Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cell Phone Camera Art

Though I have worked in 35mm photography, I am currently mesmerized by what we can do with the little cameras in our cellphones. This collection was done only with cell phones- in particular, Samsung Galaxy phones of several generations. Mostly natural light and all this beauty is close to home.

This little photography site is a window to the world you'll want to see. Millions of cameras capture life on Earth every single day. How do you see it? How do I see it?

Beauty, beauty everywhere. Enjoy...

Artichoke Study

My daughter, Samm, at the dining room window

Lucca Spaghetti, my barn rescue cat

Driveway wonder. Crocus, first flowers of spring

You can see the whole collection here:

Friday, April 3, 2015

No Soliciting

November 15th might be the opening of Deer Season in Michigan, but this week is the opening of Door Season.

They'rrrrrreee Baaaaack! I have had solicitors at my door every day this week selling everything from lawn care to new windows to Jesus to legislation to actual-freaking-doors.

I can follow a coup d'├ętat across the globe as it happens on Twitter. So the idea of a company still sending people out to bang on my door to try and sell me a set of Cutco knives feels a bit like having a wandering minstrel singing the news of the victory over the invading Saxons. Minus the cool lute and the awesome singing. I've officially become the crotchety old woman who has put a sign on her door hoping to ward off the daily intrusions.

Yesterday, some guy with a clip board and pamphlets under his arm stood at my door for a full five minutes, pounding like he lived here and was pissed that I'd locked him out. My dog barked like mad while I kept editing my manuscript; hoping that ignoring him would do the trick. After he gave up the ghost I noticed there wasn't even a pamphlet left on my door- some evidence of his diligence. Nothing. Why didn't I just answer the door? Because he was number three today.

Really. Enough. The No Solicitors sign went up this morning. Perhaps I should have added some warding spells or a garlic bunch for day-walkers... or maybe a Let's Go Cubs sign so they'd assume I'm completely crazy. (Hey, this could be the year.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks

2014 is rushing to a close like the last run on a roller coaster ride and I'm grabbing for the hand break.

This year saw my last kid who lived near home, move to the sunny Keys, sixty miles from Cuba. That brought its own kind of adjustment, as I am a pack animal and prefer my cubs close to the den.

Grateful for texting and FaceTime and all the instantaneous ways I can touch base with my daughter and my son; giving me a quick fix of comfort as I touch in to their lives for just a moment. They're doing fine.

This year, I finally took up the NaNoWriMo writing challenge: 50,000 words in 30 days. I finished, 59,000, in 20 days. That felt good. And it's gotten me on a solid storyline for a new books series, The Leelanau Chronicles. I also have a publisher who will be looking it over to see if we can do some business together. That feels really good.

I'm also seeing changes at my home; tearing out the old kitchen down to studs and sub floor, and dragging this 1933 Midwestern American house into this century. Barring any freakish hurdles to clear, I should be making holiday meals in a brand new space, after twenty two years of cursing the hideous linoleum and ancient cabinets I've been staring at that long.  That feels, really, really good.

So I'm grateful for my family flung far and wide and I'll pull them in tomorrow and share the spirit of pumpkin pie among the ethers.

I'm grateful for the words that came flowing out as I wrote the new book and how it felt like a phone call with the characters taking turns speaking their dialog to me. I laughed and I cried along with their defining moments.

And I'm grateful to even have a kitchen at all. Many don't. But especially grateful that we are able to give it the attention it so well deserves. After acting as my stage and workshop where more than 16,000 meals have fed from one to sixty people while I've lived here; from a solo sandwich to years of Holiday Open House parties where neighbors, friends and family gathered here to celebrate life.

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours.

A small Polaroid poem that came to me this morning as I started my day...

Hearts come home
On holidays
If only
On invisible wings
So they can whisper
Into the ear
Of dear ones far away

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Story I Tell

So, what is the story that you tell?
If, every single day, the story you tell starts with, “You never…” or ” You always…” then THAT is what you create and what shows up, in your face, every…single…day.
Want the world around you to show up differently? Tell a different story; a better story…about good things.
Magically, THAT is what will begin to show up, in your face,

Monday, August 18, 2014

What I've Seen...On Turning 60

Tomorrow is my birthday. It’s a big one. Sixty. At this auspicious moment I am wondering how the hell did this many years pass so ridiculously fast?

