Something to think about

 There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

So is with our lives... Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

Author Unknown



I appreciate this so much.



What Will Matter?

by Michael Josephson

Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.

It won't matter whether you where beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built;
Not what you got, but how you gave.

What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.

What will matter are not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.


Bonbons in bed

I found an old half eaten pack of caramel M&Ms and proceeded to get in bed with it. I always told my kids to never eat lying down because, Mama Cass was rumored to have died eating a ham sandwich in bed but I laid down and ate them anyway.

Plucking each one up and into my mouth while I read essay after essay on my phone. I’m reading a blog of a woman I met virtually while we were both in South Africa. We posted from the same location and liked each other’s photos and got ourselves connected social media-ly.

Why does reading on a smart phone cause a double chin but not reading a book?  I look away from the news of the day, washing  my hands from current events, yet my fingers remain sticky from the stale chocolate.

I know I am not grieving like Uvalde, Buffalo, Petito parents. It seems dramatic to stay in a darkened room eating M&Ms because my 14 year old bulldog is in a shallow grave.

Mindlessly fishing into the narrow packet with my pointer and tall finger I come up empty. Had I known it was the last one I would have savored it. 



Pax out

This pain is excruciating. Even if my brain knows that the timing was perfect, that he didn’t suffer, he lived a great life, and all dogs die- my heart is in pure agony.

A few days ago Pax seemed off.

I mean more off than his normal off that had started when we thought we were losing him last December.

I sensed it was time.

So after a chat with his vet, I decided to take him on a 90 mile road trip,  to enjoy one last trip to our camp. 

Gabi was so kind to accompany me.

We spent a couple of hours out there so that he could get one last paddle in, and a last ATV ride in too. Things he loved to do.

I think the real reason I wanted to take him to the pond was to see if he had the strength, energy and desire to paddleboard. 

That was going to tell me all I needed to know about making his euthanasia appointment. 

Riding my stand up paddle board was his absolute favorite activity in the world.

The moment he saw the paddle board his eyes lit up and he tried to get up but couldn’t.

So I carried him onto the board and we paddled for almost an hour. 

Gabi and I took turns. 

We knew it was going to be his last ride so we weren’t going to half ass it.

Then we took him (and the two other dogs) on an ATV ride until the sun almost set.

The sky was beautiful that day.

I remember because Gabi pointed it out.

I’m glad she did because I honestly don’t think I would have looked up because of how preoccupied I was with Pax’s “lasts.”

It was after 10 pm Thursday night by the time we got back to our house.

I fed him part of my junior bacon cheeseburger before we settled down on the dining room floor.

I slept beside him.

Any time he woke up, I was awake too.

Actually I don’t think I slept.

His breathing pattern changed through the night.

He was clearly on the decline.

On Friday morning I called the vet and made the appointment for 4 pm.

Kika was given the day off from work because her boss knew what we were going through.

So while waiting for Steve to come home from work- Kika, Gabi, and I plus Roxie and Boomer kept Pax company.

He had a little bit of the banana that my friend Julie brought over at 7:30 am. She stopped in to say goodbye to him. 

Julie was one of Pax’s favorite people.

At 10:30 am Pax had his last meal: Haagen Dazs strawberry ice cream.

As if to assure us that we were making the right decision, Pax 

started crossing himself over the rainbow bridge before his scheduled appointment. 

As soon as Steve got home 

we quickly moved his appointment up so that a vet and the lovely technician named Ashley could gently assist him.

Steve, Kika, Gabi and I were holding him until he was gone.

He died a little bit after 3 pm. 

Immediately after, Steve and I made the 90 mile journey back to camp to lay him to rest.

His grave overlooks my prayer labyrinth.

I woke up today feeling completely unmoored.

It’s not just because the past seven months have been consumed by caring for this guy either.  It’s because Pax has been my faithful companion for 14 years.

This guy has been with me through all the ups and downs of mothering, wife-ing and being.

From giving me the confidence and reason to conquer a drive from Pittsburgh to Key West, Florida,

to walking me out of depression and despair,

To being beside me as I slept in a tent SOLO in the woods.

Pax helped me to become.

When Pax met me I was a different person than I am today.

I would like to think  actually no, I am sure that he left me a better person than when he found me.


The thing is, I don’t want to sleep tonight because I am afraid to wake up to a world without Pax in it.

We said goodbye to Pax today.
He was 14 years old.
These photos are from yesterday and today.
The moment we knew that it was time to say goodbye, Gabi and I drove him one last time to our camp so that he could get one last paddle in, and one last ATV ride in too.
And then just like that, today-
He pretty much started crossing himself over the rainbow bridge before his scheduled appointment. So we quickly moved his appointment up so that
the vet and the lovely technician named Ashley could assist him gently.
Steve, Kika, Gabi and I were holding Pax.


(To be continued)


Our Neighbors of 27 years just moved

Mike, Linda and @lookie.lou.SHOE 

have been our next door neighbors for 27 years. They’ve been a part of every milestone of our lives. They recently sold their home and left early this morning to move 430 miles away.

Good byes can be extremely hard for me. Some more than others.

I think this move hit me particularly hard because I associate meeting our neighbors with a time of my life when I felt extremely vulnerable. 

In 1995 I was fairly new to the USA. I’m guessing their move is touching on an unhealed part of me. Most people don’t really think of  immigration as something that can cause (dare I say it) trauma. But grief is complicated.

There are two types of losses. Physical (tangible loss like dealing with death of a loved one) But the often overlooked loss is symbolic loss, which refers to abstract loss, such as loss of a homeland, status, social environment, ego strength and social identity in which many immigrants experience the most. (Picard, Migratory Grief, 2016) I was reading up on the stages of grief recently.  I learned that grief is completed in four stages: Numbness; Yearning and Searching; Disorganization and Despair and Reorganization.  DISORGANIZATION! Aha! I knew there was a reason why my house is in constant in disarray. 

Anyhow I digress. 

Last night I made a Filipino meal (Chicken Sinigang) and we had them over for dinner. We shared have some favorite stories. Silently they have witnessed the development of our ever evolving family.

They’ve seen it all.

They have been the best neighbors ever.

The new neighbors will have big SHOES to fill. They had better ESTEP it up. (A pun on their surnames)

We miss them already.


Birthdays and the Effort of Surprise part 2

The tradition Elaine started continues in 2022 
(Happy Birthday Elaine 2/23)

Meet my new friend Jen. 
She celebrated her birthday yesterday.
I met her a few months ago when I sent her an email about sharing yoga at a facility that she is the executive director for.
The site is still under renovation so I have not started yet, but nevertheless we are now connected through social media.
When she announced that she was celebrating the success of her fundraiser and celebrating her 2/22/22 birthday by wearing a tutu, I felt compelled to surprise her.
I have to tell you I was nervous to do it.
Did I mention that we aren’t close friends?
Plus, it was a rainy day, not really the best day to be traipsing around in a tutu.
Also, when I arrived at the place where I thought she would be- she wasn’t there. Awkward. 
I was directed to go to a different office.
Aaaaargh. I almost chickened out. 
But I remembered again my dear friend Elaine who did something similar for me on my 15th birthday. (See link above)
So I went anyway.
The look on her face when I walked into her office made everything worth it.


Valentine’s Day 2022

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."-Lao Tzu