Friday, July 31, 2009


The daydreams, about a childhood, beautiful places in Italy, dark ghosts, all helped her to kill the time. She still floated, alone but for the flotsam left from the ship breaking apart on the rocks. It reminded her of the stories of Sirens and she wondered if the Sirens had drawn her shipmates to their doom. She hadn't heard them singing. Maybe because the only songs she heard came from within.

"I'd rather be blue..."

How long had she floated here? It felt like weeks. "I'm bored." It startled her to say it out loud. She'd forgotten what speaking felt like. The songs were all in her head now, as she floated on a pallet she'd discovered not long after the ship broke up on the coral reef. She assumed she'd move toward shore. She was wrong. Maybe she should have learned how to swim. Her fear of the water seemed valid - the ocean seemed immense, unending.

"Thinking of you..."

Sooo... now what to do? Counted the clouds. Found animal shapes in the sky (A raccoon, a cat, a fox, a monkey, a greyhound, a cougar). Made about a million deals with God (She promised to be kind to others, always eat her veggies, kiss the most wonderful man in the world a million times a day...) and still no rescue to be found.

"I'd rather be blue over you..."

So, thoughts turn to love. Remembering moments of bliss and happiness, wishes for more of the same, she is too busy daydreaming of long, lingering, smoldering looks over dinner. Warm backyards in a chair. Feeling safe. She almost misses the box.

"Than be happy with somebody else."

Oh, my. Addressed to "Rachel Ann" and with teeny little holes in the sides, covered by mesh and bound in twine. There is definitely something inside. Something important.

She looks around for something to snag it with. An oar happened to be near. She paddles a little with her hands to get close enough to reach it. Then, she uses it to lure the box onto her makeshift life raft. The dragonflies that dance across the water amaze her. She never knew they could be so far from shore.

She leaves it intact, a little bit afraid to open it. She uses the oar to paddle toward shore, as the tide had been pulling her away from the small, sandy island and the sparse stand of trees at its center. It occurs to her that the box saved her life. The mystery of the contents gave her will to live where none existed before.

When she lands and feels the sand under her feet, she lays down to rest. Being in motion for hours and days and maybe weeks has taken its toll.

She sleeps without dreams. When the sun breaks over the horizon and warms her skin, she decides to look for other survivors. But the box never leaves her side. It has become her talisman. It saved her and she won't let it out of her sight. She searches in vain. There is no one else on the island. She is alone but for her box.

She is terrified and enthralled.

She tears through the tape. She feels something banging against her fingers as she lifts the flaps. But she opens the box to see that there is nothing inside.

Until her eyes adjust to the light. Three little glowing orbs dance around. They seem very excited, full of energy, full of life. One dances up and brushes her cheek and it takes her breath away.

Finding the water

The little girl bites the bottom of her lip as she works meticulously to roll out the pie crust. Her mom is so good at it and she doesn't want to disappoint.

In the background, she can hear her dad listening to the ballgame on the radio. Part of her wishes she was sitting next to him. It's the Yankees, her favorite team, and this is the one thing they share that brings her joy. She listens carefully to wait for the sound of the crack of a bat, her favorite noise in the whole world, next to the clap of thunder.

An image pops into her head. It's of a pirate ship, making its way up the Columbia River. She pauses for a moment to wonder how the Native American Indians felt when they saw gigantic sails making their way toward land hundreds of years before. "I bet they thought they were dragons," she whispers.

The crust is thin enough, and she calls her mom over to look at it. It is sticky and has been overworked. Irritated, her mom takes the dough off the plastic mat and throws it away. "Here, why don't you try again. Sooner or later, you'll figure it out."

The irritation in her voice is such a constant that the girl doesn't even register it. Her beagle, at her feet, is panting from the heat. A thought suddenly occurs to her - isn't it supposed to be cold when you make a crust? Aren't you supposed to keep the dough in the fridge until you need it? Does her mom really not know this?

Awaking from the dream, you are watching me as though I cried out. You reach your hand to my forehead. "You feel feverish." I do indeed feel ill but not from the heat or an illness - from the sense that life is spinning dangerously out of my control. Without control, there will be no closure, no sense of peace, no ability to hold my ghosts at bay. I close my eyes and wish my way back to Tuscany. Where the warmth of the sun makes me feel safe and close to you. Not far away like I feel now. I hate feeling so far away, lost and abandoned. Alone.

My dream begins in a sad place, a cemetery - dark and gothic and beautiful. I am standing at a tiny headstone, too small to be seen under normal circumstances. The men and their lawnmowers frequently run over it. It is covered with rubber marks from tire tracks and has been moved far from its original resting spot. Underneath the black scratches is the faint image of a dragonfly, still slightly blue and green but worn and weathered with the age of many winters. But I understand that this matters little - there is nothing left of the spirit who's soul this marker celebrates. At least nothing here that remains.

