cautiously optimistic

Lately I am feeling cautiously optimistic about the promise of Palmetto Harmony, the new CBD cannabis oil we started giving to Calvin a few weeks ago. We had discontinued a different CBD oil several months ago thinking it might have been exacerbating Calvin's complex partial seizures. But in a slight a panic over more frequent grand mals of late, I remembered hearing years ago that finding the right strain of cannabis can sometimes take a bit of trial and error.

Since Calvin's first dose of Palmetto Harmony, Calvin has consistently slept more soundly and had an easier time of falling asleep. He has also been calmer and is smiling more. The most profound effect I've witnessed was a couple of days ago when he exhibited almost every one of his seizure harbingers—eye poking, extreme agitation, mania, restlessness, dreadful butt rash, completely amped up behavior, repetitive humming, pacing, mad finger-stimming, dropping down, shrieking, warm skin. Suspecting an impeding seizure, I increased his CBD oil, which we give him only at bedtime. Calvin was asleep within half an hour; the seizure never transpired. The next day Calvin was back to baseline and has been a pleasure to be with since.

So, though it is still too soon to tell, I am cautiously optimistic that this new CBD oil is working to calm Calvin's brain and body. Hopefully it will help to reduce his seizures, but if nothing else, at least I can delight in a few days of a compliant, fairly calm, happy child.

With his Gpa last year ... Calvin's looking more like this of late.



Everyone needs something to laugh about, particularly in these days of shameless bigotry, of families being painfully separated, infants "defending" themselves in immigration court, White folks calling police on Black men, women and children for rightfully swimming in pools, barbecuing in parks, entering their own homes, mowing lawns and selling water in their neighborhoods on hot summer days, in these days of a POTUS eroding our alliances while cosying up to tyrants, his administration attacking our clean water, clean air, reproductive rights, human rights, health care, free press, and diminishing our standing in the world as a reasonable, ethical, dependable, faithful nation worthy of respect.

Yes, the cartoon below made me laugh, giving me a brief reprieve from the shitshow going on around us these past eighteen months.

Like politics, life with Calvin has its ups and downs and exacerbating in-betweens. I'll be the first to admit that taking care of him is the most difficult challenge of my life, and it tests me daily. Caring for our tiny teenager who in reality is much like an infant on the verge of walking—he's non verbal, still wears diapers, can't really feed himself, suffers poor balance, has occasional tantrums—has been hard on my mind, body, spirit, and psyche over the years. It turns out, for whatever reason, I'm up for the challenge. But don't tell me that it's because God chose me to be Calvin's parent due to my strength and patience. Don't tell me everything happens for a reason which, if you break down that theory, it means that some divine entity—the likes of which I don't and could never believe in—put Calvin here on Earth in the fucked-up and suffering condition he is in only to teach some twerp like me a lesson; I am not worthy of my son's suffering. No one is. And don't tell me that God doesn't give folks more than they can handle, because my response to that will always be, "if that is true then why do people off themselves?"

Nope. Calvin is very simply here. And I am simply the mom who birthed him. And his brain is messed up because something in nature went awry or simply didn't develop. And I choose to find purpose in the shit that happens to him and to us, in great part because I must've been born an optimist, I believe deeply in the power of gratitude, I am strong, patient and resilient, and I luckily inherited my mother's effervescence and my father's sense of humor and cynicism.

So, world, turn up that shitshow dial to eleven if you must. I—and the rest of us—can take it, even if we're sometimes weary.


earth's oppressions

A blast of sky presses down on me, humidity's weight lingering in my lungs and limbs. Sweat gathers at the nape of my neck, collects under my breasts and trickles between my ribs. The morning air is sometimes white with moisture, its blades of grass beading up beneath my feet. At times I feel it's hard to breathe.

Plodding along I think of Earth's oppressions, not in terms of weight or mercury, but in time and space and lives: bawling babies hastily taken from their mothers' milk; frightened fatherless toddlers teetering between strangers, on the brink of depression and detachment disorder; refugees fleeing untold dangers crammed into rafts and trucks and tiny, frigid cells awaiting ... what?; young boys trapped in a flooded chamber, monsoons coming, oxygen waning; women and girls enduring, suffering, lamenting the control and abuse of sordid men—some they trusted; Whites calling cops on Blacks who are just minding their own business; truth and virtue under fire by diabolical despots and their cronies, here and abroad.

I hang with my boy Calvin who cannot speak, his monthly seizures holding steady just under ten. For now, he seems happy, is smiling a lot and sleeping well; a week ago, the reverse was true. I've been here before, the place where time and space expands luxuriously only to be compressed by increasing seizures. The new moon is coming, its gravity waxing oppressive.

I think of those stranded boys in Thailand, trapped in a cave, exhausted, feeble, unstable, afraid, by now blind as bats to light. What if one were like mine? He couldn't hold a regulator in his teeth; wouldn't know how to breathe. Couldn't swim or scuba dive, unable to escape the watery tomb alive.

And so, as always, Earth's oppressions lead me into weeping then to gratitude—grateful for my time and place, grateful for my non-verbal, incontinent, legally blind, uncoordinated, intellectually- and physically-disabled, autistic, enigmatic, epileptic child.

Calvin, photo by Michael Kolster


joy ride

Red-eye flights are aptly named; mine came in this morning at just after seven. I returned from a short trip to Seattle, having stayed up past midnight one-too-many days. It was good to get away, though I had too little time to see everyone I wanted to see, and re-entering the atmosphere that is all-things-Calvin has proved a bit trying, particularly when it is his third day in a row of seizures, humid, and ninety degrees.

My trip was relaxing and invigorating. I spent some time driving around my old suburban digs—the pool where I spent all of my summers, the brand new high school, the house I lived in from the age of two until twenty, which now seems a dwarfed and somewhat dilapidated version of the one I remember, the pond where I used to catch frogs. The place had changed and yet, in ways, had remained remarkably the same.

