Category Archives: family

Pegi Young, and Women Who Can’t Live Without Men

Standard

You know the type.  Even though he cheats on her….even though he bashes her behind her back…even though he is a serial liar, she clings to him, because she can’t live without a man to accompany her. Regardless of what he does, she HAS to have a man beside her or she doesn’t feel worthy or complete.

However, if  you’re in a relationship with someone who used to make you happy and no longer does, what keeps you there is not love, it’s fear, so don’t talk to me about being soft-hearted or forgiving, because you’re a fool, if this applies to you, and everyone who knows the two of you also understands this.  They just don’t have the heart to tell you.

If he has cheated once, he will do it again…and HAS…and still continues to.   You think by staying in an unhappy and unfulfilling relationship you are doing the right thing.  You convince yourself that things will get better, that he’ll change and that it’s not that bad, you can live with things the way they are. But the truth is you can’t and you know it.   Pegi Young is a woman who has said, “To hell with it…” and has forged a whole new life for herself, despite the public humiliation of her former husband’s infidelities.  I admire her for this.

Pegi Young turned that negative experience into a positive one.  She turned it into art.

This morning, NPR did a show about how Neil Young had dumped his wife of 36 years for the younger, prettier Daryl Hannah, shown here relaxing in France.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-1-24-59-pm

But this story isn’t really about Neil Young.  It is about his ex wife, Pegi….the woman who was jilted….because she didn’t ‘just crawl into a hole and go away.  She embraced what happened to her in a way that puts Neil to shame.  Yes, “the best revenge is living well,” or so they say, and Pegi Young is doing just that.

I’ve heard a lot of people criticize her for putting out this album and drawing attention to herself at “this age” but I love it that she did this. Her album is not necessarily my cup of tea, and I have been a Neil Young fan forever, but I admire Pegi for taking the reigns and being in command of her own destiny regardless of what he did to her. Making this album demonstrated tremendous inner strength, and it doesn’t matter how old she is, what she looks like, how “jilted” she was when she did it.  She did it to heal, and I admire her for it.

Her new album is called, “Raw”….and it is.  She said that writing the songs that are on it is what got her through, i.e. saved her life. Each of her new songs deals with one of the seven stages of grief.  In this song, “Trying to Live my Life Without You,” Pegi wrote, “We regretted the changes that brought us to now. I’d take it all back if I only knew how. You can drive on away with the weight of demand. And the road keeps on going until you find where you land….”

She has made a statement that makes HER look like the better person. She has taken a pile of shit and turned it into gold.  I have so much respect for a person who does something like this instead of deciding to wallow in the shit as their lives go by with disrespect from their partners.  Pegi Young is a strong woman.  A REAL woman, and she has my respect.

Save

Save

The Excitement of it All

Standard

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-12-56-22-pm

This is, perhaps, one of the most exciting times in my entire life.  I am paving the way to begin walking an entirely new path toward new goals and it feels great.  I am probably busier than I’ve been since my children were little, but I have stores of energy, and tons of enthusiasm that keep me going each day.  I have a supportive partner….two supportive partners, really….and I feel like a million bucks.

One thing that I’m doing that might seem a little wacky for a woman my age, is I’m taking a singing masterclass from Christina Agulara.  Yep.  You read that correctly.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-12-57-53-pm

While I do have a strong singing voice and I do sing, from time to time, I do not aspire to be a famous pop star.  Instead, I am taking the class to learn her teaching approach and methods. Virtually everything I do these days is to prepare for my new business, and this is far from all I am doing .

I have found a dedicated business partner who complements those areas that I lack, and I complement hers as well.  We are planning our first workshop/retreat for next April, and it is exciting indeed!  I’m running around like crazy looking at venues, working on marketing, taking pictures, writing curriculum, developing products, writing …writing…writing…networking…making new business connections.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-1-13-15-pm

A lot of my workshops will be centered around music and musicians  (as this  is an important, special  part of my life,) so I am learning the inner bones….the when, where, why and how of the technical aspects.  Those things, combined with my background in psychology are what have me so geared up and ready to go with these workshops.