We are, after all, dying from the moment we take our first breath.

My dream shifts, to a cold, icy road. A selfish act, followed by another, that leaves the world breathless with loss. In my dream, the spirits that inhabit the waterways cry out in horror, anger and grief. It ceases to matter in the breath of an instant. Help will not come, safe harbor cannot be reached. A call of parlay will be ignored forever, echoing on the icy pond.

I am reminded for a moment of the souls, lost forever and adrift, in so many stories from my childhood. What Dreams May Come. Lord of the Rings. Ever calling to the living from the depth of the water, Davy Jones locker doesn't merely exist in the sea. Every puddle, every brook, every fountain contains the souls of the missing and the lost. The Sirens protect them from the living by drawing the seamen to the depths - then by smashing against the rocky bluffs. I don't want that fate for you, I have to protect you from the songs. From myself.

I remember water, rushing at outrageous speeds, with unbelievable force, and the feeling of safety as your hand surrounded mine. The water may be full of memories, but they have other places to rest now. New memories are overtaking the ghosts. Moments on a bridge, looking down as it rushes by. For once, I am HERE and no place else.

My dreams are drawing me back to the shipwreck. I must see it, I know that now. But I don't want to be too close. I worry that the ship's ghosts will make their way home with me if I climb its rusty armor. But for now, I will finally be granted the rest of the exhausted. Slightly bewildered, I find that no more dreams will come to me tonight. Finally, blissfully, dreamless sleep.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peter I

I hide footprints in the sand.

Wind whistles through the reeds
But I can only hear my heartbeat.

It feels so loud the earth must shake
But no one else can hear.

Today was supposed to be better.
It was supposed to get easier.

Ghosts swirl all around me.
They haunt even when set free.

This Friday Flash Fiction 55 courtesy of the letter R and the number zero (is that a number?) and is dedicated to Jake, who couldn't be here today.

If you want to participate, check out G-Man's ever-growing murder of bloggers (kind of like a flock of geese, only more - I don't know - diabolical).

An aside

The stories from this week are all from a dream that has repeated itself nightly over the last couple weeks. I figured an explanation was in order since people have been so kind about my story.

It's not over yet. Saturday night will most likely be the final chapter, and I intend to have a couple more chapters before that.

As for the photos, the ship image on the post Jetsam is a phenomenal shot I found on It is of the Peter Iredale, which ran aground on the Oregon Coast and still can be found, although only a skeleton now, at one of my favorite beaches. It's in Astoria, Oregon. I may make my way there this weekend, since this is where the dream takes me. And I feel myself being drawn there even as you read this.

Thank you for reading, and commenting, and coming along for the ride. This time around, I don't think the down jacket you see me wearing on my last trip to this coastal town will be necessary. But it is Oregon - you never can tell.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I float in the water, weightless, awaiting the verdict.

In pirate lore, the call of "parlay" allows an innocent to speak with the pirate captain to beg for mercy, their life, or a swift death instead of the plank.

I cried parlay in my sleep, you tell me. "What are you wishing for?"

I wish, in my dreams, for little fingers, perfectly formed, gripping mine strongly. I wish for the moments when he cries in his sleep, which are rare, and I walk up to listen for his breathing. I listen so softly because his breath comes quietly, peacefully, and it can be felt more than heard. He smells like Johnson's Baby Shampoo and slightly sour milk. He smells of innocence.

I wish, in my life, for one minute to hold on to things that I have lost. For stronger memories that don't fade over time. For an instant replay of the moment my world collapsed. I could fix it if I could just go back. Instead of "get out of my sight" I would say "let's sit down and talk." I could change the course of events, if only I had that one moment back.

So I whisper "parlay" and hope for a captain with a heart not made of coal and barbed wire.

Instead, I find you, sitting on the lounge chair. Staring at me as though I'm crazy. Again. "Who do you think will listen? Who will answer when you say something so asinine?"

I pull myself slowly from the water. I look at you with steel and ice and malice and anger. "Who will listen?" I take a long pull of breath into my lungs. "I will listen. And I'm the one who matters."

For parlay to be effective, you have to believe in what it is you ask. Anything less and the pirates will know. They will sense your unease. They will destroy you.

The jetsam floats silently across the water as the broken boards and kegs of brandy float away from the wreckage. This time, parlay saved the innocent. Sometimes the magic works.


You are speechless.
Watching as the tide creeps slowly
toward the castle made of sand.
You know how unstable it is,
as the water washes closer
and closer.

