For the last time


treasure unearthed


This is a photo of a Tonka backhoe. It was left in the sand box one day by my boys many years ago. I found it today, after cutting away many overgrown vines, in the spot where they played with it for the last time.

It struck me as a kind of sad…one day this much loved toy, was never played with again. When was that exactly? I couldn’t say. I just blinked, and they were grown.

We’ll see where this takes us…

Tintin…aaaarrre youuuuu…?



Tintin came to live with us 6018 days ago. That would be 16 years, 5 months, and 21 days, but who’s counting.

Phillip was not quite two, and Patrick just five when it was time to find a new companion. An already grown up, black tiger cat caught our eye and our hearts that day. She was estimated to be about a year old. When she came home with us that day, she sat on the sofa like she owned it. And she did.

Although she was an adult cat, Phillip called her a “kitten”…except…he couldn’t say, “kitten”. He said, “tintten”, which in very short order became, Tintin.

Tintin died today at almost 18 years old of kidney failure. She leaves behind Matty Cat, Katrina Greycat, and us.



…you will be the young man tending the garden…

...the young man tending the garden...

…the young man tending the garden…


Nine years have passed since I last saw my dad alive. When I left his house that day, I knew I would never see him again. My soul actually hurt. My soul hurts again today. It’s raw, like it was that day. That’s when I did my mourning. When I knew I’d never see him again. I miss him everyday of course, but today…today, the feeling of loss is almost overwhelming. I know I won’t feel like this everyday, but for now the intensity of how much I miss him burns white hot.

We’ll see where this takes us…



“…but, we want the little black one…!”




…said the excited 11 year old Patrick. I said, “If you guys want the little black one, you pay the adoption fee.” And so it happened. The “little black one”, named Mindy (short for Midnight) by a very proud, 8 year old Phillip, was ours.

Mindy died today. We became her humans 8 years ago last week. Her kidneys failed. Again. This time for good.

She leaves behind, Katrina Greycat, Tintin, and Matty Cat (her mentor and best friend). And us.

On getting older

I don’t often look in the mirror. I don’t mean to do my hair or make up, but REALLY look. Especially in good light. Yeah. I did that.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the crepe-y skin, not only on my neck, but on my face. When I could no longer deny the existence of the fine (and not quite as fine) lines around my lips (which by the way, are kind of disappearing). My once (naturally) perfectly shaped eyebrows have become sparse. And of course, the dark, puffy semi-circles under my eyes.

I have decided that I do not like being “middle-aged”. I didn’t like being a teenager either. It’s in between. Not an adult, not a kid. Middle age is the in between age of adulthood. Not elderly, but with most of life already passed.

As much as I do not like middle age, all of my lines and wrinkles will deepen with the passage of time. When they’re finished, I’ll be one Hell of an old lady.

We’ll see where this takes us…




Resolve to what…?

I guess today, people are supposed to resolve to do (or not do) things that will, perhaps, change the quality of their lives for the better. Usually, these are somewhat generic ideas with little real meaning. You know…I will lose weight…I will get organized…I will stop biting my nails…I will stop smoking…

For most of us, these “resolutions” are fleeting. We needed to do all of those things all along, but we chose to (mostly) ignore them. Why does changing the year on the calendar bring them to the forefront of our thinking? Maybe, it’s due to the passage of time being heralded in such a big way.

In the spirit of the day, I will share my resolve…

…to remove annoying tags from my clothing as soon as I notice them…

…to shred the shred-worthy mail the day it arrives…

…to wax my upper lip with some sort of consistency…

…to not be forced into social situations that require me to be around people with whom I do not want to spend time…

…to take more pictures…

IMG_9480 (2)

We’ll see where this takes us…

The edge

I am on the edge…

…of happiness

…of raw emotion

…of contentment

…of deep sadness

…of my breaking point

…of bursting with pride

…of hope for what the future will bring

…of fear for what the future will bring

…of the abyss that tears my heart

IMG_4224 - watermarked


Thoughts for today

my dad (taken by 3 year old patrick)

my dad (taken by 3 year old patrick)

I saw my dad for the last time a little over eight years ago. When I left his house that day, I knew I’d never see him again. As we backed our car out of the driveway, I just sobbed from somewhere deep in my soul. I got the call that he’d died late on November 27th.

