Category Archives: Life is strange


I’m not talking about the singer–though I love her stuff–I mean the color. Pink. All over my head.Cotton Candy

This year I’ve taken to coloring my hair. For my anniversary, in February, I went blonde. It was a difficult change. I had to muster all of my courage. Then it was very difficult to get use to. I’ve been a brunette of one shade or another for all of my life. When I looked in the mirror, it wasn’t me. As the months passed I came to enjoy the blonde. The reason why they have more fun is because they get tons of positive attention. I had more come hither smiles from men in the five months I was blonde than I ever did as a brunette.

After I found the courage to go blonde, Hubby mentioned how he would be interested to see what I would look like as a redhead. To be honest, I was a little curious too. I picked up the stuff and did my hair for father’s day. I chose the wrong dye. The directions said rinse until the water runs clear. I kept rinsing and it kept coming out. Then, instead of the deep raspberry my hair should have been it was pink cotton candy with streaks of the old blonde with brunette roots. Ack!

Upside? Hubby thinks it’s cute and doesn’t want me to change it. Unfortunately, that is also the downside. I’ve got cotton candy on my head for Pete’s sake. When he actually caught me pouting (I haven’t pouted since I was ten) he said for me to do whatever I had to so I could be happy.

At least I work from home; otherwise I would have to call in sick until this is resolved. The day job would have an absolute bird.

The problem now? I have to go out in public to get the stuff to fix it. Do I wear the insanity proudly or do I put it in a bun and wear a ball cap?

Did you see that?

My son graduated this past Saturday. Yes, I’m the mother of a high school graduate. No, I didn’t have him when I was twelve. I just look that good.Cap

We’ve struggled with grades this year. He got a part time job at the beginning of the year and I think that took away the energy and time he would have used for studying. If I had it to do over again would I forbid him to work…no, but perhaps I would have insisted he wait a month or two until his grades were higher.

But, despite the job and other distractions, he passed. Our family spent Saturday morning at his commencement. The valedictorian won national awards for the debate team, and his speech was inspirational. So much so, I wish it were on you tube so I could share it with you.

A strange thing happened to me while we waited for the ceremony to begin.

We arrived at the school at 8:00 am. The ceremony didn’t start until 10:00, but my son wanted to be sure we got the best seats.
The gymnasium has a stage in it and was decorated beautifully. Chairs were set upon the stage to hold the graduating class. All ninety of them. In front of the stage were row upon row of chairs. Some reserved for the school board, some for guest speakers, and some for the press. Our family sat directly behind the school board, on the proper side to see my son’s face as he walked across the stage.

Eventually, people started filling in. At 9:00 they really began to arrive. Quite a few would stand at the front near us with their hands on their hips and loudly lament that they missed the “good seats.” (It pays to get there extremely early.) On our row, there was another family on the other end, which left two seats between us and the family next to us. Most other groups had over five and therefore no use for our two seats.

About 9:30 a man come up the row behind me. He leaned down into my field of vision and asked, “Is this seat taken?”

I gestured toward the chair next to me. “No, it’s all yours.”

“Thanks,” he said. Then he griped the seat, lifted it over his head, and walked away with it.

The woman from the other family on my row, whom I’d been chatting with, blinked a few times. “I guess he took you literally.”

Of course, I immediately wrote it down. As I’ve said before, sometimes real life is where awesome stories are born.  I think my husband, mother-in-law, and daughter laughed more at me than they did at him.

Have you ever been so surprised by someone’s actions you have to look around to be sure others saw it too?

Names can evoke memories

The east coast of America is about to be hit by tropical storm Andrea. This is not new. Tropical storms and hurricanes hit the U.S. all the time. The part that gets me is the name.

Andrea was one if my best friends growing up. Of our trio, she was the bravest and most advanced. I was older and couldn’t care less about my appearance; she pinned me to the ground and brushed my hair. I just did the math, it was 30 years ago. Yikes!!

All these memories, and more, come to mind when I hear her name. So what about you? Is there a name that evokes memories for you?

Life is made up of small adventures.

Take Sunday for example.  We woke to our dogs making a terrible fuss.   Our home is on one corner of our land, then there’s our driveway, and then there is a field that is adjacent to the road.  To walk the perimeter of the field is a quarter mile. The dogs were fussing at a truck parked on the road in front of our field.

It happens often enough that we didn’t think anything of it until the driver gets out and is pacing beside his vehicle.  So, my husband and I drive down to see if he needs any help.  As it turns out, the fellow was trying to call his hunting dogs back to him.  He had been hunting coyotes and he couldn’t get his dogs to return.

Please understand that where we live coyote hunting is necessary, because the population can get out of control and endanger humans and their pets and farm animals.  We wished him well, but asked him to refrain from hunting on our land.  (We’ve had more than one stray bullet embed itself in our wall.  Just a side effect of living where we do.)

Not that we didn’t trust the guy, but as I’ve said we’ve had issues before, so my husband and I pull on our blaze orange and set about working in the field.  We’ve been trying to create a hedgerow along the road to discourage four wheeling.

To that end, we relocate bushes that grow wild in the field to the row.  One of the more prevalent bushes has large thorns, but beautiful smelling flowers in the spring.  I have no idea of the name.

We move three.  He has a shovel and I’m using a hammer-like tool to break away any rocks.  My husband is doing most of the heavy lifting.  While I’m standing beside him I can’t help but look around.  I’m waiting for a coyote to bolt out of the woods toward us.  I’m on edge.

