Sweaty palms, heart racing, agitation = Anxiety. Bring it on!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:20-04:00 February 27th, 2014|Life|

Everyone experiences anxiety differently. The symptoms noted in the title of this piece are only a couple of those my son suffers from, when he’s in the throes of an attack. We can add to them stomach upset, pressure dropping, which leads to a frighteningly pale face, and sometimes even anger. There is no right or wrong way to experience anxiety, the key is how you react to it. It’s frustrating that we have drilled it into our heads, and those of our children’s, that somehow it’s not okay to be anxious. I have always said to my children, on the precipice of some show or performance that they are in, that if they weren’t nervous or anxious, I would be worried. It’s NORMAL to feel anxious. What makes anxiety abnormal, is when it cripples you into paralysis and prevents you from participating in real life. That is why Totem Tamers was created. To help people (my son) cope with overwhelming situations so that they can make the effort to move through whatever the situation may be. There is no cure for anxiety, there is only easing the symptoms so you can progress. I am heading out of town on an adventure of sorts (I’m calling it an adventure because I am totally anxious about it and somehow the word adventure makes me feel excited as opposed to terrified) and I am carrying a ton of Totems with me. Not just for myself of course, but to introduce them to people I meet along the way. I realize that my being anxious about going to an event with a bunch of strangers might not seem like a big deal to you, and if that’s the case, good on you. I, however, need to recognize my trepidation, otherwise I will not be able to move through my adventure with an authentic being. Be authentic, recognize your anxiety, and head out on an adventure today!!

Stay well.

Is that a Totem in your pocket….? It can be! Look left and purchase the Totem of your choice to accompany you on your next adventure.

When the words won't come.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:20-04:00 February 25th, 2014|Life|

I love to write, I always have. It’s always been a way for me to unclog my brain and help release a lot of gunk I manage to stuff inside my head. With anything that we love to do though, sometimes the words just won’t come. Sometimes the brush won’t paint, the pencil won’t sketch, the keys won’t play, the notes won’t fit, sometimes. As frustrating as those times may be, I am doing my best to find a way to the silence that is being offered and not give voice to all the negativity my brain likes to spew at me. Oh I’m sure you know that voice, the one says “Come on, you have nothing to write today, and you call yourself a writer?” The voice that assures you that no one is reading your stuff anyway, or interested in your art, or wants to see your photographs. That’s the voice of anxiety and pressure, the voice that can break so many people, and destroy dreams of creating, not just for other people, but for yourself. When I write, I want there to be a purpose, even if it’s self-serving. I don’t want to write because “people” say it’s good for the business, I want to write because I have something to say, and sometimes (yes, it’s rare), I don’t have anything to say. Enter gospel choir, singing an “Ahhhhh” in beautiful harmony as the bright light of an empty page begins to fill with images of support and inspiration. Fine, maybe that imagery was a bit much, but the message is that it’s ok not to have anything to say, not to have a subject to paint, or a note to play. Once you give yourself permission to be still, to be silent, then you will find the words, the brushstrokes, and the tune, and the door to creativity will once again be open.

Stay well.

Have you seen our Totems? Look left and you will find Bear, Owl, Shark and Bulldog in all their glory! Click to buy your Totem now!

No, seriously, I have a headache.

By | 2014-02-21T15:50:08-04:00 February 21st, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

If you’re not a headache sufferer, consider yourself lucky. I am not so lucky. I am willing to admit that I am on the better end of the headache suffering spectrum, but I do get them and fairly often, and sometimes, they completely debilitate me. Well maybe not completely, since here I sit writing about it as I fight my way through a doozy of a head banging. I know this one was my fault, though.  I woke up and had a backlog of things to do before I somehow managed to get myself dressed to make a morning meeting. That meant, no time for coffee (yes, there’s some caffeine withdrawal,) and no time for breakfast. Perfect recipe for a migraine as my blood sugar drops and my physiological response to the lack of caffeine kicks my ass for good. Most of us don’t have the luxury to give in when we get a headache, which might look like crawling into bed in a darkened room with no noise, and just being still for a couple of hours. So we cope, it’s all about coping after all isn’t it? An old friend of mine who used to suffer terribly from migraines, would drive to the nearest 7-11 for a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew, and that would be enough to help her out. Another friend has a special remedy, which I am patiently waiting to kick in, it’s two Excedrin followed by two Sudafed. I am sure there are lots of home remedies out there and I know I would be happy to hear all of them, as I am sure any of you who suffer, would enjoy hearing too! So feel free to share your suggestions here. I will say that writing this little bit has helped distract from the pounding in my ears, which is the core of Totem Tamers mission. Distracting the brain from whatever is causing you upset or overwhelm can ultimately lead to relief! Thank you for giving me a forum where I can find some relief, even if it’s minor, it’s better than when I started typing. Whew!

