One Person's Dandelion's Are Another's Precious Blooms

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Today is a wickedly windy day here in Westchester. You almost expect to see Margaret Hamilton on her broom flying outside your window. The roar of the wind makes me think of how buildings & houses can withstand such stresses & forces, day in & day out. Architectural supports go back to the medieval age and have been passed down like DNA to builders across the ages.

Gambrel Roof

The Dutch in early NY used this style of roof -- you see it a lot on barns. I always thought the bent shape of the roof was unusual & complex, but it's actually not. Two sets of rafters allow for a greater amount of storage space inside, for example for hay. Tie beams (D & E) connect the two rafters (B & C) and help direct their weight down to the walls of the house. Yeah, love it... move the stress down & out!

The Arch

To support the tremendous weight of the arches, you had to provide a way of transmitting the force. The Romans achieved this with the Keystone Block. The force went down to the top of the Keystone and because of its shape, it then translated the force to the "voussoir blocks", and they in turn translated the force through the impost to the piers. Architectural stress management at its best :)

The Flying Buttress

Yes, we all snickered when we took Art or Architecture 101. The "flying buttress" transmits the horizontal force of a vaulted ceiling, such as in a cathedral, not to a supporting wall, but through it to a counterweight outside the building (now that's thinking out of the box!), so it seems like they fly through the air. If you wanted to keep the cathedral as eggshell-light & ethereal as possible, not heavy and grave, plus add stained glass windows for a delicate touch, then this was a neat solution to avoid thickened support walls while the spires stretched toward Heaven. The flying buttress simply redirected the stress, taking the "fight" outside.

How does this tie in with Gregory...


The taller the walls, the harder it is for them to keep an arch from toppling, so they need to be wider, thicker. For caregivers taking care of young children with ASD, there is an additional supportive wall that not many know about, called respite care. It's a service you can apply for and is based on the recognition that these parents have very tall needs & heavy loads, and need more support.

They will come into your home, and the range of things they do is very wide... they can "babysit" and let you get a few hours of sleep, do your grocery shopping for you or run errands, anything to shunt away the stress for a while.

Undergoing what could be a third of your day of hearing full-blown gasket-blowing tantrums from a toddler or school-age child takes its toll. I have yet to apply for respite care due to lack of time, ironically. But it's said that not everyone can get approved for a variety of reasons.

Signing off, I can't leave out Gregory's favorite arches, of course -- also a great stress reliever for mom.

Friday, December 25, 2009


God Bless Charles Schulz :-)

Gregory responds a lot lately to Charlie Brown & the entire Peanuts gang. Just mention their names and he will look at you straight in the eyes & with an impish grin and laugh. Here he gets CB & Linus for Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Greetings

MERRY CHRISTMAS, from Gregory :)

Hope you all have some great things lined up for today!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Birthday G-Man

My husband writes Haikus on otherwise non-traditional Haiku subjects, such as the demise of GM or other news stories. The effect is sometimes hilarious, sometimes sublime. However, I am taking a page out of his book and writing one also, for no other reason than that it just came to me.

It's the question I pose to God regarding my 5-yr old Gregory, and the answer revealed to me over time.

WHY GOD, Autism???

"...It is a form of Beauty..."

"Must change Heart to see."

Gregory has been changing my heart to grow, enough so that I could at last see beyond the challenges & difficulties of a kid on the autism spectrum, and to realize that he is a kid first & foremost with a great laugh, smile, unbeatable hugs & snuggles, sense of humor, and he doesn't have a nefarious bone in his body (can't say that about many people).

Never mind that you'll find a lot of things lined up or grouped by color in our house. I for one can't pass a crooked painting on the wall without getting it level -- we all have our quirks. I have many deficits of my own that G-man has helped me realize and overcome.

In order to help him, he has brought me out of myself and into a larger purpose...

Love you, Gregory -- Happy 5th journey 'round the big ball of gas in the sky.



I decided to start this blog today because, like many mothers out there with young children on the autism spectrum, it helps to have a place to write, share & ponder about our unique calling. We were chosen to serve as "mother-warriors" (coined by Jen McCarthy, as she herself is one) in a conscripted army that we never dreamed about.

The title "Dwellings" has a double-meaning for me -- as Musings resulting from my life as a mom of someone with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and also as the Physical Structures we live in. My husband and I are real estate brokers. Dwellings, abodes, homesteads, pads, shacks -- we broker the physical "context" in which people build their lives.

Before there was moveable type & mass literacy, architecture was the primary vehicle for expressing our ideals, philosophy, wishes, needs. Just look at the stone Cathedral in Chartres, France...or any cathedral. It embodies the philosophies, ideals & priorities in the lives of its contemporaries. Planning, muscle and time were no obstacle when it came to turning their lofty goal into reality, sometimes even a lifetime.

The analogy is a simple one to make with our own personal striving, working and driving ourselves every day to overcome what seem like almost insuperable obstacles when trying to help our children on the spectrum improve.

The song by Bill Monroe, "I'm Working on A Building", comes to mind... in the end we're working on the temple of our selves.

I hope to never let my motivation wane, never give up...

For Gregory,