Happy National Mutt Day from Totem Tamers!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:09+00:00 July 31st, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Yes, it’s true!! It’s National Mutt Day, and in honor of this day, I will post a picture of my beautiful mutt, Zeke!

Most beautiful Mutt in the world!

Most beautiful Mutt in the world!

Sure he was a rescue from Bideawee shelter in West Hampton, but Zeke rescues us every day!! Pets are a great anxiety reducer, so if you have thought about getting a dog, let one rescue you today!!

Stay well.

If you are allergic to dogs, there’s always Bulldog Totem, and that’s also a great anxiety reducer. Click on any of the images to the left and get one today!!

The theme continues this week:Speak and you shall receive!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:09+00:00 July 29th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

I wrote the other day about how a conversation with a guy that works in my neighborhood led to him leaving me some wonderful ointment for my achy knee. Which reminds me, I really need to put some on now, and also reminds me of how I got my achy knee. 20 or so years ago (ok it’s more than that, but leave me alone) I was on my high school Varsity basketball team. Anyone who makes a short joke about me, will get it! We were fierce every time we lost, and we lost almost every time. Didn’t stop me from going after every shot, from sticking to the zone defense, and hauling butt down the court after a turnover. The only thing that did stop me was tearing my ACL. Ouch! Thus ended my illustrious basketball career. It didn’t however, end my love for the game and I can appreciate a great player when I see one, and today it was LeBron James!! Ok, so he left my Miami Heat, but not before reenergizing the team and the city, so I am grateful.

King James has a Shark!

King James has a Shark!

Just so happens he is in my neighborhood shooting some scenes for the upcoming movie, “Trainwreck”! The movie starring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, promises to be hilarious, because with the two of them in it, how could it not be!! Just imagine LeBron, shooting hoops with Hader!! I’m giggling already!! Meanwhile, as a lifetime basketball fan, I decided to show LeBron my gratitude and gift him a Totem Set. As you can imagine, the security detail surrounding him is massive, and I’m talking about the size of the guys charged with protecting him, not the quantity of guys. What’s the lesson of the week? Talk to people!! It’s what I do, and it’s what I did. So even though I saw King James leaving his trailer after a wardrobe change, I couldn’t quite get close enough to hand him the Totem. As a resourceful person though, I used the cuteness of my 8-year-old (who happens to be a LeBron fan) to win over the boss of the security guys. He came off the set to say hi to my son and apologize for not being able to bring him inside, but that he would happily deliver the Totem! Happiness all around and hail to the King!!

Stay well.

If you need a Totem, then you should get a Totem! Click on any of the images to the left to get one today, and maybe one day, you could be King!

Balm for the soul, and my knee!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:09+00:00 July 26th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Hi, my name is Julie, and I’m a talker. I just can’t seem to stop myself from engaging in conversation with people I know, people I don’t know, people I don’t want to know. It just happens, and I am powerless. Truth be told, as much as it annoys my kids when we are out and about, or frustrates the dog when he has “business” to do, for example, I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to change. I choose to talk. Maybe that’s because for every conversation I have, whether it’s a minute or ten minutes long, my world has been affected. There’s power in that affection, be it positive or negative. That power has shown itself in many ways, from new friendships that have been forged, to job leads, to actual jobs, to emotional and intimate sharing with people I may never see again but the conversation will stay with me forever. The power also showed up last night at almost midnight with a package that was delivered to my building.

Totem Balm!

Totem Balm!

When I went down this morning to pick up the package, there was no note, just a crumpled paper bag that held “Electric Medicated Balm.” I was stumped. I told the doormen that there must be some mistake, this wasn’t meant for me. They checked the computer for any additional info, and that’s when it clicked. My overnight doorman had noted that “Dante” dropped off the package. A-ha! I can hear you asking who Dante might be! Well, Dante is a guard that works for the building complex down the street from me. I see him in the early morning hours when he’s finishing his overnight shift and I am just getting my day started. Of course, we talk. We ended up trading tales of injuries awhile back with both of us comparing knee maladies. Dante swears by this Chinese doctor downtown who gives him herbs and ointments to help him out, and then he is right as rain. Dante said he would get me the doctor’s card and promised that this special balm the doctor has, would definitely help.

I sit here typing as my knee is feeling the cooling, healing effects of this “electric medicated balm”, and my soul is feeling the warmth of a guy named Dante, who thankfully likes to talk as much as I do.

Stay well.

