A Safe Place

No, Ron. Never.

I was looking at safe/panic rooms, and this gif came up. It resonates with me on a wholly limbic level. I wonder how many times this has been playing inside me while on the outside all you see is this.

jen and me
Me at Nineteen. The serene smile already perfected over years of fake it till you make it.

Though I’m making great strides with myself, I am in a constant state of panic these days.

My brother’s wedding is in three weeks, and I’ve told him I’m going to be there. When I said that I didn’t realize Ron Weasley would be my plus one.  I’m not ready!

Too bad.

I’m trying to do better at being a woman of my word instead of a people pleaser. It’s a tough gig for someone who likes to keep people happy. People at work, people at home, people on the internet, people I stalk on Facebook whom  I haven’t met, people who can’t be pleased no matter what, AND people who are dead.

(Dust hands) That should cover it.

Aye, aye, aye…

I’ve decided to work next fall, but a less punishing schedule and fewer hours. I’ve told myself it is my job to also use my time more wisely, and when people ask me to work for them, I’m to say, “I’m working my other job that day.” That’s it, nothing more, shut your mouth and walk away.

Today I had fun putting together a box for a reader. I autographed the first book ever. I hope she enjoys reading it and all the little surprises I slipped between the pages. PLUS some ND goodies. I wonder if it’s more the relief of a promise kept than the fun of it? Whatever mix of the two, it made for a good day.

This was also a good week for BTS, Billboard’s BEST GROUP (beating out Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5 and Panic at the Disco!) and top SOCIAL ARTIST! Let’s all celebrate by watching their new music video Boy With Love guest starring Halsey.


They ROCKED the Billboard stage and Army was there in full glory puzzling the rest of the performers with the BTS Fan Chant. LOVE IT! My girls and I are a bit sad we aren’t going to a stadium this weekend or next… sigh. NEXT YEAR, yeah, we’re totally going again, when this isn’t such a good depiction of us.



On the writing front, I’m considering releasing a book called Oasis. It’s an erotic novel that I really love. Stupid Chapter 10 is still giving me a pain when I read it, so I’m considering a few small changes, but otherwise, it’s a pretty cool story. The main characters are a disenchanted Knight of the Crusades and a woman sold into an Arabic harem as a teenager who has done her time and is heading back home to England on her stolen horse. The most beautiful horse I could find for her. A Lusitano Silver Buckskin Stallion named Belial. Belial

I want to write about adoption as well but haven’t decided if I should approach it as Fiction or Non-Fiction. Feeling the influence of all the K-drama’s I’ve been watching, I even thought about writing the story of a Korean who arrives in Seoul for the first time at the age of 38. So many possibilities.

But first, my younger brother’s wedding. Maybe an afternoon with my Mom’s oldest sister, and finally meeting the cousin who helped me put all the pieces together on Ancestry.  I hope this roller coaster has shoulder straps. Where are my sunglasses? Hmm, maybe a bucket by my feet, a perfect playlist peppered with K-pop…






Head or Heart?

I’m in a learning phase.

A dreaming place.

A chapter of curiosity.

A crossroad, if you will.

I’ve been here before perhaps more than I realize.

I’ve told the school that I do not plan on returning except as an occasional substitute. Since stating that in February, some things have changed and other job opportunities in the school have opened up. Now that I’m pushed to my breaking/leaving point, they are asking me what I would like to do. Honestly, now I’m not sure.

How is that possible?

It’s possible because I know what I can do at the school. It’s familiar. I know how much money I’ll make, how may hours I’ll work. I know I’ll pour all my creativity and energy into it and have none left for writing or housework. I can work the hell out of this job, that I know.

I’ve recently investigated a wellness place and if I could afford to visit weekly, I know the results would be amazing but the cost is prohibitive. But, if I worked full time in the fall, I could afford it.  That, my brain knows.

