Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dear Winter,


Dear Winter,

This is just shameful. Aren’t you embarrassed? What? Did you and your buddy Polar Vortex tie on three too many last night? Were you still drinking from when you dumped on us for St. Patrick’s Day?

You remind me of me, when I was adolescent and stupid. When I would be stood up or when I would be punted by a boyfriend. Hanging around. Moaning. Rejected.

You remind me of other people I know, or knew, who would stand outside apartments in the rain with pans of lasagna hoping for a glance out the window and a wave up to the door.

Winter, you’ve got issues.

You remind me of:


this. you like the white dress? that's you.

this. you remind me of this. you like the white dress? that’s you.


I have a clue for you. We’ve moved on. We’ve been nice. We enjoyed you when we had you. It was great for the kids. They enjoyed the almost endless Winter break from school.

You were charming. Intoxicating, even and we were swept up under your spell.

You were enchanting.

You were enchanting. And you knew it.

We spent many nights together. We dug many inches of your snow.

You had us by the short hairs.

You had us by the short hairs.

We were surprised by your visits sometimes.

Like, REALLY surprised.

Like, REALLY surprised.

And we let you do your thing until you know, you got in the way. When spring came, officially, we encouraged you to take some time off; you’ve worked so hard. You needed a vacation, a break.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.46.21 PM

This is not what we had in mind.

But you stuck around. You visited us when we thought you were gone. And we tried to y’know, move on and encourage you to do the same.

We tried to be gentle in letting you go.

We tried to be gentle in letting you go.

We thought we were clear. But you didn’t get the message.

click. click. click. click.

click. click. click. click.

The days are longer; the sun is brighter and stronger and you still come back. You just won’t go away.

What do we have to do?

This? Do we have to go mental?

This? Do we have to go mental?


Please. Stop embarrassing yourself. You’re not sticking to the ground and summer catalogs are here.



see? the road is clear. it’s not working. you need to go now. 


I'm tired of looking like this every time I take the dogs for a walk.

I’m tired of looking like this every time I take the dogs for a walk.

It’s humiliating. For everyone. Please… just stop it with the snow and the hideous wind chills. We’ll see you in nine months, k? Take your time.

Thank you.

ps — all images of “Fatal Attraction” are not mine. They are Copyright © 1987 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

DNA Results are In. Charlie is ….


Well, here’s the deal. Charlie is a mutt, we know this. So a couple weeks ago, my husband and I went to Petco and picked up a DNA kit. After seeing the results of two of his litter mates, I was very curious to know what might be coursing through his little veins. His brother had different sire markers than his sister; but they shared the same dam markers… so because Charlie seems to be the only one in his brood with all his unique Bernese Mountain Dog / Border Collie -esque markings, we thought: if they can have different dads, then so can he. What I didn’t expect was the totally WHAT?! results we got. If you read these three together, you’d say that Charlie was a stowaway.

Anyway… back to two weeks ago: after a three-hour rest in his crate and on a snow-day, my son held him quietly and I swabbed between his inner cheek and his teeth.

Charlie’s cheek, not my son’s.

And then I sealed up the kit and sent it to the lab for reading. The lab received it on March 10. After much curiosity and ado, Charlie’s DNA results came in over email last night at 11:21.

I woke this morning, after expressing my gratitude for waking and being healthy, I rolled over, kissed my husband, then rolled back over, sat up, scratched my head, did a quick cat / cow to wake my back and then woke my son. After that, I went to get my smartphone and read my email.

At the bottom of a long line of messages, mostly of newspaper alerts and Daily Om messages, was a note from the DNA people.

I know you’re champing at the bit. So here… Read below … toot.

WHAT ?!? DACHSUND?! Are you kidding me?!

WHAT ?!? DACHSUND?! Are you $)@!(&% kidding me?!


My heart literally stopped for a moment.

Small dog. Wiener dog.

“Labrador retriever” went right past me. Didn’t even register.

Dachsund. All I could think about was the Dachsund part.


I am a Big Dog Person. I see small dogs and immediately I go into “snarly nasty gnashing clawing” dog-vision mode. I am biased. But beyond that, I mean… no. Charlie’s legs are probably 15″ long and his proportions are … proportional. I don’t dislike small dogs, I just don’t like them. Every small dog I’ve ever met on a walk with The Murph has been nasty and unpleasant.

I contacted the owners of his siblings to let them know the results because we’re all in this together, and as I mentioned, they had the same DNA test performed on Charlie’s sister and brother, and their results didn’t mention D…ach…sund (uch. I can’t even say it.) at all.

