Spirits Dancing

With the 7 year anniversary of my dad’s death being tomorrow, I thought I’d share a song I wrote years ago about souls passing over, and how our bodies are really homes for the big divine. The electric guitar contribution in this tune was by Dale Kidd, a dear friend who loved this song and also passed away all too soon. We recorded it in Dale’s house and, at the time, my dad was still alive.

Both my dad’s parents are also passed over, and I’m not sure he’s spending too much time with them in the great beyond, as his relationship with them was contentious, especially with his mom. The stress of their relationship often drove him to triple brownie sundaes, though to most, she likely seemed harmless. She was around 5’3″ and had permed short hair, large round glasses, a sniffle that was like a repetitive tic, wore nylon stockings and slips- even with house slippers, and skirts held together with a safety pin.

When I was growing up, she and my grandpa would fly from Massachusetts to visit us near Chicago. When my dad drove them and my sister and I around in the family sedan, my grandmother would sit next to my dad in the front seat, worrying a kleenex in her hands to shreds, watching the road like a hawk, gravely warning, “Watch it, Tommy” anytime he inched toward another car to pass, or crept just pass the speed limit, or another car passed us, or if our exit was coming up, or if he was getting ready to merge. After 20 minutes in the car, inevitably my dad would say, “we’re just going to make a stop here” at one of any number of hot dog places in the area, and he would emerge with a milkshake to get him through the rest of the car ride.

I imagine he must have felt a bit like that kleenex in her hand, just worried to bits by her, yet he was always gracious and generous with her and his dad- buying them gifts, vacations, and hosting them for long visits. Whenever we visited them in Massachusetts, we would daytrip to both the mountains and the ocean. He may have gotten his love for the mountains from her, and I may have gotten my love for the ocean from him. Who knows how these things work and what we pass down to each other.

It feels a little weird to honor my dad by posting this song, since my dad didn’t listen much to the songs I wrote, but I imagine that when I do post this, for him it’ll be like attending some sort of otherworldly recital where he’ll pretty much have to listen. If he resists and tries to sneak away so he can go watch whatever football game is on, his mother may suddenly appear sitting next to him, and she’ll say, “Watch it, Tommy,” and hand him a milkshake to get him through.

New website! Yoga! Healing!

Hello friends! After almost a decade of focusing my energies at home, this mama is headed back to work! I’ve always worked part-time since having kids, and then took a long break for over 2 years when our 3rd baby was born. And now I’m looking to dust off my credentials and get cracking!

Here is the new website:


The lowdown: prenatal yoga and healing services including neurovascular therapy (an even gentler cousin to craniosacral), Reiki, and EMF Balancing.


When Parenting Advice Books Aren’t Enough

When my son was two, my husband and I were exhausted, and beyond frustrated in seeking answers for his insanely rambunctious behavior and his sleepless nights. We were wrecked with stress.

Though preschool and peer interaction was never a problem, home was a different story. He woke every 2-3 hours at night, needing “snuggles” throughout, and was up for the day at 4:30am. During the day, we saw endless, rigorous, willful, loud (so loud) opposition over large and small issues- as though his feelings were too big for him to manage. He had non-existent impulse control and we struggled with getting kicked, pushed, and yelled at daily. To simplify things and keep him safe in our home, we removed every breakable object from display and removed all furniture and decoration except a mattress from his room, as anything that wasn’t nailed to the wall or could potentially be knocked over or climbed was a hazard. His time with his older brother was limited as he couldn’t control his physical impulses to push, kick, and hit.

We were sad, frustrated, sleep-deprived, and stressed to the max. Time-outs weren’t working. Natural consequences weren’t working. Positive attention wasn’t working. Essential oils, herbs, supplements, dietary changes, and endless outdoor time weren’t working. (Nothing was freakin’ working!)

We wanted 3 things: family harmony, an empowered calm state for him, and stress-relief. We knew there had to be a way to create a more harmonious home and get some dang sleep, but we didn’t know how to get there. The answers weren’t coming from our family doctor, the sleep specialists, or the parenting books and blogs.

I have a background as a massage therapist and had been seeking out bodywork for him. Around once a month I had been taking him to a pediatric CranioSacral therapist who also was a pediatric Physical Therapist. Craniosacral therapy is a light-touch therapy that works directly to soothe and unwind restrictions in the body’s central nervous system. Watching him receive these treatments was like watching him melt into a state of calm we rarely saw at other times. She noticed that he liked toys he could pound on, that his legs sought the edge of the table, and that he liked to lean into her as she was working. These were breadcrumbs for her that his body was seeking a certain kind of input. After decades of working with kids, her intuition was pretty keen and she suggested we take him to an Occupational Therapist for an assessment, to see if they could provide some insight.

