PACIS – Physician Associates

While working at Scott Public Relations, I was fortunate enough to encounter the coolest doctor/IT geek in the world – Gary Wietecha. An OB-GYN who decided to go to the dark side and become an Information Systems guru, Gary and I clicked immediately at our first meeting. We discovered we were both Buddhists and as we worked on these brochures, we bonded even more.

After I left Scott PR, I was delighted to discover the brochures we slaved over won an award from the League of American Communication Professionals (LACP) for the brochure “Get Started…Get Moving…Get PACIS” which was collateral designed to persuade physicians to switch from paper files to electronic records. Sexy, huh?

It impressed the judges of the 2007 Competition enough to award us a Silver Magellan!

BTW, Gary is now a Certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master and  Coach in Lansdale, Pennsylvania…

Random Thoughts on Life: Dragon Tilting

Tilting at Dragons

What happens when the thing that causes you the most pain is also what keeps you alive?

I think that my sensitive nature, which causes me such pain, could be the very thing that keeps me from going insane, giving me an outlet for all the emotions I am unable to express or transform.

It’s becoming more of an issue as I am trying to reconcile my need to advocate for animals with the fact that watching anything that shows animals in pain – being tortured, killed, abused – leaves me nauseated and sobbing. Not a great attribute if your job it is to make those abuses public via the media, both social and traditional.

I recently applied for a job with PETA and did fine until I got to the part where they wanted me to create some campaigns around some of their current exposes, including abuse of horses, dog food festivals and farming abuses of chickens and cows. My heart raced and I couldn’t breathe, I felt like it was me that was being attacked not the animals.

This depth of empathy is hard to handle on a daily basis. I couldn’t imagine doing a job where I had to watch these images every day and then be expected to pull myself together and start calling a generally unresponsive media.

So, as I often do, I argue with myself; should I seek help to change this part of me? Do I want to rid myself of my sensitivity which, in many ways, is an essential part of my being? My Bodhisattva nature, which drew me to Buddhism, is a natural state for me. But is there a way I can learn to harness it or transform it into a positive action?

I keep thinking of my favorite scene in “Broadcast News” where Holly Hunter’s type-A news producer goes into a booth and just sobs for about a minute. Then she pulls herself together, blows her nose and goes back to being hell on wheels. She needs the release, but then moves on instead of staying in that dark, wet place.

I want to live my life with joy and hope, not fear and sadness. I know that both joy/hope and fear/sadness are inevitable threads in our emotional tapestry; my faith teaches that to try to eliminate any of the human conditions is a recipe for disaster and pointless. Life is what it is. When we struggle to eliminate some hated trait, we are at odds with ourselves. Maybe the energy it takes to constantly fight with our spirit is what drags us down, cancels out our positive actions.

No wonder I can’t sleep at night and wake up exhausted. I’m tilting at dragons in my dreams…


Now Read This! – My Book Recommendation for You

It All Begins with ‘I’: The “New Rules of Thinking” and the Simple Secrets to Living a Rich, Joyous, and Fulfilled Life by the multi-hyphenate (successful actor-writer-singer-songwriter-director-casting agent-acting coach-entrepreneur) Stuart K Robinson, is a perfect book for anyone who is looking at their life and wondering is this all there is? How can I feel the joy of living and purpose in life again?

I must disclose that I have known Stuart for over 40 years (!) and am delighted that his talent and hopeful philosophy is now being discovered by the world.

He speaks with warmth, humor and common sense, and is the first to admit that he is not saying anything we don’t already intrinsically know. He just gently nudges that part of us that knows we can, and must, do better.

In short, readable chapters, he highlights basic rules for daily living that can put us back on track. Here are some of the rules: “#3: I Will Always Do the Highest Thing,” “#6: I Will Fire the Announcer,” “#9: I Will Practice Empathy,” and “#13: I Will Stop Asking a Question Once It is Answered.”

I was lucky enough to see him at a book signing and got a chance to hear him share his own amazing journey out of poverty in the depressed northeast to an almost ideal life in Los Angeles. For a kid who barely spoke, he has a lot to say and it’s all inspiring. I never knew a lot about his past, but his present includes a loving and talented wife Maureen, who is a performer in her own right, two beautiful daughters, Nicolette Robinson Odom and Ally Robinson, who are pursuing their own path to fame, and a large and supportive extended family consisting of his blood relatives and dozens of life-long friends of which I am privileged to be a part.

