Parts Known

By | 2018-06-13T21:28:22+00:00 June 13th, 2018|Uncategorized|

It’s been less than a week since the news of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Even writing that doesn’t help it sink in any deeper, part of it is self-protection, because like so many people I just don’t want it to be true. Part of it is because it is so fraught with emotions that it’s truly difficult to process. I can’t even seem to get past what to call him! Let me back up a little and give you the short history.

I’m fortunate to be connected to the Harm Reduction Coalition, an organization that at it’s core seeks to help reduce the harm for drug users and the communities impacted by drug use. That includes overdose prevention, eradicating stigma, reducing HIV and HCV viruses, and so much more. In these efforts, we try not to just “preach to the choir”, but to actually encourage dialogue with those who think they are on the periphery on substance use issues. With the opioid epidemic taking hold, those on the periphery may sadly find themselves smack in the middle at one point or another. We wanted to hold a fundraiser, we wanted to bring in new people that maybe wouldn’t know about Naloxone (the opioid antagonist) or wouldn’t actually hop over to the pharmacy to get Naloxone (blame that damn stigma.) In that vein (see what I did there), we knew we needed to offer more than just the convenience of an overdose prevention kit for a fundraiser, we needed to offer magic! That magic took shape in the lanky 6 foot 4 frame of Anthony Bourdain. See, he represented everyone, he was a former heroin user who knew what it was like to “itch”, he knew what it was like to struggle and work your ass off, and he was now knowing true success. Everyone loved Chef, and he would be perfect! As I will often do, I piped up and said “We can get him.” Everyone thought I was nuts, I’m sure they still do, but son-of-a-bitch if a couple months later we weren’t standing in the lounge at Cafe Tallulah listening to this magic man preach to the choir, new and old!

Testify!                               ©

Mr. Bourdain was awesome at the event. He hung out for an hour and chatted with anyone who was brave enough to approach him. And when he spoke to the crowd, he had our message loud and clear, and trust me, we did not even attempt to coach or ask what he had planned to say, we knew he got it. He signed cookbooks, had a few beers, and when it started to get a little much, he politely headed out the door in to the streets of New York City. That was the last time I saw Tony, and I never would have imagined that 7 months later I would be writing this with the realization that I would never see him again. And you know I was planning a second annual Harm Reduction Happy Hour!

Preaching!                                 ©

I followed Tony on social media, marveling at his travels, his food choices, his girlfriend, and he seemed like he was doing ok, like he was treading water just fine. You just never know when the cement shoes of depression will finally pull you under for the last time. Yeah, I’m angry. Yeah, I’m asking the same damned questions everyone is asking. How could he do this? How could he leave his daughter? How could someone who was doing so much good for so many people be so unhappy? He was in love, he was in great shape, he was traveling, he was wealthy. I could go on and on, but the truth is, we can never know what demons invaded his brain, and we will never know. I have been thinking about a friend who took his life a few years ago and even though I knew how much pain he was in, it was still hard to understand. I guess I should be grateful that I don’t know that pain. Anthony Bourdain’s passing has hit many people hard and there are still pieces being written and posted today, his impact is incredible and his loss profound.

Afterglow!                                                  ©

Plenty of people have assumed his suicide was related to substance use, “he wasn’t really in recovery, he drank all the time”, “well he was an addict”, “he probably started using again and felt guilty”. You name it, people have been saying it and if they aren’t saying it they are thinking it. Recovery isn’t one size fits all, and it can’t be if we want to actually help people. Look, abstinence may be the right size for you depending on your history. Someone else, like Tony, could drink and not slip back in to heroin use. Some are blaming his girlfriend, that she must have broken up with him or cheated on him or whatever. This was not anyone’s fault, this was Tony’s decision and his decision alone.

The bottom line is mental health, taking care of quieting the demons when they start to pull you under, reaching out and checking in on your loved ones who you know have the tendency to go dark at times, doing whatever you can to stay here, where you can love and be loved. The most beautiful part that became known through this remarkable man’s death, and yes I can find beauty, is the countless messages and phone calls I received the day we learned Chef had passed. So many people checking in on me to make sure I was ok, and asking if I needed anything, wanting to connect because they were feeling the sadness, too. I didn’t know Anthony Bourdain, Mr. Bourdain, Tony, Chef, I don’t know if anyone really ever knew him, but for one night in my life he was a friend, an advocate, a champion, and the rock star we all imagined he would be, and I will always be grateful for that. I have been hearing a line from a song from the musical Next to Normal in my head these last few days that I think is important for everyone to have in the back of your head: “You don’t have to be happy at all, to be happy you’re alive.”

