To Hug Again…

IMG_0010To hug or not to hug? That is the question. For the past year, I’ve opted for the safe route—NOT to hug—not just to keep myself safe, but to make sure I am keeping those around me safe. It’s been incredibly hard to keep my arms at my sides when I want to hug my daughter, my sister or my friends. I have kept my hands to myself for over a year, but not without a price.

I don’t think I am alone when I say the lack of human touch affected my health. A massage would have been nice or even someone to just hold my hand or put an arm around my shoulder. Being single this past year has made it even harder as I chose not to risk entering the dating pool.perf5.000x8.000.indd

The good news here is my lack of social interaction provided an opportunity to hunker down and get serious about finding a home for my book. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so focused on that if I were out playing with my friends. A little promo here: you can buy my book, The Price of Secrets with the links on this blog and I would not be opposed to you sharing any positive remarks 😊.

The bad news, of course, was the lack of human touch. One of the hardest things I faced was sharing my home with my daughter for almost a year while avoiding those coveted hugs. Because of our forays into the world (grocery store, golf course, Costco), we were both afraid to hug—she was afraid for me because I was old and I was afraid for her because she has asthma. I am so happy to say that all changed when we were both vaccinated. We finally feel free to hug one another.

As we all get vaccinated, the world is opening up. I only hope EVERYONE will go forward with the vaccine so we won’t regress to the levels of last year. I don’t want to live my life on ZOOM! I hope all of you will soon be feeling as safe as I do (I’m 3 months past my second shot). It’s a wonderful feeling and…

I am ready to hug again!

Release Me!

When I was eleven years old, writing my first article for the Nosy Neighborhood News, I had big dreams of writing books, essays, poetry and the like. As the years passed, I was convinced that becoming an author was, indeed, a dream I would probably never realize. (I still hear voices in my head telling me to do something productive rather than artistic).

But a few years ago, after spending most of my life making a living, I decided to make a life. I started putting words on paper (or cyber paper)— scratches in a notebook, notes on loose scraps of paper, ramblings on my computer—that seemed to be forming a story. A novel seemed like a daunting task, but one word after another, after another, after another led to more words than I had ever written and now all those words are about to be published.

Yes, I have a Worldwide Release date from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, Inc. and here it is:

The Price of Secrets—Release date April 7, 2021

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am over the moon about this. It is truly a dream come true for a little girl who didn’t dare believe she would one day be an author. But I did it!  On April 7, 2021 I will officially be a published author.

Reaching this point has been a lifelong journey, but I am here to tell you that whether you’re in your 20’s or 60’s (my category)—or anywhere in between or around the edges—it is never too late to reach for the stars.

So, for all my friends sharing their stories, drawings, paintings or crafts on Facebook or for those afraid to share their creative voice, I say “Go for it!” Let the world see you.

I see you.

The Price of Secrets

Contrary to the title of this piece, I’m not harboring a life-altering secret.  Maybe I’m holding on to a few little secrets from my mostly vanilla life, but nothing for which I am paying much of a price. The truth is, I am not good at keeping things to myself, so my life is pretty much an open book.

But speaking of books, my novel, THE PRICE OF SECRETS, will be published this year—hopefully in a couple of months—with this beautiful cover. Unlike me, my main character, Jamie Madison, has one big secret while those around her have a few secrets of their own. Here’s a little teaser:

If Jamie Madison had never come home, her secret would have been safe. But safety in not in her DNA and now DNA is exactly what she needs to unravel her long-kept secret. Despite the consequences, she’s on her way home for her twenty-fifth high school reunion where she will find the answers she seeks. Will she have the nerve to reveal the secret that has haunted her since she left Seattle after her high school graduation twenty-five years ago?

Writing this book made me realize that we all have secrets—big or small—that most of us are afraid to share with the world. Maybe the price of sharing our secrets is small, but maybe some of us have secrets that have stolen a piece of our hearts for many years. Is it time to share your secrets? Although this book is definitely NOT autobiographical, there are a few characters with traits quite similar to people in my life. So, my big secret is that this book healed a broken piece of my heart when I think of those friends and/or family members (still keeping the secret of which characters mirror real people).

It is no secret that I have missed friends and connection this past year. I’m a hugger and have not been able to use my arms for that much needed embrace of love and comfort. I promise all of you I will hug each one of you as soon as we are all safe again—maybe at my book launch!

Rose Colored Glasses

I’ve always had a tendency to look at the world through rose colored glasses, hoping for the best and believing that things will get better. Even with the rosy tint, I can’t say the world is meeting my expectations at the moment as I wake up each day, don my mask and head out into a virus infused environment. Honestly, as I remove the glasses for a moment, clusterfuck seems to describe the scene.