The inevitable destruction
makes the breath catch
in your throat.

Yet I sit there,
completely unaware
of impending doom

As you consider
your words carefully.

Nervous that I may bolt if you say the wrong thing.
But you linger as you form the sounds on your tongue.
Knowing it is the single most important thing you've ever said, ever.

"It's going to be OK."

I look up from the sand, feeling it trickle between my fingers, and cock my head to the side.

The wind has died. All I can hear is the sound of the tiny waves as they inch closer and closer to the palace I've built. If I had made it from the flotsam in the sand would it have a chance?

Or does it even matter?

I can build another one.

I have a bucket and a pail and a picture in my head.

"I know. But do you believe?"

A gull cries as you take my hand in yours, brush my hair out of my eyes. I'm daydreaming of fireflies in a jar while the gulls circle our lunch, waiting for opportunity.

Maybe some day my senses will return, I think, and I'll wake up to the sound of laughter and cartoons and the feel of little bodies crawling in to warm. Hear your breathing and be home again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Under the Tuscan Sun

Sometimes, only in dreams do we see the path that was there all along.

You stand on the balcony, overlooking the Tuscan afternoon. It is hot, sweltering hot, but the cool drinks and the water in the fountain behind me belie the angst that I feel. You are so far away, in your thoughts, wishing you were someplace else. With someone else.

"She was beautiful," you whisper.
Taking another deep breath,
"with the most unusual green eyes.
They changed color to suit her mood.
Flecks of gold that would glow
in just the right light.
She laughed a lot.
She was kind and funny
and statuesque
and she could handle anything.
Anything at all."

"Yes, but she's gone. And now you're stuck with me." I say it under my breath so you can't really hear me, but you turn and wear a startled look. "She belongs here, with me, and I want her back." You walk away.

Later, as we lay beside each other with absolutely nothing to say, I imagine myself as her. Walking down a crowded city street, ignoring passers by - but never completely. One of my charms, it seems, in this manifestation, is that I am an observer - not a participant in life but an observer. Always watching from a safe distance.

I carry a package, small and heavy, yet not a burden. Something very, very important is inside this package. It's the light that becomes the life of my children. This is long, long before they are born, before I met their father. I carry in this package three teeny, tiny little glowing orbs. Dancing together, ready to come to life and become what they are to be - one artist, one athlete, one memory. They can't wait to come out and play.

As the people pass, they seem to understand that I carry something unique, many people lean in to look at the package. "It's just a box." I say it with anger, and don't understand where the anger comes from, a place deep and dark inside myself, already aware of the hurt and the loss that is to come. We cannot live without the knowledge that we also die. It is what we do. All of us, all the time. "Every breath together is a gift." They look at me, puzzled, and continue on their way as I whisper these words into the box.

I approach the park,
my favorite park,
the Rose Gardens full of blooms
and fragrance and, even in the heat,
the flowers are joyous.
Special moments happened here
amidst the words of Shakespeare.
Once in a lifetime moments.
This place belongs to me,
will always be the spot
where love can be felt, palpably.
And then I awake.

You are sleeping, but you've shifted so we have contact. I feel a burden lifted, the thoughts of the dream are freeing and make me feel more alive than I have in a long time. I wonder if you can see the green of my eyes in the light, if the girl that I was still wants to be here. I know that if I move, you will rouse and draw me in, but I'm not ready yet. Not just yet. I'm still dreaming of twinkling lights that dance. I am aware that the light has shifted, changed. The day is about to begin.

The light
slowly dances
across the walls
and ceiling
as the sun
approaches the hills.
Warm, golden Tuscan sun.
And a day full of promises.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Week two at the coolest job ever and I just wanted to wish everybody a happy Monday.

I'm fine, by the way, even though a posted video from last night brought on some rather interesting comments. All is well, everything is good, I thought the video was fun. Since I like to refer to myself as Ice Queen for a number of reasons, I wanted to share it, as I figuratively wait for the sun to come up in the world. It' wasn't about anybody, really, except me. (I reposted it without comments if you want to see it...below).

Another lesson for me - comment moderation should be left on. People don't always get some of the subtlety of my humor, I guess.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not always the ice queen

It kind of speaks for itself.

Or so I thought. I had 12 comments on this when I woke up, most (but not all) of them angry. So no comments on this blog. You just get to listen and read and enjoy. I won't let anyone make this song feel bad because it feels like it's about me.

Well, then. How about a little explanation?