If talking to people makes you anxious, maybe you need a Totem! Click on any of the four Totems on your left and get one today.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:09+00:00 July 23rd, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

I like funny people. People say I’m funny. I like to make people laugh and of course I like to laugh. I remember my ex-husband would get almost annoyed and practically yell at me to do stand-up comedy. That would make me laugh. More out of nervousness because there is something to the draw of getting up in front of a room full of people and telling your story so to speak. The terror of completely bombing though, is enough to keep my feet on the sticky barroom floor rather than the slick with sweat stage. Don’t get me wrong, I love to tell a story and my dad, for the little time I knew him, could certainly tell a joke. Personally I think, I’m just not ready. Maybe one day I’ll get up there and share the tale of parental horror when I was forced to share the bathroom stall with my 18-month old son who couldn’t quite turn around when Mommy had to go potty. He very loudly announced in the rather full bathroom “Mommy! You have really big tessicles!” What do you do? You can’t get mad. Hell, I don’t even know what he was looking at, I swear! The horror was coming out of the stall and having to withstand the curious glances from the other potty attendees. “What? At least he used the medical term,” I blurted.

I do know some people who do have the courage to get up there, and I applaud them and admire them wholeheartedly. That’s why when I saw the piece last week in The New York Times Magazine about Maria Bamford, I was engaged immediately. She’s a familiar comic, but I didn’t really know her whole story until this article. As I read about her struggles with anxiety and depression, I knew she was a WARRIOR! Maria Bamford, doesn’t shy away from these very personal details about her life and even further, she delves right in to it on stage in her act. She talks about suicide, she talks about the medication she takes, and the times she’s been hospitalized. Notice I don’t say she jokes about it, sure she makes you laugh when she shares, but this is definitely no joke. This is a woman who struggles every day with keeping her head above water, and one of the ways she does that is by making us laugh. That my friends is a true WARRIOR.

http://www.mariabamford.com

http://www.mariabamford.com

Stay well.

If you struggle with anxiety or any overwhelming emotion, Totem Tamers can help! Click on any of the four Totems on your left and purchase one today along with tips on how to keep calm and keep the funny!

Can't we all just get along? Bulldog bridges the gap.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:10+00:00 July 20th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Bulldog whisperer...

Bulldog whisperer…

As I watched this beautiful young kitten basking in the sun, witnessing all the movements from the yard beyond the glass, I considered how peaceful she seemed. Then I thought about Bulldog, who was nestled safely in my bag, and laughed at all the swirling images in my head of cats and dogs and the forever feud between the species. This was a chance to get the two together and see what would happen!

Bulldog and kitty just chillin'!

Bulldog and kitty just chillin’!

Not much happened really. Kitty was definitely curious about this bronze creature staring at her, but Bulldog didn’t do anything to get in her way, so she regarded Bulldog with an inquisitive respect and went about her lounging. Oh yes, there is a deeper message here, as we scan the news daily for updates on fighting across the globe. Horror stories of children being killed in missile strikes, planes being shot out of the air, people seeking shelter as the air sirens wail in fear, all because we are different. Sure there are major issues at stake here, and I am not trying to undermine the struggles that each side contends with and believes in, but there has to be a better way. We shouldn’t make decisions out of fear, but here I am worrying about my children getting on a plane in a couple weeks just to fly domestically. Here I am worrying about traveling out of the country myself in a couple weeks. I will do my best to quell the anxiety and reassure myself that all will be fine and that not truly living my life (or letting my kids live theirs’) is letting the anxiety win. I will remind myself of the kitty and Bulldog just hanging out side by side while the world continued around them, and hear the purring, hoping that it drowns out the pounding in my chest.

Stay well.

Bulldog and the other Totems will join me on my journey, because the reminder to breathe in overwhelming situations is key to remaining calm. If you would like a Totem to travel with, buy one today by simply clicking on one of the images to your left! Thank you.

Slow and steady…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:10+00:00 July 17th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Sometimes we just need to take a moment and breathe (ignoring the fumes, cigarette smoke, and cheap perfume of course.) I grew up in Miami Beach, a resort-like town with pristine beaches and endless sunshine. Sounds amazing right? Somehow though, I never felt comfortable there, it just never seemed to suit me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach, and the palm trees, and the sunshine. I even love the afternoon thunderstorms, but there was always a restlessness to living in Miami for me. I moved to New York City 11 years ago last month, and I have never looked back. It finally clicked about six months into my new life here, that NYC is just how my brain works. Miami is too languid, even-paced, almost boring. NYC offers me excitement, from spotting my “good friend” Hank Azaria on the street every other day, to finding new and creative ways of wiping dog poo off my shoe! I am always thinking, always on alert, always on the go. I love it! And then come those moments when I realize, I need a break. I need to slow down a little and just breathe.

