Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why I Gave our Dog Away

Kelly on Sanibel
It's true. I gave away our dog Kelly.

I did it knowing it's one of the worst things a parent can do to their young adult kids. College students often miss their pets more than parents or siblings. And who can blame them? Nothing means home more than a sweet warm pooch snuggling up with you on the sofa or dancing in spasms of delight when you walk in the door. And Kelly is the best dog!

But here's the thing:  Liam and I are terrible dog owners now that we're empty nesters. We travel all the time and are rarely home. Well, we are often home, but we have two homes now - one in Sioux City, IA where Liam works and our new condo in Chicago. We love our two different abodes (more on that in another post) but they are 500 miles apart and it's not easy to get a dog back and forth between them.

We made it work as best we could at first, but Kelly wasn't happy about it. She threw a few destructive temper tantrums to let us know she wasn't a fan of the new living arrangements. In January we rented a house on Sanibel Island near where my mother and her husband live - taking Kelly with us - and before we headed up north, we came up with a temporary solution.

We decided to have Kelly stay with Mom and Dan in Ft. Myers for the rest of the winter. They have an adorable Westie of their own (inspired by Kelly) and had plenty of time and affection for a second doggie. It all worked beautifully. Liam and I could travel for business and to see our kids in Ann Arbor and do our back and forth thing, while Kelly enjoyed warm weather and the best care of her life - a predictable schedule, frequent walks, regular grooming, and constant canine and human companionship. We thought it would just give us a break over the cold winter, but gradually, it made sense to make the pet-sitting situation permanent.

My kids were pretty devastated. I definitely felt like the worst mom ever. I hated letting them down and I felt like a failure for not being able to take good care of our beloved family dog. Also, I missed Kelly's cheerful presence in my life more than anyone. But I kept thinking about how she needs routine and affection and how she freaks out when she's left alone, especially in a new place. I thought of our expensive new rug.

So Kelly is staying in Florida, thanks to Jane and Dan, who have happily absorbed her into their little family. I tell them she's 100% returnable and we're definitely paying all the vet bills. But given the fact that they all sleep in the same bed together at night, I don't think it's likely she's coming back. Look at how cute Kelly and Shelby are together.

Shelby (left) with Kelly at Mom and Dan's house.

In a year of many changes this was a rough one, but now that it's decided I'm relieved. Kelly is happy. She makes my parents happy. My kids don't hate me. My rugs are undamaged. And, I gotta confess, after 24 years of pet ownership and parenting, it's pretty liberating to come and go as I please.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Happy New Year, Ripe Peach is Back

I've been gone for a while. All through the winter, spring and summer I haven't posted a damn thing. Now fall is here and I'm feeling drawn back to my Ripe Peach blog. I'm not Jewish, but Rosh Hashanah does seem the right time to celebrate the new year. Autumn has always called for new beginnings. The cooler temperatures and shorter days combined with my pent-up frustration and anticipation have got me itching to get some epic shit done.

It's not that the last ten months haven't been eventful. I've been experiencing some BIG changes as I figure out this empty nest/getting older thing. Changes like moving from our family home and beloved suburban town, settling into two very different new places, sending my son off to NYC and adulthood, dealing with hormones, rethinking my work, reconnecting with my husband, doing a ton of traveling, getting rid of all our belongings, even giving away our dog - all while trying to reassure my daughter that the world as she knows it isn't ending.

A lot of this hasn't felt fabulous or sexy or ripe peachy. It's confusing! It's weird! It's painful! It makes me wonder who I am!

But it's also exciting. And it's my life now, and writing and conversing with you, my friends, has always helped me make sense of it and enjoy it.

So, I'm back. I'm back to hash through all the Changes (yes, I really did give away my dog.) I want to compare notes with you so we can learn, laugh and grow through this new stage of life, which I remain convinced, will be just as full and delicious as any other.

So let's get this party started. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2015

My 2015 Christmas List - Only 6 Shopping Days Left!

If you haven't bought me a gift yet, here are a few things I'd be delighted to receive. Maybe another woman on your list would like these things too. Whatever ends up under your tree, here's wishing you a bright and happy holiday.

1. Anthropologie Capri Blue Iridescent Candle (above)
This is the most beautiful smelling and looking candle ever. I've had several and used them up, so I want more. If you stick the used candle in the freezer, the leftover wax pops out and you can use the lovely jars to store stuff. Comes in other colors, but I like this pearly white. $28

2. Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Headphones
I don't know if talking on a cell phone gives you brain cancer, but now that I have stopped using our landline and make all my phone calls on my iphone, who wants to take the chance? Also, I need something lightweight to listen to my meditation recordings in bed. These super high quality headphones are way too pricey for a hostess gift, so honey, I'm looking at you here.

3. Pink Champagne
The festive holiday season is the perfect time for some bubbly, and nothing is prettier than pink champagne. What a fun, sparkly gift to give and receive. A good bottle like the Moet & Chandon Rose pictured here costs about $60, but  split of Pommery Pink Pop is only $7.99. A treat of a  stocking stuffer.

4. Adidas Superstar Casual Sneakers
I'm totally copying my daughter Emma here, but she has been wearing these classic sneaks all fall and I'm smitten. High heels are out - sneakers are in. $79 at stores like Finish Line.

5. Mala Bracelets
I've been practicing yoga for over a year now and although I'm still a beginner,  I've noticed the really hip yogi chicks have armfuls of beads and wrap bracelets, and I love the look. Mala bracelets and necklaces often have 108 beads (a sacred number in Hinduism) and are used for meditation, but I just think they're cool. Plus, my downward dog would look a lot more attractive if I were wearing one or two of these.