Here are the words to the song that have meaning to me:

Her Diamonds
by Rob Thomas
Oh what the hell she says
I just can't win for losing
And she lays back down
Man there's so many times
I don't know what I’m doin'
Like I don't know now

By the light of the moon
She rubs her eyes
Says it's funny how the night
Can make you blind
I can just imagine
And I don't know what I’m supposed to do
But if she feels bad then I do too
So I let her be

And she says oh
I can't take no more
Her tears like diamonds on the floor
And her diamonds bring me down
Cuz I can't help her now
She’s down in it
She tried her best and now she can't win it's
Hard to see them on the ground
Her diamonds falling down

She sits down and stares into the distance
And it takes all night
And I know I could break her concentration
But it don't feel right

By the light of the moon
She rubs her eyes
Sits down on the bed and starts to cry
And there's something less about her
And I don't know what I’m supposed to do
So I sit down and I cry too
And don't let her see

She shuts out the night
Tries to close her eyes
If she can find daylight
She’ll be all right
She’ll be all right
Just not tonight

Rob Thomas has obviously been fortunate enough in his life to have found a woman who tells him to leave her be when she needs to work on something by herself. In this song, he explains that it kills him to not be able to help her or fix it (he is a boy, after all) but that she has to do it alone. I like the way the video ends - she's standing in the sunlight, made it on her own, and her skin starts to dry as she basks in the sun.

Yep, that's me.

Until the novelty wears off

Oh, my. I have a friend that used this line as her parting remark in an email. She had just had her heart soundly broken - for the second time - by someone she loves. She feels hurt and betrayed and sad. But this time she decided enough is enough.

When do we say enough already?

"Someone will love me, for longer than until the novelty wears off, and it won't be like pulling teeth." Sage words, darling friend. Very true indeed.

I joke frequently that you only get once chance with me. Off with your head if you don't behave nicely. Hmmm... if only that were the truth. Instead, I have a tendency to let people treat me poorly - repeatedly - before I finally send in the clowns.

Do you have something difficult to do but you know you have to do it? Follow my lead and don a protective suit of armor. Imagine yourself surrounded by your friends, wielding pitchforks, and get it over with. Picture yourself in an asbestos suit, impeneterable by even the sharpests remarks. Or clowns. Clowns are a little scary. Surround yourself with clowns and tell that man/woman/coworker/boss/teenager exactly how you feel.

And if they aren't nice, maybe the clowns will eat them.

For SS - and the black eyed susans, too!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Drawing a Map

I'm working on a map. It's of the things I want, the things I need and the things I hope for in my life.

I want it to have rivers and snow, sunny spots that are warm and violent rain storms to wander through. Puddles must be stomped. There will be times when I am out of breath, blissfully happy from my progress. There will also be times when I cry and am frustrated and feel like I can't make it another step.

But there will be a map. It might change every day - actually it will have to change every hour if it's to be my map. I'm a little complicated. There will be big, warm, candlelight filled rooms for guests and friends to stay and warm their hands when they travel. There will be acres of grassy fields and hills to roll down.

It will guide my feet and show me options and make my wold a better, more interesting and more wonderful place. It will be safe here. I might not know the names of the cities I will drive through, or the days I will be there, but there will be big cities and small towns and middle-of-nowhere forks in the road.

It's the forks in the road that I fear. What if I select the wrong path? What if I go someplace dark and lonely and full of spiders? What if I miss gardens full of daisies and dragonflies and perfect napping spots only to find a forest full of unfriendly men who demand a toll and never let me through in the end?

When you draw a map of the future, the one you wish for, how do you make sure it holds everything important and misses nothing you need?

Friday, July 24, 2009

I was only dreaming

I slept with your t-shirt on
When you were out of town
It made me feel safe
And surrounded
And protected
Like a shield
Like I was in Legend of Zelda
Here to protect you all
A Link to the past
And the future
And the present
And I was strong and ready
For anything.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Have you seen my monkey?

OK, I've been bugged enough times to tell the story of my recent escalation of monkey obsession. I thought I should just get it out there so you know why I'm monkey crazy.

It all started so innocently...

The kids and I used to hang out with another family when they were in early grade school. We would travel together on day trips with two moms and five kids in a car. A recipe for disaster, at times, you can imagine.

On a last minute trip to the beach, the hot and crabby kids in the back were having words with each other when a slap-fight broke out. As I was driving the behemoth of an SUV, I laid down the law - be quiet back there or off with your heads. I was, of course, completely ignored. I had to pull off the road twice before things settled down. "The look" was involved. You'd be scared too, trust me.

At Seaside, we did the usual touristy things - rode the carousel, played on the sand and shopped at the mall. We had elephant ears. Just before we left town, I stopped in at the toy store to look for something as incentive for the kids to behave on the way home. This is where Rabies joined the fam.

