A Very Difficult Thing

I have a friend who is going through a Very Difficult Thing, and so today I and some other friends sat with her and her family at the Frederick Friends Meeting house. We showed-up, held hands, and shared tissues together. If you haven’t attended a Quaker meeting, you might not know that the service is conducted in silence, much like an hour-long meditation. Members listen for the quiet voice of God and will occasionally stand to speak what is on their hearts. These spoken words pierced me today:

“You are sad, and so we are sad. You are hurting, and so we are hurting. You do not have answers, only questions, and so we are waiting for answers with you.”

Feeling all of the feelings together. That’s often all that any of us can do for one another.

It’s often all that’s really needed.

9 Things

Nine things you probably don’t know about me:

  1. I was an extra in the movie “Major League.”
  2. The week before my senior portraits were to be taken, I thought it would be a good idea to bleach my hair for the very first time using an at-home kit. It wasn’t.
  3. I have attended a Tantra class (not the kind about sex – get your minds outta the gutters) on and off for the past decade. It is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, and has enriched my life in immeasurable ways.
  4. I was almost held back for missing nearly 80 days of school in kindergarten and again in first grade. Perhaps in part b/c I missed so much early schooling, I had a very lonely childhood.  I can count on one hand the number of friends’ homes that I played at while in elementary school.  Middle school was even worse.  So it’s no surprise that I can still be pretty shy, but is perhaps ironic that I now find myself in the midst of a high-volume service business.
  5. I carry needles everywhere. Getting hundreds of them past airport security is not a problem…but TSA will confiscate my hair products.  Every.  Damn.  Time.
  6. My senior year at UW-Madison, I entered my apartment and turned on the radio in time to hear the words “Caller Number Nine at xxx-xxxx.” Feeling lucky (but not knowing what kind of contest I was entering), I dialed and was it.  Hundreds more listeners were entered over the next month before we were all to meet at a pub for a single winner’s name to be drawn.  The night of the event was an icy, bitter, windy, Wisconsin blizzard.  I did NOT want to go out…but I changed my mind at the very last possible minute.  I won.  I scored a trip to San Francisco for New Year’s weekend; a year’s worth of groceries, gas, and Sam Adams beer; a CD a month for a year; and gift certificates to dozens of local businesses.
  7. I was married and divorced twice before my 40th (Because I’m such an overachiever.)
  8. I was one of the first girls to play soccer in our little farm town of Slinger. I use the word “play” loosely, because mostly I hoped that no one would kick the ball towards me. I know my coaches wished the same.
  9. Becoming an acupuncturist required a leap of faith. I had never received acupuncture.  I didn’t know any acupuncturists.  I knew that the boutique model (high prices/low volume) wasn’t practical, but I had no other conception of how else I would structure my business.  However, I knew in a way that I’ve never known anything else: if I simply started down the path, everything would be made clear in due time.  And it was.

soccer pp


Love, Drugs, and Rock’n Roll

This weekend, I dropped-off my 17-yr-old at Merriweather for a progressive electronica show that he’d excitedly bought a ticket for…the very first ticket he’s ever purchased using his very own money (from last year’s summer job).

He went to the show alone, because no one he knows listens to the same music as he. (I offered to join him, but he was unenthused about his 43-year-old mom hanging with him on a Sat night. Whatev.)

Unlike the drug & alcohol talk which I *received* in the late 80’s, the one which I *gave* to Josh wasn’t so much, “just say no” as it was: “there’ll probably be some pot or psychedelics being passed around; don’t be (too) surprised by that. But if something makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to a security person. Since you’ll be alone, this is probably not the best time to experiment…but if anything goes sideways, just text me. We’ll figure it out together.”

Saying that scared the hell out of me.

But thinking about him having a problem, feeling isolated and fearful of a judgmental reaction from me…well, that scared me even more.

Which reminded me of the driving talk we had recently (or rather, that I lectured at him): “Listen. You’re going to have an accident at some point, some day. I have insurance to put the car back together. I have insurance to put you back together. I sometimes get anxious about what *might* happen, but I won’t be surprised when it *does* happen…because I was once a teenager, too. Whatever you do: don’t flee the scene. Stay present. And talk to me about it. We’ll figure it out together.”

I’m learning that parenting is more about acknowledging that our kids are going to fuck up — repeatedly — than it is about expecting them to have an unscathed journey. Our task isn’t to prop them up, but to teach them how to get back up. How to fall down, without falling apart. To show how much we love them, when they show us their scars.

(And also to be gentle with myself when I fuck up, fall down, and get hurt from my own imperfect parenting.)

I think maybe our task is simply to stay present. To them. To ourselves.

To love as is.

Earth Angels

In yesterday’s episode of Earth Angels:

For the first time in my life, I miscalculated my car’s fuel & drove her tank to empty. Barely. She ran out of gas just as I pulled into the station, and then coasted to the diesel pump without even needing a push.

But (as I soon learned) the problem with (accidentally) running a diesel to empty, is that the fuel line goes dry. And I couldn’t get her primed to restart. Which left me & the boys stranded over 500 miles from home. Not knowing a soul in town. At 7:30 on a Saturday night.

I didn’t have AAA. The gas station didn’t have mechanics on site. The tow truck would have been happy to tow her to an auto shop, but she’d sit there until Monday morning. And I had busy, important things to do in Maryland on Monday! In desperation, I started googling “mobile mechanics Indianapolis” and leaving voice messages.

