Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I'm thankful for

This is by far my favorite time of year. I love the chill in the air, the leaves and the sounds they bring into the world, the height of the sun so it slips through the trees, the cloudy days, even the rain. It's been a favorite of mine since Ohio, with the beautiful colors and smells of first fires. I've particularly enjoyed dog walking these past few weeks. It's afforded me plenty of time to think and reflect.

If you're one who marks life by events or memories, then you may find yourself thinking today about the year since last Thanksgiving eve. Where were you and what were you thinking about, experiencing? laughing about? What has the past year brought to you? I've given that quite a bit of thought, and want to share what I am thankful for today.

It's been a tough year for so many of many Americans and for so many globally. I am thankful that I am alive, well, healthy, happy and loved.
I am thankful that I am employed and able to stay afloat.
I am thankful that I have the love of my family and friends, at home and elsewhere.
I am thankful to be a mother, the greatest joy of all.

I am thankful to be a friend and to have wonderful friends in my life. I have to take a moment to expand here, because, this year has been huge for me relating to friends. My friendships this past year have taught me a great deal. I learned humility and witnessed grace from one dear friend, learned about faith and hope from another who found a rainbow at the very bottom of the well, learned acceptance and patience (an ongoing journey for me) from my fur-covered friends. I've seen the beauty of my mother's friends as they've grown up together, and watched my daughters' friends moving through transformations from teens to adults.

Life is good. I am grateful. I am thankful.
Wag more. Bark less.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A beautiful day

Today was perfection. I don't know how else to describe it. There was not a cloud in sight. The air had a slight chill, but the wind was warm and the sun even more so. I had on a light cotton long sleeved t-shirt and was perfectly comfortable. And, I mean perfectly comfortable. I had to stop myself and relish the feeling. I wasn't remotely warm, nor was I remotely cool. I was comfortable. When's the last time any of us has felt that? I had to really think to recall the few times I can remember a day like this. The one none of us will forget is permanently etched in our memories. Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was a day like today. The sky was blue as is imaginable. It was in Cincinnati, and it was in New York. I will never forget the color of the blue sky that day. Today reminded me of that day. But, the I was not full of fear and sadness. Today, my mind was full of comfort. My heart was full of tidings of comfort and least now I understand what that familiar carol is about.

I decided to celebrate today's perfection. I took my dogs along with sweet Silvie (a pit bull, boxer mix I walk and am just crazy about!)to Point Isabel. This has got to be one of the best and greatest off-leash dog parks in the nation. It wraps around the Bay and winds around 23 acres. The three dogs tolerate one another in the car only because they each know what's waiting for them when we get there. They swim and play and chase balls. They run and tumble and chase one another. There are literally hundreds of dogs there each day, off leash. You see dogs of every shape and size, mutts and show pedigrees...each with a smile larger than its head with tongues and tails wagging. It's a beautiful place to be comfortable. I found joy there today, and that made my day perfection.

Wag more. Bark less.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Really...I haven't posted in 2 months? Wow...very sorry. Guess I've been busy. I seem to do a lot of juggling these, not at the circus. This would fall into the "grass is always greener" category. Why is it that we all believe if just this or that were different in our lives, then everything would be perfect. I've learned a lesson that it's better to make the best of what life offers than to continually try to change things. I began this sabbatical journey in March. Take a year to reflect and do something different before jumping back into the career track. What has come to pass is that life is still full of stress...if you choose to accept it and allow that into your world. My journey is about learning to not allow it. Working two jobs now rather than one job. So, there's juggling. If a client wants to meet at 10, then I have to reconfigure my morning of dogs. If they want to see me in person at 2, then I've got to do a quick change from walking clothes into big girl clothes. It's all doable, at least on most days. If that's the worst of the stress in my life, then I am okay with that. Gone are the stresses of paying the bills and which absolutely must be paid today, or else! Gone are the stresses of a long commute or another business trip, a delayed flight or a new business pitch to complete. Today's challenges are minimal, and easily juggled. It feels so much better this way.

And, officially have dropped two clothing sizes and feel great!