I bought this little monkey with Velcro on his arms and hung him from my belt loop. He traveled toward home for a bit before I had to hurl him over my shoulder and smack a child in the head for mouthing off. He flew back there a number of times before we got home. I had intended to give it to the child who was well behaved all the way home but there wasn't such a thing. I asked the kids to name him and they came up with all sorts of stupid ideas. Really, really stupid.

So, I dubbed him Rabies. Rabies is currently traveling the United States - at his second stop, in Miami. Check out his blog, Rabies Travels the World, to see his grand adventures. He went on an adventure through Oregon and Washington, if you'd like to see what fun he had. We had a little fun, too.

Are we there yet?
Guest Blogger: Sara
Guest Blogger: Sean
The trip thing of Sara
Hi from the road
I don't know

It was a number of years before I added additional monkeys to the collection. Rabies saw me through some tough times at work (where he protected me from weird bosses and angry customers by giving them the evil eye and placing monkey curses on their offspring).

Then, Asthma came along. We were at the zoo, Keith bought me a new monkey (this one of a different variety) and he named him Asthma. Diseased monkeys were added faster than I can count. Let's see if I remember them all...



Syphillus (aka Syffie, the orange one pictured here with Whizz)

Hivvie (who lives with Fireblossom)
Gangrene (who lives on my desk at work)

Sanser (which you'll understand if you watch SouthPark)

Cleft (as in palate) and
Joe (Named after Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man)pictured together here.

Lately, we've added:
Max & Princess
Whizz (see above)
Ho Ho (who also lives in the IT department at work)


My favorite monkey is Smock.

He's a puppet and he holds special love notes as he sits on my bedside table.

So, as you can see, it's time to say "enough monkeys already!!" We have monkey bowling, monkey key fobs, flying monkeys (and I'm really not afraid to use them) and monkey stationery. This monkey thing is starting to get out of hand.

Today, someone very smart reminded me that gorillas and other primates aren't monkeys. Ooh. Maybe there IS still room for another monkey or two.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Look what showed up while I was at work today. Sara, who has an anxiety disorder in case any of you don't know that, called in a panic because a "huge sign" was going up in our front yard.

Yeah. I thought she was kidding.

I liked our landlord, really I did. But he's a builder and was just renting this house until he could find a buyer for a lot, then he was planning to knock it down and build a $600,000 luxury home.

I love this little house, even though it's too small. I tore up carpets, painted, put up baseboards. I've spent weekend after weekend after weekend working in this yard. I've worked HARD.

Well, it seems that I worked hard enough that his promise to not aggressively market the lot while we lived here has changed.

I am not amused.

Day two. "IT Monkeys are GO!"

Can I just say that I love being in the IT department? I've spent my whole career surrounded by marketing and advertising people, creative types with a rather serious case of "I'm the king/queen/center of the world" syndrome.

Yesterday, I walked into my new job (with a fast commute to work - AND I missed being snagged by the muscle car-driving county sheriff. Whew!) to find lots of people excited to meet me. They've been dying to find someone to fill this position for months and I have a sudden sense of the impact I can make on this place. Nobody has ever done this job before.

Um, did I mention nobody really knows what this job entails???

My favorite coworker met me at the door to let me in. My new boss toured me through the whole company and showed me around. I have a smokin' hot laptop computer, Adobe Creative Suite 4 (score!) and lots and lots to learn. I got a boquet of flowers. I got a monkey. It was a dream day in a cool place.

I got to ride to a very nice team lunch in my bosses convertible. My afternoon consisted of familiarizing myself with my space, cleaning a bit and getting set-up on the computer. Being in the IT department means I'm sort of a novelty - token female geek. And a geek I am, no doubt about it. I am going to love every minute of this!

They want me to teach them stuff - how to use Flash, how to write html and how to do a million other things I bring with me. I guess all those years of holding a number of jobs are finally coming to fruition! They like me. They think I'm cool. I had grown up people to talk to all day long and they don't ask me to make them a PB&J!!

So, besides the obvious great day at the new job, I had a bad meeting at the old job last night. For those of you who don't know, I took a part time job managing a small condo complex in June of 2008 to buy groceries. The pay is crap and the people are kind of nuts. I work for a number of angry people. I held my own, made the one troublemaker that wasn't playing nice with others leave the room and basically had a good time running things. We got answers and solutions settled out. I spent time explaining things that made everyone understand some specific challenges more fully. And, I left without feeling beaten. That happens sometimes at these meetings, where I feel like I got hit. I'm deciding when to quit this particular mess because I could use the income but know that I'm going to be working 60 hours weeks in short order... and it'll take at least 20 hours more. How thin can I stretch myself?