Our pocket-sized animal Totems (shown left), can be just what you need to help you regain calm in an overwhelming situation. What Totem will you choose?

Stay well.

You stink…and I'm not gonna take it anymore!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:20-04:00 February 17th, 2014|Life|

Let me set the scene for you: A 3-star Michelin rated restaurant, four of us dressed in fine clothing, eager for a night out to celebrate birthdays. Impeccably appointed dining rooms and wait staff, and the putrid smell of some other patrons cologne. I almost had to ask for our table to be moved, I almost had to sacrifice my incredible dinner because someone else decided to take a bath in some horrible smelling perfume. Thankfully, my senses adjusted and the food and drink so fabulous, that I was able to overcome the smell. Some really fine restaurants, I suspect this one as well, actually don’t allow their wait staff to wear cologne or perfume because they don’t want to risk offending a customer. So why shouldn’t customers be as respectful? I don’t care if you want to dance in your Drakkar Noir, or Polka in your Polo, shimmy in your Shalimar, or cha-cha in your Chanel, but save it for Burger King, or Wendy’s please!!! Wait, it doesn’t end there. New scene: Boarding a flight with my kids and sadly because of all the weather issues, we were unable to be seated next to each other, but the plan was to wait until we were in the air and I would ask someone to switch. Well, it didn’t take that long. I sat in my seat and was immediately paralyzed by the overwhelming aroma (odor) of my seat mate. I immediately used my scarf to cover my nose and mouth but it was too late, the smell had already penetrated my senses and my eyes began to tear and my head to pound. She had so much perfume on that I couldn’t wait to move my seat.  But how was I going to tell the flight attendant that the woman next to me reeked so badly that I either needed to move immediately or I was going to hurl or faint at some point very soon? I blamed the fact that I wasn’t seated close to my kids, of course! I was able to move, but it made me so angry that this passenger didn’t consider for a second that someone else might be affected by her perfume passion. That’s when I decided that we need to call for a nationwide movement that will encourage people NOT to wear cologne or perfume on planes, trains, buses, subways, or in very fancy dining rooms. Anti-persperant and deodorant, absolutely, but NO MORE Halston 1-12 on your 737, NO MORE Acqua di Gio on your Amtrak, and please, please, escape from your Escada and show you Dior the door whenever you are in close proximity to other people!!! I realize that I may be super sensitive to smell, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for others to be sensitive, not just to my delicate nostrils, but to the proboscises of the masses!

Scent of a scandal!

Scent of a scandal!

Stay well!

Totem Tamers is a calming tool to add to your toolbox whenever you are feeling overwhelmed. Click on the left to get a better look at our Totem choices!

Happy Valentine's Day from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:20-04:00 February 14th, 2014|Life|

"Yes, that is chocolate and yes I will share," said Shark!

“Yes, that is chocolate and yes I will share,” said Shark!

I am blessed with three incredible kids, all at different stages of life, which certainly serves to keep me on my toes! My youngest is 7 1/2 (that half is really important), and thankfully for Valentine’s Day he is still in that phase of being ok with giving everyone a card or a piece of candy. “Even the kids I don’t like so much.” That was moving, sort of. My middle son is 11, and he is in that Valentine’s Day sucks, mode. When we talked about it, he was lamenting that it’s a crappy holiday if you aren’t part of a couple. When I asked if there was someone in particular he was hoping to be coupled with, he balked as though I had asked if he wanted frogs’ legs for dinner! “No, Mom, there isn’t anyone, sheesh!” Well, excuuuuuuuuse me for asking! Then of course there’s my 14-but-looks-16-year-old, he’s another story entirely. Having been associated with his “friend-girl” (I refuse to say the word) since the middle of 7th grade, he is taking this holiday a bit seriously. He told me exactly what I needed to go get, his favorite chocolates that Meredith’s Bread sells. I did my job, and then he did his by simultaneously breaking my heart and filling it completely. My little baby boy is growing up and his heart is making room for other people and that is definitely hard to take, thus the heartbreak. That same little boy however, makes me so proud because he has the capacity to feel and share his feelings. Just like he will share that he is really pissed at me if he finds out I wrote this! Inside the little box of chocolates, my sweet baby boy taped a little note, it read “because you were something special.” It confused me a little so I asked him about it, and he explained that when he first saw this “friend-girl”, he knew she was something special. It was enough to keep my eyes from welling up with pride, but also with fear for wanting to protect my boy from potential heartache. That’s when I realized that we shouldn’t protect ourselves from heartache, but just the opposite. Open yourself up to receive the love that someone gives you just as you allow yourself to give the love you have to share. That love doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, it can be a simple smile from the soul to that stranger on the train, or a phone call to your folks, or an email to an old friend, just give love and it will come back to you.