Totem Bear on Red Snail!

Totem Bear on Red Snail!

The slower pace from Miami hasn’t fully left me and I recognize that sometimes when using the Subway. People rushing and running and ignoring others just to get on mass transit where they will have to sit and wait. There’s always another train so I never really stress it and that’s one way I hold on to my Miami-brain. I also make an effort every day to stop and look at the sunset. I am very blessed with a great western view, so that makes it easy, but giving myself even just a minute to watch the sky turn colors as another day ends is restorative enough sometimes!

My NYC Sunset

My NYC Sunset

Today I am making a conscious effort to slow down and breathe, and I eagerly await another sunset which reminds me that tomorrow is another day. I hope you do the same.

Stay well.

Need a Totem to remind you to breathe? We have them and you can get one!! Just click on the images to the left and choose your Totem today!

 

Swimming in the Jury Pool!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:10+00:00 July 14th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

I was called for jury duty a few months ago and I postponed it because the kids were in school and it would have been too hectic for me not to be around. So here I sit in a dank dusty room filled with about 100 of my peers waiting and waiting and waiting. So many of my friends have questioned why I didn’t just excuse myself because I have minor children. And sure, as I sit in the room next to the guy who clearly had his bottle of Obsession broken over his head this morning, and the woman with the tuna sandwich (it’s inevitable), I begin to wonder why I didn’t excuse myself, too! But then I remember explaining to my kids what jury duty is and how as citizens of this great democratic nation, we depend on the jury system to help protect us and our rights if we ever get into trouble. I am honored (and totally bored, yes) to sit here between CK-pew and tuna gal, and perform my civic duty.

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I’ll update with any progress of course and definitely about the selection process if it goes that far. Regardless, I know I am doing my part to help my fellow citizens, and I know that the massage I will reward myself with after spending hours in these chairs, will be well deserved!

Stay well.

My Totems made it through security and will help keep me calm today. If you don’t have a Totem yet, just click on the images to the left and buy one today!

Totems Around Town!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:10+00:00 July 11th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Shark goes to Camp!

Shark goes to Camp!

There was a Shark sighting in NYC this week! Here is Shark accompanying an adorable young fellow on his way to camp. Sometimes it’s as simple as a Totem in your pocket to help keep you calm throughout the day. Thanks to the Mom and son who shared this picture with Totem Tamers! If you have a picture of your Totem Around Town, send it along to info@totemtamers.com.

Stay well.

If you still don’t have a Totem to take around town, what are you waiting for? Click on any of the Totems to the left and buy one today!!

Hello muddah, hello faddah…..

By | 2014-07-08T16:25:08+00:00 July 8th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

It’s camp season for most kids and there is a combination of the types of camp available, from soccer camp, gymnastics camp, arts camp, to computer camp, sleep away camp, and almost-but-not-quite-sleepaway. Two of my kids are at that last sort of camp. It’s fantastic! The bus picks them up on Monday morning and squires them away to a beautiful campus in some woodland area, and then brings them back to me filthy and exhausted on Friday evening. How awesome is that?! This camp, it’s called Campus Kids by the way, even lets the kids call home daily if they want to, which is great but also a little annoying sometimes. I mean, the whole point of this is to give the kids a little independence and the parents a little bit of freedom. Just enough so that we miss them while they’re gone but not enough that they get away with murder when they’re back for two days. Anyway, my middle son, for whom Totem Tamers was created, was definitely nervous to leave yesterday, even though this is his third summer there. What I found incredible about my kid, was that he was able to put words to his anxiety and recognize that the flutters in his tummy and his agitation, were connected to his anxiety about going. He even said that the first two nights are the hardest, which was helpful for me to then remind him that it means he knows it gets easier! And it does get easier and more fun as the kids transition into a new routine, new faces, new activities, and finding wings to help them develop as their own people while they are out from our guiding, sometimes glaring eyes. My son didn’t bring his Totem with him this time, and I didn’t push. I kept expecting him to sneak it into his bags at some point, but there Bulldog sits, guarding his bottom bunk awaiting his return. I guess my son is feeling more capable of keeping himself calm without the actual Totem, and he definitely knows the visualization and breathing techniques, because we are always talking about it. I’m proud of him. Just as proud as I am about the other kids that I know of who took their Totems with them to camp! There was the impassioned email from someone in the city wanting to know if they could get a Totem for their daughter who was leaving the next day for camp and was feeling anxious. Yes!! There was the late night message from a mom who merely wanted to share that her son, feeling anxious before his first day at camp, had asked if he could bring his Totem on the bus with him! Yes! Even better was her follow-up email the next morning to say that Shark helped her son confidently get on the bus that morning. Recognizing your anxiety doesn’t make you weak, it makes you powerful and better able to manage the overwhelming emotions that can prevent those who suffer from anxiety from participating in their lives! I can’t say it enough! I take a deep breath when I think about my boys far away having to make choices for themselves and possibly making some that I wouldn’t agree with. I take a deep breath when my little one, who’s the only kid at home now, tries desperately to convince me that he should be able to stay up later since he’s now the oldest in the house. I take a deep breath when I am laying in bed after a beautiful summer day and think about how blessed my kids are to have this experience, and how blessed I am to have some quiet. Then the song starts up again: Hello muddah, hello faddah…..