While I do have my masters in psychology, I am now actively working to enhance that with life coaching certification classes from the Integrative Wellness Academy.  I feel that the two credentials integrated will help me with my workshops. Should take a few months to earn my certification.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-1-14-11-pm

In other news….my songwriting efforts are progressing in leaps and bounds, as is my guitar playing. Taking classes for both.   I have really had a breakthrough and feel as though I am soaring.  I am so happy.  I love my life.  Honestly.  It is a good life, one that is far from perfect, but that is filled with and operated by love.  I could not ask for a better and more supportive family-family AND family of friends. Being confident in my love is a wonderful feeling.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-1-14-28-pm

I have signed up for a new yoga program that will also be integrated into our workshops.  I am making art by the hour.  I am on a roll…..like butta.  Man, this is good.  I have never felt happier.  Love helps. 😉   It is what I live for.

Save

Boutonniere Inspirations for a Wedding

Standard

Long ago and far away, I worked as a freelance wedding planner.  My specialty was economical weddings in dramatic settings, such as beach weddings, foreign destination weddings and weddings in authentic Texas locations.  I once planned an elegant wedding in an old Austin Texas  barn, attended by some famous C&W musicians.   As they invited me to participate in the wedding celebration, we all had the times of our lives. The juxtaposition of elegant finery contrasted with the rustic elements provided by the barn was just perfect, and I was rewarded handsomely for my efforts.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 9.57.59 AM

As part of my promo literature at the time, I gave tips about wedding attire, honeymoon accommodations and other useful things.  What follows is some advice I had for boutonniere inspirations.:

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 9.52.10 AM

Nothing can quite add the panache to a groom’s wedding attire  like the classic style embodied his boutonniere. This traditional symbol worn on the lapel of the groom’s jacket is a gesture brimming with meaning that reaches  far beyond the flower itself. Boutonnieres symbolize beauty. They symbolize the fragility of life, and love undefined all captured in a single blossom.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 10.01.27 AM

Classic Wedding

A classic wedding calls for a classic symbol. A single red rose boutonniere with, perhaps, a tiny spray of baby’s breath embodies all of the characteristics any bride could wish for in a groom. The red rose symbolizes courage, sincere love, respect and a hearty congratulations to the happy couple. The baby’s breath symbolizes everlasting and undying love.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 10.02.43 AM

Beach Wedding

Keeping things natural at a beach wedding is the way to go. Tiny white lily boutonnieres trimmed with raffia and miniature seashells can add a nice touch, or for something more ornate,  earthy boutonnieres with lavender, green blueberries, wax flowers and rosemary can add a subtle, yet beautiful touch the blends right in with a stunning ocean environment.

Western Style Wedding

A sunset wedding on the ranch, or at the beach, calls for shades of yellow with a boutonniere made from dusty miller, billy balls and handmade wooden button flowers tied with twine. This is a winning combination that can dress up any groom’s lapel without going over the top.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 9.59.15 AM

Castle or Mansion Wedding

Any  groom can  look like a prince in a beautiful purple boutonniere made of royal ranunculus buds and rose hips that are wrapped with white or purple velvet ribbon.

High Desert Wedding

Ranunculus and rice flowers in soft desert pinks, corals and yellows are a perfect combination for a high desert wedding boutonniere. An alternative choice is silvery brunia and tiny, mint green succulents wrapped in a pale pastel ribbon.

Elegant Cocktail Lounge Wedding

Imagine the beauty of an elegant cocktail lounge wedding atop a skyscraper overlooking the glittering lights of the city. What better boutonniere could adorn the groom’s lapel than one inspired by the fresh ingredients and herbs found in the fine spirits that are served there. An aromatic boutonniere made from cinnamon sticks, Douglas fir, hops, bay laurel, grains, juniper and rosemary will be the highlight of the groom’s suit.

