Archive for the ‘Life Event’ Category

Ignition! Blast off!

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I love writers' critique groups. Love the synergy, love the connections with others who love the craft of writing the way I do.

I also enjoy getting newsletters from writing coaches, writers markets and publishing companies. Got one this week - an extremely well-written  first person account by Beth Erickson of Filbert Publishing. Knocked my socks off!

She writes.
She was just diagnosed with cancer.
She has a promising prognosis.

Her words reignited my determination to write more. And often. To somehow juggle whatever I must to spill those words out. I've stored them up for so long, there is a torrent barely held back, sloshing, raging, ready to break free.

I love it when writers write!

Read Beth's blog post. See if you aren't reignited, too.

A Pumpkin Tale

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Here is a 200-word story I wrote in 2000 that I like for its simplicity and the story it tells:

A Pumpkin Tale

I live on 5th Avenue next to a rotting pumpkin patch. The smell of old pie, raw and sticky, reminds me of walks Pa and I took in the late summers. He knotted his fingers over my hand, engulfing it in his strength. I was his toy pulled along by stringy arms. If I stumbled, I had to be the one to balance while running to make up for lost steps.

I grew. My gangly limbs gained strength as my body expanded. My pa did not explain to me why my body changed.

I became tall, taller than he, and on our walks, he stopped holding my hand.

But he still talked.

“God damn corn this year. I aint gonna get a crop.”

“What about the pumpkins?” I asked, breathless as I ran.

He walked steadily.

“They are weeds,” he said. “They were here when I got this here farm.”

What about me? I wanted to ask.

In my house on 5th Avenue, I paste photos of Pa and me in my album. I close the book and look out the window. My husband is outside pulling a dandelion out of the ground, engulfing it in his strength.

Passionate Authors

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

On October 8th, I had the pleasure of attending the AAUW Conversation with Authors event. ThreeColorado authors, Sandi Ault, John Shors, and Helen Thorpe each spoke for about 45 minutes and then answered some audience questions.

            Sandi Ault has written a series of “Wild” mysteries, Wild Penance, Wild Sorrow, Wild Inferno, and Wild Indigo. Her character,Jamaica, is a protection agent with the Bureau of Land Management, working in the Southwest nearTaosMountain. She interacts with Indians in the Tonoah Pueblo and has a wolf for a pet.

            Ault talked about her love of the Indians. She has been adopted into a tribe, but knows little of their language. Words are sacred and shared very sparingly. They refuse to let anyone write anything down. Ault also has a wolf as a pet. If a male wolf is orphaned, no pack will accept him. Her love for wolves shone through as she talked about her devotion to these animals.

            John Shors, a former English teacher and newspaper reporter, has traveled widely in Asiaand other parts of the world avoiding the cities and tourist attractions to spend time with native peoples. His books, Beneath a Marble Sky, Beside a Burning Sea, and Dragon House, feature exotic events in remote cultures. His goal in writing is for readers to feel like they have visited the places of the settings.

            Helen Thorpe, a journalist and wife of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, has written a book, Just Like Us, about four Mexican teenagers attending a high school inDenver and beginning college. One girl was born in theU.S., one is here legally with a green card, and two were brought here as young children by their parents. This factual book describes the challenges they have faced and continue to deal with. Thorpe emphasized that the book is not intended as an editorial. Her mission is to deepen readers’ understanding of the complexity of the issue.

            These three authors all spoke from their hearts about issues of vital concern to them. I was reminded, once again, of the power of the word. Writing does touch the core of the being of both the writer and the reader.


Times Changing For Grandma

Friday, September 9th, 2011

The eVite arrived over a month ago. It read:  Patricia and Andy's baby girl is on the way, so let's help them prepare for the big day! IT'S A COUPLES SHOWER honoring Patricia, Andy and soon-to-be Charlotte!

I immediately responded, “YES, of course!”

Two weeks later, because I forgot to write it on my calendar, I checked the email again…Oh dear, I thought as I carefully re-read the invitation…I can’t go. It’s a COUPLES SHOWER and this grandmother is not part of a couple. So, I reposted my regrets.

I guess that sent everybody into a frenzy because, the cell phone hummed away, people wanted to know what was wrong, why I wouldn’t be there or if I needed a ride.

I explained my change of heart about attending. “It’s a “couples” event. And since I’m not part of a couple anymore and those who will be there would probably be married friends or dating friends of Patricia and Andy I shouldn’t go. I’d be out of place. I may be older, sometimes forgetful, but I’m not stupid. After all who wants grandma to be part of that party scene?” I proceeded to explain that back in my day…baby showers were usually for female family members and friends…the men were not included. Then added, “I assumed there would be another one…ladies only and I'd go to that one.”

