It’s the Little Things that Get You

I went to the storage unit yesterday. I’d bought a hammock stand and wanted to find the hammock. It’s also past time for the girls to change over from winter to summer clothes. In our shuffling and looking I noticed two things, one I haven’t seen for nine years and the other I didn’t know I had.

Early this spring, my college friend contacted me wanting to get her hands on some tomato plants my parents sold at their nursery. It was a type of tomato they had propagated themselves, it was trendy in their town in Idaho. They sold thousands of tomato plants every year. I told her I didn’t know if they existed anymore. Mom didn’t sell the seeds, and I didn’t know if the Witch has any at the house.  I spent a moment being annoyed over losing yet another thing of mom and dads then let the feeling go and forgot about it. Until today, today, I looked through an old Tupperware container filled with bags of seeds. All the wildflower mixes we once sold at our garden center. A quarter pound of only Dames Rocket seed! I’m a serious flower child. I sorted out packets of sunflower seeds (I was going to grow sunflower playhouses for my kids when they were young, never happened.) California poppies, Hollyhocks, and Sweet Williams and then, right there, just lying in the bottom of the mostly empty box I found this.img_3428

I remember the day mom handed them to me like it was yesterday. I was waiting impatiently at the kitchen counter as she scraped a few seeds off the parchment paper where she was drying them. As she dumped them into the tiny bag and carefully labeled it with a permanent marker, she admonished me. “I don’t give these to just anyone!” She smiled at me.


“I know mom.” I bounced my tired eight-month-old on my hip. I was thinking about the long drive and even longer flight in front of me with my two kids.

“Start them in a south-facing window in March, maybe February. You could probably get away with that in Pittsburgh.”

I never got around to it in Pittsburgh.

To be honest, it’s the handwriting.

It gets me every time.

Other things on the list-

I bought myself some Chanel No 5 because my birth mom preferred it. Every time I spray it on, I smell the subtle (cheap?) notes that they must have used to make the perfume Charlie. I’m pretty sure Charlie was some kind of an attempted knock off of Chanel No 5. Charlie was mom’s favorite perfume growing up before she became unable to tolerate scents. It’s like wearing both their favorites.

Facebook memories, ugh. I don’t use FB a lot, but when I do, it remembers. Her messages were like bits of conversations.

You didn’t stay long enough! I wish you lived closer! I love you!

How did you manage to forget the box of jams I set out? Dad and I will bring them to Christmas.

This reminds me of you.

You have memories with Arlene.

Strawberry Milkshakes. The only food that makes chemotherapy tolerable.

Uncontrollable swearing, Shit for spiders, shit shit shit for fast spiders, Hell for snakes (the rubber ones she hid in her own strawberry patch to scare away birds), Dammit to Hell, ED! when he pretended he couldn’t hear her.

It’s the little things.


Coming soon on the blog!

The trip to Arkansas

Was it Murder?

Carly grows Tomatoes



Enviable Innocence


the real thing
Many years ago…



My youngest is twelve.

She loves BTS as only a twelve-year-old girl is capable.

She will defend and adore them to her last breath, happily annihilating all of your protestations.

You will LOVE them. There is no reason not to.

Resistance is futile.

Resisting her or them, both impossible.

Last week I saw this tweet, and it made me laugh, I shared it with our little Family Army, the girls and I.

[wpvideo o5MOIoV7]

Okay, I was thinking of all the women (and men) trampling each other to get a chance to teach Jin a naughty thing or two. I admit it!

Youngest child’s reaction-

(Laughter) But what could I possibly teach Jin? He already knows Korean.

Mom laughed a little harder, but her heart expanded mightily!

In this world, in this day and age, with everything out there trying to strip a child’s innocence and humanity, somehow this one still retains that childlike joy and pure love.


Coming soon on the Blog

It’s the Little Things that Get You

Arkansas Trip






Today is Mother’s Day.

This day, perhaps more than any other day of the year carries such varied emotions. For some, it’s joyful, a celebration of the best part of their lives. For others, a reminder of abject failure. Failure in their body, in their lifestyle, in their hearts, in their actions, a woman has so many options when it comes to failing at motherhood. Optimists say motherhood is what you make of it. Realists say motherhood is the hardest job you’ll ever love. Pessimists say it is an impossible expectation placed on women.


Here’s the good news.

We’re all right.

Motherhood is all of those things.

This week I remembered one of my significant failings as it pertains to motherhood.

Yesterday I read a somewhat cryptic post from a college friend and sent her a private message to see if she was ok. She’s a single mom with four adopted children. Her oldest who is the same age as mine recently got married and will make her a grandmother later this year. Her second to the oldest, a girl just sixteen, gave her a near heart attack last week when she snuck out of a hotel in Orlando to meet a cute boy she just met.  They hung out making paper airplanes. Besides the heart attack, she almost got expelled and learned some valuable life lessons. Thankfully she survived the learning process. Both of them did.


I was laughingly addressing my younger friend as grandma when I was assailed by a memory. An old memory, rusty, sharp edges, and a bit vague on the details. A very long time ago this friend asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her in an adoption process. For reasons I’ve only recently begun to understand, I couldn’t do this for her. In the end, I also couldn’t tell her no. I wrote from my own fear, loss, and confusion. The adoption did not go through. My heartbroken friend called me, devastated by my knife in her back.

Now, my recollection of the events is hazy at best. It is entirely because of her that we still speak. Her forgiveness was key. It’s only been this past year as I’ve found my birth parents, contacted the children that grew up with them and began meditating that I’ve started to untangle my difficult upbringing. I begin to understand the scared little girl that has run the show for so many years. I’m only now beginning to disarm her.


Today I’m thankful for all the mothers I’ve known and haven’t known. I’m grateful for friends who have shown me motherhood that looks very different from mine. I’m thankful for women who share their struggles and speak their stories. It’s through sharing that we learn we are not alone in our struggles or our situation. Through sharing, we connect and are stronger. We are less likely to be felled by ridiculous, shaming  absolutes. We are free to mother in our own style and show how powerful every mother is. woman-happiness-sunrise-silhouette-40192

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