living with parkinsons

February 26, 2008

Being There

At 4:00 a.m., I was awakened by the wails of my six-year old with a stomach bug. I switched on his light and reassured him, through his tears, that I’d help him feel better. I ran water in the tub while I searched the kitchen for his favorite cup, a pumpkin with a bendy straw for the stem. After he sipped some ginger ale, he relaxed in a bubbly warm bath while I stripped the bed, cleaned up his room, and laid out new pajamas. I held him as he ate a few bites of dry toast (to which I’d added a smiley face made out of strawberry jam). His whole being a bit more settled, he crawled between fresh sheets. I tucked the special quilt his grandmother made him around his shoulders and read him Goodnight Moon. It was 7:00 a.m. before I could slip back to bed. The […]
March 5, 2008

They’re Here

The swoosh of snowmelt through the gutters, the drip, drip onto the front porch, the occasional thump of an ice chunk falling from the roof – these are the magical sounds of March. But there’s another that is even more delightful: the unmistakable oak a lee of the red-winged blackbird.
March 15, 2008

Ida Lessons

We had a favorite family car game growing up. It was way more fun than license plate spotting (find as many different states as possible before a trip’s end) or sign alphabet (get from A to Z using letters from street or highway signs). The Ida Game (which had no point, no way to win or lose) was simply goofy and made us laugh.
April 25, 2008


Satya is yoga’s second social ethic or yama. It means truth. Well, truth be told, I don’t want to see him again. He didn’t listen when I told him I was in pain. He’s never returned my call. And when I wake at 3:00 a.m. with a dull ache, it is him I think of, and they are not happy thoughts. I need to dump this guy.
May 17, 2008


It was a lovely setting for a yoga teacher training workshop: Meadows of flowering trees sloped to a view of a lake nestled in the mountains. The weather hinted of summer. And each meal offered a plethora of fresh bread and colorful casseroles. I’d been robbed.
June 5, 2008


LIM (Less Is More) Yoga embraces the old adage, everything in moderation, which is the definition of fourth yama. And the antithesis of spin class. Feel the burn, Push it, Ride it out. Good mottos for building up stamina in the saddle and sweating from every pore. Phrases in a gentle yoga class are more like: Notice how it feels, Don’t push too hard, Take a resting breath. I was waiting for a spin class to begin at the gym when I overheard two women talking about yoga.
July 9, 2008


This final yama is about contentment. More literally, it means non-possessiveness or not holding on to what isn’t and being happy with what is. I struggle with this one, not because I covet my neighbor’s new car or envy anyone who can carry a tune. No, I actually like my sixteen-year-old station wagon and sing out no matter who can hear me. What I crave is sleep.
August 27, 2008

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

The garden is a mass of weeds. I suspended voice lessons until fall. Cookouts came and went while I sat at the computer. What was I doing all summer? Writing a book. Really. And, it’s about to be published. A plethora of yoga books line my shelves and topple from stacks on my desk. I enjoy them all, some more than others. But each is peppered with bookmarks noting sections that speak to me. Some highlight interesting poses. Others are there for easy access to a phrase that touches on bringing daily practice from the mat into my day. None, however, fully address yoga and Parkinson’s. There’s mention here and there in some of the texts, and there are books that connect exercise to the disease. But when I couldn’t find one that dedicated itself to living your yoga while living with Parkinson’s, I decided to dedicate myself to writing […]
October 4, 2008

Friends and Footwear

It wasn’t the latest toy or a trip to Disneyworld that topped my wish list as a kid. No, I yearned for what friends and classmates had, what came so easily to them. I wanted to be normal. The gimpy leg aside, there were other oddities. While most kids wonder about their parent’s sanity levels, I knew Mom and Dad were wacky. My mother was a nun – really. My father liked to take things apart – walls and ceilings, mostly. The foil-backed insulation in my room shimmered in a number of spots void of sheetrock; the closet door never did make it back onto the hinges, and I lost endless change, two necklaces and a contact lens in the gap between the wall and floor where a baseboard used to be. Needless to say, when friends came over, we played in the living room, which had all four walls […]
October 7, 2008

My Word

I’m intrigued by how much emphasis has been placed on word choice throughout the presidential campaigns. Each candidate’s selection appears to reflect his or her persona. Obama’s seemingly effortless way with words has marked him as great orator; Biden’s occasional gaffes when speaking from the heart of experience make him human; McCain’s Straight Talk slogan indicates a direct approach; Palin’s colloquialisms use a linguistic style to reach out to crowds. Late-night talk shows, newspaper op-ed pieces, and numerous Internet sites all comment on the verbiage the candidates are using when they discuss the issues facing the nation. Living with a chronic disease, health care tops my list of concerns. When I studied the issue on each candidate’s official web site – and – I was again intrigued by word choice. Each stated the overriding challenges of the health care system – affordability, access, a focus on prevention. The […]