At last, permission to doodle! These coloring books for grown-ups are touted as ways to relieve stress or promote mindfulness, but I think they're just creative and fun. This one costs $8 at Barnes & Noble.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Are You a Good Wife?

I bought a few books at Target this week (I love browsing Target's book section - more manageable than a book store and always full of fun titles.) Yesterday I reported on how inspired I was by Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen, but today I am simply inspired by the the title of a novel I haven't even read yet - How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman.

"How to be a good wife - what the hell is that?" I wondered. What an antiquated notion. It seems  anti-feminist for a modern woman to aspire to be a "good wife."

But wait. I've been married to my husband for 24 years and my marriage is incredibly important to me, so I DO want to be a good wife. For those of us with kids, we definitely want to be good moms. The women I know put lot of effort into learning parenting skills and are constantly angst-ing over how well they're rearing their kids.  Shouldn't being a good wife be just as important?

I firmly believe that strong relationships don't just happen; they require attention and effort to thrive. But exactly what does it mean to be a good wife?  I write about sex and relationships professionally so I have a lot of research to fall back on. But every relationship is unique so I have to know what works in mine.

For something new (and because I have some time on my hands) I decided to explore the subject with markers. I'm not much of an artist, but I am a super doodler. And I love putting words on paper. Voila! Here's my Good Wife Doodle - listing all the things I think make me a good partner in my relationship.

Double click for larger image
The major categories are Communicate, Be Happy, Show Appreciation, Be Affectionate, Look Good, Allow Space & Change, Organize Fun Things to Do, Hang in There, Demand Equality and, of course, Marry a Good Guy.

I'm sure I've missed a few things - I plan to consult my man over the weekend for his feedback. But I thought I'd put it out there and ask YOU. Is it important to you to be a good wife? How do you do it? And by the way, I realize a marriage is a reciprocal arrangement. It's hard to be a good wife if you're married to a schmuck.  So I'd also like to hear what makes for a good husband. Is the list the same or different?

I have so many questions!  And here comes the snow, so I guess I have plenty of time to explore them. And actually read that How to be a Good Wife book.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Inspired by 26 year-old Yoga Girl

Usually I look to women who are older than me for wisdom and advice, but today I find myself inspired by Rachel Brathen, a woman who is literally half my age. Rachel is a social media sensation who first gained popularity on Instagram with  gorgeous photos of herself in yoga poses on the beaches of Aruba.  I picked up a copy of her book, Yoga Girl, at Target yesterday because I want to educate myself on the correct form and purpose of the poses I've been attempting in class.

The book, like Rachel herself, is beautiful in many ways. Yes the photos of her yoga poses are incredible (will I ever be able to do those flying headstands on the floor, much less balancing on a paddle board?) But what's really uplifting are her beliefs, such as - focus on being happy and you'll naturally do the right thing for your body, love yourself the way you are, do no harm but take no shit. Through her words and photos, Rachel radiates a sunny, accepting, positive energy and damn it, I want to be like her!

Whether you're into yoga or not, Rachel Brathen's recent Ted talk titled "Lessons I've Learned Social Media," below, is fascinating. She truly sees social media as a vehicle to build community and bring about positive change in the world.

I'm heading to a yoga class later this afternoon, feeling excited about continuing my fledgling practice of an ancient art which nurtures body, mind, and soul (and fires up your sexuality too.) But I'm also excited that I have found another woman I admire. Regardless of age, we all have so much to learn from one another!

For more on my yogic experiences, read my Sex & the Suburbs column 7 Ways Yoga Makes You Sexy over at

Peace out sisters.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Round up of my Latest Sex Stories

image via
I'm still writing my Sex & the Suburbs column for Make it Better magazine but I realized I haven't shared these spicy stories here at Ripe Peach. Living life to the fullest means cultivating juicy, satisfying relationships. Here's some support and motivation to keep your romance in bloom.

Click on the titles to read the full stories over at MIB.

North Shore Cougar Karen Poter Tells Women How to Make the Most of MidLife 
Karen transformed herself through tragedy into a "powerhouse." Now this self proclaimed cougar has a popular sexy youtube channel and a hot younger boyfriend. She'll inspire you!

Could a Contract Make Your Marriage Happier?
It may not sound romantic to put your relationship through negotiation, but coming to terms with your partner may make you both happier than ever.

Scientific Secrets for Better Sex
How come you never feel like having sex until after you start fooling around? Why does your body do one thing while your brain does another? Are you normal? The latest sex science provides some surprising and reassuring answers.

Where's the Viagra for Women?
After years of watching those ads for Viagra and Cialis for dudes, I had to ask - where are the similar drugs for women? After all, we deserve good sex too. Good news! Help is on the horizon.

Sex After Kids - 4 Ways to Make it Happen
Children are wonderful but they sure put a damper on their parents' love lives. Get around the no sleep/no privacy/no time/no energy conundrum with these savvy tips.

How to Be a Better Date
Whether you're single or coupled, these expert tips will help you have more fun,  be a more charming companion AND get the relationship you want.

7 Things Women Should Know About Divorce Before Getting One
Sadly, not all marriages last.  If you're considering divorce, this story will help you prepare for the realities of uncoupling.

And up next, I'm investigating the issue of Female Sexual Fluidity. Are all of us a bit bi-sexual? I'll do some digging and report back.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ripe Peach Moon

Don't you think September's Full "Blood" Moon Eclipse looked just like a beautiful ripe peach hanging in the sky - all rosy and feminine and  full of potential?  I hereby submit we call all future such moons Ripe Peach Moons (although we won't see another one like this until 2032.) In the meantime, I'll be on the look out for other luscious occurrences.