Giving you my love, always.

Stay well.

Look left! Our Totems are a great way to give love and calm, shop now!

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:20-04:00 February 12th, 2014|Life|

This is by far one of the easiest WARRIOR WEDNESDAYS I’ve had the pleasure of writing! 24-year-old Michael Sam, announced to the world last week that he is a proud gay man, and he should be. But what’s the big deal, right? The big deal is that Michael Sam is also a phenomenal football player, voted MVP by his teammates at the University of Missouri. Sam is a defensive lineman, he’s the guy you put up there to intimidate the offense, protect your line and make sure the other team doesn’t score. Michael Sam is busting right through all the stereotypes, and making a name for himself as a courageous, talented, and outspoken WARRIOR!

Michael Sam-WARRIOR!

Michael Sam-WARRIOR!

Michael’s teammates already had an idea when Number 52 announced that he was gay. In a New York Times article, Sam said “they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out.” Sam has often been considered an easy pick in the upcoming NFL draft, but now there is speculation as to whether or not his coming out will prevent him from being chosen. I can guarantee that any team who is smart enough to pick not only a great player, but a great leader, is going to gain a new fan in me, and likely a whole lot of others! Congratulations Michael Sam, you are a true WARRIOR!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Connect "for"….!

By | 2014-02-11T12:15:06-04:00 February 11th, 2014|Life|

Remember the game “Connect Four”? It was the neat honeycombed-looking stand, into which you would drop red or black chips, against an opponent, in the hopes of creating a connection of four of your chips. This could be up and down, across, or diagonal, it didn’t matter, as long as four of the same colored chips were connected. Imagine yourself as one of those chips, and you will slowly realize that we are all connected or have the capacity to be connected. Social media and networking helps to make this even more evident, and in this digital age those outlets are necessary. I still believe that nothing compares with actual personal introductions and face to face connections, so when I have the chance to make that happen, I’m all over it. People have called me a connector, and I am honored by that moniker. I love to connect people. I helped make a connection last night for a new friend that has started her own business, with a less-new friend, who has an audience that would appreciate her business. It was a good feeling knowing that these two people may end up helping each other, and my investment was minimal. I got to hang out with some people I am getting to know and like, and those people may get to know and like each other. It was a happy fest of connecting! Now the reality is that the connection may not work, may not end up being fruitful, but I did my part and the rest isn’t up to me, but no matter what, these two individuals now know each other and I got to help make that happen. You can be a connector as well, and it could be as simple as liking this blog post or the Totem Tamers Facebook page, for example. Someone you know, who doesn’t know Totem Tamers, may be intrigued by your “like” and follow along and ultimately connect! Your investment was minimal. I am now happy because you have helped me and my business connect with someone else who may very well need some new calming tools and techniques, which will ultimately make them happier. See? We can all be connectors! Who will you connect today?

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

And now for the breast of the story…..

By | 2014-02-09T20:19:08-04:00 February 9th, 2014|Life|

Whew! That’s what I say when I find my head spinning a bit. It actually started a couple weeks ago when my friend Mollie, who was one of our WARRIOR WEDNESDAYS, posted a picture of herself getting her annual mammogram. Mollie does this because she lost her mother to breast cancer and she hopes that a simple photo will serve as a reminder to others to get their annual exams. Well it worked, and I made my appointment which I had on Saturday. So this photo is just for Mollie, and of course anyone who has been putting off their mammogram.

It's no boob deal!!

It’s no boob deal!!

I got squished, and smushed, and pushed, and pulled and the hope is that the doctor’s will read the images and they will find nothing! I was able to go in to my appointment feeling quite hopeful because another one of our WARRIORS, Teri, just celebrated her 5-year survivor mark. Yay! Go Teri!! Sadly though, as Teri celebrates, and Mollie and I do our preventive routines, every three minutes another woman is diagnosed and every thirteen minutes, a woman dies from breast cancer. These statistics are staggering, and even though they may be a couple years old, it’s hard to dispute. I walked across the park to my appointment, and was feeling so good, I walked back home. I was able to get home in time to Skype with my dear friend in Australia. In the first few minutes of our conversation, she informed me that her sister had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Early, thank goodness, but it still means chemo, surgery, maybe radiation, and a lot of fear and anxiety, not just for her sister, but for the family and everyone who loves her. So please, get your mammograms, do your self-breast exams, and hopefully you won’t be a statistic, but if heaven forbid you are diagnosed, make sure it’s early enough so you can be counted as one of the 2.5 million breast cancer survivors alive today!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Happy Winter Olympics!!

By | 2014-02-07T16:42:14-04:00 February 7th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Bear ready for his Downhill event!

Bear ready for his Downhill event!