I dined with dear friends whom I've known most of my life and who have kept in touch with me, noshed on homemade Indian food and pizza. I rented a car and cruised south to my nephew's wedding, met his new bride, sat and shot the shit with my brother Steve whose wit and humor I so appreciate. On Sunday I sipped a sidewalk bourbon at the Pike Place Market, ate roasted octopus and gigante beans in Adirondak chairs on the shores of Lake Union, strolled past sleepy Capital Hill mansions and—one of my trip highlights—rode the ferris wheel on the wharf drinking chilled white wine from a sippy cup. My other nephew and I scored some tasty shawermas on Broadway, satisfying a craving I've had since having left San Francisco seventeen years ago.

And though all that is a distant memory already, I'll still have etched in my mind forever the faces of people I love deeply, and the joy ride I took on a cool summer day in June, Seattle style.

from Christy Shake on Vimeo.


rule number one: do not obey in advance

I'm away from home having traveled nine hours to attend a wedding. My time is not completely my own, which is why you have not heard from me. I should tell you that Calvin is doing okay and has had some of his best nights of sleep since adding a nighttime dose of Palmetto Harmony CBD oil last week.

When I woke up this morning while the others slept, I read my dear friend Elizabeth Aquino's blog, a moon worn as if it were a shell. She, like I, writes about her disabled child afflicted with severe epilepsy, intermingling her stories of despair, frustration, gratitude, perseverance with more than a smattering of the politics of social justice; she is a kindred spirit.

Her post is so powerful, expedient, and cogent I had to share it here:

by Elizabeth Aquiino

Sophie got a new wheelchair yesterday, thanks to her private insurance which is governed by the Affordable Care Act's protection of pre-existing conditions and her qualification to receive Medi-Cal which helps to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses. I am filled with gratitude for these things and well aware of my immense privilege, particularly as these things are not afforded to everyone and are now under threat for everyone.

The week after Trump was inaugurated and became the POSPOTUS in 2017, my therapist (I know, LA, and all that stuff) gave me two pieces of paper stapled together, titled Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.* Written by Tim Snyder, an American historian of Central and Eastern Europe and the Holocaust who is a professor at Yale, the list draws on the experience of those who lived before, during and after the rise of Fascism in Germany and Communism in the former Soviet Union. I think we're well past the rise part in Trump's America and into the fascist part, so I'm reviewing the lessons and was struck, especially this morning, by the first one:

Do Not Obey in Advance

Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

Despite the ease of it (for those who are privileged like myself), caving to despair or cries of how fucked we all are, we just can't. I know that I have "obeyed in advance" many times during my life, have handed power or agency over to not just institutions but to people in my family and even people that I love. Part of that is due to deep cultural influences, to patriarchal systems, to my own apathy or cynicism. It's a slow process toward acknowledgement of that anticipatory obedience, even in my privilege, yet having a child with severe disabilities has pushed me along that path of self-awareness and agency a bit further. 

When I heard yesterday that Justice Kennedy was retiring, handing the POSPOTUS the chance to ensure a draconian legacy of conservatism on the Supreme Court, I did feel despair, particularly about the threat to women's reproductive rights and the Affordable Care Act's protection of those with pre-existing conditions. My despair shows itself in biting humor which isn't funny at all. I imagine Sophie driving a car, proving her "worth" in lieu of getting "free hand-outs" through Medi-Cal, yet unable to get insurance to pay for the drugs and treatment of her life long epilepsy. I imagine her getting raped by some free enterprise private contractor in an institution for the handicapped and not able to have an abortion because it will be illegal. I crack sick jokes because it helps me to cope and perhaps jerks people out of their malaise and into action. 

Here's the thing.  I am thinking that we're entirely not fucked, that we're actually in a fight and that we have to stay in it. We have to stay awake. We can't succumb to despair. We can't obey in advance.

It will be me, maybe, actually driving that car with Sophie in it and any woman or women who needs to go to a state that still guarantees their reproductive freedom.** Sophie is very quiet and capable of holding great secrets. I am very loud.

*  You can easily look up the lessons, but I typed them out on the bloHERE
**Here's a list of things you can do if or when Roe v Wade is overturned.

Photo by Elizabeth Aquino


palmetto harmony

This morning it looks like we made it through another of what friends who read the blog often call a rough patch.

In the wake of Calvin's second grand mal seizure Friday—the first one being only one of a few that have happened while at school—I gave him an extra dose of my homemade THCA oil hoping to avoid a third fit. As is typical after a grand mal, he fell back to sleep promptly, but then rose half an hour later quite restless. Our kid was completely wired for hours, slapping the wall, banging his head and perseverating—finger stimming, hyperventilating, humming—like mad. Over five hours later, he was still at it. Despite my exhaustion stemming from Calvin's previous night's migraine-type episode, plus the cumulative effects of a decade or more of sleep deprivation, I racked my foggy brain for some remedy to ease his agitation and misery so that we could all get some rest.

In an epiphany of sorts, I remembered an unopened bottle of Palmetto Harmony CBD cannabis oil that its maker had sent to me several months ago. We had taken Calvin off of his former CBD oil at the first of the year because we thought it might be the source of some of Calvin's complex partial seizures. I hadn't switched to the Palmetto Harmony CBD because I was waiting for them to make Calvin a CBDA oil instead. I remembered, too, when first researching cannabis oil nearly six years ago, hearing that finding the right strain of cannabis can sometimes take a bit, or a lot, of trial and error. I thought to myself, perhaps a different CBD oil could work to help reduce Calvin's seizures.

I was fairly certain that giving Calvin the Palmetto Harmony oil wouldn't hurt him; he had taken CBD oil for years with no disastrous effects. So I crept downstairs, took the bottle from the fridge and drew up half a milligram of the clear, amber oil. Fifteen minutes after giving it to my wild kid he was sound asleep.

Regrettably, the oil did not prevent Calvin from having a third grand mal a few hours later, though I had given him a tiny dose. Nevertheless, while in his darkened room yesterday watching him rest and recover from the effects of the seizures, the lack of sleep and the rectal Valium we used to stop the seizures from continuing, I did a bit of strategizing in my head.