The fact that the lineage goes alllllllllllllll the way back to his great grandparents and only one on each side out of eight means I get a refund annnnnnd further analysis of their veterinary team and other dog people (not people who are actually dogs) who will look at his pictures and compare his results with his siblings’ results (which look more comprehensive than Charlie’s) and they’ll get back to me with more guesses.

What this means to me, is that basically, they will have people like me who love dogs and who know breeds and who love dogs and who will look at pictures and talk about how cool looking he is and that will be it.

His sibs each have a mention of Basenji in them. I liked that. They don’t shed. (I’m hoping for something beneficial beyond utter cuteness and boundless affection.)


It brings me great joy to say about Charlie that when we talk about the term “rescue” that it has always been a foreign concept to me. All my dogs have been bred for captivity. All of them are thoroughbreds. All of them were “spoken for” here before they were born. I’ve mentioned this before, but I didn’t really understand what was going on here, when we took in Charlie. His presence in this family has rescued us. It has lifted up our collective spirits after a time of great loss.

When we first met Charlie, he was 12# 4oz. He couldn’t reach the ottoman in our family room. He was smaller than our cats. He could slide under the kitchen chairs and noodle into the crick of your elbow and fall asleep there, likely dreaming of his dark and roofless caved-in deserted home that he knew for all of his life before he came to know car rides, warm laps, children’s laughter, music, carpeting, safety, and predictable mealtimes.

I remember fondly the first moment we had together outside after his inaugural night here. He trotted out the back door of our home and licked the dewy grass that was glistening in the low morning sun. That was how he got water. I took him out front and he lapped from a puddle of rainwater on the street. He didn’t know about bowls. He didn’t know about doors and steps and leashes. He was a wild dog.

Oh! How he hated his crate. He howled like a pentecostal preacher whenever he’d get in it. Yelping in tongues; if he had a can to drag against the grid, he would. After about a week of that, he began to understand that the crate was his new cave; his new refuge and that every time he went in it — no matter how often a day, a treat was always waiting for him. All we have to do now is say “kennel!” and he takes off like a jackrabbit and careens through the house to zip like a snake into his crate where he is practically smiling waiting for a treat. He has become a true Virginia Gentleman: ready at the door to greet with a smile and sincere good cheer.

Oh, how his beautiful little ears flop and bounce in the wind when he runs; his lean teenager legs taking him wherever his eyes wander. Squirrels, birds, the dogs across the fence. Gandalf. Ohhhh… if he could eat / mate / kill / harvest Gandalf, how happy he would be.

Charlie rescued Murphy, our six-year-old Golden, who was becoming more reclusive with the months. Something has spooked Murphy, we’ll never know what it is because he can’t talk, but Charlie has encouraged him to come back to us, to beg for a treat, to compete for a snuggle and lunge for a tennis ball again.

Yin and Yang.

Yin and Yang.

We talk about “rescue” as if we are doing the saving.

We talk about “rescue” as if we are somehow the better person, the more noble endeavor that shows our heart and our bigness to the world: Look at me save this animal from a tragic end; look at me, how big my heart is, to let in this creature who had no where else to go…  

What we don’t realize is that we are the ones who are saved.

It doesn’t matter what breed Charlie “is.” It’s purely a matter of curiosity and predicted dog behavior for me; I want to make sure I could train him right and understand any tendencies he showed. But in the end, aren’t most dogs the same? They bark, they play, they whine, they need love, they need protection and they are fiercely loyal. Charlie didn’t come to us as an adult. His only story is 8-10 weeks older than when we met him.

He can clear the couch effortlessly now.

He can clear the couch effortlessly now.

Today, he is about 33# and stands about 18″ tall. He has a mighty front chest; we’re talking very broad. His fur rivals that of a brushed sheep. His hair (on his head) is still just … crazy; he always has bed head. His eyes are deep dark chocolate. I don’t know what kind of dog has dark eyes like that… maybe a poodle? Does any of it matter? If he stayed this size, I’d be thrilled. Charlie has turned me into a Small Dog Person because he has a big heart.

We know what Charlie is. Charlie is our dog and Murphy’s brother.

Look! No snow! (For now.) I shot this today.

Look! No snow! (For now.) I shot this today.

Thank you.

ps — it’s so nice to be writing again. This is my 400th post! 🙂

Smoothies. Angels. The Familiar. Nebraska. Gravity. Awareness.


I just had the best smoothie ever. I make them myself. Usually I add protein powder, but I forgot to today. I was too excited to make it. We have all this fresh baby spinach and strawberries and pineapple that I cut up yesterday.

