This week Bodhi and I celebrated his birthday. Bodhi got a birthday dog cookie and a new chew toy which he promptly chewed to bits and we took a sunset walk at Point Isabel, one of our favorite local dog parks. It’s actually more accurate to say that this is our anniversary, since I don’t know Bodhi’s real birthday and I count back to the day we found each other at the local animal rescue. That was three years ago and I always wonder who rescued who. The day I met Bodhi, I was just coming off of a few difficult and stressful weeks culminating in one day that just felt shattering. I had been dealing with some very disappointing news and was feeling very sad, alone and regretful. I remember crying a lot that night. But after that dark night, when I woke that morning, something in me said “today’s the day you find your dog.” I had been thinking about getting a dog for sometime, starting around the time my Mom died, a few years back. But somehow the timing and situation never seemed right. But that morning was fate. I woke up drove over to the rescue to get there when they opened and there he was, this little guy curled up in his bed, looking up at me with his big brown eyes. I knew he was “the one” instantly. Bodhi is named after the Bodhi tree, the tree under which the Buddha found enlightenment. I often joke that Bodhi was meant to be my little enlightened zen dog. Well, I’m not sure if “zen” is a word that anyone who’s met this little dynamo would use to describe him, but he has, in many ways, brought some touch of enlightenment to my life. Through Bodhi, I’ve learned to let go, slow down and be more present and in the moment. I used to rush when I walked and bolt out the door for work every morning. Bodhi is a sniffer and every blade of grass and every dog he encounters is worthy of a sniff. With him, the world just slows down and I pay attention more to the little things. With Bodhi, I never come home in a bad mood. Any stress or worry I’m carrying around melts away when I open the front door and there is this little guy wagging his tail madly, bouncing up and down, so happy to see me. I’ve learned that dog people are great people. I’ve met so many interesting, kind and generous people at dog parks and on walks. People who love their little furballs are generally good people. Bodhi’s taught me about being a kinder and more open person, to look on the bright side. To trust more and judge less. Or as the bumper sticker on my car says “Wag more, bark less.” Bodhi holds no grudges or regrets. For Bodhi, every day is a new day and every walk is a new adventure. Most of all, I’ve learned about the expansiveness of love. Bodhi loves everyone. Well, everyone except postmen, UPS truck drivers and squirrels. I love Bodhi with all my heart. He makes me smile and laugh every day and has brought more joy to my life than I could have ever anticipated. I can’t imagine my life without this fifteen pound fuzz ball and am so glad he came into my life when he did. Bodhi has been my constant companion throughout this adoption process. Going through the adoption process really tests your personal resilience and your willingness to believe. Whether you’re in a couple or single, it’s a tough process, but going through this alone, as a single person, is just particularly hard and can feel terribly lonely, even with my many lovely friends and supporters rooting me on. But having this little guy to cuddle and love and seeing how much he loves me has helped me not feel so alone. Stepping into the adoption process is a giant leap of faith. You place all your bets on hope and luck and the faith that somewhere out there, there is a child waiting for you. It’s a lot to believe in and hope for but knowing that Bodhi and I found one another just when our time was right, helps me believe that this, too, will work out and that someday Bodhi and I will both have a new baby at home to love.
Check out some of my favorite photos of Bodhi. I’m totally biased, of course, but I think he’s just the cutest dog ever!
Last week was a really busy week at work, and I was feeling pretty bedraggled by the time Friday rolled around. Having been away quite a lot this summer, I was glad to have a weekend at home, just hanging out and seeing friends. It turned out to be a great weekend, just the sort of ordinary but extraordinary weekend that I love. Friday night I had a friend from grad school visiting who I hadn’t seen in a really long time. We hadn’t seen it each other for years somehow and it was really fun to reconnect, catch up and reminisce on where life had taken us. We took Bodhi out for a walk and had Indian food in my neighborhood. Saturday, I met up with my friend Judy for a hike with Bodhi at Point Pinole and lunch at my local neighborhood beer garden. Bodhi loves Judy and he got to lap up the attention and treats, not to mention an outing to one of his favorite hiking trails. Saturday evening, my friends John and Lisa came over for dinner—take-out sushi and my favorite Strauss chocolate ice cream for dessert. Bodhi got to beg some more treats from John and Lisa and test out a few more laps for snuggling. (Let’s just say it was a good weekend for Bodhi too!). Sunday I met a friend for brunch in San Francisco and then spent some time in the garden, potting some new plants and plotting out a landscaping project I have been dreaming about. I even managed to get in a short nap on the hammock and caught the sunset with Bodhi on our evening walk tonight. It’s been a pretty great weekend.