Though I had hoped our next move would be to try a CBDA oil from Palmetto Harmony's maker, life got in the way of its making and it is not available yet. And though there are several new drugs on the market, I am loathe to try another pharmaceutical antiepieptic because of Calvin's past resistance to so many, and because of their scary side effects. So yesterday morning, I contacted Harmony's mother, Janel, who makes the CBD oil which has helped so many children have fewer seizures, some who have achieved seizure freedom. She kindly and promptly answered a litany of my questions including how the oil is extracted, why she thinks her method is superior, and what strains she uses, then she forwarded me the cannabinoid and terpene lab results. Last night I gave Calvin his first of what will be a regular nightly dose of Palmetto Harmony CBD oil to see how it affects his seizures, sleep and mood.

At midnight Calvin sat up and banged the bed. It was unclear if he was having a partial seizure, but since they are common after a grand mal, I gave him another dose of the Palmetto Harmony oil and a few minutes later he yawned and fell back to sleep.

This morning he seems to be nearly back to the little turkey we know and love.

Beginning any new treatment for Calvin is scary, but I have vowed not to make—or balk at—any decision strictly based on my fears. And from what I know about cannabis, I think the possible benefits to Calvin far outweigh the risks. Suffice to say I'm cautiously optimistic and hoping this new CBD oil could be the silver bullet that I've been searching for over twelve years, one that my husband insists does not exist.

As in everything, I'll keep you posted. Until then, and as always, cross your fingers and knock on wood.


longest day

The longest day of the year was followed by one of the longest nights of the year for Calvin and for me and Michael.

A few hours after I had come home, giddy from attending my dear friend Lauren's annual summer solstice party, Calvin began to whimper and stir. I got up to give him his second dose of THCA cannabis oil having earlier expected an impending seizure. Within half an hour he was beginning to writhe, rub his head and cry. I gave him a tylenol, then when that didn't work, I managed to get him to swallow an ibuprofen. Despite my efforts to assuage his pain, he continued to thrash and cry and scream. In bed next to me, he pulled my hair, scratched my neck, pushed my throat, whacked my head, kicked my legs again and again and again. Somehow, I was able to maintain my composure as he flailed for two-and-a-half hours, promising him in whispers and kisses that he'd feel better soon and that I wouldn't leave him. 

It was then that I again thought about the Central American child refugees separated from their parents, some of them infants, others toddlers, left crying alone with no consolation, children who don't understand or speak English, don't understand why they've been marshaled away from their parents by strangers, children who might never be reunited with their momas and papas for weeks, months, years—if ever—the damage and suffering being done in haste by a president and his administration without a plan of action in place.

Yesterday, I heard an audio of young detained children, one of them crying "Papa!" repeatedly, until his/her little voice became hoarse. Hearing their cries made me weep.

Finally this morning, my boy calmed, though never went back to sleep. We eventually got him up, fed him some breakfast, packed his lunch and sent him off for his last day of school. A few hours after we had put him on the bus I got the dreaded call while paying for a special cake I was about to bring to his support staff at his school: Calvin was having a grand mal seizure. His ed tech's voice was trembling as she described how he had vomited during the seizure, fearing he might aspirate. I told them that I'd be there soon. 

On my way I stopped by home and quickly filled two syringes with cannabis oil. Thankfully, the junior high school is less than a mile away, so I was able to give him the oil within minutes of his seizure, a tactic I take aiming to prevent further seizures.

As Calvin slept, his teacher and aides sat with me in the dim Zen Den, named for its bean bag chair and strands of calm yellow lights strung on the walls. As we watched my boy sleep, I told them of past seizures, most notably the forty-five-minute grand mal he had when he was just two. I described how Michael and I had thought he might die that time since none of the emergency meds had appeared to be working, but that it had finally stopped when we began kissing on him.

After almost an hour's sleep on a spongy floor mat, Calvin stirred and awoke. I gave him his lunchtime Keppra, chasing it with a couple of sips of water, then picked him up and carried him out to the car to go home.

Now, as I sit at my desk writing, I can watch him spin in his industrial-strength johnny-jump-up. He is poking his eye, humming, and bubbling up foamy drool. My gut tells me he isn't out of the woods yet, and I wonder if I'll ever get my seizure-free boy back from where these sinister meds and fits took him years ago.

Then I think again of those innocent migrant children separated from their parents, every day their longest day, every night too, their lives likely ruined by the mistreatment this neighboring and prosperous nation has subjected them to. I wonder about the hundreds who have epilepsy (nearly one in one-hundred of us do), wonder how they will fare without their meds, wonder who will hold them when they seize, wipe the blood trickling out of their mouths from bitten tongues, wonder who will whisper away their fear, their pain and tears. I wonder how the reckless president sleeps at night, he who has told his citizenry legions upon legions of lies, the worst of which, perhaps, denies the real grief and suffering these children are having to endure. The potus (the guy is not deserving of all caps) may not sleep well, but he doesn't sleep on a mat or a cot with a mylar sheet under banks of cold florescent tubes in a cavernous, cement-floored, fenced-in holding cell. But I bet he sleeps alone.

And as I wrap this up, my sweet innocent boy rolls into another grand mal, but in the safety and love of his mother's arms in a place we call home.

Calvin after a seizure


leaving home

Every day I hear or see something that reminds me how much we, as Americans, take for granted in this place we call home. 

Yesterday, the reminder was a social media comment about refugee and immigrant children being torn from their parents—even an infant suckling at her mother's breast—and being thrown in cages and behind detention fences. An acquaintance posted her opinion on the matter saying, "A loving mother would not put her child in the situation that would cause them to be parted. A selfish mother would play that game."

Her comment reminded me of those contemptuous folks who love to throw around the flabby platitude, race card.

I told her that if she spoke to some of the mothers fleeing other nations she would learn how wrong she is.

Later, while I was watering a parched garden, it occurred to me how spoiled some of us living in this nation are. We enjoy so many luxuries people in other countries only dream of—indoor plumbing, heated homes, fifty-seven million kinds of breakfast cereals, chips, wine, beer, coffee, tea, candy, cheese to choose from. Many of us have pets, cars, bicycles, warm clothes, cozy beds, doctors, medicines, computers, smart phones, jewelry, handbags, toys, sports equipment, table linens, gas stoves, porcelain sinks and bathtubs, pillows, wool blankets, shoes for every occasion, safe streets, good hospitals, nice restaurants, decent schools. Even so, we hunger for the newest apps, trendiest fads and latest gadgets.

