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Showing posts from September, 2006

Defining Moments

I think it was Dr. Phil who introduced me to the term “defining moment.” Sorry, Doc. I’m borrowing your term for my blog.

My definition of a defining moment is an occurrence in your life that ultimately changes the course of your personal history. The funny thing is most of the time you don’t recognize those defining moments until years or decades later.

I can think of two big ones in my life.

The first one was going after a job at Lowry’s Western Shop. At the time, I had been out of high school for a year. I was working as an EMT at the local ambulance service, a job that paid just a little more than nothing. My mom kept hounding me to “get a job.” Lowry’s had recently opened a real store after operating out of the family’s basement for years. I became one of their very first employees who was not a family member. What made this little retail job where I spend most of my earnings right there in the store a defining moment was the guy who came in and picked up the sales girl (me). Within…

Refilling the Well

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I confess. I’ve been suffering burnout. Not so much with my writing, although I think it’s probably suffered, but as a yoga teacher, I’ve been burnt out. Life in general has had me burnt out. Spending a couple hours daily sitting with my dad in the nursing facility drains me. Fizzled vacation plans all summer built resentment toward friends and family who did get to escape.

Then last weekend I attended that yoga workshop and surrendered my role as teacher, caregiver and fixer-of-all-wrongs and allowed myself to be the student. Just being the nurturee instead of the nurturer helped refill the well of my spirit.

I managed to get some one-on-one time with my teacher over Mexican food and she cut right through all the crap. I try to hold up the entire world on my very stiff lower back muscles. I need to learn to say “no” without explanation or apology. I need to…well…get in touch with my needs. And fill them.

I came away from the weekend feeling rested. I had new material to share with my yo…

Sympathetic Joy

I’m still digesting all the wonderful stuff I picked up last weekend at the yoga workshop. One of the assignments Judith Lasater gave us was the practice of Sympathetic Joy.

We’ve become all too familiar with the feeling of dread that seems to envelope the world today. Turn on the news and you’ll hear all the horrible things that mankind visits on itself. You walk away feeling tired and sad and doubtful that there’s any good left in the world. You absorb in other’s pain and become depressed as a result.

So why not use those empathetic abilities to drink in the joy in the world. It’s there. Oh, probably not on the news. Turn the darned TV off. But if you look, joy is there. Think of the feeling you get when you look at a baby and he smiles at you. THAT is Sympathetic Joy.

The party that I attended to celebrate the launch of Rebecca Drake’s new thriller was one example. I called it living vicariously through a friend’s success, but it’s the same thing. She was happy and all of her friends…

My Weekend

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I had quite a busy weekend. Judith Lasater, one of my favorite people in the world, came to Pittsburgh to teach a yoga workshop. And Rebecca Drake, a friend and fellow Sister in Crime launched her first published thriller Don’t Be Afraid at a big bash at Mystery Lovers Bookshop.

The party was great. Elbow-to-elbow attendance, lots of food and drink and conversation. What could be better? Oh, yeah…and she sold out. Not to worry, more copies are on their way.

Here's a shot of me and Rebecca.



The rest of my weekend was devoted to yoga. If you are at all interested in yoga and you ever get a chance to study with Judith Lasater, grab it. She is wise and funny and generous. Not to mention a darned good yoga instructor. I admit to having a couple of AH HAH moments, both in my practice and in my ways of thinking. Judith offered us a number of challenges to try in our daily lives, the simplest of which is to simply pay attention to the person you’re talking to at the moment. If your husband o…

Sport Shopping

I hate shopping.

Okay, several of my family members, avowed shopaholics, have just fainted dead away. Not to mention my friend, Glamgal, who no doubt thinks I should be committed for making statements like this. So let me explain. I hate shopping for things that you HAVE to have. Groceries. Household supplies. I mean, you spend all that money and next week you have to go out and do it again because the cupboards are bare.

