Autism Awareness Month

Today kicked off Autism Awareness Month. While this issue continues to grow and affect families globally it is also getting the attention and focus necessary to at least try and keep pace with the huge number of people touched by this disorder. There are still many people slipping through the cracks and in need of help.The resources being put into the fight against autism are finally getting in line with the scope of this ‘problem’. However until there is some progress in being able to clearly identify the culprits it will never be enough and the battle will continue with many determined and good people fighting the good fight.

Educate yourself about this issue and see what you can do to help on a local level.


Autism Speaks

a happy birthday

When I reached the age of 40, I decided 40 was a good number for me, so 40 I stayed – in my mind. It dawned on me this past weekend, however, that I have to move on up because in three years my son will be 40. Now I’m forced to wonder, where does that leave me? Actually, it was all in jest, the truth is if I were granted an opportunity to go back in time, or continue as I am, I’d say forget going back, moving forward suits me just fine.

This past Saturday was my birthday and Michael, Sumi, Emi, Toshi, Alicia, Sebastian, Sophie, and Clover – the order in which they came into my life – arrived in Philadelphia to celebrate with me. I find it impossible to express the happiness I felt at having us all together; it was a grand feeling, and a beautiful and fun weekend.

Was the weekend busy? Was it hectic? Yes, wonderfully so. There were three little ones under age three. Did we drink champagne? Did we thoroughly relish eating the scrumptious chocolate birthday cake from The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn? Hmm, let me think about that one. . . .

The pink roses laid on top of the refrigerator at Windsor Suites because even though the rooms were spacious, things are arranged differently when some guests are under the age of three. We were informal, we are usually informal, so no one cared that at the table someone was either getting up or sitting down.

I received the perfect gifts, and besides enjoying their physical forms, I see in them their own stories of strength, beauty, charm, love, tranquility, creativity, thoughtfulness, solidity, caring, and wisdom.

A birthday can be significant – depending on the birthday person. At this time in my life, when another year is added to it, I feel stronger, richer, and more able to understand where I want to direct my energies. While I’m alive I intend to use my Life Force in a way that contributes to helping our earth, and also to understanding the connection we all have to each other, and to all of nature. How will that happen? I ask that question in silence just about every day, and I’m beginning to discover a place within myself that’s well-able to answer questions when I allow it. Allowing is to make room in the day for quiet time. And I now believe that to not allow is to flounder.

So, I say happy birthday to me, and happy birthday to you – may we embrace whatever age we are, and wherever we are in life, and in pure delight may we all continue to move on up from there.

* * * * * *
“It’s foolish how we rush through life and cry that time is on the wing. We’re living in eternity, and time is just a clockmade thing.” -R. McCann

“Too often people set their lives by the calendar. It takes all the fun out of life.” -John Glenn, After His Latest Shuttle Mission

“Learn to see, and then you’ll know there is no end to the new worlds of our vision.” -Carlos Castaneda

The Master Cleanse Experience… aka Lemonade Diet

Well it has been sometime since I have blogged, before the birth of our second baby, Clover Alessandra. This topic, however, has to be blogged about. I started the Master Cleanse diet this past Monday, January 29th, 2008. It is a 10 day(min) fast where you only consume liquids consisting of a lemonade concoction and then do a herbal laxative tea in the morning and evening. I completed this fast once January 2007 with my mother-in-law, Fran. 

What drove me to even consider this craziness was that I was at my wits end with the lack of weightloss from having my first baby, Sebastian. I packed on a hefty 50 lbs with him and had 40 lbs to lose after the baby. I managed to wittle away at it but by the holidays (6months) later I was still 10 lbs heavier and at a plateau. I saw the footage on Oprah about Beyonce Knowles doing the fast to lose weight for her role in “DreamGirls” I thought to myself… I can do that! So when I saw the family at Christmas I mentioned it to Fran and low and behold, she had the actual orginal book The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs.   I was shocked! Apparently she had the book and had always wanted to do the fast but never got around to it.  So it was ON! We decided to start and complete the fast together beginning the new year. 