What seems clear to me is the abysmal lack of imagination and compassion in the minds and hearts of those who condone the hasty and horrific separation of children from their parents—families who have left their homes and communities risking their lives to make it to a nation where life might be safer and better for their families. 

As with most trying situations, I think of Calvin. I imagine living in a country where Calvin has no access to medical care or treatment for his seizures. I imagine his epilepsy burning out of control and bringing him to the brink of death. I imagine a neighboring and prosperous nation offering great promise in treating his condition. What would I do? Might I risk fleeing to that land for the sake of my child's life? Perhaps I would. 

I then imagine living in a war-torn country where good people are extorted, children are regularly kidnapped and forced into sex work, gangs and militias, where mothers and daughters are raped, where food and water are scarce, where neighborhoods are gassed and shelled, where men are murdered, where homes and towns are burned to cinders. Might I leave home with my children to a neighboring and prosperous nation, leaving everything behind and risking it all for a chance at living free from fear and near-certain peril? Yes, I think I would.

When having a similar exchange on social media last year, a friend told me that he would not be a refugee because, "it is not in his upbringing or heritage" to do so. He went on to explain that he would not flee his homeland, but instead would remain to "make it better." Perhaps it is easier for folks to imagine this strategy having had no children. Or perhaps some suffer from an inability or unwillingness to imagine the grim reality of living in a war zone. Or maybe there are other factors which, though I've racked my brain to unearth, convince some that protectionism in the form of cruel and unusual treatment of children is how we as Americans should roll.

Today I read my friend's blog, a moon worn as if it were a shell. In it she posted a poem she'd read on another blog. She asked her readers to pass it on:


no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark.

you only run for the border
when you see the whole city
running as well.

your neighbours running faster
than you, the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind
the old tin factory is
holding a gun bigger than his body,
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one would leave home unless home
chased you, fire under feet,
hot blood in your belly.

it's not something you ever thought about
doing, and so when you did -
you carried the anthem under your breath,
waiting until the airport toilet
to tear up the passport and swallow,
each mouthful of paper making it clear that
you would not be going back.

you have to understand,
no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land.

who would choose to spend days
and nights in the stomach of a truck
unless the miles travelled
meant something more than journey.

no one would choose to crawl under fences,
be beaten until your shadow leaves you,
raped, then drowned, forced to the bottom of
the boat because you are darker, be sold,
starved, shot at the border like a sick animal,
be pitied, lose your name, lose your family,
make a refugee camp a home for a year or two or ten,
stripped and searched, find prison everywhere
and if you survive and you are greeted on the other side
with go home blacks, refugees
dirty immigrants, asylum seekers
sucking our country dry of milk,
dark, with their hands out
smell strange, savage -
look what they've done to their own countries,
what will they do to ours?

the dirty looks in the street
softer than a limb torn off,
the indignity of everyday life
more tender than fourteen men who
look like your father, between
your legs, insults easier to swallow
than rubble, than your child's body
in pieces - for now, forget about pride
your survival is more important.

i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home tells you to
leave what you could not behind,
even if it was human.

no one leaves home until home
is a damp voice in your ear saying
leave, run now, i don't know what
i've become.

~ Warsan Shire

I don't know what the answer is to our immigration dilemma. I do know it is wrong, harmful and dangerous to separate these children from their parents. And though I am not Christian or religious, I dig what Jesus preached and do agree with every word that Father James Martin has to sayWe need to show humility, love and compassion for those fleeing the scourge of gangs, extortion, murder, rape and starvation in neighboring and faraway nations. They are our fellow human beings. At the very least they deserve loving kindness and dignity.


twice in a new moon

Skies opened up and I awoke. Rain beat down. I could hear my boy slap the wall between our rooms. We'd gone to sleep just before noon. What I had thought was a mere blink had actually been two hours. I dragged myself from bed with little strength, the days' exhaustion still lurking in my muscles and bones.

My boy had seized three days ago after having suffered an unsettling weekend and not long after a previous fit. Then, on the new moon, he slept all day at school. I analyzed the hell out of it all, wondering what to do.

Did he suffer a concussion when he fell out of bed on the nurse's watch, landing on his head? Is the extra magnesium causing a problem? Is he suffering a bout of benzo withdrawal? Might he be outgrowing his Keppra? Is he going through a growth spurt? Is he getting sick? Is his epilepsy progressing like I heard it can do?

As the deluge swept pollen into opaque yellow streams, I went to him and he smiled at hearing me. Seemed happy as a clam. The night before he'd seized again just after he went to sleep, his nighttime meds not having had a chance to kick in yet. Still, an unusual time for him. I'd been at dinner with a friend. I'd jumped when the phone rang. I resisted the urge to go home, knew Michael could handle whatever went down.

When I arrived home, my body still buzzing from moving to a live theater performance of the earliest songs of rock and roll, it was quarter past ten. I crept upstairs, pulled back the netting on our son's bed and squirted a dose of THCA cannabis oil between his lips. He stirred but did not wake. I repeated the task at two a.m., but at four he nonetheless woke to a partial complex seizure, heart pounding in his chest, Michael next to him. I gave Calvin another dose of oil and went back to bed.

Twice in a new moon my son seized. Thrice this week, making eight grand mals in a months' time, when one is one too many.

The skies, having gone blue for a spell, are darkening again. Bark is black. Grass is wet. My kid is eating and drinking again. I'm waiting to hear back from his Primary Care who fields my many queries about anything. I'm tempted to discontinue his magnesium; perhaps less is best. For now, anyway, we seem to have our son back—our drooly, animated, restless, affectionate boy who keeps us up at night when we should be sound asleep in bed.

Photo by Michael Kolster


riding the wave

At times he seems famished. At others, averse to eating altogether. My fourteen-year-old boy Calvin cannot tell me when he is hungry or thirsty. I have to guess, do trial and error, sit him in his chair to see if he wants to eat something. Even then, my boy is so restless due—I believe wholeheartedly—to his eleven years of taking benzodiazepines and the heinous and protracted effects of their withdrawal.

I wonder if we'll ever get my calm child back. I hope with every fiber of my being we do. But my sense is that my son has been ruined. Ruined less by seizures, I wager, than by pharmaceuticals, most notably the benzodiazepines which doctors prescribe so cavalierly—often ignorantly—for epilepsy, anxiety, muscle relaxation, and insomnia.

