Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Whispering Rainbows?

DISCLAIMER: This is a weird one.

I walked around for hours yesterday, looking at the scattered leaves, twigs and acorns left in the wake of Irene's very civilized visit to the District. I saw more earthquake damage, too: bricks missing from chimneys, shingles gone, here and there, from the roofs of beautiful houses. No matter how much I enjoyed the shake and rinse we experienced last week, it did wreak minor havoc in our usually very well ordered lives.

When I'm seeking a shamanic wavelength, I tend to wander, let my feet take me where they will. Yesterday they took me directly inside the American Indian museum. Should say I really love the exterior of the museum, the gardens and fountain especially. I also love the cafeteria, but not so much the museum itself. It was designed to honor the objects on display, which are not "artifacts" as they would be if it was designed like most museums. What that means is the contents of the building are not curated in the traditional way. I find it hard to connect with any of the exhibits.

One thing I LOVE about the museum is the Rainbow People. There are prisms set in the big skylight above the main room that catch and separate sunshine into its component colors. The rainbows move with Brother Sun all around the interior, up the stairs to the second and third level. Hanging out with these rainbows is always a magical experience, the most enjoyable part of being at the museum unless I'm having lunch.

Yesterday I swear I could hear whispering inside the museum, whether it was from the Rainbow People or the spirits of the Indians who hang out there I can't say for sure. (Could also be my imagination, you never know!) What my spirit guides told me is that the hurriquake "peeled away layers of history," revealing and making accessible the deep history of this landscape, i.e. the stories and wisdom of the people who lived here first.

Kind of an interesting thought. Back out on the national mall, I closed my eyes and listened carefully. When I'm out there between the Capitol and the Washington Monument, I almost always "hear" echoes of Lincoln's second inaugural address, Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, I even hear the "thousand points of light" speech made by George Bush, Sr. when he was elected. I hear FDR, and if I listen hard enough, sometimes I even "hear" the voices of our founding fathers.

It was quiet on the mall yesterday, to my shamanic ear anyway. Wow. Apparently it takes an earthquake AND a hurricane to make our federal ancestors shut the hell up. Sweet.

Today I'll be back out there, with my new camera, a super zoom version of the old crappy point and shoot I used before the iphone. I'll be listening with my inner ear, you'd better believe it.

These are likely to be the last of the iphone pics I publish for awhile. Yesterday I found a super zoom camera on sale at a ridiculous price. Browsing turned to buying rather quickly. It is GREAT to be using a real camera again, a much nicer one than the old crap camera, way better than the iphone. Ahh!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Broken street lamp. At first I thought maybe it had fallen during the quake, but based on how many leaves were stuffed inside, my guess is it has been broken for awhile.

I took a long walk after work yesterday, looking for damage from Irene. From what I saw, the storm served to blow a bunch of dead leaves and small twigs out of the trees, a very good thing, and give the ground a nice soak - again, very nice, as we have had a very dry summer. I did see some trees that had come down but I suspect they were on their last legs anyway, due to take a dive.

It's rather easy for me to be philosophical since my power never went off, there were no leaks or floods into the chateau. One shingle fell off the roof during the earthquake, just one. The chateau was built in the 1880s and has weathered many a storm. It was standing when the LAST 5.8 earthquake hit, in 1897. It is a sturdy, well built, solid yet graceful house. I feel SO LUCKY to live here. Wow.

Today is another gorgeous DC day. I'm going to take a big walk, go check out super zoom cameras at the professional camera store. I've grown weary of the iphone camera. The wide angle lens and the way it oversaturates everything makes every picture dramatic, but even those effects can't create good pictures, nope. Makes perfect sense that there are so many special effects apps for the iphone camera. It needs some hipstamatic alteration, because as a real camera, it sucks.

Today's post is as random as my mind in the wake of the hurriquake. My thoughts are chaotic, part of the shake-up, I assume. Just as I typed that the suspended light over the table here began to sway slightly. I didn't feel it in my body but I wonder if we just experienced an aftershock - there have been a dozen since last week's quake.

The light has stopped swaying and I'm ready to head out into this sparkling day. Shalom.

Monday, August 29, 2011

After hurriquake

There wasn't a lot of damage as a result of Irene in my neighborhood. The sidewalks were scattered with twigs and leaves, a great thing after our dry summer. But one of my favorite trees lost a huge branch, see where it's separated from the trunk? I fear it's the end for this beautiful being.

It was quite a week last week for those of us who had close encounters not only with the earthquake but also with the hurricane. I've seen "hurriquake" a few times on Facebook. Indeed.

Several clients told me when the earthquake started, they thought we were being bombed. After 9/11, that story - that we're being attacked or about to be attacked - looms large in the psyches of the people who lived in the cities that were hit. I knew it was an earthquake because of all my years in San Francisco, hence the we're being bombed explanation never entered my mind. I am grateful for this.

