Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Last Wish for 5 Year Old Noah

Let's see how many people we can get to do a small act of kindness. This request comes from my brother in MI:

A friend of a friend has a 5 year old little boy named Noah who is in the last stages of neuroblastoma cancer (2-1/2 yr battle).The family is celebrating Christmas this week and Noah's request is to get a lot of Christmas cards. Please send to:

Noah Biorkman
1141 Fountain View Circle,
South Lyon, MI 48178

Let's see how many cards we can get him! Pass it on.

And for you Scrooges out there this is TRUE--just check snopes:

Read news account at:

Please forward and make a little boy's Christmas special.

Hoarding Memories, Necessities, and Hope

[This post was written before I left Clifton, VA for Santiago, Chile]

It's my last day before the packers arrive and my last chance to tackle the final emptying of our house of stuff that will neither be stored nor shipped. With coffee in hand waiting for the arthritis pills to take effect so I can start hauling out the bags of stuff, I read in today's Wall Street Journal:
When Hoarders Make Life Miserable for Others - WSJ.com

A little spooky that this article is published today. As I take inventory of our belongings for the packer's insurance purposes, I'm happy to say our "hoarding" has not gone clinical, but it does give me cause to pause and evaluate our treasures, collections, and items collected. They fall into three categories, each with their own set of emotions attached that make it hard to let go as we move on to our new expat life in Chile. The first are memory items-those precious items that bring a flood of remembrances that serve as markers in the time-line of our family's life. The second are all those "just in case we need it, we'll have it" necessities that assures we will be prepared or become the neighborhood savior. The third category is the most poignant one for me. These are the items that we have collected for use during those fleeting moments of leisure time--the ones we so seldom really see. As our lives have become more and more occupied by all those more important activities and events we must attend or do these are precious moments indeed.

Happily there were no great traumas as I tossed and donated, just a few weepy moments as I recalled the memories attached. And kudos to my husband who has taken on a refreshing attitude of "Dump it. We can always get more...because that's what more means!"

There is great value to living the migrant lifestyle. For now I'm swearing off Costco!

From the story:
One trick is to find ways to donate items the hoarder cares about—particularly if he is grieving for a lost loved one. Another approach is to have the hoarder collect every item in the same category, and then decide how many he really needs. "You'll find 150 margarine tubs in someone's home. And maybe they can live with 75," she says.

"We create shrines," Ms. Anderson adds, recalling a retired teacher who had saved every paper from every student he had taught. Together they selected a few special papers and framed them along with his diploma and hung it on a wall. "He had a focus for his emotions, and he was able to let the rest of the stuff go," she says.

But such a process can take weeks or months, and professional organizers charge from $45 to $200 an hour. "It can cost thousands and thousands of dollars," Ms. Anderson says.

Or... you move.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oregon's DHS Directors Message - An important milestone of care - Nov. 6, 2009

November 6, 200
DHS Director's messages on the web
To: All DHS employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., director
An important milestone of care

"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life."
~Jane Addams

Last week in Oregon we reached an important milestone -- more than 100 years of institutionalizing people with disabilities came to an end. Eastern Oregon Training Center (EOTC) in Pendleton shut its doors on October 31. After the closing of Fairview in 2000 and now EOTC, Oregon is one of only a handful of states with no institutions -- public or private -- for people with developmental disabilities. We are the only state that does not place any of its clients in an out-of-state institution.
Staffers help the last resident to leave EOTC go up the steps onto a van
Staffers help the last resident to leave EOTC go up the steps onto a van

This milestone shows how far we have come as a society in how we treat our neighbors and family members with developmental disabilities. It used to be falsely believed that they could not function in the community. Now we know better -- that people with even severe disabilities can thrive in small settings such as adult foster care or group homes as long as they have the right support.

To read the full statement:

DHS Directors Message - An important milestone of care - Nov. 6, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Value of Nothing

As my departure draws near and I sense the lengthening of distance coupled with a shortening of time in which to accomplish all the details, I find those items that comprise my to do list take on a much simpler means of completion. I just can't pull myself into my car to make ONE MORE TRIP to the thrift store. So instead, I now spend my day sorting and sifting items for trash and items to post for free on good ol' Craigslist. I even abandon my compelling need to upload photos of those items or details about their dimensions and just write basic almost generic descriptions.

I'm amazed at the value of what I conceive as "not much," not even worthy the time to provide specific detail and clarity of description and presence, is considered precious by anothers who would be willing to drive nearly 30 miles in DC traffic to acquire sans a knowledge of its actual state. I even attempt to talk the young woman OUT OF COMING for the old homemade bookcase pointing out it's added texture and aging by the glue globs is not worth her distance and time investment. Yet she makes the trip, late at night in the dark, after her day at the zoo. She arrives eager and excited to collect her treasure and pleased at its form and thrilled to put it to good function. Her excitement infuses me with the energy to continue and the pleasure of re-discovery of value.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


One more stage in my journey has been accomplished. The tickets are bought and the house is up for rent. And while I'm exited about the next phase of my journey I have a little melancholy about it. We have lived in this home the longest that we have at ANY point in our collective lives. Ten years means we have established very meaningful friendships and relationships in our neighborhood and community. Now I understand how difficult it can be for some to move away from a home and friends.

However, I'm also happy to know that who ever lives in my home will have the opportunity to experience these same wonderful relationships that I have had these last ten years. It pleases me to share with the new occupants of my home--who ever they may be- my wonderful neighbors in this lovely neighborhood and all the great things our community has to offer.

Fairfax, Clifton and Centreville Virginia real estate listings, home buying, selling and relocation information - NUMBER1EXPERT(tm)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Obama to lift HIV/AIDS travel ban - CNN.com

Big question now is will this affect policies regarding people with disabilities traveling internationally?

Obama to lift HIV/AIDS travel ban - CNN.com