It was a really tough first few days and I almost quit so many times. It was amazing the need to chew something was what I felt and I just felt like I had the flu. Apparently these are all detox symptoms. At the end of the fast I was a pleasant 12 lbs lighter and had so much energy and umpf that I was so happy I had completed the fast no matter how tough it had been.

This is why I am here again going through the same fast. This time I had more to lose since I started at a higher starting weight. I figure it will get me going down the right path and help me restart my system. Oddly though, this time the fast has not been as arduous. It has actually been quite easy.  I was prepared for the worst on day 2 and day 3 and that never came. I am currently on day 6 and toward the end of the day at that.  One side effect I am experiencing that I also had last time is the “coldies”. You just freaking feel cold all the time. I guess the lack of solid food and also it being winter time doesn’t help. Besides that everything else, including the cravings are manageable. Last time I was obsessed with watching the Food Network and looking at cookbook recipes. Weird even though I couldn’t eat anything just looking at it made me feel better and closer to food. I am planning to go to day 10, but have been contemplating continuing on for 4 more days to make it a full 2 weeks.

I have been looking at message boards which are really helpful during this time. It is always nice to know there are others going through what you are going through. With that being said, it is definitely easier to do this with someone than alone. Also I had the benefit of having this week off of work. So I will only be at work for 3 days if I complete the 10 day fast instead of the 14 day one. The worst days are also in the beginning.

So right now my sense of smell is like superhero sense of smell. I guess since I am not eating it has instensified my other senses. It’s really odd to smell everything so intensely but at the same time really great. I am also just starting to get the energy high that comes with this fast toward the end. I have also managed to mantain working out. I have gone twice now and plan to go and do a weightlifting class tomorrow.

One thing I did differently this time was I drank a lot more water in between my lemonade drinks. I think that really helped me feel so much better and I am glad I figured that out. Also having two little ones keeps me really busy and my mind off of the whole food thing. It is truly amazing how much time you have when you don’t mess with food. You have a lot of free time to read and do things you usually don’t have time for. For me though with the kids I am just spending more time with them.

So another hard thing is watching your loved ones eat in front of you. Michael has been eating pizza, chinese food, pasta, etc.  It’s tough but I just tell myself that I can’t do it and I am too close now to the end to stop this. I know once I am done I will feel like a million bucks just like last time. Also hopefully a good 15 lbs lighter. Currently I have lost 8 1/2 lbs as of this morning weigh in. It is really motivating to see that scale go down everyday! My plan after the fast is really stay away from all the bad foods and eat a more clean diet and continue my vigorous exercising… I am addicted to the working out part!

So to anyone that wants to try this diet… DO IT! Just commit and do it and I promise you will be truly amazed at how you feel and how you look! 

thanksgiving 2008

Did you somehow filter the outside world long enough to think of all the reasons to be thankful on this Thanksgiving 2008? Sometimes it’s tough, esp. when we see photos of people in California losing all the stuff they hold dear, or the people in places such as Mumbai (formerly Bombay) losing their lives in the blink of an eye.

Because we live at a time when tragedies are all too frequent, and easily come alive in our homes at the click of a button, we can at least learn from them so that they help us understand all the more that each day is a gift to be lived as masterfully as we can until it’s time for us to move on to our next journey. I think the next journey is also a gift, and the beauty of that gift depends on how we’re handling the one we have now.

Our amazing world presents us with many ways to grow in body, mind and spirit. This morning on aol I read Michael J. Fox’s words about living with Parkinson’s disease in an interview he gave in People Magazine. He said: “You either get Zen with this [stuff] or you lose your mind. Having the disease is part of an amazing life. And not an ‘otherwise’ amazing life.” He clarifies, “It’s part of what makes my life amazing.”

