Happy #nationalcomingoutday !!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:10-04:00 October 11th, 2017|activist, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, birds, birds of prey, bulldogs, dogs, Equality, homosexuality, lgbtq, Life, love, marriage equality, mental health, mind/body, Owls, sharks, stress, stress relief, suicide prevention, therapy, totems, transgender|

National Coming Out Day!

I hope that whoever you are, whoever you want to be, whoever you want to love and be loved by, that you have the strength and the courage and the support to do just that. At Totem Tamers, we send you all that love and strength and courage, and we see you for all that you are, and all you deserve to be! Keep a Totem in your pocket for any time you feel anxious, and be reminded that you are beautiful and worth it!

Stay well.

Here’s one case for NO separation of “Church & State”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:16-04:00 March 14th, 2017|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, broadway, civil rights, Creative, creativity, death, donation, education, elections, family, grief, gun violence, hate crime, inspiration, Life, loss, mental health, motivation, nyc, politics, prayer, relationships, religion, sadness, school|

I don’t talk much about politics in this space, although if you have been a reader of this blog, you can pretty much gauge what side of the dais I would sit on. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about politics….really, well, not really, but sort of, maybe a little bit. This post is going to be about theater, drama, comedy and friendship. I went to theater the other night with a group of friends, to see a play that was written and produced by friends, and it had equal parts comedy and drama. The play is called “Church & State”, and it’s in previews now at New World Stages. While I was watching the play, I was struck with imagery of a heated tennis match, because my emotions were being slammed across the net between laughter, anger, fear and sadness. In less than 90 minutes, I was moved to a point of paralysis. Yes, moved so emotionally, that I couldn’t move physically for a few minutes after it ended, because I was taking it all in and letting it wash over me. I was having varied experiences, mind you. I had just watched a play that someone I know wrote and someone I know produced, and it was good. I mean, not just like “Oh wasn’t that sweet” kinda good, I mean “Holy crap, that was impressive” kinda good. And, the content was just so relevant, and important, and crucial to the current state of affairs of our country and our communities, that I wanted to get up and holler that something needs to be done!!! So here is my holler, GO SEE THIS PLAY!

Powerful new play!

I can tell you that this play is about a lot of things including politics, but also faith, speaking your mind, marriage, community, and death. I can tell you that this play is already making an impact and it hasn’t even opened yet! Politicians and celebrities are not only coming to see it, but some will even be participating in panels throughout the run of the play to further conversation about the controversial subject matter. I guess I’m being a little vague on purpose here, because I want to protect the power of the play and if you go in knowing too much, it might color the way you receive it. Even thinking about the play now, I get choked up! Of course, you can click on the link above and learn a little more about it and what inspired it, or you can take a chance and see something that will undoubtedly leave you thinking, if not shaking just a little bit.

Off my soapbox!

Stay well.

 

It’s a personal foul for one ambitious football player!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:19-04:00 October 29th, 2016|activist, childhood, children, civil rights, family, friends, friendship, Liberty, Life, motherhood, motivation, nyc, parenthood, parenting, school, sports, teenager, teenagers, teens|

Some girls just wanna have fun, and some girls just wanna have fun playing football! What happens when some school rules get in the way of that? Well, we talk about it, and make some noise!  Especially when it’s the daughter of a friend who is being denied the chance to play  for her school even though she played last season! Once again it comes down to equality, the boys take a physical fitness test once and are on the team, for some reason, there’s an extra test for girls to take! An article detailing this young lady’s story can be found here!

Looks like a football player to me!  Photo cred:Sean Hale

Looks like a football player to me!
Photo cred:Sean Hale

I’m sure plenty of you are balking at the idea of a girl playing football, but I assure you Alison can hold her own. Heck, she’s been playing roller derby for years!!! This isn’t a question about safety, this is about fairness, and Alison, because she’s a girl, isn’t being treated fairly. So rather than give in and take this extra fitness test, she’s standing her ground like a solid linebacker, and not taking the test. She’s been kicked off the team as a result, and as her father says it “cost the school a good player.”

While we watch a woman juking and dodging every massive hit come her way as she runs for President of the United States, I can’t help but see that same resilience, courage and strength in Alison, and it gives me hope for the future. This “girl” should be able to play whatever sport she wants to play and be subjected to the same rules as her male counterparts. I’m sure the kid that was taken down by Alison last season by a massive hit, is probably relieved that she’s sitting this one out, but she’s doing anything but sitting, she’s standing up for herself and there’s nothing more important than that! Go Alison!!!

Stay well.

Just another Wednesday for most…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:20-04:00 October 26th, 2016|activist, addiction, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brothers, drug use, drugs, harm reduction, heroin, inspiration, Life, loss, love, medicine, mind/body, motivation, overdose, overdose prevention, stress, stress relief|

Ghosts of WARRIORS past.

Jon and Ashley.

