My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Conversation with Author, Amy Silverman


cover-this-oneI had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Silverman — a blogger I have long admired– about her book: My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story Of Science, Love and Down Syndrome. It’s over on Huffington Post: click this link to awesomeness.


A Wolf: in two perspectives


In grade school I drew a green tree with purple and orange hearts for leaves. We were suppose to draw brown trees with green leaves. The art teacher said, “That’s not right.” I had forgotten that story. My mom reminded me of it a few days before she died.

I’m still a little intimidated not doing it right. I’m glad Thorin isn’t.

EPSON scanner image


EPSON scanner image


Whip! The Mayonnaise.


To answer your question, we are still homeschooing/unschooling or whatever you call a mish mosh of love and learning. For months Thorin has asked me not to post his creations. Today he said yes– so you’re in for a treat.

Sometimes we use curriculum type materials. One of our favorite sites is Super Teacher Worksheets. They ask pertinent questions like: Would you eat a eye ball burger? They provide the eyeball, the rest is up to Thorin’s imagination. His work-in-progress below. Enjoy!

I Love You, Eye Ball Cheese Burger

Mr. Hacknees is a smelly, yucky, kicky man with blue and white hair. He bought human eye balls at Hannaford’s to make a eye ball cheese burger.

He invited Thorin to dinner. Thorin sat at a table in the living room.

Mr. Hacknees puts the burger in front of Thorin.

EPSON scanner image

“Hello Burger!” Thorin said.

“It smells in here, “ said the Burger.

“Gross!”Mr. Hacknees.

“Oh, god, I farted, “ said Burger.

A robot named Smudge* showed up. She was white, blue, orange and pink. She played a ukulele and sang:

“Oh! Yeah! The burger we made!”

“Oh! Yeah! The burger we made!”

Mr. Hacknees got excited: “Bbbuuuurrrrppppp!”

Smudge smacked her lips and reached for the burger.

The Burger bounced up and down really high to the ceiling and stuck to it.

Smudge the robot sings:

Pppfffttt – Pppfffttt – Kahhhh

Pppfffttt – Pppfffttt – Kahhhh

Whip! The Mayonnaise.

Whip! The Mayonnaise.

Mr. Hacknees leaves to shoot hoops on the porch.

Thorin and Smudge sing:

Whip! The Mayonnaise.

Thorin tells me the story. I type it up. We read it several times. He will then write it out by hand on graph paper. True Creating takes time.

*Smudge is our new dog. More on her later.

October’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month Was Never About Human Rights


I first published this post last October. My opinion hasn’t changed.

Click the following link to continue:In 1984, Reagan inaugurated October as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. His proclamation would encapsulate a failing in Down syndrome advocacy for the next 30 years:

Not Always Happy the book!


Right about the time my mom’s health took a nose dive, I got a book contract. Life has contradictions. It is the good and the bad and the in-between.

I thank my agent, Edite Kroll, my publisher, Central Recovery Press and my editor, Janet Ottenweller for seeing the beauty in a story I have been sharing since 2010. Not Always Happy : An Unusual Parenting Journey will be published in May, 2017.

I thank my husband Ward for supporting my writing. Being a partner of a writer means living with a person possessed. Fortunately for me, he likes that.

I thank my faithful readers for giving me the confidence to believe ours is a story worth telling.

Mostly– I thank our son, Thorin, for being the best adventure ever and for having a delightful sense of humor. Having a child with Down syndrome is not a issue, but having a humorless child would be unbearable for me.

I was going to wait closer to publication to announce my news but I realized yesterday when I submitted five chapters (with more to follow), I am indeed writing a book.

I look forward to sharing more about all of that. XXOO, Kari


I Lost My Biggest Fan


Bubba died in June. It was horrible and sad and beautiful. I lost my mom who was my biggest fan and Thorin lost his best friend. Everyday we are grateful for the time we had.

We had two celebration of life ceremonies both here and in her beloved Wisconsin.She was adamant she did not want a funeral.

The following is from her obituary:

Mary died peacefully surrounded by family in June  at the home of her daughter, Kari, son-in-law Ward and her grandson Thorin.

Also present were her son Bob, her daughter Betty, and her son-in-law Matt.


Mary, Peaks Island, Maine, 1999

Mary was born in Wisconsin. She married “Monk” Wagner– who preceded her in death. Aside from Robert, Kari and Betty she had a son Peter who died shortly after birth.

