A Tea Party



“What about the girls–we have 4 girls!”  That’s what my mom said to my dad when he gave up his great paying job so a coworker could work. The company could no longer afford both of them.  I think my dad just wanted something different.  He was too happy–too excited about leaving his job.




We had a great time with our dad–going to museums, the zoo, the park–playing–having fun. At the end of the day– he always read to us.   My mother once said, “You’re lucky!  Not every father likes being one.”  Our mom was understandably bitter– but I think she was also envious. She was right, though–we were very lucky–but lucky to have them both.




Our parents had separate his and hers bathrooms.  His bathroom was up on the third floor. It was like the Star-Spangled Banner–all red, white and blue striped.  We would watch him shave in the morning.  Our dad relished his morning routine with that soapy sink and foggy mirror–jazz music  playing.  One by one he’d put swirls of shaving cream on our noses, while he splashed on aftershave.  Ever since–I’ve been completely captivated by men’s grooming and style.




We used to have the best tea parties. We had these tiny little cups and saucers. The house specialty was our dad’s homemade ginger tea.  It was an elixir–made by simmering fresh ginger root in water with brown sugar. He always had a bowl of lemon slices to go with it.

Our dad often talked about how his father’s family (from Bermuda) loved ginger tea too.  “It was de-licious!” our dad would say, “much better than mine.”



These days– we still have ginger tea. Sometimes we’ll have it like our dad used to make it with fresh ginger and sometimes we’ll have it the super-fast-quick way– with dried ginger.  And of course,  we always have lemon slices on the side.





Not exactly night and day–but we are different.  I’m usually, but not always– the guinea pig–the one who tries new things first.  If all goes well– then my identical twin sister, Akwelle, might give it a shot.  We have completely different interpretations of everything.  We are more like complementary opposites–competitors, even.  We absolutely do not complete each other–as some might think.  We are individuals who just happen to look alike– twins.



Our mother, Alberta,  has come a long way since her stroke– last January. She is recovering well–but she still compares herself to the self she was before.  She has always had trouble sleeping.  But since the stroke–it’s gotten worse.  Tossing and turning at night-staying up–anxiously  wondering when she will see improvement.   My mom’s doctor suggested she take a magnesium supplement–an hour or two before bedtime.  He said it would ease her into a more relaxed state–for a more restful night’s sleep.




The magnesium supplement is working out well for our mom.  She still has to go to the bathroom a few times a night–but she is less restless, more at ease.




The other night– I was curious. I wanted to try the  magnesium supplement.  I told my twin sister, Akwelle, my plan.  “I don’t think that’s a good idea–given your sleep history,” Akwelle said.  My sleep history– what sleep history?  I had no idea what she was talking about.  “Your sleepwalking!” she said.

I had forgotten all about my sleepwalking episodes–once or twice in childhood– a few times in college and then once or twice after that.  Maybe 5-6-7 times total.  I have that under control– I don’t even think about it anymore.

Actually, by the time I told Akwelle my plan, I had already taken the magnesium.  And– I was already sensing a change.  Yawn, yawn. I was feeling  very relaxed. Akwelle’s concerns did not even rattle me  as  I settled into a cozy, sleepy zone-dropping into a calm ocean of marshmallowy fluffiness–down, down, down–all thoughts exiting my mind–  gone–blissfully asleep.



The next night– Akwelle tried the magnesium supplement. She too reported a very good night’s sleep.  Only she dreamt she was the neighbor boy.



Eye Get It


I know, I know–I already know–I should’ve listened to my mother. I did not even need those reading glasses. But the way they were displayed at the grocery store–on that giant, plush, stuffed giraffe–it was like kryptonite.  I could not resist them.  Plus, giraffe is my  power animal!

I was slow about it though. It’s not like I started wearing the glasses at the checkout stand. I started wearing them casually– at home.  I was reading one of my favorite books, Fragrant–The Secret Life of Scentby Mandy Aftel.  Does that say  4 or 5 drops of ylang ylang?   I had absolutely no choice–I was forced to put the glasses on.  Yes, 4 drops– phew!  Thanks new glasses!

But–just like my mother predicted– I started to rely on the glasses.  It happened super fast too. Oh, I’m fine.  My eyes are fine.  I’m just using the glasses temporarily–for accuracy,  just to double check–only when needed.

