Category Archives: Memories

Remembrance of a Summer Day

I began writing in earnest in the late 1990’s as a release for overwrought emotions in the wake of what seemed like a completely out of control world.  I wrote about my childhood through early adult years.  In the coming months I’ll be re-working some of those passages and blogging them – probably not in any particular order.  While I try to be disciplined to write, I like to free form a lot and just see where the story leads me.  That’s how I’ll be relating the stories to you.  

Some of my favorite stories to write start with the thought, I am that girl.  In part – not gonna lie – because I like referring to myself as a girl….… just like all old women I’ve ever met……  Mostly, though, because it conjures up the cartoon image I’ve always had in my head of what I look like.  My grandmother used to laugh and tell me when I walked I looked like a farmer coming out of a barn.

“Grama,” I’d say very matter of factl-ly.  “It’s the only way I know how to walk.”  

And, honestly, when I see my arms and legs in action, I look more like a colt coming out of a barn.  Which is not to say anything negative about how I look – I’m fine with it.  I just wish I’d learned to sort of control said arms and legs a little better.  I illustrated the difficulty in my last blog, talking about the various injuries with which I’m currently dealing.  All are healing, by the way, including the new one I inflicted on my left palm while at the playground with Kache and Loran.  I’d tell you how I did it but I’m not completely sure because it was dark and – oh!  You’re not supposed to be at the playground in the dark?  


Nothing serious.  Just an enormous bruise that covers half my hand and makes it look like I knocked the hell out of something.  At that point in the injury making I didn’t even get much sympathy.  I’m thinking people are getting tired of saying, Oh Mom!  Are you all right?  Because all I got from #3 was typical Mom at the playground.  She injures herself…..  She was referring to the time, decades ago, when Mark and I had #’s 1-4 at a playground in Dallas.  Coolest thing ever.  Made entirely of wood to look more like a fortress from Robinhood than a kids’ play area.  I was running around playing tag with my progeny, jumped from a platform to the ground, caught my right heel on the platform and twisted the shit out of my ankle.  Inconvenient to say the least.  I landed on my back and blacked out for a few seconds.  Coming around I found four familiar faces hovering over me, in various levels of panic, yelling my name.

“get.daddy.” I sort of rasped out as I tried to pull air back into my lungs.

They kept yelling and I kept trying to talk at a volume that could be heard above the din.  Did I mention I landed on my back and knocked the wind out?

Long story short:  Ankle severely sprained.  Doctor visit.  Ice.  Trauma for children.  


And now…… as long as there are no broken bones or even skin, the level of sympathy is only extended to hey, put ice on that when we get home.  That thing is gonna hurt.

Love my kids.

I digress…….

Sort of…..

This first story illustrates the beginning of the I am that girl…. series.  I hope you like it. 

Chapter One

Remembrance of a Summer Day

When I was a kid, we hiked for miles through the woods on most any given day.  I grew up in the country, outside a small town in western New York State.  Yes, I was a hillbilly, though let’s make this clear.  I have all my teeth and my family tree forks.  A lot.   We hiked because, frankly, it was the only thing we had to do with any consistency all year long.  Rain, snow, hail, humidity and even hunting season – I don’t know what the parental units were thinking – we slogged through them all to get wherever it was we imagined we were going.  

One summer day we were walking through the pasture behind my cousin Missy’s house, down toward the creek.  I was blindfolded and being guided by Missy and our friend Devon so I  “wouldn’t fall.”  An experimental idea from school designed to inspire compassion, empathy and trust, it went horribly wrong in the hands of my twisted companions who lead me through a couple of piles of cow shit, then watched me stumble over something in the overgrowth and land face first in a pile of wet, mulchy leaves.  I sat up spitting and wondering out loud whose idea this had been, why I always fell for this crap and which of my friends’ asses I was gonna kick first.  Being all show and no go at the age of ten, nobody got anything kicked.  I was persuaded to look on the comical side and remember, A.  I was often on the instigating end of these escapades and B. if we fought and went home, there were lots of chores to be done.  Laziness was a major motivator back then.  We walked on.

Down toward the creek the hot air cooled.  It was one of the smaller tributaries that fed into the Genesee river and just deep enough to satisfy the adventurous spirit of three pre-adolescent girls but not so deep or swift that our mothers needed to worry about us being carried off by the current.  

Here we were safe from little brothers and sisters, free to live out the stories in our heads and discuss our dreams without the censure of these same mothers, whose main ambition in life was to spoil every ounce of fun we managed to dredge up, even if we weren’t lighting anything on fire.  We played at being everything from mermaids to Tarzan, swinging on a rope we’d slung over a low hanging branch of an ancient, gigantic oak tree.  Dressed in old shorts and t-shirts, with dirty canvas sneakers protecting our feet from anything that might pinch or bite, we explored.