I was excited because we got a new blender, the NINJA (which is not silent, trust me, it just has a ton of blades) and it comes with these individual blender cups that are (open your throat and inhale to begin an aria a lá Jim Carrey): FAN-TAAAAAAS-TIC! The smoothie is gone now. You would’ve loved it. We have the Ninja Ultra Kitchen System 1200 (LMMOP123ABC). That’s the one with the personal cups.

Here’s what I put in it:

1 cup spinach leaves

1 cup strawberries

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp flax oil (you have to have fat in your diet…) — or avocado oil, which is almost tasteless

1/4 cup pineapple

1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt

1/4 cup water




As you can see from the picture above, it was amazeballs.

Now I’m feeling all zippy. True story.

Writing last night helped me unblock some stuff. I wrote on the heels of a conference call I was on with some spiritual teachers who work with Angels. Look, I’m coming out about this: I’m into it all: energy healing,  Divine Guidance, I am into trying to listen to my intuition and my inner self. I am into God and how He works in the most amazing ways. Here’s what I’ll never do: suffocate you with it.

Anyway, the call was great but it was also a LOT of content. It was all about discernment and how we need to listen to messages and feel emotions that take us in a FORWARD direction and not back. Anything in reverse, is not Divine; anything that keeps us low, too much thinking, too much heaviness, too much “stuck” is not Divine. It’s along the lines, but so much more than the glib, “If it feels good, keep doing it” because we all know how that can get misinterpreted. Here’s me: if it feels good when you’re doing it, keep doing it. And when you’re done, several hours or days later, if it still feels good and makes you smile, and you’re not barfing or saying “I’m sorry, it’ll never happen again” and you’re looking for your keys, you SWEAR you had your keys Right There In That Box! when you were feeling good, then you may resume. Otherwise, you’re on the wrong bus.

I felt so validated this morning after writing here last night after that call, just expressing myself and expressing me expressing myself (meta!) that I woke up with this thought in my head:

When you stop trying to figure out who are you supposed to be, you can become who you really are.

^^I just typed that without any typos without looking at the keyboard. I was reading what I wrote when I woke up. That’s another indication to me anyhow, that I’m heading in the right direction.^^

So yeah. Angels. We all have them all around us all the time. We may as well get used to them and let them help us help ourselves. If it feels good and grows you, keep doing it. Who are the Angel people I’m talking to? Melissa Kitto and Richard Lassiter at “” and they’re super nice, natch, but they’re also candid and firm in helping you understand what you need to know. One of the things Richard said last night, which is something I’ve been struggling with for quite some time now, is “the familiar.”

We all say we don’t want drama. But how likely are we to (re)create it without even knowing? Another thing Melissa said last night cut right through me: We are not made to suffer here on Earth. When we are suffering, it’s a signal to try something else. She asked of the group: “Am I possessive of my bad habits?”

I gulped.

How more likely are we to recall a miserable moment in our lives rather than a happier one?

Yeah. That. Feeling low shouldn’t be our predominating disposition. Feeling light and free is our set point. We just picked up bad habits from when we were wee. WE DID. I’m not blaming, I’m just saying, ya gotta learn it somewhere. Which makes me freak a little because I want to help my kids steer to and stay in happier places than places of doubt and anxiety.

Letting go of what’s familiar: letting go of the POSSESSION of / IDENTIFICATION with the bad habit because that’s what’s holding me back. Sometimes we hang on to the concept of the habit because it’s what we know, at least… it’s still a buffer from our true reality which is: freedom and happiness. It’s so easy to simply switch the gears and think about good things. But it’s a conscious decision we MUST make to do in order to do two things: make the happy thoughts the habit and undo the unconscious inverse which is the low energy. It’s a choice. It’s not so much Pollyanna; it’s deciding to not let the negativity corrode your spirit. Who wants that??

Richard asked later on the call: How do we know we are connecting with our spirit?

He answered: What brings you joy? What do you love most? What activity causes you to lose time? What causes you to ask: “Where has the day gone?” That is your place. That is your calling. That is your joy. That is your bliss.

For me, I owned it: it’s writing. It’s writing what’s in my head at the moment and my life. It’s sharing, connecting with my spirit and being of service and being with other people who bring me joy. There is no other way for me to REALLY lose time.

I also lose time when I’m playing — anything: with the kids, on a tennis court, in a rowing shell, running with my dog(s). Joking around and dancing. I lose time then. I even lose time folding laundry if something worthless is on TV like any of the Real Housewives… practicing yoga too. I think I lose time teaching yoga, but I have to be mindful of the time because people have lives.

The point is: be still, ask yourself some questions and treat yourself to your calling. See how amazing it is.