But wait, I tell myself, how nice would it be to have PLENTY. After all this time of want. I could hire someone to teach the kids. I would be able to vacation - really, actually vacation. The Florida Keys and Miami beckon in the spring and I have every intention of booking a flight before Thanksgiving. Really. Scarlet? Are you ready for that cuban coffee? Red wine? Fun?!?!

Today is a new adventure. I feel so excited to be here, to have such opportunities, and to have choices to make! Life is a wonderful thing when it's full of opportunity.

It's day two and IT Monkeys are GO!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A good first day was had by all

I got to meet the awesome IT team of which I'm now an integral part, signed-up for IM and got to chat with friends and coworkers all at once, got to ride in a convertible to lunch with the whole group - which was AWESOME. They even teased me about how good I am at answering tough questions with a "That's a great question, I need to do a little research and get back to it." Slippery, that's me!

Then, I had a very long and tough meeting at the old job tonight and just arrived home to crawl into bed, after a little extra love from the family.

Thanks for all your good wishes and nice comments. It was a VERY good day indeed.

Happy Monday, everyone! Shouldn't you all be asleep???

Monday Morning 6:02am

In about an hour and a half, I'll be walking in the front door of my new office.

I just wanted to share this butterflies in my stomach, so excited and nervous all at once, first day of school sort of feeling. It's really, really good.

I may love a good ending, but beginnings are so full of possibility!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Under covers part II

Tomorrow I get to START MY NEW JOB. Now, that may seem like a pretty minor thing in most people's lives, but I haven't had a job that could keep us fed and in monkeys for 21 months. That's 636 days that I got to wake up wondering where the kids next meal would come from. Fun!

But hey, out of the hardest times in our lives, we learn strength, discipline, and who our friends really are. Thank you to those who send me love, support and the occasional gift card. I will so pay it forward!

There have been lots of stressful moments over this 636 days. But do you want to know what I learned that I think will stick with me?

Life is really, really, really good.

I have had more magic moments, fun times, silly giggling fits, adventures, pathological lie-fests, pints of good beer, long mornings lingering over coffee, heart-stopping bliss, stomping in puddles, making snow angels, goose-chasing, love and road trips than I have in my whole life. Guess what? I got to LIVE.

Instead of drowning in my sorrow and fear and frustration, I made a list with a few simple items on it and I worked on them, each and every day:

1) Get over the old stuff.
I want to put all that baggage behind me once and for all. It happened, I survived, can we file it away in a cabinet and never go back, please? I ended a number of things. Endings are good because they allow for new beginnings.

2) Find some new stuff.
Friends, adventures, passion, sweet moments, tenderness, bliss.

3) Find my inner 7 year old.
We have recently become reacquainted and she likes banana popsicles and 50s movies, fishing and baseball games. Oh, and hiding under the covers, telling ghost stories.

4) Find my inner 20 year old.
She's a little harder to pin down. Tough as nails, she walked down the street like she owned the city. I'm working on this one and figure I'll have it down pat once I buy a new pair of boots. Yes, boots. First paycheck, these babies are mine.

5) Become the mom I've always wanted to be.
Supportive but stern, open to discussion but owner of the laws. I still could use some discipline in a couple areas, encouragement in others. I often want to escape for a weekend and I have to allow myself the opportunity to live my life, making me better at letting them live theirs. We are not attached at the hip. I am NOT abandoning them to be gone for 48 hours. Or 72 hours. Across the street or across the border.

I've been successful at almost all of these things, even though it's been painful at times. But what do we do in life that isn't painful? Only those things that really don't matter. The pain is well worth me becoming the woman I want to be. For me and for the people I love.

Today, I wish you all good things. Go find them. Let them find you. Make them happen. Don't make me come over there...

Friday, July 17, 2009


This was forwarded to me by one of my all time favorite people. Even in advertising, it's always good to bring out your inner Betty...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


She sits in the corner,
wishing for endings.
No more beginnings, she thinks,

because beginnings are hard and rough and willful.
Endings are soft and safe,

like chocolate chip cookies on vanilla soft serve.
Warm and gooey and happy and meek.
But endings do not ask for tomorrow.
Endings seldom fathom hope.

Endings always fail.

This Friday Flash 55 is dedicated to my guy G-Man
And someone else who is a beginning, not an ending.

Write one yourself! Dare ya'.

Vanilla or chocolate?

Recently, I've been asked to make a really big, life changing, difficult decision. No, it wasn't choosing a flavor of ice cream. It was chosing between making sure I'm OK and making sure a very important relationship is OK. If I risk losing someone in order to save myself, what happens if I save me? Am I worth waiting for, working with, infinite patience?

