I almost killed my husband once. It would have been unintentional had I succeeded; I'm sure it would have been ruled accidental or I would have been declared not guilty by reason of insanity; for insane I was.

We were on vacation in Mexico, spending the day at a beautiful place called Xel Ha, and planned to go snorkeling. I'm not a water person so it was only to please my husband that I agreed to don the flippers. life jacket, mask and snorkel and get into the water.

I am blessed with the most patient and understanding man in the world (he has to be to put up with me!) and he gently encouraged me and held on to my hand as we moved farther out in the water. Finally, when we were far enough out, he coached to put my face in the water and, well, begin snorkeling.

I managed to keep my fear in check and began to appreciate the beautiful underwater world but suddenly I was overcome with panic and instinct took over. Even as I was doing it I told myself to stop, but I was unable to prevent myself from climbing onto my husband's shoulders in an attempt to get myself out of the water.

Logically, I knew my behaviour had the potential to drown the man I loved, but I was absolutely unable to stop. Self-preservation, the will to survive, panic, instinct, call it what you will, it was a force to be reckoned with.

Finally, Gerry managed to fling me off of his shoulders and away from him far enough to prevent me from climbing back on top of him. My patient husband wasn't upset with me, he proceeded to calm me down and even got me to resume our snorkeling adventure.

I was in awe at what we were seeing in the underwater world, but I never quite got over my fear and every now and then an involuntary sharp intake of breath signaled to me that panic was not far away.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, I feel something similar to that physical sense of panic. In the wee hours, my mind wanders hither and yon and sometimes rests upon a "what if" scenario that stabs me with a bolt of fear.

It's silly really, getting worked about about an imaginary situation that will likely never happen, but the nighttime world is not unlike the underwater sometimes. Inexplicably, involuntary, irrationally, I'm pierced with a panic that I find myself powerless to resist.

When I started writing this post my intention was to write about someone who's life I think about sometimes as a way of quelling the fear of the unknown, but I think I will save that story for another day. I'll leave you with this tale of the power of panic and ask you: have you ever been gripped with a fear you found difficult to let go of? What did you do to overcome it?


I posted discussion on my Arms of Adoption blog between two women who, as young pregnant unmarried woman, had thier newborn babies taken from them according to government policy.

Hearing these woman recount what they went through breaks my heart. I hope you'll hop over and have a listen to an adoption experience from the perspective of the adoptive mom.

It's powerful and moving.

The Grandma

Many of us remember her from our childhood - that older woman who lived on our street who knew the names of all of the neighborhood kids. She may have baked cookies and handed them out now and then (back in the days before we had to forbid our children to take anything from anyone). She may have taken time to sit and listen to a child rattle on about a whole lot of not very much. Perhaps she had a little dog and would stop so you could pet it when she was out for a walk. She was nice, but she wouldn't hesitate to scold anyone who misbehaved, either.

Remember her? She was the Neighborhood Grandma.

I remember Mrs. Montgomery who lived across the street from us in a brick house. I am not sure how old she was, or if she was a grandma or a mother at all. She was my mom's friend and had known me my whole life. When I was twelve years and we moved away, she gave me a red wallet with the name of my hometown written on it.

Next door to Mrs. Montgomery, lived Mrs. Small. Mrs. Small also lived in a house made of bricks, but it was smaller than Mrs. Montomery's. Oddly enough, in my mind Mrs. Small herself was of a more diminutive stature than her neighbor as well. Hmmm.

It warms me to think of these grandmother-type women who knew me from the time I was born and who, in my mind, assumed the title of Neighborhood Grandma. I am sure that having these woman in the periphery of my life contributed to the sense of security and safety I felt in my neighborhood at all times.

This afternoon after work, I was out in the yard enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. I had geraniums to take out (we winter them), tulip and daffodil bulbs to plant, and winter pansies to put in the ground. They continue to warn us about a harsh winter ahead, but I am not thinking that far ahead. I'm enjoying the here and now.