Last weekend I took a birthday (mine!) roadtrip with my friend Michelle to Mendocino for a “Two gals and a dog” spa weekend. It turns out Mendocino is a super dog friendly place and the inn we stayed at (The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek) bills itself as a “pet friendly” spa resort. It certainly lived up to that! Everyone there seemed to have a dog with them and the restaurant even allowed you to bring your dog for breakfast, even had a doggy menu that was as good the human-menu. It was a bit over the top in some respects but was a great place to stay. Bodhi certainly loved being a pampered pup! We had a great time exploring Mendocino, walking on the beaches, visiting Point Cabrillo light house, relaxing in the hot tub and catching up on reading, collecting driftwood on the beach. With the fog and dramatic scenery, Mendocino also has a moodiness to it that I just love.We had a great drive back wine tasting along the way, as we wound our way through Anderson Valley.
My approach to birthdays is to celebrate them big. I’m not one of those people who thinks you should just let the day go by like any other. I’m definitely sensitive to the passage of time and like probably most of us in this space called “middle age,” all too conscious of the passing years and accumulating wrinkles and age related annoyances. So with that in mind, I figure the best way not to mourn another passing year, is to celebrate it! I have a personal rule to not work on my birthday so I always take the day off (and this is something I offer to all the people who I manage as well). Last year I had a great birthday, with a party with my friends at the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk amusement park, riding roller coasters and playing carnival games. This year was mellower, but no less fun and fit my mood perfectly. In the run up to my birthday this year, I was definitely feeling more than the usual tinge of birthday malaise. If I’m honest, I would say the waiting and “adoption limbo” is taking its toll. I’m doing my best to stay positive and focused but it’s hard and the passing of another year, just amplifies some of the angst about whether this will work out. I want so much to be a Mom and I know with every part of my being that I would be a good one, but it’s hard not wonder whether the call will ever come. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not one of those people who stares at the phone waiting for it to ring and I’m not holding back on life while I “wait.” But, still, it’s constantly on my mind and every day there’s a piece of me that wonders about “when it will happen” and some days, darker days, there are the worries about “if it will happen.” I know, I know, I need to stay positive. I think I needed the weekend to disconnect and chill out. It was the perfect respite weekend. Thanks, Michelle, for being my birthday roadtrip co-pilot! I’m looking forward to the year to come and next year, will hopefully not only have a dog in tow but a baby too!
Bodhi came to work with me this afternoon. Since January, I’ve been working in a new office, here in Berkeley, after they closed my company’s San Francisco office location. I’ve been loving the new location. It has a “hip” startup feel, which admittedly can sometimes feel like a bit of a caricature of the hip startup office.Think wild colors on the walls, odd furniture, fruit water and snacks and a lot of talk of “community” —but overall, I like the new space and it’s been a welcome change of pace from my previous office, which had really gotten to be kind of tired and sad as more and more people worked from home. One perk of the new office that I hadn’t fully taken advantage of is that the office is dog friendly. So,today, I had a relatively meeting-free afternoon (a rare event!) and I thought I’d give it a try with Bodhi. Others in the building bring their dogs and they all seem to do pretty well. Most just hang out and sleep. Well, let’s just say that Bodhi is not that sort of a dog. I should have known. After thoroughly sniffing out the office and common spaces, making some friends in other offices (he’s an attention magnet for sure!), I thought he might settle down and do what he does best—sleep or chew his bone. But, he made it clear that he had zero interest in settling down on his dog bed and hanging out for the afternoon. It didn’t take long before he started with his best “I’m bored, can we go” whine and harumphing. You have to hear it to understand it. It’s a pretty good impression of what a dog-version of a teenager might sound like. Since I knew the barks were next, we called it a day earlier than expected. Honestly, I should have suspected that pups don’t like being stuck in glass walled cubicles any more than people do! My guess is that he much prefers his perch on the couch at home where he can do his “real job” of guarding the house from postman invasions and squirrels that get too close to the yard. Well, it was a fun experiment but a “working dog”, Bodhi is definitely not!
