1. ARE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My first name is my paternal grandpa’s aunt’s (sorta, she was Jennie. I was supposed to be Sarah but we had a dog with that name, the family lore says my dad balked at naming me after an English Springer), my middle name is misspelled as Ellen and was supposed to be Elin after my maternal great grandfather’s middle name. 
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? I cry watching the news, the Olympics, when my kids are kind. Really cried? I don’t remember. A good sign. Probably last summer after my PEs. 
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It depends on the pen I am using. 
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes. And I’d be nicer to me than me. 
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? They don’t make it anymore: Post Fortified Oat Flakes. Their Oatmeal Crisp is close. 
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Nope. Not when I take them off or put them on. Confounds my husband. My kids do it too. 😂
12. DO YOU THINK YOU’RE STRONG? No. Despite evidence to the contrary. 
15. RED OR PINK? Red
18. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Pork potstickers from Trader Joes. 
19. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? ❤️husband loading dishwasher❤️
21. FAVORITE SMELLS? My mom. Horses. Neither of which I smell often 💔 My husband <— and that is really weird. LOL
22. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? One of my besties : Christina
24. HAIR COLOR REAL? Not since 2001
25. EYE COLOR? green. I am the 3%
27. FAVORITE FOOD? Maine lobster roll
34. What book are you reading right now? It’s about writer’s block and I cannot remember the name. 
35. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don’t use a mouse.
37. FAVORITE SOUND? My kids laughter and my husband’s contented sigh. 
40. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I can write, but since I currently have writers block and think I suck, I’m going with “no” for now.
Your turn! Entertain me. 


My Cat Has More Friends…

…than I do.

But then. She just is.

She’s not “trying so hard” lately.  I marvel at her ability to just be.

I long to be able to…




Planes, Ghosts, and a Daughter’s Love

Originally appeared at

A visit to an air show helped her connect with the planes that fascinate her and with the pilot father she lost.

It started before I was born. My “plane thing,” as I call it. My dad worked for a large oil company as an aviation fuels marketing manager, and the job gave him liberal use of a 1959 Beech Twin Engine Bonanza for business and personal trips. He was based in Boston in the early ‘60s, and transferred to Illinois when I was 2.

IMG_1358Planes had entered his life long before I had. When he joined the Navy in 1942, he first flew a Stearman he dubbed “the Yellow Peril.” It was his first Navy trainer as he learned to become a flight instructor. Then he flew an SNJ trainer, and finally, an SBD Dauntless. He left the Navy in 1945 when he got married and later told me he wished he had stayed in.

I am the smallest one here. 

So the Twin Bonanza wasn’t a leap when it “arrived.” He knew planes. While my mother was carrying me in 1962 and into the summer of 1963, I was in that Bonanza going to Wisconsin to visit relatives. This didn’t abate when I arrived. I have a photo of my family in front of it. My dad stands tall and thin, aviator glasses over his blue eyes and his hands on his hips, looking very much like a pilot (all seriousness). The family stood to his left: my auburn haired mother, a kerchief on her head; my sister, tall and blond also in a kerchief; my oldest brother John, in the same glasses and displaying the same pose as my dad; my 5-year-old, dark haired second brother, in overalls; and then a tiny blond girl in overalls that (horrors!) matched her brother’s (2-year-old me).

My fascination for planes — their noise, their lines, the very concept of being that high in the sky — continued unabated into adulthood. But I kept my distance in a way. I wasn’t remotely interested in learning to fly. I have an overdeveloped sense of balance, and my ears and stomach would not allow it. I settled into finding out which ones flew when, the difference between a turbo prop and a jet, how a jet worked. I recognized their sounds when they flew overhead, wanting to be able to identify them in the sky.

When my dad passed away in 2005, I knew I was missing some pieces of his history. I didn’t have regrets, really, just one more day with him, knowing in advance that it was the last one. That is when I would’ve have picked his brain more, and written things down. Instead, I’ve settled for learning more about his aircraft experiences through my older siblings and my mother. (And these conversations generally include large amounts of Wild Turkey and laughter).

