If I took a poll, I surmise that most females will agree that there’s trial and error in learning how to walk in high heels. A learning curve. I realize that not everyone likes to wear stilettos; some may even feel that it’s another indication of how we women are oppressed and repressed, and I can certainly understand that point of view.
But not for me.
I swear, and my mom would agree if she were still alive, that I begged and begged for my first set of heels when I was three years old.
Santa Claus brought them for me (we celebrate Christmas AND Hannukah lol) The little high heels arrived as a set with a faux mink stole and tiara, but it was the shoes(OK, I admit it, and the tiara) that became as natural to my persona as my curly hair and snarky repartee.
Yes, I was an extreme girly girl. I mean, did you ever stop to think of why I refer to myself as Princess Rosebud? My dad first started calling me Rosebud cos it’s similar to my IRL name, and after the tiara became part of my daily fashion accessories, it was only a matter of time before I became royalty. I’d always felt that I was born into the wrong family and this was all the proof I needed.
I really wish I hadn’t lost the tiara…I could still rock a sparkly rhinestone tiara, I know I could.
But here’s my dilemma.
I can walk for hours in heels and I don’t care if they hurt my feet, either.
But I can’t for the life of me, walk in flats. I’ve tried, I really have, but I don’t know what to do! It’s such a quandry.
I’ve practiced…but HOW? Do you shuffle? Kind of like shuffling bare feet through sand at the beach to avoid a jellyfish sting? Is it a heel/toe movement? Do you bend your knees? When? I just don’t get it at all. I feel very awkward in flats.
Even cute ones like the vegan Tory Burch’s. The Jimmy Choos are the worst. I mean, they’re super cute, but it’s impossible to figure out how to walk gracefully. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me. Even the less expensive ones don’t work right. They’re comfortable, that’s for sure, but I am definitely challenged. I keep buying more and more shoes in case I find the magic formula, but I haven’t found them yet.
There are many YouTube instructional videos–“How to Watch in Heels and Stilettos” –but nothing for flats. I guess I’ll have to only wear heels or suffer the embarrassment of lumbering and shambling down the street.
I love to meet famous people. I’m fascinated by them…their fame, their accomplishments, their notoriety, and how they did what they did to become recognized by strangers. I wanted to be famous but I’m not. Sigh.
Over the course of my life, I’ve met a few people of fame: (in no particular order) His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Jim Morrison, Captain Paul Watson (Sea Shepherd), Bob Hope, Marty Feldman, Rob Reiner, Chuck Norris, Gene Wilder, Peter O’Toole, Al Gore, and a few more I can’t recall right now, but as I’m thinking about it, I see that it appears that I’ve only met famous men and most of them are now deceased. Hmmm, I will have to reflect on what all that might mean at a later date.
I ALMOST met Sir Paul McCartney on Saturday night, but it didn’t happen ‘cos the person I was going to be with got sick and he was my conduit to Sir Paul. I was THAT CLOSE. For real. Sigh again. I really wanted to chat with him, vegan to vegan. SIGH.
But now there’s a new level of FAME to achieve in YouTube videos, whether it’s a cooking show or how to apply makeup properly to achieve that perfect smokey eye — or how to identify and heal from narcissistic abuse.
Last week, I had an opportunity to meet someone who has a certain level of international FAME from his YouTube videos that spawned books and coaching and speaking engagements.
Richard Grannon, also known as the Spartan Life Coach, was in my SoCal area. He’s from the UK and has a huge following on YouTube and social media. With a background in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), he graduated with a BSc in Psychology from Aston University, his coaching modalities employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Zen meditation, Hypnotherapy, Systems Thinking, Classical Psychiatry and Psychodynamics and Stoic philosophy.
What I found to be super cool about him is that he also developed a globally recognized brand with his company streetfightsecrets.com which combines simplified applied psychology with self protection concepts.
What that means to me is that you can learn to beat the shit out of people who attack you, while at the same time understanding their motivation for being horrible and mean. A win-win for sure!
Did I mention that he’s really charismatic AND a VERY good looking man? Well, he is. And he’s funny and says “fuck” a LOT, which is a plus in my book.
Notwithstanding the fact that this pic doesn’t look like me one single bit AND my hair isn’t even that color, it was a cool encounter with a famous person, that’s for sure, but there’s more!
The room was packed and as I looked for a seat, I did a double take when I noticed ANOTHER YouTube famous celebrity. We chatted for a bit during a break and she’s just as lovely as her videos portray her to be.
