Monday, December 28, 2015

Don't Make Assumptions

Christmastime, this year, evolved into something different. Thankfully, I've re-written the above 3rd of the 4 agreements (see link below) to no expectations.  

My daughter and I seem to have accepted and integrated this agreement into our lives for Christmas did not occur in its usual way.

My son invited us over for dinner on the night before Christmas Eve. We had a wonderful time. I did not bring their presents - we have a Christmas brunch at my house every year. Mark is a supreme chef and made a wondrous pork roast with glorious baked, herbed potato-wedges, and a tasty green-bean casserole - not the kind with mushroom soup and onion rings on top - but a delightful and different one. Their tree sparkled and shone in their redecorated living room. I grew tired too soon and the party broke up, with many hugs and kisses and terms of endearment. It was lovely. I went home steeped in peace.

Sometime the next day, I realized that my son and his beautiful wife were not going to come to my house on Christmas morning. 

Christmas Eve I dressed for the evening's frolic at my daughter's home. When I arrived, my niece and her Rich were in the process of leaving. No others cramped the living spaces. Hmm. My granddaughter came out with her new and beloved American Girl doll - both dressed for the festivities. We left shortly after for services at our church where the little one sang in the choir. The priest delighted us with an uplifting and humorous service and my little one shone, of course, more than any of the others (Grandmas are allowed to be prejudiced). After the service, I learned that none of the other family members were coming back to my daughter's - they were planning on seeing each other on Christmas Day in the afternoon. A care package with some cookies and ham accompanied me as I was escorted from the home - the family was going to a friend's for the rest of the evening. Pippin and I drove home, surprised at the turn of events, but, after a few choice tears, the blessedness of a quiet evening soothed my soul. I slept in contentment.

The next morning, knowing no company would be forthcoming, I rested in jammies, held Pip on my lap and fend him wee Christmas treats, and opened a few presents. It was lovely.

Until my daughter called, inviting me to her house for Christmas brunch. I dressed in two seconds and Pip and I were out the door before the phone had cooled off. The morning was lovely, the breakfast was very good, and we ended up making more Christmas cookies, which was most fun.

The Four Agreements has been such a blessing to me. Neither my daughter nor I were upset by the oddity of the Christmas celebrations and rejoiced in having family at all and food and shelter and laughter.

I pray you all had a glorious Christmas - whether as expected or not - and that your New Year is incomparable, with warmth and joy, good food, friends, and health. But, of course, with no expectations.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Purses are the devil

Finished the cards (see earlier post) and put them in my purse to mail them.

They are still there! I can't believe it. Finally had the wherewithal to do them and then - the purse ate them. I'm sure of it. There have been other instances of cannibalism where it concerns my purse. It loves to eat my keys - it doesn't matter what kind - car, house, playground, laundry.  It eats insurance cards, too.

I didn't realize it, at the beginning of the year, that I had bought a rather voracious purse to accompany me on my daily tasks. It seemed like a good purse. Four separate areas for storing things - two of them with zippers - a heavy front flap, designed to keep things inside. Lovely little thing (well, not that little - cause it has to hold my cell phone, my purselet (?), my tablet, my writing materials, Kleenex, emergency supplies.... but with four compartments, I could organize things and have them always at my fingertips.

Not - Lovely little purse hides things, when it's not eating them. My keys go in the little pocket with the zipper. I put it there every day. When I'm done with the keys, they go back in the little spot and I am content. Until I go out the next day and they are not in the little compartment, they are not in the big compartment, they are not in the extras on the side. They are nowhere. After much grumbling and searching, finally pulling everything out of every corner of the bloody thing - the keys are in the pocket where they belong.

The purse laughs - I can hear it in the breeze - and I know that tomorrow, the purse will begin its little game with me again.

Help me, Obi Wan, you are my only hope.  :)

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Oh dear - some people love to write and send Christmas cards. I've gotten them for years with their cheery waving and hello's and well wishes. I love to get them. I hate to send them.

It's not that I hate to send them - being a procrastinator - I hate to see them lying in their little bin AFTER the event they were bought for.

