Cloudy with a chance of flowers!

By | 2013-04-30T13:38:10+00:00 April 30th, 2013|Life|

Even with an overcast sky, the flowers are still in bloom. Take a moment and enjoy the beauty while you inhale the oncoming spring (not so deeply for all you allergy sufferers) and exhale the dregs of the winter.

Bloomin' Blossoms!

Bloomin’ Blossoms!

Stay well.

 

For more information on Totem Tamers please visit our website at www.totemtamers.com. Follow us on Facebook.

Boob Voyage!

By | 2013-04-29T09:59:18+00:00 April 29th, 2013|Uncategorized|

That was the theme of a party I attended this weekend. It was a party to support a friend who is saying goodbye to “the boobs that are trying to kill me,” she said brightly. Sure she’s nervous and freaking out, as she has never had surgery before, but she is doing her best to be positive and looking forward to new perky boobs after the long process and recovery. She couldn’t be happier to tell everyone she would never have to wear a bra again! The outpouring of support was heartwarming and there were laughs and lots of hugs (one last squeeze, ya’ know!) There are only so many things you can say to someone when they are faced with the news that there is cancer in their body and the fight for their life becomes more than eating right and getting to the gym regularly. This is also one of those moments that I become a friend and not a business owner. I was more than happy to give the gift of a Bulldog Totem set (her dog died a few months ago, don’t even ask) because I knew it would give her another method to try and keep calm and focused on recovery during these next few months. It was great to get the email from her the morning after the party thanking me and telling me that she already memorized the rhyme and was looking forward to getting lots of use out of her Totem! I am keeping her name from you for now because she has agreed to become a WARRIOR when she’s ready for the big reveal, so all I will ask is that you send good thoughts to this lovely woman and wish her a fond Boob Voyage!

TT for Tasty Ta-Ta's!

TT for Tasty Ta-Ta’s!

Stay well.

 

For more information on how to get you or a friend in need a Totem Set, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com. You can also find us on Facebook!

Like a dog with a bone (or a squeaky toy!)

By | 2013-04-26T11:33:51+00:00 April 26th, 2013|Life|

"Don't even think about it!"

“Don’t even think about it!”

This is my pooch, Zeke, with his brand new toy. These are the Totems finally relieved that Zeke laid down. See Zeke got his new toy, excitedly grabbed on to it, and then proceeded to carry it in his mouth and whine around the house for the next thirty minutes. I knew he was happy. I knew he didn’t need to go for a walk, have a drink, or eat anything, so why was he whining? It was that moment that made me consider how similar we are to dogs sometimes. We hopefully get up in the morning in a nice warm bed with a roof over our heads knowing that we’ll be able to shower, pour ourselves a cup of joe, and maybe even toss a pop-tart in the toaster. How wonderful?! So why then do we spend a lot of time whining. Yes, I said it. We are a bunch of whiners and complainers, when in reality most of us have more blessings than we know what to do with! So you didn’t get that promotion? It stinks, but there will be others! That guy you thought was so cute didn’t call? Big deal, I promise, there will be others. Your daughter didn’t get in to that prestigious, expensive preschool? Well, too bad, she’ll likely grow up to be a spoiled brat anyway! You gained a few pounds? Hey, that spells shopping spree to me! Ok, we all need to gripe and moan every once in a while, but this is a reminder to be grateful for what you have and for what you don’t have. If you find yourself on a whining jag, think about how annoying it is when your kids do it, and promptly stop! Totems don’t just help when you are anxious or scared, they can also help to remind you to think positively, to stay in the present, and to quit your bitching!

Stay well. 

To learn more about Totem Tamers, visit our website at www.totemtamers.com. You can also find us on Facebook!

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2013-04-24T11:23:16+00:00 April 24th, 2013|Life|

One-in-five-million. Those were the chances that Cameron Lyle was given when he decided to add his name to a bone marrow registry list. Little did Cameron know that as he was preparing to compete for his college track and field team in the championships, that he would come up as a match for a 28-year-old man dying of Leukemia. Cameron didn’t hesitate in making the decision that would end his college career early and prevent him from participating in the championships. The 21-year-old athlete knew that buying someone the potential of a few more years of life was worth way more than any medal or trophy.