Sheri is a psychotherapist helping to provide support on difficult topics including abusive relationships and ways to recover. She has a BS in Political Science from UC Berkeley and an MS in Counseling from California State University, Fresno.
“I have spent years of my career working passionately for the disadvantaged, traumatized populations. My goal is to shed more light on the nuances of abuse and trauma in the hope that some people can gain some healing”
So…tell me…who have you met that qualifies as being FAMOUS?
This is the first color video of my nightly visitor. It was about 6:00 a.m. Isn’t he absolutely gorgeous?
In this black and white video, there are now two coyotes and since we know they mate for life, I have my fingers crossed waiting to see if they bring me any grandchildren! Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Some coyote facts:
Urban coyotes can create territories out of a patchwork of parks and green spaces.
While many urban coyotes make their homes in large parks or forest
preserves, this isn’t the case in all situations. Urban coyotes don’t need one
cohesive piece of green space like a single park or a single golf course to
call home. They manage to make do with surprisingly small patches of hunt-able
land woven together as a whole territory.
Coyotes can thrive in a small territory if there is enough food
and shelter, but if there isn’t — such as in sections of a city with only a
handful of small parks, soccer fields, green spaces and the like — then they
will expand the size of their territory to include enough places to hunt for
food to sustain themselves. The size of an urban coyote’s range is dependent on
the abundance of food and can be anywhere from two square miles to ten square
miles or more. Urban coyotes tend to have smaller territory sizes than rural
coyotes because there is so much more food packed into smaller areas, even if
that area has only a few scattered parks.
Studies have shown that coyotes much prefer forested areas and large parks where they can steer clear of humans, and they try to avoid residential areas. But when that’s not available, they still figure out how to make do. In a large-scale study of urban coyotes by the Urban Coyote Research Program, it was discovered that “29 percent of collared coyotes have home ranges composed of less than 10 percent of natural land and 8 percent having no measurable patches of natural land within their home ranges.”
Urban coyotes may live in family packs or on their own at
different points in their lives.
It’s common to see a single coyote hunting or traveling on its
own, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is alone. Coyotes are highly social
animals and this didn’t change when they entered the urban ecosystem. Coyotes
may live as part of a pack, which usually consists of an alpha male and female,
perhaps one or two of their offspring from previous seasons (known as a
“helper”) and their current litter of pups. The pack may also welcome in a
solitary traveler if their territory can support another member. Packs living
in sizable protected areas can have as many as five or six adults in addition
to that season’s pups.
However, a coyote may also spend part of its life on its own,
known as a solitary coyote. This is common when young coyotes disperse from
their pack and go in search of their own territory, a new pack to join, or a
mate with whom to start their own pack. A coyote may also spend a stretch of
time as a loner if it was an alpha in a pack but lost its mate. According to
Urban Coyote Research Program, between a third and half of coyotes under study
are solitary coyotes, and they are usually youngsters between six months and
two years old.
Because coyotes hunt and
travel alone or in pairs, it is often thought that they don’t form packs. The
study of urban coyotes has helped to correct this misconception and has
revealed much about the social lives of coyotes.
Urban coyotes mate for life and are monogamous.
Speaking of mates, coyotes mate for life and are 100 percent
faithful to that mate. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Mammalogy found
that “among 18 litters comprising 96 offspring, [researchers] found no evidence
of polygamy, and detected a single instance of a double litter (pups from
different parents sharing the same den).”
This loyalty holds even when there are other coyotes in adjacent
territories and plenty of opportunity for cheating. But coyote pairs stay
faithful and faithful for life. Some of the pairs followed by the research team
were together for as long as 10 years, only moving on when one mate died.
The researchers believe that this monogamy plays an important role
in the success of urban coyotes. Because a female can adjust her litter size
based on the availability of food and other factors, she can have larger
litters of pups in a city where there is a buffet of rodents, reptiles, fruits,
vegetables and so much else in a relatively small area. She also has a
dedicated mate to help her feed and raise the pups, so these large litters have
a higher survival rate, resulting in more coyotes reaching an age to disperse
to other areas of a city.
Even when food is less
abundant or there is territory pressure from other coyotes, the couple stays
together year after year. Coyotes may be opportunistic about matters of food
and shelter, but not when it comes to love.
Urban coyotes do not feast on pets and garbage; they typically stick to a natural diet.