I miss the warmth in his voice. I miss the out of control laugh. I miss him yelling at the Browns. I miss the knowledge he had about so many things. I miss his delicious ribs. I miss his uncanny ability to give directions from anywhere to anywhere.

The last time I saw him, he said, “Oh Lisa, you’re here.” So, he knew. He knew I was there. I told him I’d see him on the other side. I would be the little girl in the yellow dress, and he would be the young man tending to the garden.

We’ll see where this takes us…



Fun (?) facts


I originally wrote this list in January of 2009. It is still mostly true.

1. I procrastinate. No, really.
2. I might be a bit sarcastic.
3. I have a thing for guys with long hair.
4. I REALLY miss my dad. It has been 8 years since I last saw him.
5. I have never been tired of my kids. Not once. Not ever.
6. I hate my house.
7. Flying terrifies me, but I’ll do it if I have to. Xanax.
8. I believe in God but, have no use for organized religion.
9. I played with matches with Bobby Armstrong when I was five…I NEVER did that again! I wish I could find him on Facebook, or somewhere.
10. I love slutty shoes.
11. I love Queen. Yes, still.
12. My mom died when I was ten.
13. I am not a housekeeper. I have lots of clutter. I am working on this one.
14. I have been married to the same person for 24 years. We are too lazy to fill out the paperwork for our divorce. 30 years…wow…
15. I am the middle child.
16. My children amaze me. Even more now as they move toward their adult lives.
17. On a clear night, on top of my hill, when you can see so many stars you can hardly see the sky…I sit there and stare up at the vastness of the universe in complete wonder and awe. That’s what keeps me centered. This has never been more true.
18. I enjoy the Marx Brothers.
19. I still have my favorite stuffed animal from childhood. You can read about him here.
20. I am trying to learn Italian. This did not work out so well.
21. Please do not tickle my knees!
22. I am a political junkie.
23. I have never eaten cotton candy.
24. I had fuchsia hair back in the ’80s.
25. I usually think the best time of my life is wherever I happen to be at the moment. The best time IS right now.

We’ll see where this takes us…

I took a short trip this morning

In the back yard of the house on Anita Drive

In the back yard of the house on Anita Drive

Early this morning as I walked outside, the slightly humid breeze seemed to transport me, just for the briefest instant, back about 45 years. The sunshine and the smell of the air landed me square in our backyard on Anita Drive. The thing is, I really felt for that blink of an eye, that I was actually there.

It was the beginning of the seemingly endless summer vacation. Long days spent playing with neighborhood friends, riding our bikes, swimming in the neighbor’s pool, or just making mud pies. Laundry was on the line.The grownups sat in the metal “S” chairs, smoking Chesterfield no-filters and visiting. The garden was beginning to bloom.

For one fleeting moment, I was once again the little girl in the yellow dress, and the young man was tending the garden.

We’ll see where this takes us…



…with darkness


I can feel the warmth of the sun on my face

I can hear the sounds of life all around me

I can taste the goodness of cool water

I can smell the fresh breeze

I can see love in their eyes

Imagine how it would feel to be in a place where these things were there, within grasp, but be powerless to touch them

The sun’s warmth scalds

The sounds of life deafen

The cool water fills the lungs

The fresh breeze becomes a hurricane

The love in their eyes appears to be a vacant stare

Imagine living in such a place


Feeling hopeless

Stuff I’d like to do before I’m not alive anymore

Experience the 23 hour sun and /or darkness in the extreme north

Drive across the country in a VW bus

Drive a car that goes 0-60 in 4 seconds (and make it happen)

Sing in public


Make someone really happy

Live in a walkable neighborhood

Catch a foul ball at a baseball game

Visit the land of my ancestors

Learn to take amazing photographs

We’ll see where this takes us…



Easter corsage

My granny's favorite flower.