There's a way in which the hurriquake revealed the deepest level of survival fears each of us individuals holds. It definitely revealed mine, though I experienced those fears prior to last week. These things are not always linear.

Needless to say, in the wake of these events, I have lots to think about. As the dust settles, I'll be taking in the energy and behavior of my fellow citizens of DC as all of us integrate what has gone down. I'll be watching myself, too, of course.

A big shake followed by a systemic flush? Well. Wow.

Mama Gaia I am in awe of you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodbye Irene

All is well in the chateau. There are no leaks or floods, no tree branches or fallen trees I can see from my vantage point. We never lost power. Oh man do I love living in the chateau!

The storm here in DC reminded me of winter rainstorms in San Francisco, lots of wind and rain, no lightning or thunder. I kept thinking about how Irene brought the Atlantic Ocean to us, all the way from the west coast of Africa. That thought made me curious - if hurricanes pick up sea water, then why isn't the rain from those storms salt water? As you can see, I was not fearing for my life as the storm raged outside.

My experience was gentle, my heart and prayers go out to those in the path of the storm. I am very lucky.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Last night and the night before, the sky was purple at sunset. Truly purple! Wow.

I'm working all day today, a good thing for my bank account as well as great for clients, all of whom live in the 'hood so there won't be any crazy driving through the hurricane situations. They will put on their REI raincoats and dash around the corner to the chateau, arrive damp perhaps, but ready to get on the table. Believe me, there is nothing better than receiving massage while the rain lashes and the wind whips around outside. It is fantastically soothing.

When a monster storm is on the move, headed in my direction, it's hard to focus on anything else with the exception that I love to work when it's stormy. Maybe it's because we humans are essentially stormy beings - metaphorically at least. There is a nice symmetry to working out muscular kinks and knots (the result of internal storminess) while lightning cracks and thunder booms outside. It's so right.

Late tonight is supposed to be the worst of it, "only" tropical storm force winds and rain is forecast for the District. It will be one hell of a storm, but nothing compared to what those on the coast are dealing with. Whew.

Visualizing (as suggested by a friend) the East Coast in a shiny coat of armour today and tomorrow. May all beings be safe. Maybe it be so. Shalom.

Am I the only person who sees the face in the clouds above my head?

Friday, August 26, 2011


It's a lovely late summer day in Washington DC: clear skies, warm and muggy, no wind. You would never ever guess that a big ole hurricane is heading in our direction if not for modern meteorology. I haven't been outdoors yet but I'm guessing that the quality of this day is very nondescript. Hurricanes tend to suck all the energy out of the atmosphere for hundreds of miles around. I expect today to be a non-day in that respect.

Here at the chateau there will be clients and cake (I've been baking.) After work I plan to head down to the Matchbox, not out of habit - I haven't been as much of a regular lately - but to sit at the bar and listen to the buzz about Irene.

It has been one of the weirdest weeks ever in Washington DC what with the earthquake followed by the hurricane. My goodness. What next?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mother Nature's Beatdown

First an earthquake, followed this weekend by a hurricane? For heaven's sake!

To be honest, I enjoyed Tuesday's earthquake. After Loma Prieta in 1989, I swore I could live a long and happy life without ever experiencing another quake. That was so scary. But Tuesday, in the midst of the shaking, standing in the Sufi acupuncturist's office, I was smiling while everyone else looked a bit stricken. It was fun for me. I loved all the interaction among strangers that took place during the 24 hours after the quake.

What I forgot is that I live in the District of Unreinforced Masonry. I saw lots of external damage on houses here on the Hill yesterday, read about the Washington Monument, the National Cathedral. Yikes.

In San Francisco, every new building can rock and roll with the quakes. Davies Symphony Hall, where I worked, was built on rollers. The building literally rolled back and forth during earthquakes. Though structurally better for the whole building, the people who were still in the Hall when the quake struck said they were knocked off their feet.

At the center of the Transamerica Pyramid there's a pendulum thingie, some sort of super serious wire that's attached to the top of the building, with a heavy weight at ground level. When there's a quake, the pyramid is meant to sway back and forth; the pendulum keeps it from swinging too far. Can you imagine working on one of the top floors during a quake? Whoa.

One of my theories about why the cultural norm in San Francisco (and most of northern California) is a bit wacky comes from the fact that the land never holds still there. I'm curious to see whether Tuesday's earthquake will inspire a little more looseness among we tight lipped Washingtonians. It did for awhile.

Hurricanes are a different matter entirely. DC is a city full not only of unreinforced masonry, but lots and lots of trees. Big storms are frightening - the trees whip around, branches crack, trees crash into roofs, on top of cars. I baked a cake yesterday, and stocked up on groceries. Also bought some vodka. If there's going to be a hurricane, there will be martinis.