Not the case at all! As this dilemma came to an end and after being reassured I had misunderstood the e-Vite, life is good!

“Oh, no.” I heard. “The intent of the word ‘couples’ is the contemporary approach to include everyone (spouses and dating partners) to come along to the party and celebrate.” Ahh…now I’m up to speed!  You can still refer to me as  older,  forgetful, but you can't call me old fashion...I'm hip to what's happening these days!

And I will be at the big event this weekend, to enjoy the celebration and help welcome Charlotte into the family.

Times are changing and, “Isn’t it great?”

Music & Memories

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

During the past three weeks my life has been filled with a variety of music events. Each one offered a unique sound, different venue and performers who entertained with style and class.

Every performance generated its own hand clappin’; foot stomppin’; body swayin’; up on your feet dancin’ and singin’ along music. They stirred up memories of my younger self, some unforgettable life experiences and jolted me into realizing just how quickly time passes. And because events occurred all within a short span of time, I experienced a moment that gave me pause to think that lead to questions: Was this a sign or omen that my time on earth was nearing an end? Was this a message from God? A coincidence? A joke?

Let me explain…

One night I listened to a concert given by IMAGINE – a Beatles Tribute Band. This group took me on a musical journey with costumes and Liverpool accents that transported me back in time. As happened, I again boarded a Yellow Submarine, walked down Penny Lane and revisited YESTERDAY. What made it special was that everyone was there: Eleanor Rigby, Sargent Pepper, Lucy, Walrus, Nowhere Man and Jude. How quickly the days of my early twenties flashed before my eyes bringing both smiles and tears with the memories.

On another evening I attended a performance of MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA. All I’ll say to this is, “Everybody, at every age, can relate to one of his songs, whether ones from the1940’s, the Rat Pack or beyond.” His music is fun, romantic and unforgettable. Tunes like Strangers in the Night; Fly Me to the Moon; Chicago; New York, New York; My Way and more were a delight to hear. They took my breath away and brought back memories from long ago that related to a different part of my life—a young, dating adult.  Once again my life flashed before me bringing both smiles and tears along with these memories.


Next came a night at the Battle of the Bands where local teens showcased their talents and age appropriate energy.  The five finalist groups took to the stage like real pros. They drummed, strummed and sang. They hopped, bopped, jumped and twirled to popular cover tunes and their own compositions.  I watched with interest and appreciation for their efforts, applauded with supportive vigor and experienced a night with the musicians of the future. This time my marriage and family were the focus because my oldest son participated in this same event so many years ago.  My life flashed before me bringing both smiles and tears along with special memories from this time in my life.

Okay, so what’s a body to think? Not much...flashes of memories came and went and I’m still here. Guess I shouldn’t think too hard, just enjoy the music and the memories, head off to Heaven Fest…a Christian music concert and Annie Get Your Gun show at the Dinner Theater, and hope for the best…music, memories and being here to post again next month.


Burndt Sienna Heart

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

I have a broken crayon in my heart:

It used to be razzle dazzle rose with the hope of you.

After a decade gone by, your memory had become fuzzy wuzzy or even basic brown. I had forgotten until your apology and nine months of Facebook flirtations.

“I was a jerk,” you said. Sorry, sorry, you said.

I re-sharpened my mango tango limbs and tried to be my most exotic shade, a rose quarts that would capture your notice. But you came, you saw and you did not want to conquer.

I could see it in your cerulean blue eyes darkened like coal.

“Am I boring you?” I asked, and got your no, no.

Our five-day trip broke to three.

You needed something in the wild blue yonder. You needed confetti glitter, a spark like firecracker red.

I didn’t have it despite my magic potion purple attempts to be beautiful.

You left, and I felt the lemon-lime zing.

My tears were atomic tangerine, as if they could get me back to basic green when all I really wanted was you, not this broken heart.

I had a taste of my wild watermelon, and with this one lick, I’m off road and don’t know what to do.

I don’t know which crayon is right for me even with 120 colors.

Or is it that I need black to cover memories and hurts and the titanium white look of you. I could scratch off the pieces until a new palette results, like the bitter taste of key lime with a sweet after-tickle on the tongue.


Friday, June 10th, 2011

My recent change of residence has created a phobia within me…fear of cardboard boxes. Strange? Perhaps. But as I am living it, I can tell you, it’s my truth.