Here’s where it’s gets complex. My heart just isn’t in it. My heart wants to write, wants to daydream, wants to blog. She wants to paint the walls gray and install new hardwood, and repair the AC. Of course, my heart can’t guarantee I’ll be able to take trips, go to concerts, or afford the spa. She just wants what she wants. She’s not so worried about the numbers. She believes if we love what we do, what we love will come to us.


Ive been working on living more from my heart, trying to let it guide my day to day doings. Sometimes it is a spectacular success but most times I flip back into my head without even noticing. It’s not so easy, walking around with one’s heart wide open. Triggers happen. Plans fail. People are so freaking hard! And don’t even get me started with how much my brain hates living from my heart. I am my own toughest critic.

Technically, I have until August 1st to decide.

Head or Heart?

Photo by Yohann Lc on Unsplash


March – Taking Stock and a Question

It finally happened last week. Temperatures above zero degrees Fahrenheit for the first time in many weeks. At eighteen degrees we had kids stripping off their winter coats to run around in the sunshine in sweatshirts. You can’t really blame them when it is sixty degrees warmer than the day before.

So, warmth has returned, snow is melting, I’ve left my warm house to mend some fences, and I’m feeling a bit less bleak.

As I sit down to blog, I’m still unsatisfied with my page. I don’t love it. More changes will surely be coming.

Today is St Patricks Day, my brother’s birthday. My older brother I grew up with. He lives in Arizona. I’ve had a few birthdays roll by, both of half-siblings and siblings I grew up with. I’ve found myself stressing over what to do about half-siblings when everyone I grew up with has just made phone calls if we remembered.

Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash

Do you think my adoptive parents weren’t really into that because the kids weren’t really theirs? Growing up we had cakes, sometimes grandma and grandpa came over, there were a few presents, maybe a movie or dinner out. As we grew up and moved away, there was the odd card, some years. Usually, it was a phone call so we could talk to dad about the weather. I’ve learned that other families are quite a bit more extravagant. It’s just something I’ve wondered about this year. For my half-siblings, I’ve sent cards or letters online or in the mail and just kept it to that for now. I’ll be meeting them all this summer in May and July. It makes me nervous.

Rejection is a big thing for me. I’m trying to allow for it by figuring out why I care so much. Just writing that sentence gets an emotional reaction. A tightness that settles right around my heart. I want so badly for them to love me. Why? They’re perfect strangers.

I’ve said aloud, a few times, that I’m glad all my parents have passed on and I don’t have to deal with their issues anymore. Women especially look at me weird when they hear me say it. I know it’s wrong to be relieved that I’m not taking care of ill/elderly parents. I am so relieved. I have great respect for my many friends who do it daily with much love and respect and so little complaining it’s hard to believe.

Photo by Thomas Tucker on Unsplash

I’m still looking for that wellspring inside myself. The how of Loving Myself. I’ve been doing some editing this week, and I realize that my girls, in my books, that’s what they’re doing. They have the luxury of leaving and going to a place that speaks peace to them. The location is immediately disrupted by men, but somehow they all survive. It’s like I’m still wandering around blindfolded…”Is it here? Ouch, nope that’s not it! How about over-eeeeeeeek (thump) Damn it! I think I sprained my ankle! That’s not it! Eww, I don’t even like how it smells over there, forget that. This is stupid.” And I stomp out of my own head slamming the door hard enough to make my eyes rattle.

How do you find that center of contentment within yourself that helps you face the world day after day?


Covered the seat of the swing
After my son dug out a path behind his car.
City workers stacking it up this morning. That’s what nine inches of snow in the cul-de-sac looks like.

Well, hello yourself, March!

Working for Friends

The nine inches of snow we got today tell a different story, but I can feel the wriggle of life under the blanket that January and February have buried me with. It happened twice this week. I read or heard something and wanted to write about it. Squee! It seems like a long time since that has happened.

So, what shall we talk about?

That moment you realized you aren’t as weird as you thought? When you read Fifty Shades and weren’t scared but wanted to Samba around the library because you realized you had a tribe.

Friendship, when it’s not about love, it’s about differences.