Wag more. Bark less.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Charitable occasion

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in the Bay area. We're been in a steady rhythm of fog in the morning, clearing midday and then fog again mid's actually been very nice. The daytime sunshine is bright and the skies so crisp and clear. I was invited to a special event on behalf of a PR client...a graduation ceremony honoring new guide dogs and companions, at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael. It's a very special organization that began after WW2 to train and provide companion dogs for blinded servicemen coming home from war. It's grown today to one of the largest in the country, and today they breed, raise, train and pair the dogs with partners for life, or at least until the dogs are ready to retire back to the organization in a foster home for seniors.

As I watched, bathed in sunshine, watching the puppies in training frolic as the proud graduates stood on stage looking confident and regal, I wondered what the blind must see. I'm sure they can feel the warmth of the sun on their faces...does it resemble lightness? Without our sense of sight, what else might we smell, and hear and otherwise sense? The new person graduates spoke about trust, and the level of connection it requires to put your faith in a dog to guide you through obstacles. Their three-week stay on campus working with the dogs was just a precursor to the true test...their first outings alone as a team.

I suppose that anticipation of unchartered waters is top of mind for many at this time of year. My Sophie has taken yet another big step toward achieving her dreams. Heading off confidently to college in a new town, thankfully with one of her besties in tow! I am so grateful and incredulous to see this young beautiful woman take on all that life has to offer. Sophie, I hope your experiences are plentiful, your intellect sufficiently stimulated, and that your body continues to grow in its expression of your enormous talent and passion.

Who can't recall the preparations for a new school year? Parey's favorite day of every year I think was school supply shopping day! She would shop for hours to select just the right collection of notebooks, pens, pencil box and back pack. What I wouldn't give to be heading off again for just one more day to North Avondale, or Cincinnati Waldorf School. But, then again, seeing both of my girls as they are today, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

So think about the sun the next time you're in it. Close your eyes and feel the warm glow across your face. Be grateful for it's light, and for the grace to see it. Share it with your loved ones today...both furry and non-furry. I will, each and every day.

Wag more. Bark less.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Unexpected fortune

Walking in neighborhoods every day is interesting to me. I get to see many service people, like myself, and watch progress on home additions, painting, landscaping projects, etc. If you've ever been to Berkeley, particularly in the hills, you know that the streets can be narrow, and very hilly. Since service people rarely park in clients' drives, the narrow and often precarious streets are jammed with trucks and autos of all kinds by 9 a.m. An unfortunate drywall delivery truck person for one particular home learned these troubles firsthand the other day. I was walking one of my little darlings with a full schedule for the day. When I finished and walked back to where my car was parked, I realized the drywall truck (completely loaded) was blocking me in. The poor guys had just finished assembling the walk-on ramp to prepare for unloading. As soon as they realized I was the owner of the car they needed to block for an optimum delivery...they immediately called some others out to clear the way for my exit. I apologized and told them it wouldn't matter but I was working, so rearranging my schedule wasn't an option. I realized they would lose at least 15 minutes to repack, move and then re-unpack the truck. I felt empathy for them, but what really surprised me was their cheerful and sweet attitude about it all. They even stopped traffic in both directions to allow me to safely extract myself from the precarious spot I was in.

So...and here's where I may drift into a bit of a rant...why can't we all go about our business in this way? Why can't more people be tolerant of those doing an honest day's work and slow the hell down once in a while to treat them like human beings. And, why can't more service people show the respect and pride in their service as these guys did? Am I alone in being bothered that today's postal delivery persons walk around with headphones stuck in their ears ignoring everyone around them? Or, even worse, with a bluetooth on so they can talk on the phone? No, mailperson...I am not interested in hearing you bitch to your girlfriend about your man and your kids. What happened to the days when a neighborhood was a neighborhood, and you knew my name and greeted me with hello and how are you? I'm sure it's not the same everywhere, but out here, the postal workers don't even wear uniforms...just a shirt with jeans or whatever they want. Somehow it's just not right.