Due to sensationalistic reporting, many urban residents think all
coyotes are out to eat their dog or cat at the first opportunity, or that
they’re dumpster divers of the first degree. On the contrary, studies have
shown that urban coyotes stick mainly to a natural diet.
Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores and will eat fruits and
vegetables along with animal prey. A study by Urban Coyote Research
Program analyzed over 1,400 scats and found that “the most common food items
were small rodents (42%), fruit (23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%).” Only
about 2 percent of the scats had human garbage and just 1.3 percent showed
evidence of cats. “Apparently, the majority of coyotes in our study area do
not, in fact, rely on pets or garbage for their diets,” say the researchers.
This aligns logically with urban coyotes’ preference of sticking
to parks, preserves, cemeteries, and other out-of-the-way areas as much as
possible. The food available in these locations is rodents, reptiles, fallen
fruit and other food items that are part of a natural diet.
Coyotes of course take feral cats or the occasional domestic cat
that has been left outdoors, and there is certainly evidence that coyotes that
have become habituated and overly bold will go after small dogs. However pets
are not primary prey for them, not by a long shot.
Urban coyotes often switch from naturally diurnal and
crepuscular activity to nocturnal activity.
When urban residents see coyotes “in broad daylight” it is often
assumed that the coyote has grown overly bold or is ill in some way. Actually,
it is perfectly normal for a coyote to be out during the day, as this is their
natural time for hunting.
Urban coyotes have made a behavior change to avoid humans,
switching from being active at dawn and dusk or during daylight hours, to being
mostly active at night. This strategy lowers their risk of encountering a
species of which they are naturally afraid while still hunting in an urban
However, if a coyote needs
to be out during the day to hunt or to get from one place to another, there
isn’t necessarily anything wrong or odd about the coyote’s behavior. In fact,
in the spring and summer when raising their pups, coyotes need to find more
food and so may be more active during the day and thus spotted more often.
Urban residents frequently misinterpret daytime sightings as a rise in the
urban coyote population or that the coyote could be rabid, neither of which are
Urban coyotes help control the populations of other problematic urban wildlife like rodents.
It’s so easy to think of urban places as home to humans, pigeons,
crows and raccoons, and that’s about it. But our cities are increasingly home
to an ever more diverse array of wildlife species rats have been an issue in
cities ever since cities were invented. Coyotes play a role in limiting the
populations of these species and more, helping to keep a balance and increase
biodiversity in urban ecosystems.
Rodents are the primary food source for coyotes in rural and urban
areas alike, and studies have shown an increase in the rodent population in
areas where coyotes are removed.
The easiest way for city residents to avoid
negative interactions with coyotes is to avoid feeding them, either
accidentally or on purpose, and otherwise habituating them to humans.
When coyotes become overly bold or aggressive, and in the rare
instances when coyotes have bitten humans, it usually is discovered that they were
Coyotes have a natural fear of humans, and like most wildlife,
will start to lose that fear and even become aggressive if they are being fed.
This is the reason wildlife managers warn people to never feed wildlife, and
there is the saying, “A fed coyote is a dead coyote.”
Once a coyote loses its fear, it is likely to become a problem
animal and that means animal control will have little choice but to lethally
Feeding coyotes sometimes happens on purpose, but it can also be
done accidentally when people leave pet food on their porches intending it for
cats or dogs, when they leave scattered seeds under the bird feeder, or even
when they leave fallen fruit or compost in their yards.
Educating the public on the
importance of not feeding wildlife and removing any food sources, as well as
educating them on safe and humane coyote hazing strategies to maintain coyotes’
fear of humans, is the best way a city can avoid negative interactions and
instead enjoy quiet coexistence.
Trapping and killing or relocating urban coyotes does not
reduce the overall population of coyotes.
A common reaction from urban and suburban residents when they
learn coyotes are living in their area is to ask for the removal of the
coyotes, either through lethal means or by trapping and relocating them.
However, animal control officers have learned through a lot of experience that
this is not only a lot harder to do than it sounds, but it does nothing to
reduce the number of coyotes living in an area. In fact, it has the opposite
Coyotes are territorial and keep other coyotes out of their home range.
