When The Writing Is Not Easy Because You Care Too Much

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

~ Erin Morgenstern, Night Circus

• • •

Bloggers often talk about burnout, being unable to think of something to write about.  But for me, this week, has been something different from that.

My brain has been in 5th gear all week, going way too fast.

I’ve thought of many things to say here– and even gone so far as to compose a few posts.  In fact, I’ve written three lengthy ones that when completed I decided didn’t have the right subject matter or tone for this blog.

So I deleted them.

This has left me feeling mildly panicked about who I am and what to post here today.  Odd isn’t it?  Too much thinking, too much caring and I end up here today with nothing to say– as if I was burned out.

THE LESSON: Some weeks all roads lead to nothing.  And that’s okay.   

• • •

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 8.31.18 AM

{ Source: Dilbert by Scott Adams }

Of Sibling Rivalry & Raffle Tickets


# # #

I’m an only child so for me sibling rivalry is a spectator sport.  Filled with unique characters.  Often entertaining.

So late one afternoon the doorbell rang.  When I looked out our front door side lights I saw two sisters in Catholic school uniforms: a 6 y.o. and a 9 y.o. with their mother standing far behind them down the sidewalk.

The sisters were punching/pushing each other off our front stoop trying to be the one who stood directly in front of our door when I opened it.

The 9 y.o. won.

# # #

But before she could tell me why she was here and what it was I would be buying, the 6 y.o. took one last stab at getting my attention.  And I have to say it was clever.

We have lots of rose bushes along our front walk and with roses, come bees– especially in September when bees get crazy as the summer ends.  They buzz everywhere.

So the 6 y.o., batting her hands wildly, jumped in front of her sister to save me from a bee getting into the house.  The 9 y.o. and I never saw the bee in question, but the brave 6 y.o. assured us that it was right there.

And, as we all know, 6 y.o. girls of all religions, races & nationalities, always tell the truth.

# # #

At this point the 9 y.o. looked like she was going to strangle her little sister.  But her mother noticed this too, so she came up closer to the house and threatened said:

<loud voice> <do this or else>

“Tell Her What You’re Selling.  And Where You Go To School.”

</do this or else> </loud voice>

# # #

There was a long pause, so quiet and still that you could hear the gears creaking inside each girl’s brain.

I waited.

A mere 3 minutes after I’d opened the door the two sisters had come to the realization that they needed to work together in this moment if they were to get a sale and keep Mom happy.

So with a more-grimace-than-smile look on their faces, they told me their sales pitch– and I found out that I’d be buying two $10.00 raffle tickets that would give me the chance, later this month, to win:

<loud voice> <in unison>

“Three. Thousand. Dollars.”

</in unison> </loud voice>

# # #

Not to dismiss the wonderfulness of winning that much money but I gotta tell ‘ya that from my point of view, I felt like I had already spent my $20.00 wisely.  I didn’t need to win $3000.00 later, when at this very moment a live one-act show, such as this one, had magically appeared at my front door.

Like I said, sibling rivalry.  So fun to watch.

One Deck, One Grill, One Squirrel. Of Course.

[Subtitled: Do Squirrels Eat Hamburgers?]

I happened to be walking through the back of our house when I glanced out the patio door onto the deck and noticed that our Weber grill had grown a tail overnight.

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Upon closer examination I noticed that there seemed to be a certain critter hiding behind the grill.  So I bided my time to see if, by chance, this critter was our good old friend, Fuzzy.  It didn’t take long for me to confirm that Fuzzy the Squirrel was back to his annoying tricks.


From my vantage point inside the house I could see that our friend was using his backside to try to nudge the top off the grill, presumably to get to the hamburger grease + burnt nibbles that were left inside the grill from the night before.

DSCN3515Naturally when I inquired about his sneaky-looking behavior Fuzzy ignored me.  He is a master of indifference, so when he turned his back on me I wasn’t all that surprised.  Instead, I just waited to see what he’d do next, knowing that he can never stay still very long.


And true to form, with one wistful sideways glance toward the grill, Fuzzy ran away from me along the top of the deck railing toward his home in Tree #3479 in the forest primeval.  It is there, I presume, he found something else to do with his time besides making himself a nuisance on our deck.


But he also left me wondering if squirrels eat hamburgers.  So I did a quick Google search after which I realized that this question has no reliable answer, but does lead one to an unexpected link to an abstract of an academic paper.  Of course.

Supercalifragilisticexpi*ALLY*docious: Goofing Off On Tuesday

Dear Diary,

Yesterday morning I awakened with the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious song from Mary Poppins floating through my head.  In fact, as I walked downstairs from the bedroom to the kitchen I was singing it out loud.

I am such a dork!!!

Because I was feeling English suddenly I decided to have a proper pot of tea with milk and sugar.  I got out my little blue 2-cup tea-pot, added some Taylors of Harrogate Irish Breakfast Tea [which I admit is not English at all, but is the only kind of strong black tea that we have in the house] and brewed myself a lovely beverage.

Jolly good, I tell you.