When my kids were young teens itching to do something they weren’t ready for yet, I would get out the construction tape measure. I would lay it out to 100 inches and chalk where their ages fell and how long their wait really was to participate in the activity that eluded them. Then I would point down the line to how many more times they could do that forbidden thing in the one hundred or so years they had to live their lives. It made the two inches from 14 to 16, when their driver’s license would come seem like the paltry eye blink that it was.

Looking back down my own line of numbers, already passed, I am embracing my million moments that drew together to make me. Gathered knowledge is just hoarding thoughts until you share it. For what it’s worth, these are some of the things I have seen.

Even if you grew up watching shows like Friends and assuming adulthood would be a constant coffee klatch with your across the hall neighbors, you will spend most of your time alone in this life. Unless you are conjoined, this is the way of the world. And if you can’t be at peace in your times of solitude, why in the hell would you think other people would be interested in spending time with you either? Learn shit. Get interested and then you will be interesting-to yourself and to others.

The greatest lesson for young teen abstinence should be the fact that the first person you get naked with will-in all likelihood-not be the last. With the exception of the four couples you will meet who are childhood sweethearts-you will swim into and out of tubs, ponds, raging rivers and oceans of love in all its forms until you find somewhere that becomes your place in the world. That’s where you will build your home- however early or late in life you find it and trying to pitch a tent anywhere else will give temporary shelter and nothing more.

When people close to you lash out it is usually because they want you to love them more than it appears you do. If you pay attention, people will tell you what they want-so listen.

Most people, even the most hardened among us, still have a soft, gooey center and if you are paying attention and listening you can figure out what they love. That is what made them gooey like that in the first place. If they showed you the gooey love, they shared the keys to their castle. Honor that.

There are seven billion people on this planet. When you are not famous, the statistical magic of finding one person who can see you for the blazing light you actually are is a gift rarer then the most expensive gemstone. Own that.

Real love never dies. It only changes shape to accommodate the way you live now.

The secret to happiness is this: figure out what you want and find a way to ask for it.

Love is your own personal experience. It sparks and blooms inside your own head-like a private revelation; a movie only you can see. Even if the object of your affection does not return your ardor with the same intensity or at all, never hold regret for having felt that feeling. To know what love feels like is like visiting the most beautiful place on Earth. Not everyone will go there in their lifetime but you have, and you can tell others what it feels like to stand in the center of all that beauty; what it is to see the blazing light of someone else and have it warm your soul even if it’s just for a moment. It will change you forever; no matter if life or death moves you far away from that other person, it will remain part of who you are now.

What I have seen while I have run, swam, played, danced, loved, fought, created, walked, crawled, bled, cried and laughed my way through the sixty years on planet Earth comes down to this: love. It always comes down to that. And on the last day I get in this life, it will still be about love; who I loved and who loved me.

That is where I have a cave of treasure like Aladdin. I remember all the love my heart has felt. It fills my pens, my brushes, my cooking pots and the large broken parts inside of me. It is my gold.

The Japanese have a practice called Kintsugi. It’s a ceramic pottery ritual where a beloved broken vessel is pieced back together with molten gold. Like glue, it gathers the shattered parts making it whole again in a new and beautiful way.

Today, I will visualize all the love I’ve known as gold and let it fill the cracks and broken parts of me to make me whole like the day I was born only different…better. It will be my private gift to myself; the strengthening of my weak places. What I’ve seen in my sixty years has been a kaleidoscope of wonder and I am filled with anticipation as the curtain rises on the next act.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The First Three Chapters... Read them for free

Happy Spring, Dear Readers!

A little gift for you...
I'm posting, for free, the first three chapters of my new Sci-Fi Romantic Comedy novel.

A Sci-Fi Romantic Comedy about love
and aliens living among us.
They’re already here. They look like us. They work beside us. They guide events that influence our world. So what do they want and can we really be friends? Companions? Lovers? Arc and Iris answer the biggest question of all: if we are not alone in the universe, then who is it really, that is out there?


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Friday, October 18, 2013

Twerk or Treat

Seriously. What the hell is with this costume?

