A Short but Pithy Botany Lesson for Dummies

This is a plant.  It is a living thing meaning that is very different from a stapler or hat rack. It needs watering.  If it doesn’t get enough water, it will likely wither and start to droop. This will make you feel guilty especially when you come home from vacation in Maine where you were lounging about for 10 days and realize that you didn’t water it or ask your neighbors to water it, which is a really easy thing to do if you are open to having a conversation with your neighbors*.  Very often if you water it, it can be revived.  This is an amazing process to witness so pay attention.  Within several hours, the withering leaves which you might mistake for complete plant death will  begin to perk up and the plant will live again.  If you actually stand there and watch it, you may be able to detect a slight bit of movement which will thrill you and make you feel connected to nature.  You might even coax the plant along – like touching its leaves gently.  Wow, nature is soft!  Oooh, and dusty.  This is not normal.  Plants should not be coated in dust,  This means your house may be dusty and you might want to think about tidying up a little.   And yes, you can dust your plant.  Perhaps from time to time you can move your plant around the house – try putting it in the sunlight.  Sometimes it will respond quite favorably.  Plants really enjoy sunlight.  This is because they use the energy of the sun to photosynthesize to help them create energy so they can live.  This is a natural process and is very cool to read about if you have the time.  You can also go back to your 8th grade science project on photosynthesis to jog your memory.  Ask your mom about this. It is likely she still has it in a box in the basement somewhere labeled “Kids’ memorabilia”, (unless she is not the sentimental type, in which case, it probably was incinerated long ago.)  It is also very natural for rain to help plants grow, but it doesn’t rain in your home (unless you live outside) or have very substantial leaks so that’s why watering is important.


"The Puss": An Ode to the Greatest Cat Who Ever Lived.

He came from a line of strays on the streets of New York City, so who knows what kind of genes accompanied him into his little life.  My brother and I had only known that the “Free Kittens” sign on a lamppost in front of the neighborhood “Cat lady’s” house meant a cute furry companion for our childhood.  We had made up a song and dance routine (“We really want a kitten, yeah!”) aimed at convincing  my parents that we would be loving and responsible cat owners. Somehow, our side show worked and days later a cautious but curious kitten with a perfect black tuxedo coat and sharp willowy whiskers crept out of a box and into our lives. 

His name, “Mischief” was quickly discarded for the moniker “The Puss”, bequeathed by my dad who had been less than thrilled about this addition to the family. All of his fears about having an animal in an apartment were, in fact, realized.  The Puss peed in places where he shouldn’t have,  broke lamps, scratched furniture, vomited on rugs, got stuck in the washing machine; and there were weeks when my brother and I didn’t clean the litter box, forgot to brush his fur, and our living space was littered with hairballs and the salty scent of stale cat urine. 


Terrorized by a Cheerio

I am trapped in a small room alone with a blonde 2 year old staring at me from a polka dot stroller.  He’s the son of my patient who couldn’t find childcare this morning for our nutrition counseling appointment.

“Will you watch him for a couple minutes while I run to the bathroom?” she had asked, wiping some sort of sweet potato goop off  her sweater.  “Sure!”  I had said, “No problem”.  But it is a problem, because I have no idea what to do with a 2 year old for 2 minutes. I don’t have children, don’t want them, never have, and have mostly equated spending time with them to being on an awkward first date which I’m eager to see end.  Usually, during these  uncoordinated moments, someone else has been around to fill in the blanks, make the faces, show the magic tricks, know the latest lego’s.  Sitting here, staring back at this tot in Baby Gap’s finest, my head is a cavern of “I’ve got nothing.” .My dozen or so babysitting experiences from 25 years ago yield no brilliant ideas and I feel like an actor suddenly transported into a play whose script I don’t have.

I’m a nutritionist who works with adults battling health issues.  I listen to medical histories,  explore eating behaviors, educate on mineral deficiencies, and recommend ways to lower cholesterol, and avoid gluten.  Amidst a sea of knowledge of the latest studies on fish oil, turmeric and avocados, I realize I am completely inadequate when it comes to toddler speak.


My 2nd Toe, Emergent...

My 2nd toe  on each foot is perpetually sticking out of my socks. It is the longest toe I have and stretches an extra centimeter or 2 beyond all the others.  My mom has said this is a sign of aristocracy.  I’m not sure what that means or if it is a good thing or a bad thing but it has always made me feel better.

How is it possible for there to be so many oddly shaped and sized feet?  There are times when I look at others’ feet and am bemused and befuddled by how different they are from mine.  Upon inspection in steam rooms or yoga classes, I see how wide, thin, buniony, dry, thick, bony and various permutations of the above others’ feet are.   I look at my feet and judge them. Sometimes they look elegant and graceful and thin and lovely.  Other times they appear to be misshapen and arthritic and veiny. I haven’t decided if I like them at all.  They seem long and gangly and look much better with nail polish on the toes.

 My ankles are the skinniest ankles I have ever seen.  I’m surprised that my ankle bone doesn’t jut out of the sock the way the 2nd toe does, it’s so goddamned pointy! I would say I cannot stand it, but I make it my goal to not dislike any part of my body because that is just ridiculous to not like a part of what you were born with and cannot change (although a surgeon in Palm Beach would beg to differ.)  Why should you like or NOT like it?  Do dogs bemoan the length of their tails in comparison to other tails?  NO!  They simply live with their tails and life goes on and is great.  So who told me It’s NOT ok to have my goddamned 2nd toe tower over the others?  Why shouldn’t it tower?  What’s wrong with a little towering?    They  look a little goofy in sandals, I will say that, that 2nd toe leaning over the edge of the tip.  I will often get a hint of the people of Nazareth when all I want is to look cute and feminine. They often appear almost manly but in a dainty way.  I have skinny manly feet.

And do I replace the socks?  Well, not always,  I often wear socks with both my 2nd toes are peeking out saying help to the world, getting a breath of fresh air.