Bookmark and Share
  Read through my blog below by simply scrolling down the entries, or check out the essays below. I've chosen ones that I particularly enjoy--maybe you will too.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Three Lessons from Wendy Davis

Today, from Wendy Davis, I learned the following:

1a. When you are fighting for what you believe in, wear sensible shoes.
1b. Even sensible shoes can be a fabulous hot pink color.

2. When you are fighting for what you believe in, it is helpful to be in good physical condition. The demands life places on us are certainly physical, as well as emotional, mental, and spiritual. More than ever I am resolved to take care of myself so that I can be there for others.

3. Don't be afraid to say "vagina". Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. (Read about this in the New Yorker.)

When you stood up for the women of Texas, Wendy, you stood up for women everywhere. Thanks.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Our dog's adoption anniversary is coming up. Here's the story of how we got Frances.

Last September hubs and I were driving down Ridgewood Road when we saw a shaggy little white dog trooping down the street. She was walking in the gutter, had her nose down, and looked like she had very important places to be. As we passed be we noticed she didn't have a collar.

Normally I am not up for adventure of any kind. So my husband was shocked when he said, "You wanna stop?" and I said, "Yeah." We pulled over and cornered her in somebody's driveway. I tried to get her to come over to us, but at that time I had no idea how to call a strange dog. (Now I know: kissy sounds.)

She gave us a look over. She was interested. But scared, mostly. She dug a hole under a fence and wriggled under. I felt unreasonably disappointed as I watched her auburn-colored legs slide away from us.

I decided we needed to get a dog. I went home and started researching pets on the internet. Poor hubby was dragged along helplessly.

The next day I was trolling Facebook looking for kicks when I saw this status update from one of my neighbors. "Is anybody missing a white dog? A little white dog was just hit by a car outside my house on Ridgewood Road. Call the South Orange Police if it's yours."

So, I called the police. I didn't know if it was "my dog" (yes, that's how I was thinking of her), or if she had survived the car accident. The police said she was banged up but that she was going to make it, that she was at the Animal Hospital and that she would be at the local shelter the next day.

The next day was a Wednesday and I couldn't make it over there till the afternoon. When I went in they had her in a crate in an office, away from the other dogs.

She looked awful, like hamburger on legs. She was wearing a cone. They shaved her to treat her, so she was baldish and mangy-looking. She had sores all over her from scraping against the pavement. You could tell that she hadn't been groomed for a long time, because the hair that hadn't been cut off her was long. She was lying down in the crate and looked absolutely exhausted and forlorn.

Was it "my" dog? I wasn't sure. These pictures are from the very moment we met.  I put my hand up to the crate. She lifted her head and checked me out, then she hauled herself up to standing. We opened the door of the crate and helped her get her cone head out. She was very tentative about coming out, but then she came right over to me. I gave her my hand to sniff and saw that what little hair remained on her legs was auburn. And that was that. We were in love.

The receptionist told me that she had been unconscious for fifteen minutes after the accident. Later, another friend told me that was pretty sure he'd seen her on another day, further up the hill, being hit by a car, landing on her feet and running off. When we got her spayed we found out that all the while she'd had a uterine infection and that would have killed her within a few months. What a survivor!

Trauma leaves a mark, and she's no exception. Here is a list of her "turn-offs": other dogs. Suitcases that look like other dogs (i.e., all suitcases). Grocery carts. Strollers. Joggers. Baths. Strangers. Children. The elderly. "Turn-ons": kibble. Funky smells. Poo (any source but dog). All human foods. Barking. Ringo Starr singing "Good Night" from the White Album.

Most of all, she loves being with her humans, and we love being with her. Happy Franniversary to us!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Why I Meditate

The morning is historically one of my most anxious times. During periods of my life where I've had a lot going on and feel overwhelmed (college, 2008, any random Tuesday), I wake up in the morning and the second my brain comes online, it's anxious. My brain is like a factory churning out anxieties. It hums and clanks along faster and faster until finally, after a few minutes or an hour or until I do something to shift myself, it locks up. I am immobilized and I can't do a damn thing for the rest of the day beyond managing basic responsibilities and trolling the interwebs.

That sucks! Because I've noticed that in order to get traction in any area of my life, I must move forward toward it, lean in, as they say. So I don't actually make any progress on any of the things I'm anxious about when I am in anxiety factory mode. What am I anxious about? The same stuff you're anxious about. The environment, money, people I love, people I loathe, etc. etc.

Here's what happens when I meditate: the thoughts keep coming. But they slow down. I tend to prefer mantra meditation, so I sit down, I allow the deluge of thoughts to cascade down over my whole body, and then, floating up in the wake of the tide: a mantra. Sometimes its a particular Sanskrit mantra I was assigned in a meditation course I did. Sometimes it's "I love myself". Sometimes I just sit there and some other phrase comes up. It doesn't push the anxieties away. They're still chuggity chugging at the surface. But underneath them is another refrain. So the thoughts at the surface get more diffuse, less insistent, and finally there's enough room in my mind for other thoughts, often my most creative ones, to arise.

"I love myself" seems pretty cheesy, right? More on that another time.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Avoid Being Mauled! Come to Yoga

On my voicemail this morning, from my student Al.

 "Hi Emma. I obviously didn't come to yoga last night because I made a last minute decision to go hiking in Mills Reservation instead. When I was there, I actually encountered a bear for the first time in my life, which was interesting. Anyway, the reason I'm telling you this is because it struck me that if I had gone a little further, if I hadn't noticed the bear and I'd come face to face with it, and it had mauled me, my last thought on this earth would have been: 'I should have gone to yoga.' Just wanted to share that with you. Maybe there's a lesson there. Later."