Do you have a clue as to how many cards sit in peoples' drawers and sigh heavily? Do you not feel a guilt and sorrow for the little things - created with such hope and languishing in despair?

This year - well, about two weeks ago - I decided - ENOUGH. Send cards, blast you woman. The years of money spent and joy at picking them out are waiting for you to do something.

I sat down on Thursday with a truckload of new-bought cards - let the old ones languish - and vowed to fill them out and send them on their merry way. Hmm - finding addresses not as easy as I thought. A friend called. How about breakfast? Whoo hoo. Left the cards where they lay and ran out the door, coat flying behind me, obscuring the sounds of weeping coming from my desk.

Later that day, sat down and picked up pen. Friend called. I'll be over in a minute? Yes - please come. Darted about the room picking up dog toys and the ever-present dog-chewed kleenex. Wiped down the bathroom and poured the wine. Spent a wondrous evening.

Friday - doctor appointment. Baby-sitting my glorious and precious granddaughter. Exhausted by the evening. Closed my ears to the sounds of sobbing coming from my desk and slept.

Saturday - OK. Some envelopes have been addressed. Why is it so difficult to fill out the cards? I love these people that I'm sending them, too. They are worth every moment. It's delving down and opening myself up to nostalgia, sorrow, and joy. Tears spring to my eyes as I look at each name I'm sending these to. Bits of memory flood my soul and I am glad to be doing this.

But, mark my words, it's still hard. :).

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Murder and Mayhem

Spent a week-end with a bunch of writers (what do you call a gaggle of writers?). The writer-in-residence was Julie Ann Lindsey. She was brilliant. The first night she showed us her outline. (BTW - Claudia Taller - the woman who creates the week-ends, is awesome.)

BACKTRACK - I was concerned about attending this 'retreat' because the first order of business was outlines and I am not a fan of outlines.

Julie showed us her outline and I took note. She uses color-coding, she's probably not the only one, but most folk I talk to (or have listened to in seminars) spend so much time on their outline and make it beyond complicated that I thought, how can I enjoy writing if I've already written my book in outline form?

Next book I start, I'm using an outline - but my own kind. I am stubborn.

The rest of the week-end was as exciting as the first. Mary Bodnar showed us some really great moves to prepare our bodies for writing and our souls for creativity. It was fun, even if I had to sit in a chair to do it. (Still recovering).

The murder and mayhem mentioned in the posting title is due to Julie's books. She is a mystery writer. I'd love to share my love of mysteries at the moment, but I want to concentrate on the book I read.

When I go to these week-end affairs, I almost always buy one book by the author's attending. I bought one of Julie's that intrigued me. It is the third book in her Patience Price mystery series. 'Murder in Real Time' was a blast to read. The characters are each different and Julie makes it easy to discern who is talking or doing or having fun or getting murdered. The backdrop, the scenes, all take place on an island that is usually filled with tourists or birders. The plot is good and kept me wondering. I love to figure out who the killer is, but Julie surprised me. I'd had a thought, but I didn't follow through with it.

A former FBI counselor moves back to her home when she is 'let go' - redacted as the Brits say. I think. She finds her childhood friends and is followed by an FBI special agent who might have a crush on her.

The island is transformed form the wondrous, serene and comfortable home that Patience longed for and expected. Not this time - some fool has invited a realty TV producer and his entourage to film a 'Halloween' segment on the island and mayhem happens on Day 1. Two of the cast are found dead in a locked room. Shades of Sherlock Holmes.

Patience tries to agree with her FBI friend to not investigate the murders, but her own curiosity, and the needs of her friends and fellow-townspeople force her into action.

And what action it is. Great book. Lots of fun. I refuse to divulge anything else because -- spoilers.

Here's her blog. I plan on buying the first book in the series and then finishing the second and then on to her other series. She writes well and kept me questioning every twist and turn. Not too many to stupefy but enough to keep me on edge.

Hope you enjoy. Very glad Julie started writing and sharing her stories with the world.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Life and Death

Been a strange few weeks with the pets in the family. We've held a death-watch for my daughter's Beagle/Rottweile mix, Jake. Jake grew up with my niece's family. They moved to Texas and asked that we watch the 10-year old until they settled. My daughter took Jake.

