Running Away



I’m running away from home. 

You can’t just take away my teddy bear cause I broke the TV.  It isn’t fair. I didn’t mean to. I found where you hid Baby Teddy and I rescued him. We’ll be together forever.

I made us a bag of brown sugar sandwiches and took my fuzzy pink sweater.  Don’t look for us.  Especially at Grandma’s house.  That’s not where we’re going. 

From Writing 101 – Today’s Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter. Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible. My twist: I find a letter recently when helping my Mom move.  I wrote it as a little girl, the only time I ran away… my Grandma’s house, across the street.  I had no idea she’d kept it.

Losing the Ability to Sleep

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For today’s Writing 101 prompt, we were to compose the first in a three-part series about loss, taking any direction that we choose.

Losing the Ability to Sleep

For most of my life, I’ve felt like I need eight hours of sleep but that ten or twelve hours would be even better.  As a child, I have memories of fighting nap time and bed time.  To know then what I learned later.  NEVER EVER PASS UP A CHANCE TO SLEEP.  And as a child, the ability to fall asleep is organic.  Oh to go back and catch up!

As a young adult, living on my own, I chose to work full days then party till the wee hours.  This left me with very little sleep but adrenaline and youth got me through those years.

Fast forward to my mid-thirties when the stress of watching my employee (at the time a friend) have a total breakdown over a period of months rendered me sleepless.  She became unrecognizable and despite seeking professional help, dangerous and toxic to everyone around her.  Even after changing jobs and ending that “relationship”, I was stuck in a cycle of insomnia that lasted for nearly twenty years.

Looking for a solution I tried everything. I bought a new bed.  A hot tub.  Did a sleep study.  Tried Ambien, antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds.  The sleep study had determined that I never fell into REM sleep, that I would jerk awake repeatedly all night long.  I felt like a zombie.  I held down a job (in sales no less) that took every ounce of energy to stay focused, even with 1-2 hours total sleep.  I felt desperate.

The one respite that started me back on track were vacations in which I could fall back into a pattern of deep sleep and dreaming.  During the years Spence and I traveled to Costa Rica, we would come back midday, take a cool shower followed by a siesta.  Siestas – best idea ever!  Never one to be able to sleep during the day, I found I could do it then because there was no pressure to wake up by a certain time.

In recent years, I’ve been better.  Work related stress would trigger restless nights but I didn’t slip back into longterm patterns.  Retiring in February 2014 was the biggest turning point.  Now if I woke up in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t fret about it.  I would either grab my Kindle or meditate knowing that the clock didn’t dictate my life and the alarm wouldn’t go off just as I drifted into deep sleep.

I wrote a poem last year about insomnia and though it appears elsewhere on my blog, felt I’d share it again here.


When you are young, sleep comes naturally, effortlessly.
Falling into bed, asleep on impact.
When did it start? Can’t shut off the thoughts in my monkey brain.
Oh my, why did I ever say no to a nap?

Falling into bed, asleep on impact.
So many problems to be solved, hurts to be healed, staring at the clock.
Oh my, why did I ever say no to a nap?
Tick tock, tick tock, sleep eludes me, so tired yet so wired.

Peace of mind restored, letting go, accepting what I cannot change.
When did it start? Can’t shut off the thoughts in my monkey brain.
Gratitude as sleep returns, how I now cherish a rest-filled night.
When you are young, sleep comes naturally, effortlessly.

Just Three Songs?

From our third Writing 101 assignment participants are asked to free write about the three most important songs in our life.

My first thought “ugh”.  Not because I don’t love music but rather because I LOVE MUSIC.  In order to complete the assignment without completely losing my mind I’m going to slightly alter it to choose my three favorite albums.

  • Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell
  • Aqualung by Jethro Tull
  • Live at the Troubadour by Carole King and James Taylor

The first two were easy enough since I owned them on LP, cassette, CD and full downloads to my iPod.  The third I happened upon quite by accident at my neighborhood Blockbuster check-out counter which featured a CD/DVD pack of a live performance by the incomparable Carole King and James Taylor.


Court and Spark:  The brilliance that is Joni Mitchell is never brighter than on this compilation (in my humble opinion).  I know the words to every song and they still evoke emotions at age 58 though in a different way than they did when I discovered it in high school.  The songs are lyrical, painting musical pictures.  Her voice resonates.  I have listened to this during happy times but also when nursing a broken heart. It is in a word…..divine.


Aqualung represents the “rock chick” that I was at 16 and still am today.  This album was being released at the same time I went to see Jethro Tull in concert.  Having already discovered an earlier album by them, I was excited about the new release.  I’d never been to a concert but cannot  imagine a better performance than what I experienced that night. Ian Anderson, the lead singer and player of the flute, (that is such a defining instrument in their body of work), was electric.  I was mesmerized, gob-smacked, mind blown.  The songs are stories crafted inside of music that you can’t explain in words.  If you made me choose one song from the album, it would be “Locomotive Breath”.

