Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

I accidentally spent most of the other morning in tears. Not one, not two, but cheek-soaking, hair-matting amounts of tears. Tears chased by gulps of air between grabby sobs—-tears squeezed from the epicenter of my very sad heart.


I started out upbeat. Honest. House to myself—an almost impossibility nowadays—I lay in bed, my hands rubbing together greedily as my head flooded virtual To Do blanks with productive and satiating tasks. Now, you may be surprised to learn that although I do treasure my time alone, I do not love the absolute silence that comes with it, so, for comfort, I often turn on the TV. But this particular morning, that was a mistake of epic proportion.


I need only say three words – Marley and Me.


Sure, I’ve seen it before. We took our kids to watch it back in 2008, so no big deal, right?


Not right.


Life, perspective, time, age, choices, experiences…all of these things can change the way we absorb and process things.


Big time.


I didn’t choose. I didn’t flick. The TV came to life and there it was. Dropped instantly into a world with a family much like my own complete with a mom, a dad, (who happens to be a writer—score) two sons, a daughter and a dog they all dread, but mostly plain old adore.


And, after many years of loyal shenanigans, he, the dog, simply dies.


I just lied. It wasn’t simple. Far from it. They, the family, had to decide to let him die. And, much like my family’s past ordeal, it was not so much optional, but a surrender of suffering, a kindness. No matter though. Once it’s in your hands, you always, always feel like you chose to end the life of a living being and it’s utterly breaking.


I could hide the remote. I could cancel my cable. I could ban all pets. I could avoid attachment. I could toughen up. Or, I could embrace what it is to be compassionate. And human.


It’s okay to be emotional. It’s alright to take time. It’s okay to let it linger. (Don’t be singing now. We all love the Cranberries, but this is a serious post) It’s alright to feel. It’s okay to love. And it’s acceptable not to move on any faster than the pace of a slow moving cloud.


You’re allowed to well up every time you see a Beagle…or a box of Black Magic at Christmastime…or a jogger…or a brisk walker sporting an Irish cap…for as long as you like. Forever even.


It means you’re not a dick.




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I need a fake blog. One where I can post to my heart’s content without anyone knowing who wrote the posts. Why, you may wonder. Well, because post post seems to be the optimum time for me to see the errors of my ways with pure and utter clarity …the many, many errors.


It happens every time. I write for hours. I read and reread. I edit. I edit some more. I perfect. I post.


I repent.


Last week I had to write another short story within 48 hours as part of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Writing Challenge. My assigned genre was Science Fiction, my location, a park fountain, my object, a paper airplane.


Now, Sci-fi is truly not my thing. I don’t read it and I certainly don’t write it and I admit that writing it in 48 short hours would have been challenging. However, writing it in 5 hours was downright ball-busting.


You’re sent your prompt at midnight on a Friday and you have until midnight on Sunday to submit a 1000-word (max) story that includes all of the elements you were given. As luck would have it, I had commitments pretty much all weekend. I do, after all, consider taking my 3 kids downtown for the entire day to eat, watch a movie and enjoy a live soccer game a priority.

So by the time we got home I was exhausted and convinced myself I’d get up at 5am to start writing Sunday morning. And I did. I got up at the crack of dawn, but when I got downstairs, I decided that getting the laundry corralled, sorted and spinning was yet another priority.


I could write in between cycles, right?


Well, there’s not as much time in between laundry cycles when you’re trying to get something done, as there is when you’re in a frazzled frenzy waiting on your favorite jeans to dry before you’re due to meet a friend.


And then there was the tidying so that the cleaning I needed to do later would be faster. There was an event scheduled to take place at my house the next morning, so Sunday required some home TLC and as we all know, less clutter equals quicker results.


I started writing at 12.


I finished writing at 5.


5 agonizing hours of trying to wrap my mind around the Sci-fi genre, of trying to hurry, of fretting over the impending cleaning, of wondering what dinner would be and who was going to make it, of not hearing what I was reading anymore, of trying to get it right. Of freaking out. Of torture.


Anyway, here’s a link to my story just how I submitted it.


