Loner Land

Our move back to Massachusetts and into a fantastic school system was absolutely the right thing to do. Especially for Joe. We are one month into the new school year and his teacher has already opened the lines of communication. It was an email response to a writing assignment she’d given to the parents in Joe’s class. Her response to my writing assignment titled The Care and Feeding of Joe Faherty, was, “I am wondering if Joe continues to see a therapist?”

It was a great question. One that tells me she’s paying attention. That she sees what I see and despite a fantastic summer filled with confidence and lively discussions with other children, Joe is having issues in the classroom again. It was a message that I found both encouraging and heartbreaking.

I’ll be completely honest, I knew this would happen as soon as he began the new year, but I didn’t want to be pessimistic. He did so well over the summer. He walked into camps in our new town with such confidence and came out of one with a firm “job offer” for next summer. That camp leader was so impressed with his patience and great attitude, she hired him to be her helper and has already arranged it.

During his stint at Ocean Ecology Camp, I watched him walk into a group of boys who fist-bumped him their good morning greetings. At the time, I sat in our mini-van and nearly cried with happiness over those fist bumps. At the beach, he gave impromptu talks about horseshoe crabs to groups of children and their grown-ups. He was awesome – holding up those prehistoric looking creatures and answering excited questions.

And then school started.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a happy guy. He gets on the bus with smiles and hugs in the morning and in the afternoon, reaches for my hand as soon as he exits. He holds on for the duration of the walk down our new street and doesn’t care who sees. I love holding his hand, it’s almost as big as mine now.

I tried to capitalize on the confidence he developed over the summer. When school started, I eased him into the social scene with daily challenges. Things like, Today you should try to have a conversation with someone new, or, Ask someone three questions and tell me what you learned about that new friend. He was hesitant, but he played along. And then one day at breakfast I said, “Trade telephone numbers with a new friend.”

Bad idea. He began to squirm uncomfortably and poked at his egg.

“Um…maybe I could wait a while. It seems too soon…I need to get to know people better.”

No amount of support or encouraging words will sway him. By now, I’m hearing all of those familiar cues that he has one foot back in Loner Land. His table mates are frustrated with him for not transitioning quickly enough, “This one girl takes “line-up” way too serious.” He doesn’t sit with the same kids at lunch – meaning, he hasn’t made any connections with another kid.

How is it that this kid who is gregarious and loving and so very smart at home is an entirely different person at school? How do I fix it? How do I make sure he’s a happy and well-adjusted human who has friends and some social involvement when he doesn’t show other kids he wants to be involved?

It’s time to find a new therapist.

Amy True 016

What I Write on Random Tuesdays

I’ve got nothin’. It’s not that I don’t want to provide you with humiliating tales about my children or a ghost story or, I don’t know… something more than what I’m about to give you, but I can’t. I’m gearing up for the first residency of my master’s program. From July 8th through July 18th I will immersed in readings, workshops and classes and all at a location away from home. Yes, that’s right. I’ll be completing my residency on the gorgeous coast of Maine. Right about now you’re probably saying to yourself, Uh…doesn’t she live in Maine? Yes, I do and I’ll only be about a half an hour from my house. Nonetheless, I won’t be home and I have so much work to do before July 8th. Despite the fact that I’ll be working really hard, I can’t help but kind of look forward to ten full days away from children. Does that sound awful?

Let me put it this way, before children I had a career and now I don’t. Sure, that career wasn’t my dream but it was stimulating. There were grown ups there and while it’s true that some acted like children, I still sometimes miss getting in my car and driving down 684 into White Plains and entering the corporate headquarters of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Yes, I actually said that, I miss it. The company cafe served things like bagels with smoked salmon and, for lunch, soft shell crabs. Thanks to vendor contracts with Starbucks, the coffee was free and, at that mid-afternoon witching hour – the one where you want to crawl under your desk and take a snooze – a man came around with a cart filled with drinks and candy and other delicious snacks aimed at pumping us full of caffeine and sugar to push us through ’til quitting time. You knew he was coming because someone (usually me) announced his arrival by yelling, “SNACK CART!” I loved watching all those people do the prairie dog from their cubicles. The image still cracks me up.

I miss the travel and the employee ‘Hot Rate’ that provided us with discounted rates at Starwood Hotels around the world. Everyone traveled. People would stand around the proverbial water cooler on Mondays and talk about who jetted to where over the weekend. Cheap flights out of Newark and that Hot Rate were the biggest perk of all. Thanks to that job, I dressed in my beautiful clothes purchased during post-work shopping sprees at The Westchester and in Manhattan. My feet were wrapped in the finest of shoes and my hair was always perfectly highlighted and cut. I even enjoyed monthly facials. The world was my oyster. Actually, I like Oscar Wilde’s version of that quote, “The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.” I did use the wrong fork. My job ended up being a casualty after I divorced my ex-life and ran away. I don’t regret the run, but I have at times, missed the Heavenly Bed by Westin.

So the long-winded point that I am attempting to make is that I didn’t love my old job, but I did love the perks and glamour that came with it. Working in the legal department of a hotel company was about as far from my dream of writing as I could have strayed. So last winter I applied to Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. I sent in my writing samples, transcripts and recommendations and half expected to be declined. I wasn’t. Step one toward making my dream come true has been completed.

The funny thing about going to graduate school to earn a master’s of fine arts in creative writing is that a lot of people have opinions. There were the people who asked why I was “bothering when I already have a kick ass blog” or the people who politely tried to suggest that perhaps a master’s in something more practical would make sense, thus allowing me to write on the side. Then there those who seemed reluctantly supportive, wrapping their encouragement in thinly veiled negativity. I was stopped in my tracks by a few of those people. I wondered why in the world my goal to fulfill a lifelong dream was so bothersome. Was it that they didn’t think I could do it? Did they think I wasn’t talented enough? Did they think that I didn’t deserve to follow the path I veered from all those years ago? Then I mentally gave them the finger and moved on. I’m a grown-up and I applied with the full support and encouragement of my amazing husband. Thanks to his confidence in me, I’m going to earn that master’s degree in creative writing. I’m going to do what I love and isn’t that what life should be about?