From the moment he had his assessment, I felt we were stepping into a world that could finally provide some answers we so desperately were seeking. The therapy room itself was a relief because everything in it was something that could be punched, flopped into, jumped on or knocked down. And to have an adult look at him and say to him, “Wow! You are so strong! You are so clever, look at how you use your body!” To hear him being celebrated with genuine sincerity…..it actually made me cry. Since then we have met with several different OTs, each with a different style and protocol, some covered by insurance. We began to observe our son in terms of what kinds of experience his body is seeking, rather than whether his behavior is ok or not ok.

The eyes of our OTs viewed him as excited, intelligent and enthusiastic, needing specific impact on his joints and muscles (proprioceptive and vestibular systems to be exact), and fully capable of learning to self-soothe. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to see him through those eyes. In OT, everything is a clue as to how his unique system works and how he is seeking to regulate that system. We all have ways that we regulate our bodies. Chewing gum, pacing, fiddling with our rings, crossing our legs…..each of us has different ways of grounding and relaxing. We were finally learning to observe how he was seeking to regulate his.

It is a true gift to be able to see his progress in managing his body, feelings, and impulses. Not just that, but it has allowed us to take the judgment out of the equation. It has made our family a team, working together, instead of opponents playing tug-of-war.

I won’t go into more detail here but am happy to speak with anyone curious about our experience. If you have an intuitive sense that your kid might be seeking something you haven’t yet put your finger on or you notice you are expending a ton of energy on just day to day life…OT might provide some answers. Feel free to contact me with questions about Occupational Therapy or the resources we have connected to around Madison.

Panic Attacks: Like Children of the Corn, Only Scarier.

Panic attacks are like, so scary. Way scarier than Children of the Corn and that movie was fucking terrifying. I still cannot believe there are parents who chose to name their kid Malachi after having seen that movie. Anxiety attacks are way scarier than that but also way more ridiculous than another horrifying movie from the 80’s: From Beyond, which I remember mostly as some really crazy pineal glands wiggling around like possessed worms and causing havoc.  Panic attacks = 80’s horror movies in every single way because the ridiculousness is matched only by how terrifying they are despite their ridiculousness.

When a panic attack comes, you are completely safe. Safe as can be. Everything’s pretty much alright.  Sure, there’s an extra 10 pounds on your body and you could use a couple hundred thousand dollars. But all told, most things in your immediate reality are not cause for alarm. And even though literally nothing is happening to you: you could be, say,  chewing gum and walking down the sidewalk, your body suddenly is shouting at you, “NO! NOTHING IS EASY! BREATHING IS DANGEROUS! DEATH IS IMMINENT! YOU ARE GOING TO CHOKE ON THAT GUM! ALSO THERE IS TOTALLY A CORNFIELD RIGHT BEHIND YOU WITH SOME REALLY FUCKING SCARY KIDS THAT ARE COMING FOR YOU. ISAAC IS BEHIND YOU. RIGHT NOW MOTHERFUCKER!” And suddenly your lovely, mostly neutrally-existent body goes all-in to convince you of grave danger, just really goes for it to make it real for you. Like it’s auditioning for Hamlet overseas, desperate for a new beginning after a failed movie career.

Unless I’m wrong, and I am never wrong, chewing gum and walking down the sidewalk are pretty safe in the scheme of things. But while you’re walking and looking normal, thinking, “Act normal,” your smiling neighbor walking her dog waves to you. And you smile and wave back, thinking your teeth feel dangerous, trying to ignore your screaming body. Because your body is in a cage match with reality, trying to convince you that spontaneous combustion really could happen at any moment or, alternatively, you could pass out instantly and soil yourself in front of your neighbor and her dog. Every moment and thing in the world is petrifying. Including that blade of grass, definitely that honeybee, the invisible smog in the air, the branch that could fall on your head, your heart beating too fast, and the skin holding your bones in.

It’s amazing how effective your nervous system is at convincing you that you are literally losing your mind. It is so convincing. All of the years of mindfulness practice where you observe your thoughts as they come and go…while hearing Deepak Chopra’s soothing voice in your ear….as soon as a panic attack shows up, it wins over all that. Way to go sympathetic nervous system. It squashes Deepak like a bug. And if your panic attack nervous system really were in a cage match, it would definitely win because it is so fucking committed. Nobody wants it more than your flight or fight response.