I’ve been following a conversation thread a bunch of female writers are having about appropriate Halloween costumes for their preteen girls. They’re discussing the battle for common sense. One had mentioned that she was looking for a monster costume online and had to wade through “sexy monster” getups to find something a seven year old could wear who wasn’t a child prostitute in Bangkok.

Another listened as her own third grader chattered on about this or that being “sexy”. When she asked her daughter what that meant, she admitted she didn’t know. Mom explained that it was dressing in a way to make you attractive so that someone will want to kiss and hold you romantically. That shut the kid down pronto. Apparently, to her child, the word “sexy” was akin to “smurfy” or some other innocuous and kitschy adjective.

I saw this conversation thread while back in my Illinois hometown for my aunt’s funeral this week. The memories of Halloweens past were thick as a hand full of milk duds tossed into a greedy mouth.

Driving from the cemetery, I had to take Wolf Road, going right past my school friend, Merry’s, house. That’s the house where we all played spin-the-bottle for the first time at her Halloween Party; the big event of the season. Costumes required. It was seventh grade. 1967.

I wanted to wear something pretty and girly. Being the athletic, tomboy type, this would have been a major transformation for me given that my closet boasted a collection of competitive swimsuits, a pair of treasured kangaroo-skin track shoes with long and short removable spikes, a well-worn baseball glove, a rock collection and a bunch of freaky encyclopedias that I read like other kids read Tiger Beat.

My mom feared my inevitable blossoming into a young woman. After I got permission to attend the party, the costume search began. I was just looking for something pretty. Not slutty. Instead, she prepared a costume for me. I went to this party- this important party- as George Washington. Powdered wig, ruffled shirt, blue waist coat, buckle shoes. No shit. George freaking Washington. Not even Martha! Though I have seen portraits of her and it wouldn’t have been very different.

MORTIFIED. I was completely, utterly mortified. There would be boys there! BOYS! And the bottle thing! Kissing! Kill me now. No one will want to be kissing George Freaking Washington. I would be the only female not in a girly, pretty, sparkly, gown. I just knew it.

Merry answered the door in a spectacular evil witch costume; hideous warty nose and all. Relief flooded through me that she hadn’t chosen to be the Blue Fairy. A little while later, one of my junior high crushes walked in. He tottered on his high heels, adjusted the hem of the dress and shook out the curls of his bouffant styled wig. There he was; adorable, Kurt. He was a brown haired version of Kurt Russell; startling blue eyes and a soft dusting of freckles on his cheeks. Impossibly, his eyes looked even bluer with the slather of mascara and red lipstick that his older sister had put on him; all the while, laughing maniacally, I would guess.

The evening took an instant turn for the better. I even got through the bottle-spinning-kissing-stuff and ended up wearing lipstick anyway. Red. It matched my cheeks when everyone clapped afterwards. Kurt and I won the costume contest and I went home feeling pretty good in spite of my initial mortification.

Two weeks from now, I’ll stand at my door and pass out a zillion bags of candy. I’ll see little Optimus Primes, ninjas, Wii Controllers, Dalmatian dogs and the inevitable blur of tiny hooker-pop tarts whose mother’s caved and let them dress that way because Miley twerked her way into their consciousness.

Those little girls will likely need to up the ante every following year on their “smurfy”, sexy costumes. In ten years, when they’re eighteen, what will they need to wear to feel “smurfy”? They just might end up being the same girls entertaining their creepy elderly neighbor guy at the local strip club.

You know, being George Washington that year for Halloween did not inhibit my ascension to female goddess status one single bit. I spent that evening, at Merry’s party, laughing and talking with everyone; guys mostly. Being a tomboy, they were the majority of my pals. In fact, I’ll bet I had a better time at Merry’s party, than the girls who ran to the bathroom every half hour to make sure their makeup was still looking good.

All this stuff went through my head as I drove past Merry’s old house last Tuesday. Merry, she moved out west somewhere. Kurt, sadly, died of a drug overdose before he was twenty. My mom and her nervousness about my emerging sexuality are long gone with the powdered wig and buckle shoes she’d made in an attempt to make me as gender neutral as possible. Sorry mom. Can’t stop the tidal wave.

