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The Dive Bar Drinking Club

We all have that core group of friends, those people you can count on no matter what. Those friends who will help you when you need it, kick you in the pants, tell you the truth, or help hide the body. I am so very lucky to have such a wonderful group around me. And this group of friends, who are my heart, meet out every so often. And when we do, we call ourselves the Dive Bar Drinking Club, or DBDC for short.

We call ourselves that because we meet at a dive bar, where you get cheap beer and appitizers. We play trivia, tell tall tales, laugh, joke, catch up and play the “Penis Movie Game,” which consists of substituting a word in the title with the word Penis: Raiders of the Lost Penis, Gone with the Penis, Twi-penis, Harry Penis, A Penis Runs Through It, Silver Penis’s Playbook…

We are a great mixed back of people – some creative, some techie, some nerdie, some crazy, all fun. SOme work in sales, or marketing, or IT, or writing, or medicine, ar for the city or for themsleves. At any given time one or more of us may be looking for a job, a car, a new lover, a house, appartment or new hair color. But everyone has a good time, enjoys the laughs and fellowship, funny stories and festive atmosphere.

Tonight was my sisters first time at the DBDC, and she had a blast, this group opening up it’s big cheap beer soaked arms to say “Welcome! Have a cheap beer!” She laughed and talked, made some business connections, made some new friends. The good kind, the kind that will still be there when everyone else walks away.

And where would we be without such friends? They celebrate with us, laugh with us…and sometimes at us, they cry with us, drink with us, watch sports and do silly things with us. And they make a life with us. They make memories with us. It’s these people with whom the best stories start with “Remember that time…?” They keep our secrets, share our hopes and dreams, keep us on a straight line…or at least walk with us on the crooked one.

No man is an island.

And so it goes, my wonderful friends, who love to go to local dive bars. It is times like these that make a life well lived. It is times like these when memories are made.

Mercury in Retrograde

About three times a yar, a little planet called Mercurty goes into retrograde. Even those who do not beleive in Atrology cannot deny that things just seems to go haywire during this time. Typically, life just goes awry. If it mechanical or electrical, it will break or malfunction – computer, phones, machines, cars, equipment, garbage disposals, whatever.

Communication typically breaks down and a lot of misunderstanding happen, betweeen family members, lovers, spouces, students, teachers, bosses, etc. Tavel plans will noty work out, schedules will be botched and missed with wrong times, dates and events. And if you are w writer, you may have a hard time getting your thoughts down in any kind of understandbale way. Thinking is less clear during this time, bad decisions are made, disagreemetn happen, misunderstandings and mis communication.

Appointments will be missed, delayed, postponed and rescheduled  Life seems to come to a standstill, nothing moves. If you are in the transportation industry, you will notice a lot of problems. And typicall it is well known not to sign any important documents and start new projects during this time, as they will be riddled with issues. You can read about the affects here,  here and here.

My poor sister was even a victim of Mercury Retrograde: As she was starting an great job interview after passing a test, the data center had a complete power outage and the interview had to be rescheduled. It has Mercury in retrograde written all over it.

So what can you do, other than hide under someting big and heavy while Mercury laughs at the lot of us?

Because to move forward it is sometimes necessary to backtrack and reconfigure our paths in life. It is important to reconsider, repair, reflect, and reconnect. Mercury forces us to slow down and fix what’s broken, and in so doing, rethink things. It also gives us time to get to projects we have put on the back-burner.

Yes, just like it says, it is a great time to clean out the past, burry the hatchet, clean out the closet, repair relationships and just reflect. Many times we will run into old friends we have not seen in yeears, more people find lost relatives during this time and it’s also a grat time to do all those projects that have been put on the back burner. Clean out the closet, or clear off that desk. Go through all those aold magazines and letter you have been meaning to throw out.

Mercury in Retrograde forces us to slow down, reflect, take care and clean up. And in life, can’t we all do a little emotional housework? Deal with those old issues and get the ghosts out, finally once and for all. And that is why Mercury in Retrograde can be a good thing. If you understand how this time works, you can work woth it, not against it. Handled properly, mercury in Retrograde can be a period of recharging and renewal, because we get the old out to make room for all the good thngs that are coming our way.

After Your Dreams Come True

We work hard, all of our lives to reach our goals. We set them, we have dreams, we do what we can to make them come true. And certainly that is the case with me. I have worked, so hard, sacrificed, fought tooth and nail, set goals, burned both candles at the end, struggled and tired, failed and succeeded. And here I am, standing at the red rimmed edge of my dreams. They are right here, right before, right within reach, I can see them, feel them, smell them.  I have accomplished my dreams.

But now, as I look around, I wonder…now what? What do you do when you accomplish what you set out to do? What do you do when you have attained your dreams? It is truly magnificent, and I am happy. Life is wonderful and good, and I have to pinch myself evetry day to make sure I am not dreaming. I have accomplished it. Finally!

