Saturday, June 23, 2007



Like most West Coast cities, Vancouver takes its yoga very seriously. I’m a big fan of yoga, and like what it does for my body and soul. But lately, I’ve noticed a disturbing new trend - I like to refer to it as YGB (Yoga Gone Bad). Here are a few examples:

DOGA – A yoga class designed for people and their dogs . There is no way in hell I could ever get the pugs to perform a “downward facing dog” on command. I’m happy if I can get them to sit.

Laugh Yoga – my friend Carla recently went to this class, along with seven of her best friends. As far as she could tell there was very little yoga involved, unless you count the times when they were asked to run around the room, arms flailing. The instructor took them through a series of laughing exercises, and also commanded them to speak gibberish. Carla did end up laughing - at the absurdity of the situation.

I can sympathize with her, as I’ve also been traumatized by yoga. Last year I shelled out $300 dollars to attend a class that was going to be taught by a visiting Yoga celebrity. She was from Hollywood and apparently instructs big name stars such as Cindy Crawford and Madonna.

Most of the people in attendance had white turbans on their heads, and seemed to being using faux white fur in place of yoga mats. This was my first clue that something was wrong, seriously wrong.

The woman started by lecturing on the various chakras for an hour. I tried to keep an open mind, not to mention that I was determined to get my money’s worth.

The first exercise required us to scurry across the floor like wild animals. The room was packed full of people, so it ended up being more like a bumper car ride. Next, we experienced a rebirthing. This meant I had to assume a fetal position and violently shake my head up and down - while the Yogi shouted “faster, faster!”.

At this point I had to make an executive decision. I could either stay and risk whip lash, or leave and accept the fact that I had been scammed. I chose the latter.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sun - Sol - Sonne - le Soleil

Today is the summer solstice.

Tom and I took the pugs to the beach - a cool way to welcome lush, beautiful summer.
No pagan rituals - just mountains, sky, herons, seaweed and rocks.

Tex and Maggie ran through the tidal pools – even I was tempted to throw up my arms and dance with abandon.

I love everything about summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Inspired by Chimps

I had an epiphany this evening, which was inspired by a documentary on Chimpanzees. Yes, I admit - I’m a geek who likes nature shows.

It seems that Tom and I raised Tyler like a baby Chimp. Seriously.
Baby chimps are carried around by their mother for the first four years of their life – exactly what we did with our baby boy.

At that time we lived far away from both of our families, which gave us permission to break the rules. Without grandparents to offer advice, you have to wing it – trust your intuition and do what feels natural.

Maybe it was a primal urge, but we took him everywhere - let him sleep in our bed - and always had him slung on our hips. Dr. Spock would have been rolling in his grave.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Angels Unaware

While walking in our neighborhood park this weekend, the pugs and I met a very interesting young man. He was working at his laptop on what appeared to be architectural renderings. He was clean, intelligent, articulate and homeless.

Our conversation started due to his interest in the pugs, who seemed equally interested in him. Anyone who has ever watched movies will know that the family dog is always the first to recognize the bad guy. This may seem like a Hollywood cliché - but I have found it isn’t too far off the mark – dogs are very good judges of character.

It was a disconcerting experience, as it challenges the many assumptions I’ve made about homeless people . Maybe I’m an idealist, but I have always believed that the majority of the homeless were either struggling with addiction or mental illness. This young man didn’t seem to fit into either category.

There were so many things I wanted to ask him. How did he get there? Was it a lifestyle choice or had society failed him in someway? Where was his family? Was he happy? Was there anything I could do to make a difference in his life? But in the end I didn’t have the courage to do anything but make polite conversation.

It reminded me of the Greek myths that I used to read to my son. They were full of parables in which gods and goddesses are disguised as beggars - looking for people who will treat them with dignity and respect - in spite of their appearance.

As my Grannie used to say, “There but for the grace of God go I."

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Ballad of Josie and Chris

My friend Josie likes to make lists – at one point she even had a list of “relationship deal breakers” – which meant that most poor, unsuspecting suitors didn’t have a chance in hell. For example, according to her list one should never date a guy who spends more on his Mountain bike than his car. Sounds logical, but if you live in BC you’ve just eliminated half of the men living in our mountain communities.

I always found it amusing when Josie used to lament there were no single men left in Vancouver. The truth is, Josie has never been lacking in attention from the opposite sex. The woman can stop traffic. There was never a shortage of men who were interested in Josie, it's just that none of them could ever make it past “the list”.