I really do hope that parents can get across to their young daughters that there will be thousands of opportunities to dress inappropriately and that each time they do, they will spend more time worrying about their outfit than they will spend actually having fun with the people around them. Just like Miley, they should wait until they are twenty one to lose their minds and behave like they were raised in a brothel by crack addicted parents. Then, maybe these parents won’t have to suffer through years watching their daughter’s awkward grasp at becoming the “smurfy-est” girl in school.

Yes, do that, young tartlets. Leave the smurfing to the older girls. Please.

And save me some candy corn. I love those things…


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Toast. Fried. Zizzzzz

I’ve typed the words, THE END, onto the last page of The Grove! Well, the end of Book One of The Awakened Trilogy, that is. See? There it is. Just above this blog post. It’s REAL. That, is nearly five years of thinking about it, researching it, toying with the concept and then six months of writing, almost every day. It’s a good feeling to type, the end. I’ve hard edited several times and handed it off to beta readers who I’ve asked to read and rip before I start the extra, super fun process of peddling my soul to the highest bidder.

My brain is now fried, toasted and making that zizzing noise it makes when you are done with one thing and trying to clear the debris of creation to get ready for the next big thing.

For creative sorts, like myself, here is where fantasy slams head-on into reality. This isn’t the Renaissance and families like the Medici’s don’t go around adopting wayward artists anymore; letting them create in a studio they’ve provided just because they love art in all its forms. Now, that would be the ticket, would it not? To have someone love what you do so much, that they sponsor you and take on the pimp role of selling your symbolic flesh and blood to interested parties while you get to stay in your studio and crank stuff out. Imagine that!

There are rooms in houses, basements, garages and attics filled with glorious art, photography, writing, sculpture, pottery and other feats of wonder that no one will ever see because the people who create these things are not: marketing/sales/agents/promoters/pushers or pimps. They are creative souls.

We fantasize about waking in a place where all the tools we need are within reach and the day and night stretch out before us, eager to be filled with whatever we haul up from the nothing, to play with and shape and make into our art. Our dream is that one day, there will be a knock on our door. We’ll answer it with paint in our hair or a crazed seventeen hour writing buzz blazing in our eyes and there will be an angel knocking, wanting to bring our things out for the world to see. They’ll tell us they could feel the wave of creation pouring from this place and they just had to come and see what was here.

We do not want to write query letters and spend the last of our money printing and mailing and waiting for some kid, two years out of college, to reject our work because they, personally, don’t like Sci Fi-anything. We don’t want to have to sit down, after writing 105,317 words (The Grove word-count), and force ourselves to write some clever tag line or Book Blurb that becomes the only thing that grabs or bores a potential “customer” into buying or not buying our books.

Self promotion is a lot like doing your own dental work. Sure, I could get a mirror and some drills and shit, but I will probably just make a big, bloody mess because I can’t see what’s inside my own head like an outside observer can.

Hire someone, you say! Just for shits and grins, take a little saunter through the websites that list literary agents and see if you can find someone that WILL read a Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure manuscript. One that has adult language, some sex, some violence and humor and its all wrapped around humans who are changed in order to save the planet from other humans who are wrecking it. Go ahead. I double dog dare you.

For every legitimate literary agent, editor and publishing company out there, there are two who have hung a shingle and know as much about book pimping as I do, and probably have the same amount of influence approaching the big dogs with my manuscript.
“You could have just written a Young Adult Romance novel because those sell like hot cakes and it doesn’t require the research or rewrites you did on your last one”, you might say.

Well, I did not. I did not because that is not what was pushing its way out of my head. This book, The Grove, is what was asking to be born, this time. I wrote it because I could not not write it. I have four other projects right behind this one, plus two more books to write in The Awakened Trilogy. Put on the coffee…

So here I am, big ole manuscript in hand, checking the M’s in the phone book for “Medici”, to see if they have any American cousins who might want to adopt me, so I can be their in-house source of wonder.

In the end, I’ll write the fricking blurb and the damn query letters. I’ll do all the things I will have to do to launch this project out into the world. If for no other reason than the fact that it would be epically pathetic to actually be living in Paris Hilton’s pool house.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We Don't Do Death in America: for Matilda

In America, we don’t do death.
One day, it happens to everything that now lives, but as a culture, we just don’t do death. As a nation, we prefer to pretend it’s not going to happen. Conversations about anything’s imminent demise are short, strictly business and as fast as we can segue to more pleasant topics, we do. The irony that we cause so much of it around the world in war scenarios is not lost on me. Other people do death. We don’t.