Despite the world view, my personal outlook continues to be filtered through those rose colored glasses and it finally paid off.

It has been my dream for many years, to finish my first novel and find a home for my crazy story. I don’t know where this story came from—I swear this is not an autobiography—but I loved the way it turned out and I desperately hoped an agent or publisher would feel the same. Finally, I got my wish.

I accept this rose

After five years of querying and pitching my novel, on August 30, 2020 at 8:35 p.m. I received the email I had been waiting for from my new publisher—The Wild Rose Press. My rose-colored glasses manifested a garden full of roses—my division in their family is the Champagne Rose where they place all their Women’s Fiction titles. In that email, they welcomed me to their garden and offered me a contract which I, of course, accepted. It will take some time to edit and complete the details, but soon I will be able to say I am a published author.

 Me? An Author?

If you can’t tell by now, I am over the moon with excitement. This is a dream come true and I am so very grateful for all the help and support I received from friends, family and especially my critique group who helped me with changes that may have made the difference.

Goodbye Sweet Hanni

Seven has always been my lucky number, but on July 7, 2020 my luck ran out. On the Hanni's last car ride7th day of the 7th month of a year that has been like no other, my sweet Chiweenie, Hanni, took her last labored breath. With Britt by my side, I held Hanni in my arms as my wonderful Veterinarian helped her cross the Rainbow Bridge peacefully.

In her last days, I carried her outside to do her business as she could no longer see. Despite her impaired vision, she still found joy in sniffing the grass and laying in the sunshine. On rainy days, she opted for the puppy pads, usually getting close, but often causing ‘mom’ to clean up behind her. I was happy to do it for this girl—the sweet girl who brought me so much joy over the past eight years.

My only regret is that I only had her for eight of her fourteen years. My sister rescued her about ten years ago and gave her to my mom. I, in turn, rescued her from my mom two years later. Maybe Mom thought she was being kind when she fed her snacks, but after too many dove bars and several added pounds, Hanni needed a new home and I was elected.

Although I had sworn I would never have another pet (it’s too damn hard to let them go), I agreed to take her in and have not regretted one day of our journey together. Many have said she was lucky to have such a loving home, but I know in my heart that I was the lucky one.

She arrived as my kid left for college, so my empty nest had room for a companion—someone to talk to at night and, surprisingly, one who talked back to me. I wish I could share the video of her sweet howl as I swear it sounds like “I love you”, matching my words to her. Yes, I loved that girl…so very much.

And, I’m not the only one who will miss her. Cash barked at her every day, but now she wonders what happened to her little pal.

I will miss our walks around the neighborhood and

our trips to the dog beach where she reigned as Queen. It didn’t matter if the dog was a great dane or a miniature poodle my little chihuahua-dachsund mix (a.k.a. chiweenie)  let those dogs know she was the boss.


The days were wonderful, but more than anything, I’ll miss settling in for the evening with her head on my lap. She knew I needed her these last few months and I can never thank her enough for making quarantine bearable. I can only hope I made her last days a little easier, too.


Love you, Hanni girl.

Lucky Day? Compared to What?

My lucky four-leaf clover

Is it okay to use luck and pandemic in the same sentence? How can this be my lucky day when I am still in lockdown? Those are the questions I asked myself yesterday.

As I took my afternoon walk, I found a four-leaf clover. I must admit, I peruse the clover patches I pass every day, hoping for a sign that things will turn around. It’s silly, I know, but finding this gem in patch of unremarkable three-leafers, made me smile—gave me hope.

After a rocky 40+ days in lockdown, I was full of an anxiety I thought I left behind years ago. Staring my fears in the face the last couple of weeks as I watched people rally with semi-automatic weapons for their favorite restaurants and tattoo parlors to open, I had nearly lost hope. When dying for a haircut could literally lead to death, I decided I didn’t care how nice my hair might look in the casket. C’mon people, one more month of hunkering down will not ruin our lives—it will save them. If these gun-toting protestors are that concerned about their income, I’m sure there are plenty of grocery stores who would hire them. If they truly do not fear the virus, they could do some good during this time, rather than gathering in large groups to spread the infection.

But I digress. I found a four-leaf clover so everything will be alright. Won’t it? This is my sign that all is well—my luck is changing. Right! I’m so very lucky(she said with a hint of sarcasm)—compared to what, though?

Some days as I sit on my deck inhaling the scent of my newly mowed lawn (that only I will see), I feel the familiar anticipation of summer. Will barbecues soon be sending their smoky perfume my way? And, will I be able to crash the neighbor’s party for the ribs and burgers or at least a glass of wine? Or will we still be isolated, watching each other from the other side of the street? Soon we will see just how lucky this four-leaf clover really is.

