Words do not have to mean what you think they mean…

The Light and Shade Challenge


Pride, envy, avarice – these are the sparks have set on fire the hearts of all men.

– Dante Aligheri
.Imagine if you will…
A world where there were no “deadly sins” … Where there were no heaven to worry about exalting to… no judgement day or raining fiery hellish end of this earth…
Where a word like Pride is a positive thing… Something you took in your work… and in the effort of studies and understanding… Take pride in the fact that Information is a better educator than fear in your life.
And Envy … rather than wallowing in it…it becomes your measure for goal making… and that you truly believed that if you wanted something bad enough… you could work for it… and when you attained said goal… it did not tarnish anyone else’s… Make your goal to be a person that touches so many people with Kindness that you spark that same envy in others!
That your Avarice was only referred to in terms of friends, family, loved ones and adventures…. for when speaking of those things… and the wanting them in your life… the ultimate greed would be to be surrounded by those who matter to you most… adventuring across this vast planet… and if your avarice was great… and good… it would allow for all walks of life… all ways of thinking.. all forms of worship… because the more people on your adventure with you the better…. Be Greedy with your hopes and dreams!
I could continue… The case could be made for the word stubborn… Be too stubborn to give up… too stubborn to let go of your ambitions.
Insecurity kills all that is beautiful… Hate kills hope.
When you think of setting on fire one’s heart… realize that it is passion… passion is where everything begins.

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice…

Coffee Talk! Share your first pumpkin spice latte of the season with us.

Coffee Talk! Share your first pumpkin spice latte of the season with us.

Sound Track for this post… as they sometimes have… just go ahead and click play and keep reading…

Sunday afternoon… No Smalls!

Just Mr Amazing and I driving up the winding canyon road… talking about everything that is important in our lives right now… about getting older… and how priorities change… and perspective… He is turning 40 in just a few days… it is very daunting to him… I cannot help but laugh because I remember just two years ago being in the same spot… I remember being so afraid of it…but it came anyways… and something magical happened… I changed… much like the seasons… much the like the colors starting to touch these leaves we were making the journey to see their change…. their change is beautiful

Alpine Mountains

Alpine Mountains

And so are the changes we go through in life… I remember thinking how it was a measure of who I was… what I had accomplished at 40… which was not what I had wanted… not what I had imagined… and not nearly good enough.

But then the day after 40 came… and then another… and then another… and it didnt matter anymore… infact… most of my preconceived notions about life… who I was and how it should be did not matter any more… Some kind of dark magic happened. I quit worrying about it.

Alpine Mountains

Alpine Mountains

And I listened to him worry that he had not done enough… and he didnt know what he was going to do… and I smiled at him… fondly… because I am so full of the fondness for this man… and I told him to just wait…

We are not what we do… we are not where we have been… where we are going… what we have accomplished… None of those things are who we really are … We are what is inside of us… and something about 40 makes what is inside of us scream to be heard finally… to be paid attention too… to be expressed!

He shook his head and laughed his “if you say so” laugh… and I told him how sexy he is… as we do.

We stopped at some dirty gas station for cokes… when I spotted it… that old school… probably full of bacteria… one button wonder…. Pumpkin Spice Machine… and I drank that shit.

Because Life is not as short as we think it is… and fall brings out the best in all of us.

Happy Birthday Tall Child

When I was younger… a sophomore in highschool…
on the 30th of September…my first niece was born.

Write something that begins and ends with the words “When I was younger.”

Write something that begins and ends with the words “When I was younger.”

Today I call her daughter.

I dont have the patience to look through the history of my own blog and see if I have told her amazing story before… and that is okay… because even if I had told it… it would be different today… because we are different today… we are fucking old.

You came to be my daughter through unconventional methods… as all good daughters do.
You were 12 going on 13 and you will never forget the weekend you came to live with me… because it marked the date of your journey into womanhood… your first period! I am sure there could be a million other milestones that mark it… but Im going with this one… because… Ha!

It was only going to be a temporary stay… just someone to watch over her for a little bit… I remember clearly the day I knew it was going to be a permanent situation… and the brave call with the detective… and the search warrant issued on your previous residence…sure… there were court rooms… the therapy sessions… the tears…the sleeping on the foot of my bed.

but there was also birthday parties… all night talks…the lama festival… “cute toes” at the fair…The hamster escapes… the calling the drama teacher an asshole in front of the entire class!