Okay, I've digressed. I'm barking. And, I should be wagging. Have a good day, and please, be kind in your neighborhood.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mutley crew

So, unfortunately, it's not always fun and games to walk dogs. One of my crew, in particular, has a tendency to be a complete pain in the ass. He is a big dog, who gets little attention at home. He spends about 14 hours a day unattended in his yard, with a high fence so he can only imagine what may be going on outside of it. As a result, my 30 minutes with him bring on an anxious and highly excitable state. He is sweet and loving when I fact, he can recognize the sound of my car and begins to bark before I even park out front. As soon as I enter the gate he is ready to go. I make him wait while I scratch his back and tummy, stroke his ears and discuss my plan for the day's adventure. Finally, we head out and he immediately begins to pull and scratch to get up the steps and onto street level. He chases everything...FedEx and UPS trucks are a favorite is the unfortunate mail person who makes a (wise) point to dodge us. This dog knows every house where a dog lives, may have lived at some point, may have visited or even sniffed while walking by...and at each of these homes he growls, becomes excited and tries to pull away from me. Now, I am a strong woman (especially after 5 months with this rascal!) He yanks so hard some days I think he will pull me over. I wrap the leash around my arm several times and even have a special leash made for aggressive dogs. At least once a week he gets the better of me and I end up with a bruise, contusion or some sort of injury. On these occasions, I get angry, but rarely with him. He can't help it. I am angry with his parents who don't give him enough attention, and don't walk him themselves to see how troubling it can be for him. if that's not enough...there's the poop issue. Yes, he is a very furry guy, particularly around the back end. So, when he is excited, his poop often is "loose". A hairy butt and loose stool equal trouble. Enough said there...I'm sure you get the gist. By the time our 30 minutes is approaching its end, I am exhausted, he is more so and we get back to his yard. He immediately runs to his favorite shady spot, which is on a retaining wall that separates the patio from the yard area. Suddenly, he is the cutest and sweetest baby in the universe, patiently waiting while I fill his water bowl from the hose and bring it to him in his spot for a drink. I've taught him to give me a kiss when I bring his water, and he drinks while I rub his head and ears and neck. He drinks in my affection and the last bit of attention he will have until I see him again the next day. I am no longer irritated at his bad behavior, and instead am happy to be his source of love in the world. I am also happy that this part of my daily rounds is complete and I am soon off to the next furball awaiting my visit.

I'm happy it's Friday. My own sweet babies are happy mama is home to be with them for two full days!

Wag more. Bark less.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

People versus Fur

It occurs to me often that perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy my furry friends so much is that they don't talk back. It's not that I don't enjoy talking to and with's just that maybe I've gotten tired of it. My typical career day would consist of early morning conference calls, followed by internal team meetings to address the requests from the early morning conference calls, followed by responding to a slew of emails, texts, online postings and tweets and returning phone calls...all resulting in a need for more internal meetings to "discuss". Technology has given us so many tools to use in communication, it's impossible to get away from it all. many times have you taken a call while in the bathroom...hoping no one enters unexpectedly to blow your cover? C'mon...we all do it...I hear others. And, while I'm on this topic...if you do happen to enter a bathroom and hear someone clearly on the phone pretending to be in their you flush and blow their cover or politely wait until it's safe? Think about that for a minute. (I wait...when I can.) I'm digressing here, but back to the dogs. I talk incessantly to my dogs. I'm certain I am becoming recognized in several neighborhoods as that crazy woman who talks to dogs all day like they are humans. "Good morning my sweet boy, how was your night? I missed you so much. Wanna go for a walk today? I was thinking we'd go visit your duckie friends and maybe hit the hill up to Cambridge street on the way back...sound fun?" He responds with a wag and a few licks, occasionally a bark. What more do I need? In my career world, the decision to go visit the duckie friends would probably require at least a two-hour discussion about best route, agenda for duckie friend meeting, proposed follow-up activities, etc...My doggies couldn't care less. The only follow-up activity required by them is a treat and fresh water upon return. Occasionally, they prefer to drink from the garden hose while I fill the water bowl...but that rarely requires discussion beyond, "Come here boy and get a drink!"

I think I'll stick with the dogs, at least for now.

Wag more. Bark less.