Sadly, I don’t think that piece of clover will change the trajectory of our journey back to the health of our planet. We will get through this in the same amount of time with or without it but, for me, it is a symbol of hope. I do feel lucky. All of my friends and family are isolated and although I can’t hug them, I know they are okay. We will all be together again soon—I’m just not sure what “soon” looks like. Nor, am I sure what the world will look like but somehow I think it will be a better place when the virus leaves and we are left with the kindness and love we found in isolation.

So, today I’m sending the luck of my four-leaf clover to everyone out there along with the love we all need to get through this.

Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Mom always told me there were plenty of fish in the sea. What she didn’t tell me is that I might have to go to an online dating site to find my own special fish. But, do I? Is this the only way to meet people these days?

Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Over the past ten years, I’ve joined a few dating sites. It’s hard to meet people sitting in your living room. It’s only slightly more likely to meet someone at a sporting event, golf course, book club or bar, so I figured the online thing was worth a try. To be honest, it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve made a few life-long friends, connected with old friends I spotted on these sites and enjoyed pleasant (and sometimes not so pleasant) conversations with men I knew I would never see again. And, I won’t forget the ones who held my heart in their hands for moment, just long enough to let me know love just might be possible. So, this experience hasn’t been a waste of time, but right now there are far more important things on my mind, so I’m done with online dating. I QUIT!

Meeting someone from a dating site right now is like competing for a Darwin Award*. You know, the award they give to people who die as a result of their own actions for doing something stupid! Sure, it cleans up the gene pool but only if we get these dumbasses to die before reproducing. Dating a complete stranger at the height of a pandemic is one of those less-than-intelligent actions, especially if you’re over sixty.

Only a week ago I received a message from someone who wanted to meet me in person. When I said that wasn’t a good idea right now, he said, “Why?” Obviously, he doesn’t live in the same universe as the rest of us. He’s still looking for love (or something like that) in the midst of a pandemic and, sadly, some equally oblivious woman will probably accommodate him. With people like them we will never see the end of this virus-induced nightmare. Perhaps they will eliminate themselves from the gene pool with their dating practices, but probably not before they cough on one or more of us.

So, I’m staying home, writing about my pathetic life and, honestly, enjoying the solitude—most days. Then there are days when I desperately miss my son, my friends and family, my golf outings, my writing group, my casino trips, eating at restaurants and oh so much more.

But, one thing I don’t miss is dating stupid, Darwin Award-seeking men. I’ll keep in touch with my intelligent male friends, ones I met before the world changed. I hope to golf and drink and laugh with these guys, all of whom understand the word quarantine, once this is over. And, I will rejoice in outings with my female friends, too. We, truly, are all in this together.

If I’ve learned anything from this (and, I think I have), I’ve gained an understanding of the power of friendship. I’m sticking to the friends I know and love. You know who you are…

See you on the other side of the curve.


My Girl

So tired

Sitting on my couch, isolated from friends and family, I am thankful for the little girl curled up on my lap as I write these words. I know we’re all in the same boat as we navigate these uncharted waters but having a lifeline in this new world of social distancing makes the voyage a little smoother.

My dog, Hanni, is my lifeline. Not that I don’t talk to or text friends and family every day—I do—but having a warm cuddly pup sharing my space helps me through these crazy days. I could go on about the state of the world and the virus that has consumed us, but I’ll save that for another day (and hope by the time I get around to writing about it, it will be a thing of the past). Today is Hanni’s day.

New Face of Diabetes

My girl is almost fourteen years old and is, as my son posted recently, the new face of diabetes. Insulin morning and night doesn’t seem to faze her as she takes her injections like a trouper but, what does seem to faze her is a life no longer as she once knew it. Or, maybe it’s me. She may be adjusting to her dwindling eyesight, lack of energy and her inability to chase the ball down the hallway just fine. It seems I’m the one having trouble adapting to our new reality.

When the sun comes out, I see a glimmer of the younger, healthier Hanni and can’t wait to get her out for a walk. There was a day when she would howl the moment she saw the leash, hoping for a long walk through the grass—so fragrantly marked by the dogs that walked before her. Those days are gone. Halfway down the driveway, she is already begging for a return to her cozy spot on the couch next to me. Is it because she can no longer see the critters in our path? Or, is she just tired?

My girl is wearing down—maybe she’s ready to move on—but for now she’s hanging in there. I think she knows I need her in this time of isolation. We have a pretty good thing going. I’ll keep taking care of her with cuddles, love and insulin…and she’ll keep taking care of me by laying her sweet head on my lap.

