Ode. To The Late Mr. Klonks (Klondike).


Dear Mr. Klonks,

2004 – 2013
The real letter I wrote you, I penned on Dec. 26. That’s when it hit me that you were going to pass much sooner than later; when it hit me that you might feel guilt, fear, or, somehow a sense of shame over this passing, and that, absolutely, I feel both pain and fear. I don’t think I’ll put the contents of that letter into this post, but I will capture one part of it. Because that part helped me to better understand all of these scary & complex emotions that we endure both as animals and as humans.
Toward the end of that letter, I reached a sort of realization.

Over the Holiday Break, I felt crushed by the weight of having to leave you so that I could go back to my apartment. This theme not singular to your illness, but instead a guilt I’ve always felt. In August of 2004, when you became apart of our home, I was still in college. Every 4 months, or so, I came home & then left. This leaving-home-guilt particularly boiled over when I moved out permanently in June 2011. At that point, I’d lived with (and slept in the same bed as) you for about 3 years, so when I moved all of my things, it felt infinitely more finite than a semester or 2 away at school. For at least 1 solid month after the move, whenever I ventured home (which was frequent), you obligingly shunned me. As a doggy’s love goes.

I think the scariest thing is the perception of not being able to communicate. That our human words such as, Don’t be scared or, It’s okay or, We love you so much, cannot possibly be understood by you, a dog. It is scary! Especially when we lay our dear animals to rest. I think we, as humans, wonder: How does our doggy know that we’re doing what’s best for him, & that he will be safe & happy? Allow me to defer to 2 experts. Garth Stein and Cesar Milan. Stein, author of the heart-rending The Art of Racing in the Rain, writes his main character & narrator, a dog named Enzo, to readily & clearly understand human words. Stein, such a knowledgeable author himself, artfully creates a reliable narrator, despite that he is a dog. Absolutely, I believe in Stein’s proposal. Dogs can understand our words. If that doesn’t convince you, perhaps the teachings of our favorite The Dog Whisperer, will. Milan would probably tell us that even if dogs cannot understand words, they do sentiments. Most of the time, they understand our own feelings better than we. So, Mr. Klonks, I know that you understand me when I speak to you.

My concern is–not so much that you fear death, Mr. Klonks–but rather, that you feel like you’ve failed us. Being so loyal, as doggies (& particularly you) are, what if you feel like you’ve failed us, your family, because you are now called to leave? Sure, sure, you understand what we say & how we feel when we reassure you otherwise. But what about your own sentiments & how you feel? Today, as I look into your eyes, it’s like you’re pleading to apologize. I’m sorry I have to leave you! I don’t want to! I want to be here to protect & guide & love & shnuggle you! And then, when tears drop from my cheeks, you grunt. As if to say, No! please do not cry for me! I guess the best I can do is have Faith: while you might be scared & confused yourself, Mr. Klonks, ultimately, you understand that you can still protect, guide, love, & shnuggle. Always.

The realization I reached on December 26, 2012, St. Stephen’s Day (whereas today, the day I write this, is The Epiphany), has to do with going home. I hate whenever I had to leave my home with you & go back to my apartment without you. As noted previously, regardless of if or when you were sick, I disliked it. I felt guilt. I cried. And it’s all because the thought of you, Mr. Klonks, not understanding that I’d be returning, breaks my heart. Oh, it gets me going. Especially over the holiday break. Even though I had Stein & Milan to appeal to, it just wasn’t enough. Here I was, staying at home for 10 days–the longest I’d done since moving out 1.5 years prior–convinced that you could die any one of them, and then leaving you. I felt inconsolable.
So I cried. And I journaled.
What I realized is that you, Mr. Klonks, wouldn’t want me to be sad or feel guilt about going back to my own home. You’d want me to have Faith enough to know that you get it. Sure, you might act a little funny because, after all, dogs must express their emotions, too. But ultimately, you’d want me to have Faith in you. I then realized that this is exactly what I want. As your day nears, Mr. Klonks, I want you to know that I’m not angry or upset. I wish you no guilt. Only comfort. I have to return to my apartment. You must return to your house. It’s a simple as that. It is the way of life.
Thing is, I have always believed in & will continue to believe that you, Mr. Klonks, will return to me. Just as Mr. Wilson (the original pitt-bull with whom I grew up!) did through you. I know that you will. You are my soulmate. And Garth Stein would support me 10,000%. I surmise that Cesar Milan might, as well.
Last Pic Taken,
New Years’ Day.
1st Pic Taken
when found out Klonks was sick.
He is so sweet.
Christmas Present!
Hangin’ w Klonks & The Ronks.
Ringing in The New Year.
Until then, the best release we can do, is to celebrate & to cry. Why not?