Her relationship with Chris started very quietly, which should have been a clue to her unsuspecting friends that he was different. She meet him while running on the seawall, a bird pooped on her head and he gallantly offered assistance.

Once Chris and Josie started dating, there was the issue of his cat Phoebe, who according to Josie was the devil in a fur coat. After seeing Chris - Josie would come to work in hives, her eyes and nose streaming - it seemed that she was having a severe allergic reaction to his feline companion. This was all just fine with p-kitty, as she wasn’t exactly crazy about Josie…….nobody was coming between the cat and her man.

When Josie stopped sneezing and started displaying photos of Phoebe on her screen saver, we all knew it was serious.

This weekend Chris and Josie got married. The ironic thing is I doubt even Chris could have made it past Josie’s list. But that’s the thing with love, when it’s real, lists don't mean a damn thing.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Passing Time

Many of the photo's on "Life with Mika" were taken by my husband, Tom.

A few years ago one of his shots of a bald eagle was featured on a Canadian stamp - our "Fargo" moment.

This is a photo I took of Tom visiting the Musee d'Orsay - during a recent trip to Paris. He says it's his favourite photo of our trip together.

Escargot a la Maggie

Our house was a zoo this morning – and as usual both Tom and I were running late.

Mornings like this always end with an animated discussion over whose turn it is to walk the pugs. After a rousing game of rock, paper and scissors - Tom lost - and reluctantly took TexnMaggie to the seawall to “do their business”.

While Tom was distracted (picking up dog poop) – Maggie decided to eat a big, juicy slug. A grey/green slug slime oozed out of her mouth – effectively numbing her lower lip. Trust me, you don’t want to know what it takes to get slug slime off a pug’s hairy chin.

Worried about the consequences, I did a quick search on the Internet and found out that slug slime is quite safe, and amazing. There is even a field of science dedicated to “Slug Slime technology”. SS is used in drug delivery systems, pollutant traps for sewage plants, water-based lubricants and even surgical implants.
Who knew that Maggie was actually on to something big!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sound Advice

There was a great article in Sunday's New York Times – providing highlights from commencement speeches at various American universities.

The themes varied, everything from pro-war, anti-war, the importance of fighting malaria, living with the paradoxes of the modern world, having a dream, and staying true to yourself.

The most bizarre was from Tom Brokaw, who told his audience that real life isn’t like high school or college. According to Tom it’s more like junior high, complete with petty jealousies, irrational juvenile behavior and the same uncertainty you experienced during those early years. Well Tom, I guess that’s one way to ensure they don’t ask you back next year.

In my opinion, the best was from novelist John Grisham, whom upon graduating was determined to make big bucks as a tax lawyer. Turns out he didn’t like tax law and ended up doing something totally unexpected. In other words, it is impossible to plan your life.

Reading the stories reminded me of advice my mother gave me in high school – the idea was that women should never learn to type. Who knew that the computer revolution was just around the corner? Thanks Mom, to this day I type like an old club reporter…..pecking away with two fingers.

My mom wasn’t like the other Mothers – who were either stay at home moms - or had jobs instead of careers. My mom was pretty and smart, in hindsight I can see how stifling West Texas must have been for her. Against the odds she managed to do quite well in the oil business, which back then was still an “old boys” club. She knew first hand how hard it was to make it in a man’s world - and reasoned that if I didn’t know how to type, being a secretary wouldn’t be an option.

My mother and I are very different - like most daughters there have been times when I’ve been her biggest critic -but I have always been very proud of her intelligence and success.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Must Have Sleep

This weekend Tom is on the road, which means that Tex, Maggie and I have been living like three bachelors.

Tom thrives on structure and routine, and I’m just the opposite. So when he’s travelling, I revert to all of my old habits. I stay up till the wee hours of the morning, eat cold pizza for breakfast, crank the music and get my groove on.

There’s only one problem, the pugs know who the Boss is - and it certainly isn’t me. When Tom leaves I’m sort of like the substitute teacher - the easy mark - the one who has “sucker” written across her forehead.

For the most part I’m willing to indulge, but even I have limits. This weekend Maggie has been determined that we should all get out of bed at 5:30 am - something she would never try when Daddy is home. You’d be surprised how determined a 15 pound pug can be. She’s relentless. Eventually it’s easier to just get up and feed her (I admit it, I’m pug whipped). The real dig is the fact that once she’s had her breakfast, our little Princess is ready to go back to bed.

