“Happy to Be Me” Book Launch Party

I recently posted about the book, “Happy to Be Me” written by my lifelong BFF and mentioned the upcoming party to launch it.

On Friday evening, the party took place with a great turnout and lots of enthusiasm.

And food…… an absolutely beautiful buffet of healthy selections including salads, deviled eggs, dips, pita bread, crackers, fruits, phyllo tarts, vegetables, cheeses and a dessert table as well. Delicious!

While Karen (author) and Lauryn (photographer) mixed, mingled and signed books, the children featured in the book had a reunion of sorts as they recognized each other.

A highlight for all was when Lauryn corralled her “models” for an impromptu photo op. With Karen joining them, the picture reflects the darling and happy kids that they are.

“Happy to Be Me” can be purchased on Amazon, author Karen Dickey.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,100 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Tall, a poem


Always tallest, from kindergarten to graduation

Big Laura” a dubious distinction bestowed by a teacher when there were two Laura’s

Clumsy in corrective shoes I despised

Didn’t want glasses, didn’t have a choice

Eventually I’ll grow out of this awkward phase, right?”

Flat-footed, frequently tripping, falling spectacularly

Gangly, long skinny stick-legs always in a tangle

Hovering over the heads of always-shorter-than-me friends

If I could be petite, would I want to be?

Just a thought…

Kinship with my younger sister, nearly as tall

Lope like a small pony” said Mom, drawing awareness to my strides

Making my best friend take three steps to one of mine as we walked to school

Not aware of it at the time

Oblivious to how little others noticed my stature

Pull in your tummy, stand up straight” Mom instructed

Quiet, shy, attempting to blend in

Regularly wishing boys would get their growth spurts

Surely you play basketball… ” a common and unoriginal assumption

Tall! All Miss America’s are tall” Mom pointed out as we watched televised pageants

Undeniable, though I was no beauty queen

Valued her intent all the same.

Wary of short boys who’s snide remarks I learned to ignore; their “short-comings” I accepted later

“X” marks the spot on the wall when at last I stopped growing

Youthful yet often mistaken for older

Zero chance that I can change my tallness, finally embracing it.


A poem in the Abecedarian style, by Spence’s Girl, standing 6 ft 1/4 inches at my tallest…..

If I had a penny for everytime I’ve heard this…..seriously.



Cup of Tea, a poem by Spence’s Girl

Tipper, up close and personal.
Tipper, up close and personal.

Cup of Tea

When did it start, this morning ritual? Rising earlier than necessary to awaken slowly, sipping a cup of tea
Starting another day, snuggling with a purring cat. Comfort. Stillness.
Sleep frequently elusive, restless for years.
Sipping tea, a chance to reflect and be grateful if only for a few minutes each day.

Starting another day, snuggling with a purring cat. Comfort. Stillness.
Wish I could stay here all day and feel this perfect peace, away from all the craziness in the world
Sipping tea, a chance to reflect and be grateful if only for a few minutes each day.
So lucky am I, I see it now.

Wish I could stay here all day and feel this perfect peace, away from all the craziness in the world
Lost in thought, wrapped in a little cocoon of warm, soothing elixir, this tea.
So lucky am I, I see it now.
The day begins in a safe place of reflection, reminding me I’m blessed.

Lost in thought, wrapped in a little cocoon of warm, soothing elixir, this tea.
Sleep frequently elusive, restless for years.
The day begins in a safe place of reflection, reminding me I’m blessed.
When did it start, this morning ritual? Rising earlier than necessary to awaken slowly, sipping a cup of tea.

High Wire


High Wire
Appearances are deceiving
Balanced on a wire
Creating an illusion
Defying possibilities
Eager to please
Frightened yet exhilarated
Giving myself a push
Hoping for the best
Imagining the worst
Keening left, then right
Losing my footing for a moment
Mastering and memorizing where I need to be
Not caring if I fail
Open to falling
Positioned for landing
Unsure about that last step
What was I thinking?
X-rays may be needed
Your mother warned you about taking risks
Zoom, zap, splat!

an original Abecedarian poem by Spence’s Girl

Wishing for one last talk with Dad


Four years ago yesterday, I lost my Dad.  We have longevity in our family. I expected he’d live well into his nineties. He was 79, just a few weeks shy of his eightieth birthday.