Highschool was amazing… to look back on… not at the time… The Leprechaun, The Drag Queen, The making out in the hall way with the foreign exchange student…

I remember telling you how special you are… how much light you had inside of you… I see it still.

She has grown into the most stunning of peoples. (Plural… because the grandsons are literally falling out of her… her words not mine!)

You who I thought I was saving… saved me

She became the greatest influence on small childs life… She was his hero… his best friend…

She taught me to be brave… and honest… She embodies the very definition of hard work and determination.

Through everything life has tossed at us… we figured it out together… The gratitude I feel for having her enter my home is overwhelming sometimes… I truly cannot imagine my life without her.

It has not been easy… and I have not always been proud of how I have handled things… but there is not a single day when I am not proud to be mom…

Happy Happy Birthday Tall Child!!

The Fairest of them all...

The Fairest of them all…

I never ever looked this beautiful btw… even when I was Younger.

All my life…

Something you wanted to be when you grew up.

Something you wanted to be when you grew up.

<settles in with popcorn, a drink, grey sweatpants, messybun, dog on my feet, TV on in the background>

My Entire life… for as long as I can remember … I have wanted to do one thing….. Write.

Sure I took classes for writing… along with child development… business development… then I went and worked a Marketing career for most of my adult life.

My dreams of being a writer were prior to blogging days… prior to internet days… yes… I am that old

My first memories of wanting to write come in Elementary school… where i remember being so moved by a book that I described it so emotionally in the book report that a teacher mentioned my flair for drama might make me a writer.

Through Junior Highschool I switched to the gothic poetry writing… life is bleak… wear all black… stick it to the man. stuff.

Highschool brought more poems… and cutting… and then I began trudging the road to a happy destiny… that included the stopping of wallowing in the wrongs of the world… and the impending demise of it… and onto looking at the brighter side of things…. and the writing stopped for a time….

Once I wrote a story… about 500 pages worth of it… it was a mixture of real and fabrication to make it sound better… and then I put it in a garbage can and set it on fire.

The internet happened… which was quickly followed with message boards and forums… I wrote like a mad woman… really… I was mad about so many social issues.

Then blogs… Ive had several.. finally landing here years ago and settling in nicely … see? notice the popcorn and pajamas?

I joined some writing groups… not much unlike this favorite workshop of mine (Kats)

and a story started… a fictional one… and it is beautiful.

and I write.

I have always been a writer… from even before I knew I wanted to be one…

It kind of reminds me of this… I am just gonna leave this right here… I’m done… the popcorns gone.


Filtering the world.

The Light and Shade Challenge

The Light and Shade Challenge

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. 
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

– Oscar Wilde

How many masks do you have to put on each day…

mom… evil stepmother… wife…  friend… tortured soul of a writer.

there are variations of these… to protect us in social circles… good girl… bad girl…. tough girl…  caring girl.

The poem, written by Charles C. Finn was titled Please Hear What I am Not Saying.

The opening lines read, “Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face I wear, for I wear a mask, a thousand masks, masks that I am afraid to take off and none of them is me.”

Personally I think we hide ourselves because we’re afraid that the truth of who we are will not be acceptable… That if others…  even those who we trust with our love… were to see who we really are they would turn from us… that we will be seen not as angels but as monsters.
But we can’t all be monsters…
Feelings are not right or wrong… they just are.. and it is what we do with them that determines our worth.

 as a child… I was wearing a very self destructive mask through those years… one that almost fuzed itself permanently to my skin… in the process of taking it off I found…

a journey of self discovery is as simple as deciding which masks are the faces you want to show the world… they are not someone else’s masks…and if they resemble others… it is simply because you took part of what they offered up to the world… they are not foreign objects … the are slivers of personality… leaks of truth… partial revelations…

all of our heroes wear masks.

I cannot find the source to attribute this photo to... sorry.

If you truly want to know yourself… or another…. it is not about removing the masks… but seeing them all at once… forest for the trees and what not.



Free Falling…

Write a blog post that ends with the word: leap.

 Write a blog post that ends with the word: leap.