Published by Tallfellow Press, the book is available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do yourself a favor and buy it. Savor each insight, copy down his tips on a Post-It, stick on your bathroom mirror as a reminder and then go live your best, highest life!

Let me know what you think; and if you like the book, please feel free to write a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

My Latest Cover Story – Pet Press July 2015

Got the opportunity to do a mitzvah for a woman who self-publishes a magazine for pets called The Pet Press. She was hospitalized for a few weeks and was unable to get her May issue out and was struggling with the June issue as well. So I volunteered to help her out in any way and she assigned me the cover story about the local animal superstar – the mountain lion known as P-22.

It was great to do all the research and talk to the amazing people behind the efforts to protect local wildlife and create a shared space for all.

Please take a read of the article and, if you are so inclined, donate to or promote the initiative to build a wildlife crossing bridge over the 101 Freeway to facilitate the safe passage of animals to their home range. Check out #SaveLACougars.

If you are a puma lover, please check out the National Park Service site at

Pet Press Cover Story P-22

Pet Press Cover Story-2

Pet Press Cover Story-3

Monday (Meatless) Monday

Had an interesting and emotional weekend as I participated in a workshop with an organization I have admired for over 20 years.

Linda Tellington is a pioneer in animal touch therapy and her patented “T-Touch” method is used all over the world on everything from elephants to fish to domestic pets and even people!

Best Friends LA offered us a 2-day workshop by the wonderful Cynde Van Vleet, CPDT-KSA from I.C. PawAbilities, who gave us a good overview of how to work with stressed felines which is definitely something we encounter on a daily basis at BFLA. Now is the time we call “kitten season” when hundreds of stray cats and/or kittens flood into our facility. Cats are so different from dogs in many ways, but they are the same in one: having major stress in strange situations. And there is nothing stranger than an animal shelter with a cacophony of barks, sounds, kids yelling, phones ringing, etc. Some of these animals are so traumatized that they shut down and then we have a harder time finding new homes for them. Thus the need for an easy, safe method to center them and get them back to themselves is almost a necessity for volunteers and animal caretakers.

Approximately a dozen women (why is it always women, where are the men?), with the most tender hearts and purest intentions, spent from 10 am to 4 pm learning as much as we could about how to tend to our little critters. Most of us have our own pets to practice on at home, but we were given access to the Cattery at BFLA and got a chance to put the T-Touch method to great use where it was needed. A new $10 Adoption initiative kicked off this week and as a result, the place was jumping with potential adopters and children.

There were some amazing recoveries that occurred almost on the spot, including a couple of cats with range of motion issues and a couple with trust situations. If I can, I’ll try to find a link to some video we shot which clearly shows that, with even the smallest amount of effort, impossible things can become possible.

Life is full of daily miracles but we tend not to notice as we speed pell-mell through our days. The opportunity that animals offer us is one of “mindfulness.” Cindy used that phrase many times during our workshop. Cats in particular are mindful, present, focused – something we could all use a refresher course about. Finding that place inside us and connecting with an animal who needs your attention and love is the way to rediscover our own needs and joy.

My bucket list is always topped with the fervent desire to devote the rest of my life to helping animals in as many ways as I can. To have a career in animal therapy is my stated “retirement career” although I’m thinking I might start it sooner rather than later.

For now, BFLA and other great organizations like The Gentle Barn, The Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, the Lu Parker Project and Rover Rescue offered me a chance to get involved and make a difference. Plus my one and only fur baby Tori came to me via fostering for Rover Rescue.

If you have been feeling cut off from the natural world, need a little more love in your life, want to know at the end of each day that what you did mattered, please consider volunteering with any of these great organizations.

It’s good karma, too!😉

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Here is my Meatless Monday recipe that I found while searching for some vegan ‘cue. The one thing that still lures me is the smell of a barbecue and with the warm weather, all my neighbors break out the grill. I realized though that it wasn’t the meat I was missing, it was the wonderful, smoky deliciousness imparted by the seasonings and aromas. So I figured there must be something I could do on the grill that would replicate that olfactory experience and I found it – eureka!