Life in Washington DC this week is crazy. Wish us well! Shalom.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wake of the Quake

Before the quake, the streets were deserted. It was so quiet and peaceful in DC.

Once upon a time I wanted to be a powerful sorceress. I thought moving and shaping energy to serve my purposes was a great idea, and may I say, I'm not the first person who has ever entertained that thought form. My, my ... delusions of grandeur do not ever bring about the best result.

That was quite awhile ago. I learned - the hard way - that trying to shape energy according to what I think is best only served to bind me to an inflated, delusional picture of what I'm capable of, and hindered my ability to deal with the situation at hand or recognize alternative choices. Magic was not good for me.

Fast forward to now. I leave all shaping of energy to God, the angels, ancestors and such. My practice these days is to sense the rivers of subtle energy as best I can, then dance in shamanic alignment with the eddies and flows that are life supporting and healing. Sometimes I tune in fully, other times I'm off the mark. It's a life-long art to learn, it really is!

I was feeling it yesterday, I was, posting here about how shake ups inspire creativity just a few hours before the earthquake. Well done, Reya. A little later I went downtown to see the Sufi acupuncturist. Before the session, I told the acupuncturist I felt my energy was going in opposite directions, creating internal friction and heat. "Something's gotta give," I told him.

Well, ha. That is exactly what was going down underground. I love it when I can be shamanically precise like that. It was lovely to share the earthquake with the Sufi acupuncturist, his client, and the woman who works behind the front desk. Truly lovely. Afterwards I walked for several blocks, chatting with total strangers. Everyone was on the street - it was a festive atmosphere.

For a few minutes I wondered if I should get on the Metro train, but then I remembered that our subway is exactly like BART in San Francisco. After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, BART was the only transportation system that was functional. Even the BART tube under the San Francisco Bay was unaffected while above the water, the Bay Bridge collapsed.

The mood on the Metro ride back to Capitol Hill was completely unusual - people were talking, sharing bits of information, making eye contact. We staid, uptight Washingtonians dropped our usual reserve yesterday after the quake. It was very fun.

Can't resist the urge to paste the last line of yesterday's post here: Feeling stale? Uninspired (like I was)? Switch it up, people. It's a bit unnerving but it really helps. Mama Earth confirmed yesterday that a little shake every now and then is a really good way to wake up.

L'chaim, y'all.

Moments after the quake, the streets were full of people.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mash up

One of the reasons I go kicking and screaming into every one of life's changes (or so it seems) is because I forget how changes beget creativity. If I could remember the surge in creativity that accompanies a shake up in routine, then maybe I wouldn't get so scared. Ya think?

I've been writing like crazy, here, on Chateau Seven, and for myself. I purchased the app Evernote for the iphone and my computer. The words are pouring out of me at the moment. It's kind of amazing, really. Where are all these words coming from?

What I was thinking this morning is that the words were stuck somewhere in my psyche, frozen in some sort of etymological stasis that accompanied my overly predictable schedule. I got stuck in a rut in which I only went to the Matchbox for dinner, always ordered the same thing, in which I saw the same clients every week or every other week, year in and year out. I waste away when in stasis. It's not good. In Chinese medicine they believe that if there is no change, disease will result. Yeah.

Brain nerds like David Eagleman switch up their schedules as much as possible - to keep their brains interested. In the last few years I have gone the other way, towards predictability. Last winter I watched a million episodes of NCIS, I sat in the same chair in the same room. I even developed a mild version of frozen shoulder - which was quickly dispatched with vigorous massage and acupuncture, should say.

Today will be a David Eagleman day - grocery shopping, then a visit to the Sufi acupuncturist after which I'm seeing one client this afternoon, then cooking dinner for the ex housemates (who are going to help me put up a semi sheer curtain in the massage studio, making it even cozier and more welcoming).

Feeling stale? Uninspired (like I was)? Switch it up, people. It's a bit unnerving but it really helps.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rescue and Redeem

Does it really say "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," in the bible? I don't know - people blame a lot of things on the bible. No matter where it came from, that idea has never worked well. Violence begets violence, hate begets hate. How about putting energy into healing those who lose an eye, work out some kind of agreement with whoever poked it out, to do public service or some other task, to make up for the crime? How about teaching the poker how NOT to poke? Well? Poking out the poker's eye is just revenge. It's not about justice.

In the name of the bible or honor or a bunch of other crap, we human beings have done many a terrible thing. It's mind boggling. Going to a worst-case scenario, the holocaust, the only way I can wrap my mind around it is to imagine that everyone - including the regular folks, the Jews, not just the SS - EVERYONE was psychotic. How could you not be, I mean really?

