A Real Friend

A real friend is:

Someone, who at the end of an evening foray, or phone call or even a real, face to face chat knows as much about your doings as you know about hers/his.

Add to it…

Pass it on


A Real Friend

A real friend is:
Someone, who at the end of an evening foray, or phone call or even a real, face to face chat knows as much about your doings as you know about hers/his.

Add to it…
Pass it on



She was dying and I finally couldn’t deny it. Artificial barriers disappeared. No more vestiges of childhood. No more maternal caretaker. Just: Need. Feel. Do. Many moments are my own—too personal to share—but so many times of learning and growing in the most powerful way.

“A favor,” she asked. “Play for me.” I did. I left my stifling performance anxieties in the case of my newly acquired mandolin, sat on a chair close enough to touch her and played every old tune I could remember. She seemed to be sleeping and then I played “Liberty” and something resonated—I saw her sweet shadow smile. She opened her eyes and said, “Again please,” and I did. “Tomorrow?” she asked, and for the next blur of days, I played. The first time I saw the white shoes peeking out from under the dimly lit privacy curtain I almost stopped, but instead I stuffed my ego driven fears far away, focused on my mom, played “Liberty” and then I kissed her good night. A nurse stopped me on my way out and hugged me.

After she died, I couldn’t even listen to that song without crying and the tune was shelved—until just recently. I have signed up for distance learning. The wonderful online music classes I am taking from Mike Marshall have pushed my flailing skills. I still haven’t had the courage to send in a video for critique, but todays lesson included a reminder to give it a try and a surprise moment of virtual propinquity. He suggested a “sweet heart tune” for me to record. I listened and felt the familiar heart clench, but now, for the first time, I thought about the title in personal terms. I can actually breathe and enjoy the practice process as I reintroduce “Liberty” into my musical repertoire.

So far I have tried to video myself a staggering number of times, each a little less cringe worthy. With each try there is an increased sense of freedom to live my life as I want–of personal liberty. Mom would be proud.

I Call Them Overnights Not Sleepovers For a Good Reason


Have you ever:
—Stood gazing out the window, surrounded by 4:45 AM darkness, with the 5 year old love of your life, and wondered at the magic of moon shadows? Or…
—Read Good Night, Good Night Construction Site, by only moonlight bouncing off blankets of new snow? Or…
—traced the route of fresh fox tracks from ice-crystaled boulder to boulder?

The creak of my bedroom door was closely followed by an explosion of tail wagging from the sneaky hound who had already slithered onto the end of my cozy nest. The next thing I knew, I was wedged between 50 pounds of Springer Spaniel and about the same heft of wiggling grandson.

“DD, wake up, the moon is awake and so am I.” I almost replied with old person stuff like, “ Just a few more minutes”, or worse yet, “Go back to bed.” Luckily there was enough lunar glow for me to see the sparkle in his eyes; instead I gave the dog a gentle off-the-bed-shove, wrapped my arms around my little buddy and flipped us both to the floor. We stood gazing out the window, surrounded by 4:45 AM darkness….

Self Talk Time


First : panic ( February is over? It’s March?)

Second: resolve ( I will plunge into Slice of Life year 2)

Next : inspiration ( What better allegorical pairing than an unexpectedly snowy drive and my slide into SOL, season 2,)

Finally: Reality check: what was I thinking—it all seemed so obvious 10 hours ago.
Reality—something is better than nothing—here I go.


It stomped in on cats paws. It’s not that I didn’t know it was coming, but BAM—all of a sudden–an irrefutable blizzard confirmed it’s presence with 8, or 9, or maybe even 12 inches of heavy, heavy snow. The extra time factored in to avoid being late for my babysit-the-grandson stint suddenly seemed woefully inadequate. This is what signed up for—every Tuesday and Thursday come rain or shine or blizzard—I must remember to chalk  this commitment up to momentary insanity.

I pulled on every bit of mountain gear and summoned every bit of mountain resolve. It’s here; first challenge of the morning. It doesn’t look too impossible if tackled with authority. Self talk time: look ahead and don’t be distracted by snow clumps careening down from over-flocked trees. Stay strong. Anticipate icy patches but don’t let them daunt you. Don’t focus on the ditches, and don’t hesitate; if the drifts look a little scary, hit the gas. You can do it. Your Suburu can do it ( gads I feel like a commercial).

The first hurdle: making it out of the driveway— that first plunge, shrouded in the anticipatory fear of getting stuck before even making it up and out to our very unplowed road. What was I thinking. It all seemed so easy, so doable. Will I ever become more prudent before committing to dubious adventures?

Hey! That wasn’t as hard as I though. I just had to get going. Yup, feeling pretty good about my slightly slippery but overall successful plunge into the snowy abyss that was, but hours ago, our peaceful country road. Steady now—do this at your own pace. Push your comfort level just enough that you don’t get stuck. Just need to make it to the highway–the beautifully plowed, sanded highway. I almost can see the intersection. This may actually have been a little fun. Dare I say, I feel quite tough and brave? Onward!

Oh my! What is that I see in my not very distant future? I do believe that snowy white, unmarred, unplowed, unsanded ski slope-like dragon back was our Highway 66. No problem. I forded the drifts once already; I can do this. And I can do it tomorrow, and the next day, and the next….with the help of a plow (and a quill).