My friend Noelle, her husband Paul and kids Aidan and Keira came to visit and I took the week off to vacation with them. We had a great week and packed in a walloping amount of Bay Area sights and fun along the way. Noelle and I met when we were both in graduate school at UCSF so it was a homecoming for her and the kids were excited to see “where Mommy used to live.” We spent some of the time taking day trips from my house in Berkeley and then mid-week, went up to Stinson Beach in Marin for a few days.
Highlights of the week were many and included: walks to the park with Bodhi (who loved the kids!)**Stephen Curry and a Warriors game with Aidan for his pre-birthday **playing basketball in the park**Golden Gate Park via surrey (not as easy as it looks!) **first time to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park **Ghiardelli Square are ice cream sundaes with hot fudge! ** Chrissy Field and views of the Golden Gate Bridge ** visiting Alcatraz and a boat ride on the bay ** introducing kids to Mad Libs ** a perfect beach day at Stinson Beach—sun, sand, collecting sea shells and playing in the waves with Bodhi tagging along ** magnificent redwoods at Muir Woods ** curvy roads and beautiful views over the Pacific from Highway 1 ** wildflowers everywhere ** a silly song called “Daddy finger” that echoed everywhere ** more Mad Libs silliness ** ping-pong, hot tubs and bunk beds at the beach house ** donuts and chocolate croissants for breakfast ** foggy view (?) of the bridge and city from Marin Headlands ** hiking to Tennessee Valley Beach ** the Pinball Museum in Alameda (Paul was in his element!).
I had a great time with the kids and it was a great to get a chance to get to know them over a longer stretch of time and also for me to see my favorite city through their eyes. I missed them a lot this week after they left and I could tell Bodhi was also sad for losing out on the non-stop belly rubs and cuddling! Being with kids just brings out the kid in me. They are both such sweet kids, both with their own personalities. Aidan turns ten this year and it’s been amazing to see him grow from this little peanut baby into such a big-little boy. He spouts out sports statistics like a sportscaster and seems so grown up in some ways, but then he brought his stuffed animals in his carry on and cuddles with his Mom. I know in just a few short years he’s likely to be a surly teen, but for now he was still willing to play b-ball with his Aunt Katja! Keira is a sweetie–she’s this little princess in pink with pigtails and big brown eyes but at the same time can be a total goofball. Despite claiming a fear of dogs, she took to Bodhi right away and is so enthralled with her big brother, it’s sweet to see. She was in her element on the beach, a little surf princess flitting in and out of the waves. And ice cream puts her in a sugar trance! Yumm!
The house was so quiet and lonely after they left. I’m thankful to Noelle and Paul especially for making the cross-country trek for their vacation. That’s not an easy trip with two kids. Spending time with them and the kids just reinforced to me what family is all about and made me all the more eager to have a family of my own. I’m looking forward to when we’ll vacation together with my little one in tow!
The Bay Area has been in the midst of Super Bowl madness the last few weeks. Downtown San Francisco streets are shut down for the “Super Bowl City” and the horrendous Bay Area traffic is even worse than it’s normally very bad. Not being a football fan or caring about the game, I had a lovely weekend staying put and avoiding crossing into Super Bowl-cisco! Yesterday Bodhi and I did some work in the garden. My garden is my happy space and I’ve been excited to get back out there, after a rainy January. With all the rain, the ground is nice and soft so perfect for gardening. I’m on weekend two of my latest garden project to put in a new garden bed and plant some fruit trees. My little digger dog loves to be in the thick of things. If only I could train his digging on the right spots! Saturday night I met a friend for a movie, to catch up on the pre-Oscar nominees. On Sunday, I went to the San Francisco Zen Center’s Green Gulch Farm with my friend Phil for a Dharma talk and a Japanese tea ceremony presentation. I love Green Gulch. It’s a really beautiful and contemplative place. The gardens are gorgeous and peaceful and there’s just a feeling of intense calm when you arrive. As it turned out, this weekend there was a children’s program, so the place was overrun by kids, which was a bit of a surprise and definitely added some noise to the normal quiet zen atmosphere but it turned out to be quite nice. It reminded me of my childhood church where we had a special children’s sermon. It was amazing to see the little ones in the Zendo listening intently to the Zen priest and taking in his very kid friendly talk on why monsters and fears and worries we all have are nothing to be afraid of. Lessons that even we grown ups can benefit from. I’m glad that I can add Green Gulch as one more kid-friendly and fun place to bring my kids! Over lunch, we took a nice walk and since Green Gulch is just next to Muir Beach, we made our way over to The Pelican Inn, a super cute British style pub, for lunch. While I love Green Gulch, I don’t love the spartan zen food—especially when The Pelican Inn is right there! It was an all around great super bowl weekend!