Denial is a major factor in the doing of heinous deeds, always has been. Sometimes denial spreads throughout a culture at which time it becomes a big problem. Culture-wide psychosis never brings happy times, oh yeah. It's OK to keep slaves, kill the Indians, put kids to work in the factories, it's OK. Oh man it is so NOT ok. People: the emperor has no clothes!

But that's not what I want to write about. I want to write about animal rescue, how widespread it is, how people are taking all kinds of terribly sick, injured and/or disturbed animals into their homes to care for them, to try and help them live a halfway decent life. I didn't welcome Jake into my life to take care of him, I had no intention of partnering with a special needs dog. However, through fate or destiny or coincidence, I inadvertently took on the work of animal rescue for fourteen years. It was a labor of love, but it was a labor!

What occurred to me recently is that animal rescue is redemptive. Animal rescue is our way of doing what Tibetan monks do every day: pray for peace, put their prayer flags out into the wind, make their mandalas. I tend to hold Buddhists to a higher standard, so it's nice to realize we non Buddhists, too, are good people, doing good things to counteract the deep debt we have incurred as an overly-successful, overly-clever species. The dogs, cats, birds and other animals are lucky, but we're lucky, too. They are helping us learn to be kind. I am so grateful.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Soul Retrieval

One of my favorite reflection pics ever. This is the old post office building, reflected in a puddle on the sidewalk.

I'm happy. Or maybe what I should say is, I feel like myself for the first time in a few weeks. I wonder what that means, feeling like myself? How can I not feel like myself? Somehow I can, and have, in the weeks preceeding the day I moved my practice here to the chateau, and the days since. My teachers of shamanism would say when I don't feel like myself that means one of my three souls has travelled to the upper or lower worlds, looking for help or maybe just vamoosing until my unpleasant mood passes. I can't blame this soul - I know I haven't been a lot of fun lately, all worried and such. According to Chinese medicine, the spirit or shen resides in the heart. If the heart beat is not steady, the shen sometimes goes to reside in another organ - I think this is a different way to explain the same phenomena.

Yesterday I took a break from worrying. A friend and I took a long walk, checked out the Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery, had a quick lunch. I thought the Peacock Room would be the big highlight of the day - that space is SO bizarre - and though we got a kick out of it, I think the walk itself was far more enjoyable. We shared stories, stopped to take pictures, ducked inside the National Gallery when the sun came out and it was too hot.

What a perfect day. At the end of the day, I felt whole again. So maybe my soul returned. Welcome home!

Today I will see several clients in the cool, cozy, smooth energy of the Chateau Seven massage therapy studio, after which perhaps I will decide again not to worry. Why not, hey? I say hey.

Happy Sunday, y'all.

Street art. Thought of Steve in London as I took this.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Peacock Room

It's a beautiful late summer day in Washington DC. A friend and I are going to walk down to the Freer to check out the fully loaded Peacock Room. What a crazy space, wow. If you're ever in Washington DC, you should definitely go have a look. I haven't seen it since they added all the pots. I bet it is even more psychedelic than usual.

It's appropriate following the technicolor week just past, at least it was that kind of week for me. I believe Brother Sun has had an equally crazy week. Maybe the intensity of my week was all about dancing in shamanic alignment with Brother Sun. Who knows?

A steady trickle of clients have come for massage in the new space. Everyone really likes it, or so they are saying. Tomorrow and Monday I'll work nearly full days. All is well in the onwards and upwards department, but ... whoa ... what a long, strange trip it has been!

Hence, the Peacock Room. Shabbat Shalom, y'all.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Yes I am philosophical by nature, I like to think about things, find meaning. But the truth is, if I took the time to contemplate every one of life's experiences, honestly, there would be no time to do the laundry, cook dinner, or focus on other people such as my family, friends, neighbors and clients.

One of my spirit guides told me long ago that the secret to mastery is in being able to discern which of life's unfoldings is worthy of attention. I've been working with discernment for many years. Though I am improving, it is slow work, at least for me. Boundaries are a bitch.

It's easy enough to dismiss small things in which I am not interested, such as the mailman Kenny returning from Vegas a little bit richer than when he went. Hardly anyone walks away from a gambling vacation the better for it. It's notable. I could put some time into the benefits of taking risks. But I already know about risk taking, for god's sake, hence this doesn't seem worthy of much thought.

But some experiences stand out. This morning I'm thinking - again - about Poland, about how I was powerfully drawn to go there for so many years, how I tried to talk my sibs into going with me, but none of them was the least bit interested.* I'm thinking about how I befriended a Polish woman a couple of years ago, how we merrily planned to go to Krakow together. We planned to go next month, September 2011. We decided on the dates of travel last summer I believe.