BTS is coming back stateside and I need to stop pinning about them. That’s pinning not pining. Two different things. If you follow me on Pinterest, I’m sorry, I can’t stop. I promise not to be offended if you leave me because one more picture or gif of him is going to send you over the edge of sanity.

Okay. I’m leaning toward either BDSM or Friendship.

Let’s go with mostly, get the work out-of-the-way before the fun.


I have a friend that I love, but she doesn’t feel loved. Our friendship has been unraveling a bit since her job took her to another school and busy schedules have kept us apart. It got exponentially worse when she quit her job before Christmas and didn’t sign up for another section of night school. Now she has time. She’s no longer so busy she can’t see straight. Me though, I’m still doing what I’ve been doing since we met. It’s not going to be enough anymore.

This week on Facebook she posted an article When You Realize A Friend Doesn’t Feel the Same Way About You.

I think it was directed toward me. I could be wrong, but I haven’t called her, and I know that’s what she needs. We haven’t spoken since the end of January. Truthfully, how I feel about her hasn’t changed. I still love her craziness, her forthright manner, her passion, and drive. However, January and February were tough. March has come in with almost a foot of snow and with it a host of problematic issues at home. When I think of calling her, I feel tired. Then I look at the title of the article, and I get a little mad. It isn’t that I don’t love you as much as you love me. It’s merely that I love you different than you love me. When we worked together and talked together every day, it was less apparent, but we do have vastly different personalities.

I’m a hermit on the weekends. I like to go home and stay there. I watch movies, read, write, anything I can do from under my comforter. I don’t answer my phone, that’s a big no-no with her. I try my best to answer when she calls. In fact, I’ll answer her call more often than my sisters. Shh, don’t tell them. Most people who’ve known me very long just text me. I am a writer.

She loves to go out on the weekends, have drinks and dinner with friends, meet and get coffee on Saturday mornings, sometimes shop. She loves to talk.

I love to talk, too, but just to the voices in my head, or with my characters. I find that what I enjoy talking about is either writing and boring her to death or largely inappropriate for public discussion. I’m best left in my head.

She is doing stellar right now, losing weight, looking amazing, exercising at the Y, supporting her kids in their myriad activities.

Me, I’m herminating like there is no tomorrow. I drive my kids to TaeKwonDo, Dance, Church Activities, Drama Club-but like me my kids like to hermit hardcore on the weekends. They read, dance, study Korean, watch YouTube, shovel snow. As the youngest friend notes, “You guys never do anything!”

Yes, it’s just how we like it.

I don’t love her less, I’m just being me. I don’t believe she loves me less, she’s just being her. It may be a vain hope, but I hope we come back together. When the sun shines, and everything is warm and bright, I hope we find our way back to each other.


Is it Spring yet?

I know it isn’t.

I’m so very tired of winter.

Last week we had two days above 0 degrees, and it was terrific. I don’t think it was the double digits, but after weeks and weeks of below zero temperatures, you’d be surprised how good six measly degrees feels.

Photo by Biegun Wschodni on Unsplash


February is not my month. Despite it being populated with family birthdays, celebrating Love, and Groundhog Day, I hate February. It is the coldest darkest month of the year in North Dakota. This past month was more bitter than I remember since moving here. Most of the school days had indoor recess. In case you’re wondering what that cut off is up here, -15. That’s the cut off for public schools in the frozen north, that’s when we say, “Nah, it’s too cold to play outside today.”

Winter in North Dakota is, err, interesting. Perhaps it’s my lack of appropriate indoor recreation in the winter? Maybe it’s my lack of interest in outdoor recreation while it’s snowing? Probably a mixture of both.

My idea of most North Dakotan winters is lots of sport, hockey, ice fishing, snowmobiling, hunting, and drinking. I don’t really do any of that. No, not even drinking. Despite my fascination with alcohol, I rarely drink. I love to try a new drink when I’m out, but I don’t go out much in the winter either. When you open your front door and your lungs shrink to the size of walnuts and your mascara clinks when you blink…you think twice about optional treks out the door.

