From the Laboratory

Ten Idioms

I just created a new solid perfume line called “10 Idioms”. Each one has a story. Here’s an example:



“Hand me those binoculars,” Nancy said, impatiently. Her legs were beginning to ache from squatting behind a pile of wood about 50 yards from the dilapidated farmhouse.

The leaves from a quaking aspen rustled like the wings of a thousand moths above her head. The moon was full.

Ned handed Nancy the binoculars. “I can’t see him anymore. I think he must have gone to the bathroom or something.”

Nancy looked through the binoculars into the living room, which was lit by the flickering screen of a television. She shifted her weight from one leg to the other.

“But it’s a full moon,” she said, with frustration in her voice. “And it’s 16 minutes after midnight.”

“Maybe we were wrong,” Ned replied.

Nancy scanned the house. All the other rooms were dark, and the windows were covered with thick curtains. She pointed the binoculars back to the living room. Suddenly, the television seemed to turn itself off. The house went completely dark.

“What’s happening?” Ned asked. Nancy could sense a tinge of panic in his voice.

“I don’t know,” she answered. She began to scan the house again. Her heart stopped as the binoculars came to rest on a figure standing on the front porch. She gasped when she saw the yellow eyes, glowing in the dark. They were looking right into hers, and for a forever second she froze.

Then her survival instinct kicked in.

“Ned,” she said, “I think we’d better run.”

A Narrow Escape is an adventurous blend of patchouli, coconut and tangerine, concocted for those who like to live life on the edge. You can find it in my Etsy shop.

It’s been fun writing stories for things like “A Silver Lining”, “A Curious Affair”, “A Novel Idea”, “A Longing Glance”…plus six more.

And so it goes.


Little Pods

It’s been a long winter here…snow is still on the ground and it’s making me a little cranky. I’m pretty much over it.

But every day I look at my brilliant collection of cut up toilet paper and paper towel rolls, and think of the seeds I’ll be planting in them in a week or two. The last frost in this region is April 15, and I’m planning for an end of the month outdoor moving party for all the new little flowers and herbs I’ll have.


Everyday Musings

Hi, Dead People!

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When I was about five or six years old, my grandfather and I were driving out to one of the family farms…him at the wheel and me standing on the pickup seat next to him, so I could see what he could see. (This was, of course, at a time in history when seatbelts were annoying straps everyone tucked out of the way).

That day, as we passed the Weatherford cemetery on our way out of town, he smiled and waved and cheerily shouted “Hi, dead people!”

Then he turned to me and said, still smiling, “someday, you can wave and say ‘hi’ to your granny and I right there in that cemetery. You won’t see it, but we’ll be waving back.”

He didn’t seem a bit bothered by that notion, but I was very upset at the thought of the two people I loved most – laying underground in satin-lined coffins – waving at me as if it were no big thing.

I think he realized his words didn’t have the same humorous effect on me as they did for him, so he reassured me it would be a long time before that day came. He told me he wasn’t worried about it, and I shouldn’t worry about it either.

About 20 years later, as I watched my grandfather’s casket being lowered into the ground at that very cemetery, the memory of that day and his words “it will be a long time” came back. I remember whispering to him, “still too soon”.

But he was right. About 20 years after he was laid to rest (and about 10 years after my grandmother joined him), sure enough, I moved back to my home town and I would drive past the cemetery from time to time. And every time I drove by I would wave and say “Hi Grandad! Hi Granny!”. Sometimes I would stop to have a chat, or just sit and reminisce.

I always wondered if he was right when he said they would be waving back.

And that’s how I got into the habit of waving and greeting dead people while driving past cemeteries. Sometimes if I’m in the car with a new friend, they’ll be a little startled and stare at me as if I’ve grown two heads. Or they’ll laugh and ask me what the hell I’m doing. I’ll have to explain how and why the whole thing started, and how I figure, even though no one in any of the cemeteries knows me personally, a cheery greeting never hurt anyone, dead or alive. I know their souls are someplace else…but I don’t know that their souls can’t hear me. You just never know what’s going on over there.

Since I’ve moved, however, greeting the dead has become an entirely different thing.

My new town has an inordinate amount of cemeteries. Seriously, every time I need to run errands around town, I find myself shouting greetings about every other mile or so. I’ve said “hi, dead people!” more times in the last few months than I’ve said in the last decade, I think.

And yes, that probably makes me a little bit crazy, but it’s something I picked up from my grandfather (who was a very wise, compassionate and sane man…with a wickedly morbid sense of humor).

And I am, after all, very much my grandfather’s granddaughter.




La Vie Bohéme

A Revived Hobby.

Back when I was in college and had access to a darkroom, I was a photography junkie. A very avant-gard friend of mine, Claire, and I would load up our backpacks with PB&J sandwiches, a couple of beers, our Djarums, some props and our cameras and hit the city of Portland (Oregon) for a day of taking photographs.