Jake scared me. Short, blackish, stocky, and eyes like steel. Booming bark. First day - my daughter trucks off to work and leaves me with my granddaughter (about 3 at the time) and Jake. First thing the dog does - sits right next to me on the couch. Scrunches next to me. His heart beats with a rapidity born of the strange people and house and dog beds and toys that he finds all around him. Nothing familiar. And I am there, sitting next to this 80ish pound monster.

The door bell rings and berserker explodes from the couch, howling and barking with such enthusiasm and volume that my ears hurt. I try to answer the door - salesperson - but can't even hear the pitch over Jake's fervent attempt to eat the salesperson and protect me and the house. The salesperson, eyes wide with fear, (probably mirroring mine), takes the front steps two-at-a-time in his hasty retreat.

I look at Jake. He looks at me. I am no longer afraid. This wondrous dog knows his duty. He's here to protect me and the little one. Jake and I have been friends ever since.

A few years back, Jake starts loosing weight. He also begins a never cured :) process of marking the house. Turns out, Jake has contracted diabetes. Within a weak of the diagnosis, Jake's eyes have white scales over them. He is blind - blind as a bat. No thought, of course, of putting him down. His ears and his bark are as good as ever. He learns the lay of the land faster than I could ever. Once in awhile, we shout 'door' or 'steps' and Jake navigates the odd places until familiar with them.

The entire family, along with the extended family, learned how to give Jake his morning and night shots. My daughter discovered a great home-made recipe to feed Jake that caused his need for insulin to drop from very high to near normal. Life settled and we loved Jake - even more.

Last week, Jake started having issues with eating. He wouldn't. My daughter  pureed his food and used a syringe to feed him. The vet didn't know what was wrong and so she sent him home with some meds. Jake refused to eat. He could walk to the door and do his business outside, but, once done, he'd go to his bed and close his eyes. We knew what was coming. On Tuesday, my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter took Jake to our vet and let Jake go to Doggy Heaven. It wasn't simple, though Jake passed with speed and looking very peaceful, but it hurt.

I've put down a few dogs in my time, but Jake, the beloved scary dog, broke my heart. Good dog. Blessed protector. Love of the family.

PS - A neighbor of mine passed on the same day as Jake. My granddaughter says Mark is walking Jake in heaven. I'm sure they are having a good time.

PSS - Not sure if the dates and ages are quite correct - but you get the drift.

Monday, September 14, 2015


Honest to goodness, something is wrong with my body. 

I have to use a cane!!!

Now really. I look in the bathroom mirror (which only shows my face and neck) and I don't look old at all. Of course, something is wrong with the mirror because I look a tad older than the 30ish my mind says I am. In fact, there are days when I feel like 16ish. 

But something is wrong with my body. It isn't functioning right. It hurts in more than one place. It creaks and cracks and scares the bejeebees out of me. Pippin looks at me, when I use the cane to get up from the couch, like I'm insane. He can jump off the couch easily. Doesn't even need the little foot stool I put next to it to help him. He sits on the floor, once he's landed, and stares at my struggles. I swear he wants to grab the cane from me and make me jump up, too.

Drat. I just don't understand. Why is my brain telling me I'm somewhere between 16 and 30 when my body tells me I am closer to 80. 

I have to use a cane!!!

Now, I remember when The Glorious One had to use a cane. She is much younger than I am, but she had some problems with her knees - brought about. in her words, by her athletic youth. She has an excuse.

My other friend, The Radiant One, had to have railings put on her steps going into her house. However, it was not for her, really, it was for her 'older' husband. She has an excuse.

My other friend, The Magnanimous One, still romps around as if she were 10, if her false teeth don't fall out in front of everyone or get lost, wrapped in the napkin at the restaurant when she takes them out to eat. There is some reason for her lack of teeth. She has an excuse, I'm sure 

As for Her Ladyship -- she is the youngest of us all. 'Nough said. I hate her. I'd never tell her that. She flaunts her salt and pepper hair as if no one else's hair is turning a different shade. She is proud of her gray hairs.