My granny’s favorite flower.

Two gardenias. Two gardenias with blue ribbon. Two gardenias with blue ribbon were delivered. Two gardenias with blue ribbon were delivered the day before she died. Two gardenias with blue ribbon were delivered the day before she died, and now she wears them forever.

True confession #2

I do not dust my furniture until I can see footprints left by the cats. I grow cobwebs on purpose. I have seen dust bunnies the size of a baseball in my house. I keep a basket for clean socks in the living room. I do not necessarily put it away when company comes.

The ever present sock basket

The ever present sock basket

We’ll see where this takes us…

Don’t panic…

…in the middle of an unfamiliar, crowded grocery store.

I’d been to this store a handful of times over the years. As I tried to navigate my way through the produce, it became very crowded. There were too many people. I stopped for a few minutes to gather myself, and as the crowd moved on, I was able to pick up the things I needed.

As I wandered through to the bakery, I felt less dread, but I still didn’t feel quite right. I acknowledged the slight panic I was feeling to my companion and we moved along.

The next thing I knew, I was faced with an everyday decision. I had to decide what would be on the menu this week. I found myself unable to move. The choices were too many, yet not enough. There were TOO MANY people. Tears started streaming down my face. My companion was unsure of what to do. I was frozen to that spot.

After what seemed like hours (I’m sure it was just minutes), I was able to leave the store. It was painful. Each step felt like a million miles. I made it outside, where the cool air was most welcome.

It was exhausting. And scary.

We’ll see where this takes us…




White hot

There are many things I didn’t understand until I became a mom. One of them is the white hot intensity with which I love my children. To say I was blown away by this feeling, would be a gross understatement.

I never knew until that moment, how my own mother felt about me. While I missed her before, it wasn’t until then, that I really, truly understood what I was missing.

We’ll see where this takes us…


Dad things #1

My dad took me to see David Cassidy when I was eight. I actually remember what I wore. A navy blue jumper that had gold buttons, white piping, and a flouncy red skirt. Under that was a navy and white spotted blouse. A very chic chiffon scarf held together with a gold slide-y ring thing adorned my neck.

I do not remember what my dad wore.

We’ll see where THIS takes us…

No steps here

Granny & Gramps  1976ish

Granny & Gramps

When my dad decided to remarry, his new wife of course, came with a family. No kids, but some parents, and a sibling, and a somewhat large extended family. Here’s the thing… These folks took me into their lives like I had always been there. All of them. And for that, I will always be grateful.

At the time, there were no other “grand children”. The woman who married us asked if I would call her parents some version of Grandma and Grandpa. I didn’t see why not, so in short order, Granny and Gramps they became…to almost everyone.

Gramps passed away when I was 15, so I didn’t get to have him too long. To say he possessed a quick wit, would be a gross understatement.

Granny was with us until 2005. She never thought she was anyone special, but she was so wrong. She was perfect.

Granny was a beautiful woman

Granny was a beautiful woman

I could never begin to express how special I was made to feel. I spent most weekends with Granny. That continued into my late teens until we moved away. Even as an adult, when I would visit my folks, I’d spend a night or two at Granny’s place. That ended when she moved in with my parents. I would try to make it a point to spend some one-on-one time whenever I visited. One of our favorite outings was Malley’s, where I would have a hot fudge pecan and Granny would have a marshmallow sundae. Not to mention the Woolworth’s lunch counter, where we would have grilled cheese and fries!

There is so much more I could try to say, but words would never do justice to how I feel about this woman. She was a profound influence in my life, and I will always treasure the time I was able to spend in her company. We’ll see where this takes us…

Not enough

My mom died in August of 1973. By the end of that year, my dad was remarried. Let that sink in… just less than five months…

There was hardly time to mourn. How DOES a child do that anyway? Is it important to keep traditions…Or is it wise to change things up? Is it a good idea to share stories… Or should we avoid “living in the past”?

