Thursday, February 25, 2010


I've been reclusive lately. Not my choice. Just listening to the Universe and trying to follow the 'master plan.'

Deepak Chopra and his words of wisdom regarding silence have been resonating strongly and I've been following the inner voice that's telling me to lay low, be quiet, wait for direction.

And now that I've gotten all zen here, let me break the spell by saying that I got up this morning expecting to work, grocery shop, clean house, write, meditate and kill a few brain cells on "Californication."

It didn't quite work out that way.

Because Nancy called and said she wanted to go to yoga. And a message popped up on Facebook from the studio owner saying that she had a guy she wanted me to meet. And then we all showed up to yoga and four of us went out after for dinner and two of us went out after that for drinks and now I'm attempting to log out my day - at nearly midnight - and I'm completely taken aback by life's opportunities and chance encounters.

I met someone really interesting tonight. A profoundly spiritual person who has suffered more loss than I could ever imagine. In the short course of just four hours, I learned a great deal. I gained a clearer appreciation of the situations in which we are presented and how each is a lesson. I laughed quite a lot. I made a new friend. One that I'm sure is worth more than just another "Wall" on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The thing with divorce is that it creates tangled, sticky messes of seemingly everyday life. For a long, long time.

My ex and I cannot cut the ties of our relationship. The main tie - being Ben - is almost the easiest to manage, at this point. I never thought I'd say that. Co-parenting with Kevin, regardless of trips to Italy during the school year and inconsistent bedtime routines, is much simpler than the financial and emotional ties that we share.

In the span of two short weeks, we have spiraled into yet another vortex of raw emotion, fueled by financial commitments to one another and unresolved sadness.

It would have been a much more successful divorce had we both absolved the other of financial responsibilities and waved a magic wand of forgiveness.

But we didn't do either and now we are stuck between between two layers of one messy cake.

And right in the middle is me watching Ben lunge for Kevin's girlfriend and want to cuddle with her, Kevin sending middle of the night emails from Italy with regrets and "what ifs", the prospect of Kevin's girlfriend moving in with him (and Ben), mortgages that are stuck because we're both still intertwined in the details, Ben asking why I can't go on vacations with him and Kevin when "there are three seats across in the airplane; one for you too, Mommy."

The situation at hand is immobilizing but I think that it's supposed to be. I've always thought that when you don't know what to do, making at least one decision can help you find your way. But not in this case. My heart, my gut, everything is telling me to pause. To sit still. To wait. Because something will unfold.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Ben is home.

He was here when I got off work tonight, all plunked out on the couch looking hungover and sick. Of course he's NOT hungover (unless his dad's teaching him how to party like a rock star at age 6) and I highly doubt that he is sick (yet). The boy has a nasty case of jet lag.

He could barely raise his eyes to look at me when I walked in. Eyelids were half-mast and from what I could actually see of his eyes, they were mostly red.

"What did you do to him?" I asked Kevin.

"He's exhausted. He's been up since 4am and we ran around all day today."


Three guesses as to what I'll be doing in the 4am hour.

Nevertheless, I pried Ben off of Molly long enough to smother him in kisses and lock my arms around him, pausing just for a moment to open the gifts that he and Kevin brought for me (Italian beret style hat and olive oil and another TBA gift. hmmmmm.).

Ben was asleep within seconds of hitting the pillow and I can hear his rhythmic breaths from the kitchen now. That is one tired kid.

So glad he is home. I'm already feeling less displaced and more like my old "mom" self. It's a good feeling.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Ben is en route home. I talked to him tonight after he cleared customs and picked up luggage. "Mommy, I miss Molly so much. I can't wait to see the girl. Do you think she missed me? Do you think she'll jump up and down when she sees me? Did she look for me when I was gone? Do you have any new Legos for me?"

And then:

"I didn't really miss you as much as I missed Molly. But Daddy says I get to spend NINE DAYS with you while he goes to Maui next week. NINE DAYS! I'm so excited to spend NINE DAYS with you and Molly!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Well, thank goodness for Molly.