So I’ve been making mandatory trips to work and lots of naps and reading at home. I’m also working on a separate adoption blog to hold my adoption angst. I’m even dreaming about the Rose Bowl Stadium and a couple of hours of this…






WHAT? Wait! I’m Not Ready!

Tuesday morning I was happily sleeping in when my name ran screeching through my dream.


I woke up with these two standing over me.


Yes, they’re always this cute before I’m fully awake.

I don’t remember saying anything, but they must have seen my eyelid flicker. They leaned in close and in an excited tandem whisper that might have woken the neighbor’s dogs, they announced.

“They’re coming back!”



Love Yourself: Speak Yourself

May 4, 2019 – Los Angeles, CA Rose Bowl Stadium

May 11, 2019 – Chicago, IL Soldier Field

May 18, 2019 – E. Rutherford, NJ MetLife Stadium

May 25, 2019 – Sao Paulo, Brazil Allianz Parque

June 1, 2019 – London, UK Wembley Stadium connected by EE

June 7, 2019 – Paris, France Stade de France

July 6-7, 2019 – Osaka, Japan Yanmar Stadium Nagai


Image result for remembering my life before k-pop ruined it meme

A Tiny, Enraged Escape Artist

It’s been three weeks since I’ve sat down to write. Having an illness in my body sends my mind running for the hills. I should apologize here, perhaps to myself. I don’t think a woman my age should just be figuring out the things I’m just figuring out. While I was sick, hanging out in bed, coughing all night, I would grab my trusty phone and listen or read to something I hoped would make me feel better. In the haze, I heard something, I think from Kyle Cease. He was talking about ways we avoid change. He talked about disappearing into our own minds. Specifically, because it takes us out of the present. If we don’t live in our present it’s terribly difficult to change anything about it. I’ve done it for so long, as long as I can remember, really.


I love Sunday morning nowadays. It’s quiet, relaxing, I might even say Zen like. This morning I lounged around in bed in that half awake, half asleep state until well after eight. When I finally sat up, I wrapped my comforter around me and hugged my pillow and quietly meditated for another hour. I had a lot to process. Earlier, in one of my awake moments, I’d read this article from an adoption blog, Do Adoptees and Foster Kids Have a Right to be Angry? 

I grew up on a windy, sagebrush-covered hill in a small farming community in Idaho. My parents had saved and bought six acres of land that was considered pretty worthless because half of it was hillside and not farm-able. They put a HUD (what we used to call manufactured homes) house there on a basement foundation and started planting pine trees. By the time they moved into the house, they had adopted their first four children between 1965-1970.

I’m sure my mom felt more than able to meet the task at hand. She was the oldest of thirteen siblings and had milked cows, worked in the fields, done laundry in a washtub, lived with her entire family in a one-room cabin with no electricity or water. I’m sure she looked at the four of us and her shiny new home with two bathrooms and three bedrooms and thought “This is gonna be a piece of cake!” She’d struggled for ten long years just to get kids, now she had four! She no longer needed to teach school with her husband employed at the local college as a professor. He had his dream job and she had hers.

Dum da da da! Enter, real life.

How am I sure she felt like that? Heaven knows she never talked to us about her feelings. But she trained me and that’s how I felt when I had my first child. For all intents and purposes, I had raised my four younger siblings. Fed them, changed them, bathed them, watched them, cleaned the house, fixed the meals, washed and hung hundreds of flannel diapers on the line then dropped exhausted into bed before ten only to wake up and do it all again the next day. I was twelve years old and had three kids under three and an eight-year-old who wore diapers at night and didn’t speak English. Going home with one little baby boy, puh-lease, a piece of cake.

Growing up, I was angry, a lot. By the time I was four or five I had learned that was not acceptable in this house. Showing anger to mom was dangerous. That lesson was reenforced time and again, year after year. However big your explosion, her response was nuclear. Her frustration often came out in these words, “You are the luckiest children in the world! Don’t you know that? No body wanted you! No one but me. How can you treat your mother like this? Think about that while you’re out finding a stick!”