About laundry… I’ve decided though that my epitaph should read: “She died trying to find the match for that sock…”

So about discernment: Is what I’m feeling at this moment my actual and authentic feeling, or is a projection of someone else’s? Something I picked up unconsciously when I was a very young child?

How about you? Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you ever had a great idea, one that lifts you up and makes you smile (likely your angels telling you you’re on to something) and then a few hours later you’re stifled by doubt? You don’t think you can do it? You have to figure out logistics? That’s what they’re talking about — listen to the happy idea and then let the logistical part help you organize the steps to accomplish it. Don’t toss out the good idea. Don’t listen to the doubt, listen to the need for organization.

About feelings: are they truly yours or are they learned? Name the feeling: that helps to neutralize it a bit and you can dissect it then. So let’s say it’s a learned feeling / reaction. Then ask yourself: If it’s not me then is it (the feeling) something I need to be aware of? And if it’s not bringing me joy, and not helping me be of service (while also minding my own business) then I need to redirect and figure out how it can be purer, better, higher energy. That higher energy is what Melissa and Richard term “regaining that pivot point to master the lessons we are here to learn.”

So I wrote here after that call. I felt cleaner and lighter. More allowing of myself and then I went to bed and slept like a puppy. Never say “I slept like a baby.” Because we all know they don’t sleep. They don’t. Well, my babies didn’t sleep like puppies. They slept like babies. Y’see my point?


With all the snow the last few days, I watched two Oscar-nominated films back-to-back. I’m usually quite late to the party. Being a mom of three boys, two dogs, two cats, a wife and now yogini is a bit time-consuming.

The first film, “Gravity” was one I waited on because I wasn’t ready to see it so soon after Mom died. I am glad I waited, and I’ll likely watch it again and again because it’s layers-deep stuff and so visually beautiful. I won’t give anything away other than to say, letting go (here I go again) is so helpful. We can’t take in new and better if we hang on to old and harmful: there is no space in our hands. We have to let go.

The other film, “Nebraska” was equally amazing, for completely different and similar reasons. Who doesn’t want to be relevant to someone else? The story is both subtle and in your face and its being filmed in black and white helped keep the tempo steady and ironic. It charmed me and kept me curious about what would happen next, did he actually win the million dollars? I wondered — I threw the main character a bone: maybe he’s right! The thing is: we all get old, if we’re lucky. We all want a moment in the moonlight. Don’t we? Own it. Nebraska was a powerful film about family, intention, relevance, greed, and our fight with the clock. The ending was simply elegant.

On some levels, Nebraska reminded me of my mom, and her deep-seated interest in being relevant. It colored all her actions. She had a captive and mutually interested audience of three little kids. Sometimes we completely miss what’s right in front of us. It also reminded me of my dad, because he’s aging too and it’s gotta be scary.

So go make yourself a smoothie. The sun is out here, first day of spring 2014, Mother Nature hit it out of the park today. There’s a rumor of more s – – w next week. Winter is on notice. It’s time to move on. 

Thank you.

It’s Been A While.


I had to stop the oil pulling. I was starting to itch at night in my sleep, whenever I got into the hot tub, or in the sunlight. Basically: whenever I was near heat or warm. I suspected that I must’ve had an allergy to coconut or coconut oil. Once I stopped swishing, the itching went away. I’m a little bummed about it because I was hopeful that I would clear my body of all the toxins and sarcasm but then I realized that my liver’s been doing a pretty good job of that, the toxins anyway. But then I got norovirus, so maybe that was what caused the itching. It was bad here for a few days. First Thing 2 on a Tuesday, then me on Thursday, then Thing 3 last Friday. We were a mess. But I’m not really ready to start itching and swishing again, so… I’m out.

That conversation I had with myself about my liver reminded me about the lecture we heard on the yoga retreat by the lymphatic and myofascia massage consultant who spoke to us about the chakras and energy systems in our bodies. During that discussion, she all but said, “Don’t sweat bug sprays and environmental toxins and using real toothpaste with fluoride in it because your liver has been protecting your body all along and it’s doing a fine job already…” and while I agreed with that notion, largely, I also found myself shaking my head because … well: cancer. I mean… that’s where liver’s been beaten rather handily. It was sort of irresponsible. She said that the anxiety from worrying about all the exposures is more harmful than the exposure and the liver is doing just fine. She had a point: anxiety can kill.

Then that lecture got me thinking about my yoga certification and that I haven’t updated any of you about it.

I’m certified!! I’m done! I have paid my funds to the Yoga Alliance to have them put me in a registry and I’m already lined up to teach two separate classes near my home in a pretty coveted location. I’m taking over the slots from a beloved instructor, so while I’m excited for the opportunity, I’m also a little freaked out about it because … well: attrition. People love and become attached to their instructors. This is life and I’m no slouch; I’m just not this person, so we will have to see how it goes. I’m pretty pumped about it though.