My Dad was smart, savvy, well-traveled and seemed invincible, larger than life.

If I could change one thing, it would be to have one more conversation with Dad, albeit a long one.  I’d let him know I was proud to be his daughter and though we were sometimes at odds, I always knew he loved me – and that I loved him.

I’d thank him for being a good provider, for having so much to do with sparking my love of travel from a young age and for singlehandedly getting me to see the wisdom of starting a 401k.

I’d tell him how much I admired his leadership of our family business and those jobs he created and kept in our community.

I’d let him know that his approval of my choices and when he told me he was proud of me, meant the world.

I live in the home that was built by my grandparents when my Dad was a boy. He has everything to do with my moving into this home 30 years ago. He was so happy knowing that I love living here with a passion. I wouldn’t have to tell him that, it was something we spoke of often.

I still have talks with my Dad and feel his presence, though I no longer can hear his voice.

If you still have your Dad, have the conversation now while you can, leave nothing unsaid.

On friendships

You know how sometimes you have to ask yourself that question, really honestly, about your relationship with somebody?
“Does this friendship make sense?”
Maybe it made sense once, but it doesn’t now?
Maybe one of you has changed too much?
Maybe one of you hasn’t changed enough?
It’s a tricky question. But an important one. Our lives are short and who we share our time and energy with matters.

By Author Elizabeth Gilbert

Funny when you see a quote that just speaks to you. My yoga/life coach Jules and I recently discussed these very questions. I’ve always been blessed with wonderful friendships. Retirement has brought about changes I expected and new experiences I couldn’t have imagined. With more time to spend with Spence, I’ve also taken my passion for travel, cooking, writing, gardening, photography to new heights. I’ve rediscovered my love of reading. I decided to try yoga and meditation and ended up embracing those practices into my daily life. As a result of those studies, I’ve grown in a spiritual direction.  I’m busy but focused.

Back to friendships. Jules and I discussed the natural attrition that happens over time. Ever wise, Jules made these statements that resonated with me. To paraphrase, “Warrior, (her nickname for me) you are on a new path. Friends may follow you and others, on their path, may no longer recognize you. Don’t step off your path or feel guilty about going your own way. Know that not every friend is meant to be in your life forever.”

We all follow our own path…….

This presented an opportunity for introspection. Accept that we all change. Whether by mutual interests, proximity or just organically, we meet people who become friends. Some stay awhile, play their part in your life and drift away. Still others are long lasting and even when you don’t see them often, you pick up where you left off.

So for all those friends who’ve been a part of my life, I thank you. If we’ve lost touch, I wish you well and remember you fondly.

And enjoy whichever path you choose. Namaste.


High Five! Another Award – Encouraging Thunder

High Five from Biscotti!
High Five from Biscotti!  He just happened to be nearby when I screamed “woo hoo!” and did my “happy dance” after receiving this award!

Today I was delighted to learn that I’d received an award for Spence’s Girl from Janey at Cupids or Cats, a blogger that I truly admire for her humor, candor and creativity! It means so much to be nominated by someone whose talent I regard and who I’ve come to think of as a friend though we’ve never met. Janey, I thank you for this award; you honor and inspire me.

I encourage everyone who doesn’t know of her blog to check it out at:


Here’s my bright, shiny new award!

It's so awesome!
It’s so awesome!

What you can do with the award?

Post it on your blog – √
Grant other bloggers with the award – read on, I’ll get to that

What you can’t do with the award?

Abuse or misuse the logo  – I solemnly swear – no abuse or misuse
Claim that it’s your own handmade logo – no one would believe me if I tried to claim that (haha)

What you should do after receiving award:

Enjoy the award – I’m thinking about pouring a glass of wine right now!
At least give thanks via comments and likes and/or mentioning the blog who gave the award – first thing I did (see above to refresh your memory)

Mention your purpose in blogging – 

For the last several years, I told people that I wanted to write a book. I ping-ponged around with what kind of book – a cookbook? humorous novel based on comical anecdotes from my real life? travel tales (culled from my voluminous journaling)? a children’s story about the colony of feral cats (all of whom Spence and I have named) and their adventures in our garden? You see the problem? No clear focus.  On October 31, 2014 I quit talking about writing and started this blog.

