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My Teaching Schedule: No public classes at this time, sorry.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!


I love the Peanuts gang. It's just not the holidays without seeing Snoopy rock out on his electric guitar! I break out in a funky dance as soon as the "Lucy and Linus" theme chimes in. What is it about Charlie Brown that makes him and his friends so timeless?


Charlie Brown brings out the child in each of us, transporting us back to simpler times and carefree lives. He helps us recapture, even if for a short time, the joy of our inner child, that sense of wonder and boundless happiness. This Christmas I chose to uncomplicate my obligations and focus on the true meaning of this Christian holiday. Although I don't personally belong to an organized religion, the true meaning applies to all human kind. Goodwill, charity, understanding, peace, empathy, selflessness should be a part of us all year round, not just around the holidays when it's fashionable.

The sad, little tree that needs a home is pretty obvious in the Peanuts version. Showing compassion for others, even a tree, is much easier than turning that compassion within and directing it inward. Our inner child needs nurturing and love as well. There is a well known Buddhist meditation titled "Loving Kindness". This meditation is about compassion, compassion for ourselves first, then toward those we know, and finally to all sentient beings. Like the emergency oxygen mask we strap on prior to assisting others, being merciful to our inner self is like oxygen for our soul. We can't adequately help others if we don't attend to our spiritual child first.

Although Snoopy is my favorite Peanuts character (who doesn't want a dog like Snoopy??), Charlie Brown carries our inner child on his sleeve labeled as insecurity, angst and simplicity. Yet it is in simplicity that the divine qualities of our inner child shine. Open hearted, good and kindly are the traits we should carry on our sleeve every day, just like Charles.

My Christmas wish to you all is to find your inner child and give it a reason to smile. Feel the warmth of that smile radiate through your soul and fill you with compassion and joy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Are You Grateful For?

Thanksgiving Day is upon us and gratitude is the word that bubbles to the surface of my consciousness. Grateful for every single moment of my silly life. I take so many moments for granted, such as my ability to hike a mountain, gaze at a rainbow sherbet sunset as I'm stuck in rush hour traffic, take in the melodious singing of competing songbirds in my garden, conversing with a good friend, laughing and playing with my young nephews, sharing a delicious meal. I am in deep gratitude for a healthy body and mind and for all the gifts I've been bestowed that money can't buy.
I am grateful to each and every one of you for your friendship, love and kindness. May tomorrow truly be a day of thankfulness for all of you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I've Been Kicked Out of Bars, But This Is Ridiculous!

Yes, I've been kicked out of bars, a hotel, a public park, and probably a couple of other places I can't recall anymore but this last incident was disturbing. On a recent Sunday evening, my husband, 14 year-old Australian Shepherd and I went on our normal walk. The same walk we've been embarking on for 9 years. Suddenly, a man's voice is screaming hello at us, and this pudgy, short figure waddles up behind us, scaring the beegeebees out of me. I shrieked and jumped a yard back not knowing what this stranger wanted. Was he on drugs, did he want money? Here we are, on a darkened neighborhood street with not a soul in sight, and this weirdo starts asking us if we live in the neighborhood. Are you kidding me? My husband, concerned for our safety, starts asking this seemingly mentally disturbed middle-aged guy why he wanted to know. All excitable now, the stranger states that this is a private street (not gated, mind you) and we are trespassing. My husband, still thinking this guy is on drugs, asks if he's a security guard or just out to lunch. Whipping out his IPhone, the crazy lawyer (yes, big surprise) announces he's calling the police to have us escorted out and proceeds to speed dial someone, probably his wife. We were escorted out by a paper pushing, overweight middle-aged white guy to the edge of the subdivision. I'm not making this up. We were told to stay south of Cholla Street where we belonged and never to return to Village Fairways subdivision (friendly place).
Why, you ask?? We still don't know why. We always pick up after our dog, although to our chagrin, our bag was empty during this incident. I think attorneys and dog poop go well together. We weren't dressed indecently, although our dog WAS naked. Obviously, he hates dogs. And people. Especially people who don't live in Village Fairways, where only unfriendlies are welcome.
So if you ever find yourself walking your dog near Village Fairways, and spot a late model black Mercedes Benz coupe (yes, the crazy lawyer's car), feel free to toss that steaming hot, full bag of dog poop at it. Tell him it's a belated gift from me.
P.S.- Will keep you posted on this one. Village Fairways is bounded by Cholla St. & Stonecreek Golf Course and 42nd St. to Tatum Blvd. in Phoenix.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mamma Mia! Here I Go Again

Yes, it's a musical. With ABBA music. I omitted both of those facts when my husband asked what the movie we were about to watch, Mamma Mia!, was about. "It's a comedy, honey", I sweetly replied. By the time he figured out there was dancing AND singing at the same time, it was too late. He abhors musicals. If I ever want to torture him, I'll tie him to a chair and force him to watch "The Sound of Music" repeatedly. But I digress.