One day we decided to keep walking up our mountain (it was on the other side of “our” creek and more like a big hill) long after the point at which we usually turned back.  We saw the roof top of what turned out to be an old barn in the distance and hiked toward it as the long shadows of late afternoon began to creep toward us.  

Having been born afraid, I begged to turn back as soon as we crossed the creek, but Missy and Devon insisted we continue.  We walked further into the woods as the shadows deepened.  I began to feel panicked, thinking about the stories Devon’s grandmother told us of the wild cats that still walked these hills.  Missy’s mom dismissed the stories as the ramblings of an eccentric older lady, but we believed the grandmother.  We’d walked there too.  Though we’d never seen the panthers she described, we felt them.  Call it imagination or – maybe intuition.  We knew we’d been observed before.  The fact of it had stopped us in the middle of our play near the creek and sent us running home on more than one occasion.  We’d get to within sight of Missy’s house and knowing we were near safety, stop, gasp for air and swear never to go back to the creek or woods.  

Of course we did go back and here we were.  As we walked along, I kept looking up through the web of trees to the sky.  It was a bright blue, which meant we still had a good two hours before nightfall.  The angle of the shadows, though, told me we’d probably missed supper and Missy’s mom would be good and mad.  I mentioned this and as it was about my 43rd complaint, Devon had had enough.

Look, Lorie,” she began in a thoroughly exasperated tone.  “If you wanna go home, go home!  Missy and I are going to the barn.” 

I rolled my eyes at the stupid idea of me traipsing back through the woods alone and kept following.  It was as if she didn’t know me at all.  I sulked and kicked at leaves on the path, having a pretty scathing argument with Devon in my head and so preoccupied that it took me a moment to realize we’d come out of said woods and were at the edge of the clearing where the barn sat.  

It looked even creepier up close and I would have done anything not to go in.  Well, almost anything as long as I didn’t have to do it alone and in these woods, which, by the way, I was never going into again.  We moved closer and closer toward what I was sure was the gate to the entrance of hell.  When I could stand it no longer, I made Missy and Devon walk on either side of me, holding my hands and guiding me so I could close my eyes.  The cow shit incident crossed my mind but I was forgiving and trusting, not to mention completely frigging terrified.  At that moment all I could think of was being protected from the panther attack I knew was coming the moment we stepped through the barn door.  My friends made exaggerated disgusted noises but let me walk between them.  I knew my image was suffering from this show of cowardice but didn’t care.  All that mattered was protection.  They could dish out all the grief they wanted when we got home, if we made it back alive.  A tear leaked out the corner of my eye as I envisioned my parents waiting in vain for my return.  Devon sighed as we traipsed through the tall grass toward the barn, muttering something about what a baby I was and that she only hoped I could run fast enough when whatever was in there came after us as it inevitably would.  

We came to a stop and I opened one of my eyes just enough to see we were at the open door of the old building.  We stood there on the threshold and as the seconds passed I gathered the courage to look around, still holding onto my friends’ hands.  The hay was piled high on one side in bales, old, wet and moldy.  The other side held ancient, broken down farm equipment, rusty from the rain that had leaked through holes in the roof.

“Wow,” Missy said, releasing my hand to walk further into the building.  Wow?  Whatever.  This is what had scared us so badly?

“Scared who,” Devon asked, disbelief in her voice.  I wasn’t scared!  I didn’t beg me and Missy to hold my little hand.”  

Oh, gee had I said that out loud?  It was a childhood handicap, thinking I was thinking when really my mouth was running.  I was getting sick of Devon’s crap, though.  So I was scared, so what?  

Yeah, that was pretty much all I had.  

Nothing clever, nothing that would shatter the self-confident scorn written on her face.  I looked to Missy for help, figuring that when push came to shove, we were blood.  She couldn’t have been less interested if I was one of her creepy, smelly little brothers. I turned back to Devon and having nothing else, I made a face at her.  

“I’m not always afraid,” I said.  Clearly a lie.  I was constantly terrified by our adventures.  It was half the fun for me. 

“What about the time the bull chased us,” I continued.  “Who was afraid then?”  

That would have been all of us, of course, and it would have been dead all of us if not for the fact that Devon grew super powers.  She somehow managed to throw – and I mean throw Missy and me up onto the roof of a small hay shed out in the pasture we had no damn business being in, then hoist herself up and out of harm’s way, before El Toro could take a chunk out of our trespassing little rear ends.  But I’d seen him coming first.  It was my horrified look and squeaky attempt at a scream that had first alerted Wonder Woman.  I should get some credit, right?  

This and other assorted bullshit I spewed quickly, hoping to confuse my friends into believing what they already knew wasn’t true.  Thinking fast on my feet was not, at that point in my life a strong suit.  