Stay well

Bourdain

In the glow of the shadows                                                                  ©

Photos courtesy of and protected by Javier Dominguez

Back to school anxiety……sale!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:11+00:00 September 17th, 2017|anger management, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, birds, birds of prey, childhood, children, education, Life, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, Owls, parenthood, parenting, school, shopping, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

No, we aren’t selling anxiety, silly! But we are selling Totems that will help with any anxiety you or your kids might be experiencing as they go back to school. You might be saying “Hey, we’ve been back to school for almost a month, you’re a little late!” Well, all kids are different, and I learned this with my own, especially around back to school time. First day, usually a breeze. First week, pretty much unscathed. Second week, the “I don’t want to go to school dance” begins. My kids, all of them, would be fine for the first couple weeks, and then the s*%t would hit the fan. Sometimes it’s the excitement of a new beginning that helps hide the anxiety that kids might be feeling. Sometimes it’s the realization that this is the new normal that kicks the anxiety in to high gear. Either way, Totem Tamers can help. Anxiety typically leaves people overwhelmed and feeling out of control and powerless, more so for children, who struggle verbalizing these feelings. So, we want to make it easier for you and/or your kids, or anyone you know that might benefit from some simple coping techniques, and we are putting our Totems on sale!

sale

Limited Time Only Sale!

Visit our shop at www.totemtamers.com/shop and choose from Owl, Bear, Shark, or Bulldog and empower yourself to find calm when you need it most. Every Totem comes with a super soft microfiber bag (which doubles as an eyeglass lens cleaner), a handy guide card that gives you simple steps on regaining calm, and a beautiful, weighted Totem that feels great in your hand and not too bulky in your pocket! We have an incredibly illustrated booklet available as well, that can be really helpful for children, who might benefit from visuals when trying to explain how they feel. And, if you’re feeling super generous, we can even add a gorgeous natural wood box if you want to give a Totem as a gift! Get on the road to calm, and get your Totem today!

My kids stash Totems in their backpacks, because knowing it’s there is sometimes all they need to know when they’re feeling anxious.

Stay well.

 

Happy Father’s Day from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:13+00:00 June 18th, 2017|Life, Uncategorized|

It’s quiet in my house today, because the kids are with their Dad, at his house. I sent a text wishing a Happy Father’s Day and promptly asked how the little one was doing because he was diagnosed with strep throat yesterday. “Thanks and all good”, was the reply. I’m grateful that even though we are divorced, my children have a Dad who is involved and present and affectionate, and firm with just the right amount of scary. Then I started thinking about my father, who I didn’t see after the age of 11 and he died when I was 13. I miss him, I guess, but I don’t really remember much. I was young, my folks were divorced, and I didn’t spend that much time with him overall. I think I miss the idea of him. Sad. I like to think I inherited his sense of humor and his ability to tell a joke, and he could always captivate with his story-telling abilities. Maybe I got some of that too, but clearly I didn’t inherit any humility. (See? A joke!) I have one wallet-sized photo of my Dad, that’s it. It sits on a shelf next to an ashtray from a family restaurant that bore my last name (a recent gift from a friend, found at a flea market!)

Memories on a mantel.

Memories on a mantel.

It’s interesting because there are people around who still remember my Dad’s restaurant. A dear friend and I have retold the story several times, of the moment her mom realized that my Dad, was Dan Stampler, from The Steak Joint. She held herself and started to tear up at remembering how her late brother loved the restaurant and went for dinner almost weekly. My friend’s mom later introduced me to another couple, well in to their 70’s, who shared with me that their first date was at my father’s place. “How lovely,” I told them, fighting the melancholy at not having known my Dad when he was in his prime. I’m grateful that even though I have limited memories of my father, that there are many whose memories are punctuated by his presence. Oh, and I do love a good steak!

I’m also grateful that for the last 20 years, my stepdad acted much like a father to me. I used to tell him that he yelled at me just like a father would, he would smile, and then yell “No!”  He’s gone now too, and that makes me sad, but thankful for the many memories I have, and that every day his contributions to society punctuate someone else’s memories. And then of course, there’s my mom, who had to be father and mother for most of my childhood. I am grateful for that and her, as well. So I sit in my quiet house, grateful, a bit melancholy, but still able to giggle as I remember a joke my dad used to tell about a “Foo-Foo bird worth a miiiillllion dollars!” If you’re lucky, I’ll tell it to you one day.

So, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there, and the Moms who act like father’s sometimes, too!

Stay well.

Didn’t get Dad a gift yet? You can always get him a Totem!! Click on any of the four Totems to your left and order one today!

It’s NOT a tumor! (Starting off holiday weekend revisiting disco lights of migraines past!)

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:13+00:00 May 27th, 2017|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, children, coffee, creativity, dining, dinner, gratitude, health, Life, mental health, mind/body, stars, stress, stress relief, totems, Uncategorized|

Update:Today marks my second experience with these super bizarre migraines, but at least now I know what it is! Enjoy the weekend all!

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, that was the scene running through my mind the other night, when I was convinced I had a brain tumor.

Thankfully, Arnold’s words mirrored the doctor, who also said “It’s not a tumor, it appears to be a migraine.” Good news! So good, I started to cry with relief. Here’s the scene: My boys and I were getting ready to sit down to dinner and I was doing a last check of email on my phone. There was a smudge on the screen that I tried to wipe off, but it wouldn’t go away. Oddly enough when I looked away from the phone screen, the smudge followed me. Too much screen time perhaps? My eyes must be dry!  I put some rewetting drops in and waited, and that’s when the technicolor-disco lights-shimmering prisms started dancing before my eyes. Only on the left side of my periphery, but visible when either eye was closed. I sit down at the table, and we are psyched because we have just started the final season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and I can’t really see the TV with all these lights dancing in my eyes. And there it is, that warm, far-away gurgle, that starts deep in my gut, then buzzes through me with a flash, where for a moment I feel lighter than air. Sounds almost pleasant right? Well, it’s not, it’s the start of a major panic attack because I have just realized that I’m in the middle of some kind of episode involving my brain, and I’m half expecting to drop, right there at the dinner table during Buffy. I get up and head to my room where I can take very slow, deep breaths, in an effort to calm my climbing blood pressure. The visual disturbance meanwhile, is becoming more pronounced. Thankfully my babysitter was still around, as I knew I needed medical attention. I had her do the stroke test with me so I could rule that out, and then I called my mom. By the time my mom came to get me, the disco had pretty much stopped. You’d think I would have been happy about that, but as soon as all the dancing lights faded away, a lovely headache creeped up on the opposite side of my head. Yup, I’m a goner.

There’s an Urgent Care around the corner so we headed there, my stiff upper lip, my headache, and my mommy. One friend had suggested it was a migraine, but I had never really had one before so I was skeptical, but clearly there’s a first time for everything! I experienced what is perfectly described as an ocular migraine with aura! I always knew I had a pretty shimmery aura, but I thought the point was for other people to notice it, not me! I have a sense of humor about it now obviously, but I was terrified, and I have tremendous empathy for everyone I know (and even those I don’t), that suffers from any kind of migraine. I got off easy with this one because I actually was functioning and doing fine considering the dull throb. So fine, that I was able to keep my chaperoning duties with 28 fourth graders for a trip to the Whitney Museum! I saw a piece from the Frank Stella exhibit that reminded me of my disco lights!

Like my migraine, only art!

I’ve read about all the triggers, and of course, most of them are things I thoroughly enjoy (red wine, chocolate, etc.), I might just have to do process of elimination to determine what I can get away with!! It’s scary when something is going on and you feel helpless, I am grateful that Totem Tamers helps to remind me to take deep breaths, because I’m certain those deep breaths kept me from fainting out of fear. I hope I never experience this again, but at least now I know what it is and knowing is half the battle! Would love to hear from all you migraine sufferers, tips, triggers, suggestions!!!

Stay well.

Happy Mother’s Day from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:14+00:00 May 14th, 2017|brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, family, inspiration, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, Uncategorized|

As a mom, I’m grateful for all the moments I have with my children, even when I’m angry, disappointed, nervous, scared, worried, etc.. Because along with all of those feelings, I also get happy, excited, proud, awestruck, and love, lots and lots of love. Some of those feelings come from moments where I’m not involved, and only witnessing. Like this one from a while back:

Freeze this moment!

They sat in this hot tub for a little too long perhaps, but it was long enough for me to watch them giggle, argue over who is the best soccer team in the Premier League, decide who was going to get out and turn the bubbles back on, and more. I just sat and watched in awe of my three wonders, my greatest gifts, and that’s why I snapped the picture, because I wanted to remember the moment forever. In that moment, I also found gratitude for my own mother, who gave me life and the capacity to be a great mother to my children. Thanks Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother, whatever you may mother!

Stay well.

 

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

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:25+00:00 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.