My dog is sick. We’re awaiting test results that will either tell us for sure, she is in end stage lymphoma or possibly has Addison’s disease; a slightly better prognosis that might give us more time with her wondrous wiggly-ness. She has been a patient at Michigan State University Veterinary Hospital, one of the best Vet programs in the world. We live five minutes away by sheer luck. As I’m moving around in my very silent house, I’m hearing phantom nails clicking on the hardwood floor, telling me it’s time to clip them. I’m coming down the stairs and my heart goes up as I wait to see her pop her big Great Dane face around the corner to greet me and it goes down again quickly when I remember where she is. I think I am practicing grief now so when it really does body slam me in the too-soon future, I might be able to manage it without flooding the first floor of my house with over flowing tears.

Many years ago, when my parents were reaching the end of their stories, I trained as a hospice volunteer. It helped tremendously when I was with them nearing the end and it helped me answer questions and be there in a fully-present way for them and my family. My younger sister even went to do her own training and now works as a hospice nurse.

Hospice, which is what my home will become for our dog, Matilda, starting today at 6 P.M. EST, is the polar opposite of not doing death. It is the sane, logical, holistic and compassionate practice of embracing every phase of life from first breath to last. I remember people asking me how I could be around those who were dying. Wasn’t it horribly depressing? No. It was not. It was an honor to be able to be with people who were fully aware of their situation. They had accepted that it was happening and were using their final days to just be with people in a way they may never have taken the time to be before they got sick.

We, as an American culture, do everything we can to avoid and delay aging and death. From plastic surgery to shark cartilage pills, hormone replacement to Viagra. We want to stay young forever and we never, ever, ever want to die, so we often die without a will, a medical directive or having given our loved ones a clue of what we wanted done with our remains. We spend more than 80% of our health care money in the last two weeks of life trying, desperately, to avoid nature calling for us. Because we do such a fantastic job of stuffing the reality of death into an airtight container in the back of our minds, the “business” of death; funerals, burial options etc., has been allowed to flourish as a ridiculously expensive service that guilt alone can propel families into financial crisis purchasing.
I’ve had a couple of friends in my life whose family business was a mortuary. They all said that they and their parents refused to have any of the expensive and wacky services done to their own bodies and though they may use a fancy casket for a wake viewing, they were choosing a biodegradable box. Why? In their own words, “It doesn’t matter what you put in the ground, a body will naturally decompose inside a paper, wood or metal container. The box is only for the living to feel like they honored the deceased in a special way.”

That last bit probably creeped you out. See? We don’t do death in America. We would rather write a check for $20,000 and buy the “top of the line casket” along with a grave site with a “view” then to look death squarely in the eye and when our or our loved one’s time comes, to say goodbye with grace, not guilt guiding decision making. I intend to honor the living while they are here and allow the endings and the afterward to move in the most natural way possible.

I happen to believe that I am not this physical body. I am a being of light that has stepped into this meat suit, like a space suit, so I could walk around this oxygen dependent planet for a while. I don’t think we just shut down and there is nothing more. I have had too many other worldly experiences to believe that without this meat suit, I cease to exist. In fact, I believe that the most difficult thing my larger light body has had to do was to compress and condense all that I am into this human form. PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER…iddy biddy living space.

I think it’s the same for animals. There’s some farmy-happy space where their sweet gooey love selves get to hang out. I have a parade of well-loved pets from the past 40 years, hanging out on a sofa in the aether's. Jai, a Lab-Dane. Chunk, a Lab-Shepard. Sydney, a Lab-Australian Shepard. Pez, a Lab-Spaniel and probably squirrel mix. Hannah, a Lab-Golden. Mouse, the cat and Sushi, the cat-both who lived to be over 21. A few years back, I started putting pictures of dogs up on my kitchen cabinets. As they have passed over, the photos migrated to the left side of the collection and our current dog, Matilda, has taken over the right two doors with pup to adult shots with my grown kids. Today, when I went to get a glass out of the cabinet, it smacked me in the face that very, very soon, she would be moving left too. That did it. Me and my Kleenex box needed to have a sit down.

