I’ve never been a fan of Tony Goldwyn, the actor.  It’s Carl Bruner’s fault. If he wasn’t such a schmuck….

One of the things I love about my summers is the time I have to indulge in lots of reading and watching Netflix, or IMTV, or Amazon, and scarfing popcorn like a starving ogre in a dark movie theater. This summer I’ve been watching Scandal.


I don’t know why, except maybe because I watched all of the latest season of House of Cards in two days. That’s probably why. In any case, I started watching it, realized Mr. Goldwyn was portraying the president, felt nauseous, and looked around for something else to watch.  I didn’t find anything satisfying, and trudged back to Scandal. I like Huck and Quinn. I determined to watch just the first season. And then it happened. There was a moment in that first season where Mr. Goldwyn communed with me. The slimy bastard, he caught me.


This isn’t the look that brought me to my knees.

For those of you who haven’t partaken. Scandal details the presidency of this guy and his affair with the pretty girl up there by the name. Yeah, he’s married and has a family. Yeah, she’s single, her brain not turned to mush by children, her time to straighten her hair on a daily basis, her own. Basically, the show follows the ups and downs of two people who love each other, but can never be together.

Normally, I wouldn’t survive her stridency, her non-stop self aggrandizing, her ridiculous perfection, but normally Mr. Goldwyn wouldn’t be standing strong and silent in the background breaking my heart. Normally I’d think he was getting what he deserved, slimy bastard.

But this time, my heart stuttered when it remembered how that feeling brought me to my knees, the one that just pulled his features into heartbreak for that split second, I remember how that felt. And then he did it again, and again, and again, until I cried uncle. And he’s continued to wring my heart in his hand for four seasons with his longing. His desperation for the company of one who doesn’t speak at him, need him, want a bit of his power, but the one who communes with him in utter and complete silence. The one who sees magnificence in his commonality, his boxers and bare feet on a Saturday morning. The one who tapes the apneic snore when he falls asleep on his back, for proof. The one that loves his scar because it’s real.

I live that look. I plot my days to survive that very hunger.



I was reminded of a line from an old John Wayne western, I think it was Big Jake, mmm, nope it was Rio Lobo. A terrifically young Jennifer O’Neill bunks down by John Wayne in the middle of the night. The next morning when Wayne demands to know why she didn’t cuddle with the younger,  hotter Captain Pierre Cordona she defends herself telling him “You’re comfortable!”.

This post reminded me never to underestimate the appeal, or importance of a little comfort.



“By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Velveteen Rabbit […]

via The Broken Ones — The Ochre Muse

Thermopolis, Wyoming


It was a rather quick trip, made so by my chauffeur’s driving antics the previous week. The deer is fine. The girlfriend is fine. The boy is fine. The car is sort of drive-able but required $$$ repairs. His next two or three paychecks will be coming to me instead of going into his project car. Not quite how he imagined his summer. Me either. It scared him, losing control on a gravel road. I’m glad. It was a good, injury free, wallet painful, way to learn. It’s also the first time his actions have had an unpleasant effect on the rest of the people who live with him. That was good for him too.


I spent most of my three days in Thermopolis, Wyoming, people watching. It’s the other grandparents, the other aunts and uncles, and I was able to sit and listen. My little family is geographically remote from any relatives. The closest living twelve hours away. In fact, this is the closest we’ve lived to relatives since the boy was five. As we all gather from here and there at the local motel, it takes less than an hour for me to remember why I love the remote, drama-free prairies of North Dakota.


I’ve given lots of thought to the politics in big families. I’ve read about birth order, about emotionally stunted parents, about abuse and neglect. I’ve taken into consideration that adoption seriously colors my vision. I’m old enough to know that interpersonal is all kinds of complicated, especially in a family with ten children. This is what I don’t understand–

Parents who believe they can always be fair.

Parents who consistently side/choose the in-law over their own children.

The one or two siblings to whom on-time has no meaning.