Devon glared at me, hands on her hips.  She opened her mouth to really let loose and froze.  I leaned toward her a little, mirroring her battle stance, waiting.  Missy followed the line of Devon’s vision and let out a scream.  Devon screamed as well and ran out of that barn like her ass was on fire.  I turned toward Missy but she was already gone.  

They’d left me!  I made a sound half way between a yell and a sob and sprinted to join them.  I made it one step.  The shoelaces on my ancient sneakers had come untied and I tripped on them, falling flat on my face.  It hurt – bad.  I struggled to breathe but had knocked the wind out of myself and lay there helpless, in pain and panic.  I don’t remember, before or since, being as consumed with incoherent fear.  I was sure the panther was just inches away, waiting to have me for supper and I could do nothing to save myself.  I could hear my friends calling my name from outside the barn.

“Damn cowards,” I thought.  I could hear the fear in their voices as they realized they were responsible for my untimely passing in the claws of a deadly wild cat.  They would answer to my mother for this.  

While thoughts flew through my mind, the seconds were ticking by.  Soon, I was able to take a breath.  I lay still, though, trying to assess my situation.  I heard no growling, no breathing save my own.  I raised my head slowly and looked around, trying not to attract attention in case something of the feline persuasion was watching and planning its evening meal.  

Nothing.  I pulled myself up into a sitting position, with my back toward the open door.  That was the brightest part of the barn and I could see that nothing lay in wait for me there.  I stood up and looked around.  Turning slowly, my eyes combed the place, up toward the top of the hay bales, across the beams and along the back wall behind the old plow.  There was nothing.  What had they seen?  

I shrugged and began walking toward the door, bleeding profusely from several appendages.  Both knees and an elbow were scraped raw.  My wrist throbbed and there was a lovely goose egg growing on my forehead.  I smiled an evil little smile, knowing I could use this.  They couldn’t call me chicken when they had run and I had stayed and been injured.  Things could work out after all.  

I added a limp for good measure and was nearly to the door when I saw it.  It was a cat alright and a big one.  Not a panther but a bob cat.  It was creepy but I didn’t run.  I stood there, alone, and stared into its eyes.  Or, where its eyes should have been.  Oh, this was gross.  The cat, what was left of him, was as stiff as a board and had been hung on the wall like a picture frame.  Who would do something like this?  I felt violated and gave an exaggerated shudder of revulsion, working my way into a pretty good state of disgust when I noticed Devon and Missy standing, shame faced in the doorway.  Missy had been crying and Devon was blushing like she always did when any kind of emotion was about to overtake her.

“Is that why you ran,” I asked, pointing at the animal skin.  

Devon nodded, hanging her head.

“Yes,” Missy said.  “Are you okay?”

“A lot you guys care,” I snapped.  “Look at me.”

“I’m sorry Lor,” Missy said.  

I smiled, bestowing my forgiveness.  I had her.  I could see how guilty she felt and this knowledge resulted in my kind benevolence.  Devon was not so easy to reel in.  She apologized but her heart wasn’t exactly in it.  She was probably thinking what a scaredy-cat-pain-in-the-butt I’d been all the way up here and, once inside, how I spoiled the fun of complete terror by falling and stealing all the glory.  I could salvage it, though.  Pull the adventure out of the dumper, so to speak.

“Do you suppose,” I began, weaving a scenario in their minds.  “The ghost of this cat lives here?  Maybe it’s what we hear when we’re by the creek.” 

 We looked at each other and noticed for the first time, how long the shadows had grown outside.  The hair on the back of my neck seemed to stand up and I shivered.

“Maybe,” Missy said.  “Or maybe what we hear is this cat’s mate, crying because its partner was slaughtered.”  

Devon grimaced.  Very soulful, Miss, I thought.  She was always into love and stuff like that.  Definitely the Rosemary Rogers of our ten and under set.  For me, boys were pretty much for kicking around and hating.  

We were silent for a minute and an evening breeze rustled the grass, tickling our legs.  We came out of an adventure induced trance then, realizing that a human being had butchered this cat and therefore, the barn might not be as uninhabited as we believed.  We stared at each other, unable to move.

“Let’s get outta here,” Missy whispered, as if somebody might be listening to our conversation.  We walked to the open barn door, afraid to move too quickly and repeat my performance of a few minutes earlier.  Had it been only a few minutes?

Once out into the field, we began to walk faster.  I remembered, belatedly that my shoes were still untied but there was no way to stop now.  The sun was beating a fast retreat into the good night and though the woods looked dark and dangerous, they were our only way out.  

Somewhere, in the middle of the field we began to run.  We hit those woods full speed, dodging branches and bushes, jumping over logs and underbrush, praying nothing was chasing us.  Blood pounded in my ears making it impossible to hear any other sound and before long my sides began to ache from the exertion.  I longed to stop and rest but was convinced, along with my bosom pals that something ominous was just behind us and lingering could spell the end of our young lives.  