Photo courtesy of UPI.

Photo courtesy of UPI.

Cameron won’t be able to swing a shot put, or hammer, or throw discus because even though bone marrow donation is generally safe and harmless, it is depleting and can be relatively painful for a bit before and after donation. Those side effects will sideline this promising athlete, but in his decision, he becomes somebody’s hero and certainly a WARRIOR! You are an inspiration Cameron Lyle, and Totem Tamers is honored to make you this week’s WARRIOR WEDNESDAY! For more information on joining the bone marrow registry, visit www.marrow.org. For more information on Totem Tamers visit www.totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

Mom-guilt Monday (for alliteration purposes only.)

By | 2013-04-22T10:48:58+00:00 April 22nd, 2013|Life|

Hi, my name is Julie and I have Mom-guilt. Every day. I am a single Mom with three kids and no possible way to please them all, even though I try my darndest. This past weekend was all about my 13-year-old. In my house, when you turn 13, you get to pick a destination and I do my best to make a trip happen, this is in lieu of some ridiculously expensive, ritualistic, religious event. My son chose London, and I managed to plan the trip to coincide with a London visit by his best friend who had moved to Australia two years ago. Unfortunately, the trip also coincided with my ex and his long planned vacation out of the country as well, but my trusted nanny would be here to watch over my two youngest, along with a bevy of friends who allowed for play dates galore while I would be gone. So off we went on our flight across the Pond!

Yes, it's a barf bag, but it remained unused!

Yes, it’s a barf bag, but it remained unused!

The London surprise was wonderful and the boys just stood there and stared at each other in disbelief, a perfect pay off. What I had not anticipated or even imagined was the text I received the first morning after we had arrived telling me that my middle son “had a wee bit of a fall” and fractured his wrist. Even typing that out, my heart still sinks. My sweet boy had to go to the hospital with someone other than his Mom or Dad. Thankfully for him the person that took him, “T”, is a gentle soul and family friend (for life now,) so he was well cared for and tended to with a father’s calm and reassuring nature.

Yup, it's broken alright!

Yup, it’s broken alright!

He’s fine ultimately, and the rest of the London visit was splendid as I did my best to keep my spirit’s up, but this is definitely one of those moments in life that I will always remember not being there for. My Bear Totem was firmly clutched in my hand pretty much the rest of the trip. There is no 12-step program for Mom-guilt, there’s only one step: Accept that we can’t be in more than one place at a time and that as long as we do the best we can and parent with love, our children will be ok. It also helps to have really wonderful friends! Thanks for everything “T”, (and your wife and kids of course, for lending you to my son!)

Stay well.

Follow Totem Tamers here and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TotemTamers.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2013-04-17T08:39:44+00:00 April 17th, 2013|Life|

This is the first time we have ever named a city a WARRIOR, but we have to recognize Boston at this time and know that as a community, and a historical representation of patriotism and freedom, Boston will recover. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but with the outpouring of support and love that has been evident online over the last two days, it will happen.

From the Boston Convention and Visitor's Bureau

From the Boston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

I was uneasy riding the subway today and the police presence was hard to miss. Uniformed officers with bomb-sniffing dogs. Military officers in full camouflage gear walking around as well. It was hard not to be anxious, but I knew I had to force myself and not let my fear of what might happen stop me from living my life. I was glad to have my Totems with me and I was glad that I did it.

Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the bombs and to the city of Boston as a whole. We know you will come back from this tragedy stronger and more vibrant than ever and our thoughts are there with you, to give you a hand, a hug, a shoulder to lean on, every step of the way.

Stay well.

Because we have to….