That one kid who can never do what everyone else does. Can’t stay at the same hotel, can’t swim at the hot spring, can’t be bothered to watch his/her own children.

Kids who cannot care any less about how much time or money their parents put in to plan this. Kids who don’t stop to think, this odd little place is a hidden treasure to mom and dad. Kids who never think to say thank you.

Adult siblings who have to be assigned separate housing because they can’t be together for five minutes without screaming fights.

Siblings, adult siblings, who think after twenty plus years, they can shock you with their newly discovered hobbies, atheism, politics, sex play.

The battle for mom and dad’s attention. Really? Still?

The lack of manners that becomes suddenly acceptable because we’re all family here


It seems to me, that if I only get to see you once every year or two, I might be able to hold my tongue and my temper. I might smile instead of smirk, I might be a little more tolerant, laugh at the jokes, let the kids stay up late and don’t take personally every comment made.

I might except, well, we’re all family here.



Kids These Days

I’ve been despairing my son’s sense of responsibility. I’ve yet to get final word from the school but I’m pretty sure he’s flunked his English class this year.


Last summer he finally got his first job at Panera. I say finally because he was almost 17 and digging in his heels to do it his way, which he’s done as long as I’ve known him. Anyway, he enjoyed the work at Panera, for the most part. Nights spent as a dish dog were his least favorite. As the months went on and school started back up, he kept working, but often complained about working Friday and Saturday nights.

“I never get to see my friends!” He told me.

Well, duh, welcome to the work force, I thought, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed.

A month or so later, I noticed he was attending Friday night football games pretty regularly. I questioned him about it.

He told me, “I asked for it off.”

Having spent time managing a restaurant, I may have looked just a bit skeptical.

“What?” He shrugged on his leather jacket, shuffling my writing assignments around on the table as he looked for the car keys. I’d dropped them in the catch-all box on the bookshelf when I cleaned earlier. I’ve only told him about it every day since I bought it.

“Have you seen my-?”

Looking over the rim of my glasses, I silently point at the box.

“Anyway, my manager said he’d cover it.” Fishing his keys out of the box, he was out the door before I could begin to articulate to him my personal teenage work experiences, all of which were grounded in denying myself pleasure.

At fifteen I started working at a local hotel cleaning rooms on the weekends. My mom told me I couldn’t work on Sunday, and I didn’t, for a little while. But as the school year turned to summer and tourist season hit, I turned sixteen and worked every of my available 20 hours. Then I went home and worked every other moment of daylight. I had five younger siblings to watch, meals to cook, laundry to hang on the line, floors to vacuum, beds to make, dishes to do, linoleum to mop, windows to wash, dusting, practice the piano, pick peas, beans, strawberries, raspberries, water the greenhouses, mow the lawn and rows of trees covering 8 acres of land. In short, I had a lot of work to do. As I sweat my way through summer after summer, I swore to myself that one day my life would be different.

Now as a new summer blooms under my bare toes, I’m happy with my prospects. Some time spent with extended family, a road trip, sunshine and lazy days. I’ve scheduled reading, daydreaming, and the perfect time of day to write. I’ve  also scattered in a few trips to the reservoir and a stack of books to read the girls. But before I lose my shoes and join the frivolities of kids these days, I had one more parental thing to do. shutterstock_309845069

I spoke with the school counselor, signed the boy up for a summer English class. He’s found a new job he loves at a local restaurant that has less demanding hours. He has a sweet little project car to sweat over. I’m told it just threw a rod. Joy of joys. porsche_924_front_20071231



I’m reading the book Let Me Out by Peter Himmelman. I’m cheating. I just finished Chapter 8, and I haven’t completed any of the activities the author has requested. Partially because I’ve done similar activities when reading a different book, mostly because I just want to read until I get that Ah-hah! moment. When I read that sentence and remember why I love writing. The exercise at the end of Chapter 7 piqued my curiosity, The Two Minute Drill. It asks you to take exactly two minutes and write down all of the things you’d like to do in your life right now.