Hawaiian Wedding

Hawaii is one of the most popular destination wedding locations in the world. The groom will fit right in with a simple orchid boutonniere, or, for a little more flare, a boutonniere made of astrantias and jasmine blooms against a background of local foliage.

Remember, a successful wedding celebration is all about the details.  The marriage?  That’s all about the couple.

Save

Protected: My Happy Campers

Standard

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Happy Leap Day…well, I think…

Standard

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.37.17 AM

On this, the last day of February, I recall how I used to pity those poor kids who could only celebrate their birthdays on the actual date, every couple of years.  I felt uncomfortable about the ambiguous nature of the leap year birthday. I mean, those poor kids had to hesitate and figure out an understandable response to the question, “How old are you?”.

I have always had a distaste for ambiguity.  Therefore, I ask a lot of questions.  (Liars HATE it that I ask a lot of questions.  I catch them off guard, it seems…)  I ask people a lot of questions, not because I’m nosy but because when I have all the facts about a given situation, I can make better decisions for myself.  It isn’t a judgement issue.  It’s more like:  “If you’re going to do this….then I’m going to do that.”   “If you are going to call back later, I’ll leave my phone on.  If not, I’ll turn it off so I won’t be disturbed while I work.”  It isn’t that I’m asking someone TO call back.  Whatever their decision about this is, will be fine with me.  I just want to know one way or the other so I can take action accordingly.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.43.10 AM

Turns out that science has now substantiated why ambiguity bugs me ( or all of us) as much as it does.   The phenomenon  actually screws with our heads.   According to a study published in the Journal of Science, the reason lies in how the brain responds emotionally, and sometimes, even illogically, when forced to make decisions based on conflicting or little evidence.   These so-called ambiguous decisions are different from decisions that we think of as risky decisions.  No wonder the person who is being lied to, for example, appears so nutty to the rest of the world. That person is being fed conflicting information.   The heart hears what it wants to hear, but the head says, “Um….hold on there just a minute….That doesn’t make sense!”

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.35.24 AM

Wait….If it looks like a duck…then, it IS a duck….but it also looks like a rabbit.  Which do I choose?

When faced with a risky decision, one  is not sure about the outcome of a particular choice but can have a notion about the probability of success. In an ambiguous decision, a person is ignorant of both factors.  Thus, the uncomfortable feeling….the uncertainty, and sometimes illogical and absurd behaviors.

Brain specialists  would say ambiguity is the discomfort from knowing there is something you don’t know that you wish you did.  This probably stems back to the fight or flight area of the brain, the hippocampus, and is a matter of survival.   In the previously mentioned experiment,  subjects were given the opportunity to place  ambiguous bets while their brains were scanned using a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI).  In this part of the experiment, participants  were given the choice between placing a monetary bet  on the chances of drawing a red card from a “risky” deck that had 20 red cards and 20 black cards…that is, where the probability of choosing either color was 50-50, and making the same bet with an “ambiguous” deck where the color composition of the cards was unknown.

In the majority of  cases, the participants  decided  to place the risky bet. Logically, however, both bets would have been equally good because in both cases, the chance of pulling a red card on the first draw was 50-50.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.40.11 AM

The brain scans taken during the experiment revealed that ambiguous betters were often accompanied by activation of the parts of the brain known as the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC).  These are  two areas of the brain that are involved in the whole emotions processing thing.   The  amygdala has been found to be closely associated with fear, which, again, harkens back to being in survival mode.   If you think about it, a correlation between aversion to ambiguous decisions and activation of emotional parts of the brain makes  perfect sense from an evolutionary point of view.  Do I go into that dark cave or don’t I?  Well, first, I need to know if a saber toothed tiger is in there, right?  And I’m going to be a little nervous about it until I find out.  Should I leave my boyfriend or not….Well, first, I need to find out if he really IS cheating on me.  In the modern human brain, this translates into a reluctance to bet on or against an event if it seems at all ambiguous.