Today, I worked. I have a new, challenging client and an existing, challenging client. They are both on Thursdays. One is limited by her own self-imposed ideas of inflexibility; the other is limited by the fact that she is a total bitch. I came close, in that last sentence to using the "c" word but for now, let's just say that the only "c" word I'm going to use is this: "client."


I forgot to mention that another client - far from a bitch or "c" - came to see me yesterday and she made me cry with her sweetness. I have good people in my business. And in my life.

I had coffee when one of my peeps today. A former student turned friend. She's still a student but has moved in to my close emotional space to share secrets and advice and laughs. She also inspires me. With a serious autoimmune condition, she's followed a diligent eating plan that encompasses protein, vegetables and not a lot else. She has three boys and a rocking yoga body and the purest diet of anyone I know. Living large, in her world, is a teaspoon of agave in her coffee. As I dumped about a half a cup of half and half in my Americano...

After my crying incident yet again in church last week, I felt like I needed to write our Dean a note and tell him how much I appreciate his wisdom. The note turned into an outpouring of emotion and included regrets and sorrow about my failed marriage. Which fit into the context of his message last weekend. It felt good to get a lot of that "muck" out - and direct it toward someone who is way holier than I. Yet, here I am, nearly four years later, wondering about all the love that Kevin and I still hold for each other and how severely we let our marriage go off course and how in the world I can ever make peace with that. I'm glad, at the very least, to be dealing with it in a way that feels appropriate and healthy and even spiritual.

Since speed dating was canceled, I took my refund to Crossroads, which is like the mothership to me. It was fun to spend my last night of "motherhood hiatus" with no time constraints and a little cash to spend.

Ben comes home tomorrow night. I work until 8; my mom will have him ready to go to bed when I get off work. Who knows if he'll actually go down; it could be a long weekend of fighting of Amalfi Coast time. But I'm ready.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


To mark the one week anniversary of Ben being away I:

Met a good looking guy for a blind lunch date.
Except that "good looking" is a real stretch. But that's what happens when you post a picture that's ten years old.
And "lunch" happened to be in a casino bar. Because he had clients who needed to be entertained. Asian clients who like to gamble.
And I realized that it's good to meet an executive who heads up 400 people at IBM in a large space. Because of his ego and all.

Lessons learned from today:
Do not drink wine at lunch.
Do not drink two glasses of wine at lunch.
Do not drink two glasses of wine at lunch on an empty stomach.
Do insist on a proper lunch before 3pm. Preferably at a restaurant that's NOT in the casino.
Do sub out a 4:30p cycle class.
Do re-schedule evening clients.
Do call in sick to late yoga class.

My speed dating event was canceled for tomorrow night. I'm kinda bummed. But there may be a lesson in that, as well.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I got nothin' tonight.

Or maybe I do:

I took a new Reformer class.
and cleaned out my shoes.
and trained a new client.
and exercised extreme patience with an existing client.
and told another client, "this ain't no Simon sez game; I said, get into a Plank position now!" (she's a friend; I can talk to her that way and not have her walk out on me!).
and had a little mini photo shoot with another instructor (we're aspiring models for a talent scout looking for new "pilates" faces).
and sat through a parent meeting at Ben's school.
and had exactly six minutes to talk to Ben before the calling card ran out, learning that Ben steered the rental car out of a narrow road on the Amafi Coast. I am not kidding.
and scheduled a lunch date with a VERY HOT GUY for tomorrow.
and stressed about what to wear tomorrow.
and am about to kill off any brain cells I have remaining with the final two episodes of Californication.
and boycotted a shower. again. in honor of my friend, Michelle. and Mother Earth.
and that's it.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I'm missing Ben. It's time for him to come home.

They called first thing this morning, having been to Pompei. Ben continued to rave about homemade ravioli and didn't have much to say about the most ancient site in Italy. Figures.

As for me, definite waves of loneliness were pushing and pulling at my emotions all day yesterday and today, as well. I had so much productive time this weekend, and some quiet, spiritual and reflective time, too. But not much in the way of physical interaction unless you count the debate my mom and I got into over green, leafy vegetables. She shuffles around the house so much - in slippers and all - and the energy becomes stagnant. And more stagnant.