Ram Dass, an American contemporary spiritual teacher and author said something once that has pressed into my heart and stayed there. “We are all just walking each other home.”

Tonight, when I go to get my super large dog friend from the hospital to bring her back into the only home she has ever known, I will be remembering that. I have accepted that death is as natural as birth, and that hospice care is the same as being a mid-wife only instead of assisting birth into this world, we are assisting birth into the next.

I am trying to shore up my reserves of strength so that when the day comes, I can look my sweet girl in the eyes and tell her, “Come on baby. I’ll walk you home.”

Monday, August 5, 2013

If Wishes Were Water

My Birthday Wish

It's August and in a matter of days, I'll turn a year older. 59 this time around.

A long time ago, I promised myself that I would find ways to make a difference anywhere and anytime I could.  Just this morning, I took a shower, brushed, my teeth, made a pot of coffee, washed some dishes, fed and watered the dog and the cat I am watching this week, watered my plants in the house and gave a little drink to my herbs and tomatoes. That was just my usage...before 9:00 A.M.

800 million people on this planet still don't have access to clean drinking water, and I'm doing something about it.
This year, I'm giving up my birthday for charity: water.
Instead of giving me presents, or writing on my Facebook wall, please donate $59 for my 59th birthday, and help me bring clean water to people in need.

Please, go to my campaign to donate:
What's really cool is that 100% of the money we raise will directly fund water project costs in the field, and charity: water will prove every single dollar.  When the project we help fund is complete, they'll send us a digital completion report with GPS coordinates and photos of the community we helped. Click for an example.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than by giving the gift of clean water to people in need. Please join me.

Thank you for your support!

With love and thanks for making a difference along with me.

P.S. Read this story from charity: water to learn how clean water changes lives.


And here's a little music for you-one of my favorites: Joni Mitchell & Willie Nelson singing a very cool version of Cool Water

And here is a bit more detail about why water is so very important.


QUICK UPDATE: I posted this message on my social networks yesterday and in a matter of ten hours, the first donations started coming in. In less than ten hours, a few of my wonderful friends made sure 141 people would have ten hours just by donating $59 to my Charity Water Campaign. Thank you Steve Curran, Jane Aldrich, Lenore Quiroga, Mary Katherine Quasarano, Joel Heberlein and Anonymous for your water gifts, given to people we will never meet, but who we know and will feel your compassion in every blessed drop. The campaign will continue to run until my birthday on August 19th. I hope you'll join the party and make a difference too.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Sadly Neglected Old Blog

I've been spending my time these days with the shiny new author's blog and have left this one whining at the door to go out and chase squirrels on a long walk. Sorry, Bloggy.

My readers looking to absorb words that excite you, or annoy you or make you laugh; come on over and follow my new blog where I will continue to do all of those things for you and more. Maybe I'll even bake you some cookies.

Click the link for instant gratification.....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I was up at Mt. Shasta last October. If you haven’t been there yet, get on it. There’s something very special and sacred and connected on that land and you just have to be there to feel it. Anyway, on a high trail, I stopped at a picnic bench area to have some water from my pack and when I set my stuff on the table, I saw this note.

It was tucked under a rock and waiting for some unknown soul to happen upon. The writer of the note thought the ring had been lost. I was thinking it had been set free. You’d have to be standing there looking up the mountain and looking back and out over the land below to know that no one leaves a ring on a table right there accidently.

It reminded me of a friend who married in her mid thirties; her first marriage, his second. She was over the moon that she had finally found “the one” and when he was offered a chef’s position at a hotel restaurant soon to open at a very high profile casino in Las Vegas, she happily packed her life in Chicago and headed to the desert with her man. A thousand things came into play in her life, not the least of which was a rekindled dream that there was still enough time to have a child with her new husband.

On a corporate path for so long, she had almost let that dream blow by her like tumbleweed; until he came into her life that was. They settled in and she brought her formidable talent and humor, her artistic nature and her beautiful self 100% into this new life. Not even two years later, she found herself alone, standing on the roadway over the Hoover Dam with her wedding ring in her hand. When she drew back her arm and let it fly out and down into the nothing below, she let him go. He and the cocktail waitress he had been sleeping with those nights he was “working late.”