Freedom: big and not so big

Freedom. What a complex word. There are big freedoms: slaves–historic and current–risking their lives in their search for freedom from subjugation and bondage, women in too many countries around the world struggling to break free of suppressive religious and cultural chains, victims of intolerance–sexual orientation, religious or political–struggling for the freedom and right to express their personal ideas and opinions, and the freedoms granted by our citizenship to express our ideas and opinions through speech and written word.

There are the not so big (in a numerical sense,) but equally as important freedoms: the freedom to be able to act according to one’s true character without being coerced or subjected to the controlling influence of others, the freedom a woman experiences when regaining herself after a controlling marriage is over, and that of the once abused child who finds the freedom from fear in safety.

Freedom. It is a word that has interesting synchronicity with the deeply embedded theme of this seasons Jewish holiday, Passover. Each spring, families gather together around a Seder table to retell the story of a people seeking freedom from unbearable persecution. The relevance is as poignant now as it was thousands of years ago. It is a theme –deliverance from persecution– that has been repeated throughout history, and sadly continues to be prevailant today. In our lifetimes there are horrific examples of people denied freedom in Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia. The continued violation of human rights in Syria and North Korea and other nations around the world fill the newspapers each day.

Freedom. It is the most critical expression of humanism. It is our responsibility to retell the stories of people historically denied freedom and it is our responsibility to keep forefront an awareness of people who, today, are still denied this most basic of rights.  It our responsibility to refuse to let violations of freedom within our personal environment go unaddressed.  We have the freedom to speak and we have the freedom granted to us through writing to make a difference.   It is our responsibility to use our freedoms to help others attain theirs.

A second life extender

Traveling is a life extender–each adventuring moment demands complete attention and focus. Unlike blurred together home days routines, when traveling  I can remember every morning sunrise,  where I was sitting eating each juicy mango and sticky rice breakfast, the smells  of  barbecue over makeshift oil drum fires flickering on our evening walks, the unique cacophonies of produce markets, tree top monkey jungle songs,  and the bewitching call of  Balinese women luring us to let them “braid babies hair”.   When was the last work-a-day week you could remember what you had for dinner even two nights Ago?  I can effortlessly recite a litany of not only what I ate,  and the music of the kitchen’s  clankings and steaming’s , but the breathtaking sparkle of luminescent plankton laughing at our toes under our dinner table .”

And now,when least expected, I have a second life extender: writing – – not just writing, but writing for ME, for the joy and mindfulness  of transposing those traveling awareness skills  into a literary Springboard to look closer, feel stronger and think longer about where I am right now. This second life extender is a new coat of awareness, for once, not dictated by my clients’ editing constraints for essay due dates, or a publisher’s  preordained deadline.   This joyful traveling with words has been ignited and nurtured by a fabulous community of wonderful writers and I am so grateful to have had the slice of life experience. I know, my life has been extended by it. Thank you’s  are in order :
Thank you
To Brian Rozinsky for your daily bits of encouragement and wisdom. Your support translated seamlessly into motivation and reassurance.  I am truly touched  someone I have never met has put forth such kind, consistent  effort on my behalf.

To my first SOL contact Betsy: With words alone your made me feel so warmly welcomed. Then, as I read your slices, the generosity of your support became even more poignant; I pieced together your devastating life situation. I wanted so much to respond to your slices in a meaningful way—to offer words of consolation , or wisdom or helpful reflections. I wrote, and I deleted and wrote and deleted– my attempts were inadequate when addressing the pervasive impact of fire. To write a gloss of unknowing support seemed intrusive –a disconnect between the depth of what you experienced, my fledgling acquaintance with you and the comfort I wanted to convey. I wish I had the skill with words, but please know I had the thoughts

To aggiekesler : Meeting you through SOL has been a surprise and sweet connection. I Love your ex pat stories– what a delightful way to start getting to know you. Thank you for taking the time to read my slices–your comments have been helpful, looked forward to, and motivating…and I love we have a mutual personal connection.

To DJ vichos: I have enjoyed reading and commenting on many slices, but every reader has the style that resonates with her, and I have particularly looked forward to reading your slices. If you ever get tired of teaching, do, do think of becoming a published author – – you have the gift.

To readingteachersu, mrssurridge and the other kind repeated commenters – – thank you for taking the time to read my posts and for your supportive and insightful comments.  They were personal and reinforcing and truly look forward to

To the organizers and facilitators of slice of life – – thank you for facilitating a truly life enriching experience.

Most importantly, to Laurenrenah: I decided to participate in SOL because of your suggestion–the opportunity to join you was irresistible. Your vivid,   Capture-the-essence writings are real slices of life. Thank you for so beautifully describing moments I have treasured reading. You never cease to amaze me, my incredible daughter.


Wisdom+a virtual nudge=a really good day

I almost talked myself out of it. I sat on the couch through a first, then a second cup of strong coffee, wavering. After all, it was a legitimate waver…I am no spring chicken and it was flat light (I really don’t like flat light) snowy,cold and a bit windy. Indeed, it was legitimate to think about staying in a cozy condo, in front of the cozy fire, reading a cozy mystery, thinking how nice it is to be ….cozy. And then came the call from halfway around the world and my very wise (and probably really really Thailand hot and sweaty) daughter said, “Mom! just go. I promise you tonight you will not say to yourself I’m sorry I went skiing in that cold miserable rotten weather.

I went and it was grand–in a stoic sort of way, better than had it been a bluebird day. Actually, it was better than grand, it was invigorating and made me feel once more I won a little battle with father time.

P.s. I did call my daughter and told her she could say, “I told you so.”