Anatomy Pop Quiz



Do you remember when you were in high school and your biology teacher would greet you first thing on Monday with a cheery “Good Morning!”.  You’d be all bleary-eyed and tired because, well, because you were a teenager and that’s generally how teens feel on any given morning, especially Mondays.  Then s/he would announce a pop quiz. You’d groan, roll your eyes, and slouch even more deeply into your chair.  Not only because you were totally unprepared but also because, well, you were a teen.

Well, you’re not a teen anymore and I’m not a biology teacher, but I’m going to start this last-day-of-September-Monday-morning with a little Anatomy Pop Quiz anyway.  Anyone who answers it, right or wrong, gets a gold star.  Tomorrow I’ll answer it myself, along with a little story about this part of your body, including issues we may experience around it and how massage therapy can tend to those issues.  You might just learn a little something.

So without further ado, Stairway’s first Anatomy Pop Quiz:

1.  Your Occiput.  What is it and where in your body does it live?  Discuss.

Bonus for you anatomy hotshots:  Name a muscle that attaches to it.



A Star

That's my girl

That’s my girl


We watched her walk out on stage, sit down, adjust the microphone, smile at the audience, and just start strumming.  I was kneeling on the floor, off to the side of the audience so I could record her. Marleigh and a group of her friends had joined me there.  We were all holding our breath.  We listened as she circled around and repeated the intro.  Clever, I thought.  Not rushing into it.  Taking a minute to get acclimated.  She was up there just smiling.  And then she started singing, “Now she’s back in the atmosphere with drops of Jupiter in her hair…”    Clear and strong.  By the third stanza the crowd was clapping along.  They were digging her music! Marleigh had tears running down her cheeks, “She’s really good,” she said.  We were all crying.  And smiling.  Whooping her on.  She looked so composed, that crazy 13 year old of mine.  So natural.  Like she’d always been sitting on a stage, strumming a ukelele (a ukelele!), singing.

A good friend of ours gave her the ukelele over the summer and she just started playing the thing.  And singing along with it.  She has a good ear and tunes it easily.  So I wasn’t surprised when she signed up for the talent show.  I was nervous though.  I mean, I’ve sung with groups and chorales in front of large audiences.  But I’d get nervous even with 60 other voices around me.  She was going to do this solo.  Alone.  Just her. In front of a bunch of teenagers.

“But, Mom, you have to promise me something,” she had said when she announced she was going to enter the show.  “If I change my mind the night of the show, you have to just let me not do it.”   What???  Isn’t that when I’m supposed to support you and urge you on and tell you that you can do this and how good it will be for you?  Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?  No, she informed me, indeed it wasn’t.  If she was going to do this she had to know ahead that she’d have my full support in also NOT doing it if she so chose.  So what could I do but agree.

And there she was, doing her thing, bringing the crowd to their feet.  They loved her.

That’s my girl.


Evasive Bear

Bear in the fields behind our homes, en route to the Battenkill.

Bear in the fields behind our homes, en route to the Battenkill.


Bear seems partial to trash.  Since my trip to the dump, s/he’s turned up her/his nose at my burnt offerings.  Of course, we didn’t get the motion cameras set up until AFTER my dump excursion.  So I’ve been putting off writing this post, hoping that one night Bear would return and I’d capture its image on Candid Camera.  Well, I have several nice shots of Weston and Kodi (my dogs) nosing through the treats I left for Bear.  One nice close-up of Weston investigating the camera.  Several shots of my car coming and going from my drive way.  One questionable shot of a fuzzy back, which doesn’t look like either of my dogs.  But then we accidentally erased all the photos…  Anyway, Bear remains elusive.  Except for this shot my neighbor captured on his phone’s camera (shame it wasn’t an iPhone!).  Bear was walking down the path from our homes to the Battenkill River.  This photo reminds me a bit of all those famous shots of Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot that floated around in the 70s.  I tried cropping and enlarging, but the phone is only 6 megapixels and the photo only became more grainy and unclear.  Bear remains evasive.

Storm’s Coming

Inverted Big Dipper

Inverted Big Dipper

No silvery moon to be seen tonight.  No Big Dipper.  No Belt of Orion,  nor Sirius.  No Cassiopeia.  No Pleiades.  No Milky Way.  I’ll see you on the other side of the storm, my Celestial Friends.

Stay warm, dry, and safe everyone!

Oops, no take-backs

My barn door.

My barn door.