When Calvin was an infant, before he began having waves of seizures—at least obvious ones—and when he wasn't suffering from gastrointestinal distress or nervous system overload (he was born six weeks early with an idiopathic absence of a significant chunk of his brain's white matter) he was a calm child. He nursed peacefully, sat in Michael's lap happily, was content during walks in the stroller, sometimes bundled up against twenty-degree temperatures, sat patiently in his bouncy chair as we fed him, laid still in bed with us and on blankets in the summer shade. But at age two, when the seizures began, so did the meds. And when the meds began, as early as his first dose we saw him change and morph into the amped-up child we see today, and most particularly since the advent of his first of two benzodiazepines, Klonopin, when he was just three years old.

Michael and I are trying to ride the somewhat recent wave of more frequent grand mal seizures of late (he had one last night on day five), plus a string of days watching Calvin perseverate—finger snapping and rubbing, repetitive humming, jaw clenching, sun staring, disengaging—hoping he is "simply" going through a bout of benzo withdrawal that will soon dissipate. But it is scary to see Calvin in this kind of place; I worry that he'll get stuck and never change or improve, dread that my kid will never get back to his baseline functioning. After all, the drugs have ruined him before, kept him from returning to his best self behaviorally; it has been over a decade since I've seen and held that calm child.

But what do I know? Perhaps he is exhibiting sub-clinical seizure activity. Maybe he has a tummy ache. What kind of role are pubescent hormones playing? Somehow, though, I doubt these are what's at major play; my gut tells me the drugs are the culprit. In any case, we'll just have to ride this wicked wave and see.


the nature of control

gorgeous morning. garden busting. the trees, shrubs and flowers innately know when and how and what to do. inside the house my agitated child spins, shrieks, whines, stomps and grinds. i don't know why. he has no way of letting me know. perhaps he has no clue as to the whys of his woes.

these greens know just when to blossom; their purples and reds show their glory in concert. the whites, too. they close themselves up when it's too hot or cold. drop their spent petals when when their blooms begin to decay, when they are done with their ravishing display.

my son on the other hand cannot control much of what he does. he paces. wanders. seeks the sun, simultaneously wilting in its embrace. he is virtually unable to void his bowels without manufactured aid. cannot use a spoon. at a loss to ask for help.

perhaps my thirst to control nature stems from what i cannot sway. i dig and plant and mulch and prune. i bonsai shrubs and trees to keep them small. i clip limbs to open things up.

i wish so much to stop his seizures. i wish my boy could speak to me. i wish he felt better than he does much of the time. mostly agitated, irritated, restless, manic, achy, weak, frustrated, hurting, seizing. he lives in a drought of health and wellness. forever stressed by what his brain does and what his body cannot do. his mind's white matter never fully formed, the bud of it pinched or crimped somehow, never to fully bloom.


fmt etc

It really is a terrifying sound, particularly considering it comes from my sweet little boy. Calvin's grand mals, which usually emerge in the wee hours of the morning, begin with a blood-curdling gasp-scream-cry, ripping me out of deep sleep into hyperspeed.

Though Calvin is having fewer monthly seizures overall, they continue happening with lamentable regularity. He usually has at least one grand mal per week, though in the past six months he's had small clusters of them which increase his monthly total. Thankfully, his complex partial seizures have diminished greatly since January; in April we saw only three and in May Calvin had just two. And though he's had what amounts to thousands, his seizures are still alarming.

Yesterday, after his seizure at 4:40 a.m., we kept him home from school again and from joining his classmates on a rare field trip aboard a train headed to the next town south of here. It would have been his first time riding a train.

Calvin misses so much of what life has to offer.

I spent part of the day—between shadowing Calvin, encouraging him to drink liquids, giving him suppositories and changing his diapers—further researching fecal microbiota transplants (FMT), an emerging treatment for diseases such as Crohn's and for neurological disorders such as autism and epilepsy. I had come across a clinical trial being conducted at China's Nanjing Medical University, and had written its principal. She/he wrote me back saying that the study is ongoing but that it appears that FMT will likely be helpful in controlling (perhaps curing?) some people's epilepsy. I also read an account last week about a girl whose seventeen-year battle with epilepsy ended when her Crohn's disease was treated with FMT and her seizures stopped.

When I wrote to Calvin's neurologist inquiring about prescribing FMT his response was, not surprisingly, what I'd describe as skeptical. Fully anticipating such a response I had also contacted Calvin's primary care provider, Katie, who is a badass nurse practitioner. Not surprisingly, later that same day she spoke with a colleague who hooked her up with a local gastroenterologist who had previous experience using FMT at Boston Children's Hospital. I am eager to hear back what our options for treating Calvin might be. No doubt I am going to push for this since so many pharmaceutical antiepileptic drugs have failed him, and if FMT doesn't stop his seizures, maybe it will help his digestion, reduce his constipation and perhaps improve his behavior.

In the meantime, Calvin went to school today. I'm sitting here in front of a fire in the wood stove because it is a raw fifty-five degrees outside. My in-laws left yesterday morning. We had a wonderful visit full of interesting, sometimes intense, conversations about politics, family and aging, benzodiazepines and opioids. I am deeply grateful for having such caring in-laws who regularly uproot themselves from the comfort of their Florida home to come visit us since we cannot legally board a plane carrying Calvin's cannabis oil. But with each passing year, as they inch toward their early to mid-eighties, the trips get harder for them, so I hope soon medical marijuana will be decriminalized so we can travel freely without fear that Calvin and/or his cannabis oil will be confiscated.

One last update: I'll soon be making a new kind of THCA cannabis oil using a relaxing indica strain rather than a hybrid for giving to Calvin at bedtime, hoping it will quell his nighttime seizures. As always, knock on wood and cross your fingers and toes.

Calvin and his buddy Gpa


what's going on

My out-laws are in town, so I might not be posting for a couple/few days. Suffice to say we are most grateful for their annual-plus visits considering they live in Florida and we can't board a plane without risking Calvin's cannabis oil being confiscated by the Feds, or worse.