Today’s panic attack brought some fairly juicy imaginative thoughts like:

  1. I am literally going insane
  2. I am reliving a traumatic past life where I had a best friend named Trixie
  3. I am being invaded by foreign invisible entities and/or are still carrying invasive beings from years ago but never knew it
  4. I am stuck in a loop of unprocessed emotion that I cannot get out of like an M.C. Escher stairwell
  5. my kidneys are failing right now
  6. The electricity in the room is attacking me
  7. The fly in my wine is a sign of impending evil and/or carries a bacteria that will kill me
  8. I am too dizzy to sit or stand or walk and too nervous to lay down
  9. I’m so scared I cannot journal. Writing words will make feelings bigger
  10. Inhabiting my body inside my skin is too trippy to think about- I might lose my mind if I think about being a sentient being
  11. I immediately need to start walking a long distance but it won’t work to reduce panic unless it’s in the mountains, I must be in the mountains and I’M NOT
  12. Sitting is squishing my cerebral spinal fluid and causing more panic
  13. There’s definitely something really wrong with my cerebral spinal fluid
  14. If I take one step to the left, I’m going the wrong way. (Ditto one step to the right.)
  15. I might need to quit my job immediately. I am too crazy to work.
  16. The metal decor of the room is interfering with my electromagnetic field

What I don’t get is how evolution could do this to us. Good job, evolution. In what sane world do unprocessed emotions cause the same reaction that a tiger charging causes?

That’s really all I wanted to say. Panic attacks are ridiculous and terrifying. And that the sympathetic nervous system would win in a cage match against reality. Also, 80’s horror movies, panic attacks = Same.

Nicely done, Joaquin.

Today, before cleaning vomit out of the couch upholstery, (F-You Child Flu of 2018. Next year we will be going to Costa Rica for the winter) I listened to my new favorite podcast, Lovett or Leave It from Crooked Media. The always hilarious and brilliant Jon Lovett asked his panel what they thought of various members of Trump’s posse resigning or being excused over the months. In other words, does Trump need babysitters? Is having people around him attempting to advise him a good thing? Even if they are not world class geniuses?

Since I am a stay-at-home mom, get my news from podcasts, and am not a political panelist, I will answer that question here.

To me, Trump is on a rubber life raft with his team in the middle of the ocean. He is eating all the Datrex ration bars and using the bottled water to rinse off his hands because the saltwater has made them itchy. He is desperately trying to carve “Trump was here” into the side of the rubber life raft with his diary key.

He forces his team to form a human shade above him in the heat of the day.”Shade me! You’re not shading right! Keep shading me, you’re doing a terrible job!” And in the evening he forces them to braid his magnificent spiraling hair around him to keep warm. His main thought is: “How can I remind everyone I win?  At politics, tv, and life? How can I show them I am this raft’s winner? How can I bring up The Apprentice? Maybe set the raft on fire?” The people he has surrounded himself with are in an impossible situation. Stay and try to keep him from doing what he’s doing, or abandon ship, knowing that he will eventually sink the raft and doom anyone left on it.

He’s a terrible leader so people will continue to leave him. What we need is not adequate or inadequate Republican candidates for the jobs advising him. He needs a team of disguised Democratic mental health workers and political geniuses that can coach (trick) him into doing his job well. Democratic agents with, I’m thinking, elephant pins and “I’m a Republican” buttons to put him at ease. Then therapy the shit out of him (because people who need care should receive it) while assuring him that the best way to stay in the spotlight is to lean left.

An even better team for him would be The Avengers or The Justice League, superheroes who won’t complain about how shitty the job is and will be immune to his criticisms and abuse because at the end of the day, they’ll have group therapy support at the Hall of Justice or Avengers Mansion where there will be free donuts.

You know at some point Trump will pull off his Mission Impossible rubber face mask and reveal that he’s actually Joaquin Phoenix in an elaborate performance art piece. Well done, Joaquin. Way to float the dregs of society to the surface. Ills exposed. Bravo.

So….there’s your answer. Keep people around him who are Democrats working undercover, are smart enough to persuade and thick-skinned enough to not care about being criticized. And who have group therapy available at the end of the day and who work for the good of all people. And who are incredibly fit and charming. And who have really great one-liners and who are aging beautifully. There. Next question.






Let them see guinea pigs…and only guinea pigs


(I’m a Mom. So I feel I have a right, as much as anyone, to share my thoughts about guns. I’m no legislator, no commentator, no analyst. I make a lot of buttered noodles, change like 5 diapers a day, and most often avoid the news because it looks to me like the infrastructure holding our two party system together is quickly crumbling. But I digress. Guns.)

Not sure when guns began to mean freedom for some legislators, for some citizens.

Maybe it was when the Black Panthers needed to arm themselves to defend against racial injustice. That makes sense. Or when frontiersman needed to be safe fighting against the hardships of life in the wild. Logical.

Not sure when people started using the 2nd Amendment (intended to protect against musket-fueled military coups) as justification to claim that they and violent criminals have the right to buy an automatic weapon and use it for sport or terrorism.