Looking for work when you don’t really want to work is hard…

I have always worked… always… since I was fifteen…I am turning 42 this month…  Im sure there were stretches I have forgotten about where I was between jobs for a month or two… but I cannot remember a single one… and I was with the company I just jumped ship from for almost 15 years… I am entering my 4th week of not going to work… It is time for me to get serious about doing something about that… I have gone on 4 or 5 job interviews now… nothing has felt right..either for them or me… <sigh> I am getting a little discouraged… which is funny because I am not desperate yet… Im worried I will get there… but I planned this well…

Here is the thing though… The filling out of applications is easy… submitting a resume … I have amazing skills… Its the interviews that are killing me. I feel like I am selling myself… which I understand I am… and I come out of those things terrified of two things… one.. that I didn’t sell myself well enough… and two… that I over did it and my days of laying in bed plunking away at my cute purple keys on my macbook air are over… I am torn with whether they should be or not.

So far… I have only not been the right candidate… or the job is not right for me… but I am going to have to decide what I am doing next…

I love being home … I love the alone time… I love the writing… I love the coffee sipping… bird listening… housework upkeep… the freedom… the lack of stress… but at the end of day I get the better of me and it ends with worthlessness… not earning my keep… gelatinous pile of netflix watching flesh

Today is September 1st… and I am feeling weepy… guilty… always always guilty… I think it’s my middle name… Guilty that Mr. Amazing is working his ass off… Guilty that I am home at a time when Small Child doesn’t need me to be… when he could have used me his entire life… until now.. he just gets up and drives himself to school…. guilty that I am not cleaning enough… or at all really … guilty for breathing… The wind is blowing outside… the sound of it against the windows is just enough to keep me from continuing down that flight of stairs inside my mind…

Oh... Look... No Make Up... Bags under eyes... Still fucking sexy.

Oh… Look… No Make Up… Bags under eyes… Still fucking sexy.

So here is the thing … For someone that has zero religion… I tend to believe that everything happens for a reason… and my life has always had a way of working out… very much despite my best efforts… now that doesn’t mean I dont need to do the footwork… and maybe it works out because I make the best out of whatever is given to me… Im not really sure… but I do know that even though I feel the need to constantly justify it… I am doing the right thing for me right now… which is pretty much nothing at all. There is a saying “Leap… and the net will appear” … Im working with out a net here people… I don’t even want one…FUCK the net…  so here I am… after the kamikaze yell… and the barrelling towards the edge of what I have always known… every time I choose to leap.

… My amazing graces

Go ahead and click play on the song  – We all know how much I love The Piano Guys… Well this is their latest work of art… and I dub it the themesong of my life right now… so give it a listen while you finish reading this beautiful disaster.

So I kind of disappeared there didn’t I!

I disappeared long before I stopped writing the blog… Slowly I was turning invisible… But as my previous blogs have mentioned I was ready for change… I was ready to be Bad Ass… and bad assery is on the way…

I did it… I quit my job… and what I did at first… was clean compulsively … I mean not really clean … but pick up and vacuum a lot … dusted some things… put away alllllllll the laundries…

then I watched a season or two of TV …

Here are the things I did not do: stay in bed all day… cry… stay in pajamas… eat like shit

The second week we took our summer vacation to San Diego… and the magic was palpable (… I just really love that word)



We did all kinds of things…. as you can see above… including the safari park… body surfing… Mr Amazing’s glasses went to swim with the sharks… got sunburnt in all kinds of weird places… Drank ALLLLLLLL the cocktails… ate enchiladas that I swear were my spirit animal

Here are the things I did not do: Panic… Hurt… Cry… stay long enough (seriously I could spend weeks there)

and suddenly here I am wrapping up week two of unemployment… My saved up vacation pay has been paid out and I am officially not earning any money.

I took some time to get the kiddos ready for school… inventorying of clothes and shoes and such… I spent some time with family… I spoke on the phone to friends… Not text or gchats… like actual phone conversations that lasted longer than 5 minutes… I applied for some jobs… and set up a couple of interviews for next week…and I wrote… I mean really wrote… not blogged… not updated my facebook status… or tweeted… I mean I wrote… about 50 pages worth of a novel I have been typing a page here and there on for over a year…

I painted… a little

I listened to music

I hung out with my kids… just hung out… doing nothing

I cooked dinners… really cooked them… didnt drive through for them or microwave them

I am having a family dinner tonight… Tall child and Allllllll the babies included.