I find that lately the word “amazing” is used frequently. It’s a wonderful word.

amazing, adj. 1. causing wonder and amazement; possessing uniquely wonderful qualities.

clover alessandra

I flew to Raleigh, NC a few days before beautiful, petite, determined Clover Alessandra was born on 18 September 2008 to Alicia and Michael. Her arrival created an amazing whirlwind of activity for which she was blissfully unaware, and left 28-month old brother Sebastian deeply concerned about the new addition to the family. We noticed quickly that this kind of acceptance isn’t easy for an only child. Time will change all that.

We all got colds, or was it allergies mimicking a cold. No matter, all of us, including Clover, coughed, sneezed and sniffled through the days ahead. Clover was a trooper; her first cold didn’t leave her too dishelved.

And we danced around Clover’s schedule as we shopped at Earth Fare, Fresh Market and Lowe’s. There was no restaurant dining this time around (except for a relaxing lunch at Winston’s Grille for Alicia and me the Monday before Clover’s arrival). Then Granny Yang from Virginia came with a large box of big, tasty Asian pears, and enough ingredients purchased at Kim’s Asian Market to prepare a Korean feast to celebrate Clover’s first day home. The dining table looked mighty happy that evening. Yang also prepared Korean style seaweed soup to keep Alicia and Clover in good health. That and Mother’s Milk tea, a bottle a day of O’Doule’s non-alcoholic beer, lots of water, and a bit of juice will assure a good supply of milk for tiny Clover Alessandra. And friends dropped by with lasagna, pasta with meatballs, and enchiladas for the rest of us.

Two big boxes arrived during the second week for Clover from Aunt Sumi and Uncle Toshi. What fun it was sitting around with mama Alicia holding Clover, and dad Michael holding the big box. He opened each individually-wrapped gift with care. And we all loved seeing your first four-leaf clover in the form of a little charm. Is that Clover’s first clover of a clover collection? Wisely, there was a gift for Sebastian – a yellow taxi. And in a flash Sebastian left to play. The second box was clothes 16-month old cousin Sophie outgrew.

Aunt Emi is knee-deep in her studies at Columbia, a work/study program, and an internship. Clover will see her when she comes up for air. ha ha

Baby Clover please know the entire family fell in love with you at first sight. And it seems it’ll only get better and better. And Sebastian, well, every so often, he shows a little interest in trying to figure out who you are, and how you were suddenly in his life. But we know that soon you and he will be friends, and that one day we’ll see you walking hand-in-hand with your cousin Sophie who spends a lot of time these days at playgrounds and sing-alongs in Brooklyn. And Sebastian will tease both of you unmercifully as his father once did with his sisters Sumi and Emi.

Dad Michael went to the World Beer Festival (tradition) on 4 October from 6pm to 10pm with Uncle Alex who drove from Atlanta, and four beer-loving friends. Dad Michael chose to be the designated driver so as to be in good shape the next day. Mama Alicia and I ate a late-night dinner while Sebastian slept. Clover was awake most of the time with head lifted, wide-eyed, and simply observing. Don’t want to miss a thing, eh? Your parents are looking a little tired these days, Clover.

The day before Clover was born a purchase was made at Dilly Dally of a Bebe Au Lait coverup for nursing in public, and at North Hills the tiniest and prettiest white dress for first photos was bought.

Clover, can you feel the love?

Kim’s Asian Market, 6014 Duraleigh Road, Raleigh, NC 919-788-7777
Bebe Au Lait coverup from Dilly Dally baby boutique, 6675 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh, NC

oops! father’s day has come and gone

Oops! No post here on Father’s Day. How can that be when so frequently I look around and admire all the fathers attending to their children. It’s never too late to write about this big wonderful change. When did this happen that men are sharing parenting big time? Of course, there always have been great fathers, just not in the numbers we’re now seeing. It’s exciting. Yeah to Michael and Toshi and to men the world over who understand how much they’re needed by their children. Good job men! Happy Belated Father’s Day.