My friend Nicole has started blogging here,  and if you have any extra time, dear hearts, it will be more than worth your while to stop by.  She is loving, charming, funny, smart and one of the most talented therapists I know.  (I know a lot of therapists.)

Nicole and I met in graduate school when we interned together at a children's community outpatient mental health clinic in NE Portland.  I can't speak for her experience, but having her there was one of the most positive parts of my last year of grad school.  I adored interning with her, Amirah from Lewis and Clark and Joyce from OHSU.  Many positive memories of our intern cubicle, the crazy phone line we shared, group supervision, process recordings, Narrative Therapy, Data/Assessment/Plan, coffee at Black Sheep Bakery ....

Nicole now lives on my side of Washington State, about 2 hours North.  Over here, that's no more than a  daily commute.  We have tentative plans to have coffee in January, and I could not be more excited.  I miss  my friend.  That time in my life (although I thought I hated it then).  The clinic.  That growth.

Glad she's blogging.

When I was a kid, we lived in Europe.
When I was a kid, we lived in Europe and every Thanksgiving and Christmas my mom would make Apple Pfannkuchen.  There is no special reason why she made it on the Holiday holidays.  She just did.

When Shoes and I started dating seriously, I began making it for him.   We don't have a lot of family traditions.  I'm not that close with my family.  Sharing this with him was a big deal.

This year, I made it again on Thanksgiving and again on Christmas.  Shoes, who is not a breakfast sweet eater, partook enthusiastically.

But Shoes did something almost blasphemous.  This year, he unceremoniously dumped a healthy pile of Redi Whip on his.

I don't have many traditions, and one of the ones I do have, he Redi Whipped all over.

I gave him the eye.
He said, "What?  Is that ok?"
And what was I going to say?  No?

After many glances of stink eye, I took a forkful of his to prove him how wrong he was.
Turns out, the Redi Whip made it even more delicious.
So that's how this tradition changes for us.
That's how it became ours.  Kind of the same as my mom's.  But kind of different.

This year, in October, I found out that my mom had gotten the "European" recipe we ate in Europe from an American 1983 Kitchen Aid recipe booklet.

This bring this truth home:  We make our own family traditions.  Apple pancakes, in and of themselves, are just a dish.  A bunch of pastry, capable, in itself, of doing nothing.

We decide what's meaningful to us and what we want to carry forth.
Every year Shoes and I are together, we make new decisions about what we want to carry forth.

Next year, I'll make sure to have the Redi Whip on hand.

Also, in other December related news:


Good job, my dog!

Rosie has her last basic obedience class next Tuesday.  It's a big one guys.  This is the class where we find out if she can go on to take the Good Canine Citizen class (a critical step in her therapy dog training).  Fingers crossed.  This week is akin to university dead week for us, and Shoes and I are asking her to so a variety of recall tasks before she does anything:  receives food, goes outside, gets playtime ... 

This is the part, though, where I tell you about last week's class.  Rosie Darling, consistently, has been a model student in class.  (That might have something to do with the fact that this is her second round for this class....)

Denise, our dog teacher, is overall very pleased with Rosie's progress.  Rosie adores Denise and has an inordinately difficult time paying attention when Deniae is around.  Last week, however...

We were practicing recall: putting the dog in a sit, giving a "wait" command, walking away, waiting a few seconds, and then calling the dog.  You guys.  Rosie can do this in her sleep ... And has done this successfully several times in class, despite all of the distractions.  But last week?

She sat.  She waited.  And then at her "come" command, she went nuts.  As in: she doggie smiled, with teeth!, jumped on Denise, ran over to Assistant Linda, jumped on her, ran over to the counter, stole some of Denise's treats, and then ran around to the other owners and dogs, doggie smiling, tail wagging, super charged with Golden Retriever energy.

It happened quickly.  I've never seen anything quite like it.  

She received a short time out for that awesome display of naughty.  But here's what's also true:  we all laughed.  It was naughty, but it was also so her:  full of love, life, mischief.  Even Denise laughed.

Here's hoping that next week, of all weeks, is free of naughty.  We *really* need to pass this class.  To close, here's a small iPhone picture dump of my favorite rascal.  (The last pic is from Halloween.)