Monday, December 30, 2013

A Fond Farewell

Hear ye, hear ye, the end is here.

I mean, the end of the Gold Puppy blog. I've been thinking about it for awhile now, wondering what in the hell I'm doing here these days. Most of my day to day thoughts, photos and my interactions with internet friends takes place on Facebook these days. When I post here I feel I am rewriting what I expressed more concisely on my page. I go on and on sometimes. Even so, whatever I'm trying to get across is not any clearer here than on FB.

I've got another blog where I can philosophize, shamanize, do my essay-esque writing thing. It's all supposed to be about healing on Chateau Seven. I assume even if what I feel like writing about has nothing to do with healing, I can figure out a way to make it seem like it is. So I will have blog space in which to express myself. I'm not cutting myself off cold turkey.

When Presley left yesterday, I cried for awhile. Then I went out, drank a martini and had a nice dinner. When I came home, I cried some more. And then I knew the time had come for the Gold Puppy. Everything has a life span!

Presley's visit he helped me let go of Jake to a much greater extent than I've been capable of on my own. I won't forget Jake, not to my dying day, but there has been something about my allegiance to his memory that is not exactly balanced. I feel a little raw, but grateful for the healing Presley brought. Releasing this blog is a part of the healing.

Those of you who wonder what I'm thinking about, please find me on Facebook. I am the only Reya Mellicker there … that's crazy, huh? All my posts are public, so you don't even have to friend me. You can go right to my page and look around. Feel free. Or check the Chateau Seven blog. I welcome the continuation of our connection through other doorways on the internet.

If I start a different blog, I'll post the URL here. I'm not going to delete the Gold Puppy, as I did with my first blog, the Gold Poppy. No, I'll leave it here to moulder along with other lost and forgotten blogs. It doesn't feel like I'll be in a mood to start anything new for awhile, but you never know. I can go on!

It has been a long run here! Impressive. But this river has run its course and it's time to say farewell, with lots of love.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dogs and spy novels


I would never try to pretend I don't have an addictive temperament, oh no. When I get into things, I always want to go all the way in. I have Pluto in my first house, opposing my Sun and Moon. If you know anything of astrology, this will explain my natural intensity.

I know this about myself, hence I'm pretty careful most of the time - these days. I wasn't always careful about how much I drank, for instance, or my caffeine intake. I was a total pot head for years. Over time, because I'm old, also due directly to Chinese medicine, it's not that hard to curb myself.

Except …

A few years ago, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, a month-long program in fiction writing. The idea is to write 50,000 words in one month. Lots of people give it a go, trying to bust through writer's block or grease the gears of writing. I don't even read fiction so I thought it would just be fun. I wrote a spy novel. My heroine was Vega, a super spy whose Achilles heel was the fact that she couldn't control her facial expressions, hence she could not lie. The novel was named The Tell.

Fun, hey? Ummm … Instead of being a lark, NaNoWriMo became, for me, a bender of writing. I stopped hanging out with friends so I could write, I stayed up late, I got up at 5:00 a.m. so I could write, write, write. It was bizarre! I was flying high on NaNoWriMo.

After the month was over, I re-read the novel - it SUCKED. So funny. Since then I have not participated and will not participate again, no way. NaNoWriMo was crack. Whoa.

The other addiction I can't curb is my obsession with dogs. This isn't with all dogs, just the dogs who come under my care. I think of course of the Gold Puppy for whom this blog is named, Jake. He became, over his long lifetime, my everything. He was my best friend, walking partner, roommate and spiritual community. When he died, a friend said he was the greatest love of my life. What a sobering thought, though she was right - he was. He really was.

Since he died I have entertained the idea of getting another dog. The idea never got beyond the entertainment stage, not only because of the obsessive attachment I had for Jake, but because the day he died was by far the worst day of my life, way worse than any horrible thing that has ever happened to me. I've had a lucky life, but I've gone through some shit, of course. But nothing has ever come close to being so awful. I will not experience that again.

The dog staying with me for a few days right now is, and is not, like Jake. He has short blond hair and Chinese fortune cookie ears, but he's much smaller. Also, he's not crazy, he doesn't chew things, he doesn't worry. And he's a snuggler. Jake liked a bit of physical contact but then we would go off on his own. This dog loves being petted. Presley is an excellent dog! Already I am entranced. I wish to spend every second with him. I can feel the obsession sprouting in my heart. I will see clients this afternoon and I need to get down to Eastern Market to buy something for dinner. I find myself wishing I didn't have to be separated from him even for a few hours. I'm telling you, I have a problem with dogs!