Sometimes what matters is saying absolutely nothing.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:29+00:00 May 24th, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, death, dogs, Life, parenthood, parenting, Uncategorized|

Those who have had the privilege (or curse, everyone has their opinion) of meeting me, know that I like to talk. And talk, and talk, and talk. My kids are often heard exasperating “Mom, do you have to talk to everyone you see on the street?”) I like to talk, and I like to talk to people as much, if not more than I like to talk to myself. When you talk to a lot of people, you get to know a lot of people, and I love that! It is rare that I walk around my neighborhood and I’m not greeted by someone on the street, and it works for me. It keeps me present and it keeps me grounded, and I am grateful for the people who pass through my life every day. I live in a big building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which means lots of people to talk to, from my neighbors to the awesome employees of the building. Just like any social situation, you hear things from time to time. Like “neighbor so and so” has a new grandkid, or “neighbor so and so” got engaged, or “neighbor so and so” has a puppy now. And sometimes it’s not great news, like two weeks ago when I heard that one of my neighbors children was killed in an accident. This neighbor is not someone I know well at all, and he isn’t here all the time either, but we’ve had conversations and he likes my dog, so there’s always polite chatting while he gets his dog fix.  I ran into this neighbor a couple days after hearing the news, we ended up in the elevator together and I was with a friend. I simply said “Hi, how are you?” He looked wrecked of course, swollen eyes, slumped over a bit, just clearly having a hard time. He worked up a smile and asked me about my kids, without answering the question. I knew then that he didn’t want to talk about his son, or couldn’t talk about his son. So as best as I could, I pepped up and gave him a quick answer as the elevator let us out of what had become a very tight space. Then I saw him again last week. Again we ended up in the elevator, this time I had my dog (thankfully), and this time we actually walked down the block a clip. The conversation was light and we talked about his dog who is getting up there in age, and about the weather, and nothing else. I watched him walk off on his way to work with his head hung down just enough for me to notice but something others might not sense if they didn’t know what I knew. It was then I realized he didn’t need me to say anything about his devastating loss, he needed me to just be the chatty neighbor with the cute dog that he knows me to be. And in that moment, I was grateful to be just that.

Stay well.

totems

Silence is just as important as talking.

Meet the Parents!!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:31+00:00 April 23rd, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, family, Life, love, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, stress, stress relief, teenager, teenagers, teens, totems, Uncategorized|

My son has a girlfriend. MY SON HAS A GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!! Yeah, ok, he’s 16, 6ft tall, looks and acts even older and yeah, ok, he’s a good kid. And now he has a girlfriend. He had a girlfriend once before, like for a minute in 8th grade, and she broke his little heart. He wrote a beautiful song about it and still sings it occasionally. I hate her. She hurt my boy. I saw her not too long ago on the street and my mama bear was all catty and mean (in my head, don’t worry) and I judgy-judged her because she hurt my boy. Now there’s another young lady on the horizon, and my boy’s heart is even bigger than it was three years ago. She’s coming over today so I can meet her. I’ve been wanting to meet her for weeks now, but my son said he wasn’t ready, and she wasn’t ready, and it was clear he was nervous and he said she was nervous. If they only knew how nervous I am, too. I want to make a good impression just as I’m sure she wants to impress me. I’m sure she’s changed her outfits three times already. I’m sure she’ll put less lipstick and eye-shadow on as well. Hey, I’m going to take a shower, so you know this is a big deal. Thing is, I don’t want her to be any different than she is with my son. He’s googly-eyed for her. I want to see why. I want to meet her authentic self, her true self, her sarcastic self (that’s one of the characteristics my son said he really likes about her). I will be her champion all the way, unless there comes a time when my boy gets hurt, then she best get in line for the judgy-judging Mama Bear, because I will find her. Until then, it’s all about innocent until proven guilty. It’s all about the “talk”. Yep, the s-e-x, one. Truth is, I’m a rock star when it comes to awkward conversations so we’re good. We’ve already had lots of talks, my son and I, and now we’ve added consent to the topics of importance. I stress to him, that no matter he wants to do, he must ask if it’s ok, then ask again, and then double-check that. I also had the conversation with him about making sure they practice safe sex. Now I know they aren’t having sex……yet. They might be though, and I want to make sure he’s prepared, not only with condoms, but with all the necessary mental prep he might need. Truth is, I would rather he didn’t have sex, at least not for a while, and I told him there are at least 300 things they could do that don’t risk making a baby. I encouraged him to try all 300 before they move on to the good old in and out. Ya know?! He seemed receptive and admitted out loud that he wasn’t ready for a baby. Whew!! Because I’m not ready to be a grandma, and I’m certainly not ready to let my baby go. Not yet anyway.