I, on the other hand, have sun damage. I'm sure that's why the color has changed. I have an excuse... too much time, as a youth, in the sun.

Ah -- I have an excuse. I'm sure I'll find one for the cane. 

Friday, September 11, 2015


When I moved into my condo, I'm not sure why, but my neighbor, Mark, decided he would take me under his wing. It took me awhile to realize what was happening. He was an old curmudgeon-type person with his nose in everyone else's business. But it was a kind nose. He meant good. I was glad, especially when I'd leave my car lights on, or slept-in on the morning they were tarring my parking lot. He spent some time banging on the door to wake me and tell me, gruffly, that I'd better move or my car would to towed.  I have another wing-man at these condos. He saw Mark telling me to move, they have a small rivalry, and he told me to put my car into the garage. Mark, thankfully, informed me that if I put the car in the garage, I'd be stranded for a couple days while the tar 'cooked.' I moved it to a nearby parking lot.

Yesterday, I was told Mark passed away. His sister found him on the floor of his condo. They think it was a massive heart attack.

I've only been here four years, but Mark was a fixture in the neighborhood, walking his dog, Pugsley, and waving to folks as they passed by. He'd offer my Pippin a treat now and again. There were people who didn't see around the gruff exterior. They didn't know his heart and his kindnesses. Some told me they were 'relieved' that he was gone. That he'd been such a busy-body.

But he wasn't. He was a true neighbor. He didn't try to tell me how to live my life or how to raise my granddaughter or what to wear for the weather. He did offer hints on how to get Pippin to stop pooping in my house.

To get back to Mark... they put his dog down. Nobody wanted him, supposedly. My heart broke. I would have taken him or given him to my daughter. She knows how to care for dogs. She liked Mark, too. He'd show her photos of his 'hippie' days and they'd laugh.

I suppose I started to write this to complain about the other neighbor's reactions to Mark's death, but what I really want to say is - I will miss him. I will miss his shy smile. I will miss the comfort of taking Pippin out, late at night, for 'his' duty and not feeling afraid because Mark was around. He perused the neighborhood nightly, with Pugsley, and I knew he would be there for me, if necessary. He was there for others, too, and most of them didn't know it. Taking the older people to doctor's appointments and such. A good man.

I cherish the fact that he knew I was a friend.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Hair Brushes

Hair brushes - instrument of torture or creator of beauty.

I love to brush my hair. I have two brushes that I use exclusively. Don't tell anyone - I also have a pick in my purse.

One brush is made out of natural horsehair. My hair slips through it and never untangles. Not without a lot of wrist work. It glides over the hair and makes it look nice and smooth, but underneath lie horrific tangles. It doesn't matter much to me - I still use it. It's the one I wield when I am fantasizing that I am Greta Garbo or Loretta Young. I pull it over the hair and begin to count. 1, 2, 3, all the up to one hundred. I bend over and swipe the brush through the back of my hair. I remember when I was young and my hair, Rapunzel-style, almost touched the ground. It feels so luxurious, so smooth, so soft, so - sexy. My arm aches by the time I am done.

On the other hand, I have one of those plastic beady-ends brush. I love this one. It drags along my scalp and tingles down to my toes. I know it is destroying ends while untangling the strands. It feels like I am at the spa receiving a much-needed and well-deserved head massage. Oh - to have one of those again. I can't seem to find a masseuse who delivers such pure joy. Someday, perhaps. I do not do the one-hundred count routine using this brush. This brush works sensually through my scalp and brings great joy and peace.

The pick is next to useless. When I get to my destination, I pull it out, give my hair a quick whack, and put the gimmick back in my purse. 'Nough said.

PS - please offer up a quick prayer for 'Jake' - a really wonderful, very old Beagle/Pincer mix. We think it is time for him to go to doggy Heaven, but we really don't want him to. We will miss his howling and his snuggling and his snoring. Jake is the black sweetie in the background. Malley hogs the pictures.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Boot straps

I am pulling myself up by the bootstraps... One day at a time.

