Wednesday, January 30, 2013


We are hard at work making new flowers and making new friends.

Andrew has been learning to assemble flowers and he is pretty good at it if we set it up for him.

The weather is all over the place, hot, cold, and in between. One week 16 degrees the next it's 50 degrees. Sweltering for winter! Not a fan.

We have a whole bunch of new beautiful and colorful roses and some new ribbons. From greens to blues to anything in between. Andrew is a master shredder of all of our ribbons. I will be posting some of his work pictures soon. Took some new ones.

Fiesta bouquet of freshly hatched roses.

Loves me loves me not! Our tiny posies.

our very own muslin ribbon  - mermaid's hair

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A little egg - new beginnings

Today my little zebra finches left a teeny tiny egg in the bottom of the cage. An egg so tiny it would not fill up a cricket!

So perfect though and so full of promise. Unfortunately it was abandoned and so I rescued it to photograph honestly and survey. Too  big for the bird that laid it I think.

Little finch egg

This year has started with a bang, slam and crunch.  Not too auspicious beginning for a new year.   Difficult so far, but nothing we have not dealt with before. 

So here is to new beginnings and I hope softer landings.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Making cotton trendy, accessible and animal friendly

A wonderful alternative to store bought chemically processed ribbons.  How really are ribbons made. What do they do to them to give them a shiny patina, glossy finish and imprinted ink designs. Where are they made and more importantly  how are they made. I will have to do a micro investigation of this topic since I am truly curious...
Our ribbons are made with cotton - pure unbleached cotton - they are washed and dried and dipped and dyed, stripped and stacked and tied and bundled, but they are NOT chemically treated other than with soap and water. We use a nontoxic dye and we try to mimic the wonderful colors you can achieve with silk without the expense  or the use of nonvegan friendly materials.

We are a humane critter loving studio with an entire herd/flock of animals from chickens to fish to everywhere in between.  So killing something to make a product or chemically treating a product is not our cup of tea... not now not ever.

We hope to get Andrew shredding some more muslin for us today. Yesterday was an off day for him, and when asked if he wanted to work, he quickly and succinctly cirled NO on his clipboard. Well everyone gets to take a day off don't they? And so it went that he got the day off... pretty crafty of him.  (pun intended).


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Are ethics dead -or on temporary hiatus

I feel more likely inclined as of late to be fostering and festering with the belief  that ethics are indeed or at the very least they are asleep,  hibernating or in suspended animation.

Do I hold tight to a higher set of ethics than most? than some? I didn't think fact I thought my ethics were pretty much the norm, the status quo for ethics in middle class America.

What I find in these last months and years is that all that I hold dear and true is not what others hold dear and true and that in the pursuit of a career, salary or brownie points, many people are willing to put ethics aside for their own greater good. Isn't the whole point of ethics to pretect the greater good of all and not just one. When one throws ethics aside and protects oneself doesn't the whole premise of ethics become a moot point. Can ethics exist with super egos? I don't think they are compatible traits.

For me, ethics exist in a vacuum, an untouchable and sacred vault that you reach into on those auspicious occasions when ethics are called into play... and trot out your own personal set of ethics, and stand them up for all to see and admire.

I find instead ethics are now more multiple choice, on demand,  triggered only partially and in many cases not triggered at all.

It leads me to question are they dead? of just in a deep deep slumber. 


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Finding Joy

I recently attended a workshop  - the focus of which in part was - finding joy in  your life and making certain to find joy in the life of an individual with a disability.

As a parent of Andrew who is 18 and has autism - finding joy - sometimes is elusive and absent or sadly not even sought after or thought about.

Oftentimes people with disabilities all but disappear from the world at large - they are not seen, heard or dealt with in a way that would bring joy or fulfillment to their lives.

The speaker's words validated what I had felt for so long -- work schedules, tasks and evaluations lend nothing to the the life of someone with a disability and more importantly for the most part most typical persons lives are not centered around joy or surprise either.

We are "work beings" centered on the day to day tasks of just "getting it done" "succeeding" and garnering money and stuff. Different stuff for different people. Does  joy come from financial success? things? I would have to answer for me - no.

while money and financial success may give you peace of mind - a roof over your head and a vehicle to drive, clothes to wear - for  me there is little joy in those pursuits.

So for my son and for others with disabilities who finds the joy for them? How do you measure joy? How do you introduce it into your life? How sad that someone has to tell us to find it in the first place. Shouldn't it be part of the rules of life- take time for joy?

For Andrew who has come from some sad and dark places  in his own emotional life I believe that being involved in something respectful and challenging  gives him a form of joy and most importantly self respect, worthiness and satisfaction. I see smiles and I see  a wanting to engage in activities that make him feel as if he is contributing.   To watch him - to see his reactions to new tasks - new ideas - is to see for him a sense of joy and self worth.

I am happy to be able to help him travel down this road - It is a path less traveled and unknown, but I measure it's success in the form of smiles, happiness and eagerness to be involved. No amount of money would or could make me change this path.

I am grateful for my little business and for all it does for Andrew and I hope that somehow we can touch and improve the lives of others even in a small way by our donations to our local charity.

In the meantime I will continue to seek joy and will make certain  that  when I have the opportunity to engage in activities that can deliver this emotion, I won't turn away - be too busy or otherwise involved in"work" but instead take time to embrace it fully.  I am not certain I know what joy looks like. I have, like many adults, worked myself into a place where Joy is often unrecognizable and would arrive as a stranger at my door. BUT when it does arrive, and I pray it does, I will open the door and invite it in.   So my wish and word for the new year is JOY.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Barely winter

We have had a barely winter this year - 2012 going out like a lamb and 2013 coming in like a lamb. I think that is supposed to happen in spring, but I think spring has sprung or has never left.

