Birthday Interview - Year 12

 Me: “Hey Gwen, how does it feel to be 12?”

Gwen: No different then 11!

Me: “Who’s your best friend?”

Gwen:  Clarissa

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do?”

Gwen: I like to read, play MineCraft, ski, and eat shaved ice [editors note: she was eating a shaved ice, while we did this 😄]

Me: “What is your favorite color?”

Gwen:  Black, red, and I also really like teal. 

Me: “How about your favorite food?”

Gwen:   I don't know... maybe steak and rice, maybe soy sauce ramen

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do with Dad and I?”

Gwen:   Guess!  (Me: Camp? Hike?)  Hmm, I do like that!
I like to play games with you guys, especially video games.

Me: “What is your favorite toy/game?”

Gwen:   The Nintendo Switch

Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Gwen:   A tiger biologist! Ha, so a zoologist? 

Me: “What makes you happy?”

Gwen:   You being happy! Dad getting me shaved ice! Hanging out with you and Dad, and my friends. 

Me: “What is something that makes you sad?”

Gwen:  You guys being sad or angry, and thinking about how old Daisy is getting, and her tumors.

Me: “Do you have a favorite movie?”

Gwen:   [weird thinking face] I don't know 

Me: How about a favorite TV show?”

Gwen:   I don't know again... I do really like Simpsons, and Schitts Creek, and X-Men 

Me: “Do you have a favorite book?”

Gwen:  Ohhhhh that's hard! Spirit Animals, and also Mishap's Heros... but I think Spirit Animals might win... I just like books a lot!! Especially fantasy fiction books 

Me: What do you like to learn about?”

Gwen:   I don't know ... animals? 

Me: “What were you excited about for your birthday? And what ended up being being your favorite part?”

Gwen:  I was excited for the presents, of course! And for the fun surprises you had planned.
I like the sleep over [at Clarissa's], and Hamilton!

Me: “Where’s your favorite place to go when we leave the house?”

Gwen:   I like going to the library, to the zoo-type places, and hiking and camping

Me: “What is your favorite teacher's name?” [Editing this one to say favorite teacher... since she now has multiple in Middle School]

Gwen:   Well, I really like all my teacher this year!

Me: “Do you have a favorite treat?”

Gwen:   Slushees/shaved ice, and ice cream!   

Me: “What’s your favorite animal?”

Gwen:   Tiger!! 

Me: “Do you have a favorite song?”

Gwen:    That's hard, I like a lot of songs... Disappear and You Will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen, The Kings Message from Hamilton, and Cover Me In Sunshine by Pink

Me: “What’s your favorite thing to wear?”

Gwen:    T-shirts and comfy pants and shorts 

Me: “What are you looking forward to this year?”

Gwen:    Summer!! Going on our trip! Especially seeing Panda, Penny, and Parker.

Me: "Thank you for playing along!"



By Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


12 Years Old

Dear Gwen, 

You turn 12 today, and I continue to feel like the luckiest to be your Mom and walk this path with you. Your love is so encompassing and so deep. That said, wow is puberty a wild ride for all. Ha! You continue to grow and mature so much, and are just the sweetest soul... but you find yourself torn now, emotions running in directions outside of your control. You rage against the (very universal) battle of wants vs needs, and expectations - both your own and other peoples. 

This is year one of Middle School, and so far you are killing it. All As for the first two quarters, which is absolutely amazing. You're working so hard to balance fun things with classes, friends, Girl Scouts, family time, skiing, etc. Not to mention all the things keeping your dad and I busy, and alternating our time away from you. There's a lot going on here in the middle of this pandemic world! But you know what, you're taking it all in stride. Despite the trials that your anxiety and depression bring, you still are pretty damn great at going with the flow.

I'm trying to remember everything I can from this year, and I'm regretting how much I didn't write. I loved 11 in so many ways. You're amazing to talk to, open with your struggles, not embarrassed to to hash out the hard things... I hope that stays! There is so much as you leave the pre-teen years and enter teenager times that gets hard and challenging, and I just want you to know that you can always, always talk to me about it.

You still love reading with a passion, ripping though books in days; you draw and sketch regularly (especially to illustrate stories you have floating around your head, D&D adventures, or animals); and you love music, both listening to and playing. You're getting pretty good at the drums, and really like your music teacher.

You've continued to horseback ride whenever we give you a chance, and love to be outside in general. Skiing with your dad, camping and hiking with me. You're still an A+ traveler, and we have some big plans for this summer! You also regularly go on walks with your Aunts, which I'm just so grateful is part of our daily life now.

You're fun, and funny; a trickster who likes to surprise your dad and I whenever you can (see picture above of you hiding in a pile of stuffed animals); but a hard worker too. You're not afraid of work, especially if you have a goal in mind. Your Girl Scout troop has a summer goal of a NYC trip, and so you have been putting the work in on crafts and selling cookies. That dedication came in handy for earning your Girl Scout Bronze Award too!