Then what happened? I'm still wondering. Perhaps an angel took me by the shoulders, whispered a truth to me, or Lady Fortuna set me on a slightly different tragectory. A divine source opened my eyes.

I am what a friend calls an "energy whore." Yeah. I'll head right for intense energy whether that energy is "good" or "bad." As long as it is powerful, that's all I care about. Is there a twelve-step program for this addiction? It came me out of the nowhere, the reality check: Poland is my black hole, my armageddon. It is a land with which I have LOTS of arduous karma, and - may I point out - I'm not the only one! Whoa.

Just as I was deciding I really shouldn't ever go to Poland, suddenly the friend with whom I was supposed to go turned hostile towards me, picked arguments every time we got together. When I called her on it, she turned the cold shoulder and that was it. Snap. Our friendship was over. That was weird enough, but within the very same week, a longtime client, also Polish, pulled a fast one on me. It was very weird; I worked with her every other week for years - nothing like it had ever happened. When I called her on it she became extremely hostile. I haven't seen either one of them and doubt seriously I will ever hear from them again.

OK, by anyone's standards, a coincidence like that bears examination. What I'm thinking about this morning is how the land gets into people, the landscape with which people identify becomes a part of their identity and soul. That the only two Polish people I know would turn on me the week I decided not to go to Poland is, to my shamanic mind, a confirmation that I made the right decision about Poland. There's bad blood between Poland's oversoul and me.

When I posted about the possibility of going, some of you were all for it, others tried to dissuade me. Life is short, way too short for arduous karma, hey? I say hey. Happy Friday. Shalom.

*What my brother said was, "Well ... we could go to Poland ... or we could swim with the whales in Maui!" Oh yeah. L'chaim indeed!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today it begins

August is traditionally a sparse work month since many of my clients vamoose the District. This year, it's working for me. Having a light schedule means I can move more smoothly into the as yet unshaped routine of working at the chateau. Today I have just one client. I'm ok with that. I'll dip my toe into the feng shui of working here, probably that's just enough for the first day. That said I am so looking forward to a more fully fleshed out schedule (pardon the pun). I hate worrying about money!

And, too, it's not good for me to have too much time on my hands. We humans are working animals. Those of us who do not work are never as happy as those of us who do. Yes, work is about making a living, but it's also about living fully, it's about self-worth and satisfaction, earning the right to live on this beautiful planet. That said, people who work too much are as unhappy as those who sit around all the time. Balance is everything.

Everyone who knows anything about me understands I prefer satisfaction to happiness. Happiness is a fly-by sensation, a quick fluttering that never lasts very long. Happiness is something I chase after - forever, it seems - though I never quite catch up to it. It's a wild goose chase, pursuing happiness. Ask Thomas Jefferson if you doubt that this is true.

Satisfaction is a beautiful, cohesive sense of well being centered deep in the belly. It develops internally in response to work well done. I'm feeling satisfied today as I gaze at the new blog - it's just what I wanted it to be - or the configuration of the chateau (shifted drastically to make room for the massage studio).

A steady flow of clients in and out of the chateau will bring more satisfaction. I am counting the days till Labor Day. Everyone comes back to town after that, and everyone will need a massage. I am so looking forward to the end of this summer! Oh yeah!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My other blog

The iphone decided that E. Capitol Street should be blue. Ok. I won't argue with it. Though - it wasn't blue, it really wasn't.

OK. A few weeks ago I was ready to dump blogging forever. But I stuck with it, just because I am ornery. What came out of it is funny - I started a new blog! Two blogs? Am I nuts?

The other blog, Chateau Seven is going to serve as a website for my massage practice. I'll be writing exclusively about healing there. I'm surprised I have so much to say about healing. I can hardly STOP writing posts about it. Wow.

I'm not clear what's going to happen here at the Gold Puppy. Much more of my energy is in the other blog at the moment, but you never know what's going to happen next. I'm not burning any bridges, not just yet.

A week someone pulled and threw on the sidewalk. Looks like a comet to me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rites of Passage

It was a huge experience, it was also no big deal - leaving Quiet Waters, I mean. All signs pointed to go, definitely. For instance I got parking spots RIGHT in front of the chateau as well as Quiet Waters, making the loading of stuff into and out of the zipcar extremely easy. I moved during the commute hour because that's when I could do it, but because this is August, there really wasn't a lot of traffic. I reserved the car for an hour, but it only took 20 minutes to do the whole move. When I parked the zipcar in front of Quiet Waters, it was spitting rain but ten minutes later, unloading stuff in front of the chateau, the sun had come out from behind lovely puffy clouds. This kind of synchronicity is meaningful to me. It's the multiverse's way of telling me I'm right on track with what's supposed to unfold.