The next day, we’d head to the darkroom to see how they turned out. It was enormous fun. My daughter actually keeps an old photo of me that Claire took in a heart-shaped frame sitting on her bookshelf, nestled among other artifacts she’s collected over the years.

It’s been eons since I’ve used anything other than a disposable camera or my cellphone to take photos, and now everything has turned digital and the days of darkroom alchemy are all but gone. Still, for the last year or so, I’ve been wanting to pick up photography as a hobby again.

In the summer of ’16, for my road trip up the west coast, I purchased one of those cute little cameras that takes mini polaroids…but somehow mini photos don’t do justice when photographing the vast Pacific or the majestic redwoods. Polaroids are great for photos of humans or vignettes – but not as satisfying as the kind of photos only a professional camera can provide when documenting breathtaking vistas. (Although my iPhone did take some pretty nice shots).

13335657_10153825840338198_7556117991597080915_nLooking south down the Pacific Coastal Highway via my iPhone.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to take the plunge back into photography and began researching the best cameras for the novice who wants to take professional-grade photos, and I decided on the Canon T7i Rebel. It’s a little on the pricy side, especially if you buy the kit (two additional lenses, filters and a tripod), but hey. If you’re going to jump in, go all in with the best.

So my camera arrived a few days ago. I immediately ripped open the box, thinking I would just grab the camera and start shooting. Ummmm…not so much. Times have changed, and my new Rebel is VASTLY different from the Nikon film camera I used back in the day. Bells, whistles, video, special effects…and the instruction book is literally nearly 3 inches thick! It’s four days later and I’m still getting to know it.

But now, after my morning engagements, I’m going to make use of this beautiful, crisp fall day and do a photography walkabout, taking photos and getting to know my new camera. Hopefully I’ll be able to shoot some things worthy of the blogosphere and Pinterest.

We’ll see.

But there’s nothing more exciting than reviving a long lost hobby.


Stingy Jack, and How to Keep the Devil at Bay.

Once upon a time, as creepy celtic legend has it, a drunk was at a bar with the devil and he made a wager which the devil lost (he wanted out of the beer tab, and he tricked the devil into paying).

Well, we all know when we make a deal with the devil, no good can come of it, and the drunk, known as Stingy Jack, was banned from both heaven and hell when his time came…doomed to wander in darkness with only a hollowed out turnip (used as a lantern) to light his way.

Screen shot 2017-10-14 at 3.07.33 PMPoor Stingy Jack.

And that, my dears, is why we all carve pumpkins at the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest. Making the Lanterns of Jack keeps the devil at bay, and gives Stingy Jack props for getting the best of ol’ Lucifer while drinking at the bar.

But you can also use your carved turnips, gourds and pumpkins to bring luck, prosperity and health throughout the year as well, by sprinkling the insides of your carved lanterns with herbs and oils before setting them out to welcome little ghosts and goblins to your door.

Liberally rubbing allspice throughout your lantern will bring luck and prosperity.

Throwing in some cardamom seeds will perk up your lust/love life, or draw a new lover to your door.

Nutmeg will aid your intuition…and bring peaceful (and sometimes prophetic) dreams.

Orange peel will bring happiness and a sense of well being. It will also bring more beauty into your life.

Cloves will dispatch troublesome neighbors, stalkers, old boyfriends/girlfriends, and keep gossips and other ugly people away from you. They will also help you conquer bothersome habits.

Ginger will bring all kinds of good stuff to your way, from love to health to happiness.

And after carving, dressing and lighting your pumpkins, here is a FABULOUS recipe for eating those super addictive and healthy roasted pumpkin seeds (if you have the patience to clean them thoroughly of the pumpkin guts before popping them in the oven).

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Clean the seeds thoroughly, throw them into a pot of salted, boiling water, then reduce the water to a simmer and let the seeds cook for about 10 minutes. Next, drain the water, pat them fairly dry with a paper towel, then toss them with olive oil and sea salt. Spread them in a pan (don’t overlap them) and pop them into a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. Take them out, give them a stir and re-separate them…then pop them back into the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the shells are JUST a golden color. When you remove them the first time to stir them, cool a seed and pop it open to make sure the insides aren’t getting too done, because the insides can burn even if the outsides look fine. When they’re finished roasting, just shake on a little more sea salt (or other flavorings) and enjoy!

As a side note, pumpkin seeds are packed with iron, magnesium, zinc, fiber, protein and that wonderful, natural drug tryptophan (the stuff in turkey meat that makes you sleepy)…so they’re great for a bedtime snack.

And that’s how to get the most from your Jack ‘o Lanterns this Samhain season!



Everyday Musings

A Dozen Reasons For Loving Yoga

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It relieves my GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder).

GAD is a bitch to live with…panic attacks, insomnia, worry…the list goes on. Yoga calms the demons and dramatically reduces my GAD symptoms. That, in and of itself, is enough for me.

I can turn my body into poetry.

