Greetings From The Pacific Northwest

It’s been almost a month to the day since we arrived in our rental home in Olympia Washington and it is finally sinking in that we actually live here now. The trip out here took a couple extra days more than we expected but Janet, myself and all our furry kids made it. There is video and pics taken of the journey that I’ll assemble as soon as I get my shit together. It was such an ordeal that sometimes Jan & I still just look at each other and say,”we made it!”

Since we had to get rid of almost everything we owned except for stuff we could afford to ship and what could be squeezed into the van many things had to be re-bought. Like dishes, towels, a broom and other simple stuff. We’ve moved through the phase where you feel like a stranger in your own home to where you actually remember which drawer you keep the spoons in.

The weather is great, a little cool for July especially at night sometimes hitting the mid fifties. I think it rained once, maybe twice since July 4th. I hear Chicago and much of the nation has been going through a heat wave. I  get weather alerts saying lightning has been spotted in my area since I still have the WGN weather app. I miss the Cub games. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the MLB  app by next month to watch some big games.

The only bad news is yesterday our dog Lily had to be hospitalized with acute renal failure. She was recovering from some intestinal bug along with her brother Herbie but she’s not responding to medication so far. So now they have put her on intravenous meds. The next few days are critical so we would appreciate any prayers or positive thoughts you could send her way.

Goodbye Dr. Andrew

Back in 2010 I injured my back  while working a job that involved a lot of heavy lifting. You never appreciate being able to move freely until you can’t get out of bed without intense pain. When I was finally able to walk, it was time to find a doctor.  A client of Janet’s suggested a chiropractor, which terrified me because I imagined some guy bending me in half like Bane did Batman in The Dark Knight Rises  and cracking my back like he would his knuckles. But he assured  me that this doctor was a gentle chiropractor and his name was Andrew Pasminski.

He was absolutely right, Dr. Andrew as I referred to him had a gentle touch, but always managed to find the problem area. My sore spot was the sacrum, that he would gently work it back into place and occasionally give the neck or spine a crack when needed. Andrew was not only good at his job but  he would gladly answer any question you might have without being rude or condescending.  As time wore on we developed a rapport  where we would greet each other, often with a hug and talk about not just my back but everything.  We even opened up about things in our personal lives. Our dog Barney had severe separation anxiety.  Andrew had no problem with us bringing Barney along for the visit.

Yesterday we found out Dr. Andrew passed away. We knew he had been ill for the past few months but the staff did not let on as to the severity. They just said that he had somehow injured his back and had planned to return eventually. I suspected something was wrong but was in denial. He’ll be okay. He’ll be back soon and we’ll be talking politics, sports or about the latest crazy thing one of our dogs had done. He’ll work his magic on my back, then lay his forehead on the back of my head as I lie face down in the cradle getting acupuncture and say, “See you next time buddy”.

I remember saying to Andrew, “It’s really hard to find a good doctor. It took me all these years to find you.”

He replied, “Lorenzo, it took me all these years to find you“.


Happy 1st day of spring!

beagle getting belly rub
Odie's 1st belly rub in spring 2012

Spring is finally here!  I figured what better way to show joy for spring than to show our dog Odie getting a belly rub from me in our back yard.  The grass is finally a vibrant lush green color, after months and months of a wintery dormant tan color.   This is his first belly rub this spring, the first of many I’m sure!  Here’s to many belly laughs, many deep breaths, many times with loving friends and animals, many peaceful walks, & many restful nights of sleep.  Last but not least, here’s to many peaceful mornings where you wake up knowing who you are a little more than the day before.  Yay spring!!!!

Instant healing at the Lincoln Park Conservatory

flower photo
free energy healing from plants

This week I made a brief but wonderful visit to the Lincoln Park Conservatory.  The minute I walked in there I felt great.  It’s more humid for the benefit of the plants, and it’s so gorgeous.  Chicago has two indoor nature conservatories, open all year: the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the Garfield Park Conservatory.  The Garfield Park one always has a great free parking lot.  The Lincoln Park Conservatory is next to the zoo and it’s harder to find free parking, particularly on school holidays like summer.  Both conservatories have different rooms including very old palm trees, lots of ferns, and various types of flowers.  This first photo is from the Lincoln Park Conservatory’s show room, which is filled with lots of wonderful flowers they rotate out for different temporary shows.  I also love that tall green bushy fern plant in the background, which is there year round.  I believe it’s some type of Chinese fern, though I couldn’t find the sign this time.

Asaki fountain on loan from Gethsemane Garden Center

Here is a large, interesting fountain currently in the show room.  It is labeled as an Asaki fountain, on loan from Gethsemane Garden Center in Chicago.  I called Gethsemane and you can have your very own for only $795!  I am big on fountains, and I love how the water just runs down the side of this fountain that is probably almost four feet high.  Very neat.

