Basil and His Cactus


We found out recently that Basil has cancer.

I know. I cannot even talk about it.

Last week, I told Jason that when the time comes, I do not want Sweet Basil to leave us in the environment of a cold sterile vet office. I do not want Basil’s final moments to be filled with the anxious fear he has every time we go to the vet.

I said I would …

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Monday evening, while listening to M*A*S*H, Dad peacefully slipped away.

In this week I have been shown an overwhelming amount of thoughtfulness and support – I will share some of this later. I have experienced laughter through tears and unbearable sadness as I spend time with those who loved him dearly. So many memories to share and treasure.

I miss his one of a kind humor, his bright happy smile. I keep with me his interminable strength and gentle stubbornness. His love for classic cars, loud music and wine.

Until we take him back ‘home’ to Hawaii, this is how I am remembering Dad:

hula dancing in Hawaii

Keep dancing, Dad – your joyful spirit lives on.


choices in outlook – Wellness Week

To me, wellness encompasses much more than nutrition, fitness and self-care. If I have learned one important thing in this life, it is that attitude is everything. Well, it’s a lot.

When my dear Uncle Dudley was diagnosed with cancer years ago, his immediate and awesome reaction was “well, we’re gonna beat this $#!*. and he did, for quite a long time. Watching my own dad joke and smile his way through horrifically intense chemo and radiation has both melted and strengthened my heart and resolve.

Having to endure and care for a negative person while simultaneously caring for Dad? Almost did me in.

Staggering stress – dropping this person off at the…

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Sugared Chai Latte Banana Muffins

Sugared Chai Latte Banana Muffins – light and fluffy and flavored with all your breakfast favorites, these doughnut – like muffins are a perfect brunch finale!


Sugared Chai Latte Banana Muffins @spabettie

I have been told many times that I am a connector, and that I create community. My open mind allows me to know all kinds of people with a variety of personalities – that certainly keeps life interesting. I introduce people, and a friendship blooms independent of me.

When I was in the spa business, it was very competitive – spas and salons rarely shared or communicated. I began what I called “the breakfast club” – inviting other owners and directors to meet once a month and talk shop. Many gave me the side eye and said I was crazy – others loved the idea, and our breakfast club grew. We shared and learned from each other, and were inspired.

Just like I have friends with all kinds of varied interests and personalities, I am involved in different communities online. One constant throughout, I gravitate toward those who really are here because they love it, have fun with it, and truly want to support each other. I am inspired each and every day, and I like to share that with others (I tweet and G+ a lot…). I am incredibly lucky to have supportive and knowledgeable friends on my side as well. Community.

Sugared Chai Latte Banana Muffins @spabettie

A very wise friend recently said “Community means… support without strings attached, just lifting up your fellow friends, clients, family, etc., because you want to. Period.”

Because you want to. Because you are inspired. Because …

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Today I am participating in a National Day of Silence.

In remembrance, to honor, to reflect and to remember.


For those changed by Tuesday’s events in Oregon,

Friday’s events in Connecticut,

and mourning Friday’s passing of my dear friend Megan.

I hold you all in love and light.

day of silence

sparkly apricot rosemary jewels

A high school friend recently wrote about Finding Focus at 100mph, referring to his motorcycle.

I kinda sorta relate to that, as I love to drive fast and have lately thought of racing (cars!) classes. While driving fast laps around a racetrack, I believe I could easily find that flow, that peace, that calm.

Back in high school and college, this was skiing for me – being out alone on the mountain (well, I wasn’t alone, was I – it simply felt this way) with that silence that can only come from the layered padding of snow.

Now I find that peace while running – it takes a little bit to find my breathing pattern and get into my groove, but once I do, there’s nothing like it. I can process, I can think, I can just be.

I also turn to cooking, specifically baking, when I’m stressed, worried, need to focus or simply zone out.

Dad and I have had some long exhausting hospital days lately – some of it has been good news and some news is still up in the air. I am tired, I am distracted, I am hopeful, I am scattered.

Good thing it is the holiday season, I have been baking a lot these past few days.

Yep, up baking midnight.

sparkly apricot rosemary jewels

makes 14-17 cookies

1/2 cup butter (dairy and soy free)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 sprig fresh rosemary, stemmed and finely chopped
1 cup flour (gluten free all purpose), plus up to 1/3 cup for kneading
2-3 tablespoons milk (vanilla coconut)
apricot preserves
colored sanding sugar (optional)

Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and rosemary. Stir in flour, adding milk one tablespoon at a time until dough forms. Knead into a ball, cool in refrigerator 20 minutes. Roll dough into one inch rounds, place on prepared (parchment/silpat) baking sheet, make a thumbprint.

Bake at 300 for 25 – 28 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely. Spoon apricot preserves into thumbprint, sprinkle with sparkly colored sugars.

I will have more of an update on Dad soon.

When do you find your focus? What is your 100mph calm?


rest in peace, sweet Missy cat

my dad’s beloved cat Missy passed last night.

recently, she was just as much (if not more) my brother’s cat.

we have all loved Missy for many many years – she lived a long happy life, a well loved life.

my brother moved in with my dad several months ago (such a tremendous help and feeling of peace that has been!), and immediately bonded with Missy, one of three cats at my dad’s place. he took her to be groomed – a much needed and way overdue event – and since then Missy had been more lively and simply adored him. I was watching a different person when I would see him with her <3

sincerely heart-wrenching news, Missy had a very large cancerous abdominal tumor.

I could not make this decision alone, could barely formulate the text to dad (still has a trach, cannot talk).

via text, the three of us agreed on what was best for sweet Missy cat.

she was brought in to us – we held her, talked to her, said our goodbyes.

heart. wrenching.

and then we just held her…

sweet sweet Missy cat. you will be greatly missed. you are so so very loved.

rest in peace, beautiful kitty. sweet beautiful girl.


another feel good story

I have only shared something like this one other time, with varying degrees of response. I don’t care, those who get it, get it.

Those who don’t are not reading this sentence, so they won’t know that I don’t care if this is made up, that I did not verify accuracy via snopes, that I simply want to share a heartwarming story.

I liked it, I hope you do too:

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her… ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly…

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.’

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice…’ The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ she asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said.

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


… like my Grandpa Z always said – ‘you should always Stop and Smell the Roses…’