Would you chose, if you only had these choices, to bob around aimlessly forever? Or to swim for shore?

I've never been one to swim against the tide. I have spent most of my life trying to improve myself in ways small and large. At the same time, I've been trying to keep my relationships going, come hell or high water. If I work hard enough, after all, everything will be fine. Really. Or so this little voice tells me. Yes, I know that's completely counterproductive. But welcome to the wonderful world of me. I'm complicated.

Everything, my friends, is not fine. It will be fine, don't get me wrong, but today it most definitely is not.

What does fine look like, by the way? Is it moments of peace and bliss and happiness, even if they have a very high cost? Is it being dutiful and responsible and making sure your job is done, responsibilities are met to the best of your ability, even if it tortures your soul to do so? What happens when, in a moment of clarity, you know exactly what you want - and you aren't sure you have the strength to swim to it?

When high water hits and you dont have a boat, what do you do? (Does anyone have a life vest handy? I never was a very strong swimmer.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When I'm blue...

...I go dark places. Not emotional ones but places not everyone likes to go.

I love cemeteries. I could walk there for hours, touch tombstones and make up stories about the people who dwell there. Especially the ones who don't get visitors anymore.

The cemetery feels ceremonial to me. I want to have a picnic, dwell in the places that are meant for sitting and listen to the history of the world and my city be told in the voices of people long gone but not forgotten. At least not by me.

Oops, I did it again

I spend more time in my mornings reading the musings of my blog friends. I wonder how I'll make time to keep this up next week, when the full time job added to the part time job mean I'm working 60 hour weeks?

I guess I'm not really that worried. After all, this is my favorite part of my day - to see what's up in Englad at Joey's, in Oklahoma at Annie's and in Alabama at Grammie's. Then there's Fireblossom, Scarlet and Darth Weasel, Rich in Boston and Whitemist in Connecticut. It begs to wonder - how did I find all these people that I consider friends?

I started writing with nobody watching except my best friend Riot Kitty. I wandered through her blog and looked at her friend's blogs to see who I might like to read occasionally. Then it expanded as I have added friends of friends and other random people who've stopped by my blog. I can probably thank G-Man and his Friday Flash 55 Fiction for the most new views and comments. Thanks! Oh, and just for fun, here's a little brainworm that reminds me of the whole process...

I watch all of these people on a regular basis, I have ended up with favorites that they wrote. I've always wanted to make up a blog award that shows them just how much these posts mean to me and to let them know I'm a frequent visitor and big fan.

Introducing... (drumroll please...)

Now, I can recognize all of these great people and their wonderful stories and they'll know they are appreciated by the queen of the pop tarts (Me) and will have another tasty award to add to their full cabinets of recognition.

Are you ready for the list of winners? (In alphabetical order so I don't get too harassed for putting someone else first. Sheesh, guys!) The envelope please...

Beantown Caffe - This Kid Is (Rich - by the way, I haven't made it all the way back to Repo Man posts, but I WILL!!)
Cheffie-Mom - Coming Clean
Claire at Country Mouse Tales - Cure for the Blues
The Cunning Linguaphile - Adult Devices
Darth Weasel - An Anniversary
Extra Ordinary Me - Worry Me
Fireblossom - Short Course in Ornithology
Grammie at Awaiting Buddah - Oh, my!
Granny Annie - Apology Rejected
LL Cool Joe - Pearl Fishing
Lou at Subdural Flow - Mean People Suck
G-Man - Retro Wednesday/the lanterns
The Good Mike D - WWHD
Mama Zen - Payment Plan
Mr. Riot Kitty - I am the antichrist, I am the butter man
The Naked Soul - The Magic Grocer
Pouty Baby - Survival of the Weirdest
Rabies - Livin La Vida Loca
Riot Kitty - Something for Everyone
Scarlet - A Hairy Situation
Shionge - So So Random
Whitemist - Strange Days

Now, go forth and spread the pop tart goodness.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Do you ever have moments when you wonder "How did that happen?" You know, an unusual word or a non-typical concept will come up three different times in one day.

It always makes me think of this movie, one of my favorites of all time.

A name has suddenly begun appearing all over my world of late. It's a more common name but it has appeared in uncommon places - attached to the place I live, the place I'm going to work and to the place I've been working for a while. It relates to certain people, too. It's like the universe is trying to tell me something to make this name show up constantly, out of the blue. It's kind of random to say the least.

Speaking of random, and on a completely different subject, my second favorite line from this movie discusses the fact that the more you drive, the less intelligent you are. Hmmm. Driving makes people stupid. Well, I can confirm that it makes people angry, at least around here. I just read that Oregon has the 3rd highest rate of road rage in the US. Cool. That actually came up in conversation - three separate times - on Friday. I had to go research it to see if it was true.