Yesterday, I couldn't take it any longer. I texted three friends in desperation. "Please, I need to get O-U-T!" But everyone had plans so I made peace with being at home in the shadow of my mother's existence and that was that.

Today was different. After work, I cleaned another closet and became so disgusted with being at home - with her AND with myself - that I got in my car and drove to see a friend at her work. Which is also my work when I teach classes. Yes, sadly, my big escape was to the club. But she gave me tons of empathy over Ben being gone and a few laughs, too.

I attempted to do some secondhand shopping this afternoon but my heart wasn't in it. I wanted to buy my best friend a pair of boots so once I found those, my mission was completed. My final attempt at connecting was going to my favorite instructor's Reformer class tonight. She killed me.

As I look out to the final stretch of Ben being gone, I'm amazed at how busy my schedule is about to get. New clients, a parent meeting at school, a date, a dating event, coffee with another friend, classes to teach. Maybe it's good that I had this little slice of downtime.

Deepak Chopra writes that the only way we can tap into our inner strength is by being quiet. Very, very quiet. "Silence," he says, "is the best teacher."

Yes, indeed Deepak. That it is.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I can now say the most of my home is clutter-free. I spent the better part of today organizing my studio closet, finishing my *new* filing system and finding permanent homes for Ben's projects from school and for all the items that seem to float around my home. I boxed up a ton of Ben's toys. Since he's officially "done" with cars, I had a lot of stuff to pass off. I even framed a few pictures.

It's a great feeling to have physical space cleared. I strongly believe that the state of your home is a metaphor for the state of your life and mine was feeling, well, a little too cluttered for my liking. That is, both my home AND my life. Now my space feels cleaner and my head feels clearer.

Since I was feeling so productive, I knocked out some other tasks too. I colored my hair. I downloaded new music for classes this week. I set up a date and a dating "event" (more on that later this week). I debated the merits of broccoli, spinach and red leaf lettuce with my mom. I watched some Californication (I figured I deserved a little levity...and a break!), I grocery shopped, I picked up more Californication (yes, it is like crack!). I went to yoga, too.

The fact that today was (is) Valentine's Day sort of slipped by me. I spent some time remembering the last two Valentine's Days that I celebrated: last year and the year before and how different they both were - both in the celebration and the men I actually shared the holiday with.

The highlight of my day was talking with Ben first thing this morning. He sounded so happy and almost effervescent with his news of what he had done that day. The call came almost at the same time as a sweet picture of Ben holding a card for me.

My heart ached a little today for Kevin. He's sent me some pretty deep and heavy email messages in the last couple of days. I can tell that he is contemplating regrets and his own disappointments relative to life and love. Maybe he is just now starting to peel back the layers of heartache from our divorce; I don't know.

What I do know is that working through heartbreak is like cleaning out a closet. You have to clear the space. Do the hard work. Tackle the tasks that you don't want to look at. Because sooner or later, it becomes unbearable. And you can't look at it, breathe with it, be with it. No one ever experiences an open heart without doing some work. It just can't happen.

In closing, my yoga instructor reminded me of something that I know to be oh-so-true. "Valentines' Day should be about cultivating relationships with ourselves," she said. "Because what good are we to anyone if we can't be good to ourselves? Go open your own heart before you try and work on someone else's."

Well put. Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I am surrounded by files. And paper.

When you run a household AND you run a small business, it becomes virtually impossible to maintain a system that works neatly and easily. I am on a mission to find such a system. And after three days of creating tabs and stickies and bundles of receipts, I think I'm closing in on the job.

This morning, I taught two back-to-back group Reformer classes. Gosh, those are hard to teach. Lifeguarding five bodies on five intricate machines, while keeping the energy and the momentum going is a challenge. I didn't exercise at all; yet I was spent when I left the gym.

I then went on a wild goose chase to find a specialized amino acid for myself and a specialized calling card for my ex. I can't sleep and he can't call. My chase took me on a huge loop of Arden Arcade, ending at a salon with the word "Charm" in the name (and full of blond Russian stylists!) to have a little talk therapy session with my BFF and her stylist.