So today I decided to try a new approach, and turn the tables on Maggie. The idea was to keep her awake all day long, with the hope that I could actually sleep in the next morning. In theory this seemed like a good idea, however I soon found out that the girl can sleep through anything. Even standing up.
I'm counting the hours (and the sleeps) until Tom comes home.....

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Girl Talk

Paris, Paris, Paris…..we need to talk girlfriend.

I admit, we haven’t always been friends – but let’s put all of that behind us. It’s become obvious that you need a little friendly advice from someone who isn’t on a PR retainer.

Let’s start with Martha Stewart - I think you could learn a few things from her. The woman deserves a little credit, she put on a brave face and made the best of her time behind bars. While there she cooked 5 course meals, on her radiator, for the other inmates - gave everyone makeovers-wrote a best seller on the history of the penal system - designed an ergonomic jail bunk – and she certainly wasn’t anybody’s bitch.

I feel your pain, and totally agree with your comment that this wasn’t your fault. I mean how were you supposed to know that it isn’t cool to drive with a suspended license. Somebody should have explained it to you.

You should also know that your timing sucks, no wonder people want to see you in a reality show called “Oz”. America’s middle class is losing ground, crime in major cities is on the rise, over 50 million of your fellow citizens have no health insurance, and there is this little thing called a “war” happening over in Iraq.

Keep your chin up, as it's only a matter of time before you land a new show. I'm guessing that Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise will be your co-stars.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I Need a Tyler Fix

  • I had a hard time deciding what to blog about today.

    After my yoga class I was all over the map - I could have mused about everything - from
    meditation to my desire to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

    Then I watched the Republican debate and was no longer feeling Zen. So I decided to count to ten before getting into a political rant.

    Instead, I’d like to share with you a few of the things I miss about my son – who is living in far away Thailand and teaching English in a Buddhist Monastery.

  • He’s my movie buddy. Since he’s been gone I rarely go to the cinema.

  • His sense of humour. He’s one of the funniest people I know.

  • His goofy little dances.

  • The great service I get in restaurants. Dine with a handsome young man and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

  • His interesting view of the world – idealistic yet pragmatic.

  • Those big shoes that he leaves by the front door.

  • His ‘posse’.

  • Playing board games with him and his ‘posse’.

  • The way he would put you in a stronghold, and challenge you to break free – this used to drive me crazy but now I miss it.

  • The way his hair sticks up all over in the morning – something I refer to as “Rooster Head”.

  • His obsession with Mexican food – no one gets more excited by guacamole.

  • I miss everything about my little boy.

Monday, June 4, 2007

As Easy as Riding a Bike

Carol, a good friend and colleague, has a beautiful young daughter who is in the process of learning to ride a bike. Talking to Carol was a real eye opener – it seems for some things, times have changed!

Safety is a big concern for today’s parent. Their children start riding with training wheels and never with-out a safety helmet. Kids are now enrolled in special bike classes, designed to teach them how to ride, road safety and Quantum Physics.

In my day - in small town West Texas - it was Dog-eat-Dog. Survival of the Fittest.

The most you could expect from your parents was an abrupt push to get you started – after which they usually ran back into the house to finish watching their TV show.

In theory this doesn’t sound so bad, but learning to ride a bike becomes more problematic when you realize that you have no idea how to stop the damn thing. You ride and ride, up and down the street, peddling for dear life, and eventually you have no option but to crash into something.

It doesn’t take long to recognize that curbs are bad things, they act like sling shots – and large rose bushes are to be avoided at all cost. Not to mention that ‘in my day’ we did this without safety gear - on a hand-me-down bike that was two sizes too high.

Ahhh…the good old days.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Chica's Unite

Recently I read something that resonated with me , a quote from an intelligent woman talking about our evolving relationship with Barbie.

It seems we started by playing with Barbie – during the feminist movement we held Barbie in disdain – and today, many young women want to be Barbie.

I wonder what all of the woman who fought for equal rights would think of the Paris, Brittany, Jessica and Lindsey’s of the world? Are we living in the era of the hoochies?

This doesn’t mean I don’t think woman should be sexy – I just don’t think you should have to dumb down to feel that way – isn’t it more attractive to be sexy and intelligent?

My friend Josie is getting married, so my weekend was spent celebrating with a group of sharp, attractive, funny, independent woman. Woman who are well read, run marathons, know how to order wine, raise children and run companies. Woman who inspire me – this is for the Chica’s.