So when the opportunity arose to see one of the only, still flying, SBD Dauntlesses at the Planes of Fame Chino Air Show in California, I knew I had to go. My  then fiancé, an aerospace engineer by training, a World War II buff by hobby, found my plane (and car, but I digress) fascination unusual. The fact that I had completely lost track of time in the Seattle Air Museum when he and I had gone there, and honestly, was not ready to leave when he was, bordered on the downright weird.

If asked to explain why airplanes were such a big deal to me, I could never do it. Perhaps, like my green eyes, it’s genetic. All I know is it has always been there. Always will be. A plane going overhead will stop me in my tracks, as my eyes seek it, wanting the catalog in my head to determine its type: 737, 747, 767, Beech, Airbus, Learjet, Citation, King Air, Cessna. I recognize engine types when I hear them.  I even liked the names: the simplicity of the numerical varieties made some sort of weird Soduku sense to my otherwise mathematically-challenged brain.

We got to the airshow and parked in the middle of a dark brown farm field scattered with nearly white pieces of hay. The earth had been mashed down and slightly watered to contain the dust as SUVs, cars, and trucks bounced over the uneven terrain to park. The hot sun was tempered a bit by a fairly stiff breeze. An introvert to a fault, I am overwhelmed by crowds at times. (When I go to the mall, I go directly to the store I need and leave, I never wander). But on that day, I simply didn’t notice all the other people. my fiance’s son and a good friend of his were with us.

Initially, we wandered around and looked at the planes parked so that we could get close to them. Then my fiance looked down at me, and asked me where I wanted to go. “I want to find it,” I said simply. He took my hand and led me down the wide aisles, winding through the accumulating crowd. I kept my head down, focused on pavement, suddenly wondering if this had been a bad idea. I seemed to be overcome with emotions I had forgotten. I missed my dad in a new way: I wanted him there to tell me about that plane. About places, times. I wanted to hear his sarcasm, his laugh, his repetitive stories. Just once more.

“There she is,” he said, coming to a halt. I took a deep breath, held it, and looked up. Sitting there, 20 feet behind a metal gate, among Helldivers and Spitfires, its nose to me, was the dark-blue, propellered, dive-bomber with the Navy insignia that I knew from photos on my parents’ walls. I let the air out of my lungs. “You’re awfully quiet,” he said, watching me, as I observed the show volunteers remove the chock blocks from behind the plane’s gear. I could only nod from behind my dark glasses. The pilot jumped up onto the wing and climbed inside the front cockpit as I watched. The engine started up noisily, blue smoke coming out from it in protest. The prop rotated slowly once, then twice, until the motor caught. The gear started to move, and as the plane turned to head for the runway, I let out a gasp when the side of it presented itself to me revealing the number 39.

I slid my sunglasses up off my eyes to turn back and look up at him. “The number,” I said quietly, feeling disbelief, total belief, sadness, and delight. “That’s how old my dad was when I was born.”

He smiled. “He’s here again, isn’t he?” he said. I nodded and slid the glasses back down to watch the small, blue dive-bomber lumber down the runway and take off. Its gear went up, and I had to blink several times to fight the tears that welled at the edges of my eyes.

I didn’t want to breathe. Oh he was there.

As I watched the plane turn and climb toward the sun, the poem he loved, “High Flight” by John Magee, went through my head:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue,

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew —

And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untresspassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

People wonder whether those who have died can see what is going on “down here.” I can only speak from my experience when I say: Not only do I know this is true, but I also know my dad has had his hands, wishes, and thoughts guiding my life since he passed on in ways he never did when he was alive. And the gap created by his death, while in no way overshadowed, is lessened at times, when he lets me know, in his own way, he’s still got my back.



People who talk to the dead..


I have started watching a TV show called Monica the Medium.  The woman in it is 22, in college, and talks to the dead. (Or rather, the dead seek her out and talk to her.) She was raised in a religious family and struggled with this gift. It’s fascinating to watch her in it and how she knows things she couldn’t know and touches lives in a positive way: giving them closure, hope and love. (I know this is a TV show, FAKE! STAGED! You say, but stay with me and you’ll understand my perspective).

 I think I’d love to have such a gift. 

I confess that after my dad passed away in 2005 the thought of dying no longer frightened me. Is this what faith in something is, I wondered. I “just know” he will be waiting with a Cosmo and a “hey kid!” (He called me “kid” up to the day he died, when I was 41 and had two children, three if you count my ex, but I digress.)