You still love Legos, and do a lot of creating of things/places that you created in your own head. You build rooms and buildings and whole landscapes sometimes. You still love Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, as well as the Simpsons and the Mandalorian (and all related shows/movies). You've fallen down a YouTube rabbit hole these past few months and love looking up videos of random things: singing shows, people playing mindcraft, kids making slime, cooking challenges, etc. I'm okay with this new obsession since we established some time limits, and since you are so good about talking to me. You know if you encounter something that you think is off or inappropriate, to always bring it to me to talk about.

I wish I could better capture who you are right now, the essence of you. How I still have a few inches on you, but your big personality make it feel like you're going to overtake me any second. Your long limbs, long hair, feet only around a size smaller then mine. Your ready smile, and contagious laugh.

You've started asking for yoga before bed, and you're more interested then ever before in purposeful movement to stretch out, and get stronger. You're also starting to understand the joy of a lie in on lazy mornings, and have no qualms about letting us know you're ready for bed early on long, tiring days.

Gwen, while 12 seems so old, grown up, and mature in some ways (and I'm quite proud of your maturity), I'm so glad to see you're not in a rush to be more adult. Those things will come sooner then either of us like... and I hope no matter how old you get, you never lose the magic, never stop believing in the mythical, and are never afraid to love what you love, no matter what anyone else thinks.

I love you times infinity, you're the best Gwenie in the Multiverse...




Who The Fuck I Am

 It seems to me, after 2 years of this, that a pandemic is not perhaps the best time to try to make all your big moves. Ahem. 

That said, things have continued to move along. Since August I was invited to attend the 300 YTT (yoga teacher training*) I had long desired, in a work study capacity, which was absolutely phenomenal... and the only way it could have possibly worked out. I'm half way through, blown away by all I'm learning, and just so grateful for the whole experience. 

That opportunity lead to another! I was invited to be part of the leadership team for a 200 YTT taking place at the same studio! Aka I get to teach people to become yoga teachers! It was one of the main reasons that I wanted my RYT500 (plus just the learning opportunity), but I had no idea it would come so fast! So if you need me from March to May, that's what I'll be doing. 

In addition, I'm still teaching at three other amazing places, have a private client, and attended a birth in January (no more for me until Autumn at the earliest... just too much else going on). Plus my digital mapping job! 

I'm probably in the best shaped I've been in since before the pandemic at least, and I think maybe ever. This feels amazing after spending 6 months last year dealing with an intestinal issues that seemed to boil down to a stomach bug, exacerbated by a lactose intolerance, that got to a point where my guts were just angry and needed a month long elimination/anti-inflammatory diet just to get them back to normal. They did get back to baseline, and now I'm pretty comfortable just sticking with no-/low-lactose options (or, thank goodness for lactaid! Mama needs her creamy pastas). I am still working some things out, as residual symptoms seem to point to "leaky gut", but I'm feeling great overall. 

Gwen and I also just finalized our summer travel plans! Visiting with family, a Girl Scout trip to NYC, and a return to a place we love... with a few amazing AirB&B/Glamping nights thrown in to break up the longer legs. To say I'm excited would be an understatement.

I sat down the other day and reflected on where I am, and where I want to be. I have big plans for this year and next, and you know, I'm proud! I lost my way for a bit in there, lost my bearing when I had to adjust so many dreams and plans and ideas... but I think, maybe this is going to be even better.

* I am currently 200 hr certified, which is the base certification for becoming a yoga teacher. In January I earned my E- distinction (so E-200, E equals experienced), which requires a certain amount of time and hours, plus maintaining a certain amount of continuing education. I was very proud of that! Once I get my additional 300 hr certification, then I will be RYT500 (and E-RYT200, until I earn the hours I need to be E-RYT500). Clear as mud? ;-) 


power of the dog

As Daisy gets older, and her tumors spread, I am struck with how very limited her time is becoming. Its enough to make me literally weep... the idea of my world without her in it leaves me feeling incomplete. I'm glad Kipling found the words for this. 


There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years that nature permits
Are closing in asthma or tumors or fits
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers, or loaded guns.
Then you will find--its your own affair
But--you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will
When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You still discover how much you care
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em the more do we grieve;
For when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short time loan is as bad as a long--
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

-- Rudyard Kipling "The Power of the Dog"


We Are Witches (Incomplete)

 the pot on the stove

with a mix of cinnamon and zest 

could have been a brew

from our witchy past

I smell it still when 

as the days start to fall

the nights gather power 

the wolves sound their call

I recall its spell when 

as my soft roundness scrapes

against edges meant for points 

I long to escape 

we are witches made tame

how I wish to return

to times when we were wild

when we knew, no need to learn