The 70's were big. Big on everything. Sequined jumpsuits w/bell bottoms wide enough to hide a family of squirrels. Platform shoes for wading through rice paddies. Cars that could double as boats, and larger than some New York apartments. It was fabulous!
Why am I blogging about this? Because of one scene. Forget the decadence of a Greek island setting, Meryl Streep singing her heart out and Pierce Brosnan bravely crooning onscreen. The girls on the bed jumping and hopping captured my heart. When is the last time you jumped up and down on a bed? Let your inner child go wild? Threw caution and propriety out the window and set yourself free?
Our souls need to express their silly side as well as their introspective one. Life is way too serious these days. Bounce a yo-yo, throw a Frisbee, lick a Popsicle, chase your friend with a remote control car, shoot silly string at each other, blow bubbles, and don't forget to jump on the bed! Most importantly, laugh and forget your worries.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Viva Espana!


Felicidades a los campeones de la copa mundial de futbol 2010!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Joy in a Lunchbox


Who knew Blondie could make me giggle like a little girl? The story I am about to tell you is true, to the horror of my mother, I am sharing it with the blogosphere. She would be mortified!
Once upon a time, at the bottom of a hill in a quiet, middle class neighborhood in Staten Island there was a pile of broken, used, loved but unneeded items waiting for the trash collector. My tear-filled 7-year old eyes kept staring in disbelief at the shiny metal lunchbox sitting there. I loved that lunchbox, but mom said we couldn't take it to Spain with us. There just was no room. No room for a lunchbox??? We had room for a stupid old baby grand piano but not my favorite lunchbox? I cried so hard and to this day, with crystal clear vision, can see my treasure waiting at the curb. I remember the day my mom bought it for me. I had waited for what seemed eternity for my Blondie lunchbox. Then, one day at the supermarket, I spotted it neatly lined up on an upper shelf above the open freezer with scores of other lunchboxes. I screamed with delight, jumping up and down pointing at it! I HAD to have it, so the nice clerk climbed up the ladder and handed it to me. I quickly unlatched it, but there was no Thermos. No Thermos? The man looked around at all the other lunchboxes, but this was the last Blondie left. I glanced quickly at my mom terrified she would make me give it back and told her there was no way I was giving up Blondie, Thermos or not. She asked the man if it would be possible to take one from a different lunchbox and my Blondie lunchbox was complete with a Yellow Submarine (yes, from the Beatles) Thermos. I carried that lunchbox everywhere! I was soooo happy! Until the day we moved to Barcelona, Spain.
I've never forgiven my mother for that atrocity, it was psychologically damaging. She has apologized over and over for this faux pas, and I certainly seem to have survived without it. In fact, I didn't realize how much it affected me until last week. A friend gave me an unexpected gift for just being a friend. You guessed it, a Blondie lunchbox with the correct Thermos this time around. See picture accompanying this entry to see me clutching it with absolute joy and delight!
Even I was surprised at how much joy and completeness it brought me. My friend remarked how brokenhearted he was when I told him the story a while back and wanted to show his gratefulness by giving me this incredibly thoughtful gift.
My Blondie lunchbox and I are reunited at last, a complete circle of sorts. I've forgiven my mother and I am NEVER letting this one out of my hands! Our joys in life sometimes come in the most unexpected packages. The gift of gratitude is the most awesome gift of all. May gratitude find its way to you, and when it does, pass it on!

Monday, June 14, 2010

In 30 Seconds, You're Homeless

The sound and force of a freight train plows through your home at 165MPH, levels it and as quickly as it showed up the train leaves. Within seconds your life is changed, your belongings strewn for miles, it's dark, raining and you are homeless. Except it's not a freight train that ripped away your home, it was an F3 tornado.

