About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.


Sarah J.


Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001


Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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August 31, 2005

Now We’re Ready for Some Football

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 5:09 pm

With just over a week to go before the start of the football season, I was starting to worry that the kids wouldn’t be ready for kickoff on the 8th. But in the nick of time their new outfits arrived today with plenty of time to spare. This year I got Porter a #30 (Ahman Green) jersey so Alice can wear his old #4 (Brett Favre) one. Then I can choose either my #87 (Robert Brooks - no relation) or #5 (Paul Hornung) jersey to wear and we’ve all got different numbers on for televised Packers games.

Porter in his new #30 Packers jersey.

Porter also shows off his new “Packers” plane to compliment his jersey.

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Puffy Plane

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 3:22 pm

After Porter’s O.T. session we stopped by a new place on the way home called Craig’s Warehouse. Theresa, Porter’s therapist, recommended it as a place to find all manner of inexpensive stuff for Porter to play with. It was more of a party supply store but they did have some interesting things, and they were cheap … in many respects. Alice picked out a little stuffed doberman puppy (she certainly loves stuffed animals) while Porter stewed and fretted over his choice. Eventually he settled on a 3D plane that looked more like a puzzle in the package and had to be put together when we got it home.

Porter and his puffy plane.

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Continuing Cousins

Categories: Photos, Alice, Family — J @ 3:15 pm

Here are also some more photographs from Cyndi and Lily’s visit from a few weeks ago. These, too, were taken by Ruthanne.

Let me comb your hair.

Alice’s cousin Lily.

Something has gotten their attention.

Hey look, is that an ear?

• • •

A Blue Paint Day

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 12:16 pm

Porter’s new class has one very helpful feature, assuming it continues each week. We got a schedule for the week outlining what he’ll be working on each day of the week in six categories: Sensory/Fine Motor, Art, Social Play, Conceptual, Books/Songs, and Cooking. Today’s art project was to “paint with primary colors” although based on the blue paint covering his hands and shirt when he got home, I may have been able to figure this one out.

Look Dad, blue paint. Porter actually asked to wash his hands and wanted to do so twice, which is astonishing given the fit he usually pitches.

• • •

Polka Pix Part Dwa

Categories: Photos, Alice, Sarah, Family — J @ 10:40 am

Here are some more photos from the Cotati Accordion Festival, which was held last Saturday the 27th of August. These were taken by Ruthanne, Sarah’s Mom.

Sarah and Alice listen to the music.

The Great Morgani.

Alice gets a visitor.

Bloo and Bleu. (Don’t ask me.)

Alice practices amateur dentistry.

Eventually, the music proved too much for Alice.

• • •

A Relatively Smooth Evening

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 8:13 am

Sarah was late getting home last night because she was having drinks with a friend of ours, Angie, and some of Angie’s co-workers. So it was up to me to get the kids’ baths and then to bed, which can sometimes be daunting alone (for example, see A Long Night two Mondays ago). But today Alice’s bath went off without a hitch and she went to sleep fairly quickly while Porter stayed downstairs watching The Incredibles again. Then his bath, while not without protest, went fine and he was asleep by eight just as Sarah arrived home. Nice timing, babe! “It is babe, isn’t it?” [ How many of you know what movie that last quote is from? Post your comment if you think you know. (not you Sarah, I know you know) ]

Of course the pump is an essential part of the bath experience.

Meanwhile, Porter watching television downstairs.

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August 30, 2005

Alice’s Begging Bowl

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 5:43 pm

The “begging bowl” is a fixture of Buddhist mythology. Early monks carried only the robe on their backs and a begging bowl as they wandered from town to town. People they encountered would put rice in their bowls and that’s how they made their living, so to speak. One of the most famous Buddhist poets, Ryokan, wrote many poems about his begging bowl. Alice seems to be favoring this practice as she frequently carries around her “begging bowl” and places it in front of us whenever she wants food.

Our budding little Buddhist Alice and her begging bowl.

Some Poems by Ryokan (1758-1831)

Picking violets by the side of the road,
I forgot my begging bowl.
How sad you must be, my poor little bowl!

I forgot my bowl again!
Please nobody pick it up,
My lonely little bowl.

First days of spring …. blue sky, bright sun.
Everything is gradually becoming fresh and green.
Carrying my bowl, I walk slowly to the village.
The children, surprised to see me,
Joyfully crowd about, bringing
my begging trip to an end by the temple gate.
I place my bowl on top of a white rock and
Hang my sack from the branch of a tree.
Here we play with the wild grasses and throw a ball.
For a time, I play catch while the children sing;
Then it’s my turn.
Playing like this, here and there, I have forgotten the time.
Passers-by point and laugh at me, asking,
“What is the reason for such foolishness?”
No answer I give, only a deep bow;
Even if I replied, they would not understand.
Look around! There is nothing besides this.