Now–my glasses dependency is making me buy crazy things.  Last week, I  bought one of those eyeglass chains–like the kind librarians wear– to keep their glasses ready for action. Woohoo, this librarian look  is the best–it’s totally me I also bought some Hush Puppies.  




Oh, if only I’d bought that  giant-plush-stuffed giraffe instead of those adorable glasses.  Maybe now  I’d be a cacao farmer or even a ceramicist.  Didn’t you know–giraffes are wish fulfilling, prophetic, supernatural, non-mythical creatures!  It’s because they stay away from fluoride and are very mindful of their thoughts.  They are totally in tune with their third eye.




But–I am not worried–because if there are cats who can do Nia— there’s hope.



And–I can always do  eye exercises.

Cheers, Dear Haiku-Kefir!

Not sure which makes me happier— Haiku or Kefir.  They both provide nourishment, a cleansing even.

With Haiku– there’s this lovely contrast between the short, simple form and the thoughtfulness behind the words.  I like the stillness I feel when reading Haikus.  I drift into a daydreamy, contemplative state of mind.  It’s nice just being present, watching—without saying anything—just an observer.

creamy pebbled grains
turn milk into


Kefir is definitely not a drink to guzzle down. The sheer thickness of it initiates a luxurious focus. Sitting–quietly enjoying a glass of kefir– I can’t help but drift into a happy, self reflective place. Home made kefir is even better!   No rush, no worries.  Just being– wherever I am–now.

the new year is here
we all need help digesting
go make some kefir!

My Gnome is George


George–my gnome– normally stays on my desk, near my computer.  He is helpful, neat and oh so  funny.  If you could only hear the things he says… har-de-har-har!!  And he’s sweet. Sugar and spice–like the perfect shortbread cookie.  And… he’s a gentleman.  Smells nice too! Like limes and coconut with a hint of cardamom.  George is very social. That, however, can be a problem. Sometimes he disappears for days and days. When he returns home–he  smells more like rum and “tobacco.”   But,  he says he’s balanced.  He does yoga. I think he said it’s Bikram…I should double check that.  George is a shaman.  And he’s from Jamaica!   So, of course, I trust–I know that George can help me with this little problem I’m having.


Somebody or something  is playing tricks on me.  For about 2 weeks now–a few of my favorite things have mysteriously vanished.  But, yesterday was a game changer! I didn’t even notice that huge tear in the back of my pants–until it was too late.  So now.  Game over.  I want my glove back. I want my sock back and I especially want my earring back. George will get to the bottom of it!  

I told George that it must be elves playing tricks on me. George thinks it’s  probably a pixie. But…he’s really hoping it’s a beautiful fairy!  I know one thing for sure–it is not my dog Kookaburra.


She’s been busy (obsessed)  trying to find the perfect holiday outfit for our neighbor’s annual hot-diggity-dog party.  This year’s theme:  Must Wear Red.  So, it’s definitely  not Kookaburra.  George will figure this out!


George knows all about  magick  and like I said before–he is super social.  The elves will surely listen to him.  Initially, I tried contacting the elves on my own.  I even left out a wee piece of fruitcake  and a smidgen of chocolate for them.  But, I have since learned that some  elves are easily offended.  I should have made it clear that these items were gifts, not payment.


Last night I put George in the kitchen with a bowl of cream next to him.  I reminded George to offer the cream as a  gift to the elves. I also reminded him that elves can be tricky.  I told him to be careful. I said, Don’t drink anything they offer you and certainly do not smoke, please!  I wanted him to make a good impression.  His goal was to get my stuff back.


This morning, I rushed down to the kitchen to check on things.  The cream was still there–untouched even.

But George was gone!

He left a note:

I haven’t figured out the glove/sock thing.  But…I met a Sugar Plum Fairy.  See you next year (maybe).  He He.



Rock School


Some dogs, like my girl Kookaburra, require multiple daily walks– or else– they’ll dig their way to Timbuktu.


On today’s afternoon walk– we saw something unusual.  There was an older lady standing by a tree stump.  Her clothing made me think she was from  Machu Picchu or thereabouts. Even though Kookaburra and I were at a distance– I was awestruck by the lady’s beautiful, shiny, white hair and super bright eyes.


The lady did not seem to notice me or Kookaburra. She was slowly placing rocks on top of the tree stump.  At one point–the lady closed her eyes and placed her hands over the rocks– gliding them back and forth. She was breathing very slowly and it sounded like she was whispering or chanting something.