Now what?

Well, for certain I shall enjoy all the fruits of my labor, years long. And there is still work to be done, but the hard stuff is over. all that is left is to enjoy all the seeds I have sewn. But yet I cannot help but wonder what shall I do next?

OFr some of us, we never stop learning, never stop reaching, never stop growing and discovering. I want to always be doing something, always have a goal. So next is to set new goals, new heights which to soar. I am my family to keep settled, as right now they need me. And I will be there for them. Nothing bad will come to them, not on my watch. But beyond that, what do I want?

That is one of the keys in life – define what you want and go after it. And asI look around I have all that I want except one thing: Love. That four letter word that has illuded me all these years. That is what I want.  And I have so much of it already, in my family, in my friends, in everyone around me. But I want that best love, that last love of my life. I want someone with which to share this wonderful life I have been blessed enough to have. Someone who will be my best friend and confedant, and I theirs.

I want someone who needs me, and someone who will be OK with me needing them. It is a unuversal need, to be needed. To know that what we have to offer is beneficial to those we love.

And so it is, that I start my wonderful, magical journey to find that love. I am seeing a wonderufl man already…will he be it? I dom’t know, but I sure intend to find out. Wish me luck!

I Think I’ve Got This

Funny how life throws you curve balls. And just when you think you can’t do it, you can and you do. Just when you are not sure you can, you reach deep down within, and pull thge strength up to come through.

So my sister and nephew are moving in for a while. My sister is already settled, so to speak, by nephew won’t move in for a couple of weeks. Mom and Dad were up all loast week for Dad’s chemo treatment. He went in Wednesday and this one was really rough on him. The doctors are optimistic, but the chemo gets worse on him with each dose. So it’s tough to see him in pain and in such bad shape.

But I have managed to take care of everyone, all four of them, and make sure they have everything that they need. Mom has her own space, smoking area, bathroom and comfort things. Dad has his own room, both up and downstairs, and his own diet food and he feels wewll cared for. My sister has her own space and comfort things, food and such, Allan has everythig he needs for school, My sister has a new waredrobe, hairstyle and resume, along with interview suits.

And still there have been good food for good meals, wine, warm blankets, hot tea, cool water and plenty of space. There has been worry, laughter, hugs, memories, thoughts and time together.

So far I have been able to provide everything they have needed and wanted, right down for new books for Mom to read. Oh, there have been freak out moments, such as this past Monday. I can I do this? Can I do this? Will I be good at it? The answer is yes. Because this is family and failure is not an option. 

So I can do this, be the head of the household and take care of everyone. I was nervous because I knew I would always be the one my family leaned on, but I always thought there would be someone with me, that I would not have to do it alone. But here I am. I can can do this. And still work, and still have a social life and friends. And still be me.

To Rise or Wallow, That is the Question

Wallow or Rise

We all go through hard times in our life. All of us, as some point, will be hurt deeply, be betrayed, lied to, mislead and broken hearted. That is the risk sof being human, the risk of loving and being loved and the risk of being open to living life. All of us, during our lifetime, will have bad things happen to us that we do not deserve. We are given life, no one promised us it would always be fair or easy.

But I have a theory about those bad times. I think you have a choice – either let those times drag you down and hold you back like a ball and chain, or use those bad times as a stepping stone to rise above it all and become a better, finer, stronger, more comapssionate person.

Some people shoose to wallow in theri misery and pain. Those are the ones who lie to themsleves and others. Those are the ones who use others and hurt them as a result of the pain they are feeling inside themsaelves. It is a ref;ection of their own self loathing, and it is toxic. Have you ever been around those kinds of people? They make you feel good for a while, then, they start istreating you and blaming you for it. Get away, and run fast.

That is what happens when you choose to wallow. You become biiter, twisted. That is a terrible place to be. Going through the bad times are hard enough, who would want to stay there and add to the misery? Not me, but some people do. Don;t be that guy (or that woman).

Know that those bad times are only temporary. The pain is only temporary, even if it is so strong it’s almost blinding. It won;t be loike that in 10 years, 5 years, 1 year or even 6 months. DOn’t let the temporary bad events make a negative permanent impression. And you know what? Those people who hurt you? It drives them crazy to know that you are happy and doing well without them. Having a great life and being happy is truly bthe best revenge.

So don’t be afraid to sore, don;t be afraid to step over the hard times and rise above the pain, anger, fear and confusion. The view is much better from up here, I promise. And it’s never too late to start, so what are you waitin for?

The Best Place

The Best Place

Last night, as my father lay on the couch and my sister, mother an di were sitting around the dinner table talking softly while having cheese, crackers and wine, Dad said something very sweet and meaningful. He has not been feeling well after his last chemo treatment. Theyu live in Southwest georgia, and come up to stay with me when he gets his treatments.