It’s from a great website,The New Veganism, by food blogger Gena Hamshaw via the Food52 website. Here is her note on these fabulous Tempeh Kebabs:

Tempeh Kebabs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce/Photo by James Ransom

“Sweet, tangy homemade barbecue sauce is a perfect complement to the nutty, earthy taste of tempeh. This easy, crowd-pleasing dish is ideal for summer entertaining…”

I’m trying it out on Memorial Day Weekend – let me know what you think and, if you try it, how it turned out.


Lisa and Tori

Lisa Lyons

It’s a Good Time to Be a Vegan

I have to say I am so encouraged by the spreading of the plant-based diet movement that is gradually entering the commercial food chains. When everything from Stonefire Grill to Subway to 7-Eleven are offering vegan additions to their menu, I am delighted.

I am fortunate to live in a major metropolis that attracts all kinds of cuisine so by visiting a site like, I can find a listing of over 60 restaurants in LA area alone that are vegetarian and/or vegan friendly. How awesome is that?

Specialty items like Go Max Go vegan candy bars can be found at Fresh & Easy stores, Target carries Morningstar Farms, Gardein, Sweet Earth, and their own Archer Farms versions of vegan substitutes – I truly believe that as the technology to produce better versions of traditional animal products, it will become more accepted. Kind of like the gay marriage initiative – I mean, who would have thought ten years ago that we would have so many states recognizing the right of gay men and women to marry and create families?

But I digress…back to food! My BF Chris and I dearly love micro-brews and I was so happy to find a great place to combine California beers, sausages, an array of board games and dog-friendly outdoor seating. Sound impossible? Nope, it’s Tony’s Darts Away on Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank. It’s a great neighborhood bar with a duplicate menu to satisfy carnivores and vegans alike. They recently started serving Sunday brunch but any time is good time to indulge here. My (Best Food Friend) Eileen and I celebrated her birthday here with the brunch and it was delicious. Please support our local businesses who are socially conscious and fun to patronize!


Lisa Lyons

Lisa Lyons
“I smile as a cause and not an effect…”

Melting Cheeses via

Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy!

That is my BF Chris’s triumphant cry when we indulge in a particularly cheese-laden dish, generally pizza. Mo’ cheese, mo’ better is his motto.

So when making the switch to a plant-based diet, the thought of forgoing cheese was painful. I remember only a couple of years ago snorting in a most un-ladylike way when a guy at a reception told me that I could make delicious cheese from nuts.

But never let it be said that I won’t eat my words if I’m proved wrong and in this case, I was!

I have tried most of the vegan cheeses available locally at Sprouts, Whole Foods, Fresh & Easy including Daiya and Follow Your Heart, but I have to say they are just okay. There are some wonderful creative chefs out there who are pushing the boundaries of cheesemaking with great results. Check out Skye Michael Conroy’s latest cookbook THE NON-DAIRY REVOLUTION COOKBOOK, available on Amazon and the author’s website, He also has THE GENTLE CHEF COOKBOOK and THE NON-DAIRY EVOLUTION FORMULARY: Cuisine for the Ethical Gourmet and that certainly describes me.

There is also a page on Facebook where Chef Skye’s adherents post pics of their successful renditions of cheese boards and I must say it is impressive. Also have discovered some terrific bloggers doing great things in the plant-based food world, like this recipe for Vegan Feta by Jo Hobson of Including Cake.


Vegan feta – Credit: Jo Hobson,

I’m also dying to try the recipes from super cheesemaker Miyoko Shinner in her latest cookbook. So I went online and ordered the ingredients that sub for animal-derived products like rennet, and replaced with kappa-carrageenan and super agar among others. All the ingredients in the cookbook are readily available on Amazon or from speciality companies like Modernist Pantry who carry a full-range of culinary products for both vegan and non-vegan chefs.

But I have discovered that I have an irrational deep-seated fear of making cheese – or at least making cheese badly – so the ingredients have been gathering dust in my pantry for months.

As next week is my birthday, I have asked my vegan warrior Princess Pamela Whistley to open her kitchen so we can make some cheese together. Fearful things are always lessened by the presence of a good friend with vast knowledge, right?

I will post pics of my results so you can judge if I have any talent for this pursuit. Just thinking about cheese cake, fondue, a wheel of brie, moussaka with feta…I’m drooling already.

Cheesy, cheesy, cheesy!


Lisa Lyons

Lisa Lyons
“I smile as a cause and not an effect…”