Did I mention to you, Dear Diary, that Z-D took a day off from work yesterday?  Well, he did.  And because the weather was so mild and the skies were so clear, we decided to skip yard work and drive over the river to the next state to have lunch on the patio of an English Pub.

Yes, my morning theme continued.  Isn’t that cool?

At the Pub, I had my favorite unhealthy appetizer, curry and chips.  I washed it down with a Belhaven Scottish Lager [which I admit is not from England either, but I like it-- probably my ancestry coming through].  I also had healthy fish tacos with a side salad to balance out my first course.

Then, fortified with alcohol and calories, we decided to go exploring.

We drove back over the river into our state and went to a crowded, fussy, older part of the city where we found the bestest place yet.  Yes, we went to Penzeys Spices, a place I’ve longed to go to for years, but only just discovered has a retail store in our city. You’d be proud of us, Dear Diary, we showed admirable restraint and only bought 6 small jars of spice, 2 small bottles of extract and 1 bag of herbs.

My inner foodie was in heaven.

Then we drove back home to the ‘burbs where we collapsed on our screened-in porch.  One of us played Candy Crush [Level 205, be impressed] while the other one, exhausted by the day’s excitement, napped while pretending to read a book set in London [because once you have a theme day, you have to go with it].

This is middle age fun.  Such as it is.

The rest of the day was the usual hum-drum of laundry, dishes, bills, planning, what have you.  But that was okay, Dear Diary, because we had such a good time goofing off earlier in the day.

We need to play hooky again, real soon!!!

Almost Autumn: This Change Of Season Suits Me

This past Sunday morning was the first day in months where the temperature was below 60ºF and the humidity was low.

Delightful. Refreshing. Clear.

DSCN3534 - Version 2

I was able to drink my first mug of coffee while sitting on the deck all by myself.  Experiencing the stillness of the early morning centered me in a way that makes me feel whole.

Hopeful. Capable. Calm.


It wasn’t until I looked up into the trees behind our house that I realized how soon it’ll be autumn. And that I wasn’t alone out there on the deck.  Two birds, way up high, were keeping me company.

Cheerful. Balanced. Orange.


Autumn is about letting go of what used to work and enjoying what is. I’ve found over the years that I can embrace its message because I’m open to new ideas and seem to have an aptitude for adjusting to what is.

Creative. Grateful. Aware.

DSCN3541Meaning that in about another month this tree, next to where the birds were sitting, will be a showy mess of fall color.  And when it is I plan to be engrossed in new projects and a healthier way of life.  Hello Autumn!

Determined. Grounded. Focused.

QOTD: And What Mysteries Keep You From Going Stale?

{A Different Sort of Throwback Thursday Post}

~ • ~

“Kings and statesmen, business men and professional men read mystery stories for relaxation, for fun, and to sharpen their wits for the daily battle of life.

Don’t let yourself go stale.  These books are better than a radio drama and cheaper than a good movie for the family and keep you alert.  Have your bookseller send you the books listed below and save over 65% from the former $2.00 price.”

~ • ~

Bookmark - 1

~ • ~

SO I FOUND THIS Sun Dial Mysteries 1930s [?] bookmark in an old book that happens to be in a large stack of old books that happen to be in our basement.  I was charmed by the sexist copy on the bookmark, and I was intrigued by the titles of the books listed on it.

I knew that Leslie Charteris wrote The Saint books, but I’ve never read one.  And I knew that Georgette Heyer was a contemporary of Agatha Christie, but I’ve never read one of her books either.  The rest of the authors were new to me.

~ • ~

I HAVE NO IDEA who these oldtime mystery writers might be.  I can’t even keep up with the current mystery writers, which is why I thought that I’d ask you, my gentle readers: which mystery writers do you enjoy the most?  Or, if you don’t read mysteries, what do you read that I should be reading, too?

Heaven knows, I must remain alert and not go stale!

My Disappointing Summer of 2014: A Look At What Went Wrong


• • • • •

I am at heart a project manager.  I like to accomplish things.  I’m practical.  I’m determined.  I have vision.  I work well with people.  I like to research, plan and then bring to fruition that which I set out to do.

But the Summer of 2014 has thwarted me on every front.

As some of you who live around here know, this has been one of the wettest summers on record.  While California is drying up like an unloved, unwatered Philodendron in a terra-cotta pot sitting on the window sill, Ohio has been deluged with so much rain that outdoor pots of waterlogged geraniums and zinnias are holding up white flags of surrender.

All this rain is not right, I tell you.

We have done almost no gardening, no flea markets or antique shows, no cookouts or drinks on the deck with friends, no outdoor concerts, no long walks in the nature preserve or parks, no outside dinners at funky restaurants in cool parts of town, no redecorating projects that need bright clear natural light.

Pretty much one word sums up this past summer: NO!

Zen-Den, ever the optimist, reminds me that around here a wet summer leads to a glorious fall.  And that if I can hold onto my sanity for just a few more weeks, I’ll be okay.  So it is with that autumnal hope in mind that I continue on trying to ignore the lousy summer weather [like the current pouring rain + thunder] and find something else to do.

Besides complaining, that is.

Tales of a Free Spirit in Suburbia