From there, it was a mad dash home to get out of my workout clothes, contemplate a shower, veto the shower, and throw on nice jeans and a sweater for Saturday night services.

Is everyone trying to get me to cry this week?

I love the Dean of our church; he is so young, energetic and candid. He is holy. I bask in his spiritual presence. It is good stuff.

He opened his "message" tonight with a gut-wrenching story of a couple who were together for 25 years. They divorced and lived apart for another 20, then the husband got sick and moved back in with the wife so that she could care for him (neither had ever re-married) and before he died, they were married again by our Dean. I'm leaving out many more details of the story. Suffice to say, the tears were running down my face.

Meanwhile, my own ex is having his own trip down memory lane and I'm getting the all the sentiment via email. Because the calling card is out of minutes. Because he realized how much he screwed up and how good we could have been together. Because it's Valentine's Day tomorrow. Because he visited Capri today; a place that we longed to go to together - a place that was depicted in the first piece of art we purchased together. Because it's just that kind of week.

I killed a few brain cells by watching several episodes of "Californication." I could have killed more by going out with my friends who are out celebrating Second Saturday right now but I just didn't have the energy.

It's 6am in Italy and Ben is headed to Pompei with Kevin. Hopefully whatever glitch is connected with the transfer of my email messages will resolve overnight and Kevin will be able to retrieve the calling card info. I'd love to talk to Ben on Valentine's Day - that's all I need.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Ben is safe in Italy. Kevin is sending me emails, saying how much he wants me to be in Capri with them. Ugh. I'm happy that Ben is having a good time, eating gelato and pizza and yelling, "Ciao!" to all the vendors on the street. But I don't wish that I was there.

After a bumpy first part of the day and with much support from my clients and my friends, I pulled it together and really attacked all those freakin' files. I stepped in - last minute - and subbed a class at Capital tonight. One of the 'regulars' there said, "You look like you've been crying, Janeen." And damn it if I didn't get weepy again!

The high point of the day was getting the Valentine from my dad. I was seriously shocked; never before have I received anything from my dad with such great sentiment. Normally, if he gets a card, there's some lewd joke or a funny reference to parenting. And I know that his wife didn't pick it out; she just doesn't do that. The cash was nice, too.

My dad and I talked early this morning - at about 6am - and he was attempting to help me through the uncertainty of not hearing from - as he calls them - "the boys." He touched in several times during the day and we talked one last time tonight. I don't remember a time when he sounded so sympathetic and real. As we hung up, he was talking about crafting a snarky reply to Kevin's email response to me...which Kevin had conveniently copied all of my family members on. Anyone feeling a bit 'o guilt???

So it was a bittersweet ending to a wild day.

And speaking of bittersweet, I (mostly) stayed out of the chocolate although there was an incident with the seasame sticks...

Tomorrow, I have double classes to teach and movies to watch and more files to organize. I'm taking to bed with me a vision of Ben - laid out in Heathrow on a bench - with a sleep mask covering his eyes, visions of gelato and pizza dancing in his head...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


If you read my other blog, you'll know, by now, that I have not heard from Kevin and Ben. Not a word. Not an email. No messages. Nothing.

I am pissed. I am disappointed. I am really worried. I am totally preoccupied.

Nevertheless, I made some sweet and lovely connections today and found glimmers of light through the dark hours of wondering where my son is...

First thing this morning, I jumped in to my entire filing system, separating business, house and tax documents.

I trained five clients.

At lunch, I made a mad dash to Crossroads to help a friend find some skinny jeans. We found four pairs for her and one pair of secondhand Uggs for me. In 40 minutes. Mission well-accomplished!

I saw my neurologist. She had some great recommendations for my migraines.

A friend of mine who is in her 50s invited me to have coffee. She has suffered a lifetime of loss yet she is a brilliant survivor. We got to laughing so hard that the people near us in the coffeehouse looked up and smiled AT us. In my perfect world, I'd introduce my Sacramento 50-ish girlfriend to my Pasadena50-ish girlfriend and we'd all drink wine and I could soak in their wisdom. Someday.