I usually enjoy the cold winters to rejuvenate and regenerate from a long long hot summer, but this year the seasons seem to merge one into the other in and out again.

So for me today to be out in a sweater in January signals a  real conscious nod to the warming trend. Call it what you will, but it scares me. 

I am posting a picture of one of the few times I have seen snow this "winter" and I fear that I will not see it again until 2014.

Andrew continues to roller blade very easily since there is nary a drop of ice or snow on the ground and so for him this is a very good winter... 

A view from outside the barn back window when we got a little tiny blast of winter - this was taken around 8 a.m. and it soon blew off and burned off and by afternoon all was brown, and green once again as if it had never happened. But it was nice to wake up to. 


waiting for winter?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Do we forget what bravery looks like?

Yesterday I watched a speech given by Gov. Christie of N.J.  I was brought to tears.

Why would a political speech bring anyone to tears with the amount of apathy and duplicity that is so prevalent in government today.

It did so because I heard truth, full, blatant, I don't care if you like it truth - against all odds and flying in the face of popular opinion, political party opinion, tactfulness or pandering to achieve political gain.

I  heard truth like I have not heard it in a very long time, especially from politicians.  I heard concern. I heard compassion and I  heard a truthful energy fueled by disgust and frustration and anger.

Is this what bravery looks like? I think, yes, it is.

Bravery to me is to pit oneself against the odds, against the grain, and against the popular opinion. Be tactful we are told, don't say what is on your mind, be polite, be willing to be quiet even when your insides are twisting and turning at injustice. 

Bravery comes in all forms. Bravery for my son is getting up every day against the odds of success, nonverbal, and disabled to come out and work and to come out and be present in the world despite how difficult it is for him.  Bravery is the family fighting for their child in a hospital facing chronic illness. Bravery is caring for an aging parent. Bravery is fighting bureaucratic red tape to secure services for your loved ones and bravery is never giving up.  Bravery is having the force of will to change circumstances.  

Gov. Christie was not quiet  about his anger, and he was not willing to be tamed by a congress who intentionally denied aid to the people of New York and New Jersey---families and businesses displaced and disrupted for months.  He took them on - and he laid their greed and their agendas out bare for all the world to see.

It is the most powerful tool in the world in my opinion. TRUTH - it moves mountains, it performs miracles and it saves our souls. It opens up our hearts to being all that we can be as humans. Without truth, without ethics or integrity we have nothing. Even animals have an instinctual behavior code. We humans do not. Most importantly, it lays bare those individuals who hide behind their dishonesty and agendas by EXPOSING them to ridicule, criticism and loss of status. For their own ego they will change their position to protect themselves, for after being exposed, their fear their own loss of status and wish to save face. 

When I fight for my son for all his needs in special education meetings I feel I am often fighting this same battle - duplicity, untruths, agendas and purposeful evasion of providing much needed services. School District study teams ARE MY CONGRESS. 

I do not have clout to  change my school's direction. I am one small David throwing pebbles at Goliath, but I am inspired to keep trying. To not be knocked down or knocked out when the truth needs to be told.

I am going to wear bravery on my sleeve and truth in my pocket as I face them today for one more go-round of deception and evasion.

I hope we can hear more straight talk from our politicians and I, for one, am very proud of our Governor. I only wish he was available today for my own school meeting!



Thursday, January 3, 2013

When planets align

When planets align and the sun shines all day and we never have long nights and short days I think my son will do a lot better.

The seasons and the changes in temperature, daylight and sunlight seem to have a profound effect on my son but also other children and teens with autism. They cue into the changes acutely and more distinctly than their neuro typical  human counterparts.

Much like there is a feeling that animals can be perceptive and predict tsunamis and earthquakes, I believe our children can also be effected by those things that only minutely bother the rest of us. 

For the past month or so when working out in the barn studio, Andrew begins looking at the sky at around 4 oclock or 4:30 p.m.  Staring, looking, gazing and smiling. I am not sure why. He seems to wait for this change in dimension, change in lighting and welcome the dusk. He scans the horizon, tree tops and sky line. He watches geese fly overhead sometimes smiling, sometimes just gazing quietly and seemingly pensively. What is he thinking? Oftenimes a sly smile will spread across his face as if he knows something we do not.

Does the blanket of dusk soothe him? Does he know then that there is a peacefulness to the earth a stillness that he enjoys?  I have never seen him do this before in all his years. This is the first. But... the moon does seem bigger this winter, even to me. When I have walked from barn to house the moon has been huge and looming. Perhaps creating a magnetic pull that those with autism are sensitive to on some level.  These intense lunar cycles causing some influence on personality?

I am not a believe in hocus pocus science. I am a believer in science, but I am also open minded and a believer  in those  things that nature delivers that sometimes we cannot explain.  Animals govern themselves strictly by moons, tides, and seasons. There is a natural philosophy to that which nature provides as a guide.

We see an increased need for sameness and repetition, the amount of which we have not seen before.  So, we wait and watch and will see what spring brings.

I love the early spring, when it is still chilly, buds are beginning, birds are singing and there is just a hint of what is to come... in this case I am betting that with spring, and all that it brings with it that we  will also see Andrew begin to focus and stabilize in his moods.  It will be incredibly interesting if we are right and that April brings about change and  a gentle settling of his mood.

He continues to work in the barn. We modify his tasks to suit each day's needs, and he loves to rollerblade!  That brings great joy!  We are thankful for rollerblades...

In the meantime there is always Valentines Day! 

Amen and good night