This is what happened in Millbury, Ohio recently. My girlfriend Sue lives in the neighboring town and the twister roared by a half mile from her home. After viewing the devastating pictures of the damage, I am eternally grateful she and her family are safe. Now it is time to grieve for the dead and help those who were injured or left homeless. Those who were lucky enough to escape the wrath of the twister are left to grapple with an array of emotions: relief, sadness, guilt, grief among others. Tornadoes are especially cruel when weighed against other natural disasters. They are selective on what they destroy. Just view the pictures of Millbury and see. One home is intact and the next door home is flattened to the ground. It is that indiscriminate characteristic of tornadoes that leads to the inevitable question: "Why me?" Is it a matter of luck, fate, God's will? It's none of those, of course. No matter how carefully we craft our lives, plan and organize them, life happens. There is a saying that states "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans". If the raw power of nature teaches us anything, it is that we do not have complete control over our lives. We are at the mercy of the unknown. Sometimes bad things just happen for no reason, not because of superstition, religion, punishment, karma or whatever other label our subconscious tries to slap on it.


Accepting that the universe is chaotic and at times without rhyme or reason, is a concept I am coming to terms with. There is one word that sums up how to deal with the uncertainty life throws at us: Grace. And that is how the wonderful people of Millbury and surrounding areas are handling this disaster, with grace. To make a donation to the Toledo Red Cross Chapter, click here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Random Thoughts

I'm starting a new entry on totally unimportant, useless thoughts and questions that pop into my mind. I figure if I release them into the world they will stop haunting me. Here's one that drives me batty:

Why do drive-up ATM's have braille on them?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stay Away from the Chicken Farm

Ever smelled a chicken farm? No? Take my advice, stay as far away from the chicken farm as your VISA card will take you. Trust me on this. What about egg farms, you ask? Same as a chicken farm, as my olfactory senses learned last fall in western AZ. Don't worry, the only way you will end up in this far flung town is if you work for the largest nuclear plant in the country,..or the egg farm. Although the guy on the side of the main road as you head into town selling nuts would make a fortune selling gas masks instead. Seriously, bring a gas mask or an astronaut helmet.

It seems like a charming, rural Arizona town with towering mountain ranges to the south and land as far as the eye can see. Charming that is, until this horrendous, indescribable pestilent smell creeps into your car's vents. At first you think it will pass, like skunk stink. Then it quickly floods your nasal cavity with a combination of salty, sulfuric and just plain nasty. As I gasped for a sliver of unpolluted oxygen, I hollered "what's that smell?" over and over as my seemingly oblivious husband looked over quizzically...until it hit him.
How could such a sleepy, quiet town exude such a rancid aroma? The big, blue sign reading Hickman's Egg Farm said it all. That and the dead chickens across the street. Apparently, some of the smarter chickens tried to make a run for it, only to be killed by the loose dogs in a neighborhood yard. Why did the chicken cross the road? To escape slavery.
As we reached the plot of dirt we drove out to see, I could not understand why anyone would live here. Miles away now, the offending scent was still quite present and as a backdrop, the majestic mountain range had a permanent cloud of low fog, a gift from the nearby nuclear plant. Oh, yes, and let us not forget the air horns visibly staked in the event of a nuclear meltdown. Really, what are the air horns for? To warn residents of impending death or permanent zombie hood when they clearly don't stand a chance of escaping??
Land is cheap out there and owning your dream ranch is attainable. I suppose someone needs to man the nuclear plant and I prefer locally grown eggs. But who knew chickens could emit such a foul odor?
Disclaimer: I wrote this for you to laugh at my city girl silliness and chose not to name the town in question to protect the chickens.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lighten Your Load

Ever notice how some people are constantly looking back? They live in coulda, woulda, shoulda land? Living in the past and wishing they'd done..whatever they didn't do? Don't you just want to scream "snap out of it!" I mean, who cares? Alright, my rant is over, whew, I feel better.
If we are constantly looking back we will miss what is ahead and either, lose out on an opportunity, or hit a light pole. Don't get me wrong, we need to learn from our mistakes but why flog ourselves over it? Maybe I am missing that regret gene. Not being the most impulsive human probably eases the lack of regret. Not that I don't think being impulsive is fun, I've jumped into plenty of fountains in my time and even clambered over the balcony of a 9th story building once (to my defense I was only 10 and stupidly lucky). But regret is a waste of mind time and a depressant at that. Kicking old habits is not for the faint of heart, but kicking regret out of your consciousness will release you from your past.
How to start? As one who lacks the regret gene, I can only speak from my personal vault. Think through major decisions and gather all the facts before jumping in. Apply the Golden Rule to EVERY action or inaction you take. Sprinkle kindness, patience and compassion on every person you encounter (even if it is not reciprocated). Live with passion yet restraint and see what lies ahead.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Flip It Over