The results of this study could help those of us in the field of Psychology,  understand how humans make decisions in the real world, because the choices people make are often based on very limited information.  (i.e…..All signs point to cheating, but he denies it….or I’m not going to walk into that dark cave if there’s a tiger in there, because it will eat me alive. )

Makes sense to me.

Anyway….Happy Birthday, Leapers…er…Leap Yearlings…um…people whose birthdays are on leap year.  Here’s a nice mug.  Have some coffee.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.41.53 AM

 

 

 

 

 

A Six Year Old Impersonates Sarah Palin

Standard

This is six year old, Ingrid.  She worked very hard on her impersonation of Sarah Palin.  I hope you enjoy it, and that you will share it if you do!

 

Thanks for watching!

The Writing Life

Standard

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.36.11 AM

The Mills Brothers  released their hit  “Too Many Irons in the Fire” in 1946.  70 years later, this song could be designated my theme song. Yet, how many irons are too many?  I suppose that much is subjective.

I live a multi-faceted existence and always seem to have a lot of irons in the fire.  With the onset of the new year, however, I find myself busier than ever, but I am also happier than ever, and with great hope for the future.

I am working on opening a new business and have been developing workshops and programs for that, gathering partners and finances, and creating a dynamic endeavor that may take a couple of years to get off the ground, so  I continue to work on other things as I focus on getting this done.

A friend, who is a former celebrity client from a decades-ago stint I did with an entertainment law firm, contacted me over the holidays to ask if I would be part of a $25 million capital raising campaign with a view toward producing 5 new independent films.  I will be working in the capacity of a consultant, designing social media promotions and campaigns, but won’t know many details until some time next week. This will be my first MOIP-related, salaried work I have done since I received my masters degree, and while I’m excited about the work, this is not what I’ll be doing professionally, in the long run, but that is another story for another time.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.42.39 AM

In addition to my art work, a large part of my vocational time is spent writing.  I have my various creative writing projects going on….my cookbook, my novel, my poetry and short stories, all of which take the back burner too often in favor of the writing work that I get paid for.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.51.16 AM

Over the last 48 hours, I have written essays on the world-renowned Monte Pascoal cigars, Missouri fly fishing, eyeliner, the Bakken oil fields, Maternity photo shoots and the merits of portable ballet barres.  I have written essays for a graphic design company, two criminal law firms, a judge, an artist and a physician whose specialty is the treatment of diabetes.  I have a long list of articles to complete today, and another list of articles that I will have to complete from our retreat at Lake Tahoe.

I have honed article writing down to a fine art and can knock out what my editors designate as “high quality” writing in a very short period of time.  My research skills were honed to perfection while I was in graduate school, and I am able to produce many articles in a short period of time.  All this, is in addition to writing the Chinese fashion catalog that provides an endless stream of work.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 9.04.19 AM

Admittedly, I do not feel a lot of passion about the paid writing that I do.  My heart lies with my creative work, but the paid work provides a good income, and I rather enjoy it.  It isn’t what I intend to do over the long run, but for now, it is fine.

I work through a number of different agencies.  Over the years, my ranking has risen to the top with many of these agencies, and I have received a more noteworthy status than I once had as a hack writer.  Today, I am frequently notified by editors and former clients, so that the majority of the work I do is for private clients or special projects.

My work involves long hours and intense concentration, and, therefore, results in my having to make a special efforts to exercise and stay healthy.  This work can be all-consuming, and it is as easy to forget to eat and exercise as it is to breathe.  There have been days when I have started work before the sun came up, and ended it well after midnight.

In this new year, I shall endeavor to moderate my writing into a more manageable enterprise.  I vow to place my health first, and to exercise twice a day, beginning each morning with  yoga and a long walk, and doing a concentrated aerobic effort each afternoon. I have been doing this three times a week, but I am going to up the ante.

This freedom to arrange my schedule as I want it is the primary reason I continue to pursue the writing life.  This freedom to travel.  This freedom to begin and end work when I want.  The freedom to take off a half hour when my best friend calls, or the freedom to stop what I’m doing to pick Ingrid up from school.  These are the reasons that I write.