Last night as he sat up to get some water, he said that this was the best place he could be, right here, in my house, surrounded by his family and those he loves most. Yes, I am a Daddy’s Girl.

Many men do not realize how much influence they have over their daughters, espcially when it comes to love and dating. I hold such high standards because of the kindof man my father is. I knwo what honor and integrity are because of watching him. I know how a man should treat me, because of the way he not only treats my mother, but by the way he treats every other woman he comes into cantact with as well. He protects women, he respects them, he treats them with kindness and respect.

Little girls choose their partners, lovers, husbands and know how they should be treated in relationships by watching their fathers. Never forget that guys, as those little eyes and ears pick up much more than you realize. So be the kind of man your daughters would be proud to know. It will make a difference in your life and theirs, trust me.

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A Difference in a Day

A measure of time. A second, an hour, a day, a week a year. What do they mean? To me, time is a measaure of life. The space between everything in our hearts, minds, souls and our world. And in that time, in that space, life happens. All that we are, do, want and hope to be. All the mess that is life, is in time. And in 24 hours…

We all have those days where we are just a mess, but in my expereince, most of the time it’s just a matter of perspective. Many times, a day can make all the difference. It is amazing how much perspective can change in just 24 short hours.

Yesterday I was a very tired hot mess. Worroed sick about my father and his latest chemo treatment for liver cancer, I hardly slept the night before. I drove him to the hospital while my sister and mother stayed home and prepped for furniture moving. All day I was anxious, we all were, until we knew dad was OK. Furniture was moved, my work was completed, the house cleaned, errands were run, dinner made and life moved on, slowly, as we watched the clock until we got the call.

It was the hospital. Dad was fine, the treatment successful and it was time to come and pick him up. He was weak, sick and in pain. It is hard to see a loved one in that condition, but we are very close family and were honored to be there for our father who has been there for us through out the years. After he was comfortable and alseep, Rita Mom and I went to bed, Mom sleeping next to Dad to keep an eye on him.

When I laid my head on the pillow, I was so exausted I could have cried. As I breathed in deep, my shoulders, my legs, my body, started to relax. I had deep sleep with peaceful dreams. It is amazing how the health of a loved one can affect our own. But it is because my Dad is part of “Our own” that we care for him, because he is a good man, because he is a wonderful father, because he is a wonderful husband. And mostly because, all because, he is my Daddy.

A good night sleep can work wonders. And that is where perspective comes in. Dad is going to be fine after this round of chemo. And I can do this, be the head of the household for my family. I am my mother’s daughter, and I have a steel frame inside me. I am strong and resilient, ,just like my father.

And the world in my oyster. i have a wonderful home where my family finds refuge, there is good food, wine, love and friendship. I have a great and wonderful man in my life. I have great friends, a great job, a book being published and amazing things are happening. And I have Faith. There is no reason to be doubtful of anything.

My life may not be perfect, but it is better than many, and I am happy. But even the happiest of people can have stressful days, and can be hot messes. So be there for your friends and family, even those who are happy and in a good place. They will remember and love you for your support. After all, if we don;t take care of each other, then who will? It’s up to us, each one of us, to have compassion and understanding. Join me, won’t you?

Twists and Turns In the game of Life

We all remember that game called Life…you spin the wheel, move your man and follow the directions on the space you landed. Sometimes you ended up with a lot of money, sometimes kids, sometimes lots of things. But there was never any way to know how it was going to go, no matter how you thought you had it figured out.

It is amazing to me the many twists and turns on which life takes us. One thing is for sure, it’s never boring. My life is great, however that does not mean that there are not bad moments, days or worries. There is a saying that life is what happens while you are planning. This, I have found, is so true. And there are some things for which you simply cannot plan, some things that will throw you for a loop, some things for which you just have to roll with the punches so to speak. As a woman who plans, this can be a but unnerving.

Mom and Dad will be here today for Dad’s latest chemo treatment. If this doesn’t work, the doctors are not sure what will be next. Though I have a lot of Faith that things work work out, there are still worries. There is taking care of Mom who will be just about sick with sorry so we much be strong for her.

Money will be tight for the next 2-3 weeks. Temporary cash crunches are just that, temporary. And in that amount of time I will be completely out of debt and debt free is a wonderful place. I don’t believe in using credit cards. After being in finance for so many years, I saw first-hand how easy credit has helped destroy this nation. So I don’t use credit unless I have to. But writing about easy credit and people living beyond their means could be the subject of many blog entries.