After I got all of my gardening tools out, I set up the pen for Yorkies so they could enjoy the sunshine with me. No sooner had I deposited the dogs in the pen with a treat and one of their favorite chews, than a batch of children ran over to pet the dogs. One little one in particular caught my attention and made me smile.

Her name is Piper and she lives with her mommy and daddy and older siblings across the street from us. I have known her since she was born too. She's a sweet little one, just a touch older than my grandchildren, with a soft heart for my dogs.

Her mommy followed her across the street and we chatted while I showed Piper how to gently pet the dogs. Eventually, it was time for her to go home and as they walked back across the street I heard snippets of their conversation.

"The grandma let me pet her puppies!" said Piper.

The grandma! Oh I had to smile when I heard her say that!

And I thought, not for the first time, that I think Gerry and I are the oldest couple on the block. We are the neighborhood grandparents!  With this realization comes responsibility. I am going to have to make sure I learn the names of all the children on the street, and which house they belong to. I may even have to start baking cookies again!

The thought that one of these little ones might remember me as their Neighborhood Grandma one day made me smile. Life is like that, isn't it?

Circles within circles like ripples on a pond.

Friday Already?

Oh my, it's Friday already!

Most weeks I am saying Hallellulah! It's Friday! but this week it snuck up on me mainly because I got home from vacation on Wednesday and was only on the office for two days this week. It was just enough time for me to realize how far behind I am on some things. My to-do list and desk at home is no better; it's stacked with things that need my attention too.

I would like to go to the library and spend some time working on my book this weekend.

I would like to finish (actually start) the piece for my writing circle that meets next Saturday.

I would like to spend an hour or so curled up with a book I want to finish.

I would like to try out a new recipe.

I would like to spend time in the yard and get my winter flowers planted.

I would like to update my website.

I would like.....

The list goes on and on. Some things will get done and others will have to wait - it's just the reality that I have so many things I want to do and not enough time to do them all.

I hope that everyone reading this has a wonderful autumn weekend filled with must-do's and a splash of want-to-do's!

Tell me, what's on your list for this weekend?

P.S. I do want to tell you all about the new look for Story Circle Network's Telling Herstories blog. It's jam-packed with all sorts of useful information about lifewriting.

A Ticking Clock

We are heading home today after a wonderful time in Calgary. The "official" reason for our visit this time was to look after our grandson while his parents were away. We are fortunate that our granddaughter and her parents live just twenty minutes away so we have been blessed to have been able to spend time with both of them.

It seems that each time we are hear I hear the faint sound of a ticking clock counting down the minutes until we have to leave. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second we spend here is so precious.

I hear the ticking clock more often these days - even when we are not here.

Perhaps part of the reason is that I will turn fifty-two in a few months and my mom died suddenly at age fifty-five. I can't help but think about her and what dreams and hopes she may have had when she was fifty-two and all that she missed out on.

She adored my children, her grandchildren, as much as I adore my own grandchildren. It breaks my heart that she died so young and did not have the opportunity to see Michael and Laurinda grow up; just as it breaks my heart to consider not having that opportunity with Makiya and Jaxon. It's one of the reasons I started paying more attention to my health, and it's another reason I want to retire early so I can spend more time with them.

Sometimes the sound of the ticking clock is so loud that I forget to stop and enjoy the small, seemingly insignificant, moments that each day brings.

This week I have enjoyed time reading to the grands, playing with them, taking them for walks, and sitting an amazement at how much that have grown and changed in the short time since I saw them last. I have also been blessed to have been able to spend time talking with Laurinda about things that are important to each of us, though those precious moments seem to have been so brief.

I took time to appreciate the beauty of fallen fall leaves, the crunching sound they make when you walk through them, smile at black squirrels running across a yard, laugh as a jack rabbit caught the attention of my grandson, breath in cool morning air, and appreciate the sun on my skin on unseasonably-warm afternoons.