Tomorrow, as my friends go to their offices and get snagged in rush hour traffic, I will be departing for Reno/Tahoe.  THIS is why I engage in the writing life.  This freedom to leave when I want or to sleep as late as I want …..although I am an early riser….this freedom is why I write.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me

Standard

We celebrated my birthday two days ago with a beautiful array of activities and interactions with friends and family.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 7.04.09 AM

The day began with a beautiful 3 a.m. text  message greeting that made my heart sing, accompanied by a funny, musical phone message so garbled that I could barely hear it, because of the bad connection, but it still made me smile.   Things just kept getting better and better throughout the day. Phone calls….gifts….beautiful gestures made by various people.  I truly felt loved.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 9.08.01 AM

John had arranged a beautiful brunch cruise along the Willamette River aboard a yacht.  The weather was cold and overcast, but the sun broke out from time to time, making the trip absolutely perfect.  The yacht was three stories tall, and we periodically strolled from deck to deck, enjoying live jazz and beautiful scenery.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.57.03 AM

Here is a little video of the cruise:

Ingrid , shown below with her glass of sparkling apply juice, was the star of the show when she sang happy birthday to me.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.59.28 AM

I cried from the sweetness of this gesture, which was something that she cooked up herself.  As you can see, the crowd was also touched by this.    I love how she bends that note at the beginning of the song.  So cute!

Untitled

 

John enjoyed the gorgeous scenery as much as I did.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 8.00.08 AM

The food was exquisite, and we had delicious, fresh mimosas to go with.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 8.03.06 AM

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.02.21 AM

The whole trip lasted around 2.5 hours.  It was peaceful, beautiful, and much appreciated by this birthday girl….and by a little piggy (shown below).

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 9.15.18 AM

Afterward, we attended an awesome art show, which I found wholly inspiring.  Then, we went to my daughter’s house for a traditional dinner.  She baked the most delicious coconut cake for me, which Ingrid decorated with pretty gold candles.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 8.43.38 AM

I felt truly blessed this year….truly loved and deeply happy, knowing that those who took the time out of their lives to acknowledge my birth really love me.  Sometimes, I feel like the luckiest woman alive.   This was one of those perfect birthdays that I will never forget.  Many thanks to my family and to my friends who made it all possible.

Happy Birthday to our Darling Maya

Standard

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.44.24 AMDearest Maya,

19 years ago today, I received an early morning phone call from your Auntie Sarah-Lynda who informed me that you had been safely born and that you and your mom were healthy and happy.  That was a life-changing moment for your G’pa and I, and it has been with sheer delight that we have watched you thrive and grow into one of the most beautiful souls we have ever encountered.  Thank you for being you.

I have so many wonderful memories of spending time with you.  Even as a tiny child, you had a very sophisticated and rich sense of humor that never failed to make us laugh.   Remember when we rented the beach house in Neskowin?  I made this video when you were only 3.5 years old.  What a cutie!

I cherish the memories of our shopping trips, the trips to the ocean and to the mountains.  I loved shopping with you in San Francisco, and was delighted to find this picture of that day.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.48.28 AMI had so much fun when we stayed in Scotts Valley surrounded by all of that amazing art and those wild turkeys and the hammock that you and I managed to BREAK together! 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.15.20 AM

The best memory of that time, however, was when I taught you to drive.  As you can see,  I was all smiles.  That was so much fun!  Oh, and remember the time we let you and Maddie drive the Mini Cooper convertible?  Man!  You guys thought you were sooooo grown up.  🙂

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.47.38 AM I loved going to your graduation and meeting your awesome friends.  It was so much fun attending that talent show with you and hanging out with all of you.  Thank you for that, and for all of the wonderful memories that you have given us through the years.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.46.16 AMYou are a beautiful, gorgeous person, inside and out.  We are so proud that you are a part of our family, and we are thrilled that you are living in the PNW again.  Seattle just wasn’t the same without you….and neither were we!