Calvin is doing okay after a pretty shitty May seizure-wise, at least in terms of total grand mals. I'm investigating another option that might help improve or eliminate Calvin's seizures: fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). I read of FMT a couple of years ago when it was first being used to treat autism. I never followed up because we were in the thralls of a four-year benzodiazepine wean and treating Calvin with a homemade THCA cannabis oil. Recently, Calvin's kick-ass nurse, Rita, reminded me of FMT. This morning I googled it and found a case of FMT curing a person's epilepsy who had been treated initially for Crohn's disease. I also came across a trial of FMT for use in treating epilepsy. I wrote to the study's sponsor at Nanjing Medical University in China, where the study is said to have wrapped up in March. I emailed Calvin's neurologist this morning inquiring about the method and if it is something we can do here in Maine.

So that's what's going on. Until Wednesday, I'll be hanging with my homies, Calvin, Michael, Ma and Pa Kolster in the mild June of Maine. But I'll be thinking of all y'all, hoping to write again soon.


seeing stars

When I reached up to help Calvin descend the steps of the bus yesterday, I knew—his foamy drool an omen of things to come. It was a full-moon day, and Calvin was no doubt on his way to having his next grand mal, something he suffers with too much regularity, about every seven days or so. The daily journal I keep was crowded with scribbly ink stars, one preceding every harbinger—restless night, stomping, not drinking, refusing food, red dots on nose and cheeks, rashy chin, bad butt rash, foamy drool, pacing, sun searching and staring, unusual vocalizations, stubbornness, agitation, not pooping even with use of a suppository, warm skin, "crab claw" fingering, which means his crooked arms are up in front of his face while he snaps and rubs his fingers together wildly.

The seizure finally arrived at 4:50 a.m. It was typical, his body's convulsions lasting about ninety seconds or so. I dabbed lavender oil on the pillow under his nose and rubbed some on his feet and big toes while Michael caressed him and spoke to him lovingly, coaching him out of the fit. When it was over, I gave Calvin a dose of THCA cannabis oil to prevent a subsequent seizure from happening. He fell asleep and woke forty-five minutes later rubbing his head in his hands, so I gave him his Keppra and an ibuprofen in case he had a headache.

He hasn't gotten back to normal yet—whatever that means, because our kid is far from normal—so I've kept him home from school again. Today was Calvin's seventh grand mal in a month's time. Had it happened yesterday it would have been his eighth. Had it not been for the fact that he suffered three grand mals within sixteen hours last week, he might have gotten through this calendar month with only five grand mals and two partial complex ones. Still, if he can get to Friday without having any more seizures, he'll tie last month for the fewest since January: nine (too many). The good news is that he is having very few partial seizures. The bad news is that it almost appears as if some of his partial seizures are manifesting as grand mals.

Last night after we put Calvin to bed, he remained restless, which is typical the night or two before a seizure. The temperature was still in the low-eighties, an unusually hot day for May in Maine, and the house was warm so we put Calvin to bed wearing just a t-shirt and diaper. When Michael went back upstairs to lay him down again (Calvin had sat up and was banging his head against the bed panel) he covered only Calvin's legs thinking he might be too warm. Then Calvin did something we've never seen him do before: he reached down, grabbed his comforter and pulled it up, covering himself. Michael said the act was no doubt deliberate.

While I relish hearing and knowing that Calvin is still progressing—albeit so slowly as to be nearly imperceptible—I'm haunted by the reliability of his seizures and their vicious cycle. I wish I knew, for example, if his rash is truly a symptom of an impending seizure, or if rash and its source is the cause. I feel like if I knew what was causing these weekly flareups then perhaps I could figure out how to thwart them.

I'm hoping to try Calvin on a CBDA oil soon. If that doesn't work, I may try making a CBDA/THCA oil using a strain called Harlequin. Not sure what else to do. Right now, he's showing many of the same harbingers as yesterday. I can smell his seizure breath. He's poking his eye and is uber restless. Again, I'm seeing stars.


vigil strange I kept on the field one night

This year, when I returned to Walt Whitman's poem about burying his son on the battlefield, I tried to understand the cause his boy, and hundreds of thousands like him, made the ultimate sacrifice for: our freedom as Americans. Then I imagined those who have battled in vain for freedoms which never really came their way: people who, along with their families, have never been fully unshackled from centuries-long oppressions, many of which they still face every day in this nation, Americans who are marginalized by the ones in power who make policy, pass laws and enforce them.

I considered, perhaps more deeply, Americans taking a knee during an anthem which ostensibly symbolizes the land of the free. Their voices are stifled and condemned by so-called patriots for asking to be treated fairly, respectfully, humanely. Why do we send our sons and daughters to war if we do not all share in the same freedoms at home? How can one American feel righteous in denying another his or her voice, particularly when unarmed, often innocent folks are getting gunned down by cops in the streets? Their parents and loved ones have to bury and grieve the loss of their children not unlike Walt Whitman did.

This Memorial Day, my hope is that more Americans will finally see said inequity and have the courage to stand up—or kneel—for their brethren, thus honoring those who have died fighting for our most basic and precious freedom.

Vigil strange I kept on the field one night;
When you my son and my comrade dropt at my side that day,
One look I but gave which your dear eyes return'd with a look I shall never forget,
One touch of your hand to mine O boy, reach'd up as you lay on the ground,
Then onward I sped in the battle, the even-contested battle,
Till late in the night reliev'd to the place at last again I made my way,
Found you in death so cold dear comrade, found your body son of responding kisses,
(never again on earth responding,)
Bared your face in the starlight, curious the scene, cool blew the moderate night-wind,
Long there and then in vigil I stood, dimly around me the battle-field spreading,
Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet there in the fragrant silent night,
But not a tear fell, not even a long-drawn sigh, long, long I gazed,
Then on the earth partially reclining sat by your side leaning my chin in my hands,
Passing sweet hours, immortal and mystic hours with you dearest comrade—not a tear,
not a word,
Vigil of silence, love and death, vigil for you my son and my soldier,
As onward silently stars aloft, eastward new ones upward stole,
Vigil final for you brave boy, (I could not save you, swift was your death,
I faithfully loved you and cared for you living, I think we shall surely meet again,)
Till at latest lingering of the night, indeed just as the dawn appear'd,
My comrade I wrapt in his blanket, envelop'd well his form,
Folded the blanket well, tucking it carefully over head and carefully under feet,
And there and then and bathed by the rising sun, my son in his grave, in his rude-dug
grave I deposited,
Ending my vigil strange with that, vigil of night and battle-field dim,
Vigil for boy of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding,)
Vigil for comrade swiftly slain, vigil I never forget, how as day brighten'd,
I rose from the chill ground and folded my soldier well in his blanket,
And buried him where he fell. 