My sister and I are having a great time, but it is difficult for her being away from her family. She has been married for 25 years and they have never really been apart. I do as much as I can for her to make her feel better. And in the middle of all of it, are my Lenten Disciplines. Practicing Grace. And God has a sense of humor. I am good except with one person, my latest ex. And I just enjoy being snarky to him because he hurt me so bad. But practicing Grace means letting all of that go, and being nice. He actually accused me of only being nice to him when I needed something. No, I am trying to be nice because of Lent. But, I can only do what I can and let others think what they may.

I may need to add Pride to my list of things on which to work on for my Lenten Disciplines. I have a hard time asking for help. I have been on my own for a long time, and it hurts my pride deeply to admit I cannot do something on my own. As a result, I tend to go to the same people over and over for help, so to avoid anyone knowing that I need. But that is for another entry.

There are also more belly dance classes and photography classes for which I have signed up. There are the photo-shoots scheduled with my agent, new headshots, my book, work is crazy busy, the new relationship that we are exploring, running more and longer, learning the new iPhone, getting my nephew moved in, and a few other things.

 So life is very good, better than I ever thought, but still there are twists and turns in this journey. It is not yet the end of the second month of the year, and it has been so much more than I expected. So many things have not been planned, both good and bad.

So plan all you want, but make sure you have some room for the unexpected, because it’s coming. And really, would we want it any other way? Think of the roads which we take, the people we meet along the way, and the unplanned events that happen in our lives. The twists and turns are what make life…life.

Clean it Out!

We have all heard about the benefits of cleaning out the clutter. And indeed, there have been many articles written about it, and articles written as well.Read them here, here and here.  This is indeed something that has been put to the test this weekend.

It started in my bedroom. In my closet actually. And I cleaned it out. all the clutter, all the movie stubs, and the little things and reminders. Gone.  Along with all the shirt, pants and skirts that no longer fit. And I mean really don;t fit, like no matter how much weight I try to loose i will never again fit onto that. Gone.

And then I moved into the bathroom, and cleaned out everything that was his. Everything that that made me think of him. Gone. Along with all those empty or almost empty shampoo and lotion bottles. All the old things that I had never used and had gone bed. Gone.

Next was the main bedroom and where the most work went into cleaning out. all of the memories and cobwebs cleaned out. Gone. All the told thoughts, feelings and emotions. All the tears and hurts. All the times i hugged my pillow and wished i was not alone in the dark. all the time listening to the clock. tick. one heartbeat at a time. One teardrop at a time. One dream, nightmare, hope and crushed feeling at a time. Gone. Along with all the trash, old papers, noted, thoughts, writings scribbled on notebooks and napkins. Gone.

And the result is a clean life. no clutter, emotional or physical. Bags and bags of clothes to take to Goodwill, and more bags of trash to be taken out to the curb, soon to be picked up, carried away, far away, where i never again shall visit. What is left is bright, airy and full of promises. What is left if Spring.

Yes, I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, my heart, my eyes, my soul.

And so it is, because you must get rid of the old, clean it out, in order to make room in your life for the new. If you want to move on and be free from the past, you must first break free from it’s grip. One of the first steps is getting the past from right there in front of your face, to free yourself from it’s ghosts. Let them go to haunt another. Let me not miss him him anymore.

And I am ready for all the wonderful things coming into my life, what is blooming right before my eyes. And this is the year that I want to find love. real, wonderful, inconvenient, can’t live without each other love. but maybe the key to finding that kind of love, you must first fall deeply in love with…your life. And that is exactly what I plan to do. But firsts I must clean out the clutter and trash. And make room for that which will make my heart truly happy.

A True Home With Love

We all have those moments when we look around and realize that our house is no longer just a house, ,but a home. It has been that kind of weekend for me. Friday nigth was a wonderful night of love, friendship, food, family and celebration.

My wonderful dear friend and one of my best ex’s came over for dinner and a movie. My sister made an amazingly delicious baked spaghetti and we all ate ourselves silly. it was delicious. and as we sat around the dinner table, in my home, we laughed, talked, ate, drank and were truly blessed and happy.

We snacked on cheese, crackers and wine before dinner, then moved to the table. It was as if I was visiting someone else life, not my own…as Iooked around and realized that my home truly was a home. Everywhere i look there is a memory of a conversation, a moment, a tear, a joke, some laughter, smiles, and…hope.

For so long, I have wanted someone with which to share my life. And now that I have so many wonderful things happening in my life, I have prayed, so hard and very sincerely, that I have someone to share all these wonderful things. Finally the struggles are over, and I have made it through those struggles alone. I have wept alone, floods of silent tears streaming down my wet cheeks. I have been frightened, scared of what the future may hold, alone.  I have held my own broken heart, in my hands, and wept for the loss of love that it has contained. And I have felt that broken heart start again, and felt it in my chest, one beat at a time.

I have pulled myself up, from the rubbled of the life never to be lived. And I have worked my ass off to be where I am now.

All of this I have done and gone through, alone.

