“Have You Always Been This Way?”

I assumed (and hoped) he meant friendly, open, interested, and together.

He stopped me as I was walking Boomer on campus. He wanted to know how big this place was.

He said he had been lured off the highway to come and explore. He just couldn’t get over how beautiful this area was.

He was driving from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg. He stopped in Bath to ride his bike for a few hours. He wasn’t in a big hurry. He was listening to Eckhart Tolle CDs as he drove.

He asked me what I did here (in Mansfield) and I told him. We talked about a whole number of things, he sitting in his car, me, dealing with Boomer who wanted to WALK, GODDAMIT!

The conversation was simple and easy and light and friendly. I felt a real sympatico connection with this fellow just passing through, stopping to check out this crazy little college in the middle of nowhere.

Earlier in the evening I had the polar opposite experience. I found myself trying to find some common ground with an extremely tense person who thoughts boinged  from thing to thing like a pinball.

I wondered to myself: Have you always been this way? meaning: tense, overly talkative, guarded and defensive?


When the “accidental tourist” man asked me if I have always been this way we had just had 20 minutes of an easy-breezy, open-hearted, back and forth dialogue about the environment and yoga and his children and mine and India and travel.

It was fun, and both of us said so as we said goodbye.

I think a lot about “vibe” and I am supersensitive to the vibe of all the beings I encounter in a day. I always hope my vibe comes across clear and strong and positive and amped.

To his question, “No, I haven’t always been this way.”

But I’ve been this way for quite a while, at least as long, or longer than I’ve been any other way.

And that thought made me feel happy tonight as Boomer and I traversed the rest of campus on our walk this gentle May evening.

Namaste, Brian. I really enjoyed our conversation.


Spring break, Day 1. Boomer and I adjust.

G headed to Wilmington, North Carolina this morning with her team to try to  play softball.

Today is also her birthday. (She is 47 today. Happy Birthday, honey!)

She almost always spends her birthday on the road with her team. She’ll be home by St. Patrick’s Day though, and then we’ll celebrate her birthday in fine fashion.

In the meantime, Boomer and I are home alone, holding down the fort.



Boomer  is moping on the couch beside me at the moment. She knows that something is off, and she blames me.  She saw the luggage on the bed all week, and now it is gone, and so is G, and the TV is not on like it is supposed to be, and I am reading a book instead of watching Property Brothers, and everything is fucked.

We go through this every year. She’ll be pissed at me for not being G until tomorrow night. Tonight she will barf a large pile of something yellow and lumpy on the dining room floor, I will clean it up in the morning, then we’ll be even. She will have punished me for not being G, and we can then return to being amigos again.

She will resign herself to my ways, which are not so much different from G’s, but different enough that she gets peeved. She will particularly hate me in the mornings because I am not terribly responsive at 6:30 AM when she expects to be fed, but to appease her, I will drag my sorry ass out of bed, down the stairs to the Kibble Keeper, drop a scoop in her bowl, and then return to my cozy bed to contemplate the day ahead with my eyes closed for another hour.

G just called with an update. The bus picked up a nail in one of its tires and so the team is hanging out in some truck stop 2 hours from their final destination.

Yep. Everything is going well. As usual.

My Unique Ability

I am a person with no particularly noteworthy talents.

This is not to say that I’m not good at certain things, I am. But I’m not “talented.” Nothing comes naturally for me. If I want something, I have to pull it out of my ass with a lot of hard work and sweat and streaky kinds discipline-y kind of activities.  (Like my streak on 750 words.)

But I am coming to see that there is one area in which I am truly remarkable, almost a freak of nature actually.  But before I tell you what that is, I want to tell you a joke, okay?  Here’s the joke. (If you’re not a rural person, you might not get it at first, but I’ll explain later.) Ready?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

(wait for it…)

To prove to the possum that it could be done.


I know. Hysterical, right? (yeah, no.)

Around these here parts (north- central PA) there’s a lot of road kill: skunks, deer, cats, woodchucks, and most of all, possums.  (I know, I know, It’s technically “opposums” but nobody around her calls them that. They’re “possums.”) And they are notoriously oblivious of traffic and how to time a foray across a road. As a result, there are millions of  rotting possum carcasses all along the rural roads of PA.

Here’s another joke about possums:  “Possums are born dead along the side of the road.”

I tell you these jokes because today I was walking my dog around campus, and around town, (the way I do every day,) and I noticed for the bizillionth time that I was: 1. the only person not tapping into a screen. 2. the only person not talking on a phone. And 3. The only person without ear buds in my ears.

And not only was I not talking, texting, or listening to music, I didn’t even have a phone or an Ipod on me.

But (and here is the remarkable part) I had absolutely no anxiety about it. I didn’t “forget” my phone. I never carry it on my dog walk. I don’t want to talk to anyone on the dog walk. I just want to walk. I want to look at other people, and the landscaping on campus (the weeping cherries are in bloom and they are beautiful!) and watch my dog  pinch out a nice tootsie-roll sized poop, and then kick her little back legs into the grass three times in triumphant satisfaction.  I want to praise her, and then pick up the poop in my baggie.

If I was talking on the phone I might miss this amazing event.

As I watched all the preoccupied people on their phones and Ipods and Bluetooths, and as I  steered myself out of their way so we wouldn’t collide (because they were totally preoccupied, and were totally oblivious of me and my Corgi) I thought of the possum joke.

(You were wondering when I would wind back to that, weren’t you?)

“Why did the woman walk the Corgi without texting?”

“To prove that it could be done.”

I think this is my special talent, my special ability: that I can do most things without my phone, and without missing my phone, or worrying/thinking about what I might be missing on my phone.

I feel like by not being engaged with a screen as I walk in public, I am providing living proof that it can be done. (Just like the chicken tried to prove to the possum.)

Also: Because I am not on a device, I can witness the cherry trees in bloom, smell the newly unfrozen earth, and look at cloud formations,. I can notice the subtle daily change in the landscape from winter to spring.

I can also witness you. I can notice your life, I can veer out of your way, and I can try to make eye contact. I can watch your reaction to my dog (if you even look up to notice her.)

I can witness you. I can see you.  You can’t see me, I know, but I can see you.

And by being present and unpreoccupied, I can prove to you that it can be done.

That it, in fact, is.

Not Chuck

Sleep is my beauty secret.

So now you know.  With enough sleep I sparkle.  My mind is sharp and I say witty things, (bon mots, if you must know.)

Without enough sleep I almost back the car out of the garage before opening the garage door.

Without enough sleep, there isn’t enough concealer in the world to hide the bags under my eyes.

Without enough sleep I can be mean.

I have been sitting her for most of the evening trying to think of something to write about (this blog is a streak thing, so I have to post.  Otherwise I would have just taken the night off.)

You know dooce.com, right?  And the things she makes her dog, Chuck endure?

So this is not Chuck.  This is Boomer.  This took 8 tries.

Now, I must get my beauty sleep.