Missing Love


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He fills with words that will only reach the earth, he’s been warned, should they carry their weight in truth. The sweat of his pudgy finger crimps the creases he’s so carefully bent, and he pulls himself in tight, hurdling his most sincere spirit into what he must believe, is an accepting unknown…


It can be hard to remember how something began. Details fuzzy and timing, non-specific, but Elian and Luna are not spared in this way. The moment that first child disappeared is forever cut into their hearts. After all, watching someone fade is not easily forgotten. Laughing one minute and evaporating like a recalled raindrop the next, hangs heavy in the atmosphere.


At one time, this small town had been a home. Long before despair scraped its way to the core with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, they’d slept on cozy beds inside colorful houses and shrilled as they’d swung high enough for their toes to touch the moon. They’d trailed fingertips in the park fountain and sacrificed their pennies for precious wishes.


But children continued to vanish. Panic rose. Terrified mothers fictionalized mass killings and undiscovered bodies. Fathers waited with shotguns at the ready for evil that would never show its face. Paranoia and mourning became their way of life.


Time passed and slowly, the township reached a decision to understand it rather than to fight. And as they deliberated ideas, they became shamefully aware that the departed were solely the ones conceived without love. The conceptions cultivated from seeds of greed, selfishness or pride, some spawned out of lust or envy. They determined that not one of the lost had blossomed from a pure moment of tenderness.


True to human nature, they were eager to replace what was gone, to fix what was broken. They attempted to conceive through despair, but their still loveless efforts refused to bear the fruits they once had and a relentless darkness swathed their barren souls.


Now, unearthly quiet fills the creeks and crevices as Elian and Luna make their way to the fountain. Swings sway loosely in the intermittent wind, their rusty chains straining against a tongue-tied backdrop. The two make their way through the littered streets, Luna’s fingers curving around Elian’s palm, long and loose like the limbs of a weeping willow.


The park is so much smaller than when they were young. The surrounding fence halts at their shins and they now loom over the jungle gym they couldn’t quite conquer at three feet tall. Roots from the massive Oaks have thrust up through the dusty earth and turned the timeworn slide upside down. A carousel is cocked on its side, a discarded toy on a vacant nursery floor.


But, today is unlike any other time they’ve ambled this path. The waterless fountain urges them on, the air surrounding it fused with static and a vibrating hum that pulls them to it much like the tow ropes used to haul them up to the highest mountaintops. With no words, they each hear what the other is thinking. With one glance, they feel what the other is feeling. With one touch, they each want what the other is wanting.


They are one.


Elian turns and presses his lips to Luna’s forehead. They stand this way for some time, paused in the moment between what was, what is and what could be. Most had given up, some had moved on, others, simply bided their time, withering to ash between their sheets, but Luna and Elian only got stronger, looked after one another, grew together.


Built a life.


They stand at the fountain’s edge with Luna’s coattails flapping in the wind and Elian’s dark curls shifting freely over his brow. He takes her hand in his once more and they wait together while the sky begins to change. Shapes and patterns kaleidoscope into brilliant hues of azure and indigo, folding into amethysts and tangerines. They believe it to be the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen.


And it is.


Until a small white tip—the nose of a well-intentioned craft—breaks though a slit in the colorful clouds and glides gracefully, softly, silently into their hearts.


This is the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen. Luna feels the stir. Elian reaches to touch the swell of colors that have drifted down from the sky to stretch across her belly.


“Welcome, little one. This is love.”









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Because I know you were sad upon finishing my post yesterday—probably like a great book you didn’t want to end, right?—I’ve decided to write a little more about this laundry detergent.


If you’re anything like me, first of all, I’m sorry. Secondly, you will have laundry room cupboards filled with potions and elixirs, powders and pastes. You will have spent oodles of dough on this brand and that, in the hopes that the next one will fulfill all of its wickedly wondrous promises. You will have hoarded all of the failed jars and bottles, believing that one day…someday…you will put them to good use. And to think some have called me a pessimist! Tsk, tsk.


My point being, this sud-up makes sense. It took me 15 minutes to make, it’s great in hot, warm or cold water and works like a charm in regular and he machines, not to mention it will last anywhere from 6 months up to a year depending how many are in your household.