Thank you for the gift that is you.  The earth is a better place each time you wake up to a new day on it.    Always here for you, with love in my heart.  You’re the best, sweetie.  I love you.      ~ Gams

Hack Yo Dawg

Standard

1. DIY a treat-dispensing toy to entertain them for hours.

DIY a treat-dispensing toy to entertain them for hours.

Or until they eat all the treats. Cut open a tennis ball with a scissor and stuff it with their favorite snack.

2. Play fetch downhill to tire your dog out faster.

3. Use a carabiner to easily leash your dog.

Use a carabiner to easily leash your dog.

Don’t spend 10 minutes undoing knots when you get out of the grocery store. Loop the leash handle through the carabiner, wrap it around a post, and hook it onto the remaining length of leash.

4. Put a ball in your dog’s food bowl if he or she eats too fast.

Put a ball in your dog’s food bowl if he or she eats too fast.

They’ll be forced to move the ball around the bowl, which prevents them from scarfing it all down in one lick.

5. Make an ice lick by freezing toys, bones, and chicken broth into a cake mold.

Make an ice lick by freezing toys, bones, and chicken broth into a cake mold.

I think this one is SUCH a good idea….especially for people living in particularly hot climates.

6. For an on-the-go water break, try a collapsible water bowl.

For an on-the-go water break, try a collapsible water bowl.

I have one of these for Beatrix.  
7. Make a dog car seat using a laundry basket, a pillow, and a blanket.

Make a dog car seat using a laundry basket, a pillow, and a blanket.

To keep your dog safe and in one spot, wrap a blanket around a pillow, place the pillow in the laundry basket, and use the excess fabric to drape around the basket to soften the edges. There’s a chance you’ll want to curl up in there, too.  In Oregon, one needs to safety belt-restrain their dogs, so I have devised a comfy little bed for Beatrix that includes strapping her safely into place.

8. To DIY a cute dog bed, use a crib mattress, a fitted sheet, and a wooden pallet.

To DIY a cute dog bed, use a crib mattress, a fitted sheet, and a wooden pallet.

This would be a California King size bed for Beatrix.  She would barely fill a child’s shoe box!
9. And if you want to reduce clutter in the bedroom, put your crate where a drawer would go.
And if you want to reduce clutter in the bedroom, put your crate where a drawer would go.
You can hang a curtain over it with a tension rod.  Good idea, yes?

10. If your dog hates the crate, opt for a pillow instead.

If your dog hates the crate, opt for a pillow instead.

Our Beebs loves a soft pillow!

11. You can also hack an Ikea shelf for a super-modern dog bed.

You can also hack an Ikea shelf for a super-modern dog bed.

This one, I like!

12. To save on floor space, put your dog’s bowls in a bottom drawer.

To save on floor space, put your dog's bowls in a bottom drawer.

Our Beatrix is so small that we could use a thimble for a water container and she’d still be perfectly hydrated.

13. Use peanut butter to distract your dog during nail trimming.

Use peanut butter to distract your dog during nail trimming.
I just take Beebs to the vet to get her nails trimmed.  It’s a three minute walk from our house.

14. And if you accidentally cut your dog’s nail too short, stop any bleeding with a mixture of cornstarch and water.

And if you accidentally cut your dog's nail too short, stop any bleeding with a mixture of cornstarch and water.

I don’t trim Beatrix’s nails myself because I’m terrified of nicking her.

15. If you’re traveling with a pet, get a spillproof bowl.

If you’re traveling with a pet, get a spillproof bowl.

We have one of these.  Works great!

16. And if your pet loses a toy while you’re on the road, make a crinkle toy from a sock and an empty water bottle.

And if your pet loses a toy while you're on the road, make a crinkle toy from a sock and an empty water bottle.

Have been doing this for years.  Another good idea is to stuff an old sock with crumbled up newspapers, unless you have a big dog that might tear it up.