I wasn’t there when she did it, but I could clearly see her black hair flying in the breeze and her startling green eyes flash and shimmer with the last tear that she would shed for this bastard. She didn’t even cry the next year when he married the cocktail waitress who was pregnant with his child, the irony not lost on her as he had told her about his second thoughts of starting a second family in his forties.

Not all who wander are lost…not all things left behind are a mistake.

I wrote a response to that note on the picnic table in poetry form. I tucked it under the rock and after I had my water and got ready to put my feet back to the trail, I gave a salute to Jennifer. To her new life without him; to the ring that now rests among the rocks at the bottom of the dam, perhaps with a million others, and to moving her feet back onto her own trail, wherever it may lead her.

Here’s to you, babe. Walk on.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cheat Alert! Today, I'm totally cheating by posting a piece I wrote for my authors blog over at   

I’m supposed to be writing this week. I thought I would pound out at least four more chapters in seven days. So, that didn’t happen. Life happened. It happened all around me. Cat sitting, dog managing, spouse home for several weeks recovering from a surgical adventure. Oh, yes. I said weeks. Even when those around you take care of themselves and stay out of your field of vision, for the most part, we are always keenly aware of their presence. We’re also aware of the laundry mountain awaiting our attention, and the dust bunnies multiplying like, well, rabbits, beneath the sofa and pulling food from the freezer for dinner 8 hours from now. And hey! Wouldn’t this be a great time to call Nancy and have a chat over coffee?

In 2011, the University College in London did a study and concluded, and I quote, so you won’t think I just made this up to justify my possible ADD-Sugar-enhanced-Dory-the-fish Olympic avoidance festivals, “… those who are easily distracted from tasks at hand have ‘too much brain’.” Researchers at the university found that there were larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in people whose attention was easily diverted.

YES! This is the problem! I have too much brain! I am vindicated! Free now to claim superior deductive powers,  not a lack of control over my attention span. No, sir. It is the sole fault of my giant fraking brain.

Some distractions we really can not do anything about and so we must live with them. Others, we can have some control over; like our writing environment. I have a table that I used as a desk last year that sat in the corner of my living room. It worked pretty well for me until staring out the window at the neighbors house began to feel far less inspirational than it once did. It was time for a change of scenery. I commandeered the dining room. A long, white table sits next to the front window giving me a street view of winter snow, spring blossoms and now, a lush green, leafed out Michigan summer.

Being a dining room table it is a magnet for every bit of junk mail, keys, hats, empty coffee cups and whatever family has in their hands as they pass. I made this place a little writing altar. I have a candle and a Kwan Yin and some little tchotchke things that I use as writing juju. I do not care if the Sprint headset box that was left on the table looks just as important as my turquoise suede pouch with the wolf stone my daughter gave me, it is not MY juju and I find it distracting.

The other day on Pinterest, (the MECCA of distraction), I saw a sketch of a guy sitting on a heap of books with more piles covering the landscape. It said some clever thing about wisdom. Nice enough picture, but I found myself thinking that any real lover of books would be freaking out at the horrible disorganization of what they supposedly, love. That is not wise. That is not even love. That is feeding a short term addiction to interesting stuff. When we truly love what we read and love what we write and love the ideas our muses give us, we want to be able to easily and quickly lay our hands on them again so we can quote them or nurture them into a storyline.

Scanning my dining table/workspace I find that my own stacks of reference books, research material, spiral notebooks and sticky notes with “great ideas” may have been moved to accommodate the nearly finished mocha latte to-go cup that he-who-will-not-be-named really, really needed to leave right there. It … distracts me.

Shades of Joan Crawford screaming about wire hangers move through my mind when I look up from the keyboard and see that paper cup exactly where my Celtic Wheel of Life and The Path of Druidry books were earlier this morning.

Logic says that this is all yet another avoidance tactic to getting down to the writing. Giant Brain Squirrel Girl says, “Honey, does this rag smell like chloroform?” It will be interesting to see which choice my giant brain makes…right after I have some lunch because I see the spouse making a sandwich and that looks really good right this very minute…

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Author's Blog? WTF?