Someone called me back: “I just got the strangest voicemail,” he began in a slow Midwest drawl. “I don’t know how you found this number, cuz I’m not a mechanic, but I know a thing or two about cars. Tell me what’s going on. Maybe I can help.”

I explained & texted him a photo of my engine. He thought about it, asked if the gas station sold starter fluid (they did), then explained how to get at the engine intake so I could spray some near the air filter.

“Are you sure I’m not interrupting your night? Maybe I should let you go & try it on my own first…” (Nonsense. Stay on the phone. Let me help you.)

“There are a lot of black boxes under my hood! Which one did you say I need??” (*chuckling* I bet there are. I’ll talk you thru it.)

“I don’t think I can get it out — I’m afraid I’ll break it!” (Relax. You won’t.)

When the engine finally turned over, I whooped with joy.

“That would have cost me a pretty penny to have had towed & serviced…you spent all of this time on a Saturday night patiently helping me. There must be something I can do — how can I thank you?!”

“You just did,” he gently answered. “Have a safe trip home,” and then he hung up the phone.

I read somewhere that the miracle itself isn’t about something amazing happening…the miracle is when we stop being surprised that it did.

Ever grateful for the reminder.

Good Cooking


Recently, my Grandma & Grandpa Feltz celebrated their 70th Anniversary. As someone whose relationships rarely last more than a couple of years, I am astounded by that longevity.

Grandma introduced me to Cincinnati chili in my childhood. When I prepare that for my boys, I think of  my grandparents celebrating seven decades of love and friendship. My grandma is a wonderful cook…but my grandpa didn’t always think so. When they were first married, he would stop at a bar on the way home from work where he’d enjoy a drink and a sandwich, because he didn’t really like her cuisine. (In their early years of marriage, Grandma had been surprised to find that Grandpa didn’t have much of an appetite!) Over time, he teases, one of two things happened: either her cooking improved with practice, or he got used to the meals she made. In any case, he eventually ate all of his dinners in his own home.

Cincinnati chili needs to sit in the fridge overnight for the sharp flavors to soften a bit. I think that’s maybe what happens in a stable relationship, too: strong ingredients are assembled, and life’s circumstances cook them together, but the slow passage of time is what melds the spices and makes it work.

Or maybe we discard a bunch of awful meals early on and practice our skillz frequently before figuring out how to create something that’s palatable. WTH do I know…I don’t have 70 years under my belt (yet).

Cheers to good cooking: gentle & slow, hard & fast, in the kitchen, the bedroom, and the places in between.



I tend to be something of a social-media-slut. Which is to say, I’ll accept (almost) anyone’s friend-request. I love learning about people and *especially* about people who see life differently than I do. It helps me professionally, but even more: the kaleidoscope of views enriches my world.

That being said, I’ve blocked some folks lately (a rarity) and, in doing so, thought it might be useful to give a blanket warning before my next strike.

You & I don’t have to share the same political or religious beliefs to be friends. In fact, I’ll probably make a point of reading your pages or posts or blogs *even more* than those of my like-minded friends, because I want to understand other people’s perspectives far more than I want to live in an echo chamber. (I might not “like” what you write, but that doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention.)

If you over-post or share things that upset me, I might unfollow you…but we can still be friends. 🙂


If you *attack* me or my friends on my page or in the comments of my posts, I will block you faster than a brick mason. Were I a more patient person, I might try to have a “teaching moment”…but alas, I am an impulsive, nasty woman, and I will cut you without a second thought.

(Also: while I strive to be politically agnostic within the confines of my clinic — I want that to be a safe space for everyone — my opinions tend to bleed over on my social media pages. If you don’t want to see them, feel free to unfollow or unfriend me; no hard feelings here.)


When I first joined Facebook, I had ten online friends. I didn’t understand social media at all. I remember uploading some photos from my wedding, and was then mortified when people “liked” them. I hadn’t meant to grandstand or draw attention to myself…I simply thought I was saving the pictures for myself, to look at later.

Fast forward a decade.

I’ve made a few more friends. I have some inkling about how the book of faces works. And on an almost daily basis, someone tells me that they appreciate my posts.

Enter Cleo Dunsmore, who has been persistently, insistently cheerleading me to start a blog.

ME: There are far better writers out there than I. Who would even want to read my posts?! There are already *so many* good blogs…mine would just be more noise in a crowded arena.

CLEO: It’s not about being the best writer. Who cares if any of it is even publishable? The point is: you see the world differently. You write about that eloquently. You have changed MY life with your writing. A blog has the potential to reach MORE people than ANY of your Facebook posts. If only ONE other person reads your blog, and you change only ONE other life, then it will ALL have been worthwhile.

And that is where she hooked me: service to others.

So I puttered and I tinkered and I edited some old pieces. If we haven’t been friends for very long, you’ll likely find things you’ve never read before. If we’ve been friends for a while, you may find posts you’ve forgotten about. After a recent experiment in illustration, you’re likely to find more of that forthcoming. And of course, new material is always presenting itself.

If nothing else, it’ll be a place for me to save some of the things I’ve written, to look at later.


(And if you don’t want to miss my new posts, be sure to follow this blog!)