Her happy place…

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Every family has their own vacation rituals, right? My childhood trek was to, wait for it, the great state of South Dakota. Every. Single. Summer. My mom had little vacation time, so the yearly pilgrimage to South Dakota was a big deal. We got a bag of cheetos, twizzlers, made some sandwiches, filled up the coffee thermos, and wouldn’t dream of forgetting to pack “Love is- Best of the 70’s” tape, part 1 and 2. I can still recite every single line of “Islands in the Stream” and “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.” (Now if that isn’t a great party trick…I don’t know what is…)

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No air conditioning, sticky seats, and an older sister that barely tolerated me headed to a town smaller than my own. Sweet bliss! As time has gone on, what I remember most about these trips is how happy my mom was. This was the one time that I could imagine what she was like as a child. She hummed getting close to South Dakota. She let me blow things up with my rowdy cousins in South Dakota. She let me drive a car (when I was 13) in South Dakota. This was her happy place.

Of all the gifts from childhood, the ability to see your parents as people separate from yourself is a lasting one. I always associated my mom with work, cleaning the house on Saturday mornings, grocery shopping, and worrying about the future. I saw someone different in South Dakota. It was the equivalent of seeing your elementary school teacher on a ride at the county fair. They can have fun?! That’s allowed?

I just spent the last week packing to decamp with my own family to the lake for a month. I hummed while writing my packing list. I overheard my kids talking last night, “Just ask her. She’ll probably let us. Mom’s in her happy place.”

Bike to get ice cream? At 10 o’clock? You bet. I’ll do you one better. I’ll race you there.

Keep sharing moxie. Happy Canada Day to our friends to the North & Happy 4th to those stateside.


The Lake: good for the soul


People, I’ve found, are passionate about their lakes. I mean that quite literally, “their lakes”. Once you’ve grown up somewhere, had a magical experience there, or worked hard to spend your retirement years at a certain dream location it becomes “your lake”. The possession doesn’t end there, because “your lake” becomes the lake by which all others are measured. I’ve been to algae laden rivers, lakes overrun with party cruises, and oversized ponds just to watch people puffed up with pride as they shared their bit of paradise with me. I smile politely, as one does when someone is looking at a hairless dog named “baby”, because you know what you have is better, bless their heart.

Being by a lake is good for the soul. I don’t put much stock into astrology, with people being a water sign or some thing, but I do believe that some people need a lake (or an ocean or a river) to reset themselves. I am one of such people. I’m fairly simple in this regard. If I’m intolerably bitchy I either need a nap, a snack, to go off and read, or to go in the water. Snack, sleep, read, rinse and repeat.

I haven’t written in two weeks (bet you missed me!) because I needed more water and less connectivity. More than that, as a mental health provider, I believe in prescriptions and therapy, but I also believe in the power of being outside. I watch my son pour water in and out of buckets all day and think that he’s probably on to something. Some kind of real life zen garden.

So, dear readers, since I want only good things for you… I hope you are packing up soon, unplugging in the near future, and heading out on the lake. Any lake. Your lake.

Keep sharing moxie.

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Phone Detox

IMG_6585Picture yourself here, with a drink in your hand. It’s warm and there is a slight breeze. The people you love are running around playing. Ping! You look down at your phone. It’s an email from work and instantly you’re upset. You’re back in your office. And your pina colada sits there melting while you type a response.

Confession: that’s me, folks. A couple of weeks ago I was in this beach chair and I caught myself wasting time on a work e-mail on vacation. This is , admittedly, 10 kinds of pathetic. To add insult to injury, I’m a mental health provider.


I have a few vices, like many others, they are as follows: caffeine, chocolate, wine, and…my phone. On the spectrum of maladaptive human behaviors or indulgences, I’m pretty small fry. The phone though? It’s getting to be obnoxious, even to me.

I’ve given up caffeine before. I’ll bet many of you have, too. The first few days are rough. Gah, the headaches can reduce you to tears. Going on a phone detox is similar, minus the physical pain. You don’t know what to do with your hands. You want to click through pages and stay caught up, but you resist. Or, even better, you’re in a place with no reception, forcing you to look up and around at other people.

My husband and I vacation differently. He wants to exercise every day. I want to read with a fruity drink in my hand. I’ve decided I like my husband and my kids more on day 3 of a vacation. They would say the same. I can’t run off to the Caribbean every week, so I’ll add that I also like myself more when I don’t have a phone in my hand…constantly. I’m working on it.

Some day I may look back on this beach moment as “hitting bottom”. This is where I realized how ridiculous the swirling whirling shitstorm of work and constant connectivity really is. I’m back to my real life now. I still carry a phone, but I am looking forward to next weekend for Easter. I have a planned three-day phone detox. Won’t you join me??? I’d love to hear how you feel after three days of being unplugged. I’ll still be consuming a load of Cadbury mini-eggs, my Caribou coffee will be present in my cup each morning, and a bit of wine will be in my glass at Easter dinner, but I won’t have my phone on. I think it’s a fair trade. One can’t cut out everything all at once. Right? Yes, that’s right.

Keep sharing moxie. Really! Send your friends to http://www.sharingmoxie.com so they can join the fun. A giant shout-out to my four new followers from Brazil! Olá! Obrigado!

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Me: day three of vacay. Much better. Don’t be a ninny like me, leave your phone at home (or at least in your room) when you go on your next vacation.

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