The larger the territory of a coyote pack, the fewer coyotes are present
overall. Removing coyotes from an area opens that location up for new coyotes
to come in and claim it as their own (and there will always be more coyotes
coming in to fill a void), often resulting in a short-term increase in coyotes
as the territory lines are redrawn by the newcomers. Additionally, when there
is less pressure from neighboring coyotes and more food available, female
coyotes will have larger litters of pups, again creating a short-term increase
in the number of coyotes in that area.
There are other problems with trapping coyotes. As the Humane
Society points out, “The most common devices used to capture coyotes are
leg-hold traps and neck snares. Both can cause severe injuries, pain, and
suffering. Leg-hold traps are not only cruel and inhumane for coyotes, but may
also injure other wildlife, pets, or even children. Non-target wild
animals are also caught in traps, and many sustain injuries so severe that
they die or must be killed.”
If a city wants to limit or reduce the number of urban coyotes
living there, the easiest thing to do is allow existing coyotes to work out
their own territories, naturally stabilizing the coyote population. There will
never be more coyotes in an ecosystem than that ecosystem can support, so
(despite what some may think) a city can never become “overpopulated” or
“infested” with coyotes.
We can take extra steps to make an area less appealing to coyotes by removing all extra food sources – from fallen fruit or ripe vegetables from backyard gardens to pet food left on back porches – and removing sources of water. The fewer resources available, the larger the territories need to be to support the resident coyotes, and the fewer coyotes there are overall.
Sorry, no pics to share ‘cos the video is grainy and black and white, but these were my three visitors last night at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
In that order. The first video shows a cat sitting on the steps, looks to be dark gray and I’ve seen him before. The next is of a very large rat running down the steps, and the third one is a bat flying directly across the camera lens.
It sounds like it could be the start of a joke…”A cat, a rat, and a bat walked into a bar…” (Although I have no idea what kind of a punchline to write. Maybe Mrs. Maisel or Suzie could help.)
Or a children’s book, “The Tall Tale (Tail) of the Cat, the Rat, and the Bat”,
Or as Theo would say, “Grandma, that rhymes!”
Since I don’t have any decent pics of last night’s guests, here’s our beloved Bandit who ruled us all for thirteen years before she died of chronic renal failure.
The bat is from one of my favorite books, Stellaluna, by (my friend) Janell Cannon.
And the rat, well, this gif says it all…
(There were no coyotes this time, but I’m happy to report that I’ve been seeing TWO beautiful creatures in the garden, which is awesome as coyotes mate for life. I would be even happier if one day they brought some little ones to visit. It would be a dream come true. I could be their grandma, too!)
Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.
“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!” He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).
For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.
Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”
Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”
All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.
At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”
There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…
“That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”
Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.
For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.
Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”
Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.
Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit) Banana – one 100% fruit juice — 8oz Kale and/or spinach — handful Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop Cinnamon to taste
Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!
Today Doris Day died at the age of 97, and I am sad.
I don’t have a direct connection to her, but she touched my heart with her song “Que Sera Sera”, in the film “The Man Who Knew Too Much” with Jimmy Stewart. Searching for her kidnapped son, I could FEEL her anguish as she sang the words that would eventually free him.
A few years ago, I was on a blissful, happy road trip and we stopped in Carmel. Although we didn’t stay at Cypress Inn, Doris Day’s hotel, we spent the evening there listening to an amazing singer belt out the old songs, those good ones from the big band years, and when I whispered to her that it was my now lost love’s birthday, she sang happy birthday to him and the entire roomful of people clapped and offered their congratulations. It was a joyful and lovely experience. My heart was full that day.
Doris Day was an animal activist long before it became trendy; even before the internet could help promote good people with their wonderful intentions to rescue and adopt dogs and cats.
“My accident gave me a second chance at life, so I want everyone to know that you can fight it – and you can be happy. No matter what happens in life, don’t ever let it hold you back.” https://meganblunk.com
Totally rando and out of nowhere, I was in a very public place and there was a young woman in a wheelchair sort of pushing another wheelchair with slanted wheels (that I later learned was used when she played basketball). I asked her if she needed any help and she declined, but we started chatting and I learned that she is a real live HERO.
Her name is Megan Blunk. Originally from Gig Harbor, Washington, Megan is a Paralympic gold medalist for wheelchair basketball.
Megan discovered adaptive sports a year after a motorcycle accident that paralyzed her and also revived her former inner athlete. Prior to her accident, she was a five-sport athlete.
She went on to play college wheelchair basketball at the University of Illinois, where she completed a bachelor’s degree.