Here goes, no erasing, stream of two-minute consciousness.


(Wait, getting some tunes on, can’t dance naked without the tunes.) Hm, I wonder how much mileage a therapist would get out of my choice of song?

go to Scotland

Live my “Pleasure”

see my kids being happy adults

lift my siblings from where we’ve been left

body confidence

recognize my life from the vision in my head

vision board

ability to care for myself

write what I want

 meet those people who touch me so incredibly on the net

that house on a few acres with trees, gardens, a john deere and the prairie


Two minutes are fast!

Okay, this post isn’t about that list. LMAO Though, some scarily interesting things showed up there. Whew.

As for the song…I made a new wish list a couple of weeks ago, and purchased one of the songs right then. The Voice ’16’s runner-up Billy Gilman (I know, I recognized him before Miley did, oi) I Surrender. This is the first time The Voice has sent me to Itunes to purchase a song. The only other show to do it, American Idol and Adam Lambert’s version of Mad World. FYI, I don’t watch either show regularly, and just happen to come upon these pieces in other ways. So, no, I don’t know who was gypped, I don’t know who was better, and yes, I’m a little surprised that a guy named Sundance Head who reminds me of ZZ Top was the big winner.

Okay, moving on to the reason I’m sitting at my computer, before the music completely takes me away. The next chapter. This is how much I’ve read.

Chapter 9


HOW IMAGINING THE SPECIFICS OF A PERFECT FUTURE ENSURES PROPER ACTION IN THE PRESENT. There’s an expression I used to hear a lot as a kid, “Think good and it will be good.”

~Peter Himmelman

Reading that, I was immediately transported to a little parking lot in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. It’s oppressively hot and humid, thunderstorms today, for certain. I get of out the car and feed the meter eight quarters. It only takes quarters. I’ve added the stop at a laundromat now, just to be sure I have enough. I click the button on my key fob one more time before I walk into the alley, hearing the comforting honk of my horn saying ‘jeez woman! You’ve locked me three times now!’. The Boston Market on the corner is making my mouth water as I step out of the shadows and onto the busy sidewalk. A few steps, a nondescript door with the number 6A, a flight of creaking uneven stairs. Pushing open the door, I sit down as close to the dripping air conditioner as I can. At 2:00pm the door opens, and she walks out. Dark glasses today,  a scarf around her head, business suit and heels. She’s been crying. I busy myself tucking my phone in my purse.

“Carly, it’s good to see you.”

His quiet voice, I briefly meet his eyes before slipping past him into the room beyond. I have a question today, one that’s been bothering me. It will take all of my fifty minutes to figure out where to slip it in. He’s a sweet, patient man. It should be simple.


Finally, with only about five minutes left, I manage to ask my question. “Is it weird that I go away to places in my head sometimes?”

He doesn’t look up from his scribbling on the yellow legal pad. “Does it worry you?”

He does look up when I don’t answer.

I didn’t know how to answer that, then. He assured me I was a functioning adult. I had successful relationships, a well cared for child, I did things that needed to be done, did things I wanted to do. If I needed to go somewhere in my head for a time as a break, it was nothing to worry about. Time was up.

All these years later, I know the answer to the question, for myself. After having spent months, not needing to go anywhere in my head because where I was…was so wonderful I couldn’t imagine ever leaving. I know the answer to that question.

I just wanted to write that down before I read the chapter. Before his opinion on living an alternate reality in your head changes or tweaks my own, I wanted to write down my truth.

Now, let’s see what he can add to my vision.







The Writing Process

And other ways to beat the hell out of yourself.

Thanks Kristin, I really did need this!


Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anamorphic Mike.Since the boom of the digital age, would-be writers have been practically coming out of the woodwork. Everyone wants to be a writer and hey, I can’t blame them. Sweet gig if you can score it. Yet, many of these eager folks are ill-prepared for the reality of…

via The Writing Process…It Ain’t No Unicorn Hug — Kristen Lamb