Spending the day with Presley yesterday I was reminded - of course - of my obsessive relationship with Jake. I grieved for my old dog, also for the era of Jake, much of which was extremely difficult. I was a wreck all day. Presley stayed close, snuggled up next to me and did not judge me for crying.

This morning I'm clearer, as if a storm passed through me. It was a storm of grief. It seems to have done what it needed to do, thank goodness, because it was not pleasant!

I'm grateful for the years I spent with Jake. He was one of the greatest teachers I have ever had. But do I wish for another dog? I do not. Jake was my dog of destiny. He was The Dog. Living with him was a canine bender that lasted nearly 14 years. I love and honor him, but just as I won't do NaNoWriMo again, I will not have another dog.

It's a relief to settle the open question of whether or not to look for another dog. Thank you, Presley!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A happy Christmas Eve

Gold Diggers of 1933

Happy Christmas Eve!

What a great holiday season I have had so far. I'm in awe! I had a fun Halloween, an epically great Thanksgiving, and now I'm even enjoying Christmas! My goodness. The days when I had to self medicate with Hugh Grant movies seem to be over. I did see one Hugh Grant movie at Thanksgiving, but it was just for fun. I am watching movies, though, and there is a theme.

What I've been watching are movies from the 1930s, trying to imagine that time in America. My parents were teenagers during the Depression. How awful! It's hard enough to be a teenager in happy times. They, as the rest of the Greatest Generation, were forever changed by that experience. Teenagers during the Depression, young adults during WWII. They had it tough, they did.

The idea of the Forgotten Man haunts me. It is mentioned in all the depression era movies, it was so prevalent. My Man Godfrey, with William Powell, is a total fantasy - as they all were - but the most compelling depiction of Depression era homeless I've seen so far. He was irresistible

The rich people in these movies are depicted as extremely weird, all of them. In some movies, they are despicable, in others, adorable, but they all seem crazy. They're dressed to the nines, enjoy every luxury, but in order to do that in the midst of the Depression, there has to be a heavy layer of denial at play. 

First there was the "Great" War, after which people lost their minds for awhile: the roaring 20s. The Depression was a hideous National hangover from all that. It's interesting to think about.

The movies are fabulous, though. Great historical sociology. I highly recommend Gold Diggers of 1933 in particular. Busby Berkeley designed the song/dance scenes. They are so trippy! My Man Godfrey is awesome. I watched King Kong, too. He is the only character in the movie I cared about. It'll show you how differently we think about animals, for sure. And Fay Wray, screaming her heart out over and over. I wonder what that film did to her larynx? The character only takes the job because she is fainting from hunger, out on the street. She is saved by the insane, cruel director. Bizarre!

I had planned to watch Dinner at Eight with Kansas City born and raised Jean Harlow tonight, but was invited at the last minute to dinner on Tennessee Avenue. I'll take a walk with Presley, the dog I'm going to dog sit starting tomorrow, receive massage at the Willard Hotel, one of the most happily haunted old hotels in DC, then have dinner with the husbands. 

A great Christmas Eve. It will bring me back to 2013, almost 2014, as it should, from the crimped platinum blond hair, speakeasies, pencil mustaches and cigarette smoke of the 1930s. Oh yeah.

Happy festivals of the returning light. Shalom.

This is Presley, wearing a yarmulke.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy solstice


Even this late it happens:
The coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.

-Mark Strand.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Dark Side

I know that the hours of daylight are consistent from year to year. I know. But there are years when it seems like it gets dark earlier than it's supposed to. This is one of those years. Part of that has to do with how cold it has been this fall in DC - I welcome the wintery weather, I do, but somehow the cold adds to my sense that it's getting dark too early.

Perception is reality, yes? It surely is. This weekend is supposed to be freakishly warm. I wonder if that will make the days seem longer?

Between now and January 1, 2014, I'll be working a lot, socializing hard, and dog sitting. The brief, end-of-the-year days will pass quickly, I'm guessing. I'm ok with that!