Now, in this time when things are so wonderful, I want someone to share it with. I have paid my dues and walked in the dark alone. Now it is time to hold someones hand in the days of laughter and light.

This year, 2013, is the year of hope and dreams. Of love, light, laughter and the world being my oyster.

And the celebration of love has continued through the weekend with good food, many wonderful conversations with many good friends and good wine.

It is a beautiful life. And for all that I have and am able to share, I am forever grateful.

Storms

The candles are lit. The windows are open. It is raining, a thunderstorm rolls across the sky. The soft sound of the rain on the grass, on the windowpain and on the cement patio outside fill my bedroom. Norah Jones Plays softly on my old stereo. Every now and then the sound of windchimes can beheard if you listen closely. There is wine in a glass sitting on the nightstand by the bed. It is the perfect end to the day.

I love to fall asleep to the sound fo the rain, the sound of thunder off in the distance.

“And I want to wake up with the rain failling on a tine roof, while I’m safe in your arms. All I ask of you is come away with me in the night.”

Oh, how wonderful that would be. To fall alseep wrapped in the warmth of him. The smell of him. The all of him. To be enveloped in his kiss, his eyes, his presence. To feel his breath, once again, on my skin. To listen to his heartbeat as I fall asleep on his chest. Would be wonderful.

But he is a memory going years back. And so I snuggle down in the covers, listen to the rain, listen to Norah, close my eyes and remember. And genlty fall alseep.

How far have You Travelled?

How far have you traveled?

Miles and miles and miles, Uncountable miles in the last year

I have traveled thousands of tear drops down these cheeks.

I have traveled millions of heartbeats around the universe.

I have traveled in dreams, nightmares, hopes and fears.

I have traveled countless breathes in this world, thinking of you.

I have traveled in cars, planes, trains, bikes, motorcycles and my own two feet in the past twelve months.

There have been miles and miles of smiles given, taken, stolen and hidden.

There have been oceans of thoughts in which to get lost, Across the galaxies of time.

From January to December and back again, there have been light years traveled in between raindrops.

In storms of emotion, a thousand ships launched, to find that safe harbor in my heart.

Hauntings and yearnings, longings and secrets kept, never even whispered in the darkest of the nighty.

There have been hundreds of miles of you explored in my mind, as thoughts race through endless nerves in my body.

There have been words written and stories read, upon pages and pages of paper.

From day 1 to day 365, there are trails of skins that have been shed, layers that have been peeled away, pieces of my heart that line the littered sidewalks of my memory.

There have been curse words and blessings uttered, prayers prayed and deals made.

Miles of laughter and promises, kept and broken.

Endless seas in which I was lost, ice storms where I found my way.

I have visited galaxies of lust, love, truth and lies in twelve months time.

And I have seen the the universes of trust, patience, hurt and confusion.

I have walked, bare foot, single hearted, upon the hot sands of your heart, leaving my footprints behind.

There were paths explored, caves overturned, mountains turned around.

I have climbed over doubts, run though dams of frustration, dug under surprises to find the root of it all.

I have been proud, ashamed, honored, trusted, betrayed, hated, loved, feared and wanted.

Wars fought, secrets kept, battles won, and tears wept.

All the while the ebb and flow of life and the moon followed by the heart and soul of one year.

Just one year.

How far have you traveled?

I have traveled a lifetime. That is how far I have come.

Sushi and iPhones

We all have those times in life that are just sweet and good. This is one of those times for me. It is just a very sweet time in my life. My sister is here and life in general is very good.

so tonight was an adventure. Our new iPhones came in today. This may not seem significant, but for a very technically advanced Die hard Android user ( my sister) and a very non technical can barely use my android much less an iPhone person (that would be me) it was going to be an interesting experience to say the least. 5.5 hours later, I think we might have a handle on these iThings.

But before we iLearned the iPhone, it was off to a sushi dinner. It’s been a while since I dropped that much food…se of it even made it to my mouth. Let’s just say that clay women and chop stocks just don’t go together. At all. I am sure it was very entertaining for the other customers to watch as my sister – who is very crafty in the use of such sticks, and me, the woman just trying not to drop anymore food down her shirt.

After dinner there was the search for the Otterboxes (?) for the iPhones. We did not find the covers, but we did manage to find a vacuum cleaner, a water filtration system and an alarm clock all on sale. And you know the rule- if it’s on sale then this skinny girl has to buy it. Maybe tomorrow will be a good day for finding the protective covers. I have has the phone for less than 4 hours before I noticed some large scratches were I had already managed to drop it several times. It’s a talent.

But I have noticed something over the last few days that I had forgotten for many years. I love having someone else in the house. I love coming home to another person, and not an empty home. I love hearing another person around the house. And I love the company.