She’s an advocate for adaptive sports and speaks to groups and one-on-one with other athletes.
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub
Yeah, there’s the rub, that’s for sure.
I used to love to sleep. Sleep came so easily for me. Almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, I could count backwards 5-4-3-2-1 and be asleep. Just like that, *snapping my fingers*. I could fall asleep anywhere. I took blissful, restful sleep for granted.
Back then, my dreams were mostly of my beloved dogs and cats that had crossed the Rainbow Bridge, sometimes bringing happy messages back to me. Or every so often, I’d have a prophetic dream about my son but never really a nightmare.
Last night was a big deal for me.
April 1, 2019 marks the first night I slept an entire night without waking up once in dread, in a cold sweat, without my heart beating a million beats per second ready to jump out of my chest, without the gasp of that split second between sleep/awake and remembering that my daytime reality IS the nightmare, that there really IS hell on earth, and I am living proof.
When I first woke up this morning, it took a moment for me to perceive that it wasn’t 3am, that the earliest of early morning birds had started to sing and there was a faint hint of dawn lightening the sky.
There was no swirling of dreams that made waking up a death unto itself. A shard of glass to slice at my heart and torment me, poking at me with each inhale and exhale for the rest of the day.
There was peace. OMG, so much peace.
I had to help my brain process this miracle of healing, a painfully slow process of realization that FOR THE FIRST TIME, I had slept unfettered by the bondage of painful memories that morphed into night terrors so incredibly lucid that they haunted me during the day. Sleep was walking into a dark tunnel with not the slightest glimmer of light at the end of it. Depressing, huh?
I couldn’t endure another dream of a gigantic mottled black plague-infected rat with oozing sores climbing in my bed to curl up next to me, no more continuation of the abject panic that permeated my waking life.
No more dreams that weren’t even really dreams, simply the continuing of the day’s macabre horrors.
For more than three years, thirty-six months, 1,095 days, 26,280 hours, and 1,576,800 minutes, I couldn’t sleep, and I’d cry out to no one into the silence of the night to please wake me up from this nightmare, please take me out of my misery; only to realize that there was no respite for me.
“No sleep for you!” said the sleep Nazi (an homage to Seinfeld’s soup Nazi.)
The nightmare WAS the reality.
The dark soul of the night became the abject despair of the day.
There is the saying “follow your dreams” but if I had followed those dreams, I would have ended up in a vortex of Sartre’s No Exit.
I was in a neverending episode of the Twilight Zone, caught in a purgatory that I could never have prepared myself to endure. Drowning.
I tried everything: meditation, EFT, mantras, deep breathing exercises to control my out of control hyperventilation /tachypnea, conscious mindfulness, and lessons in neural plascticity to nurse my wounded brain. One of the best pain relievers was and is listening to raw binaural beats with headphones. Some nights, that was the only way I could even attempt sleep.
I dreaded going to sleep, the actual sleep, and the waking up from an unhappy sleep.
The simple tortuous action of closing my eyes created a canvas where I’d be subjected to an endless loop of conversations, images, mirages spanning more than twenty years.
I wished for a lobotomy, to be in a coma, to erase all that was etched in my conscious and subconscious.
Through pain and fear and sadness, I discovered that the only cure is radical acceptance. I couldn’t run away from it. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Wherever you go, there you are.
I had to stand my ground and surrender to the pain.
To love it, honor it, respect it, and learn from it.
Now. Right now. I hear a hawk, I hear a scrub jay, I hear the angry chattering of a nesting Bell’s Vireo. Off in the distance, I hear a train. I hear an airplane. I hear a symphony of wind chimes. I see blue sky, I see lush green grass that’s been lovingly tended, I feel a gentle breeze lifting a swarm of Painted Lady butterflies from the yellow marguerite daisy bushes to settle for a moment on the Pride of Madeira. All the rain we had this season birthed an incredible floral display.
Everything around me seems to be conspiring to show me that there’s still beauty after a storm, that there’s happiness to be discovered if you look and listen.
Oh and I see a bunny. Always a bunny.
My heart is wounded and scarred; I’ve been through a war zone,
I had no weapons to fight the enemy that raped and pillaged my life and my innocence. And my heart.
I’m collateral damage,
I’m eternally sad.
But I’m alive, and that’s something to be grateful for.
And…for the very first time in a long time, I slept an entire night and woke up in serenity and peace.
(But that peace wouldn’t last, as I soon learned…)