I lived in mortal fear of my mother’s wrath. In the aftermath of punishments, I spent endless nights wondering about the other mother that didn’t want me. I secretly wondered if I was lucky at all. But I was a good girl. I only wanted people around me to be happy. I was sure I could be good enough to keep mom happy.

It would be years and years before I could understand about hormones and their effect on women. It would take the death of both adopted parents for me to realize I was close to killing myself just trying to be worthwhile in their eyes. It would take fifty years of life, finding lost blood relatives, a lot of pondering what their lives were and how that reflected on my own, so many confusing emotions, then one leisurely Sunday morning I’d be given permission to feel the way I feel.

Hell, yes, we’re angry…We’ve been kicked around, abandoned, lied to, judged, misunderstood, labeled, shamed, pitied, abused, misrepresented, ignored, shunned, marginalized, orphaned and sent away with our few belongings in a black trash bag.

No, I’m not only worthy because you wanted a baby.

Yes, I have every right to be angry for what I lost.

Next blog – The art of escaping when there is nowhere to go!



The Flu

It has derailed me for two weeks. d474_7_032_0004_600

My youngest brought it home from middle school and it was a type I was susceptible to. It’s what I get for being cocky because I work in an Elementary school. a62a17df5cf3ba1b47fe202b90d276d7

It spanked me good. I can’t remember the last time I laid around in bed for six days.

SIX days.

It was horrible. It was hitting day five and crying half the night because I was so exhausted, so stuffed up, so worn out, I was sure I’d never be well again.

It’s day eight and I’m almost back to myself.

I had a lot of time to lay around and think, I’ve had some personal realizations I’m excited to blog about. I had a dream in Korean, with sub-titles. Yeah, thanks to Netflix, for the endless supply of K-dramas, and Christiane Amanpour’s: Sex and Love Around the World. And a special little thanks to Shy for my very own bias post… Thanks for contributing to my survival!

Reality VS Expectation

Last September I promised a couple of readers who participated in a little quiz game a copy of a book of their choice. Nope, haven’t sent them yet.


As you know, I’ve received the Solitude books but I have yet to order Kawaipuna Cottage. In an effort to not need to revisit these stories again, I’ve put them through editing software and tried to correct all the errors. Well, as many as I can find. I ran into a snag with Kawaipuna Cottage because I couldn’t un-format it. It caused quite a lot of swearing. Once I shut up and started over I realized there is a part of the book that I didn’t like. Long ago when I was posting it on Wattpad, a friend asked me to change the sickness Carly’s mom was dealing with. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. As I got into the book, correcting and doing the odd rewrite here and there I learned something. I was writing about my mom’s death, years before it happened. A walk in the dark exploring how it might play out at a time we only knew it would be sooner than later.

So, here I am sitting at my computer four months after I promised books, still wading around in the middle of the first book I ever wrote.

The boxes will be sent in February with books and also with a North Dakota smile.  Sort of a fan crate from North Dakota. I think my long-suffering readers will sincerely enjoy the little surprises I’ve gathered for them.

So, the decision I’ve made is to go back to the original version of Kawaipuna Cottage. It requires a bit more tweaking then re-formatting, then ordering.

For those of you who haven’t read Kawaipuna Cottage, it is, I think, the funniest book I’ve written. Possibly also the cheesiest book I’ve written. I loved my character Carly, so much, I took her name as part of my pen name. She’s a bit of a dingbat, but I love her. Mitchell, I love only slightly less than Carly. It shouldn’t be much of a strain to figure out which Scottish movie star I modeled him after. With all it’s pretty fluffy story-line and HEA ending, Kawaipuna Cottage might forever be overlooked except there is Mitch’s love of on the spot limericks and Carly’s, um, well, hmm, she’s just plain hilarious. I mean who doesn’t love a 30-something year old woman who talks to herself, struggles with liquids and her love of anything edible, would chew off her own arm before cutting a hair off her head, sometimes forgets deodorant, might have a small case of OCD and/or introversion, and hears voices in her head, a chorus of them.