Stay well.

If your child is off at camp and you’d like to send them a Totem, we ship!! Click on any of the four Totems on the left, and order one today!

Happy 4th of July from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:10+00:00 July 4th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Even though it looks like a lot of us on the East Coast will be having a wet weekend, it shouldn’t stop us from celebrating our Inependence!

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Stay well and stay safe!

Have a Totem? Great! We would love to see pictures of your Totems out and about, send photos to info@totemtamers.com! Need a Totem? No problem! Click on any of the images on the left to order one today!

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY or how I finally met Mr. Jones!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:11+00:00 July 2nd, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

I’ll never forget when I first learned of Counting Crows more than 20 years ago. I was a radio DJ (or at least desperately trying to be one) fresh out of college, and this band was making waves with their sound and honest lyrics. It was also when my weird crush was formed for the “Russian-Jew American, impersonating African”, lead singer of the band, Adam Duritz. Yep, he ended up on the list of weird crushes that even included John Elway for a time. I know, I’m weird. Adam’s willingness to gut himself and spread his insides over the airwaves was what attracted me, more than the voice that is sometimes referred to as grating or whiney. I didn’t care, this man could feel, and he wasn’t afraid to write about it even though it would seem the feelings themselves terrified him. Over the last 20 plus years, there have been several more albums for Counting Crows, some containing hits and some not (all totally awesome though), but they never fail to bring in their faithful audience and even now continue to sell out shows around the country and the world. I have seen the band play numerous times, I actually can’t even tell you how many, and it never gets old because the musicianship is incredible and watching Duritz on stage is like watching a musical unfold. When it was announced the band was going to play in Central Park, I was psyched. When the option for a rather pricey meet-n-greet became available, I was downright apoplectic! Don’t worry, I’m getting to WARRIOR WEDNESDAY, I just need to set the scene. My ex-husband is a musician, one of those annoying ones who doesn’t read music but can play a song by ear, on several different instruments. I fancy myself a singer and I am damn good on the tambourine! As parents of young children, we had had enough of Old MacDonald after the hundredth time and decided that the kids needed to do us the favor of listening to our music if we were going to do them the favor of, you know, feeding them and stuff. When my youngest was still in his carseat, he would jam in the backseat to Counting Crows, then my middle came along and picked up the buzz right along with us. Imagine my horror when my littlest deemed Counting Crows the most annoying band in the whole wide world and would (and still) freak if any song by the band came on in the car. Oh well, one less ticket to buy! So it was me and my two oldest the other day when we got to listen to and meet the band!

Totems are VIP!!

Totems are VIP!!

Adam Duritz has long been a WARRIOR because of his willingness to discuss his struggles with mental illness, specifically depersonalization disorder, which he describes as making “the world seem like it’s not real sometimes, like you’re just imagining it.” Now though, he has a Totem to help him during anxious moments. That’s right! I’m no dummy, usually, and we brought Totems for the band.

Counting Totems!

Counting Totems!

There they are looking at their Totems with curiosity and gratitude, because it’s rare that someone brings gifts for the band! The drummer remarked at how heavy the Totem was and seemed genuinely pleased to have gotten Shark! We had the pleasure of listening to new songs during the soundcheck, and I can tell you that the new album “Somewhere Under Wonderland” is going to kick ass!! It was a magical night in Central Park with my kids, Counting Crows, WARRIORS and me!

CC and TT, rocking the night away!

CC and TT, rocking the night away!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Totem to keep you rocking’, click on any of the images on the left and get one today!!