Not sure why we’re calling legislators who support easy access to assault weapons “pro-gun” instead of “pro-violence” at this point.

I’ve shot guns before. In college, I had a friend who was a gun enthusiast who took me into the Rocky Mountains to shoot his AK-47 assault rifle. Was it fun? Not really. Did it make me feel powerful? Yes. Do people need to feel that particular power, the power of a gun, to feel free? No.

At least not if they’re living in communities where they are free. Where they feel free. Where they can walk down the street, go to work, raise children, be safe existing in our country. When they have access to great solid mental and emotional healers who help them feel free from within.

Yes, there’s a big mental health problem in this country. Which is exactly why there should be gun control. That’s just it’s own argument. Would you want your local psychiatric institution to have a gun booth next to the food court? Let me tell you, people who are feeling depressed, panicked or repressed in daily life- in their minds, in their families, in their communities- they’re not feeling free. I speak from experience. So we better stop associating guns with freedom starting now. It’s not like ditching your bra or using windpower and going off-grid. Guns are weapons. They’re not freedom.

Freedom is knowing you have a right to be yourself. It is feeling safe in your communities and parks and subways and schools, knowing your neighbors and friends and leaders have your back, that they celebrate and support you, that they care, that we- all of us- care about each other. It’s getting help from someone really good at helping you be you, and to recover from any traumas life may have handed you. It is feeling sane and healthy and empowered to work and learn and earn and grow. That is freedom.

When there is a suicide attempt in a home, the first advice given is to remove all weapons, lock up all medications and store knives and sharp objects away. In other words, if mental health is a big problem, make the scary things harder to find. Because it helps. What else is there to explain?

The freedom of children and teachers and families who are able to live and thrive in their communities is the freedom referred to in our Constitution. It is exponentially more important than cash and the Congressmen and gun sellers and the NRA offering an easy pathway to attaining an assault rifle.

For as long as we are fighting to establish the mental health of our citizens, we should have rigid gun control. And when everyone’s hunky-dory and painting rainbows on their cheeks, guess what? Nobody will want assault rifles as a hobby or to make a statement because they’ll be too busy living their damn lives, singing and shit and shooting bows and arrows for fun if they have to like fucking Katniss and they will understand the risk of introducing violent weapons into communities.

When I was working in a high school, the social studies students did a pen pal exchange with Australian students in the same grade. They were supposed to draw pictures of their impressions of each other’s countries. Our kids drew kangaroos and the Great Barrier Reef. When we got the letters in from Australia, you know what they drew?  Mostly guns. And that was 10 years ago. Super, right?

Do I think the NRA can switch gears and be reasonable as it has in the past? (First started in the 1800’s as primarily a program to improve marksmanship! And for the next 100 years the NRA condoned or supported limitations on gun accessibility to criminals and the mentally ill.) Yes I do.

Do I think the freedom of individuals and communities to live without the threat of violence warrants a redefinition of the 2nd Amendment and the prohibition of violent assault weapons? Yes I do.

Do I think people should start hitting Congressmen and women where it hurts? Making it so difficult to support easy access to weapons that they cave in like the cowards they are? Yes I do.

Maybe thinking out of the box is called for.

Obviously yes, vote them out of office. That one’s easy.

Billboards, yes. And yard signs in neighbor’s yards with permission, and teepeeing of houses, and magnetic bumper stickers on their cars that say it like it is: “I support gun violence.”

For pro-gun legislators with families, what if life was really difficult for them? What if their spouses were on board with gun control? After a tough day on the Hill, “Hi, honey, I’m home! What’s for dinner?” “Dog food. And you can sleep in the tent out in the yard until you change your mind on gun legislation.”

Do these legislators drink coffee? Have a favorite restaurant? Barber shop? If Congressman Bob’s regular is a double espresso, let’s make that a decaf vanilla soy latte for “Boob, the violence lover.” And if Congresswoman Sue needs her roots touched up, guess what? All booked up for the next decade.

What if life were really uncomfortable for them? What if neighbors put up signs that said, “My neighbor supports gun violence” with an arrow pointing straight at their home. Think the kids would like that? Think they might give mom or dad shit endlessly until things got really tense at home?

What if Democrats got really savvy and dirty and hired hackers to disable NRA supporters’ technology so their screens only show guinea pigs in knitted sweaters holding dandelions? What if they changed their ringtones to “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance?”

What if their childhood heroes pay them a visit? Buzz Aldrin or The Rock or David Letterman or the Pope or Bono or the Dalai Lama shows up at their door to chat? To hold them accountable? To ask them why?

We all know that no why is good enough. Not when people are dying. These men and women, the ones who want to make assault weapons easier to get than citizenship? They are the why. And they’re not good enough. And they’ll learn that soon enough when they’re voted out.