Wednesday started in typical fashion, walk the dog, kids off to school, have some coffee, catch up on Facebook and emails and texts. For a little it feels like just another Wednesday, and then I remember that it isn’t. Once again, the memories come crushing back as they have every year for the past 13 years, and I have to say goodbye to my brother all over again. I write about him every year on this day, the anniversary (seems like such a strange word to use) of his passing, because it helps. It helps me, it helps the people who knew my brother, it helps the people who didn’t know my brother, it just helps. My brother Jonathan is a part of my everyday, not just because he was my brother, but because his death from an overdose is what propels me to “do good” wherever I can. Deaths from opiod overdose can be prevented, we have my stepdad Jack Fishman, to thank for that. Now it’s our job to get that information out in to the world and get naloxone into the hands of anyone that needs it, thinks they’re going to need it, or thinks they might know someone who needs it. Yeah, that basically means everyone. I have written about this subject so many times, that I will just link a few of those posts here for you to peruse when you have time.

https://totemtamers.com/corned-beef-and-pastrami-on-rye-with-a-side-of-heroin/

https://totemtamers.com/a-very-personal-warrior-wednesday/

https://totemtamers.com/would-you-know-what-to-do-if-someone-was-experiencing-an-overdose/

I could write so much more, but part of me wants to go back to this being just another Wednesday, at least until later when my mom and I will be together and drink a toast to my brother, his girlfriend Ashley, and all the others who have been lost. I hope it’s just another Wednesday for you, even for just a minute.

Stay well.

These boobs are made for walking!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:20-04:00 October 16th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, central park, charity, childhood, donation, friends, friendship, Life, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, nyc, prevention, women|

You read that right!! Me and “the girls” were out in full force this morning (or is it “the girls” and I), to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month and friends who have been touched by this disease, whether directly or indirectly. And when I say “the girls”, I don’t just mean the fabulous group of girls (and boys) who got up early on a Sunday to walk 5 plus miles in Central Park this morning with a bevy of other people!

Making Strides with American Cancer Society!

Making Strides with American Cancer Society!

I mean the gazongas, the melons, the tatas, the cans, the hooters, the knockers, and I’m sure I missed a bunch, but yeah, those are “the girls”! There were big ones, little ones, new ones, man ones, fake ones, and more! Mine were smushed to bits on Friday during my annual mammogram and ultrasound!! There were pictures of the many who fought breast cancer and lost the battle, there were plenty that were currently fighting, and thankfully even more who proudly wore the sash of survivor! It was a wonderful morning of community, of friendship, and of hope, and I was humbled to have been a part of it this year, and hope it’s not my last!! If you missed the walk but still want to be supportive, click on this link http://makingstrides.acsevents.org, and make a donation! (Our team was TNT if you want to get specific about it.) Next year I hope you’ll make it out to a walk or event in your neighborhood, because we not only need to find a cure, but we need to make sure there’s funding for women (and men) to get mammograms and ultrasounds annually!! As a dear friend told her insurance company when they balked at paying for the expensive procedure, “It will be a lot more expensive to treat cancer then pay for the screening!”

Totems and Tata's!

Totems and Tata’s!

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all month long, which is probably why they call it that! Let this serve as a reminder to schedule your mammogram and ultrasound and do your self checks every month!! If you’re not sure what you’re feeling or how to feel for any abnormalities, feel free to ask a friend or follow the advice on this lovely website page.

Stay well.

On the midnight train to NYC! (Woo, woo!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:25-04:00 July 30th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, civil rights, Creative, creativity, elections, Equality, friends, friendship, gratitude, inspiration, Life, motivation, nyc, poetry, politics, sharing, stories, story, storytelling, strangers, travel, Uncategorized, voting|

There I was on Tuesday, dropping everything because a dear friend called to say she had secured me entry to that evenings proceedings of the Democratic National Convention. I try not to get too political in this space because we are all entitled to our own opinions, (except of course for those voting for the Cheetoh-man).

Chilly train station

Amtrak station welcome!

I’ve never been to Philly, and I had been warned by my friends already at the convention that it was insanely busy with people, protests, street closures, etc.. I have a friend that lives in Philly and he was patient enough to text-guide me through my visit. (Thanks RC!) I navigated the subway system with the confidence of a New Yorker and only had to ask a few people for directions along the way. That’s not where my anxiety was, my anxiety lay well ahead of me when it was time to turn back and head home. A midnight train from Philly to Penn Station. A <ahem> young lady traveling on her own. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and made my way to the convention, which was electrifying and inspiring! Yes,I got a picture of me with the unbelievable Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker! Yes, I got a picture of me with the Vice Presidential nominee and Senator from Virginia, Tim Kaine! Yes, I met Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy who was brave enough to lead the moving and powerful sit-in regarding gun control a couple months back. Yes, I was still going to end up in Penn Station in NYC at 2 o’clock in the morning.

Credentials, train ticket, and Totems. Oh my!

Credentials, train ticket, and Totems. Oh my!