Many assume that just because I have lived alone on my own for so long, that I must like it, like being by myself. That is not really the case. I can be alone and not be lonely, I can enjoy my own company and have a good life. But the truth be told, I am the happiest when sharing my home with another

I had not realized how much I have missed it until now. My sister is thankful because I am helping her by letting her stay here, but she is actually helping me.

How to Live Your Dream

Every day I wake up so excited because I am a writer. I actually get paid to write. Every day. Sometimes I want to pinch myself. I am living my dream, every day, and sometimes I want to pinch myself.

Many people have asked me how to live your dream and how I became a writer. First off, I kind of went at it backwards, but many great things in history have happened quite be accident. I have always been a writer, and I had been writing for over 25 years before I discovered I was a writer and could get paid for it. Like I said, I was a bit backwards.

And for the first time, I felt like I truly belonged. I had found my place in the world. Before that I had done radio, which was a lot of fuin and aI was great at it, but it didn’t quite fit. Then went to finance, which I was very good at and hated it. When I first got out of radion I tried administrative work. Not only did I hate it but I was terrible at it. I couldn’t do it. It was just too boring to sit and draw up a calander, or type a letter, or organize a filing cabinet. and I just could not see doing any of these thigns for the rest of my life. The came writing. And I will nevr do anything else again.

To live your dream, first you have to know what your dream is, what your passion is. There are so manby books that tell you about this, how to find it and blah, blah, blah. It’s very simple – what gets you excited? What are you passionate about, believe in and could do for the rest of your life?  And I don’t mean playing video games all doy. I mean, what do you really love doing?

Today at lunmch some friends of mine and I were talking about kids in college. All of them were parents, except me, but I have my nephews, so I a Parent 0.5. We talked about how important it is to support your kids inthe career they have choosen. One man had three daughters and they all have decided to be music majors. So they have driving and flown all over the country with their girls for auditions to colleges. Another parent had a child who wanted to be an art major. So they were in the process of putting together a portfolio for him to submit to the colleges of his choice. And as the list went on, it was wonderful to see that these parents were not concerned about anything but their childrens happiness in following hteir dreams.

None of these parents criticixed the kids for not choosing a major that was “profitable” or would lead to a lot of many. They told their children, follow your dreams and we will support you. As a writer, I appreciate that outlook. I have known parents who didn;t like their childrens major and pulled the plug on financing. They were paying for it so they had a say in what their childs dream should be. Ever watch the move October Sky? If not you should. How many parents ruin the relationship with their children because their children will not be controlled like that and follow their dreams instead of their parents wishes?

So support your children in whatever their dreams may be. They may not make the most noeny int he world, but at least they can be happy. and really, what more could we wish for our children than for them to be happy? There are many people who are veyr wealthy, who have great lucrative careers, but who are miserable.

Follow your dreams and your passion, no matter what. No matter who does ot does not agree with it. No matter who supoorts you or not. Then work hard, I mean have a sick work ethic when it comes to your dream. Do not accept no as an answer when you are following that dream. If Stephen King accepted every no he got before he finally found someone interested in his writing…we would never have heard of Stephen King. And do whatever you have to do to make that dream come true.

With hard work, determination, perseverance and lots of luck, you can it, whatever it is. It won’t be easy, but wnything worth having is worth fighting for.

Helping Friends Get Published – Pay it Forward

When you are blessed, lucky, fortunate, I believe you should “pay it forward.” You must give back.

No matter what we do, how old we are or what our circumstances, we can always help someone else. Doing random acts of kindness has long been said to not only help others, but ourselves as well. There are many benefits including making us feel better emotionally, boosting our immune system, helps us be less isolated, promotes goodwill and fosters friendships. It also keeps us humble in realizing just how lucky we are. Paying it forward also increases gratitude, both for the giver and reciever.

The famed sociologist Georg Simmel declared that gratitude is “the moral memory of mankind.” If every grateful action, he went on to say, were suddenly eliminated, society would crumble. It is part of our humanity as well. Get rid of gratitude, compassion and empathy are sure to follow. We need gratitude and the help of others.  The saying no man is an island is so very true. 

No matter how harad you work, you cannot have success without other people. Whether they supported you morally, financially or emotionally, we could not do it without them.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine contacted me about a publisher she was working with who was looking for some new fresh writers in my catagory. I jumped at the chance to have a publisher look at my work. Now things look good and are coming together rather quickly. This is so very exciting as I did not expect interest this soon. So, when she said she was looking for good science fiction writers yesterday, I sent out notice to my groups. The result is that I never know how many friends I have that writer science fiction! And after submitting several friends information to her, she said that if she likes their writing, she will put them on the fast track for publishing just as she has done for me.

If it wasn’t for my friend submitting my writing, I would not be publishing this soon. And now I have the chance to do the same for others. And it feels good.