Stay well.

I’ll surely have my Totems nearby to grab if my nerves get the better of me and I start acting like a silly embarrassing mom. If you need a Totem for those just-in-case moments, visit our store www.totemtamers.com/shop, and get one today!

 

 

baby boy

Purple rain of tears. #Prince #RIP

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:41+00:00 April 21st, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, Music, Uncategorized|

blooming flowers sunshine

Maybe the light that was breaking through the beautiful blooming trees this morning was the making of another star in the sky. Prince has been one of the most influential musicians of my time and seeing him up close in concert years ago has stayed with me always. He will be missed. We are blessed to have his musical legacy forever.

The music lives on.

The music lives on.

Always pushing the envelope musically and sexually, Prince will be remembered and revered by many who were lucky enough to witness his genius, and generations to come.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers is happy to introduce our newest Totem!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:42+00:00 April 1st, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, Life, mental health, Uncategorized|

Scary clown

Clowns are calming! (April Fool’s!)

Sorry, couldn’t help myself!! Have a wonderful April Fool’s Day! And now that you’re totally ramped up because of the creepiest clown photo ever, remember to take your Totem and some deep breaths, and you’ll be good as new!

If you need a Totem that is actually calming and not completely terrifying, visit our store at www.totemtamers.com/shop!

Stay well.

Sometimes being apart together is where the beauty is!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:43+00:00 March 26th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, apartment, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, family, Life, love, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, siblings, teenager, teenagers, teens, Uncategorized|

I’m sitting in my teeny office on a lazy Saturday morning. I’m checking in on the baby eaglets on the DCEagles Cam (I’m obsessed), I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee (sssshhh, don’t tell my GP), and I’m keeping myself “hidden” so I can enjoy the symphony of my children in the living room. You might already know that I have three boys, 16 going on 20 (he lives for independence), 13 going on tomorrow (he lives for the moment), and 9 going on 40 (he lives to tell everyone how it is). They are all so uniquely different, but those times they come together are the most amazing ones. Currently, the three of them are in the living room watching some wacky-sounding video and cracking up. I’m talking belly-aching, sore cheek, tear-inducing laughter. The temptation to go in and investigate, participate, and celebrate, is so strong, but I know that my presence will only alter the experience and change the vibe. So I sit here apart, but as together as I could ever want to be. Sure we have whole family moments where we all giggle, sometimes to the point of falling over, and those are awesome, but hearing my boys enjoy each other is what makes me whole. The three of them will (hopefully) be together long after I’m gone, and what gives me peace in that morbid thinking, is that they will all able to comfort each other and make each other laugh. These are the moments that build their relationships and the best place for me to be is not with them. Consider that the next time you hear your kids from the other room and the desire to join them hits you, give them the space to add the mortar to their foundation without you telling them where to lay every brick!

three boys and a fountain

I was tempted to go in and snap a new picture of the boys, but I know they would not have wanted that, so here’s an oldie but goodie from the Lincoln Center fountain!

Apart, but together, is actually pretty special.

Stay well.

Owl and I have Eagle fever!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:44+00:00 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.

#NationalNappingDay

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:44+00:00 March 14th, 2016|bears, brothers, bulldogs, childhood, children, creativity, dogs, Life, sleep, Uncategorized|

Not writing much because I haven’t officially celebrated this most perfect day yet, and my best napping partners await!!

Napping boy and dog

 

With Daylight Savings time in full effect, a nap may be just what the interweb ordered! I will frequently announce that I’m taking a “disco nap” which means under a half hour for me, and just enough of a boost to get me to the disco (more likely the kitchen to make dinner, but you get the point!) Apparently reducing blood pressure, enhancing productivity and reducing stress happen to be bonuses to taking a nap, not that I need anymore motivation but at least this gives it purpose.

So what are you waiting for? Take a nap!!!

Stay well.

Totems are great napping partners, too. If you don’t have one, get one!! Just head over to our store, link at the top!

 

Totem Tamers gladly calls “Bull!”

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:45+00:00 February 23rd, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, dogs, Life, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

Bulldog had a pleasant surprise while reading the newspaper this morning!

Everyone loves a bulldog and it’s great to see the breed among favorites, at least in NYC!

Bulldogs Daily News

How about a picture of your Bulldog?! Don’t have one? Shop https://totemtamers.com and get one today!

Stay well.