—Walt Whitman

Confederate dead, Chancellorsville


graduation day

Today is graduation day, the day college students—so unlike my son will ever be—receive their diplomas after four years of ridiculously hard work at one of our nation's most prestigious institutions of higher learning. Bowdoin College, where my husband Michael most gratefully teaches photography, has turned out graduates like poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, the founder of Netflix Reed Hastings, the late mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee, civil rights activist and Black Lives Matter supporter DeRay McKesson, and my dear friend and Olympic gold medalist, Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Yesterday, graduating seniors and their families attended baccalaureate where their classmate, a student of Michael's named Diana Furukuma, was honored to speak of our need for cultural humility, of being open to engaging with others. She said, "At the core, cultural humility suggests that knowledge is about accepting how much we don't know. Locating the blind spots and implicit biases that we all have. It's about consistently asking, what am I not seeing?" Indeed, Michael sometimes gives his intro photos students an assignment where they take a photo, then turn around and take a photo of what is behind them to discover, perhaps with surprise, what they may not have been aware of in their deliberate search for something else.

Graduation day is bittersweet for me. I love seeing the students dressed in their caps and flowing gowns. I relish—though while sometimes weeping—watching them walk past our home with their friends and family members on their way to the gathering. I kind of enjoy the pomp and circumstance, and if it weren't raining I'd take Calvin along as I have in past years. But I'm just not up for it this time, probably because Calvin and I are still recovering from him having had three grand mals within sixteen hours earlier this week, and so I'm loathe to bundle up, pack his food and drink and diapers, wrestle with a squirrely stroller and a broken umbrella, navigate the crowd, get wet.

Last night, the three of us sat at the table as I fed Calvin some of his dinner. Michael remarked how strange and amazing it is that we have a fourteen-year-old child who doesn't speak, and that we can't really communicate with him—can never know his thoughts, desires and dreams. And while I wish for Calvin to have been born healthy, sometimes it seems as though he helps us find our blind spots, helps us see the world through different lenses. Perhaps he helps us delve more deeply into what other marginalized people experience—Black people, gay people, poor people, homeless people, immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, etc—not that we didn't do so before, but perhaps our perspective and empathy are broader and deeper because of Calvin.

So congratulations, graduates! May you forever see the world with new and curious eyes and from someone else's perspective. May you be open, challenge authority, question assumptions, be both introspective and outward-looking. Move forward. Evolve. Grow.

Calvin's preschool graduation, June 2010?


poor little messed-up child

Minutes ago, Calvin had his third grand mal seizure within sixteen hours. It was the first daytime grand mal in months, if not far longer. He had one just after falling asleep last night and then woke to another at four-thirty a.m. He's been crying all morning, his source of misery assumed though unknown. The only thing I feel okay about is that this third seizure occurred while he was napping rather than while he was awake, something the THCA cannabis oil seems to have prevented for years. It would seem he is getting sick again, having just recovered from a nasty cold that is going around.

He is in bed right now. I write this while sitting on top of his changing table with the shade drawn, listening to Baby Mozart, and wonder if he is going through a growth spurt and has outgrown his Keppra dose. I wonder if he needs extra THCA at night. I wonder if now is the time to try the CBDA cannabis oil that was made with him in mind. I wonder if he is still suffering from benzodiazepine withdrawal.

I'm grateful that Calvin's partial complex seizures have virtually disappeared these past couple of months, but it seems as though some of them have been replaced with grand mals; Calvin has had six or seven grand mal seizures in each of the past two months or so. Most folks will tell you that a single seizure is one too many.

For several years I've dreaded Calvin turning fourteen; I know too many parents who have lost children with epilepsy around that age—parents of Kevin, Matthew, Tyler, Kellie, Cyndimae. I wonder if Calvin might be the next to expire, the result of pneumonia, a prolonged seizure or perhaps SUDEP: Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy.

For now, though, I'll hold Calvin's face in my hands, his body in my arms. I'll sop him up since we can never know what tomorrow might bring. I'll hold my breath and hope he doesn't have any more seizures for awhile. But I remain afraid, watchful, exhausted, despondent. My sweet impish boy. My poor little messed-up child.



For years my son Calvin woke up every morning crying. There was no consoling him, and he'd wail for an hour, sometimes more. I guessed that his misery had to do with the high doses of three anticonvulsant drugs he was taking, one of them being a dreaded benzodiazepine. I imagined they gave him raging headaches. His distress was exasperating, disturbing, worrying and terribly sad. I'd go to sleep each night trying to forget what I knew I'd wake up to the next morning.

This past week, I visited four social studies classes at Calvin's junior high school to speak about disability and difference, to tell the students about Calvin and to answer their questions about him and epilepsy. A thoughtful, curious, dark-haired boy in the front row wondered how I coped. I told him and his classmates that I have an amazing husband who does all of the cooking every single night, and that he is a good enough chef he could open an excellent restaurant. I added that I try to take naps, that writing has saved me, and that our beloved friends and community support us in various ways tangibly and emotionally.

What I think I may have forgotten to mention is my love for gardening, which draws me outside in all kinds of weather and is most glorious in the early morning and early evening hours when the light casts long shadows over the lawn.

Since just before Calvin was born I've ripped out several straggly shrubs and planted scores of others, many of them gifted to me, including several dwarf conifers and small trees. Most of them, however, are flowering rhododendrons and azaleas which remind me of my youth. I made over a ratty, neglected part of the yard back by the screen porch that Michael built, putting in some stone paths. I revived two perennial gardens that had succumbed to grass and weeds, then added a third, edging the larger ones with low rock borders. I limbed-up some huge sickly spruce trees, restoring them, then planted an understory of large and leggy rhodies, scattering forget-me-nots amongst them.