Bark at the Park 2019

Pay It Forward

On New Year’s Day, I treated myself to dinner at Rory’s, my favorite bar in Edmonds. I’ve been there hundreds of times in the last ten years, but that night I experienced something new. As I sat sipping a glass of wine after my meal, waiting to pay my bill, I got a big surprise—someone had already paid it. (Maybe I should have had a second glass of wine 😊) I asked who gave me this gift, but my server didn’t have a clue. The person paid the bill and left without word. I guess I’ll never know, but what I do know is that there is kindness in the world after all.

The truth is, I was feeling a bit low after another New Year’s Eve with only my dog to share the festivities. We both have a lot to be thankful for and, honestly, I am fine with a quiet evening of reflection but, with a few exceptions, 2019 was not a year I would care to repeat. My dog would probably agree as she is an old lady now and has taken a sharp turn downward with failing vision and other maladies of old age.

So, I was feeling kind of melancholy as I sat by the window in Rory’s, watching the lights reflecting off the water as the Ferry crossed the Sound. I always feel at home there—it is my “Cheers”—where everybody knows my name. What better place to start a new year, I thought, even as I wondered if 2020 would be any better than 2019.

Who knows what this year will bring, but starting the year with that wonderful act of kindness gave me hope. I was beginning to feel the world was full of greed and hate and bullies (and I still believe there are plenty of those out there), but there ARE good people in the world—probably more than the evening news would have us believe.

I wish I could have met the person who paid my bill and thanked them for restoring my faith in humankind, but it is enough that a complete stranger found it in his or her heart to Pay It Forward.

Now it is my turn and I promise I will repay their act of kindness with one of my own. I’ll be on the lookout for the next person who looks like they’re having a hard day and I will Pay It Forward.

Epilogue–three weeks later: Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I want to repay that kindness and I do believe there is good in the world, but as I was sadly reminded two days ago, the greedy, hateful people still exist. I dropped my phone in Las Vegas and when I realized it was gone, I retraced my steps. No sign of it and no one turned it in. I checked “Find My Phone” and saw it was a few miles down the road in the hands of one of the not-so-kind assholes that keep trying to prove that kindness is not the norm. Is it, or isn’t it? After January 1st, my luck seems to have changed, reminding me that no matter how hard we try to Pay It Forward, there will always be those who keep pushing us backward. I still want to believe, so someone, please tell me why I should…

Post Cruise Blues

 Dawes Glacier
Dawes Glacier

Alaska is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. What did I love most about my cruise? Was it the ice blue Dawes Glacier of Endicott Arms?

Maybe it was the ocean full of whales teasing our senses as they danced around our boat.

t da Juneau Whale Watching



Was it watching salmon struggle to swim upstream in the icy rivers of Ketchikan to lay their eggs for the next generation? Or, was just admiring a waterfall enough?

It was all of the above and more…

As beautiful as our excursions were, the experience on the cruise ship did not disappoint. Each morning, Captain Alex would greet us over the intercom, wishing us a glorious day and encouraging us to live our best lives—I felt the love as he told jokes and put a positive spin on each new experience, always ending with his signature “Ha ha”. I will even thank him for waking up half the ship to let us know we were in the midst of a northern lights explosion. From my veranda, the show was more muted, but still stunning seeing the streaks and brush strokes of white and green under a sky full of stars.

Days at sea often gave us only ocean waves with no land in sight and surprisingly, the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) rocking of the ship along the path brought its own brand of joy.

Always get the drink package


Sitting on the pool deck with a free drink    (I highly recommend the drink package—I wasn’t driving 😊) sharing the adventures of the previous day with my sister and brother-in-law provided a chance to sit back and appreciate our journey.

I know many people cruise for the food. Although not my main objective, I leave high praise here for the meals and the fine wine. I’m having withdrawal from my nightly shrimp cocktail before my delicious main course—and don’t forget the Cherries Jubilee for dessert.

For me, it’s always a letdown to return to my real life after a fantastic vacation. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for this amazing experience—I know many who would gladly have taken my place—I’m just sad to return to my solitude after sharing space with so many wonderful travelers and crew members. As Captain Alex said on the last day: “You’re going to miss me.” And, I do…

But, there’s more…

My adventure didn’t end when I left the ship.  With only one day to wallow in my post cruise blues, I was off to another big event: my 50-year high school reunion! No time for melancholy  when there were people to see and memories to share. My classmates are all in their late sixties now, but that night I saw the young faces of our high school (and grade school) years. Most of the class weathered the years with grace—maybe it was my filter, but no one looked that old to me.

It was easy catching up with the girls—I had a lot of female friends in high school. Believe it or not, I was a little shy with the boys so there were fewer connections to explore. My most memorable? I shared some nostalgic moments with the boy who offered me a ring from the gumball machine at age four; I hugged the kid who took dance lessons with me (did he know he was my first crush in 7th grade?); then, I looked across the room and there he was: The one that got away….

Now I have the Post Reunion Blues, too…