I found a part of myself I had lost… The part that knows how to slow down… and breathe.

I will let you know what I find next.




You Matter…

Picture if you will…

It was a beautiful Saturday evening… sitting in the courtyard of the local shopping plaza on plush out door furniture… and fake green grass being cartwheeled across by a handful of rambunctious children.

The fountain is spraying in a choreographed multihued performance to the music playing from the well placed speakers… out of sight in flower boxes as if the flowers themselves were singing to us…

Happily seated between Mr. Amazing and Small Child… waiting for our XD 3D center row seating to the latest magic Marvel has put before us.

Perfection … halted by the alert of a text on my phone…

The following image was received from my  best friend… She explains that she was cleaning her teenage daughters room while she is off at camp when she climbed into her bed which is in a nook and saw something that could only been seen by someone laying there… that is was not visible from any other angle… and she sent me this image as she lay there as her daughter does daily…


A lump formed in my throat and dread settled around my heart like a cloak… and I can only imagine this is a sliver of what my friend is going through… I try to imagine how she must be feeling… and try to say the right thing…

I do not need to imagine how the girl is feeling… I do not need to imagine the depth of shame and self loathing that drives someone to write such things… to punish oneself so brutally. No Imagination required… I have an infinite pool of experience to swim in to know exactly what she must feel like… and what it must feel like to wake daily and look at those words. I run my fingers along the scars on my arms… they are 23 years old… I touch the deep gouge of a scar on my thigh… I can still feel it even through my jeans… I remember carving the word “Worthless” on myself… I remember my journal entries filled with too many feelings… filled with hate and pain.

It is wrong how we sometimes treat ourselves… If someone on the street… or in the children’s school spoke to our children that way we would beat their asses… we would intervene… we would get them help and support them and make sure they knew they were not alone…

But what do you do… when the bully… the abuser… the hate is being spewed by the person you love… in the case of our offspring more than we love anything else on the planet… People are left speechless… afraid and confused in these situations… They say horrible things… “They just want attention”… “Its the media… the marketing… the music… their friends”

So we did what anyone in my situation would do… We awoke early this morning… and I went to the craft store… I took small with me… not only to talk about the situation… but because we all love this girl so very much…  Her amazing mother and older brother hauled the bed in pieces to the carport and covered the words that beautiful girl… whose only vice is feeling maybe a little too much… and they painted over them in her favorite colors… Small Child and I went to work with stickers, stencils, acrylic paints and sharpies… 3 hours later…


She may be angry with us when she discovers it upon climbing into her bed… and finds we paid little attention to her want of privacy… and space…she may be embarrassed… she may be revolted by the cheerful affirmations.. and flowers… and butterflies… but the message is loud and clear… “You Matter”… “You are loved” and if anyone had seen two teenage boys painting her bed pink and moving it around so that us mothers could tell her to “Shine” they would understand how very true those words we adhered onto her bed… with nothing less than gorilla glue…. were.

They were true for this young woman… they were true for the young men taking the time to make sure she heard them… without judgement… they were true for the mothers so concerned as we worked so hard to give her a different perspective…

They are true for everyone…

So if you needed to be reminded… as we all do from time to time… You are Loved… and You Matter!


Dear Son…

It’s so fucking hard to believe you’re turning 16 today.

Apparently… when I blinked, your little blond mancub self… who used to spend hours catching grasshoppers and swimming and music has grown into a tall…kind.. thoughtful…  smart teenager who loves games and girls…

I know this journey hasn’t been easy.

I know your dad and I (especially I!) have made mistakes… but we have done our best… I promise to continue to do so.

It’s not easy figuring out what should be said and done and those words that should remain unsaid and the actions that should remain undone.

Because sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to stay back and let the lesson teach itself… I am so sorry about your dad not being here.

There have been a couple of close calls–a few times I felt my heart in my throat.