Mary grew up on Water Street and lived there for over 70 years—including working at her family’s grocery store on the corner of Water St. and 6th Avenue. She was fiercely protective of the West Side neighborhood she loved. In the 1970’s after reading an op-ed in the local paper deriding Water Street as the other end of Summit Avenue, she wrote a rebuttal to the author defending her neighborhood, signing it: “The Rebel of Water Street.”

She worked for the school district for decades, retiring as the Registrar. In the 1980’s she and a group of teacher aides advocated successfully to join the AFL-CIO.

Mary was raised a Lutheran. She taught Sunday school for several years. She put a small sign over the door of her classroom with the words: The Annex, a reference from “The Diary of Anne Frank.” During the course of the year her students were required to read the book.

She was an athlete who played competitive tennis and golf. She established great friendships and played in many guest day tournaments, even securing a coveted hole-in-one.

Mary placed a premium on her friendships, some that spanned over 60 years. She is remembered for her sympathetic ear, her terrific sense of humor and her gift for storytelling. She was a voracious reader, a lover of film and enjoyed painting, arts and crafts and knitting.

In 2011, Mary moved from Wisconsin to Maine to be with Thorin and her daughters. Mary said her most favorite role in life was being Thorin’s “Bubba.” She was an active member of the book club, joined in weekly card games and volunteered at Partners for World Health, an organization that sends medical personnel and supplies to countries in need.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her son, and her siblings: Robert, James, Richard, Betty and Jerome. She is survived by her children, grandson, her daughter-in-law Amy, her sister-in-law Nancy as well as many beloved in-laws, nieces, nephews and many dear friends.

For a bit more on Thorin and Bubba:  Sometimes It Bites: The 6 Ways My Mother and Son Are Alike

Close Encounters of the Third Kind –


This post is four years old but still relevant today. Oct. 3, 2016, Kwp

When we are in a hurry to pick something up at the grocery store Ward will wait outside with car running and he is apt to instruct me:

“Just go to the _______ aisle, grab the __________ and go to the check out.

When I get back in our car and immediately point to some older gentleman loading his groceries in his car and say something like:

“That poor guy lost his wife and his son lives in Ohio and doesn’t call him.”

Ward asks me “How could you possibly know that?”

“Which part?”

“The whole thing. How do you know any of that?”

“Well, this lady and I were talking to him and…”

“Lady? What lady? You talked to more than one person in there?”

“The lady who just had a hernia surgery and has a daughter who could care less. Her daughter lives…”

“Stop, I don’t care where the daughter lives. Is it possible for you to go in a store and not strike up a random conversation?”

“Probably not.”

Sometimes these encounters go beyond a fleeting conversation and sometimes they don’t. This week I found myself in an intimate conversation with a woman I met on the beach about our son’s strengths – hers with autism and mine with Ds. I gave her my email.

Ward can’t fathom these chance encounters of mine and I can’t understand this thing he calls ‘gardening’.

When we first moved in together we lived in what could only be described as a hovel – for Hobbits. Everything was slightly built – rooms, doors and windows. About a hundred years before, it had been a stable where I imagine freakishly small and likely disgruntled horses lived.

The yard wasn’t more than a patch of dirt. Over the course of several months Ward built a curious arrangement from the dirt. The process began with weeks of sifting the dirt, which he accomplished by setting an old window screen on the discarded cast iron legs of a sewing machine. For hours at a time alone in the yard he moved dirt across that screen.

Prior to this, I had never heard much less seen dirt sifting. I didn’t delve too much because we were newly living together and there seemed to be bigger things about Ward I was trying to decipher that sifting dirt became low on the list. Plus as my mom and I watched him from the porch one morning she said, “He seems content. I would focus on that.”

Overtime the sifted dirt joined rocks and plants becoming an organized pile in the center of the yard not unlike the structures Richard Dreyfuss created in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Dirt sifting and combing the neighborhood for rocks and bricks has mutated through the years ending up in more recognizable things to me such as re-built patios and lovingly made garden supports.

Ward will never understand how I end up in personal conversations with complete strangers and I will never understand his gardening.

Thorin has embraced both of our endeavors as valid and normal. He engages with people in the check out line, kids on the beach and he likes to work alone outside moving rocks and dirt from randomness to meaning.