It has been recommended that as my book manuscripts roll towards publishing, that I set up author sites on social networking and have a blog where readers can find out about titles, read the latest news and interact with me. (Cue scary face) So in that spirit, I'll be creating a Facebook Author Page, and I now have an author blog too.(link above) and I'll keep writing this my fun blog for those who read it, or cyber stalk it.
Yeah, that's right. I know you're out there, still in your pajamas, reading my stuff. 4,546 of you readers, as of today. And dude, put some pants on.

If you read scifi/romance, urban fiction, fantasy romance or other genres that I write within, you can check it out and I'll let you all know when the stuff hits the fan(s). And by the way poo-pooers who think they aren't into romance...anything, here's a few titles in those genres you might have heard of: Star Wars, Nikita, Dune, Battlestar Galactica, Princess Bride, Camelot just to name a few...
I guess this means I have to grow up now. Shit.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Point Is That She Lived ... Eulogy for My Mother

Sorting boxes yesterday, I ran across the eulogy I wrote for my mother when she passed in 1997. When I finished reading it again, the final line of dialog from the lovely film retelling of the Cinderella story starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott, came to mind. After the Queen has told the entire story to the Grimm brothers about her ancestor she says, "The point is, gentlemen, that she lived." Tomorrow, May 10th, would have been my mothers 93rd birthday. It was also her wedding anniversary with my father, and Sunday, including my half brother, Phillip, in this equation, it would have been her 74th Mother's day as well. Mom's ashes were taken aboard Phil's sailboat and scattered, with flowers, on Lake Michigan. Such a perfect circle for her and exactly what she had wanted. In her memory, here is her eulogy.........................                       
Eulogy for my mother, Anne DiFrancesca

Born: Chicago, Il May 10, 1920 -  Died: Scottsdale, Az. February 14, 1997

I spent a lot of time these past few years talking with my Mom about her life, about who she was and what her dreams and wishes were; about the people in her life and what they have meant to her; about what brought her joy and what moved her.

As a young girl, growing up in Chicago, her most treasured moments were at Lake Michigan. Playing on the rocks at Belmont Harbor, or swimming the distance to the buoys and back again with friends. Her father’s work took their family up to Charlevoix, Michigan each summer where she would wander the sand dunes and watch ships move on the bay. On her father’s sailboat, The Mistral, she learned to love the wind in her hair and the feel of the wooden deck under her feet.

There was a bit of pirate in my Mom. I could tell by her love of the water and by her love of the search for treasure. As a child, I’d spend hours going through the amazing collection of costumes and fabric, ribbons and dress up jewelry that Mom had found who knows where. She would whip up outfits for Halloween with details and trimming a movie costumer would envy; even ethnic costumes that my older sister and I wore for folk dancing demonstrations at the local elementary school.

She loved to write and spent many hours at her old manual typewriter on articles for the local newspaper, poetry or journaling her thoughts. On birthdays and holidays she would bake and decorate elaborate cakes and cookies to pile high on the table for arriving company.

Our family moved to Arizona in January of 1972, and Mom found a lot of new and dear friends here and spent many happy hours as a volunteer for Scottsdale Memorial Hospital. She worked the spring training baseball games with her beloved Cubbies giving her a connection to her home town . She and her circle of girlfriends took off for lunches at the Quilted Bear and in search of treasure here in the valley.

There were two things on the horizon that always caught my mother’s eye; a boat sail and a garage sale.

After a day out with “the girls”, she’d return to the house with handfuls of trinkets and treasures for children and grandchildren and for her collection at the house. A good day of garage sale-ing was like a good day of pirating on the high seas.

I’ll think about my mother when I smell cookies baking, lilacs blooming and Chanel no. 5. I’ll think of her when I sit down at my computer to write my own thoughts. I’ll think of her when I see a boat sail or a garage sale.

These last few years were very hard on her as she lost her mobility. Even trips to the mailbox eventually became too difficult to manage. And I know how she hated dragging that oxygen tank around with her wherever she went. But now she’s free to move and dream and fly. She has our love to carry on her journey. And I know, in my heart of hearts that right now, she’s waiting on a shoreline for the boat to dock and carry her out on the water, where the wind can catch her hair.