I saw a medium one year after he died. A friend of mine had told me about her and she was supposedly the real deal — helped the police solve crimes, things like that. I had started reading a lot of books after he died about near death experiences in an effort to understand what I will probably never understand until I die. It wasn’t so much closure I was looking for. It was more of a “I want to know he’s OK” kind of thing. I ran into some pretty wonderful books which I will list in my next post. 

My medium was tiny and British, quietly confident, and gave off this glow. The minute I walked into the reading room she looked at me and said “your dad is laughing and says the four wakes were overkill. Who’s the brown and black dog with him?” My mouth dropped open. 

We’d had four wakes: FL, WI, ME and off the coast of Texas thanks to the Navy. None were public. 

The dog was Molly, his Yorkie, who died in 2002.

 I sat down at a table and she pulled out some tarot cards. 

She shuffled them in silence, had me pick six, and laid them in a spread on the table. She flipped over a card. 

“You have his watch.”  

I do. 

“He’s spending more time with your mom’s mom than his own.” 

(Eva was one of a kind. Love in its purest form.)

“He says he hears you.”

I talk to him every day.

She told me other things but the one thing I will never forget is “be aware.” 

Doing that has changed death for me . I’m sure my dad communicates. There are far too many coincidences for them to be that. I’m sure he was involved in my second husband and I finding each other. (He’s a bit like him and my dad would love him and say I finally found the man that deserves me.) Every year on his birthday and death anniversary he sends me a sign. It’s an obscure song on the radio, or a Stearman flying over the house (he flew them in the Navy), a passage in a book, a tv commercial, or a car (a 1992 Olds) in traffic…a light blinking, the fact that he appeared in my husband’s dream, before we married, giving his approval (and my husband never remembers his dreams.)

And weirdest of all: my cat Luna’s death this week. I asked my dad, that night, when I couldn’t sleep, in my fog of grief, to please give me a message that he had her and she was no longer in pain. 

And tonight the red Stearman flew over my house. 

She’s fine. She’s with my dad. He loved animals. And it makes sense to me that anything connected to me and that I love on earth goes directly to him. 

It’s my way of communicating with him. 

 And it’s working. 

Always Bad News?



In the last couple of weeks, between trying not to watch the news, with all the shootings, and the presidential debates, I have come to the startling conclusion that the news simply likes bad, loudmouthed, mentally disturbed/prone to violence, people more than those who pay their taxes and pay it forward in life. Why are we giving so much air time and thought to BAD NEWS. Why is there no “GOOD NEWS” channel, where we all celebrate the good things that happened today?

I am uncomfortable being a human lately. My head and heart both hurt after seeing how awful we are to each other. Like the main character, John Koffee in The Green Mile, who says he feels all this too much, I confess I suffer from “caring to much for it all” as well. I want to fix everyone. Take away their anger, their hatred of others. I want go get humanity on the same damn page.


So I frequently go down the rabbit hole of human despair in a week. I am unable to change the big scary world. So I hunker down and try and “control”, or put my arms around, my own little world instead. I am nice to check out people, to bank tellers, to medical people, and especially to anyone I run across who is stressed out. (And I absorb that energy simply by being near it and that is exhausting.)

My world is becoming smaller and smaller as I avoid others in some sort of whacked self-preservation efforts. This is bad. I know it is. I am a social being and need people. But negativity sucks what little light of hope I have left in me. I need to laugh more, not listen to people who want to rule this country (rule! like a king!) spout hatred for each other and for various other humans.  This is what it has come to? No more tolerance? “Fuck you, I want my share of stuff!”

Sigh. Blech! I need a change of scenery and my physical state and bank account say: NOPE.

So I watch Golden Girls, (Betty White IS my mom),  and I laugh and remember the 1990s. Were things simpler then or was I less aware?

That’s another topic entirely.