• • •

An Interesting Idea

Categories: Photos, Humor — J @ 11:17 am

This isn’t laugh-out-loud funny but I thought it was quite interesting and even a little poignant. I wish I’d seen this sooner because I would have liked to try it, too. I suppose I could go back and find suitable shots to piece together but the foresight of this I think is just great. A family in Argentina, beginning in 1976, photographed their faces close up each year on June 17 (don’t ask me why they chose that date) and then posted the results as a photo essay in an online magazine. It’s quite interesting to see the march of time played out as their faces change (or don’t change) from year to year.

• • •

Shore Shenanigans

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Family — J @ 8:33 am

Yesterday afternoon, the kids went to Bodega Bay with their grandparents. They apparently had one of their best days ever and we have some photos to prove it.

Alice laughs it up with Grandpa.

While Porter first stalked the seagulls.

Then chased them all over the beach.

What’s Alice looking at now?

Ah, it’s time for another lift off.

We just laughed and laughed.

I once caught a fish … this big!

Give me that.

BTW, you can get a good idea of what coast a person grew up near by how he or she refers to the ocean. In my experience right-coasters like myself call it “the shore” whereas left-coasters refer to it as “the beach.” I don’t know what midwesterners call it, maybe they don’t have a word for it.

• • •

August 29, 2005

The Male Condition

Categories: News, Autism, Opinion — J @ 4:51 pm

My friend Al, an Ohioan I know through collecting View-Master reels, sent me this very interesting article from the New York Times, entitled The Male Condition, an opinion piece by Simon Baron-Cohen, who is the director of the Autism Research Center at Cambridge University.

He starts out talking about the differences between men and women, both innate and learned, and eventually ties together how they may relate to autism. Particularly interesting is that studies of parents of children with autism show that both tend to be “talented systemizers” (in his words, which in lay terms seems to mean “anal-retentive” and detail-oriented, organized, etc.). Well that’s Sarah and me in spades.

In addition to the mercury poisoning component of autism’s cause, it is also likely that there is a genetic piece of the whole puzzle and this is an interesting idea regarding that, certainly. It’s hard to tell from the author’s tone, but my only concern is whether or not he’s offering it in place of environmental factors. But if he’s suggesting that it’s in concert with environmental factors that this is part of the genetic predisposition toward ASD, then it’s a pretty compelling and interesting idea.

There were also a few letters to the editor regarding the articles and addressing some of my concerns, as well:

Eric Hollander, M.D., New York Autism Center of Excellence
Doris & Robert Stanley, parents of an autistic child

Thanks Al.

• • •

Fantasy Football: Survival & Pick ‘Em

Categories: Info, J, Other — J @ 3:08 pm

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’re invited to join either (or both) of the pick fantasy football games I run for fun. They’re both free and are through Yahoo, so you’ll need a Yahoo ID (which is also free).

1. Pick ‘Em Football

In this game you try to pick the winner of each game every week of the season. Whoever gets the most right, wins. Your team name for this game should be a favorite “good” beer (no crap beers, please). For example, my team name is Westmalle Tripel. Here’s the info to join:

Go to Pro Football Pick’em, click the “Sign Up” button (or “Create or Join Group” if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join an existing private group and when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 463
Password: westmalle

2. Survival Football

This game is much simpler and is perfect for everyone, but especially those with limited time because you only have to pick one game each week. But you better be pretty sure about your pick because if you’re wrong you’re eliminated and done for the year. But if you’re right you live to play the following week. The player who “survives” and is still standing at the end of the season is the winner. The only rule is that you can only choose a given team one time during the season. So you must decide when to pick New England and when not to. Your team name for the Survival pool should be an allitertive name using one of your names and a slang term for being drunk. For example, my team name is “Juiced J.” Here’s the info to join:

Go to Survival Football, click the “Sign Up” button and choose to “Join an Existing Group”, then “Join a Private Group”. Then, when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 1945
Password: booze

The football season begins September 8, so be sure to sign up and make your picks before then.

P.S. - heckling and taunting is encouraged.

• • •

First Day Report

Categories: News, Porter — J @ 1:23 pm

I just got a call from Liz, Porter’s new teacher, who reported that Porter had a “fabulous” day today. He apparently had no trouble with the transition to a new classroom, so that’s - how shall I put it - fabulous news.

• • •

Monday Morning Motivational #2

Categories: Humor, Opinion — J @ 11:59 am

This is our second Demotivator from despair.com. So again, without further ado, here’s this week’s dose of real wisdom.

• • •

Start of the New School Year

Categories: News, Photos, Porter, Sarah — J @ 8:02 am

The new school year began today as Porter returned to school. He will be in a new, more advanced, class this year and has a new teacher, Liz. He already knows her because he spent some time in her classs over the summer so it should make the transition a little easier. Plus, he’s right across the hall from his old classroom so the surroundings are similarly familiar.

Porter and the first school bus of fall.

Sarah and Porter just before he left to take the bus for the first day of school.

• • •

Archive Complete

Categories: General, Info — J @ 6:00 am

The blog archive has now been completely moved over here to the new address. When I have some free time (stop laughing) I may go back and post some older pictures from prior to October 2004, when we officially launched the blog. The archive can be accessed by using the monthly list in the sidebar or stepping through the prior months using the calendar menu, also in the sidebar.

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