But it is not just about feeling good. As I look at my life, it seems that good will, love and care for others is a cycle.  For example, my mother stayed up watching over me after a particularly bad day a few weeks ago. She gave her love to me through thaty action. Now as my sister needs a home away from home which to stage her next career move, I watch over her and make sure she has what she needs. It’s a beautiful cycle, and we could not survive as a society without it.

To me, life is a series of cycles, some better than others. As a a writer, it is so very exciting not only to have an opportunity to have my book published and distributed because of a friend passing my information along, but it is also so very exciting to do that for other writers as well. And when my friends and I all have books on the New York Times Best Seller list…we will celebrate each others success. And still, pass it on to others so they too can have the chance given nto each one of us.

Paying it forward just seems like a natural step since I have been so fortunate. Helping others helps ourselves, so helping cannot ever be truly altruistic. And that is fine, as long as everyone benefits. But always give back. Always help when you can. Because the life we have can change in the blink of an eye, and you never know when it may be you who needs the help. So when karma comes to visit, make sure it’s pleasant.

Holy Family Batman!

There are times in life that just take you by surprise. This past week was that for both my sister and me. My sister was downsized from her job this week. She has 3 kids, two of which are in collage. Ouch. And the city where she lives has no job market. Double ouch. So, she is moving up and moving in with me. Tomorrow.  So is my oldest nephew. She will look for a job here, and no doubt find one quickly.

She great at what she does. But she is not so great at selling herself. So I re did her resume (because as a writer, that is part of what I do for free for my friends and family).

This is extremely exciting, but also a bit scary. I have never been the head of a household. I have only lived with one other person who i was going to marry and have been on my own for 20 years. Living alone. I am hoping I know how to live with two other people. I hope I al good at it. Living with my boyfriend, as I did once, is very different than having roommate, who are family.

So, we are all going to be a great little family, the three of us. The spare bedroom has a new comforter set for her, as that will be her room. The office will be turned into my nephew’s room. And this is so exciting to plan making my home comfortable and warm for them. There will be home cooked meals, hot cups of tea, laughter around the coffee table, TV shows watched and discussed and memories made.

But still I hope I am a good host. I hope they feel welcome and wanted, with soft towels and clean sheets.

Celebration of Love – The State of My Union

It’s that time if year again – where love is in the air. It’s Valentines Day, the day to celebrate love and everything that goes along with it. And for many singletons, and those who are attached in relationships as well, it is a time for shear panic. I have never understood the panic associated with this couples day celebrating love. Maybe that is because how I have always viewed Valentines Day.

Most of the time I am single for Valentines, because honestly I avoid dating men during the holidays like the plaque. If I am not already in a relationship when Halloween rolls around, I don’t even think about dating until after February 14th. This year I am seeing a wonderful man, but my view on the day has stayed the same.

For me, Valentines has not been about roses, chocolates and expensive dinners. And honestly I really hate going out on Valentines because every place is crowded, menu prices are jacked up for “couples deals” and it is just a big hassle. I would rather stay in, watch a movie, snuggle on the couch under a blanket, have a glass of wine and go to bed early. That sounds much better than getting dressed up, fighting traffic, trying to arrive on time for the reservations, going to a crowded place.

To me the day has been about a celebration of love, all the different kinds of love you have in your life. And when I look around, my life has an abundance of love whether I am seeing someone or not.

I have the best family in the world. We are super close, we are truly there for each other, support each other and love each other no matter what. Truly unconditional. And I am so lucky to have that because so many do not. I am very aware of how mucky and blessed I am in that area.

Next there are my friends. I have a very small group of close friends, though I know many, many people and have thousands of contacts. But my core group of friends are amazing. They are honest, loyal, have honor and integrity. Some I have known for 30 years, the newest for 3 years. And I could call anyone of them, and they me, no matter what, and we would be there for each other. And have been.

So when I look around at the amount of love in my life, a partner is the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. And that is how it should be, because having a full life means recognizing how rich are already are with what you already have.

So don’t worry if you are single this Valentines, because if you look around, you \have more love than you think you do. So celebrate it and be thankful.

Out With the Old! – Cleaning Up, Giving Up and Stress Relief

We all go through those times were we need to clean out – the car, the closet, the friends list, the email, the garage. We all also know people whose house, closet, desk, etc are all so cluttered that you just can’t even think. Sometimes you just want to go in with a big trash back, or industrial size vacuum cleaner that can suck up all those magazines, old shoes and pants that don’t fit, so you can see the forest without all the leaves. I am doing all of that. They say that there is a psychological benefits to cleaning  Here and here. (And you can thank me for such interesting, cool reading).

For me, cleaning out the clutter is extremely cathartic. it starts with the physical cleaning out…and makes it’s way to emotionally cleaning out the cobwebs, old information, ideas and such that serve no purpose.  And I am looking forward to that as much as I am actually having room in my closet.