Depressed Mishmash


  • $1.5B Powerball (I just want the Universe to give me a chance to DO GOOD in the world. More GOOD than my measly attempts to smile at people and pay things forward.)
  • Leg Hot Flashes are a thing and I have them.
  • So are regular hot flashes (and I am having them too).
  • My 13 year old is flunking math, even with a tutor for $300 a month. I am a math dwarf and cannot help him. I am worried about his lack of forethought, disorganization, his not having something he loves to do other than computer games, his weight, his future.
  • I need to REALLY learn WordPress.
  • My consulting client is acting weird.
  • I NEVER seem to save money.
  • I miss my mom. Daily.
  • My back is STILL not allowing me to have a life.
  • I have not slept through the night in at least a month. It’s either my back or a hot flash that wakes me.
  • Syrian children are starving.
  • The human race seems doomed.
  • Global warming.
  • Super bugs
  • Erin Mccarley songs are my “go to” when I am pissy or sad.

    Especially this one.  Which I am singing to my unfinished novel.

    “Gotta Figure This Out”

    I separated my heart from my head
    To feel out what’s inside
    I don’t like what I see, so I say good night

    Don’t wake me ’cause I’m dreaming in color
    Black and white is not my friend
    Candy coated figures hold me in my bed

    I’ve never been so deep inside a shadow
    I’ve never been so insecure of what I know

    I’ve gotta figure it out, I need a story to tell
    Where’s the feeling I long for?
    I’ve gotta figure it out before I lose you, love

    Big city streets are calling me loud
    The busy keeps me high
    Well, this quiet town is wearing me down tonight

    I know that I should stay here for a while
    Listen to the sound of my shaky heart
    Looking for gold in the ground

    I’ve never been so deep inside a shadow
    I’ve never been so insecure of what I know

    I’ve gotta figure it out, I need a story to tell
    Where’s the feeling I long for?
    I’ve gotta figure it out before I lose you
    Before I lose you, love

    It’s not okay to make you wait
    To make you wonder why I
    Can’t hold you close or give you hope
    That this will be all right, I wanna make it right

    I’ve gotta figure this out, I need a story to tell
    Where’s the feeling I long for?
    I’ve gotta figure it out

    I’ve gotta figure this out, I need a story to tell
    Where’s the feeling I long for?
    I’ve gotta figure it out before I lose you
    Before I lose you, before I lose you, love

  • I will probably never ride a horse again. (Which is code for “I will never see a shrink again and I REALLY NEED ONE.”)
  • I feel too much. Always. I cannot watch the news.
  • My second novel is on blocks. (Can’t think of a thing to say.)
  • I need to PLAY more, do more GOOD for others, get out of my weed infested head.  And my body says. NO YOU CAN’T. I am too young for that crap

    Depressing mish mash indeed.


 “Tell me about a time everything was going wrong and then you suddenly knew it would be alright.” 

It was January of 2008.  My friend C had suggested I go to church with her one Sunday. I can’t remember why I was alone: I’m not sure where my boys were or my then husband was, but I was alone in the house. I had been to her church before and it was the first one I have ever been in where I didn’t feel like I was going to be struck by lightning for going into it. While I do believe in some sort of higher being or consciousness, I wasn’t brought up in a super religious family. My parents “made me” go to Sunday school at a Methodist church as a child where I was presented with a Bible at the age of 12. Then my brother and I started refusing to get out of bed and my mom had a bit of a faith crisis and we moved to Texas where finding a Methodist church was a project (we were surrounded by Baptists, Catholics or Pentacostals).  So she gave up. She and I dabbled in Unitariansm when I was in my twenties, but it felt too lonely to me. There was something missing.

Until I went to C’s Church in Orlando the first time in 2007. My husband was on the road so I even brought my kids. My youngest son (3) happily went into the nursery school, and my older son who was about seven, asked to come with me into the cathedral where my friend and her friend were waiting for us. I looked around at the Stained glass windows and realized every one of them represented different religion. I took a deep breath and waited for the lightning– so to speak. When the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach didn’t come, I wasn’t sure if I felt scared or relieved. As the service started, my son was, as usual, his seven going on 22 self. He was quiet and observing. He told me on the way home he liked how the place felt.  I remember leaving that day and actually wanting to go back. But my then husband thought the church was weird after I told him about it, (“What do all those windows mean? It’s like it can’t decide what church to be.”) Plus, it was forty minutes away from my house and I had two small kids and a failing marriage.

Now it was January 2008. And C had invited me again.  I was reading Eat, Pray, Love and realizing that,  like the author, I didn’t want to be married anymore. Well not to him. But I didn’t know what to do. I had two small kids and couldn’t pay my rent alone.