So on that note faithful readers, I leave you with this delicious summer salad recipe. Before I got all wordy and self-righteous back there, my plan was to post a picture and some ingredients before I hit the beach with the kids. Instead, you got an earful plus a healthy and scrumptious salad…because that’s how No. 7 rolls.


3 english cucumbers halved and thinly sliced

1 pint of blueberries

salt & pepper to taste

white balsamic vinaigrette (I use Olde Cap Cod brand)

3 tbs fresh mint leaves, sliced into a chiffonade

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. combine the blueberries and cucumbers in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

2. add the white balsamic vinaigrette, mint and feta and gently toss to combine.

Pay It Forward

Last week was a tough one for me. I battled with my old enemy, depression and struggled to pull myself out of its grasp. The holidays do that to some people, no? The downward spiral of feeling blue, self-hate and helplessness is tough to escape. More than anything, it’s frustrating as hell to get caught up in it and have no real defense except to ride it out and pray for that Zoloft to kick in to overdrive.

In the middle of Blues Fest, I locked myself in the master bedroom and read blogs. All. Day. Long. I escaped in the words and photography of others and caught up on my blog’s e-mail. I discovered some incredible new blogs…well, new to me. Dare I say, perhaps my bout with the blues was meant to happen? It forced me to sit down and pay some serious attention to my writing and “the blog”. Admittedly, my attention was elsewhere throughout December, so it was game on.

In the midst of my self-imposed bedroom seclusion, I was thrilled to find that a new friend, who happens to write a fantastic blog, had bestowed the Stylish Blogger Award upon me! It may seem small to you, but in the depths of my battle last week, my spirits were lifted. Thank you, Melody-Mae for your kind gift. I apologize for taking so long to pay it forward.

In order to accept my award, I am bound by the following rules…

  • Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
  • Contact these bloggers and let them know you awarded them. 

Here are my 7:

  1. I’m a yeller. Shameful, but true…I yell. A lot. I’m hoping this is the side-effect of parenting three small children. I pray that my decibel level will return to a socially acceptable volume as the children grow older.
  2. I can’t relax in my house unless the room I’m in is neat and free of clutter. This may or may not be a side-effect of my brain’s faulty serotonin absorption, but who cares. At least my house is (mostly) clean.
  3. When I go shopping, I pick up items, carry them around and pretend I’m going to buy the whole pile. Then I drop them off at various points around the store and leave. Sorry retail workers…but I have three kids and can’t afford the pile anymore.
  4. I’m jealous of my husband’s ability to run, like 30 miles a week. Where does he get the drive?
  5. I sometimes miss the days when my husband and I ran together…before three children.
  6. I love. Absolutely LOVE to cook. I wanted to go to the Culinary Institute.
  7. I’m famous for planning elaborate, detail-oriented functions…then not going. I’m a wallflower and slightly anxious in social situations, but my attention to detail is legendary.

Now, for the 15 nominated bloggers.

  1. Of Woods and Words. She’s a fantastic writer. I check in almost every day to see what is happening in the wilds of Wisconsin.
  2. Another Cookie, Please! A friend and amazing writer who writes about life while caring for her mother, who was stricken by Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Mumsyhood. What can I say? Kitten takes the most incredible photographs of her beautiful daughter and shares the joys of new-Mumsyhood. She takes me back and helps me remember the wonder of my new babies. She always visits and leaves a comment for my blog. She’s been a HUGE source of encouragement. Thanks, Kitten!
  4. Freckles and Fudge. Vic’s photography is incredible and makes me long for the sun. She leaves thoughtful comments on No. 7. Her blog makes me smile and provides me with my fix for a beach day…even in the dead of winter in Maine. I can smell, hear and taste the beach when I log onto her blog. (Except for today when I logged on and saw stunning pictures of french fries and fish and chips. I’ve battled food cravings all day!)
  5. Inspire. Create. Bake. Need I say more? I salivate from the moment I log on and log off craving all of her recipes. Not to mention the stellar photography.
  6. For the Love of Blogs. A no brainer. This incredible community of bloggers is supportive and responsive. Through them, I have met so many wonderful new and talented people.
  7. Write Now, Write Later. Donna inspires me with her words and she’s a great source of information for fellow writers. She’s one talented and hard working lady. Plus, she asked me to guest post on her blog! Look for my post on Friday.
  8. Scenic Glory. Every single image is incredible. In fact, her blog is a visual feast. The graphics, the fonts…I love it so. Her posts are pretty awesome too! You should go check out her “What Would” Project.
  9. Crazy Days with IzzyB. Because she’s my friend. She makes me laugh. She bakes the most INCREDIBLE cookies. EVER. And I adore her Izzy who is possibly one of the sweetest little girls I have ever met. 
  10. The Coexist Cafe. She visits No. 7 often and always leaves the best comments. I lurk at The Coexist Cafe and steal the delicious vegetarian recipes. I read her very engaging posts and I am reminded of Dave and I before the three kiddos hopped on board. Her description of herself is as follows: “I am a writer, paralegal, eclectic Pagan, and vegetarian foodie and connoisseur.” Hmmm..sounds very familiar. 😉
And that, my friends is about all I’ve got in me today. These are the 10 that I visit and love. I suppose that stopping at 10 means I am breaking the rules of the award, but so be it. I just like that I get to share some of my favorites with you.

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