Ther has been much mental and emotional clutter buyilt up, and it is time to clean the cobwebs out. If it does not serve me, then it is going out – shoes, pants, people and old magazines. Thats’ it. I’ve had enough and I don;t want the clutter anymore!

Why do we have clutter byuild up anyway? IT’s like a bad ring of soap scum around the bathtub of life. Gross!  Maybe it’s because we arew afraid to let go of those old memories, thoughts or things. Even if the do not fit us, or our lives anymore, we know them. we kn0w the faults they have, know where they don’t fit, and find comfort in that familiarity. Maybe others are afraid to let go fo things because that means letting go of a part of life that is jut too painful to try to part with. And again, some people can get comfortable in their pain, because they know it, and the thought of being open to a new pain is just too…terrifying.

But we will never have room for the new wonderful adventures, thoughts, ideas and people are emant to have in our lives, if we always hang on the is old and what we have outgrown. There is a reason why they call it growing pains, because change is not comfortable for most people. But nothing good ever came easy.

So don’t be afraid to clean out that garage, or desk, or friendslist. Because your life is waiting for you…and you will never know until you make room for all the wonderful things life has in store for you. Clean out, appreciate what the old brought you, taught you and made you…then gently put them in the trash and step away…right into the life that is waiting for you.

Lent and Self Reflection

Today is Ash Wednesday, and it marks the start of Lent. For those who are not familiar with this season in the Christian church, it is a time of discipline and self reflection. It is a time of quiet and stillness. To be find your center.

Every year I give up something and take another task on. This year I am giving up cokes (and all carbonated drinks. Eek).  Then this year the extra discipline will be to open up and connect with others on a deeper level. I have become quite a hermit in the last year, and have closed quite a few people out.

I am also concentrating on much self reflection. IT is difficult for me to admit in a public forum, but because of the attack, I have been diagnosed with PTSD. This may seem strange, but more people suffer from PTSD after a violent attack of domestic violence, than vets coming back from the wars. You can read about the causes and symptoms of PTSD here and here and here. Pretty intersting stuff. And i suffered from every symptom right after the attack. Now I am mainly just subject to being extra irritable, and thus have a hard time maintaining close personal relaitonships.

Now the legal and physical battle is finally over, I am taking this time to really heal from the attack and subsequent 18 months of legal hassles, stalking and fear. Finally I can rest and relax.

So this Lenten Season will have a different tone to it. It’s meaning will be much more intimate to me. Because this is the season I get back to me. And that feels good. I have seen glimpses of me along in the past 18 months, but they have been fleeting and in between legal fights and scary threats. I look forward to being healed, from the inside out.

And I really look forward to drinking cokes again. And I am really looking forward to going to church with someone.

Lingerie Modeling – I Can Cross That off My List!

When we are young, we often make lists of what we want to do or be in life. A bucket list so to speak. And as we go throug blife, we realize that some of those things will never be crossed off the list…but then, if we are lucky, most of them will be.

I always wanted to be paid to write. And I can cross that off the list. I always =wanted to interview nacy Reagan, and I crossed thatoff my life. Always wanted to be in TV, wanted to be in a movie, and yes, I have crossed those off my list. As a joke, I said that I would love to walk the catwalk as a model…and I have been able to check that one off too.  But I never thought I would be able to check off “be a lingeri model.” But starting next week, Iwill be a professional ligerie model. Holy crap.

It is a high end store, in a high end part of town that also has stores in Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Toronto. They want real women who have nice figures. Which is good because I am over 100 lbs and am not planning on starving myself anytime soon. Don’t get me wrong, I am no slouch, but neither a Victoria’s Secret model either. It does make me a bit nervous – lots of the crew seeing me in barely there outfits. Eek. And they are going top Pay Me. OK, that makes up for the whole, lots of people are going to see me in my panties thing.

It reminds me of the Sex and the City episode where Carrie is asked to walk the catwalk in a fashion show with real women. Carrie ended up tripping and falling on the runway due to a questionable pair of shoes – something that indeed did happen to me during my brief stint as a shoe model. Accept I was back stage when it happened…and my leg stuck out on the stage from behind the curtain. Not a great moment. My clumsiness is always finding me at the worst possible times.

Outside of falling backstage to become “fashion roadkill,” it was much fun, with hair, make up and woredrobe people assigned to each model. And they gave us lots of champagne before each show because they wanted us happy and bubbly.

So, it is with excitement and a little bit of nervousness that I start this adventure. I can check off being a lingerie model from my list of things I never thought I would get a chance to do in my life. And all my ex boyfriends can brag ghat they went out with a model…a lingerie model. And they will be talking about me. So cool! Yes, this year is going to be full of wonderful things, this just being one of them. It’s fun to play a model…then go home, get in your comfy sweatpants and eat some ice cream.

Guess I better make an appointment to get waxed.