Then I picked up my other mid-50s Sacramento girlfriend and we connected with a former employer of mine and took a really hard yoga class in a really beautiful new studio. I finally mastered side crow pose. It only took 9 years.

Now I'm home, watching the clock and praying.

Today was such a rich day of memorable human connections with people that I cherish.

Tomorrow, back to the filing and maybe the closets, too. And a much delayed yet very welcome check-in from Ben and his dad.

Please, tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Today my son went to Italy.

I trained a few clients. I organized a year and a half of photos into albums. I vacuumed and cleaned my car. I taught two classes. I bought a sweater from Nordstrom. I got a pedicure. I ate too much dark chocolate.

My heart was heavy all day, despite being busy. I called a friend on my break to say hello. I got her voice mail. My message came out like this:

"Um, hi. Hey. Ben left this morning (insert sob). He and Kevin left at 9am (start full-blown crying). So, um, I just called to say hi. I have to go now. I didn't think I'd cry this hard."

Then I hung up and I was OK.

Three friends sent me text messages. Two others called. 24 people in yoga class let out a collective, "Ohhhhhhhh" when I announced that Ben had left.

There's a whole lot of support and love in my world, even when Ben's not here. And a whole lot of stuff I still want to get done.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


When my son was a baby, he would cry - inconsolably - like any other infant. If his dad was home during these crying episodes, he'd give Ben a little toss in the air and Ben would forget what he was upset over and award everyone around with a huge smile. My ex called the whole activity, "the re-set process." As in, "I'm hitting his re-set button."

At 39, I'm having to trigger my own re-set button more than I'd like. The thing with a food battle is this: you can claim you're done with the battle and then have a re-lapse. I've always said that food issues are harder to manage than drug or alcohol dependencies because we can give those up. We have to eat. Right?

Right. But not excessively and not inappropriately and that is where my learning is truly happening.

I have had set-backs since I declared that my life long struggle with food had ended. To err is to be human. Just today, coming off a wickedly busy week with work, I turned to several foods that I have on hand for Ben. Nothing unhealthy or junky, but the portions were large enough to feed Ben and a playgroup. Of five friends. Mommies, too.

I guess that the only thing I can do - and have been doing - is to re-set quickly before a backslide occurs. One sitting of inappropriate food portions does not equal a backslide to me. It's more like a reminder - of what I used to do - and why I don't want to do it anymore. In my mind, if I'm cognizant enough, the episodes will become fewer and my thought processes will actually override the desire to eat.

This is my hope.

In the meantime, I'm going to a birthday dinner tonight for an old, old friend at a super fancy restaurant in the Bay Area. We're all dressing up and while I'm not looking forward to the act of squeezing into a black skirt, I am looking forward to connecting with a group of old friends. Tonight is about the human connections and not so much the food. Which is good because I highly doubt I'll be hungry by dinner time.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I had an "ah-ha" moment today.

An older woman came to see me for a free consultation and session. She was referred by an acquaintance of mine who is a chiropractor. The woman brought a host of physical challenges into our session: postural issues, osteopenia, and an out-of-whack sacroiliac joint. Not your average person looking for "Pilates abs." The word "frail" comes to mind.

We worked hard in the session: me, watching her form carefully and modifying exercises; her, trying to control the machine and use her own body awareness to avoid any injury.

At the end of the session, she walked over to my bookcase where I have several items on display, including Hindu deities, framed quotes, business cards and several pictures. She pointed to a quote. "I love this," she stated. I looked at what she was pointing at. It was one of my favorites, too:

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

I walked her out of the studio and she reached to hug me while saying, "Well, you seem to know what you're doing with your one precious life. What a gift you have and what a wonderful little business you've built."

She went on to book two sessions a week.

After she left, I thought to myself, what if I am doing something with my life? What if I don't always need to be looking for so much change? What if this is enough, at least for now? And then it hit: maybe it doesn't need to be so wild; maybe, just maybe, it's absolutely precious just the way it is.