Auld Lang Syne. Happy New Year’s Resolutions 2013!!

Here’s to Auld Lang Syne.
And Here’s to New Year’s Resolutions!
1. Practice Patience.
2. Journal Nightly.
3. Yoga & Dance Regularly.
4. Free Range Meat Only.
5. Meditate Daily.
Ronk (Rocky) & Klonk (Klondike)
patiently waiting to ring in the New Year. 2013.
To see what these all lead up to….

Practice Patience. I’m either in a hurry, or I’m in a hurry, and there’s no such thing as not-in-a-hurry. For me, when something exists in this extreme where it lacks even its opposite as a balance, I’ve found that only 1 approach works. The Opposite Approach. Whenever I feel the urge to hurry, I will do the exact opposite of hurry: no ifs-and’s-or-but’s. I will calmly take my time even if I am late for work. For one (and for me), taking my time doesn’t mean wasting it. For two, I bet that I make it to desired destination just as quickly and, now, with a clearer mind. Why Opposite Approach is so crucial? Because if I practice patience wholly and without making excuses, I surmise that it will wholly permeate my every thought & action so that patience becomes second nature. (Think on how, in athletic endeavors, I’m now left-foot -dominate, despite being right-handed, because of wholly playing Left-D in soccer every single game throughout my high school career.)
I will calmly take my time even if. 
The Book of Chakra Healing, Liz Simpson.
Daily journal, given by a great friend.
Journal Nightly. Throughout junior high, high school, and college, I was a huge journal-er. Not only did it keep me writing daily, which is crucial to the integrity of any writer, but also, it truly helped me to sort through the webs and annals of my brain. To confront the lies that crept in whilst I wasn’t a-watch. Journaling helped me through some of the most crucial and fragile moments in my life so that I could recover and, ultimately, heal. It had to be over 1 year ago that I stopped. A few months ago, when I began learning about and working on Chakras, I realized how integral daily journaling is to keeping me in balance. I’m excited to begin my journaling anew, using both a journal and my laptop to stay connected with the written word and my most tangled-up of thoughts.
I will journal nightly, even if it is just one word.
Yoga & Dance Regularly. Both of these, I’ve just discovered. Yoga, back around March 2012 and dance—or at least adult dance—as I began to listen to the whisperings and longings to move fluidly, once again. (Or, that’s the idea.) Immediately, upon my first visit to Open Flow with Caroline, I felt at home in the TRU Yoga Studio. Having practiced somewhat regularly for 9 months, I’ve found that Yoga has increased my muscle tone, particularly in my back and shoulders, my breath quality, as in how deeply I can inhale & exhale (and unfortunately not how freshly or sweet my breath naturally smells), and my flexibility so that my muscles feel both longer and more lithe. The anchor of calmness and rejuvenating qualities that yoga affords has changed both the way I move and the way I think. This year, I’ve realized that to attend yoga regularly is not to be indulgent. It is to be whole. Dance, where I will attend classes just across the street at Park Ave Dance Company, will be an exclamation to my newly setting routine. I cannot wait to combine the energy of Contemporary movement with the strength, balance, and flexibility of Yoga.
I will practice yoga & dance regularly so that I will be whole.
Free Range Meat Only. Okay, let us qualify this only. I will still eat cheese burgers, at least to start, even if they are not free range meat. And if your grandmother cooks some chix parm and invites me to dinner, I will eat grandmother’s chicken parm. All things considered, you know? Also, this is a huge dietary change for me; as long as this qualifier helps to guide me to totally free range, I’m okay with it. Why free range, you ask. Here’s the thing. I’m not interested in changing the meat industry. Right now, it’s not my calling. What I am interested in is energy. Positive and Negative Energy. Energy exists, both positive and negative, & energy is transferred. In my personal opinion, if any animal is raised or slaughtered inhumanely (and so with negative energy surrounding it), then that negative energy transfers into me when I eat it. (Again. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It has to go somewhere!) Okay, and the thought of these inhumanely treated animals makes me feel like a hypocrite if I continue to eat them &, yet, in any degree, disagree with the inhumane treatment of any other animal, no matter how large scale or small scale this treatment may be. I’m not saying anyone is wrong for eating meat. I’m just saying that I feel compelled to begin eating only free range meat. And I cannot ignore how I feel (even if another thinks I’m crazy or frivolous or inane or annoying or {insert judgment here}, and if you do care about what I eat, I implore you to ask yourself why. And then why again. Boom.).
I will begin to eat only free range meat. 
My first book
of meditation & mindfulness.