17. Use a squeegee to remove dog hair from your car seats.

Use a squeegee to remove dog hair from your car seats.

Works like a charm.

18. For the dog that’s constantly trying to climb into the front seat: Use this zip line harness.

For the dog that’s constantly trying to climb into the front seat: Use this zip line harness.

Fortunately, little Beatrix is quite obedient, so these extreme measures aren’t necessary.

19. You can also hook the harness up outside while you’re camping or barbecuing.

You can also hook the harness up outside while you're camping or barbecuing.

20. Use chalk around outdoor pet bowls to keep ants out.

Use chalk around outdoor pet bowls to keep ants out.

Who knew?

21. If it’s really hot or really cold out, rub Vaseline onto your dog’s paws before stepping outside.

If it's really hot or really cold out, rub Vaseline onto your dog's paws before stepping outside.

I had to tell my friend about this one.  Those of us with tiny dogs that are low to the ground can really use this hack.

22. If your dog scratches the door to go out, use a door protector to minimize damages.

If your dog scratches the door to go out, use a door protector to minimize damages.

Easy solution!

23. Make your own pill pockets in flavors you know your dog will love.

Make your own pill pockets in flavors you know your dog will love.

Roll the mixture into small balls, poke a hole in each ball with a pencil eraser (for the pill), and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Get the recipe here.

24. If your dog is an escape artist, get an escape prevention dog harness.

Beatrix could squeeze through ANY opening.  This is a great idea!

25. And lastly, check out this chart to know the basics of what your dog can and can’t eat.

And lastly, check out this chart to know the basics of what your dog can and can't eat.

Empowering Women Everywhere

Standard

Here is a little blurb from the new show, “Empowering Women Everywhere, ” which is hosted by my friend, Nann Gill.

Watch it on Channel 23 (TWC) at 7:30 ET, or on line at empoweringwomeneverywhere.tv.

Become part of the Empowering Women Everywhere Community!

Click HERE.

Membership is FREE!

Read more about the 2 Left Feet Blues Festival HERE.   <clickity click click click….

“Empowering Women Everywhere” is produced by the Academy of Film, Television and Stage Performing Arts, a 501c3 corporation.

The program reaches over a million households twice a week!

For a tax-deductible donation you can become a sponsor of the show.

Sponsorship packages are individually designed to best fit your giving criteria.

Please call 845-294-8444 to discuss your particular requirements.

Life is a Balance

Standard
Life is a Balance

Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.

Things have changed.

I used to walk into a room and wonder if the people there would like me.  Now, when I walk into a room, I wonder if I will like them.     The need for external validation is not important to me, at this point in life, and I don’t have to actually like someone for them to have value in my life, nor to have value in theirs.  If there is a job to be done, I simply do it.   I have optimized, categorized and am moving full speed ahead.  I am letting go of the negative and embracing those positive relationships that are good.

The relationships that remain are solid.

 I have learned to let go of the people and things that do not serve my best interests…the ones that hurt and deceive me ….and this has really helped me to stay focused and to do  good work.  This has freed up a tremendous amount of emotional and physical energy.   It can be difficult when one lets go of family members or of  people who were once close friends…..but as things turn out, letting go of those with whom your values, ethics, morals and beliefs do not align, can help propel you forward and free you to do what you are best suited to do in life.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 10.45.10 AM

The people that *really* matter to me are functionally in my life, although I am forced to use that  term  (“functionally”)  loosely when referring to one significant person.  That is an unfortunate situation that I cannot talk about here.

The solution was simple.  I let go of the drama and embraced all of the many good things that I hold so close to my heart and things have never been better.  I now sing about my happiness to other audiences and I go to bed every night with a smile on my face, knowing that I am loved.                                   