I have it listed as Book Two in the Best Friends Series, Solitude being Book One. I wrote Solitude second but Carly showed up all uninvited as Regan’s travel agent, and wouldn’t leave.


A little excerpt…..


I absently push at the screen door with my hip. It unexpectedly pushes back and scorching
hot coffee slurps down my leg and onto my toes.
“Ouch, hot, hot, hot d -, oh crap, oh, s -!” I try to shake off scalding hot coffee drops while not spilling anymore from my sloshing cup. Proud that my proper God-fearing, western upbringing has prevented my swearing-in front of Auntie Laura, I look up to see what the door is
stuck on and find two, rather incredulous, green eyes
staring back through the screen at me. My cheeks flush. I spent the better part of last night watching him run around half-naked. And the other part of the night…, oh
boy, I can feel my face burning.
“Isn’t someone with yer drinkin’ habits best left to cold drinks?” he
asks in that breathtaking accent.
“Following me, are you?” I reply.                                                                                                    I’m turning into Yoda.                                                                                                                           Good grief, I didn’t even brush my hair today.
He pulls the door open and gestures me out. He’s wearing a long-sleeved, pretty-much transparent white shirt, only partially buttoned. His sunglasses are tucked in the waistband of familiar ragged carpenter shorts, and he’s wearing flip-flops. He looks better today than he did yesterday.                                                                                                                                 I’m fairly sure I hate him. “Thank you,” I murmur and hustle toward my car.
“Hey!” he yells.
Clenching my teeth, I glance back and see him jogging across the sand.
“Would you know a good place close by to get some groceries?” he asks.
I look at him stupidly. Doesn’t he have people to do that for him? I
look around, where are his people? “If you head back up the road to Hanalei, you can get anything you need there.” I answer.
He nods and squints out at the ocean, jingling something in his pocket.
A bead of sweat trickles down the small of my back as a seagull whirls, screeching overhead. I straighten a bit at the creak and slap of the coffee shop’s ancient wooden screen door.
“Oh, hey Carly, he’s a big one, yeah?”                                                                                                 I hear Auntie Laura cackle from the doorway followed closely by a wolf whistle. I glance up, hoping he’s been bored to death and killed over or disappeared. Shit. Here it comes, that slow smile. Dear Lord, forgive me but that smile did some terribly indecent things to me from the television screen last night. In person, it’s a small miracle I stay standing. He rubs his chin. He has that sexy, scruffy beard thing going on.
I should have used deodorant today.                                                                                          Today would have been an excellent day for that.
“Carly.” he says.
Well, that sounded just wonderful. Damn it!
“Oh aye, don’t suppose you might take pity on a fellow traveler
and help me find a grocery?” he asks, looking at me hopefully.
Logical Carly howls from my left brain, NOOOOOOOOOO. Unfortunately waking all the Carly girls who live in the other hemisphere. Truly, there is not a worse course of action than my spending any time with him. First, I just spent more than half the night watching him run around in a loincloth. Second, it will totally interfere with my whole twelve-month, man-free, your life is crap plan. Third, he’s attractive and I’ve, err, used him for something naughty. Fourth, he has a smart mouth. Heaven save me from a man who can talk back! Oh, and fifth, he’s Scottish, the accent the brawn, the chest hair the smirk, the whole
damn package! So by all means, let’s spend a few more hours together.                                 Bad idea!
Wrong road!                                                                                                                                     Warning – train whistle in the distance, flashing red lights, air raid sirens going off . . . .
“I was just heading that way, actually,” I hear my mouth saying.
It’s not directly attached to my brain and today, that’s a problem.

I know it will never be a great American novel, but I do like to write about people I’d like to spend time with. I guess it’s my way of peopling my own little town. A little leftover anxiety from being adopted, that desire to find your tribe, the one that adores you, the one that would never leave you behind.