When I was in my 20s, I participated in several semi-professional dance companies. But dancing was not my career, and it soon took a back-burner to the daily grind of earning a paycheck as a broadcast journalist. Then came the mortgage, the parent-teacher conferences, the soccer games, the divorce, the career change …and during all that I had no time to dwell on my weight, my posture, my breathing or whether or not I could do a perfect ‘brush’ or plié. My body lost it’s ‘poetry’…something that had always given me a great sense of joy and self esteem. Yoga has brought all that back. Now I’m aware, once more, of my posture, my alignment, my breathing…and the way my body moves – whether on the mat or pushing a cart down the grocery aisle.

The Happy Baby Asana

When was the last time you were in a room full of people, all of you laying on your backs, grabbing your feet and giggling?

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(Photograph from Pinterest)

NOT feeling terrified for an entire hour out of every day.

Face it, the world is a scary place right now. For the first time in a couple of decades, nuclear war is part of the geopolitical equation. Mass shootings have made going to concerts, the theater, to school and even to church risky business. We’re running out of resources, and natural disasters are headlining the news on a near-daily basis. When I’m in yoga class, however, there is no room for fear. In fact, sometimes in the middle of a particularly difficult asana, I will hear the universe whisper in my ear, “See, there is nothing to fear.”

My Yogis, and all their wonderful personalities.

One of my yogis is the very definition of serenity. Her voice is calm, her movements are fluid, and she has a nurturing quality that is incredibly soothing. Another of my yogis never goes anywhere without his scarf, he often chants or sings along to the music, is goofy funny, and he gently pushes everyone to their best limits. Another is athletic, enthusiastic and inspiring. Another exudes so much wisdom and compassion, I just want to stand next to him to bask in that glorious energy. Each one is a gift.

The sense of community.

When I walk into my yoga studio (or any yoga studio), I’m walking into a room full of friends, whether I know anyone or not. That’s just the way it works. I travel a lot, and I’ve been to dozens of different studios in different cities and towns – and they all feel like family when I unroll my mat on the floor.

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 8.24.31 PM.png(But this is where I usually practice).

The ritual.

Upon arriving, all the things needed for class are listed and provided by the studio: mats, bolsters, straps, blankets, et cetera. Some classes require only a mat, some require all the available equipment. The ritual of walking in, placing my shoes and belongings in a nook, grabbing my equipment, greeting my fellow yoga people and then rolling out my mat and waiting patiently and mindfully for class to begin is a daily ritual that I love.

My mind and body are working as a team, for the first time in three decades.

This is different than being able to create poetry…this is the very essence of being in touch with the vehicle that drives your soul around while you’re inhabiting this planet. I am so in tune with my body now that I can sometimes feel energy flowing through my meridians as distinctly as I can feel myself swallow a bite of food. In class, when we begin our asanas, I can feel what parts of my body are running at full capacity, and which parts aren’t…so I can adjust accordingly and give attention to whatever’s not working right.

I care a lot about what I eat, and I no longer crave unhealthy foods.

You are what you eat. Period.

Sometimes I cry.

Actually, I’d say I cry more often than not at the end of class when we are in Savasana. I’ll be staring up at the ceiling, looking at the twinkling lights or the raw wood, and I’ll feel a tear roll out of one or both eyes and run down the side of my cheek to my ear. Yoga is powerful, and sometimes a good session can connect you so deeply with your inner ‘divine’ that you cry. You are strong. You are loved. You are perfect in your imperfection. You are forgiven. You are the entire Universe, experiencing what it’s like to be a human. That’s big.

The power of OM.

Until you’ve made that beautiful, potent and sacred sound in unison with a dozen other voices, you haven’t truly lived, imho.

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(OM -artist unknown).


At the end of every class we put our palms together in Sitting Prayer asana (hands level with our heart chakras, thumbs together and pointing toward the chest) and we bow to the divine in our instructor as he or she bows to the divine in us. There is something about the namaste that is so pure and good and grateful that it feels like a moment of sacred bliss. After that, you can roll up your mat, put on your shoes, and walk out into the world with the full knowledge that a). there is a divine plan, b). that you’re part of it, and c)…as a great poet once sang, “every little thing is going to be alright”.



Everyday Musings

Wake Up!

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I learned two really interesting things recently.

One: the earth’s water is part of the biosphere, which means not a drop escapes, nor has a single drop of water been added since the dawn of time.

So basically, your tears were once part of the ocean, part of the blood running through the veins of dinosaurs, and part of the dew on the grass where kings have walked.

The water you drink was once part of the Amazon River…it ran in gutters in Medieval Paris and it passed through the bodies of the Pharaohs.

This is a fact. Check it out. Science is fun.

Here’s fact number two: By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will be in water crisis. Water use has been growing at more than the rate twice of population increase in the last century. By 2025, 1.8 Billion people will be living in countries or regions with ABSOLUTE water scarcity. Where will those people go?

2025. That’s only eight years from now.

Wake up humans! Wake up!