These are the days of your life, the Voice in the Shower says often. The days are short, but very full. My life is very full of wonders. I'm grateful beyond belief. And yet when the nights are long, right around solstice, I feel weary. I want to sleep until spring equinox. Also, I get worried - about nothing, mostly. I think it's instinctual because my worries certainly don't reflect anything real. Worrying is a bad habit, it surely is. During the day I'm usually able to talk myself out of it, remembering that worry, too, is a thought form. But my dreams these days are full of the anxiety I so carefully reject during the day.

It's not getting dark too early, and at the moment there is nothing to worry about. Yet, perception is reality.

Tonight is the longest night. Tomorrow Brother Sun will be born anew, and the days will begin to lengthen. Hurray!

The moon refused to come into focus, but the church spire did. Spooky cool.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

La mère

The Old Post Office building, visible now from the National Mall, now that the leaves are down.

Today is the thirtieth anniversary of my mother's death. I've been thinking about her, feeling sad that she never got to experience old age. She did make it into her 60s, barely, but she was quite ill by that time. My guess is that she was too ill to enjoy the last few years of her life. It's a shame because I think she would have loved it. She would have loved being free of all hormonal imperatives that attend adulthood. I think she would have relished the let bygones be bygones vibe that's accessible at this age in a way that isn't possible earlier in life.

It's ironic because when we were kids, she swore she would live to age 100. The day before yesterday would have been her 93rd birthday. She would still have seven years to go, had she been able to fulfill her promise. It's mind boggling to consider.

The day she died was a horrible day for me. My boss raped me. After that I went to a bar and drank shots of Jack Daniels until I passed out - apparently - since I remember nothing after the first few shots until waking up the next day in my own bed, alone. Someone must have taken me home.

I'm sure you can imagine the state I was in when the phone call came the next morning from my sister, telling me my mother had died. I have tried, but been unsuccessful in my attempts to understand why those two horrible events were linked in time. How could both things have taken place on the same day? I will never know. It's one of the things I worked on for years in therapy, but all that work was more about accepting the timing rather than coming up with a theory as to why.

Last year when we unveiled her gravestone was the same day the children at Sandy Hook were murdered. Likewise, it is not possible for me to understand how those two experiences could have happened the same day, even though that's what the calendar said.

I had such a weird relationship with my mother. It boggles the mind.

I'm thinking of her tenderly today. She is long removed from this lifetime; her spirit has long since flown away. But I hold her in my heart, with lots of love, on this anniversary of her death.


Monday, December 16, 2013


Rockefeller Center

I've been blogging for a long time. I think about quitting at least once each year. But I always decide to continue because I like the discipline, such as it is, of thinking about, writing, and posting a mini-essay. I used to post every day. Now I'm more sporadic.

Once upon a time this blog was the way in which I connected with many other bloggers. I do most of my meeting and greeting these days on Facebook where I'm very active. But I still like writing here, and there are people not on FB who come here to see what I'm thinking about. It's well worth the effort.

After last week I'm more convinced than ever that I will, for the time being at least, continue blogging. I went to New York City to meet, in person for the first time, blogger I met somewhere in the mid to late 2000s. We recognized each other almost immediately, as sometimes happens, but we didn't meet face to face prior to now because she lives in South Africa.

Usually when I meet blog friends, there is a warmth that accompanies the meeting. We already know each other, hence meeting in person is just the next phase of an ongoing conversation. It's so easy! I have many blog friends who became "real" friends in this way.

Every now and then, something more than that takes place at these encounters. Something Happens. Though by now I've met quite a few bloggers face to face, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times the meeting itself was magical, more than a sum of its parts. This is what took place in New York last Thursday. I am still trying to find the language to describe it.

The blogosphere was the portal, a doorway that enabled me to become acquainted with people who are really important to me now, people I would never have known existed otherwise. Please don't ask me to explain why - or how - I have no idea. But I am in awe of the possibility that it could happen again. Hence I have no plans to stop blogging, no way.


Tamara and I, in Times Square

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lesson learned

I love learning and I honor my teachers. I always have.

I love the hierarchy of teacher/student - when it works, that is. Idolizing or developing a crush on a teacher is a wonderful way to soften the heart and open the mind of the student. When I fell in love with my teachers, I was able to take in what they were teaching at a very deep level. The knowledge penetrated me to the quick. Even after I was old enough to "know better" (whatever that means) I continued to hold my teachers up on a pedestal. It made going to their classes so much more fun!

I did not idolize all my teachers, should say. Just the good ones, only the ones with whom there was a singular rapport.