My friend’s invitation to her church called to me and hit me in my gut in a way that told me I had to go. So I did.

It was the first Sunday service of the new year. The pastor handed out small rectangular stones that were about the size and shape of a Domino.  She told us to be silent a moment and when a word came to us and wouldn’t be dismissed, we should write it down in pencil on the stone.  My word begged me, then hugged me, then caressed my cheek. It was a whisper at first. My eyes welled and and I fought back the urge to laugh and cry at the same time.Edit

It was perfect. I knew.

My word? 



That’s when I knew that my coming year would be full of tears, the unknown, laughter, friendships, false starts, revelations, doubts, anger, panic, too little sleep and too much stress, and yet, at the foundation, was hope. 

I had hope and faith that I was smart enough to know what was right for both my kids and for me. And that we would be okay. 

I still have that little white stone. It’s in the windowsill of my kitchen in CA.  When I’m rinsing out a coffee cup at the sink and internally lamenting my current self-imposed stress/crisis, I look at that stone and remember how I felt when I wrote on it: where I was and how I just knew it would be okay.  And it still will be. 

2016 Redux


Looking around Facebook today, I was struck by all the usual “new year, new start” memes floating around.  

And I had a bit of a shitty day today.  Feeling weirdly weepy and pissy. Not a good start to my year. The world is a mess and I’m having trouble seeing the light. 
My youngest, who is 13 going on 10,  is giving me crap about doing things for himself.  That wifi password is about to change. Daily. 

 I’m in flux with a client that verbally agreed to hire me in July, but didn’t after I had surgery and didn’t work for a month… Said client paid me anyway.  Very nice. But I am back at 100% and they haven’t offered again. And I’m consulting at a reduced rate.  I don’t like the limbo. And between medical bills and kid tutors I am looking at one broke year unless something changes. 

I am restless.  I’m lucky I know. I’m infinitely grateful. I have love. A house. Food. My health is mostly back. My kids are good kids. No drug addicts, no sociopaths. 

But I seem to be a born worrier and fusser.  

My back won’t let me have a life again. It gives out after too much sitting or activity.  I’m back at PT.  It’s was fine before I had to take two and a half months off after surgery. Now I’m back at square one. 

Back to the New Year….clean Slate.  Feeling obligated to commit to some sort of self improvement list or path every year amplifies my self loathing. I fail every freakin year. So this year I decided on a different approach: one day at a time.  And each day has no plan to it. Just a baby step. 

I’ll wake up and be nice to my self one day. I’ll catch the crappy self talk. 

Next day: before I fall asleep do a gratitude meditation

Next day: wake up and do yoga.

Next day: eat better.

Next day: take a walk.

Next day: a massage.

Next day: contact the local library foundation and ask if they’d like a new web site for free

Next day: try a new recipe with my kids

Next day: write in my novel

Next day: clean a bathroom

Next day: donate stuff

Next day: pick a box in the a garage and go through it; toss; donate and repack in a plastic tub

Next day: write that serious letter to voldemort. 
Perhaps small daily victories will help me gather momentum.


There are some days when I just want to be the one that knows how all this works.

Why are we here?

What is the point?

What is death?

What I believe is we are spiritual beings having physical experiences.

That we are energy, and therefore we never end.

That we are connected to the universe, the stars, the dirt, the plants, the animals and each other.

That until we come together as humanity and stop this “my religion over yours mentality” or we are doomed.

That my dad sends me messages sometimes and I hope when the time comes he can teach my mom how.

That death isn’t a goodbye.

That God​ is not up there with a black book, marking down what we each believe or not, what we do and don’t do.

That we have to answer to ourselves when we die.

That love is at the center of it all.

Chaos Theory

BrokenHeartMy own little world seems so puny by comparison to ALL OF IT. I feel capable sometimes in the former and overwhelmed by the latter.

I gather those close by and help them so I don’t feel powerless.

I grab gratitude like a lifeline. And I try desperately to believe there is a purpose for the chaos, the unfairness, the suffering and the death.

A simple cup of good coffee, and deep breaths and I’m moving around my small world again. Aligning things where I have a tiny bit of control and where love is at the center.

Continue reading “Chaos Theory”