Both conservatories are priceless ways to temporarily escape Chicago’s winter, but there is so much earth energy in these places they can be healing and transformative year round.

My visit here motivated me to once again think about how serene and earthy my home is.  I do have plants and fountains, but this place reminded me I can always do more to make my indoor environment more like one of the conservatories.  After all, I need that kind of healing every day!  🙂

purple orchid
The Orchid Room at the Lincoln Park Conservatory

This photo shows some orchids from The Orchid Room at the Lincoln Park Conservatory.  This is a great way to get a healing dose of orchid beauty, without waiting a year for your own to bloom again!  I sat on a bench in the Fern Room to meditate a little.  It’s so nice to soak up healing energy from so much well-tended nature.  Just thinking about my visit makes me more relaxed!

These conservatories are open 7 days a week, year round, with the exception of a few days.  Both are free and need volunteers and have interesting events as well.  If you are looking for places to tend your inner serenity, you could put these places on your list!  Here’s where you could read more about the 116 year old Lincoln Park Conservatory including the (only) four days this year they are closed.  Here’s more info on the Garfield Park Conservatory including their own website.  They have a beer related event this 5/19 and regular events year round.  Personally I like going when the least amount of people would be there, but that’s just me.  🙂

What do you need this spring?

yellow crocus photo
Spring crocus flowers show inspiration can come from tiny things too.

So now that it’s spring, how do you feel?  Do you feel inspired to make changes in your life?  Do you feel tired and ready for a nap?  However you feel, it’s OK.

I think if you try to acknowledge how you feel, and nurture yourself, it can only help.

Often spring is a time of change.  Winter is finally over.  It’s nice to feel a more obvious vitality from the earth.

What do you need now that it’s spring?  More inspiration, relaxation, less worry, more creative opportunities, a few naps?  Sometimes people don’t make personal goals for themselves because they pick huge impossible ones then don’t achieve them.  Why not take a deep breath and make a simple, tiny, approachable goal or two for yourself this season?

Give Peace a Chance – Are You “against” the Winter?

Church sign: Whoever is praying for snow please stop

Last week’s Snowpocalypse Chicago snowfall is still everywhere on the ground and with this week’s upcoming low temps, it isn’t going anywhere.  My absolute favorite snow photo was this one given to me by a reading client.

Church sign: Whoever is praying for snow please stop
Favorite Snow Photo

But really, since we’ve still got a while more with winter, I decided to stop fighting it, and stop complaining about it.  Outwardly I do not complain much at all, but today I realized that inside I was really whining about the snow and cold, missing my green tree leaves, missing my summer clothing and warm breezes.

Many people are more disconnected from nature in winter, and this can lower immune systems, and increase stress.  A connection with nature and the earth benefits each of us, like having strong roots making you feel more centered and peaceful.  So is the answer moving to Hawaii?  Well, not today at least.  🙂  One option is to recognize your inner emotional battle with this weather, and let go of it, make peace.

So for the rest of the winter I will make peace with it.  I will ease myself out of an inner whining state, and let go of fighting it.  After all, I choose to live in Chicago and this comes with the territory, as they say.  This photo is me making peace with the snow and the cold.  It was fun to make this today.  I kind of felt like a kid again.

peace sign made in the snow
Making Peace with Winter 2010-2011

Chicago Snowed-in with the “SNOMG” “Snowpocalypse” Snow of Feb 2011

view of Chicago Albany Park street after big Feb 2011 snow, many cars buried in snow

Well sometimes they say it’s hard to think of what to write about, but not today!  For days now people have been talking about the snow storm that was coming.  We stocked up on groceries and filled our gas tank on Monday, and Tuesday afternoon and evening we watched the blizzard out of our windows, all safe and warm at home.  At first it looked like a snow globe that someone kept shaking, with all the blowing snow, but then it was snowing and blowing just too much, and looked more like some scene out of a movie.

It’s a great time to be a renter with a garage space, since the building owner’s son is due to come this afternoon with a big snow blower and plow out the alley.  Lorenzo has chronic back issues, so thankfully he is not tempted to help with the shoveling.

Currently he is working on coloring on the computer an original hand drawing he did of a lion, with a great big mane and a pretty cute face.  It’ll be up in our etsy shop by mid February, and I think it will be a big hit.

In the center back you see a snow drift in the shape of a wave
Snowy view from kitchen window 2/2/11, double click to see larger view of wave-shaped snow drift, center back

View of Chicago street after huge snowfall, good samaritans helping jeep stuck in snow
Good Samaritans dig out jeep in Chicago's Albany Park Neighborhood, SNOMG Snowpocalypse Feb 2011

view of Chicago Albany Park street after big Feb 2011 snow, many cars buried in snow
Let's hope this is the biggest snow of the season! The perils of street parking in a blizzard.