By | 2013-04-16T09:42:59+00:00 April 16th, 2013|Life|

Watching the events unfold in Boston yesterday was heartbreaking. People’s lives forever changed by a senseless, cowardly act. Life continued around me as the newsmakers coaxed stories out of witnesses and victims alike. My kids had homework, my kids ate dinner, my kids giggled and fought with each other and worried about schoolwork and video games. Life continued this morning as I learned that at least three people are dead and many more injured, with several of the victims now amputees as a result of the explosions. Their lives will go on because they have to, the memories of the dead will go on, because they have to. We will go on, because we have to. There is that desire to hunker down and wall ourselves in so as to protect from the possibility of horror and tragedy. The problem is that when we do armor ourselves up in fear, we prevent the possibility of wonderful and amazing things from happening and we need those moments now more than ever. This is not a directive to balk in the face of terrorism, but a directive to continue living your life, and hoping and dreaming and loving each other, because we have to.

Continued thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the events in Boston.

Stay well.

Divorce is hard….but it doesn't have to suck!

By | 2013-04-14T18:36:34+00:00 April 14th, 2013|Life|

I’m blessed. I say it as often as I am reminded of my situation, and thankfully that’s often. I have three incredible kids and a truly decent relationship with my ex-husband, their father. It is heartbreaking when I witness yet another child suffering in a divorce gone wrong. The reasons for a divorce, unless it involves abuse or addiction, are almost irrelevant. A mother is still a mother even if she was a total bitch to you. A father is still a father even if he’s an asshole. When a couple decides that being married is more harmful to the children and themselves than staying together, it’s important for them to maintain the ultimate goal, which is to love your children and treat them with kindness and respect. Don’t promise your child that you will come to watch his team play in the semi-finals and then not show up. Don’t promise your innocent kid that you will take her to Disney World only to end up having “something come up.” Kids are incredible in their relentless hope of not being disappointed, even when it happens so often, but every time they are disappointed a little piece goes dark and before you know it, that light of hope that used to shine in your direction whenever they would see you will be long gone. You make the promises because who doesn’t want to see their child get excited or tell you how happy they are, but the truth is, the hurt of you not showing up or not following through is far worse than if you had just been honest from the start. Sometimes you just can’t make an event or a special occasion, don’t mislead your child about it, be truthful. A kid can handle you saying “Honey, I just don’t know if I can make it to your school concert (for example,) and I know that must be upsetting for you and I am sorry. I hope you take lots of pictures and tell me all about it as soon as it’s over. I love you, even though I can’t be there.” That’s not so bad! Yes, it sucks, but it’s way better than the let down of a promise unfulfilled. So to you divorced parents who may recognize themselves in this message, you may not always have a chance to make it right, to make it better, to make it up to your children, but they will always be your children, don’t they deserve you wanting to make it count the first time? And to you single parents who are doing it right and making the effort of just being honest and up front with you children, I applaud you and look forward to watching your children continue to shine that beautiful light of hope. I’m now going to go hug my boys and bask in their light and say thanks to their Dad who does show up whenever he can, and if ever he can’t, he gives it to them straight and they love him more for it.

Stay well.

Rain dance….

By | 2013-04-12T14:48:27+00:00 April 12th, 2013|Life|

Running errands in the rain today, while witnessing the sprouts of springtime bursting along sidewalks and in windowsills, got me to thinking. The trees, flowers, plants, they all need the rain to nourish them and help wash off the winter in preparation for their peacock-like displays. We need nourishing as well, and sometimes we need help to bring us out of hibernation and in to the light. Yes, this is sounding very hippy-dippy, but I’m feeling it, so I’m sharing it! Step out in to the rain if there is any where you are, and just let a few drops land on you while you imagine them washing away anything that’s been holding you back or keeping you down. Then visualize yourself being fed and nourished by the rain as you emerge anew, fresh, bright with the promise of blooming colors and possibilities. If you have sunshine, that too is necessary for growth and development, so allow the warmth and the rays to penetrate the layers that are keeping you stagnant and imagine them melting away and freeing you in to what can be!

Spring Rain

Raindrops on Totems!

Stay well.

Totems Around Town!

By | 2013-04-11T08:20:44+00:00 April 11th, 2013|Life|

Today’s picture comes to us from Falls Church, Virginia! 8 yr old Gaspar, is sure to be an engineer or an architect as he had lots of fun constructing this Tower of Totems! You too can send us a picture of your Totem creation or even your Totem at your favorite diner! We want them all. info@totemtamers.com to share your pictures and stories about how you use your Totems to stay calm throughout the day.

