Will you make the coffee…sweetie pie?

Tom and I drink our coffee in bed each morning. We use this time to talk about the day ahead, plan vacations, up date grocery lists, book get-togethers with friends, finish fights from the day before or sit quietly saying nothing. It is our morning ritual.

We take turns making the coffee. He likes his coffee stronger and with more caffeine than I do, so we custom blend our freshly ground beans, using separate ceramic cones, to make our first cup of morning joe.IMG_0026

This morning was my turn.

I put the water on, filled the cones with precise scoops of caffeine to decaf ratios, filled our mugs with hot tap water to warm them — something I learned from my dad — and sat down to meditate.

Last year, when I was taking my meditation class, I meditated every day. Sometime this year I stopped. I don’t know why, exactly, especially since I felt better when I began each day with mindfulness. Less bugged me, I moved slower and seemed to get more accomplished, and life made more sense in some bigger picture way.

Strange how we drop the things that support us. At least I do.

So recently, while on vacation walking the beach in the early morning, I made a resolution to begin my meditation practice again. I make resolutions two times a year. Once at the New Year and then again on vacation, when I am my-best-relaxed-self.

In keeping with my vacation promise, this morning as the water heated, I sat myself down, straightened my spine, yielded to the chair beneath me and took some slow deep breathes.  I began my meditation practice, again.

My mind cleared.

What a relief!!!

I maintained this for about 3 seconds. Then my to-do list took over. I took another deep breath, found my spine and let go into the chair, again.

So it went for the next 10 minutes.

Mindful awareness. Breathe. Clear mind. Relief.

Then… I need to remember to call about Jena’s student loans. Oh, and I want to get some more flowers for the pots on the deck. And I need to call Susan. I should get up and write this down. No, you are meditating. Don’t get up.

Breathe. Release into the chair. Ahhhh, I love this feeling. I should do it more often.

Do I want to get another dog? I miss having a pet, but none will be like Jeff and we are gone so long during the day, but I think small dogs can be left longer and their poop is smaller, so if they had an accident it is easy to clean up…

OMG. Breathe. Clear mind. Release.

The water kettle began to whistle.

I slowly left my spot, feeling a bit refreshed and proud of myself for following through with my promise-if only mildly successful- and brewed our morning coffee. I carefully carried the full mugs up the steps to the bedroom.

As we sat sipping our coffee, Tom looked over at me and said, “ You look beautiful this morning.”

I startled. “Really?” I asked, aware of my bed head hair, unwashed face, and sleepies in my eyes.

“You’re glowing.”

“Really?” I am not very articulate in the morning.

As I moved through my day, feeling the residue of mediating, I wondered if what Tom was seeing was my few moments of internal quiet, my breath reaching the bottom of my lungs, my bodying giving-in to the support of the chair, and my spine lengthening to open my torso.

I never thought of meditating as a beauty regiment.

It’s another good reason to keep it up.




Get a Spine

I have always thought of myself as very adaptable. I grew up in a family that needed me to adopt certain behaviors. Be good, get along, do well, make ours lives easier. So for the most part I did as I was trained.


While studying Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy I identified my go along to get along tendency as my preferred Movement Style. Horizontal. This means I swing horizontally between options. I tend to be interested in and open to most things. I like this about myself. I consider options over and over and over again because they all seem like good possibilities. I have often said I would make a very bad juror because I can see each side so easily. Maybe this because I have a Gemini moon.


Or…perhaps, because in my family verticality, another Movement Style, was highly discouraged. Verticality creates more of a sensation of having a spine. (A very good thing to have by the way.) It is a kind of assuredness that comes with simply knowing your yes’s or no’s. I would like to have more of this.


In last weeks blog post, A Love Letter, I told you that Tom and Heidi were teasing me. I didn’t go into detail then, but I will now. Apparently they, and this week Jena was added to the list, experience me as particular. Persnickety. It all began when Tom compared me to my cat. Clea. She is finicky. She likes what she likes and lets you know when she doesn’t. I have always admired that about her. She is vertical. Not much horizontality to her.


Apparently, according to those that know me best, I can be vertical too. It seems others have always felt my spine. In fact my mom often lamented, “Patti,” with the emphasis on the eeee, “you have such a mind of your own.” It wasn’t meant as a compliment.


I am intrigued when others see me differently than I see myself. Especially when I respect and trust their intentions, unlike my mom. It is an opportunity to widen my lens of myself. It is also a bit threatening. What if I don’t like what is the view finder?


So this week, with bravery on my side (I know I am courageous) I have been leaning into my cat self. As I do I am noticing, owning, and reveling in my pickiness. I realize it has been me who hasn’t felt my spine. I haven’t owned it. I literally felt my spine this week and the subtle difference that made in my certainty.


