing. Because I did not wear it to the wedding (grrrr) I wore the red dress out to dinner! Finally. Loved how I looked, and so did Ned.

The place was amazing. Inside were maroon gauzy veils hung with little lights, festooned from the ceiling, creating little tented booths, and little corner tables of heavy carved stone and sumptuous burgundy velvet chairs. The waiter was flirtatious and charming and the food was fantastic. I had “Sultan’s Kadra,” a lamb filet with carmelized apricots and figs and cheese-filled eggplant. Ned had salmon with olives. Also a chocolate molten lava cake, which was exquisite.
The dancer was beautiful and very fluid. She had a ponytail which had an I-Dream-of-Jeanie bit of hair wrapped around it (I want that!) and a gorgeous burgundy beaded top and harem pants (I need a good website for this stuff). She did not use a veil, probably because the space was narrow and the tables had candles. I studied her moves and I noticed/overheard that just about every other woman around us was doing the same. It seems most of us were taking bellydance classes! I had a really great conversation with a B-dancer from Tampa, and she was very encouraging to me.

The only thing I didn’t like was that the owner put money in the dancer’s bra, which turned the whole thing into something a little gauche. The place seemed far classier than that. I truly loved it and wish I could dance there but I would never let people put money in my clothes that’s for sure! Hand me a paycheck at the end of the week, thank you very much.

We drove to the Cape after that. I slept in an overstuffed stupor most of the way. Got to the house in good time and it was so lovely to be here!

Woke up to beautiful sunshine and despite a crick in my neck, I ran 4 1/2 miles, to the ocean. What could be better than July on Cape Cod? Not much.

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