Tea With Tootie

Today I walked over to my friend Tootie’s house. We have known each other for 38 years, she is about 20 years my senior. The mom of one of my best friends since age 15, I met her the day after I met him.

I have always been welcome to “pop in” for tea. Tootie’s son and I have had an interesting and sometimes intensely bizarre and rewarding friendship, which is another story.

Tootie is like no one I have ever met. My own mom is a wonderful woman who taught me a lot about life. She worked from the time I can remember. From her I learned about independence , how to take care of myself , a great work ethic and all of my other values. I love and respect her always.

Ours was a home of Maxwell House coffee, Lipton Tea, and Sara Lee cheesecake, a dog and a cat and a mom and a dad and a brother. We experienced some complexities and challenges but had a pretty good run overall. Very standard in many ways.

When I was 18 I moved from the tiny town I lived to the bigger town that Tootie lived. (It is actually the town in which I reside now, I came home through the back door 30 years later in 2010.)

The first apartment in which I lived was a real dump. My friends affectionately referred to it as “the stucco fleabag flop house.” It was the 70’s -we described everything in irreverent and outrageous ways!

The building has since been torn down. It was my first taste of life on my own. I had a mattress that doubled as a bed and a couch , I bent it up against the wall during the day. It was covered with a brown fake fun fur bedspread. At night it was where I slept. Eventually I saved up for a genuine Naugahyde couch and chair.

A couple of blocks away was Tootie’s house. Tootie was the first person to introduce me to house plants ( I would end up having 44 of them), she taught me about herbs ,how to grow them, and about exotic tea, way before it was chic or mainstream. Tootie had a garden and “bought local” way before that was ” in vogue ” too.

At Tootie’s house she was the mom, there was a hard working dad ,two boys and two girls. I became a regular fixture there. I grew close to all of them . Mostly her house , along with my friend Karen’s house, were my soft spots to fall, when independence didn’t look so appealing. ( Karen’s house is worth a blog post too at sometime).

Tootie lost her husband two years ago, she lost her son, my best friend’s younger brother, (who was also MY dear friend) two weeks and two days ago.

So it is finally my turn to RETURN the favor. Loaded with Chamomile , Lemon, Apple, Raspberry and Green Tea in my pockets, I “popped in” for tea with Tootie today .

Company and memories can be a balm for many wounds. She and I know a lot about each other’s rough areas. She accepts me always, warts and all. I love her deeply, and will offer to her tea and sympathy, love and conversation for as long as she needs.

Walking the two and a half blocks to that same house, I was the 53 year old woman that I have become, most edges smooth and round feeling poised and almost eloquent . On the way home I was age 15 again -raw, rough, happy, sad, and amazed at my good fortune. Knowing it is a gift to have people in my life who “knew me when” and can see me now. Lucky to have someone who I can see clearly and respect immensely .

Dear Marty ,
You are surely where the good ones go after life on this earth is done. I hope you can see me now. Please know that I will “pop in” for tea and anything else she needs.
I love you both so much.




One Thing At A Time

One of the things that helps me find peace is doing one thing at a time.  We are a society of people who have cell phones attached or nearby 24/7 , laptops not far away,  TVs and/ or music on  almost all the time.  All of this is “happening” while we are also having  conversations,  cooking supper, doing of laundry, working,  – you name it.  The very tools we have created to be connected with the world and one another have taken on a sense of unnecessary urgency. For many of us a compulsion.

Our filters for answering a text, or checking the web, etc. have tuned out the people directly in front of us.  There is also a sense of addiction for many of us, a way to “escape” while still sort of being “present”.  Much of our society does not know how to be alone without being “plugged in”.

I am vowing to do more of my life one thing at a time.  When I visit my mom I will leave my cell phone in the car.  Lately when I drive, I have no music on!  It  is my way to do ” just ” the task of driving (imagine that). In the morning I try to take up to an hour to breathe, move and stay deeply in touch with myself.    Yoga and mediation are my choices, but many things work, walking, watching nature, petting the dog ( or two in my case).   I have to get up early to do this, but I faithfully do so and it helps.

I recently reconnected with an older friend who  mostly just has a TV and her “landline” as forms of communication.   On occasion, her sister or daughter  may share some news  obtained from  a Facebook post.   But the newspaper, phone and TV seem to suit her just fine.  And mostly ( when I have been there)  the TV is off. This woman seems at peace-not disconnected from the world at all.  There is a composer about her that I can only identify as someone not compelled to do anything.   Her way of life  is almost like living “off the grid” to many of us!    I don’t know if I would or could go that far.

I do know that paying attention to the beauty right in front of me is very important.  I will savor the moments with the people in my life, face to face, the here and the now, and enjoy all of it!


Today is “make -up ” day at my studio.
It is different every week.

Honoring my own practice today as well.

Learn to get in touch with the silence in yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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Moment By Moment By Moment

I love the days when the ordinary feels extraordinary. When the stars align and it all feels good. A lovely cup of tea with daughter number three. A phone call of dishing with daughter number one. Texting with the daughter in the middle and the man of my heart. Teaching yoga to a brand new group of people at a completely different venue. A warm home a few minutes rest between gigs with needy rescue dogs and a blanket covering my lap A phone conversation with a good wise friend. Another with my mom. A class that I love to teach in a town that I used to live to end my day and maybe a visit with mom! Living and loving my life moment by moment by moment. Now is good. Now is ripe with potential. Now is gratitude. Gratitude grows now to new heights.


Begin “The Begin” Again

What an appropriate title for anything done in January.  Change is constant.  The only thing I know for sure is that I want to write.  If you write you are a writer.  People decide if they like it, if they do they keep reading.

The industry in which I work seems to want those of us teaching body movement (of any kind) to offer lots of wisdom, especially in Yoga. I know anatomy, I know people, I know music, I know business.  I do not consider myself wise. I am a student of life, forever. In my family I offer unsolicited “suggestions” a lot.  In my fitness/yoga practice, tips and advice, in my scope.  On this blog, probably just observations.

This year has been one of the most personally challenging I have experienced.  It has also been one of the most rewarding.  SO here I start again, this on and off blogging thing.  If you scroll through the posts, you will realize it. This blog is all over the place as my life has been since I started it.

What I have learned in this time period is something I innately have known all along.  People before things. Learning from mistakes.  Helping when I can, without keeping people from their own growth experience.  Loving unconditionally, Opening  my heart, mind and soul to new ways of thinking and being.  Doing less, owning less, complaining less.  Hugging people who want hugs.  Celebrating and living in gratitude daily. Offering support and compliments whenever possible.  Trying not to assume or take anything for granted.  Discovering new ways to be compassionate. Releasing my paradigm as the only possibility.  Letting go of judgment.  Finding peace inside.

I am excited about the new possibilities in my personal life and my professional life.

Happy New Year!  Blessings for 2014!