Back in the days of records (those round, ebony, circular disks with grooves that play tunes), you'd flip it over to side B for the other half. That side was usually reserved for the lesser known tracks and didn't get played as much. Hence, the speed of light invention of eight track tapes, which didn't need flipping. They did, however, take a ton of space in my 1981 Mustang center console. But I digress.
The universe is sending people my way lately who, against their better judgement, believe I can help them. I'm a good listener, give advice when asked, and for the most part, have clarity of thought. In other words, I'm others' sounding board. I don't mind. At a young age peers would come to me for advice and it's been ongoing. I should have become a psychologist as my husband points out, but I didn't want to listen to other people's problems at work AND on my off time.
A wise yoga teacher presented me with the concept of flipping over an unsavory situation. When I find myself with a problem, I try the flip side. What positive aspect can I take out of this? If I am going to suffer, which I truly dislike, I might as well learn something. Say you've experienced a life changing situation (divorce, unemployment) and feel like a deer in headlights. Paralyzed by the floor falling away beneath your feet. I see it as an opportunity to start over with a new life. Move to a new city (my choice is Lake Tahoe), go back to school and reinvent yourself. Flip yourself over and explore side B.
**Disclaimer- No, I am not getting divorced or unemployed, although being in real estate these days is kinda close.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where's Your Horizon?


One of the many things I love about the beach is my ability to spot the horizon anytime. There's something reassuring about gazing at the end of the earth, at least visually. Akin to venturing out on a new hiking trail and finally reaching that peak or rushing waterfall, there's a reward for the tired muscles and pounding heart. Yeah, I know life is supposed to be about the journey not the destination (yada, yada, yada), but we really do need to set the destination, even if it's vague or existentialist.
Goals, no matter how long-term or small, keep us on the path. We may veer off a side trail and check out the duck pond, but to reach our destination we will hop back on the main route. Otherwise, we could lose our way and wind up on unmarked, rogue trails. And although the journey will be great, darkness may fall and we'll be stranded.
Many of us are wondering how we wound up in the thick of this recession, and for many I know, it's a depression, both economic and emotional. Stopped in their tracks, they don't know which trail to take next. We need to reset our GPS and find a new horizon. Keep looking ahead and mind the trail signs to stay on track.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Postpone Joy?

I mesmerisingly stare at these words sparkling in rhinestones on a petite woman's t-shirt, and my mind stops in its tracks. Wow, great question I tell myself, and how do you answer that? The white elephant in the room answer is of course, you don't. So why do we postpone joy? That is the deeper question we each must self reflect on.
My answer was duty. The duty to work to make money and pay bills. The duty to keep my home from becoming a pig sty, even though I loathe cleaning. The duty to lift weights to stave off the inevitable decay of my muscles from old age. It's the "have to" chores in my life that sometimes postpone my joy, or so I suppose. Maybe it's the attitude with which I approach these duties that needs to shift. What if I find joy in my duties instead?
I'm working towards it. I now listen to NPR while the pungent smell of white vinegar wafts up my nostrils. I may as well get smarter while mopping the floors. Finding joy in real estate these days is a bit challenging, but I love my other job, teaching yoga. Paying off bills will give me peace of mind and take a load off, so there is joy in that. Lifting weights? Hmm, maybe if I were narcissistic I could admire the cut muscles on my arms, but it really doesn't do anything for me. I would just as gladly take a pill, or eat spinach.
Finding joy requires looking within and shedding habits that no longer serve us, adopting new ones and finding the sparkle (tejase) in all that we do.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Forget Resolutions This New Year

I am banishing the word resolution and replacing it with intention. Doesn't it sound better already? I find resolution to be too stringent and even dictatorial. I felt guilty (leftover Catholic syndrome) when one of my plethora of New Year's resolutions failed each year. Maybe my resolutions should've included "unresolving" as well. Never mind, in with the new, out with the decrepit. Per Webster's, intention means having something in mind as a plan or design; purpose; direction or orientation of the mind toward an object; aim. I like that. I aim to practice more meditation and yoga this year, that way, if I don't quite make it, I at least intended to. An intention leads us down the path toward a goal. Whether we reach the goal or not should be beside the point. By orienting ourselves towards that path we've already changed our future.
My friend Lee pointed out to me that I'm just lowering my expectations, copping out. I told him he should be glad I lowered my expectations, as it meant he didn't need to live up to mine.
Maybe I did lower my expectations, so what? Perhaps this is the year we all do. Or we just need to shift our expectations. Expecting less money and work equals more free time to do yoga, or call Lee. Or not. He's not expecting my call anyway.