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 11.15.13 AM

My husband has returned to Portland, full time, from the Bay Area and we have immersed ourselves into a plethora of creativity.  His health is much better than it was, even a year ago.  He attributes this to our being together so much of the time now.  I am watchful over is health, feed him good, home-cooked food and make sure he gets lots of exercise.  He seems so happy, and I’m glad he is home. He is writing plays and working with a partner on creating original musical scores for his plays.  I have the biggest art commission of my life,  am working on my novel every day.  I have successfully completed the composition of two country and western songs that will soon be ready to shop.  I  and am putting a new business together and am also spending lots of time with Ingrid in these last days before she is immersed into French school.  I am thoroughly enjoying the wonderful city where we live.  John and I are reorganizing our home and getting rid of possessions that we no longer need.  Everything is about moving ahead and being happy.

Everything that we are doing,  together and individually, can be either directly or indirectly attributed to making the best choices about letting go of the dead weight of the crazies.  I cannot believe I ever hesitated.

Life is so uncomplicated now.  Why didn’t I make these decisions years ago?

Ann Coulter, the Vile Spewer of Hatred, Gets Taken Down a Notch or Seven

Standard

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 10.08.38 AM

After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a “retard” in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:


Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult? I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night. I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have. Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next. Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift. Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more. After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash. Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much. Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia

On Being Politically Correct

Standard

It’s Official! 

Standard

There is no greater feeling in life than accomplishing a goal that one has worked hard to achieve….well, maybe seeing my daughter receive HER masters degree was a greater feeling, but this is a significant personal milestone and I’m feeling pretty good about it today.  Congratulations, me. 😀  

Day #28 – Looking In

Standard

  

Lavender for Migranes

Standard

Lavender has been studied recently for several purposes including treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as a number of other things. Its analgesic effect, however, its painkiller effect, is one of the widely studied properties. Surprising, then, that there hasn’t apparently been a single documented clinical trial to study lavender for the treatment of migraine headaches that affects tens of millions of Americans every year. Until now: “Lavender Essential Oil in the Treatment of Migraine Headache: A Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.”

Migraine sufferers were asked to—at the early signs of headache—rub 2–3 drops of the lavender essential oil onto their upper lip and inhale its vapor for a 15-min period of time and score the severity of their headache for the next two hours. In the control group they did the same thing except they used drops of basically unscented liquid wax. Neither group was allowed to use any painkillers. In the lavender group 74% of patients had an improvement in their symptoms, significantly better than placebo. Though in the study lavender wasn’t directly compared to more conventional treatments, lavender appears to stack up pretty well compared to typical drugs. Lavender helped about three quarters of the time, high dose Tylenol only works about half the time, and Ibuprofen 57% of the time. The #1 prescription drug, generic imitrex, is effective 59% of the time, and then the hardcore treatment they use in emergency rooms where they inject you under the skin, 70%. All of these work better than the original migraine therapy, known as trepanning, where doctors drilled a hole in your head to let the evil spirits escape.

Conclusion: The present study suggests that inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches.

You can buy pharmaceutical grade lavender for $21 HERE.

Day #21-Wet

Standard

  

A New Adventure for Ingrid

Standard

1schoolgirl

Our Ingrid has always loved clothes.   She is one of the most innovative, free spirited and creative dressers that I know. We have always let her choose her own outfits, ( for as long as she has expressed an interest in doing so) and she is just one of those kids who has an eye for what looks good.

1ingridspiggie

It is not unusual to see her decked out in formal attire, strolling through the isles of Whole Foods with her own shopping cart…

1ings store

…..  or walking the dog….or to find her strolling about town in designer clothes and shoes of some kind.  She has a fanciful imagination and playing dress up is one of her favorite activities.  We feel that it feeds her creative spirit.

1formal

In a couple of months, she will begin her first year of school and must wear uniforms every day.  Her mother attended private school and one of the main worries at that time was that she hated wearing uniforms.  It didn’t take long for her to customize them in ways that were within the dress code, but that also highlighted her unique personality.  I have no doubt that Ingrid will do this as well…but for now, she is excited about the uniform.  They do offer several options…khaki pants, different sleeve lengths and so forth.  We will see how she does.  The excited part is rather nice.  I wonder how she will feel about it by the end of the school year?

4ur