Here are some of my findings. Nothing earth shattering but fun to own outright.


* I dislike, will pick out, spit out, sardines. No exceptions.


*There is such a thing as the perfect purse and I will look for it for months and months if necessary(which I have been doing including across Spain and France-I found it in France). I can recognize it quickly and will pay, almost always, whatever it costs. It has to look a bit funky, feel like butter, smell like good leather and not be too big or too small. Call me Goldilocks.


*I only eat my granola, ice cream, yogurt, chili, any thing in a bowl with a soup spoon. Tea spoon are a waste of my time. They frustrate the hell out of me.


*I take big bites of food, which the above preference supports. I want the sensation of a full mouth of food, many favors and textures in one bite. I have tried eating more daintily, like a cat. I get bored. I guess I am more of a dog in this case.


*I cannot litter. I will chase a receipt across a parking lot, risking personal harm, to retrieve the fly away culprit.


*When someone I love wants to do something, the something is secondary to being with them. I pick the relationship first, what we do is secondary.


I look forward to knowing more. I imagine moving into my choices with a clarity, verticality, that will allow me to trust it is a right for me. I know the risk. Others may not agree or like my choice. Then I face my other age old dilemma…my fear of getting in trouble.


But let’s not go there today.


(As always I invite you to join me in my journey.  Find your spine. Your horizontality. Your Verticality. Play and have fun with it. I would love to hear what you discover!)

Mother Daughter Tattoos

Soon after her 18th birthday Jena called me announcing she wanted to get a tattoo. “Oh,” I responded, wondering where I had gone wrong, “Really?”


“Yeah” she said, “and I want you to get one with me.”


To understand the absurdity of this request you must understand just how much I HATE NEEDLES! I delivered both of my kids naturally, not as a political statement or as an “all natural earth mother,” but because the idea of a needle in my spine was worse to me than any labor pain I might endure.


“Mom, are you still there?”


“I’m here.” I eked out.


Jena went on to describe the tattoos she wanted branded into our flesh. When she was young I would tell her, “I love you to the moon and back.” A sweet nothing for just us. We continue to write, text and say it to each other still.


So what does this have to do with our tattoos? Everything.


Jena endearingly presented her idea, “Mom, I want us to get I love you to the moon and back. I will write it on you and you can write it on me. Then we have it forever in each others handwriting.”


She had me by the heart strings. How could I say no? What a very sweet request. So sweet it melted my fear. I agreed.



After we hung up I began my research on safe tattooing practices and the most painless part of the body to get inked. I discovered meaty body parts hurt the least. Inside of arms, ankles, tops of feet, or anywhere directly on bone is agony. So I asked myself, “Where am I the meatiest?” (Since beginning menopause I have many more meaty areas to choose from. This was the only time I have been thankful for that.) I also needed to combine meaty with private-this tattoo was not to be for others enjoyment or amusement. After much research and consideration I decided on my upper butt/hip. Right side.


The day of the appointment we arrived at the carefully chosen parlor. I was so obviously out of place in my summer skirt and top, panic in my eyes. I felt like Pollyanna in a biker bar. As we waited, sitting with heavily tatted repeat customers, the advise began, “Don’t get it too small, it will look shriveled in a few years. Don’t put it where you might stretch because it will distort. Don’t get red or pink ink because it fades (sounds good to me) and it can cause allergic reactions.”


I am headed for the door. “Really? Are they serious? How big is not too small- cuz I was thinking tiny. Where on my body might I not spread or sag in the next 10 years? And, okay, I won’t get red ink-as if that was on my color palette.” Jena calls me back and I sit down.



Our names are finally called. We head down a spiral staircase into what looks, feels and smells like someones damp basement. We are introduced to our artist, an early 20 something year old man/child. He shows us to his part of the basement. I go first.


He “invites” me to the “tattoo chair.” Because of where I want my “art” he directs me to get into the chair face first, resting my torso on the back of the chair, that he lowers, allowing my ass to rise into the air for easy access. Seriously. You get the picture. I threw Jena one of those you are in big trouble mom looks.


There I was, for what felt like forever, my ass in the air with a cute young man’s face dangerously close to my butt. What does one talk about in moments like these? I know how to make small talk with my manicurist, my hair stylist, even my gynecologist, but I was out of my comfort zone. Literally and figuratively. It hurt…a lot. I kept asking him what letter was he on.


So, in the end (no pun intended) Jena and I have our mother-daughter hand written body art axiom. It will be with us forever and ever. When I catch sight of mine in the bathroom mirror I always smile, feeling warm and loved. Unless I notice the O in love is a little wide. Then I I skip breakfast.