Next, the lady started breathing very quickly–like breath of fire breathing.  It was definitely deliberate–this concentrated initial slow breathing followed by super fast breathing.  I could tell she was using her breath like an  engine– revving her up or slowing her down depending on what she intended to do. She was deeply entranced  by the time Kookaburra and I  got close to her.  Thankfully, she did not notice us.  I did not want to disturb her.


I walked by the lady as quietly and as quickly as I could. But Kookaburra could not help but  stop and stare.  I don’t know if she was scared or mesmerized or a little of both.  But she was going nowhere. I had to pull and tug and pull and tug to get her to move along. Surprisingly, all the dragging noise did not disturb the lady.  Or so I thought.


Suddenly the lady opened her very bright eyes and stopped and stared at us–and then she smiled.


The lady totally read my mind.  She knew I was awestruck by her eyes and hair.  She said, “Bone Broth. Google Bone Broth.  That’s all you need for bright eyes and shiny hair.”


“Ok. Thanks. Bye,” I said.  Then I ran home.


And  I googled bone broth.  There’s even a vegetarian version!

A Good Hot Bath

I don’t know much about astrology–but, I think, maybe, perhaps I love a good hot bath because I’m a water sign.




Actually, it could also just be a family thing.  My mother really loves a good hot bath. Thankfully–even with her mobility issues–she can still enjoy the benefits of a hot bath  with the help of a  bath lift.



I used to take my bath time for granted.  I assumed that this special  me time  was something everyone experienced and enjoyed.  I was wrong about that– for sure.


In 10th grade– I was an exchange student in southern Spain. The town I lived in was very small.  So small–there was no high school.  The high schoolers had to be bussed to school– in a totally different town.


I remember I had to wake up extra early to get on that bus.  It was a very large bus that looked more like one of those giant city tour buses rather than a school bus. It took more than an hour to get to school.  But, at least the seats on the bus were plush and very comfortable.




There must have been something wrong with the radio on the bus.  Everyday, only one song played on an endless loop over and over and over… (click here to listen to it).




The exchange family I lived with had a seafood restaurant. My job was to gut the fish, cut the onions, sweep the floor, wash the dishes, set the tables, take out the trash–then pick up the little sister from school and walk the dog.  I don’t know how I got any  homework done. The family kept me very busy–all thanks to a phone call from my father.




My very protective father called my new exchange family before I arrived.  He spoke to the dad of the exchange family and apparently made quite an impression.




The day I arrived–the whole exchange family picked me up from the airport.  They asked lots of questions and wanted to know if we spoke Spanish at home.  I explained that my family did not speak Spanish at home. That’s when the dad of the exchange family firmly interrupted and said, “Your father does speak Spanish!  I spoke to him this morning.  And–he said we have to keep our eyes on you– all the time.”  The exchange family dad then pointed directly at me and said in English, “YOU NO GO ANYWHERE!  I no want no trouble from your father!!”




I was not a trouble maker.  But, I quickly learned how to make things easier so that I could have my me time.  I’d  walk the dog and pick up the little sister at the same time. Then we’d stop at the bakery on the way home. Everyday, I’d get two very large cream puffs (for me) and a cookie for the little sister. When we got home–the little sister would watch t.v. and I would take a good hot, long bath.  I needed it–fish gutting is dirty, smelly work!




One day, while I was sweeping the floor at the restaurant, the exchange family dad said,  “You’re using too much water at home.  Stop with the baths.”




So–I stopped with the baths and doubled up on my cream puff load. Before getting on the school bus every morning–I started going to the bakery.  I bought myself the usual 2 cream puffs plus a hot chocolate!




On the bus– I’d eat the cream puffs, listen to that same old song over and over and drift into a daydream about what it would be like to be a princess in a palace.




My fantasy palace had a huge  bath tub that looked more like a swimming pool. And there were butterflies flying around inside and rose petals everywhere and beautiful exotic scents in the air.  This daydream became my new me time.




By the end of the exchange program– I was 20 pounds heavier.  I had become a certified cream puff expert!  And a master daydreamer!!




If you are ever in Spain (or NYC or Chicago or even Paris) and you need a good hot bath– you’re in luck.  There’s this place called Aire Ancient Baths  which seeks to revive the ancient bath tradition.  And I don’t think you have to be a water sign to enjoy it!