I do plan to write a review / follow-up about my yoga retreat. People should know what they’re getting into when they register for a 16-day teacher training retreat. Looking back on it now, I’d still go on the retreat because it prepared me emotionally for losing my mother, but tactically: it did not prepare me entirely for teaching hatha yoga, especially from an anatomy standpoint. If it weren’t for my 15 years of practicing yoga, it would be hard to teach yoga based on that teacher training.

What it did do is prepared me for teaching children’s yoga, but … that’s not an RYT-200; children’s yoga is an entirely different kind of discipline and I suppose it’s probably harder, but it’s also easier too — they’re two different animals and well, I don’t think they should be combined. Shakta, the head trainer and creator of Radiant Child yoga is awesome; but she’s not hatha yoga inspired or educated. So…  well… there is no governing body like the Yoga Alliance that discerns the training for teaching children yoga — but there should be, because kids are awesome and they need to be protected. I should stop talking. The last thing the world needs is more red tape. Nevermind.

Let’s see… our puppy Charlie is 33# now. He has lost about six teeth and he looks really goofy. His adult teeth are coming in though so I hope his incessant chewing will eventually slow down. Today, he chewed through the eco-friendly (paper) DVD case of a chakra and meditation DVD I just got to help me develop my yin practice both here and I hope at one of the classes I will be teaching. What’s yin yoga? Oh: awesome. Yin is really deep and slow yoga. It’s a practice of yoga that breaks down the poses inch by inch where you can build strength and really get into the pose and release and stretch. Ironically, you have warm up with some flow yoga to do it, but once you are warm, then you get to really slow down and hold the poses. I love yin practices and I believe the world is starving for some quieter, slower paced and more mindful work.

Spring begins today. Like right now. Like balance an egg on its end and see if it stays up. I can’t believe it. It’s finally here. Winter is officially unwelcome until December 20. I love snow. I’m totally good with it. I love how it tells us all to slow down and bundle up and read a book or cuddle with our pets and family. But … I’m over it. My kids have had only two full weeks of school since Christmas break. But I’ve had only one full week without them because we’ve all been sick in one fashion or another. I’m not going to add myself to the litany of ranting mothers who hate snow because I don’t hate snow. I just want my kids to get back to a program of learning. The snow days were totally disruptive.

I haven’t been writing at all much. Clearly not here on the blog and not personally or privately. I think I’m suffering a little emotionally because of it, too.

I’m battling a fair amount of external energy which is a remnant of old energies I picked up as a child. Lots of shame and fear: I feel like I shouldn’t at all be writing about my life and my challenges and triumphs and so even writing right now, about what I’m going through and the yoga and the dogs and the abundance of snow is even something I shouldn’t do. I’m not sure where that’s coming from. I know that it’s irrational and that it’s not mine. It’s a vestige of my youth, when I could be controlled by external influences and so I’m trying to let it all go.

It’s like I have an angel on one shoulder saying, “go for it! you can help people! you can tell your story in a true and authentic and giving way which will spread hope and light…” And then there’s a devil on the other shoulder saying, “dish it out. dish all the dirt. smear everyone. tell all the stories because that’s only the stuff that people want to hear about. they want the dirt. smear sells…” And then there’s me saying, “it doesn’t have to be like that: it doesn’t have to be smear and it doesn’t have to be saintly. i’ve read so many memoirs — i’m fascinated by them… but maybe people don’t care anymore. maybe they’re blasé now? and then what about the memoirs i’ve read by the adult kids of writers? crap! i don’t want my kids writing that or feeling that way about me… saul bellow’s kid’s memoir was PATHETIC!” so here we are.


I don’t know what to do. Maybe I’ll do another challenge. Maybe I’ll write some fiction based on some cool quotes by great writers. Maybe I’ll do a fiction challenge based on quotes I get from I need to do something. I started to write some fiction the other day, but then my son took my computer and I don’t know what happened to it. That’s another part about all this: GET OFF MY COMPUTER. But I can’t say that because he used it for school.

School. It’s not good. We will be in school here until June 24. I said I wasn’t going to talk about this. Now I am. I’m talking about it.

Lalalalaaaa. Maybe I will do one of those WordPress prompts. Prompts for the promptless. I need to do something. I hope you all are doing well.

Well, this post reads more like a letter home from a homesick camper. I suppose that’s what I will consider it and move on. I’ll be back. I really miss this place. 🙂

Thank you.