And I didn't even do a lot of acid in college...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cleaning out the attic

OK, it was the garage. But you get the point. It was cleaning day on my pond yesterday and the garage has been full of inaccessible junk for exactly 6 months. That completely defeats the purpose of my 6 month rule. Use it once in a 6 month time period or out it goes. Seasonal items, of course, get different treatment. Some of my Christmas ornaments go back to the 50s and the only get used at Christmas time. They are not going anywhere.

By the way, I gave up quickly on the idea of a garage sale. Nope, too much work. Goodwill got the 7 mismatched chairs, 7 boxes of old clothes, an old TV and two VCRs and any number of useless items that were collecting dust. The garage is rickety, to say the least, so I won't park my car there - it might fall on top of it.

This is weird. I have a number of old skins in there (figuratively, not literally. sheesh!) Former relationships hide in the corners and the few items kept to remember them - and remind me not to make the same mistakes again - are often pulled out for review when I'm feeling lonely. See what loneliness brought me before? I did learn things. I didn't make the same mistakes but different ones. A whole new slew of them. Sometimes I feel strong and other times I feel invisible - the way I look in this picture taken of my reflection. Transparent, irridescent, cellophane.

By the end of the day I was exhausted and whiny and in need of some down time. The kids had selected Borat as our movie for the night. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. I still can't decide what my favorite scene could be. But the funniest part of the whole exercise was that my son had no problem watching this crude movie full of male nudity and gay jokes - but he will NOT watch The 40 Year Old Virgin with his mom. Wow. Now I've got to watch the whole thing and see what all the fuss is about.

My house is almost organized. There is extra room everywhere - and that's saying something for a little 900 square foot house stuffed full of people and a dog and two pet rats (meet Nocchi).

Extra space allows for good, new things to enter our world. It's like shaking out the old energy to open a place for good, new things to enter.

I'm ready.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What do you do?

At an appointment yesterday, the question of "What do you do on your lunch hour?" came up. I was a little taken aback - I mean, after all, I am a Type-A personality woman. As a tall girl, I make an impression when I walk into the room. As a smart girl, I can hold my own with the most challenging of client or coworker or relation. As a pretty girl, I make the occasional head turn. I work and I work hard and I work a lot.

What the heck is lunch hour? And who actually takes one these days?

Let's take a step back in time. The year is 1988. I'm the front desk receptionist at Marx/Knoll, Denight & Dodge Advertising in Portland. We have space in a funky but high end building. I was expected to look like someone walking out of a fashion magazine (pretty funny for a tall, skinny, geeky 19 year old). I had the short hair, expensive outfits and perfect nails. I had the attitude - nobody got past me without my permission. I even had the back-up - I got to leave my desk at 10am and at 3pm for 15 minute breaks. I got a half hour lunch, usually at 12:00 noon.

I'd walk through downtown, shop at Nordstrom, call a friend from an empty office. There were no car phones, cell phones, text messages, emails. It was a much simpler and often lonelier world. But I got my lunch break and I took a break from work every single day.

It has been a while since I held an office job. Looking back, I think I took a lunch break maybe once a week, and only because I had things that had to be done during the 7am-6pm timeframe that saw me at my desk. I thought I was Wonder Woman (I can bring home the bacon... fry it up in a pan...) I thought I was doing everyone a favor. If I worked that hard, if I sacrificed my lunch hour to make sure my work got done (especially as we cut my department from 5 people to two) I would be indispensable.

Until the day they kicked me to the curb. None of that stuff really matters. A boss that expects and demands long hours, skipped lunches and your firstborn is not a good boss. Those things they asked of me are illegal in my state, by the way. They can't keep me from taking an hour's lunch, if I'm at the office from 8-5, no matter how busy we are.

When I start this new job, there will be rules and boundaries and expectations in place. If I'm at the office for 9 hours, I will take an hour off for lunch. If I work at home, I will take an hour off the work I'm doing. Now, I can't promise I'm not going to do laundry or walk the dog or do any other myriad of chores, but I will take a lunch. I WILL.

What do you do at lunch?



But fearless stays front of mind
always in the middle
missing home
as much as the feel of the skin
that held it carefully, safely is missed.

My place is empty, waiting,
aware of the vacancy of me
looking forward to the day
when emptiness is replaced
by fingers entwined, rejoicing, complete.

This Flash Fiction Friday for G-Man and the rest of you
is dedicated to Saturday night.
Want to join the party? Write a piece of fiction that is exactly 55 words.
Leave a message for the G-Man and check out at least one other 55'er from his site.