Meditate Daily. I began practicing meditation my senior of college while taking my first creative writing class with a woman who has grown to be one of my most favorite professors at The University of Pittsburgh. A highly accredited writer, Prof. Fiona Cheong explored alternative methods to inspiring creativity and centered her class upon meditation. She asserts that studies show that the same wave lengths emitted by the brain during meditation are akin to those generated during creativity. And so we breathed. At first for 5 minutes while beginning each class. Gradually working up to 10. We also learned. By following the mindfulness practices of Tich Nhat Hanh, this class implored us to fold meditation into our daily lives with activities such as walking meditation, washing dishes meditation, and oranges meditation. Since 2007, it’s taken many years and semi-routine yoga classes to build my mind’s muscles strong enough so that they can let go of all thoughts, moving or not, and breathe. While I typically meditate before falling asleep at night, I’ve found that folding meditation into my daily routines—much like those lessons taught by Tich Nhat Hanh and instilled by Prof. Cheong—centers me. So that I am me, in spite of.
I will meditate daily, in spite of.
My hope is that all of these will help me to trust my instincts more fully. If I cannot trust myself, then who or what can I?? 
Happy New Year 2013!!

Shop Local. Holiday Wrap-Up In The #Roc .

Sara Silvio Earrings from Trunk Show at Peppermint.
Momsly loves them & they are one-of-a-kind gorgeous!!

Where did I shop this holiday season?? I shopped #Roc . I shopped local, & I shopped the specialty shops, boutiques, & bizarres of Rochester, NY. I found gifts for my brothers, pets, roommate, Aunt, Momsly, & even Da’ Moe. I found gifts that are unique, affordable, memorable, and that support our local Rochester community & economy. I bought 0 gifts from the mall, though–I admit–I did buy Orly nail polish c/o Marshall’s, an Amazon gift card for my Kindle-loving big bro, & American Eagle jeans for my stylish (though he’d never admit it) younger bro. But mall? Nope. Not even at all. Want to know how much I spent?? See below. …

Craft Co. No. 6’s Handcrafted “2nds” Vase.
Flawless to us & seriously discounted by the artists.


I know it’s tacky to shop & tell. But look how little I spent
for incredibly unique (and thoughtful) gifts from our local #Roc shops.
Sara Silvio Jewelry c/o Peppermint                                                                                $65
     *handmade earrings
Peppermint                                                                                                                    $15
     *handmade journal
Craft Co No 6 (all handcrafted American Artisan items)                                               $48
     *3 ornaments
     *doggie treats
     *vase (2nds)
Archimage                                                                                                                     $23
     *men’s wool socks
Abundance Co-Op                                                                                                         $10
     *1 lb. Equal Exchange Fair Trade Organic Coffee
Peter Lazarski Comics                                                                                                   $25
     *”Imaginary Monsters” vol. 1 & 2
     *“Imaginary Monsters: Eat World 2”
Little Bleu Cheese Shop                                                                                                 $38
     *1 lb of VT & NY made gouda & cheddar
     *Finger Lakes pre-packaged cheddar
     *Brooklyn made dill pickles
Heifer International (Feeds & funds families/businesses in developing nations)              $31
     *as-needed donation for in-need-livestock such as chickens, rabbits, goats!
Total: 6 adults & 1 dog at                                                                                                $255

Tips & Tricks
It’s hard to say best deals & even harder to call favorites, 
but if you’re at all worried about finding a diverse array of quality gifts 
at absolutely affordable prices, check out these 
Tips & Tricks.

Full View of Handcrafted “2nds” Vase.
(Cost the same as a pair of wool socks at Archimage!)
Diverse-Array-of-Gifts Tips:
*Archimage: Diverse selection of clothing, jewelry, & home goods. I am in love.
*ParkleighBest of Rochester Gift Shop 2012. From high-end lines, such as the eclectic McKenzie Childs, luxurious Crabtree & Evelyn, and iconic Vera Bradley, to affordable gift cards, home goods, & trinkets: a holiday favorite and year-round mecca for so many of your shopping needs.

Top-Quality-Gifts Tricks:

*Craft Co No 6 2nds: Craft Co. also spans the price range gamut. Best kept secret? Artisans handmade “2nds,” with “imperfections” on pottery pieces like vases and bowls almost invisible to the eye. Frequently marked over 50% off.
*Local Artisans: Go to your local markets like First Friday. Shop at boutiques when they feature artists who have trunk shows. Check out bizarres like Last Minute Market by reading their blogs & following their vendors on Facebook. When you find emerging artists who handcraft items like jewelry or comic books or beads, you find high-quality gifts, brimming with character, at more affordable prices than you’d ever find retail.
Peter Lazarski Original Comics.
www.peterlazarski.com . www.imaginarymonsters.com .
Happy New Year.
#2013 .