Opening Ceremonies for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics kick off this evening! Even with all the hubbub about the unpreparedness of the hotels and facilities in Sochi, it’s hard not to get excited for the athletes who have worked so long to get to this point! Best of luck to every nation participating and congratulations to every athlete who is present! Even the Totems are getting in to the action!

Totem Luge Team!

Totem Luge Team!

Go Totem Team!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2014-02-05T12:26:03-04:00 February 5th, 2014|Life|

Finally some news I am happy to share!! Our WARRIOR this week is CVS! Yes, the pharmacy. Why? Because they have just announced that all CVS/pharmacy stores will stop selling tobacco and tobacco related products beginning in October 1st!

WARRIOR CVS!

WARRIOR CVS!

Now we know that people will still be able to get smokes elsewhere, but making it just a little tougher is not a problem by me. I am a former smoker, so don’t go pointing fingers and telling me that I don’t know what it’s like, because I do! I don’t want my children to have access the way I did when I started smoking. I quit over 20 years ago thankfully, but 15 years ago I watched Lung Cancer ravage my grandmother. She had quit almost ten years before the cancer became apparent, but it was ten years too late. I give major kudos to my Mom who struggled with cigarettes my whole life, but who has managed to kick the habit recently, even in the face of life altering challenges! Way to go Mom! Kudos to my ex-husband for doing the same thing over a year ago with the help of electronic cigarettes. Hey, whatever works! It also helps when your three adorable children beg and plead with you not to die from smoking. Hats off to CVS for being willing to lose a whole lot of revenue by not selling tobacco and tobacco related products and in return gaining the respect of so many! Of course, when you’re feeling anxious as you quit smoking, consider grabbing a Totem instead!

CVS/pharmacy, WARRIOR WEDNESDAY is all yours!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

World Cancer Day!

By | 2014-02-04T13:13:55-04:00 February 4th, 2014|Life|

Today is World Cancer Day. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, whether personally or by association. There are so many organizations out there doing their part to support those who are fighting this disease, and to support those who are affected. There are also so many groups that are working hard to research and find cures for Cancer. One of these groups is StandUp2Cancer.

“Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.SU2C is bringing together the best and the brightest researchers and encouraging collaboration instead of competition among the entire cancer community. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C creates awareness and builds broad public support for this effort.This is where the end of cancer begins: when we unite in one movement, unstoppable.”

Not only can you go to the site and make a donation to further all their efforts, but there are tons of resources. You can learn about cancer, and the therapies that are being researched, and the science behind those therapies and more. My Facebook page alone shows post after post of friends who have battled cancer or lost dear ones to cancer, take a moment to notice, and take a moment to do something about it. A friend still tells me how she carried her Owl Totem with her every time she went to chemotherapy and radiation, that same friend just had another clean scan! Totem Tamers will gladly make a donation to StandUp2Cancer for every purchase made today. It’s the least we can do, what will you do?

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, or make a purchase, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.

Here we go again…

By | 2014-02-02T15:13:13-04:00 February 2nd, 2014|Life|

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman

I wish I was speechless. I wish I had nothing to say. I wish that I could look at a loss like that of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, and not have it rip me apart. I wish that he hadn’t been so tortured that he needed to stick a needle in his arm to hide from his demons. I wish he had asked for help. I wish he hadn’t taken 23 years of sobriety and pissed it away. I wish he had had an Overdose Prevention Kit. I wish someone didn’t have to explain to his three children that Daddy isn’t coming home again. I wish someone will explain to his wife that she bares no guilt in this, at all. I wish that she finds some peace and relief that she no longer has to worry where, when or if. I wish that I wasn’t thrown back ten years watching my brother on life support after his heroin overdose. I wish I didn’t have the rage in the pit of my gut, but I do, and I can’t wish that away. The only thing I can do, what we all can do, is talk about it. Reach out to the people around us who might be abusing substances like heroin and prescription drugs, and let them know that there is help available if they want it.  Someone wrote something on a Facebook post, “…and people think we should legalize drugs!” Well sir, yes, we should. That way we can regulate it, monitor it, and hell, tax it! There are so many advancements in other countries where they are seeing decreased deaths, decreased sicknesses, robberies, murders, etc., when they legalize drugs or offer a safe environment for using. All the symptoms associated with illegal drug use are lessening when the government tries to help rather than punish. Do you have any idea how much money we spend prosecuting drug cases where we don’t even offer help as an alternative, just punishment? I could go on and on, and you know you’ll hear more from me, but I’m too sad, and too angry at the moment. I wish I wasn’t. I wish to gather my children in a beautiful bubble to protect from the world, but I can’t. I can only wish that they move through it with just the right amount of fear, the right amount of innocence, and a whole bucket of wishes!

Stay well.

To learn more about Totem Tamers, please visit our site at www.totemtamers.com.