Tomorrow I'm gorging on writing. Meeting with Skyline at the Parma Library. Good group. Can't wait to get back to be with them. I submitted my reworked first chapter of Nothing But Blue Skies. Only two submissions this month, but that should be fine.

Also, I've got a meeting with Writers Ink at noonish. I am so glad to be able to get back with this group. Like a cool glass of water on a hot summer day. (If we ever have hot summer days again!).

Got a ledger/journal and couldn't find a pen.... but I've got one now and I'm carrying both in my purse. Haven't used it yet, but it's in the workings.

Hoping to connect again with some writer friends whom I haven't seen for awhile.

Life is good - odd, but good.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cleansing The Soul

Hi friends,

I sent an email to family and friends telling them about some of the struggles I've been having. Got so much positive feedback, I wondered why I had waited so long.

I was moving furniture and stuff with family the other day and found a few 'bags' of paperwork. After the kids left, I pulled out a cd, some iced tea, and my reading glasses. :)

I can't even begin to tell you how appalled I was when I discovered unopened Christmas cards from 2014, wedding invitations, and a truckload of other important paperwork.

It made me realize I have not been functioning quite up to par as of a long time. This could explain my writer's block. I spoke with friends and have decided to stop using the calendar on my cell to keep track of things and get out my old handy-dandy notebook. This won't help if I squirrel away mail, but it should help in keeping track of my life. Not that it's that busy - but I guess it is.

Well, this has also spurred me on to get back to my writing. I feel justified having not written - if that makes any sense. It does to me. :)

I even sent off a draft of the 'new' Chapter 1 of Nothing But Blue Skies to the Skyline writers group. No expectations.

I must have 10,000 notebooks/journals lying around this house somewhere. I'm sure I'll find one to use.


Thanks for all your patience and for those who sent me Christmas cards - I have opened it now.  Bless you!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bucket List

I don't think a bucket list should be just for people who are on the way out.

I have a few things that I want to do and this week I happened to scratch one off the list.

It might seem strange but I have wanted to go to a hookah lounge or whatever they call them. It was a fun time. The atmosphere was interesting The hookah whatever you want to call it was very different and I had a good time so one thing off the list and we'll see whatever I else I can find. I also found a great recipe for Morrican tea.

Will write more when I get to my computer. This tablet is difficult.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


I am here in Florida with Brenda. brenda is an awesome audience. She is very encouraging and I am now going to go back to definitely writing. Not just pretending that I'm going to write or thinking about writing I am going to write because Brenda says I can.
. Thank you, Brenda

PS hey no attention to the rotten grammar and grammatical characters because this iPad is not working right

Monday, April 20, 2015

Long Time No See

I couldn't believe how difficult it was this morning to open my blog and even consider writing. Some of it is definitely embarrassment. Good grief, it's been since last August. I had no idea.

Another factor was fear. I have only written snippets since last I posted. I had a part-time job that I discovered drained me. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am now free. Oddly, blessedly free.

I am starting to write again. Forgive me for saying this, I don't know if it's because I am tenacious or stupid, but I am still working on Nothing But Blue Skies. I started with Chapter One again. Not a total rewrite, but I did move an action piece forward into it and brought the wizards to the forefront, too. I think it makes a difference.

D and I are still working on her book. It is coming along nicely. She is in the midst of a very difficult part, but the challenge, at least for me as her editor, is fun. I can't wait till she finishes this next chapter. Hint, hint, hint,

As for my dear friend Cynthia, I got a 'are you alive' message on my facebook page. I'm hoping we'll be getting together again soon.

Claudia Taller is offering another Word Lovers Retreat for the beginning of May and I am signed up. Even though I have not been writing, I went to her last one, I think it was November. I keep hoping that if I surround myself with creative people, that their juice will run off and I'll get some to kick start me.

I don't really know what's happened this morning to allow me to visit you again, but I'm glad. I've got to learn more and more. If you'd like to share any writing tips, I'll accept them gladly.

It's good to be back. I don't think I'll write here every day, perhaps I burnt out the last time, but I will be back.