And lucky me, last fall Spence and I traveled to see Jethro Tull in Buffalo, New York.  (see my earlier blog post “Flash Back – Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, then and now” for more about that experience and some little known trivia…..intrigued? I hope so.)


Live at the Troubadour is like a gift from the gods.  First of all, the life work of James Taylor and Carole King, two of the most gifted singer/songwriters is without equal (again, I’m blogging so I get to state my opinion but sense I’m not alone). Spence and I have listened to this CD (and watched the DVD) so many times it would be impossible to guess. These are songs that are lovely, evocative and so interwoven into our lives and memories that you couldn’t extricate them if you wanted to – and why would you want to?  Listening to this music brings tears to my eyes, a smile to my face and  an overall sense that everything is right with the world.

So there you have it.  Not so hard an assignment once I tweaked it a bit.


For the Writing 101 Assignment for Day Two, participants were asked to be transported to a place we’d want to go to right now, our “room with a view”, the back story and how it affects us.

Where I want to go right now:  In a few short weeks, Spence and I will be heading back to this place; I simply need to be patient. It is a place we’ve vacationed every year since we discovered it.


The Back Story:  A number of years ago, I found a place on that Spence and I now think of as our second home.  Located in the midst of the woods, through a valley, up a winding hillside adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, it is a haven for Spence and I.  Here we reconnect with each other and nature, recharge and relax.  A log-built home, perfect for two and with no one else in sight.  Our haven.


The “Room with a View” and How it Affects Us:  With a balcony off the loft and one off the bedroom, these are our windows to the sunrise, rainfall, woodlands and wildlife. I rise early and climb the stairs to the loft, a steaming cup of tea in my hand and a soft blanket to wrap around me. I inhale the pine scented air, breathe in the dew on the leaves as I feel the steam from the tea against my face.


I sense the breeze and watch the sun as it peeks through the leaves.


I listen closely for signs of wildlife as we’ve seen bears here but am more likely to see butterflies and squirrels.  I meditate and enjoy the solitude, grateful for everything good in my life.

During the day and into the evening, our balconies draw Spence and I to them.  Here we read, talk about everything or nothing, happily observe and enjoy being together. With many a glass of wine or beer, we’ve toasted each other as daylight fades into twilight then to dark.

At least once every trip, it rains. At times intense then soft, it’s always welcome at night when it lulls us to sleep.  Last year on our first night while sipping a glass of wine, we heard the rain start to fall. I stood and leaned against the railing with my face and arms stretched forward.  Spence held me and we remained there, suspended in the moment, letting the mist cover us.

Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit – First Assignment


Having started my blog on Halloween 2014, I only was certain that I wanted to write – and often.  Since retiring in February 2014 (and for years prior) I’d been talking about writing – a book, a cookbook, poems, short stories, a novel, children’s book……lots of aspirations.  Then the reality of being retired took hold and a whole world of interests, new and established, were mine to explore.  I did start a writing class early on and that got the creative juices flowing.  I found I could write poetry – and was amazed at what came out of my head and heart.  But still I didn’t really start writing in earnest until I committed to

What I expected:  Everyone who knew me would read it.

What I didn’t expect:  A lot of people who know me aren’t reading it either because they’re too busy living their own lives or are simply not that interested in checking it out.  But I also found out that’s okay with me.  It’s my “thing”.

What I truly didn’t expect:  People I’ve never met (from at last count 27 countries) have visited my blog.  That surprised me in a major way and continues to be an exciting and validating part of the blogging process.  Also, I’m amazed by the variety of people who’ve discovered my blog and have expressed an interest. From teenagers to professional chefs, photographers and stand-up comedians, male, female, gay and straight, parents, fashionistas, home cooks and world travelers.  And a lot of people like me who are grateful for a venue to share their random thoughts, humor, frailties and passions.  It’s been my pleasure to meet you and consider this a virtual hug!

I have days when I wake up early and feel compelled to start writing immediately until the urgency passes and whatever needed to be said has been written.  Other days, I just don’t have as much to say but may find a picture or quote that speaks to me in a humorous or inspiring way.  Or my cats do something too adorable, I snap a picture with my trusty i-phone and upload it.  Or I’m combing through the thousands of pictures I’ve taken while traveling and see something I’d like to share.

Most of all, I feel safe in this blog-o-sphere where we co-exist.  I love getting feedback as well as discovering new blogs and sharing feedback.  It’s cozy, positive and makes me want to get up each day and do it again.

Today’s Writing 101 Assignment was to free-write for 20 minutes.

And for all my fellow bloggers, keep doing what you’re doing as long as it makes you happy, no rules – just write!