For this situation to work, the teacher must not take advantage of that trust and openness. The teacher must remember not to let his or her ego get wrapped up in the adoration. The greatest teachers I've had were aware of that responsibility. They saw me spin out and held the space for me with respect and affection. They guided me through the dizzy infatuation, knowing it would pass after the class ended. It always did. I honor them!

There was one teacher, way back when, who got lost in the energy. We had an affair, a total disaster on every level you can imagine. I was so young then; I don't blame myself. He was only 33. I don't blame him anymore either, but I used to. I blamed him for a long time. Clearly things can go very wrong. The hierarchy of teacher/student is tricky. When done well, it's wonderful.

Mostly in my life, my teachers have respected the sacred hierarchy. Not only did I learn whatever they were teaching, but I also developed a passion for learning when I could dive headfirst into the process, no holds barred. I'm not interested in the "auspicious friend" kind of teacher, no. I wish to study with the gods.

Recently, I've been back in touch with one of my very greatest teachers from my time in Reclaiming. Though I never had romantic feelings for her, my adoration of her teaching, approach and perspective was powerful. I took in every word, every idea. When she offered a class I often signed up more than once, to make sure I got it all. I use what I learned from her every day as a shaman and healer. She was one of my great benefactors.

Once I located her on Facebook, I was excited to work with her again. I signed up immediately for something she was offering over the internet, a collaboration that inspired her to produce a "circle of stones," a necklace of beads she chose to help me with an intention. The process was great, but when I received the necklace, I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that there was something not right about the beads she chose.

I tried to love that necklace, but could not. Finally a friend who creates beautiful malas from semi-precious stones explained that the biggest beads on my necklace were made of dyed bamboo coral. They were an ugly reddish orange, very large, and seemed to me to have nothing to do with my intention. They felt ill, damaged, to me. Yanked out of their natural terrain, coated with a thick, toxic dye, how could those beads have helped me with anything?

When I asked her about it, she told me she loves the dyed coral, says she finds it "powerful," whatever that means. OK, then. Wow.

With this great teacher I've moved through all the incarnations of student. Initially I idolized her and as a result I learned deeply from her, but now I see through her and recognize I can no longer learn from her. I've graduated from being her student. Now she is someone who was once a teacher but with whom I no longer share the wavelength. I'm slightly disappointed, but will get over it. It's interesting to think about.

I threw the ugly dyed coral in the trash, along with the chicken bones and the crumbs I swept up from the floor. Should I need a circle of stones, I'll make my own from real stones, maybe jade, I'm thinking. But maybe I don't need a circle of stones. That kind of work is magic, something I never do anymore. So there's that, too.

It was a shock to understand what has happened, but I'm good with it. You can not grasp the river so don't even try, the Voice in the Shower always says. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since I studied with her. Onwards and upwards.


Monday, December 9, 2013


I had such a relaxing time in Oregon that I kind of forgot about the holiday season, the frenzy, the dashing around, all the social engagements, and so on and so on. I'm not complaining; I've already thrown myself headfirst into the holiday fray, with gusto.

Autumn was cold in DC, a reminder of how winter once was, I mean before electric light and central heat: long, cold and dark. I believe we gather to eat, drink and be merry so as to generate heat and light. Last year it wasn't cold - it was hard to remember the soul of the season. But this year is great - we even saw a little bit of snow yesterday, followed, sadly, by sleet and freezing rain. I didn't leave the house - it was that kind of day.

The giving of gifts is, in the Reyaverse, our way of making offerings to Brother Sun so he will turn around at solstice, bring back the light. We give them to each other, but if we still had home altars, I believe we would stack them up there. Maybe that's why we place them under the Christmas tree.

My kitchen table has become Santa's workshop. I'm cranking out giftoids that I will give away as long as my supplies hold out. I began the day I returned from Oregon. On Christmas Eve, the giving will stop. After New Year's, the partying will stop.

Am I the only one who feels relief at the end of the holidays? Surely I'm not. Once upon a time, that relief had to do with the solstice. We knew then that the nights would not continue growing longer. Our offerings were accepted, the wheel of the year was reborn. Whew!

In the meantime, I intend to dance in shamanic alignment with the ancestors. I will make offerings, I will go to the parties. I will smile and laugh and drink and eat. I will make merry. After the solstice comes January, the month of detox. This is as Brother Sun prefers it. I'm in.

