I was born Deborah Lee Perry. An unusual name for an Italian-American girl. Most of the first born girls in my mother’s family were name Marie, but my mother, Maria, insisted that I be named Deborah. She remembered getting a lot of flack for wanting to christen her daughter with a Jewish name. My father remembers that it was the closest female name to his given name. Although my mother always called me Deborah, I quickly got nicknamed, Debbie.

So I entered Honby elementary school as Debbie Perry. That’s when I met my first friend.

We met in second grade. She was the youngest of four girls; I was the oldest. Her sisters were all grown up; mine were just starting school. We lived in two different neighborhoods separated by a four lane highway. We had little in common, but seven year olds don’t care. We both loved our teacher, Mrs Groves, who smelled like oranges and liked to take naps under the art table while we were at recess. We both loved books. What a great day it was when she got her first pair of glasses and we got to be in the same reading group.

After reconnecting, we reminisced over lunch. She laughed remembering me wagging my finger at the class bully at recess. I had researched the word that he used so cruelly and taught him and the rest of the kids who gathered around us the true meaning of the F-word. I got called into the principle’s office. Since I had never been in trouble before I was scared but argued my point until Mom arrived. The principle asked what she had been teaching me. The truth, Mom said. Even the principle was not aware of the naval origin of the word.

With her sisters out of the house, my friend was treated like an only child. I, on the other hand, had to share everything with my three little sisters. She had cool lunches—a Wonder bread sandwich, a miniature bag of Fritos and a shiny silver wrapped DingDong. While I had leftovers on wheat bread, chips in a baggy and a piece of fruit. She had her own bedroom with pretty curtains that matched her bedspread and lots of toys. I shared a bunk bed with my little sister, the twins in matching bunks in the same room until my aunt and my two cousins moved out.

Although we had precious little time to catch up, I bared my soul to my oldest friend.
Starting kindergarten worried me. Who would watch after my sisters while I was gone? The white light! I remembered that I called the white light around me whenever I felt lost, worried or frightened and was instantly protected. Sometimes the white light was so bright that I felt invisible, no one seemed to notice me. I would surround my sisters with the white light of protection. They would be perfectly safe until I returned from school.

She remarked that I always seemed more mature than the rest of our class. Perhaps that was being the eldest child. Perhaps it’s just being an old soul.

From the moment we reconnected, she called me Deborah…not Debbie as everyone else from my past still does. I asked her why. She said that I am no longer little Debbie…She perceived my transformation. Perhaps someday, my family of origin will too.

She wrote afterwards: “I didn’t realize how much I was missing you in my life. We’ve both grown tremendously in our years apart and have so much to share. I think about some of the things you shared with me, and it makes me sad that I didn’t know your burdens and wasn’t more supportive. How well did we really know each other? All I knew was you were my friend and I loved you”

And I responded: “Please do not worry about the past. I did not even remember much of my childhood drama until after I gave birth. I do remember how much I loved you! It did not matter that we didn’t know each other intimately, we knew each other’s souls…and that was enough to become best friends. Love you still!”

Friends are gifts. Love them as much as you can.

Excerpt from My LoveDance. Get your copy Now!  


We got Charlie from a border collie rescue—the funniest looking border collie pup you’ve ever seen. The black and white markings unmistakeningly border collie, but the long, long legs and pointy nose, the dancing energy tempered with an un-border collie mellowness…well, he’s not purebred.

We believe he’s a lurcher—part border collie, part sight hound. He looks a lot like the border-greyhound crosses I googled and while he creeps and herds like a border collie, he runs and lounges like a greyhound.

A strange cross, but we love him. 

I was walking him this morning through the arbolada and thinking about all the lessons I’ve learned from my animals. My first dog, an Irish Setter, was a reflection of my teenaged emotions. The Danes I’ve had in the past were protective… I entrusted my children, my home, myself to their Nana-energy…reflecting my fear of coming out in the world. The shepherds and border collies were so focused on the task at hand—the ball, the chickens, the agility course—that play was secondary…reflecting my intense drive to accomplish. Most were so attached to me that they let very few others in. 

Charlie is different. He engages with everyone. 

I have never had a dog that got along with everyone and everything. Not a territorial bone in his body, Charlie is friends with all creatures. Never submits to aggressive dogs nor does he fight. If they’re cranky, he just goes on his way. He plays with everyone willing to romp, getting low for the little dogs, holding his own with the big ones. He respects the cats and the wildlife and most of all us. He heels so well, I can ride through town on my spirited mare and he only attends to us. 

He loves hikes, runs, and most of all water. The best beach dog ever. Not a great fetcher, no, he just adores the ocean, the waves, the sand, the seabirds, the fishermen, the other dogs, the surfers, the children digging immense sand caves…never a nuisance, always respectful, yet no one can resist his sweet face and wagging tail.

Watching Charlie check his messages along our walk this morning, I realized just how much he has taught me… 

* Keep in contact with your friends. Check your messages and answer every one, if only by tweeting.

* Smile at everyone. Hug those who need it. Gently press against those not quite ready for a full body hug.

* If others are grumpy, let them be. There’s always more friends to be found.


 * If you’re hot, get wet.


*If you’re cold, cuddle up.

* Don’t enter unless invited. But once invited, thank your host profusely.

* Respect cats and other creatures different from you.

 *Just hang out and relax, even if you have to wait a long time for your loved ones to return.


* Enjoy the ride, the run, the day, the sun.

* Laugh in the rain. Romp in the mud. Take your bath lightly.

* Be patient with caregivers, they’re only trying to help.

* If you can, figure out things on your own.  If not, ask for help.

 *Be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

 *Love your family

 *Love your friends

 *Love everyone you meet

* Listen carefully to your higher self. She has your best interest at heart.

* Remember Life is Joy.

Charlie seems to be a reflection of where I am now. I love my family, my friends, most everyone I meet. I try to attend carefully to my higher self. And I know without a doubt that life is joy.