When you chased your sister and her friends around the block… with myself and some neighbor lady trying to catch you… when you got past the dead bolt for the first time… when the lump formed on your neck… and later when they wheeled you away to surgery to remove it….when you broke your leg… when the scuba gear sank you like a lead weight…. when your dad died…

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell you what I want you to know. Many times… we don’t see eye-to-eye. Sometimes…  I don’t do well when I’m put on the spot. Sometimes (most times),  I do better in writing. So here goes.

I know you think you have it figured out. Life, I mean.

And in many ways, you do. You get good grades, you get along with your peers, you love music and your viola,. You feel things deeply… and injustice bothers you.

These are all attributes that make me proud of you.

Please–never fail to listen when somebody older and wiser tries to give you advice… Let the BFG offer to help with math…  You don’t always have to take it (many times you shouldn’t!), but listen to those who care enough to try to help.

In just a few years, you’ll be going off to college– Now you are driving without me… making decisions on your own.

I’m not worried about that. Well shit…  I do worry a little, but I think you’ll be fine.

Your moral standards will hold. I know it may sound cliché but I’m going to say it anyway…  follow your heart. Follow your conscience. It’s kept you kind and compassionate.

One thing I do worry about: I want you to make time for friends. I know you are introverted and it’s easier to stay by yourself … but you have so much to offer others: your sense of humor…  your knowledge of current events… your integrity…  your wit. You’re so funny!

Please, don’t sell yourself short. Shoot for the stars! Set high goals. It’s okay to not always succeed — sometimes falling is part of the process. Don’t let yourself get discouraged. Sometimes, you’ll get told “No.” Even though it stings, it’s not the end of the world. If it’s important to you, keep trying…don’t let one person (or opportunity) hold you back. Never let YOU be the one to hold yourself back.

When you do win…know you deserved it. Nobody can say you didn’t.

I’m your mom, and I love you more than I can say… more than there are words to write…and I can’t wait to see how you’re going to shake up this world of ours.

It’s going to be beautiful.

You are My Sunshine...

You are My Sunshine…



Dear Nine Year Old…

It is no secret that Second marriages don’t always have the perfect start. It is hard to find happiness and love in a relationship which lacks foundation… By foundation I mean a childless time…. we started this journey as a family… and now you are nine…

Separation and divorce can sometimes make it difficult for some kids to get along with their step parent… . But life always presents opportunities to build bridges …   please don’t assume that I will never understand your emotions… and you should know your continued maturity does continue to amaze me and I can only hope my words and presence will have a strong impact on your perception about what and who you are as a person.

My biggest hope for us is that I can show you that It takes time to build relationships…  Be patient and selfless – and if you wait for it… one day you will realize how much love you have in store for your life… how much you are loved… and so to celebrate your 9th year my stunningly beautiful step daughter… 9 cheesy reasons I hope you have the best birthday ever

1)  A daughter who is a best friend in disguise – my dear you are my life’s biggest prize. Happy Birthday Banana Pants.

2)  You could have been a force that caused fights between me and your father but instead…  you became the glue that held us together… thank you for making the family stronger.. Happy Birthday Sweetheart

3) Stepmothers have to put in effort to find reasons and ways to love their stepdaughters… but you have made me a natural pro at my job. Happy Birthday Cuteness.

4) Fairy tales have always portrayed stepmothers as wicked…But for me, the only time I’m get wicked is when someone else tries to be wicked with you. Happy birthday Babygirl.

5) Our relationship is like clay… it can change its form according to circumstances but it will always make us stick together. Happy Birthday Angel Girl…

6) The best stepdaughters in the world are not the ones who accept their fathers’ new wives… but the ones who welcome them as new best friends in their lives. Happy Birthday Miss Bee.

7) You range from curious to anxious… nervous to afraid… worried to petrified –  all wrapped up in one tricky little girl… we all stepped into this  new family, and the adventure started… we have had so much fun. Happy Birthday. Pretty Facey

8) You could have resented my presence in your father’s life… but you cherished it. You could have hated my involvement in your own life… but you valued it… You could have detested my addition in your family… and your step brothers… but you welcomed it. Thanks, Happy Birthday Lil Miss Thang

9) If fights and distance make loved ones eventually come closer… let’s continue to fight… Someday it will make us the closest stepmom-stepdaughter in the world. Happy Birthday… Way To Go Buffalo.

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday!!