At a par-tay, the inevitable lipstick selfie.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Up to Scratch

Union Station

Jet lag kicks my ass. It's one of the things I most dislike about travel by air. The disorientation in body/mind/spirit is unnerving.

I've tried every kind of non-prescription remedy. Particularly cruel is the harsh idea of forcing oneself to stay up until the proper bedtime, rise when it's morning whether one feels like it or not. That never works for me. The insomnia doesn't care when I lie down, and if I rise too early, when I might have gotten a few hours of sleep, I am out of sorts, vaguely queasy, for the remainder of the day.

Sleep is everything!

I've used the homeopathic remedy, No Jet Lag. You take it every two hours from the time your flight leaves until two hours after arrival. That's intriguing to me and though I could sleep at the proper hours when I used this remedy, I was still completely disoriented. No Jet Lag made me think I didn't have jet lag when I really did. It was rather dangerous in that way. I remember coming home from England, cheerful and chipper because I didn't have jet lag, but on my first walk with Jake, I tripped and fell flat on my face, badly scraping a knee. I definitely had jet lag! Would have been better to know I was out of it.

Many jet lag remedies and tips are based on the idea that it's easier to adjust while traveling west than east. I have not found this to be true. For me it's a matter of natural habitat vs. unfamiliar terrain. I always recover faster and more fully when I'm coming home, no matter what direction I travel to get there.

The point of all this being - I'm home, completely recovered from jet lag, ready to launch into the holiday season in DC. My kitchen table has become Santa's workshop. Today between clients I'll walk down to buy a wreath for the front door. Tonight is a holiday party.

It's good to be home. I'm ready to celebrate the holidays with presence and gusto. Cheers!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Let there be light

I'm thinking about Nelson Mandela, of course. I honor him in this way.

He was clear as a bell, came into this lifetime with all his wisdom intact. He was a great master of light. He was pure.

Not everyone is capable of, or meant to be so pure and clean, utterly wise. In fact most of us are meant to struggle, behave badly at times, become completely confused about our soul's mission. If we didn't have to struggle, how would we ever learn anything?

In this form, we work through so many things. My sense is that the "brief, greedy, sugar high" that is a human life is a very productive experience. Oh yeah.

We need some bright lights to help us, though. I think of Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King. Pope Francis appears, in my mind's eye, not completely clear, but he's pretty shiny. Some of the clear light people have nothing to do with politics or religion. Mr. Rogers, for instance, was a great master of the clear light, he surely was!

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be so clear. In all honesty, I'm relieved to be among the great majority of those who strive and struggle, try their best, sometimes foolishly, sometimes with misguided intentions. The majority of us falter and fumble, make mistakes. Our machinations are interesting, a sacred drama continually unfolding. Sometimes we learn from our mistakes. When that happens, it's satisfying - and provocative. Every now and then, most of us experience a moment of clarity. It is pure bliss! But then something happens and we find ourselves back in the fray.

What good would the radiance of men like Nelson Mandela be if we could all be like him? The people who come to earth to shine need somewhere to put their light. They need us and we need them. It's a partnership.

A deep bow of respect and love for Mr. Mandela's commitment and purity, for my gratitude that his light was so bright. May his spirit fly high.


Waiting for taxis outside Union Station.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities

Grand nephews Eli on the left, Isaac on the right. 

Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what's going on. --Pema Chodron

There are two posts I want to write today. I want to write about the truly wonderful week I spent with my sister and her family. It was great! But I also want to write about how good it is to be back in my natural habitat, here at the base of the chateau, in the sweetest little apartment ever.

The week in Oregon was spectacular. The disappointments were minor and had nothing to do with any individual. For instance, there was no snow up in the mountains, except on the peaks we could see in the distance. We had hoped to snowshoe by the lake. But the weather was spectacular. It was bright, sunny and crisp. I was able to take another look at a very bright Milky Way up there. And Venus - my goodness, she was so bright it was unnerving.

My sister and I have similarly mellowed as we've gotten older. Both of us are more relaxed with ourselves, hence with each other. We have always loved each other beyond all reason, but we have lived very different lives. Sometimes it's hard to even imagine the life of each other. At times in the past, our differences got on each other's nerves, but not this time. When differences arose, we were more curious than anything. It was great!