When I glance back at my husband, who is now setting the bush in place I see what appear to be flies all around him. (This can happen if you are working too close to road kill.  We know from experience)

“You are getting swarmed by flies,” I say.

He says, “That’s weird.”

I scan the tree line again.

Then he says, “Ow.”

My gaze darts back to him and I see the insects for what they really are, “Oh my God, they’re bees!”

Even as I shout he is already running, a cloud of angry yellow jackets swarming behind him.  Then they turn on me.

I hear my husband yelling for me to run and I do.  In my panicked mind, I didn’t want the bees that are chasing me to find him.  So I angle away.  Running for all I’m worth.  I hear him yelp again and I turn to see the cloud is gone, but his cream colored sweatshirt is dotted with black.

“I can’t get them off,” he shouts.

Without thinking, I run toward him.  He’s still swatting at his clothes.  I approach at a run, flailing at him with the only thing I had on hand…the bushes.  Steps away from him my boots catch on something.  I slide into the brush at his feet.  Rising to my knees, I swat at him over and over.  Knocking winged assailants to the ground with every blow.

Finally, the danger ebbs and we are left gasping for air.  My husband smiles at my choice of weapon.  “Pricker bushes.  I’m being stung by yellow jackets and you beat me with pricker bushes.”

I look at what are now merely thorny twigs in my hand and realize my other hand is empty.  “Good thing I dropped the hammer.”

Chocolate should be packed in first aid kits

I first wrote this post for my personal blog, but as I’m on a roll with my current work in progress…enjoy.


I live mostly in my head. When I reveal that I work with computers for a living and have a secondary career as a novelist, people tend to respond with the all knowing “Ah.” As if that explains it all.

It explains why I have a distant stare in tranquil moments. It explains why, out of a peaceful silence I’ll explode with an “Oh, that’s why…” then go quiet again while I scribble frantically. It also explains why I prefer not to have drama in the house if I can help it. Unfortunately, attempting to curtail the insanity often brings it on full blast.

You see, mediating flaring tempers needs to be done with the lightest touch. As if working with sweating dynamite. Sentences formed exactly so, spoken with just the right inflection. All body language relaxed and reassuring so all parties can tell that you understand. A micro expression at the wrong moment can cause a chain reaction. – BANG–

I’ll be spending the next hour or so in my room with a cold cloth over my eyes and chocolate at my side.

Walking Epiphany

This morning started fine and then turned on its end.  I will not share the aspects of the upheaval.  Suffice it to say, it upset me enough to go for a walk.

I’m not a walker, per se.  I like the idea of it.  Once I’m in the groove, I really like it.  It’s just getting moving that’s the actual problem.  It’s so much easier to sit, you see.

We live in the semi-middle of nowhere.  I say semi now, because I drove through the middle of nowhere Utah on our cross country trip in 2011, and with one house per freeway exit, that is definitely more nowhere than here.  Anyway, we have a three acre field on a slope that my husband mowed a walking track into.  This morning I used the track.

As I walked, I listened to the recording of Nora Robert’s RWA Nationals 2010 keynote address.  I walked for a half hour so I only made it through half of the speech, but what I heard was inspirational.

Writing has always been difficult.  Promotion has always been a nightmare.  Readers will love what you write or hate what you write for the same reasons as they always have.  My interpretation of how to deal with this is to accept the publishing insanity and know that I’m writing the best book that I can.  Focus on the work, because I can make a difference there.

The answer to dealing with this morning’s drama is very much the same.  Focus on what I can do something about.  So, I made the necessary calls and I’m pleased to report that I’m on my way to a solution.

Now, I’m ready to face the day…after I put some ice on my knees.

The Haunting Allure of Shoes

I’ve never been a “girly” girl.  I rarely wear skirts or dresses.  I’ve worked on cars, butchered meat, snaked our drain from the clean-out, and cleaned up all variety of…well, let’s just leave it as I’m a mother of two and I own two dogs.

My day job allows me to work from home, and frankly, the ability to work sans makeup is a major perk.

Shoes from Zappos. Very close to the ones I fell in love with at the store.

This past weekend I took my kids school shopping and we ended up spending an inordinate amount of time in the shoe store.  My daughter apparently received the “girly” inclinations I lack.  After she tried on a few pairs of shoes, something strange happened.   I began to ooh and aah.

We aren’t talking the shoes from the discount warehouse store.  These were slick leather and soft suede.  Rich colors and enchanting smells.  What’s more, I looked great in them.  They spiced up the jeans I wore and made my rear look amazing.

I wasn’t expecting this reaction.  This week our budget is slated for back to school.  So, unfortunately, we only purchased the school shoes we needed.

However, the shoes are still calling to me.  The tan strappy pumps.  The blue suede wedges.  These really neat slipper-like house shoes that had a sole so I could wear them when I walk to get the mail.  They are whispering over the miles, “Come and get us.  You know you want us.”  I think I’ll have to return next month to get a pair of them.  Okay, maybe two.

My husband loves it.  He pretends to be impatient, but I think he enjoys watching me struggle with the unexpected excitement.

I don’t know where this came from.  Or why is it that, out of nowhere, the bling that never interested me before is suddenly calling to me?  Last month I began painting my nails pretty metallic shades.  They are currently an awesome frosted green.  This month it’s shoes.  If I start wearing dresses or putting bows in my hair, I think I’ll have to see a doctor.

Have you ever developed a passion for something unexpected?