Pop it directly into your top or front-loading drum and prepare to inhale an angel-infused breeze and the fresh mountain air all in one sniff. It combines the many things we go out and buy individually, bringing them together in a fresh, fragrant, fusion of squeaky bubble goodness. I spent a total of approximately $30 on ingredients and splurged $20 for the jar.


Hey, the jar is not only reusable, forever and ever, but it had a lot to live up to. Remember the tea and red satin heels? I needed a nice jar!


It is also important to note that any storage container can be used and that those Downy Unstopables are solely for scent, thus, are also an optional spend. Feel free to leave them out if you hate angels and mountains. And, needless to say, if you don’t like pretty, stuff a sock in your crafty self’s glue gun and leave it all plain Jane.


So whether you want to save money or brag about your domestic superiority, this is worth a try. Heck, if you have doubts, I hazard to propose they will all be washed away.




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Pull those strings in real tight ‘cuz I am about to take you on an adventure that might just blow your hat off.


Are you ready?


Laundry Soap.


Yes, I made my own, silly me, and I’m going to share the entire process with you, right here, right now.


Well, right after this blurb…


While I am grateful to have a laundry room, mine is not a favorite place in my home and the cause for this is probably not what you’re thinking. I don’t mind doing laundry. At times, I even find it relaxing, but my actual laundry room is kind of demotivating. It’s very small—and even that’s okay—but it is not ergonomically configured. I have to contort to get everything into my front-loader and I sport a permanent bruise on my left hip where it inevitably hits the counter top which never fails to jut intrusively into my narrow path.


The room is awkward…and it’s blue…like, early 80’s blue…including the angry countertops, so yeah, not my favorite spot to hang out. And I guess I believed that somehow making my own fresh-smelling, pretty-looking powder would transform the room into some place I might like to have a cup of tea while perusing Vogue or maybe sway to a little Van Morrison in my red satin heels.


That transformation didn’t take place of course, but the good news is, the detergent was a success! It smells divine and having that gleaming jar perched atop my obnoxious counter, peering down its nose at the evil city below is slightly inspiring.


If you like to listen to music while you cook or work on projects around the house, it may be important to note that for reasons unbeknownst to me, I chose to listen to a Songza generated playlist entitled “Mom-Jean Jams.” Okay, maybe the reasons aren’t a complete mystery. I was making my own laundry soap after all. Thankfully though, I found it less than inspiring, so may I suggest something a little less baggy and high-waisted while you toil over your own magic suds?


Anyway, without further suspense, may I present…Laundry with Love



The Ingredients

The Ingredients


(I found most things at Fred Meyer, including the storage container. I bought the chalkboard labels & scoops at Hobby Lobby and Deals)


~ Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (3lb box)

~ Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (4lb box)

~ 20 Mule Team Borax (4lb box)

~ Oxi Clean (1.3 lb container X2)

~ Fels Naptha (X4 bars)

~ Downy UNSTOPABLES (X2 containers – I used the scent “Lush” which comes in the purple & black bottle and smells heavenly)

~ A food processor, blender or cheese grater

~ A large receptacle for mixing (I used a large Rubbermaid, but you may also use a simple plastic garbage bag)

~ A container to store the finished product

~ A measuring scoop


(This recipe makes approximately 2 gallons of washing powder. As you can see, it filled my one very large storage jar, plus 5 smaller ones)




~ Pour the boxes of Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Borax, Oxi Clean and Downy UNSTOPABLES into your receptacle

Two containers of LUSH Unstopables

Two containers of LUSH Unstopables

~ Cut the Fels Naptha bars into small cubes and process, blend or grate

Use an old cutting board

Use an old cutting board

Fels Naptha blended on grind setting

Fels Naptha blended on grind setting

~ Add the Fels into the powder mixture (I of course, did this the other way around because I don’t read directions. It really didn’t matter other than that the Fels is slightly sticky and would probably have been easier to blend had I added it last rather than first)

The blend

The blend

~ Put the lid on your receptacle or tie up your bag and shake like there’s no tomorrow. If using a bin you can also you use a large mixing spoon.