Internally, it was a grand Rite of Passage, culminating after much contemplation, prayer, also grinding of teeth and wringing of hands. The move was, in my mind, worthy of a scene in a Cecil B. deMille movie. The clouds, thunder (but no lightning ... ??) and the bouts of rain were definitely cinematic. For me the move was Bigger than Life Size, but to the casual onlooker, it was just some woman tossing sheets and a massage table into a zipcar, no more, no less. Hmmm.

I was thinking yesterday about our Reclaiming public rituals. We didn't allow people to take pictures or videos because we knew that the feeling in the middle of the magic can not be conveyed in two dimensions. A bunch of people in a circle, toning, looking blissed out, their arms lifted to the sky, well, in a picture or video it's really dorky. But if you're a part of the circle, co-creating and experiencing the energy, it is a very beautiful moment.

After the move, I walked around for awhile, took pictures. The cloud people were close to the ground. I felt I could almost jump aboard and take a ride with them. It wasn't too hot. At the moment I made an offering of gratitude to the five winds, a little breeze skipped through my hair, across my face, as if in acknowledgement and acceptance. Wow.

Yesterday was just another Monday to a whole lot of people, but for me it was a great day, formidable, and charmed. Onwards and upwards indeed!

This is the stump leftover from the tree across the street from the house on Tennessee Avenue, a tree I loved so much, that died this spring. What is that hole in the center of the stump? Do trees die from the inside out?

Monday, August 15, 2011


The days are definitely getting shorter. I know this for a fact this morning because I got up around 5:30, long before first light. Just now (6:30) is the day taking shape outside the windows here at the chateau. The light is still gray, which could mean the sky is overcast, or might just mean Brother Sun has not yet brought color to the landscape. Color is definitely part of daylight.

Ordinarily you would never catch me up, making coffee, choosing tarot cards and runes, at 5:30 a.m. But today is a big day, the day I move my practice into the studio here at the chateau. There aren't a whole lot of folks who understand why this is such a big deal for me, which is fine. The less drama, the better for my clients and business.

Within my heart, however, this is huge - opening my house to clients, consolidating my life and my work, opening my schedule in ways that could not have happened when I rented office space, well ... this is all for the good, I know it, or at least I believe it.

Onwards and upwards. Tra la.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

For Amy

I "met" Amy through blogging, but then something changed - either she stopped blogging or something happened, we lost track. But then we found each other on Facebook. You can't plan for wonderful connections like this! Anyway she asked some of us to write about going home for an article she's writing. THANK YOU Amy for asking me to think about this. It has been an interesting process.

The household I grew up within was chaotic and often very unhappy, overcrowded and full of disregard. It never felt like home, nor has any place since felt like my home. I've lived all my life in the homes of others, such as my ex husband, ex partner, ex housemates. None of those places ever felt like mine. I carved out a corner or maybe a whole room in those places, but it was always crystal clear that the houses themselves were someone else's home, not mine. The apartments I have rented have never felt like home either. Everywhere I've ever lived has been a waystation, a place to put my feet down temporarily. Lord I was born a ramblin' woman.

Now don't feel sorry for me, please! I've learned how to notice moments when I can relax and feel at home no matter where I'm living. Cool, hey? There are landscapes and seasons, times of day and a number of activities that make me feel at home. For instance, cleaning house, cooking, gardening (such as I engage in that), and entertaining all give me a great sense of belonging. "Tending" or contributing to the upkeep of wherever I am is a beautiful feeling. I love feeding people. Making dinner is such a sweet feeling of being home!

I'm very much at home on the swampy landscape of Washington DC. My feet feel like they belong on the ground here - don't ask me why - especially in fall and winter, my two favorite seasons. Spring is hard because of my allergies and summer? Well, I'm not very much at home during summer here, but summer passes after which I'm all comfy and cozy again.

Though I loved so many things about San Francisco, the land there was never right for me. The ground always shakes, mostly in too subtle a way to viscerally notice, but it's there. I was uneasy in San Francisco, always. Portland, Oregon was an even less perfect landscape. The land was wrong for me, it just didn't fit.

It's funny or ironic or maybe just bizarre, that the landscape where I feel most at home is Somerset and Wiltshire counties in England. I have no justifiable connection to that place, no family or friends in the area. Still, the moment my foot touches the ground there, I am absolutely resplendent with a feeling of being home. I saw this same phenomena when I was in India with my ex husband. He was far more at home in the cacaphony of Benares than in his home town of New Haven, Connecticut. Interesting, hey?

Being diurnal, I am at home in daylight, but not so much at night. When it gets dark I'm always slightly uncomfortable; even on the most beautiful moonlit night. I like Brother Sun, I like to wake up when he does and spend my time in the light of day. I'm at home in daylight, I am!

When I was growing up, my family didn't feel like home, but they do now. My sibs, their kids, and their kids' kids all feel like home to me. I am rich in family! Also among my nearest and dearest friends, I can breathe and relax, and feel utterly at home.