So yesterday I tried something new.  I brought my iPad to work with me and thought I’d post on my blog between clients. I hadn’t been writing much lately and I missed it.  I downloaded the WordPress App, and on a break started putting down some thoughts.  I had an image and idea I wanted to explore, but once I started writing, it got scattered.  Then I started feeling pressed for time.  I had a client due any minute.  Better to set this aside and look at it later, I thought.  So I did.  That was yesterday morning.  I didn’t get another chance to even check my email until later that night when I got home around 8.   I was mortified when I found a comment to that blog in my inbox.  My stomach started to turn.  Oh no.  How did it get out there?  Who knows.  When I closed the App I guess it published it automatically.  I panicked.  My first reaction was to erase the post.  Wipe it from the internet.  But we all know that’s impossible.  It was already out there.  There are no take-backs in the electronic world.  Dang.  So I took a deep breath.  And then I decided to just  Let    It    Go.

Just Love

Valentine breakfast at our house.

Valentine breakfast at our house.

We always have cake for breakfast on Valentine’s Day.  It’s my favorite holiday.  I know it can be a tricky one for many.  Lots of expectations.  Often many disappointments.  I fell in love with this holiday  when my girls were very young.  10 years ago, actually.  It was my last year of marriage.  I was still in complete denial of how unhappy I was in that union, though looking back I can see it clearly.  It was the night before Valentine’s Day.  (does that make it Valentine’s Eve?)   My husband was working late.  Marleigh, Delaney, and I had cut out huge hearts, painted and decorated them, and hung them from the ceilings all over the house.  After they went to bed I baked heart-shaped cupcakes.  White cake.  Sickly sweet pink frosting.  Colorful sprinkles.  I set the table with a bright cloth, strung fairy lights over it, put their candy around their plates, and a heart shaped-cake at each place.  It was great fun.  I remember noticing, not with surprise, that I wasn’t longing for my husband to be with me while I did these things.  I would have wished for that in the past.  Been disappointed that he wasn’t participating.  I’d called him earlier but he didn’t answer the phone.  I didn’t even think about it.  It wasn’t important anymore.

The girls got up the next morning full of ooohs and ahhhhhhhs and squeals of happiness when they saw the table with its lights, candies, and cakes.  They were amazed when I said the cake was breakfast.  Delighted.  Two and four years old.  We laughed and giggled and ate cake and chocolates and drank tea.  It was carefree and lovely.  It wasn’t until they were off playing and  I was clearing the table that I noticed.  I was clearing three plates, three cups, three spoons and three forks.  They were all the places I’d set.  Something shifted that day. I felt happy and content and filled with love.

My marriage didn’t last through the rest of that year.  There have been other loves since then, but nothing lasting.  What has lasted and blossomed is the loving family that I celebrated with that day.  Valentine’s Day to me is about love. The deep, true love of family and of friendships that have endured over the years and enriched my days.   I believe that I will one day encounter the Valentine I’ll share the rest of my Valentine’s with.  I  hope he’ll love eating cake for breakfast, and  that he’ll share a tradition or two of his own with us.  But until then, and after then, and always, we’re going to celebrate the love of life and family and friends every Valentine’s Day, and every other day of the year.  And we’ll always eat cake for breakfast on Valentine’s Day.

I wish each of you warmth and strength and love today and every day.  Happy Valentine’s Day.


Starting to Run

Cold and Snowy in Cambridge (10*F)

Cold and Snowy in Cambridge (10*F)

A couple of years ago I wanted to get into running again.  I’ve been a sporadic runner/jogger for all my adult life, so I know that when I get back into it I’m going to suffer from sore muscles for the first few days.  A couple of years ago I found this great program offered by Women’s Health Magazine.  Over a period of 6 weeks it gets you walking and running until you can do a steady 1/2 hour run.  It’s a gentle, effective process.  I loved it.

Since then I’ve learned some invaluable breathing techniques that enhance any workout experience and essentially eliminate the sore muscle issue, believe it or not.  I incorporate this breath work when I’m exercising, when I’m meditating, or when I’m just feeling a little tired.  It’s energizing, and it also helps balance our body’s pH.  I love sharing and teaching this technique, and I’ll be talking more about it in the future.

Here’s the link to the running program if you’re interested in starting running.  You have my full support.  I’d love to hear about your choice to start running, your daily progress, and even your woes.  Though I think woes will be few because it’s a gentle, effective program.  Hope you have fun!


Armchair Traveler

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I travelled quite a bit internationally and domestically.  I spent time living in Northern Europe and in Mexico.  Immersing myself in  new cultures, learning languages, and experiencing new environments especially in nature but also in urban settings was a  passion of mine.  I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.  However, in the past twenty years I’ve travelled very little.  So when I come across a blog like Steve McCurry’s, I dive in and revel in the vistas and experiences his photographs offer me.  Thank you for taking me with you, Steve.