Stay well.

Totem Tower

Thanks Gaspar!

 

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2013-04-10T13:01:45+00:00 April 10th, 2013|Life|

WARRIOR WEDNESDAY can encompass just about anything or anyone that requires or exemplifies true power, whether it’s a story about someone overcoming a tremendous challenge, me waxing on about parenting, or an idea that’s been created to help people. This weekly musing may also cover emotionally charged topics such as Addiction, Anxiety, Phobias and Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, otherwise known as PMS, which is what I want to discuss today. Who might the WARRIOR be then, you ask? Well I think this one has several potential WARRIORS. First, lets start with the human body. Wow! Every month for at least a few decades, give or take, the female body goes through an incredible and intricate cycle. Without going into too many medical terms and graphic descriptions, you pretty much know, the body creates eggs and releases them. Two hormones are in effect during this entire process, estrogen and progesterone. The estrogen elevates our moods and progesterone provides a calming effect. This is all skillfully described in an article by Laura Ballard. Needless to say, these two hormones are usually dancing in unison, but every month it’s as though one hormone chooses a Tango and the other a Waltz and that’s when you get a weepy, bitchy, demanding, starving, needy, sensitive female. Some experience these symptoms more severely than others, and some you may say are like this “all the time!” Our second WARRIOR in this theme then is the women who are the bearers of all this miraculous physical change and mood-shifting and for many, blessed with the opportunity to carry and birth babies (and no the moods don’t stop during pregnancy, they only become more frequent and erratic, yay!) We do have a third WARRIOR group though, it is all the loved ones who have to put up with us dipping the kids’ old halloween candy, fist and all, in to the peanut butter jar late at night. The sweet souls who hand us tissues when that damned Sarah MacLachlan-narrated-puppy torture video comes on again, and we are reduced to tears. The somewhat innocent children who look at us in utter surprise when we yell “You will sit there all night until those lima beans are eaten, don’t you know there are starving children in Uganda?!”  Yes, you are all WARRIORS and we thank you for your patience and understanding. I will try not to throw my Totem at you! Deep breaths, visualization, repetition and Midol to the rescue!

Stay well or f*%k off!

*I was going to include a picture of the Totems on a Maxi-pad, but realized I could just tell you and that would provide enough of a visual!

Ready, Willing, and Able to fill your heart even as it's breaking.

By | 2013-04-05T13:13:22+00:00 April 5th, 2013|Life|

If you live in New York City, or ever come to visit, you will undoubtedly see men dressed all in blue sweeping up the streets. What you may not do however, is wonder how they ended up cleaning the streets and how far they’ve come just to get there. These men have all been homeless, most of them addicts, and a lot of them have spent time in jail. Every one of the men in blue though, has decided that they are Ready, Willing & Able to change their direction in life and become somebody. The simple act of giving someone a bed and a job and resources to help make that change happen will only result in positive progress for these individuals. That’s what The Doe Fund does, providing opportunity to those who may never have had someone believe in them and tell them that they do have a choice and that they can make a difference. I was a guest at the 2013 graduation of more than 400 men who, to qualify as a graduate, have to be employed in the private sector, clean and sober, living on their own, and paying child support where necessary. It was awesome. It was also heartbreaking. My brother was drug addict. My brother spent some time in jail. My brother died of a heroin overdose at the age of 32. My brother did not have The Doe Fund available to him, it might have helped, and it might not have, he would have had to choose, but this option wasn’t available to him. So it was difficult to be there, but also so uplifting to see the men who did have the choice and who continue to make the choice one day at a time, to be better, and do better. It all comes down to humility, and yes, I imagine that sweeping up the streets of NYC can make a man pretty humble, but as one of the graduates said last night, nothing compares to that feeling when every Thursday, he got paid. He became somebody, all because somebody gave him a choice and a chance. Congratulations 2013 graduates of the Ready Willing & Able program and thank you for keeping our streets clean and for showing us every day you put on that blue uniform that there is hope and that we do have a choice.

The 2013 Graduates of Ready, Willing & Able!

The 2013 Graduates of Ready, Willing & Able!

Stay well.