Akk! Just yesterday I was writing a post about how one of my new year’s resolutions for 2016 is to live life more openly, being ready for wherever life takes me, learning to surf the waves of life calmly, yadda yadda yadda. And then comes this afternoon where I had to curse my words and wonder why the universe was out to get me. Most of today was nothing special but then within ten minutes life takes a curve and adrenaline overpowers whatever calm I had been feeling. It’s like in the cartoon soundtrack of your life, suddenly there is that sound of the record scratching…I was on the couch with Bodhi, sitting down with my lunch and finally getting down to writing my New Year’s cards (a.k.a. late Christmas cards because I’ve been down and out with this cold all week) and having lunch. Pretty boring lunch. Hummus on an english muffin and some chips. Suddenly my tongue realized that where I once had a tooth I did not have one anymore. What? Akkk! I ran to the bathroom mirror to confirm my tongue’s impression …yes, a big part of my back molar was missing. Not good, but life got even weirder when I went back to the couch and there was blood all over the couch. What!! At first I though it was my missing tooth but that seemed rather dramatic.I didn’t remember spurting blood all over the couch and my memory is not that bad! And there was Bodhi with a bloody toe. A bloody toe doesn’t sound like it should be all that big a deal but there was a lot of blood and a shaking and wimpering puppy who also didn’t seem to know what had happened. The best I can piece together after the fact is that he had snagged and pulled out his little toe nail while body slamming the door to greet the mailman while I was in the bathroom– his “mailman greetings” (a.k.a. crazed barking and running between the door and the window) are a daily occurrence but usually don’t lead to blood on the couch. Akk! So now I’ve got both a dental emergency and a bloody puppy. Of course, the puppy won out. What would any good doggy-Mom do! I called the vet but as soon as the receptionist picked up she promptly told me that I was third in line and they were putting me on hold. Click and on comes the muzak. After five minutes on hold (which seemed like five hours), all while trying to clean up Bodhi and put a bandage on his toe while he was shaking and scared, I gave up on waiting, bundled up Bodhi and his bloody toe in a towel and high tailed it in the car to the vet. They were nice enough to see him right away and put on a big blue bandage and some ointment (to the tune of $150) and said to keep him off his foot for a few days while the nail bed heals. Bodhi’s sleeping off the afternoon adventure, hopping around pretty well on three feet, and lapping up the extra attention from me. The adrenalin rush of the afternoon wiped me out too. Oh, and in case you wondered about my tooth—I decided an emergency vet visit was enough family drama for one weekend. I’ll see about getting the tooth fixed Monday when the dentist is open again and I am calmed down enough for the next adventure.
In other parts of the country, a rainy day might be cause for sadness. Here in California, where we’ve been in a drought for the last four years, rainy days are days for celebration!That is, except if you are Bodhi. My Bodhi is a drought dog. He was born during the drought and he really does not know what to make of rain. He stubbornly refuses to go out in the rain, or for that matter even to go out when there’s a little mist or the ground is wet. Umbrellas make him nervous. We’ve had a few rainy days this past year, but nothing that he couldn’t wait out. But that may all need to change this winter as they are predicting an El Niño year with big rainstorms. To prepare, I bought Bodhi his own raincoat. Even that seems not to have swayed him…although he sure does look cute in it!
Bodhi put up with me working late a lot this week so as a Friday surprise—a new bag of his favorite squeaky balls! There was a time when Friday night was for going out but these days this is more my speed, hanging out on the couch with a glass of wine and my kooky pup.