The definition of a phobia says it’s a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger to the person owning it, where panic, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, desire to get away are common symptoms.

The overflow of unpacked moving boxes hidden in my closet is driving me crazy.

I tiptoe past the door, but still hear their contents calling to me, begging for freedom

I’m filled with empathy.  But are they planning a coup?

A strange trembling overtakes me. I struggle to breathe yet feel the heart palpitations increase. I feel the fear and panic.  There’s only one solution…

I must flee, leave the house…run, run, run...go have fun!

Okay, I may be gone for the day, but who knows what will develop while I’m gone.

Is there a chance the shoemaker’s elf friends will take piety on me, drop by, unpack ‘all that stuff’ and find just the right place for each item?


I’m just going to have to confront my phobia head on if I want to conquer its hold on me.

OKAY! I can do this…but tomorrow

Seeing with New Eyes

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

I am always amazed at how our bodies adjust to whatever is going on with them. I thought I was seeing fine, even though the optometrist kept telling me that cataracts were growing on both eyes and would eventually have to be removed.

Then I started having trouble driving at night and I couldn’t read street signs even in the daytime. I went to see the eye surgeon and she confirmed that the cataracts on both eyes had advanced beyond the “annoying level” into the “need to be removed level.”

She asked me what kind of vision I would like to have. What! I get to choose my own vision? She explained the options and recommended that I go with mid-vision for distance so that I can still read without glasses. If she had corrected fully for distance, I would have needed reading glasses.

I have had the surgeries on both eyes and it’s truly a miracle! I had forgotten how bright colors are. The numbers on my bedside clock stand out clear and precise. I can read the restaurant sign across the street. And I can now read printed materials at exactly the distance the surgeon had described.

I still can’t drive until I get new glasses, but I can walk around downtown. I can read the newspaper and my computer screen. I can enjoy the bright emerging colors of spring. I am truly enjoying “seeing with new eyes.”

Grief Lingers On

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


April 6th marked the 14th anniversary of my husband’s death. Fourteen years and I have survived, although I miss him still. Thoughts of him bubble up during unexpected moments – one of his favorite sayings – a familiar gesture – a deep sense of loss. I received an email message this morning from someone I do not know (through the Veriditas Listserve) which aptly captures some of my emotions.

News of Death

Last night they came with news of death
not knowing what I would say.

I wanted to say,
"The green wind is running through the fields
making the grass lie flat."

I wanted to say,
"The apple blossom flakes like ash
covering the orchard wall."

I wanted to say,
"the fish float belly up in the slow stream,
stepping stones to the dead."

They asked if I would sleep that night,
I said I did not know.

For this loss I could not speak,
the tongue lay idle in a great darkness,
the heart was strangely open,
the moon had gone,
and it was then

when I said, "He is no longer here"
that the night put its arms around me
and all the white stars turned bitter with grief

by David Whyle

My Father's Hands

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The Weekly Writers Workshop does a freewriting exercise to start off each meeting. One of the exercises that was picked said to write about your father’s hands, but a workshop member said the exercise had been done before. I couldn’t let go of the desire to write that …

My father’s hands are pockmarked, fingers swollen with thick, cracked nails. Skin is pulled taut like a white sheet, straining simple movement. Knuckles are towers of folded skin covering what used to be piano fingers …

Just like mine are now …

My father was at work a decade ago, using a voltmeter to measure electrical current. The instrument exploded, causing first- and second-degree burns on his face and second- and third-degree burns on his hands.

To me, my father’s hands looked like foreign objects, first in gloves to help healing. And then, when no more could be done, they turned into a display of an undecipherable riddle of scars. It was as if the cliché that wrinkles tell stories of a person’s life fell apart. My father’s scars began telling me the story of an accident, hiding the wrinkles that speak of a man’s love for his daughter and son:

He lifted us onto his shoulders,

Carried each of us together, a hand on our backs.

Played stick-around, letting us run out of his lap,

Pulled us in again

To twirl in circles,

Holding our bodies out,

Our anchor in his clasp. 

Family photos lend memories:

I am on his lap as he shows me his work,

Or lean into him in our Mickey Mouse ears,

Looking up, or being around or laughing,

I am Daddy’s little girl,

Not thinking of my father’s hands,

Just him,

The beauty of –

I could not fathom

The accident,

That could break a man’s heart,

For awhile,

Until these stories despite the fire that burns –


All that my father’s hands could do turned more difficult, a slow letting go of a young man’s dreams burned up in an instance. But then he retired and returned to fixing up his old house, a sparkle coming back into his eye about what he could do despite the scars.