The shrubs are beginning to grow and mature, and as they do I dig up ones that are becoming crowded and relocate them or gift them to friends. Thankfully, most of them survive my thirst for control, but not all.

This morning, the day after Calvin suffered a grand mal, was one of those dewy, gorgeous mornings I'm so grateful for, and more so having yesterday mowed the lawn, as that seems to make everything else pop.

Considering our son's circumstance, I think I'm coping well, but I should mention that he doesn't wake up crying anymore—hasn't for years—which feels like a cure-all in itself.

click on any photo to enlarge.


difference in an insular world

A sharp girl in the front row asked me how long Calvin's longest seizure was. She and some of her classmates gasped when I told them it lasted for forty-five minutes. I went on to describe how, because the emergency medications meant to stop the seizure hadn't appeared to be working, my husband and I had thought our son might die. Calvin was two years old. As I panned the classroom, what I saw looking back at me were fresh, young faces wrought with deep concern and empathy.

The sixth graders' other questions were varied, thoughtful and many, curious minds a sign of intelligence:

What was Calvin's first word?

Does anyone else in your family have epilepsy?

Will Calvin ever be able to have a job?

Does Calvin have any siblings?

Who helps you take care of Calvin and do you have a job?

How many kinds of seizures are there?

How do you make a seizure stop?

Will Calvin ever grow out of his epilepsy?

How does Calvin communicate?

I had come to talk to the students about disability and difference, and to answer their questions about Calvin and his epilepsy since he can't do so for himself. When I spoke about cannabis, telling the students how the oil I make from the herb has virtually eliminated Calvin's daytime grand mals while also helping him better endure and complete a four-year-long benzodiazepine withdrawal, one student asked me why marijuana is federally illegal.

There was not sufficient time left in the social studies class to go into much detail, so I summarized by saying that marijuana was outlawed a long time ago (in the 1930s) because of greed and racism. Had I time to explore the nuance I'd have mentioned the corrupt government officials who leveraged fear and racism to justify making marijuana illegal. I would have said that cannabis remains illegal because these same forces are still in play.

I wish I'd had time to delve deeper into marijuana's history and tell them the truth about the deceitful, racist head of the Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger. I wish I'd been able to tell them about the pressure and collusion from DuPont and Hearst who feared hemp as a rival to their plastics and paper. I wish I'd been able to explain how wrong the War on Drugs is, how hard and unjust it has always been for People of Color and their communities, how criminal it is for our government to falsely insist that cannabis is as dangerous as heroin, claiming it possesses no medicinal properties, while simultaneously holding a patent on cannabis for its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. I wish I could have told them that the worst people in government and the private prison industry are hell bent on locking up folks—particularly minorities—for low-level drug offenses like simple marijuana possession, and keeping the millions wrongfully languishing behind bars from getting out.

Though I was unable to school the students on the history of cannabis, I hope I may have planted a seed in their brains about an amazing medicinal herb that has gotten a bad rap. I hope, too, that I got them thinking about disability and difference. Perhaps I inspired them to go a step beyond tolerance—because tolerance is not good enough—by befriending and embracing those like Calvin and others who may look, act, sound, dress, speak, live, love and worship differently from themselves. I hope I sparked inside them the desire to stick up for the bullied and disenfranchised and to openly and unabashedly condemn the cruel, unjust and hateful whether they be adults or children.

The night before my presentations, Michael and I watched the film Son of Saul. From its first scene I was gripped and unsettled, witnessing a grim cinematic account of the inner workings of Holocaust concentration camps. I'd seen horrific photographs and films taken of the camps when I visited the Holocaust Museum in New York last May. In my twenties, while backpacking solo through Europe for seven months, I'd visited Dachau. And yet, scenes of Jewish men scrubbing the human mess that awashed the gas chamber floor nauseated me. Still, I clenched my teeth and fixed my eyes on the screen, feeling I should bear witness to their suffering, my own discomfort but a whiff of what Holocaust victims and their families endured. Had the sixth graders already studied the Holocaust I would have told them that children like Calvin were some of the first scapegoats to be rounded up and killed by the Nazis because they were deemed a stain on the Aryan race.

Frighteningly, this world is still rife with this kind of hate and savagery, our own nation led by an insecure man who incites fear, denigrates and scapegoats immigrants, dehumanizing them by calling them animals, a man who maligns People of Color, shows contempt for the poor, mocks the disabled, and enacts policies harmful to every kind of human save the straight, White, wealthy few.

For an hour I spoke to each class of sixth graders fielding their thoughtful questions, their faces gazing at photographs of my son on a dry-eraser board. At the end of the second session, a girl with dark braids and features which I took to be a beautiful blend of races, hopped off of her chair and embraced me. She hadn't asked me any questions, but it seemed she grasped my message, which was one of trust, love, worth and understanding of difference in an insular world.

Photo by Michael Kolster


one world

Calvin's epilepsy—the suffering it causes, the challenges it creates, the sorrow it provokes—often gives me pause to consider bigger things, incites me to contemplate life and all of its complexities from different perspectives. Sometimes I peer from the inside looking out, at others I gaze from the outside in.

Today, when lamenting the killing of so many Palestinians who were protesting the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem—their sacred city for thousands of years along with Christians and Jews—and what that signals, I recall and embrace these wise quotes regarding war and peace on this shared home we call Earth.

Alex Churney, A Milky Way Shadow at Loch Ard Gorge 
How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small Spot.

—Christiaan Huygens, The Immense Distance Between the Sun and the Planets, 1698

Associated Press

When you're finally up at the moon looking back on earth, all those differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend, and you're going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can't we learn to live together like decent people.

—Frank Borman, Apollo 8, December 1968

The world looks marvelous from up here, so peaceful, so wonderful and so fragile. Everybody, all of us down there, not only in Israel, have to keep it clean and good.

—Israeli Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon, 29 January 2003


and now for something completely different

Reposting this for some of my friends who we hung out with last night. Cheers to Steven Wright.

In the effort to keep things just a tad bit lighter, here are a few quotes from one of my favorite comedians, Steven Wright:

I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Half the people you know are below average.

82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand.

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

I intend to live forever ... So far, so good.

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Steven Wright