Fast forward and I get to hear the end of President Clinton’s speech (the first Clinton president) and I run out to make my train! I get to the station in plenty of time, but there’s still the issue of getting home from Penn Station. I figure I’ll find someone to talk to and see if they’re heading uptown and maybe we can share a cab. If that doesn’t work, thankfully I have a night owl friend who will gladly sit on the phone with me while I navigate my way home. (Thanks PR!) I board the train and I confirm for a gentleman that this is the train to NYC and I find a seat.  That same gentleman comes down the aisle and asks if the seat next to me is available, which it is, so he sits down. Then I oh so casually say “it would be great if you were heading uptown, because then we could go up together.” Not only does he say he is going uptown and that we can take the subway, but he even offers to get off the train and walk me home. Wow, this man was raised right!! I thank him and explain that once off the train I’m really only a block away so I’ll be fine, and I have my phone friend, of course. We introduce ourselves, he’s Paul and he was in Philadelphia because his son had just moved there and he was helping him with his apartment. We chatted a bit, Paul snoozed, I read my book. The trip to New York was pretty fast! We chatted some more and I learned that Paul came to New York years ago to pursue acting and through a series of fortunate events found himself a Librarian for the New York Public Library! That’s a big deal by the way. Paul also happens to be a writer and is clearly brilliant. I tell him that I write as well and we have a sort of meeting of creative minds, talking about the things we’ve done, the things we’d like to still do and in a way we push and inspire each other to keep going. Paul likes to quote famous creatives from Pablo Picasso to Georgia O’keefe. I smile and tell Paul that someday, people will be quoting him. Turns out I have the honor to be among the first to quote him, from a poem he sent me the morning after our journey. Paul wrote that “our chance meeting was a poem waiting to be written”, and I now hold that as a mantra for every chance meeting to come. Here’s the whole poem for you to enjoy!

 An Amtrak Ride To New York From Philadelphia 

at 12:A M On A Tuesday Morning

(To Julie @ Totem Tamers)

Chance meetings can reveal

the color of one’s eyes

if you take the time to look;

chance meetings can be a

conversation in which you

hear yourself in another person’s voice;

chance meetings can be pleasant

as homemade lemonade

on the front porch of a sunny day

Our chance meeting was a poem

waiting to be written, a time to

wrap ourselves in the shared

moments of what we already know –

how else can we change the world?

An Amtrak journey and a subway ride

uptown to 72nd street offered

the usual perspectives

on renown habits of the world;

nothing much has changed

It is better to practice caution

when a woman is coming home

in the peculiar darkness

of New York sorrows

aware and alone

Still, we made our way to wherever

We had to go, asking questions of ourselves

asking questions of tendered days –

one day, and if We meet again

We should compare answers

But, never accept things as they are

when We know how things should be –

How should We live within the days of our lives?

 

Stay well.

Owl and I have Eagle fever!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:44-04:00 March 18th, 2016|activist, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bird lovers, birds, birds of prey, Life, Owls, stress relief, Uncategorized|

“Mr. President” and “First Lady” have mated and now they’re eggs are hatching!! Wait….what? Ahem, I’m talking about a majestic pair of Bald Eagles that have made a home in Washington, DC, inside the United States National Arboretum! I have always loved Bald Eagles and whenever I am given the question of what superhero power I would choose, I always choose flight! Why am I sharing this random information with you? Well for the last two days Owl and I have been obsessed watching the LIVE CAM of the eggs hatching to this beautiful mated pair of eagles. It’s incredible and I can’t seem to tear myself away. So I thought it was important enough to share with you and give a shout out to the American Eagle Foundation in the process! “The American Eagle Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to care for, restore, and protect the USA’s living symbol of Freedom, the Bald Eagle, and other birds of prey.”

 

 

Eagles nest

© 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG.

Join Owl and I and watch these new hatchlings come to life! You can even take a guess at when Egg #2 will start hatching by tweeting your guesses to #dceaglecam. Somehow watching these birds makes everything a little bit better, and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Stay well.

Happy International Women’s Day 2016!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:44-04:00 March 8th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, charity, civil rights, Equality, inspiration, Life, mind/body, motherhood, women|

Celebrate the women in your life today! Not just because it’s International Women’s Day, but because it feels good to celebrate other people. Give an extra smile. Make someone laugh. The reward will be your own.

International Women's Day

Celebrate #IWD2016

Stay well!

You could even give a Totem if you like! Visit our store and get a Totem for the women in your life!

 

A muslim-american, african-american, and caucasian-american all walk into my house….

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:47-04:00 January 18th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, civil rights, Equality, family, friends, friendship, holiday, inspiration, Liberty, Life, mental health, parenthood, parenting, racism, religion, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

and THAT my friends is part of Dr. King’s dream. This is just a cross-sampling of the kids that come over to hang out and play video games with my kids. And it’s awesome, because in those moments, it’s only about whose player has better stats or who has annihilated more zombies. There’s no question of religion or race, it’s just kids being kids, and that has to be attributed to all the work Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fought for and ultimately died for. On this day, when we get a break from school, many get a break from work, maybe we will have a nice brunch or go to a movie, take a moment to acknowledge that we have indeed come very far. Then take another moment and consider how far we still have to go. Thank you Dr. King, for your dream, for sharing it, and for inspiring many to be better human beings.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Be the dream!

Stay well.