I was attracted to blogging because it felt like a safe place to talk about my life and adventures with Spence, Tipper and Biscotti, post favorite recipes, share my best photos, interests and passions while doing some creative writing.

I’ve been bowled over by the kind comments, feedback and acceptance from those who visit Spence’s Girl, most of whom I’ve never met – and from so many places around the planet. It boggles my mind that you’ve discovered my little blog; your support brings me incredible happiness. 

To all of you who visit Spence’s Girl, I send out my heartfelt gratitude.

In turn, I’d like to nominate the following blogs for this award:

creekviewcarol.com a blog that brings me endless enjoyment

mangoestomutts.coma blog that truly represents the beautiful heart & mind of this blogger

Like my Dad

I never knew of Buster until last year. We lost my Dad a few years ago just shy of his eightieth birthday. I was visiting my step-mom at the home they shared in Traverse City last summer when she said “I have something I think you’d like”. I was intrigued, feeling it was something that belonged to Dad. Knowing that I’m majorly sentimental, she produced a stuffed woolen dog.  “This is Buster and he belonged to your Dad”.  Buster had seen better days, one leg appeared a bit wobbly but he was adorable. I was touched both by having him but also by having a new nugget of knowledge about my Dad. The fact that at 59 I still have my “Baby Teddy” imagine my surprise that throughout his life, Dad preserved and kept Buster.

Buster riding “shotgun” on the drive back home.
Buster now resides in the same room as my Baby Teddy. But it’s different for him, a homecoming. You see, I live in the house that my grandparents built when Dad was a young boy and though Buster hadn’t lived here for a long time, it was once his home many years ago.

I’ve been told many times “you’re a lot like your Dad” and through Buster I see a glimpse of his childhood and know that even our youthful selves were aligned.

I know how happy it made my Dad that I love living in his childhood home and feel certain he’s smiling now, knowing that Buster’s returned here to live with me.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! I miss you every day.


As part of the Blogging University Grads (BUGS) bi-weekly challenge, our prompt is a tribute to Dad.  I did a post earlier this year based on my trusty childhood teddy bear.  Apparently this lifelong attachment to a childhood stuffed animal was something my Dad and I had in common.

To read the story of Baby Teddy, follow this link:

Baby Teddy – One Good Bear

Keepin’ it real (or why I blog)

Since retiring I’ve found myself busier than I could have imagined. My mission when I began blogging was to document what life is like after a frequently stressful career, track new experiences and accomplishments as I check items off my bucket list and other goals.

By blogging, I can share my passion for writing, cooking, travel, cats, gardening and photography as well as reflecting upon my life from childhood to present with humor and poignancy. I choose to keep my blog upbeat. My blogging mantra, “no rules, just write”.

My expectations at the onset were that my audience would be those who know and love me. The reality is that only some of my family and friends are reading what I write – and that’s okay.

What I didn’t expect it is that I’ve reached an audience spanning 38 countries, from teens to seniors, crossing genders, sexual orientation and whose blogs are similar but often wildly different than mine. I’ve engaged with authors, photographers, students, comedians, professional chefs, doctors, fashionistas and world travelers. That’s been thrilling for me – and validating. After all, blogging puts your authentic voice and point of view out there for the world. And that world has been kind and encouraging.

My lifelong BFF and I attended a day long blogging class at Interlochen last weekend. We came away with insights that can’t help but make us better. Over the weekend, we brainstormed how to implement what we learned, generating numerous ideas for content and “best practices”. All while enjoying her fabulous log home on a lake, a sunset cruise on the pontoon, wine tasting at area vineyards, delicious meals and reflecting on nearly 57 years of friendship. This post was inspired by the class and events from last weekend.