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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.

The Best Life

I have often written that  is so much fun being a girl.  And it is. so what could be better? Having your sister with you.

Yesterday we had the most fun shopping, trying on clothes and just being girls. Then after an afternoon of shopping, and many, many outfits and shoes later, we left and went home. My sister cooked us a wonderful dinner. And after we ate, was time to play. So we got the wine and chocolates, and all the clothes and tried on every different outfit combination that existed.

We stayed up talking until 2am, these two girls, these two sisters, making a great life. We shared thoughts, philosofies and laughter, chocolate and wine. Memories were made that will last a lifetime.

And that is the thing about having people around you that you love and who love you, they make your life better and sweeter.

And as I went to bed last night, it accured to me, that my life is better and sweeter than it has ever been. And right now, at this moment, I have everything I want. My dreams are coming true and I have wonderful people in  my life with which to share all the wonderful things. I have a wonderful close family with whom I can trust, great friends who are the my heart, a great career that I love, a job with a company I love, My father’s health is good and great things are happening with my book.

The issues right now are small ones: Getting the belt on my treadmill to stop slipping. Figuring out how to reach the outside light thingy to put the cover on it. And whether or not a truck rental is needed to move my nephew. But those are so minor, and life is so good right now.

I am truly blessed and so very thankful for the life I have been given.

More Than Just Yourself

It is funny how we settle for what is ecceptable to us, but yet we want more for those we love.  A very good example of this is my sister moving in with me.  The guest room has been fine for jsut me. But now that My sister is moving in, I want more for her. So there is a new blanket, new sheet and a new feel to the room.

My cupboard had enough for me, and even some guest. But for family, I want more for them. I want there to be more; better. I can settle, but those that are close to me should not have to.

And so it is with joy and excitement that I make my home a home for my family. As the cupboard is full, more towels are placed in the closet, clean sheets, lots of teas and yummy things for cool nights and long conversations that only sisters can have.

And that is how you make a home for more than just yourself.

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.

My Best Valentine

I really don’t usually celebrate or make a big deal out of Valenetine’s Day, even when dating someone. And this year was no different. Please let’s not go out, let’s just stay in, watch a movie and order pizza. And so we did. And it was wonderful.

But when I went to answe the door, he had a big teddy bear that said “Hug me”, a box of choclates and a an amzizng box of chocolate covered strawberries from Sherries Berries. YUM!!!

And so it was, we ate the decadent chocolate covered strawberries, drank wine, watched a great movie, ordered pizza, and snuggled on the couch. Low key, warm, fun and wonderful.

And that is how you do Valanetines, Mari style.

What Not to do And To Do on Valentines – A Mans Guide to a Happy Woman

Guys, we know you try. But sometimes a little help can go a long way.  So, here is what not to do on Valentine’s, and helpful hints that will make her smile as well.

Don’t Say I love you – unless you mean it!  Those three words mean a lot, but they imply much more. There is an old saying, that until you say I love you, you are a free agent. So once those words are spoken, the game changes and she will expect that you mean you actually LOVE, that you only want to be with her and no one else. So if you are not ready to be exclusive, don’t say I love you.

Recently I had a man who told me he loved me…while he was sleeping with another woman. Yep, can you say sleaze-bag? He didn’t understand why I was upset at his cheating either, because he didn’t see it as cheating. He eventually fessed up that he just said it to ‘avoid confrontation and because he missed me. (Translation: I wanted to screw you AND the other woman. He probably said “I love you” to her too.)

Say I love you only when you mean it, only when you are ready to be exclusive and only when you are ready deliver what those words mean to her.

Don’t Date Someone – just so you don’t have to be alone and Valentine’s, then break up with her shortly thereafter.  Kind of a nasty thing to do to a girl, just because you don’t want to be alone.  I cannot tell you how many guy friends I have that have admitted to dating a girl only because they did not want to be alone for the holidays and broke up with her right after Valentine’s. Don’t be “that guy.”

Instead, wait until someone you are really interested comes along, and if it happens to coincide with the magic day of love, then all the better. Trust me, the right woman is worth the wait.

Flowers are nice but…Give her flowers just because it’s a Tuesday, and she will be a very happy woman. Roses are ridiculously expensive on Valentine’s Day, so why not save that money and give her a gift that she really wants instead? Maybe give her a rose with the amazing gift…and see how much she appreciates it. Besides, just as with an expensive dinner, anyone with a credit card can get her some flowers, do something for her that is distinctly you.

Don’t just do Nothing. Times are hard in this day and age. So what if you don’t have the money to really treat your woman for Valentines Day? No worries, there are plenty of wonderful things to do that don’t cost a thing. For instance, cook her dinner. If you are not much of a cook, how about give her a massage, a foot rub, scratch her back, run her a hot bath, or even better, take a both with her. I LOVE to take a bath with my man, It’s wonderful, sexy, intimate, and romantic. Don’t forget the candles and soft music.

The Dance – How about slow dancing with her to her favorite love song? For guys, this may sound silly, or may even make you a little sick…but trust me, she will love it. I had a man slow dance with me in in living room once, and I melted all over the floor. It was a t that moment that I knew I was in love with him. Yes, slow dancing is that good. 

And Finally – How about going parking and having a good old fashioned make out session? Remember when we used to do this as teenagers? When was the last time you did it? In the rushed world of being an adult, sometimes we forget just how wonderful, romantic and just plain hot it is to park and make out. I know I would love it.

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.