~ Repeat until all ingredients are evenly distributed

~ Use 2 tbsps for small loads and 3 for larger loads.


As you can see from the pictures, I got my craft on and prettied up the jars. This is optional, but if you choose not to go this route, well, what the heck is wrong with you?!

Scoop Me Up!

Laundry with Love

Laundry with Love

Fancy it up!

Fancy it up!



Gifts for everyone!

Gifts for everyone!

Okay, you are now ready to love your laundry!

**This recipe was recently found on APRONS-N-PEARLS**












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I turned 45 last Friday.


Funny thing just now—my fingers went mysteriously rogue and plunked in 24 the first time ‘round.




It’s not a marker birthday or anything. It’s not like 21 or 40, but it is half way to 90 and I’ll admit that’s been slightly mind-boggling for me. Is that even a possibility? Can you be slightly mind-boggled or is the very word itself a full-on admission of a complete and utter flabbergast?


Technically, it’s middle-aged. I’m at mid-point. I’ve officially crossed the line between what was and what will be. This half versus that half. That is, assuming I make it to 90. There’s always a chance I may not. In which case, I am more than half way through my life. How in the world did I get here?


And, what happens now?


I can remember stretching out on the sun-warmed carpet in my family room sixteen years ago and promising myself I’d publish a book by the time I turned 30. (Who hasn’t promised themselves that? I can hear you asking) I was 29 then. I didn’t make it. But in the sixteen years since, I’ve raised a family, worked and written a book, albeit terrible and unpublishable, it is a book nonetheless.


Well, I’ve had a week to unboggle and now that my head is clear, I’ve come to a place where I realize I’m not only content with my age, but overjoyed to arrive at it. This year has taught me that. I am the fortunate one. I got here. I did make it. My goals are still on the table. I get the chance to keep going. I’m lucky to wake with hope beside me. I can continue my journey with possibility.


I get to live.


And, of course, make my own laundry soap. Because I hear that’s what 45 year-olds do…





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Two years ago today…

As all good things must come to an end, I thought life with Rowan would go on forever. No, you’re not confused. You needn’t read that sentence again. It’ll still say the same thing.

You see, I’ve been known to remark once or thrice that she really must be the World’s Worst Dog. I haven’t hidden my rants or rages. My sputterings and spews have been no secret. I have openly complained and cried in frustration. I’ve fallen and forgiven for all to see. I’ve been a martyr at best.

You understand, right? I mean, she filled my life with insane and unnatural amounts of hair and stained my carpets to the brink of despair. She chewed up precious belongings and sabotaged our prized Wisteria. Her incessant howls cost us neighbors and got her ixnayed from our camping roster. She dragged garbage out over the floors and snatched lavish steaks off the barbie. Walks were harrowing horrors as she pulled and strained with all her might. She vanished when unleashed and ignored our frantic pleas for her return. Yes, without a doubt, she was the world’s worst dog.

But this week, she lay at my feet, panting and whimpering, immobilized and pained. Helpless.

And all I could remember were her ears flapping in the wind, her saucer eyes and her soppy, sweet demeanor. As my family spread out to sleep on the couches and the floor because she could no longer make the trip up to our rooms, I thought of the way she once guarded our house and made us feel safe. While we set our alarm for her 3am meds, I envisioned the way her legs splayed out to the sides as she scrambled to meet us each time we came through the door. While we hand-fed her a homemade turkey and quinoa mix with little sips of water, I wished for the once annoying click of her nails on the wooden floor. And as we changed out the cool packs soothing her collapsing neck, I swore I heard all the laughter she’d brought into our home over the last seven and a half years.

This week, she could do none of that. She simply lay, gasping, blinking, scared and scarred and I realized what I must’ve known all along. She wasn’t the world’s worst dog. She’d be my family’s best memory.

Rowan aka: Ro, Rowey, Rosa and The Ro Show January 23, 2006 ~ August 22, 2013

Rowan aka: Ro, Rowey, Rosa and The Ro Show January 23, 2006 ~ August 22, 2013

Note: Rowan was taken from us by an inoperable case of Intervertebral Disc Disease

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