My niece Emily, her husband Brayce, and Isaac. Yes, Bigfoot, too. We were in his territory.

My niece is one of my favorite humans ever. I knew her husband only slightly until we spent several days together under one roof. He is grounded, kind, smart, funny and absolutely genuine. He's an excellent partner for my niece and superb father to their kids. The boys are awesome: wacky, shiny, smart, creative. I had a blast with them! At one point we had five or six paper airplanes aloft at the same time. There was a lot of running around, laughing - you know, mayhem. Finally someone yelled for us to stop. I got in trouble for having that kind of fun. Can you imagine anything better?

I could go on, but the bottom line is: we had a great Thanksgiving.

Crescent Lake

That's one of my posts. Here's the other:

When I was younger, one of my fantasies centered around living in Paris for awhile. I imagined my tiny apartment in a grand old building, saw myself with my string bag, walking to the markets to buy food. I envisioned myself sitting in cafes, exchanging witty repartee with the locals, cooking elaborate dinners for bon vivants, drinking wine.

A few weeks after I moved into the chateau, it came to me that this is my Paris apartment, right here on East Capitol Street. I live here as if in Paris, I surely do! My wish to live in Paris has been granted - and I don't even have to speak French! It's the best of both worlds.

Coming home to the chateau is never, not ever, disappointing. It's cozy, clean, warm and inviting. I know where everything is and do not live out of a suitcase. Ahh … home sweet home.

One of the gifts of being 60 is that I've had time to practice mindfulness over a period of many years. I really am getting better at being here now, at appreciating what's right in front of me, whether that's my Parisian life here on Capitol Hill, or being surrounded by dear ones in an unfamiliar terrain.

Life is good from coast to coast. L'chaim! Shalom.

My sister Hannah and me.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Irish Twins

Hannah on the left, me sitting down. We must be 6 and 7, or maybe 7 and 8.

I was born in February of 1953. My sister Hannah arrived in March of 1954. Still, she has always been my older sister. She was brave, fierce, funny and wise right from the get go while I was just the opposite - fearful, timid, wary, sickly, prone to tears. I have always, my entire life, been completely in awe of her.

Ever since I allowed myself to be the shaman I've always been, the story I tell about us is that we've known each other nearly forever - since the Ice Age, at least. I believe we have been siblings, friends, parents, children, spouses, over and over again. I can't of course say whether or not this story is true (whatever truth is) but it feels right. The story resonates.

This time around, as has happened in so many lifetimes, I believe we came into the world in partnership. One of my commitments in this life was to take on something from our ancestors that would not be passed on, hence I never had children. That thing is related to the Holocaust. Hannah, on the other hand, came into the world to pass along something very healing and beautiful, hence she had children, both of whom are truly excellent human begins. Her kids married truly excellent human beings. Now she is blessed with beautiful, shiny grandchildren as well. She is the matriarch of our generation.

She reminded me yesterday that as kids, when the crayons and paper came out, she always drew her future family: mom, dad, and two kids. She drew a nice house for them with smoke curling upwards from the chimney, trees in the yard and a nice garden. Indeed this is exactly what she created for herself and family: stability and a loving environment.

I, on the other hand, always drew things like the Angel of Death passing over Egypt, smiting the first born of Pharaoh. I remember I visualized the Angel as a sickly green streak across the sky.

She liked playing pretend games that included themes of family and caring, such as our pretend game of crossing the prairie in a covered wagon (the ping pong table in the basement, draped with sheets, was our covered wagon). I, on the other hand liked the game in which we hid from the Nazis.

Good lord I was such a morbid child!

These days she spends a lot of time with her grandkids, stays closely in touch with her kids. Recently retired, she helps kids learn how to read in Eugene, Oregon where she lives. She is also an artist, knitter, photographer, gardener and a hell of a stand-up comedienne.

Meanwhile I live all the way across the country where I'm on the verge of finding a good translator for the Yizkor memories of our Holocaust ancestors. I'm a healer and shaman, but also an artist. We have things in common, while holding the opposites. To say I love my sister beyond all reason is a pathetic attempt to describe my gratitude for, and devotion to, this amazing woman.

Travel across the continent is a pain in the ass and expensive, but oh my, so worth it. It surely is. I am replete with love for my sister and her family. What a blessing!


We are very young here; the picture was taken before we left Colorado, so we were maybe 3 and 4. Hannah loves the cowgirl in the background.