But then there’s what I call Sport Shopping. No, I don’t mean going to Dick’s Sporting Goods, although for some, that might qualify. I mean Shopping for Sport. For fun. Alas, I don’t have the funds to do a lot of Sport BUYING, but really the shopping is the fun part. I think we all have our favorite stores for Sport Shopping. Here are a few of mine:

Macy’s. Admittedly, I have a love/hate relationship with this store. I love the clothes. LOVE them. Hate the prices. I have Porsche tastes on a Kia budget. There is a Ralph Lauren jacket that I visit every time I go into Mac…

Remembering 9-11

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In my lifetime there have been three major events that I can vividly recall where I was when I heard the news.

When I was quite small, my mom and I were sitting in our car waiting for my brother’s bus when a radio across the road blared the report that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Years later, I was wandering through a local shopping mall when I encountered an ashen-faced friend who told me in a trembling voice that the Challenger had exploded.


And then there was September 11, 2001.



Five years ago, I taught yoga on Tuesday mornings at the Millsop Community Center in Weirton, West Virginia. So while the nation lost its innocence, my students and I were blissfully unaware. When I came out of class, Lucille, who worked the front counter, told me of the planes crashing into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. I waited with a stupid smile on my face for a punch line that never came.

During the half hour drive home, I listen aghast to the radio. During that half hour, t…

What you've done vs. what you haven't

The Word Watcher Challenge is winding down with this Sunday being the BIG DAY. So far one of our participants has already reached her goal (YAY, Betty!). A couple of us are close. And a few have gotten so overwhelmed by the catastrophes dumped on them by life that they only see the pages not written. Or they see the success that others have experienced—the progress others have made and they feel like failures.

There are no failures here!

I think what we need to focus on as we gallop toward the finish line (my novels are set in the world of Thoroughbred racing, you know) is what we have accomplished, not what didn’t get done. Okay, so you pledged 50 words and only wrote 5 because family and health disasters crashed down around your ears two days into the challenge. You know what? You are now five pages further along than you were before this thing started. THAT is the point. Any progress made is just that. Progress. Don’t play it down because others did more.

I have a yoga class with a ra…

One Week To Go

The Word Watchers Challenge is entering its final week! So how is everyone doing? We’ve all been busy. We’ve all faced various distractions, some more serious than others. But hopefully, we’ve all put some words on paper (or screen), which puts us further ahead than when we started.

So let’s check in, folks. Paula? Betty? How’s it going?

Jaye, you wanted to get 40 pages done? Any progress? Darlene, you’ve been swamped, I know. Did you get any writing done in between everything else?

And how are you doing, Ruby? I realize you were very hesitant about committing to any kind of numbers, so any added pages will count as progress.

Hey, Joyce, are you approaching you 175 page goal?

Debby? Kaylee? How about it?

Okay, I’ll start. My goal is 150 pages. I am now on page 107. I figure I will need to produce almost eight pages every day until next Sunday to reach my goal. It’s do-able, but I’ll be struggling, like the rest of you, to get those words down in spite of other obligations. The only thing th…

Back from Vacation

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Okay, so it wasn’t the vacation of my dreams, but it did involve escaping the daily routine and changing the scenery for a few days. The old truck and camper made the trip to Presque Isle (Erie) and back without incident. Even with me behind the wheel. All in all, it wasn’t bad.

As you can see, the sunsets at Presque Isle are gorgeous.

Hubby and his broken foot were stuck at camp most of the time. He’d soak his foot, which has developed into quite a work of art…purple and blue and green and yellow…and I’d ride my bike.
We went on the pontoon boat tour out into the lagoons of Presque Isle together on Thursday. Here is a shot of some turtles in the lagoon, taking in the sun. Yesterday, we explored downtown Erie courtesy of a new shuttle service. The rides are free and the buses look like old trolleys.

The remnants of Hurricane Ernesto caught up to us last night, but we’d planned on coming home this morning anyway, so we weren’t officially “rained out.”

I’d love to tell you I got a ton of wri…