The clock continues to count down; I am filled with gratitude that the moments between each tick-tock are filled with wonder and beauty and family.

A Mystery

I love a good mystery, don't you? This week I received an anonymous invitation to visit a brand new blog written by someone known as Enna Scott.

Who is Enna Scott? Well, I don't know!

What I do know is that The Story of Enna Scott will unfold post by post on her blog and I am intrigued.

Join me, won't you, in the unfolding tale of the elusive Enna Scott.


In my newspaper column this month I am discussing early retirement and ladders; yes they do have something in common!

Check out my article in the Covington Reporter site and find out what it is

I would love to hear your thoughts on this article.


There have been ghosts all around me today.

I am in a city where I used to live, where I lived for a very long time as a matter of fact, and took some time this afternoon to visit some once-familiar places. I walked, I drove, I remembered, conjured ghosts of days gone by, the kind of thing I have enjoyed doing in the past.

It was different this time.

I was overcome with a powerful sense of grief; the kind of grief that I remember from many years ago, the kind that hurts physically as well as emotionally. And lonliness.

I can't say what prompted these emotions. I am the kind of person who has always cherished solitude, sought it out even, so I was taken aback by the overwhelming emotion that came over me for no apparent reason. I pushed through it as I have done many times in the past.

Later, I worked for a number of hours on my memoir. I went back in time to the 1970's and found ghosts there as well. I learned that in my writing I tend to gloss over periods of deep emotion and the 70's were, most definitely for me, filled with periods of deep emotion.

So now, at the end of the day, having coped with these ghosts all day, I am exhausted. I pray that I sleep deep and dreamless and that the ghosts have moved on by morning.

Running Away

I am running away from home tomorrow. 

I am going to get up early, when it is still dark, and throw some necessary things into my car. I'll take my Kindle, my Droid X, my laptop, the hard-copy draft of my memoir, toiletries, and a change of clothes. I won't need much else.

I will stop for coffee before I go too far: a venti soy carmel macchiato. I will plug my Droid into the auxillery jack in my car and listen to the Pandora radio that I recently discovered. Perhaps, after a while, I will switch to the satellite radio and my favorite classical station for something different.

In time, I will turn it all off and enjoy the silence.

Road trips stimulate my brain; I find myself thinking of things I want to write about. That reminds me, I will need to take my notebook and favorite pen along too.

Solitude. It is what recharges me when I am exhausted. It is what I need right now.

I have an appointment to go to on Monday afternoon, but this trip  is also a mini writing retreat. I should arrive at my destination around lunch time tomorrow and will have lots of time to myself. I have a reservation at a nice hotel that I know has comfy beds, quiet rooms, and good writing desks.
There is a park not too far away and I may take my pen and notebook and sit by the water for a while. I may go for a walk to a special place I know of; I may take a few pictures. I know I will go to the bookstore. I will probably get a cup of coffee and spend a hour or so browsing.
Later, when it gets dark I will go to my hotel room, pull on some comfy lounging clothes, turn on my laptop and bring up the fourth draft of my memoir. I have got a flow going and it's hard to maintain when life keeps getting in the way of writing time. This time alone will be good.
Don't look for me at church tomorrow; don't look for me at work on Monday. I am running away to write; I am running away to find someone I have been missing lately.

Happy Birthday, Laurinda!

Thirty-two years ago today, at 11:24 in the morning this sweet little girl was born!
She weighted 9 lbs 12 oz, she had a lot of black hair, and she was the first human being I every saw who shared my DNA.

Laurinda is a precious gift;
she is both my daughter and my friend.

Laurinda is a gifted writer, an avid reader, and a creative photographer.

She is an amazing mother.
One of the greatest sources of pride and joy in my life has been watching Laurinda blossom into motherhood.

She is introspective and comfortable with solitude.
I am often blown away by wisdom she shares in posts on her Seasons of Life blog.

Happy Birthday, Laurinda!
I am proud of you in more ways than you could imagine.