Sometimes I feel jealous when people talk about the family home, a place they can always return to, where they always feel welcomed, a structure in which they grew up, an attic or basement full of their drawings from grade school and such. My own experience is so radically different it's hard to even imagine. Wow. But the cool thing is: I figured out how to make myself at home no matter what. So, that's good, right?

Amy thank you so much for asking me to think about this. Very fun! Can't wait to see the finished article.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

On the brink

I've reserved the zipcar I'll use Monday to move the last of my things out of the Quiet Waters Center. I'm excited, I think. Actually I'm a bit numb as I often am during times of great change.

According to my clients, this is no big deal. Once they get on the table, as long as the room smells good, is quiet and comfortable, they could care less where they receive massage. Ha. Go figure.

True, that therapeutic massage is a very internal experience, ironically. One reason researchers believe massage is relaxing is because the brain gets overloaded trying to process sensation. At some point, usually slightly before the halfway point, I can see clients let go of whatever problem they are working to death in their heads. Perhaps their brains are overloaded and have relented. Who knows?

Though my massage therapist is taking a quick medical leave from work, it's coming to me even as I write this that I need to receive a massage this week, let my brain cool off a little bit, let my body relax. I know I'm a baby getting all worked up about the upcoming move, but I'm sensitive, too sensitive, as my parents put it. I'll get over it.

Watery, isn't it? Like an underwater scene.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The weather predicts me

The sun is shining, the air is clean and clear, the windows are open at the chateau. I can hear birds chirping and the voices of the guys working on a house down the street. There is very little traffic since everyone leaves DC in August.

Last night temperatures dropped down into the upper 60s for the first time in awhile. I can taste fall coming.

Of course it will get hot again, of course. The end of summer in DC can only be characterized as mean. The days get shorter and shorter while the humidity, toxic air and heat seem to get even worse than they were in July. I'm not sure that's true, but it feels that way. Hornets and wasps start buzzing around, looking for something to sting while the mosquitoes get really aggressive, as if they know their days are numbered.

But yesterday (and today, or so they say) we are experiencing a sweet preview of fall. I love fall. All my worrying from recent days has evaporated. I am smiling.

Happy Friday, y'all.

You can't imagine how many pictures I have taken of the tunnel that connects the east and west wing of the National Gallery, trying to capture the essence of that magical space. The iphone camera is not great for everything, but it really worked for this. Very cool!

Here's a pretty fun video of the walkway.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

When in doubt, make nice

While I was praying this morning, the thought came to me that rebirths of all kinds feel quite scary because my own physical birth was difficult. My father was hospitalized when my mother went into labor, hence no one was earning money. I was the third child, too. I've seen how households move from the chaos of 2 kids to complete mayhem with the arrival of the third. I believe my mother was worried, my father was worried, my sisters were most likely worried.

Like most baby boomers, I was born in a haze of ether - I believe that was the anesthetic given to laboring women in 1953 - from my mother's body (doped up, laid out flat and strapped to the table, feet strapped into stirrups). Moments after birth I was probably held upside down and slapped hard, allegedly to get me breathing. Is it any wonder that when it's time to make a change, time to reinvent myself, I'm frightened? Holy cow, of course.

I will spend today engaged in self-soothing behavior. It's hot but not too humid, hence I can walk around, take pics with the iphone. I have a couple of errands to run, but nothing terribly pressing. I think I'll give myself the day off, as tomorrow I begin my final weekend at Quiet Waters.

If I were my own client, I would be saying, When you're anxious, ask yourself what you need in that moment - water, a deep breath, a shoulder to cry on, some sleep? I urge clients to take care of their animal bodies, soothe their brainstems by providing some simple TLC. In addition, I urge them to cut themselves a wide swath of slack during times of duress. Today is a good day to take my own advice: walk around, take pictures, watch a stupid movie, eat something simple but delicious, get a good night's sleep.

The studio here at the chateau is clean, clear and ready to receive clients. After I move my table Monday, I'll be in business. Oh yeah. Onwards and upwards.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I remember when screw tops for wine bottles were introduced. I thought I would hate them, but the truth is, I now find corks to be a pain in the butt. Similarly I turned my nose up at the Kindle, but now that I'm reading books on the iphone, I'm seeing an ipad in my future if, for no other reason, than it would be a nice way to read books.

All my pre-conceived ideas about what it's going to be like to work from the studio here at the chateau are seeming a bit insubstantial as I reflect on all the things I was so sure of (how I would hate screw tops, for instance). It's possible I will not enjoy it, but there are other possibilities as well. Who knows?