After my dad married, it quickly became evident that sharing stories was not a good idea. For what ever reason, the woman who married US could not handle hearing tales of our family’s life that included our mom. We were told that we were “living in the past”. In fact, any mention of life as it was before, resulted in a rather large tantrum…that could last for days.

It didn’t take long for us to learn. Oh, someone would slip up every once in a while. Of course, it was thought to have been done on purpose. At least on my end, it wasn’t. I gave up most of the memories I might have had of my mother for this woman. That’s a lot to ask, no? I learned too late, it wasn’t enough.

We’ll see where this takes us…

True confession #1

Spotty getting loved up by his cousin, Sock Munki

Spotty getting loved up by his cousin, Sock Munki

I still sleep with Spotty. He lives on my bed, next to the pillows. Whenever I pick him up for any reason, I give him a kiss. He’s been with me my entire life, so yeah, Spotty is also 51 years old. It’s been decided (by me), that he must accompany me to the afterlife as well.

Things that make living that much better

IMG_9271Here’s a list (in no particular order) of some stuff that I enjoy in this life. Feel free to add some of your little pleasures.


Nail polish

Diet Pepsi





Fresh flowers

Ceci beans

Hair color

Slutty shoes

Chocolate Chip Pancake Sunday


A few more added by some friends…

Sheets dried on the line


Home made bread




Mint chocolate chip ice cream

What’s next…?

What IS next?!

Maybe the big city...?

Maybe the big city…? Probably not…

I know this is not the last place I want to live. I have a not-carved-in-stone timeline of 5ish years. This house that has been my home for the last 26 years will be put up for sale. While I may be a bit nostalgic when it sells (after all, I raised my kids here), I won’t be sad. I will be thrilled by the possibilities that lie ahead.

I have been thinking in earnest about how the next part of my life should look. There are so many choices! It’s exciting and scary at the same time. It is certain that I will live in a place where I can walk to the corner for a cup of tea. After all of this time living on the edge of the middle of nowhere, I don’t want to have to take my car out every time I want or need to grab a few groceries. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess as to where I might end up.

Perhaps, back to my mid-western roots. Maybe, some place tropical. Or, will the west win out? It sure is a big world out there. We’ll see where this takes us…

Deadly sin # 6

IMG_6701 - watermarkedI am at the age where many people are becoming the care takers of their parents. It cannot be an easy transition going from being cared for to being the one who is taking care. For either party. Even still, I am a bit envious. I ran out of parents many years ago.

You know, no one will ever love you the way your parents did. Ever. Sure, I have siblings that love me (and I, them), but it’s different. It wasn’t until I had my own children, that I started missing my mother (d.1973). I really don’t remember her, but I knew, the minute I fell in love with my first child, just how she felt about me. It was devastating.

I am envious, not because of the amazingly hard task many of you face, but for the many years you got to be someone’s child.

We’ll see where this takes us…

Take care of her. Please.

IMG_7654 (2)I seem to be the type of person people generally trust. My life is a pretty open book, but I will take your secret to my grave. I will listen and offer whatever advice I can. There have been countless hours literally holding someone’s hand while their life has spun out of control, each of us powerless to stop it. At times, for some reason, people seem to think I have all the answers. And sometimes, many times, this is a huge emotional burden. I’ve actually found myself actively avoiding new relationships for this reason.

So, what happens when the person who takes care of everyone needs someone to take care of her?

I was taught to be a “pull myself up by the bootstraps” kind of girl. It did not seem like there were other options. If I ever did have any sort of pity party, I was simply told how lucky I was and how there were people that had it so much worse. Basically, that I should get over myself.*

I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed, or sad, or scared. I’ve found myself stuck in situations that seemed endless and hopeless. During these times, for the most part, I found myself emotionally twisting in the wind. And, while my rational mind understands that some of the people in my life cannot cope with my issues, my emotional mind feels somewhat betrayed.

I have invested more into the well being of the people who inhabit my world than they will ever know. I have done this because I love them and want them to be well. Would I do it again…? Without a doubt.

We’ll see where this takes us…

. *more on this some other day