It's the unknown that worries me, it's the unseen that haunts me. I guess that means I'm a control freak like so many people. I want a grasp on the whole picture before I engage. That is not possible, hence the anxiety. Silly silly me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I'm thinking about London this morning, about the big fire dragon that has been moving through the city for the last couple of days. From what I read, things are calming down, but bloody hell.

My friend Steve and his hubby just moved to London, not even a month ago. Isn't there always something challenging that comes up after a big life change? The timing is rather unbelievable. Steve and Dave are smart, grounded, reasonable people. They can take care of themselves, but my heart goes out to them. What a way to become acquainted with their new city! I can't imagine.

I moved to Capitol Hill in May of 2001. Just as I was relaxing into my new life here, getting to know the Capitol, letting Jake run loose on the grounds of the Supreme Court, etc. 9/11 happened. Everything changed after that, not in a good way. I still miss sitting in the rotunda of the Capitol, something I am no longer allowed to do unless one of my staffer friends agrees to stand with me through numerous security checks to get me inside. Before 9/11 I went often to commune with the energy at the center of the rotunda, where the four quarters of the city come together, where Lincoln lay in state, JFK, too. The last time I was there was over a year ago. It's such a hassle now, hardly worth it or so it seems. What a shame.

On the verge of moving my practice into the chateau I'm thinking about how one change begets other changes, always, or so it seems. I don't foresee anything but goodness in the upcoming change, but who knows what will shake out once I get settled in the new studio? Anything could happen. Yikes.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I'm thinking about the day I applied for my first restaurant job. I was scared to death! I am an extreme introvert, shy, hate the phone, am completely awkward talking to strangers, at parties or within large groups of people. So, you may be asking yourself, WHY in the world would I work in restaurants?

Good question! I had a friend who worked there, I needed the money. Also: I was young and had no idea what else to do. Three times I approached the door on that fateful day. Three times I could not muster the courage to actually go in. Finally, somehow - probably some angel was kicking my butt - I did it.

As it turned out, I spent the next six years working in restaurants in Kansas City, Portland Oregon, the East Bay of San Francisco, and Washington DC. It was a very fun mini-career in which I learned how to act like I was at ease in public, also how to banter while simultaneously doing about five tasks at once. Restaurant work is GREAT for developing those skills. In fact my mini-career in restaurants is the very reason I was hired at the San Francisco Symphony. My boss knew if I could wait tables, I could certainly juggle several projects all at once. During my restaurant years, I was able to work pretty much anywhere, hence I moved to a number of cities from the west coast to the east coast. In those jobs, I met people who are still dear to me all these years later.

Where there's fear, there's power.

I remember the day I left San Francisco to move to DC. I was such a wreck, in shock actually, that I accidently shut Jake's tail in the car door. Poor guy! He had a slight bend in his tail from that point forward.

But the move here was all for the good, hey? I say hey. Which is why I am trying to calm myself. One week from today is my last day at the Quiet Waters Center on Constitution. I'm moving my practice into the chateau! It's going to be a great thing for clients in many ways: accessibility to the Metro, easy parking. Also those with mobility problems will only have to take 4 steps down, 4 steps up, instead of the flight of stairs at Quiet Waters. The chateau is peaceful, clean and quiet. It is cozy.

Financially the move will be a tremendous boon. I've never worked from my own space before, never wanted to work from my own space, until now. The very same angel who kicked my ass through the door of my first restaurant job has apparently been shoving hard - for awhile now - to get me through this shift. I have balked, dug in my heels. I think that poor angel had to put on her divinely radiant angel army boots so as to create the greatest possible impact. I'm scared to make this change even though I KNOW in my heart of hearts it is a good thing.

I might just as well be 22 years old, standing outside Annie's Santa Fe on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, shivering with terror. I've moved through MANY changes in my 58 years. Apparently, it's never easy for me.

For heaven's sake!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's not just me!

Both pics taken with the iphone. I am really getting into it.

I had a lot of fun yesterday celebrating the wedding of two friends to each other. I spent the day with my ex housemates, at the wedding and at the reception, laughing, joking, and planning our role for this year's A Literary Feast, a series of dinner parties based on books, held to raise money for local schools. We are going to have so much fun planning and cooking together. I can't wait.

The wedding, too, was lovely, in spite of the fact that the pastor kept railing about the hardships of marriage, all the awful crap that is part of life in "this broken world," as she described it. Sheesh. I know I've been in a bad mood, but really if I had been officiating, I would have erred on the side of joy, celebration and high hopes for the couple's bright future, rather than dragging them down repeatedly by explaining how effin hard it's going to be, hence it's a good thing to have a partner to lean on. Bloody hell, who needs to hear that on their wedding day? Well?

What I kept thinking about during the service is that I guess I am not the only one in a foul mood right now.

Have a wonderful Sunday, y'all. I'm going to work. Shalom.