We ran on, Devon in the lead, Missy in the middle and me bringing up the rear.  I don’t even know how that happened.  I never brought up the rear.  The last in line or the goofy, hysterical one always bought it first in the movies and on Scooby Doo.  I knew damn well I qualified as both.  Fear pushed me on and I picked up the pace till I was even with my cousin.  I figured I stood a better chance if whatever we imagined might be chasing us had to choose.  I outweighed Missy by a good ten pounds.  She’d definitely appear to be the weakest and least likely to fight back.  She glanced over at me, suspicion written on her face but I just kept going.  

At last, we heard rushing water and knew the creek was just below.  We slid down the embankment and landed, butt-first, in the water.  Across the creek and up the other side we ran, still.  Through the lower field belonging to Devon’s grandmother and over the barbed wire fence onto Missy’s parents’ property we went – thank God the electric wasn’t on – before coming to a halt.  The three of us collapsed onto the ground, holding our sides and gasping for breath.  Eventually we sat up and looked at each other.  

Missy grinned.

“Lorie,” she said, laughing.  “You are a mess.”

We all lay there in the field, then, watching the stars come out.  The evening breeze blew the tall grass around us as we reflected on our day.  All animosity was gone, dissolved into nothingness by our wild flight for life.  We were a team again.

“Was this a cool day or what,” Devon asked nobody in particular.  Missy and I nodded in agreement.

“We better get home, Missy,” I said with a sigh.  “Your mom is going to kill you.”  Missy’s mom never yelled at me even if what we did was all my fault.  I liked that about her.  

Strolling slowly toward the houses in the distance, each of us contemplated her version of the day’s events.  What fun it had been.  I never had as much fun with anybody else as I did with these two.  We’d be friends forever, of that I was certain.  We discussed this for a minute or two as we walked, safe in the knowledge that we understood each other so well and would always be there when one needed another.

Over the mountain behind us the moon began to rise, nearly full that night.  We looked back in wonder at its beauty, reveling in the memory of our adventure and the surety of our bond.  Then it came.  

On the night wind it came, ghostly and wild.  Almost human, but not quite.  The scream of the cat.  The lonely panther whose existence we doubted by day and dreaded in our dreams.

And we ran.



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Big Sister/Little Sister

I’m watching (sort of) The Parent Trap on TV. How many years and times have I seen this movie? Between the original, which I adore, and the remake I want to say dozens. I just saw the scene (from the remake) where the first twin is flying to London to meet her mother and she whispers a prayer that her mother will like her. It makes me think about my sister, Michelle and the first time she came to visit us. I was 16 and she was 18, I believe. What must it have been like to meet a totally new family? I was ridiculously excited. From the time I was small, my mother told me I asked for a big sister. Not a little sister, though I think I’d have dug that as well, but I requested, very specifically, an older sister. I remember, clearly, the longing for this person I knew belonged in my life. So when Dad told Mike and me about Michelle when I was eight, I was thrilled, though I did advise him not to tell Mom because it would hurt her feelings if she knew. Dad smiled and assured me that Mom was well aware, which was all it took for me to be on board with getting to know this sibling I really knew I already knew (know what I mean?), but I had to wait.

Dad had agreed to let Michelle’s step-father adopt her when she was small and we were not allowed access to her. Ever. Which my Grama Reenie told me was bullshit. Okay, I added shit, but she was right. It was. And it didn’t matter what Grama and I thought. We were out. Until Michelle was 18. Which is when I sent the first letter to her, introducing myself and the fam.

When she decided to come and visit us I was excited to a degree that pretty much defies description. I wanted to go to the airport to meet her but Dad reserved that for just him. I understood to the extent possible for me as a teenager. Really, though, all I wanted to do was bring this girl for whom I’d been waiting all my life home so we could get on with the business of being sisters.

And we were sisters! And we did get on with the business thereof! Oh my God, we were – and are – so much alike. Our voices, our personalities, our likes and dislikes, mannerisms, resting bitch faces – SO much alike. Our faces don’t look the same, but we share expressions and features from our father that leave no one in doubt of the blood connection. That first visit we talked and talked every, single day and night until we were exhausted, trying to catch each other up on our lives because we both knew we should have been living those lives together. Each ensuing visit brought on the same kind of glee. We reveled in being together and our joy was palpable.

We were sisters for 38 years until I had to let go of her.

She didn’t die.

She just didn’t mean it when she said she wanted to be my sister. Or something.

Long story.

Sad story, really. God I miss her. Every day I miss her and I still long for my big sister the way I did when I was small and longed for the person I didn’t even know existed. Michelle just never needed or wanted me in the same way.

I guess.

I don’t know, honestly, why she couldn’t commit to a relationship with me. She’s worse than most guys I dated. There were full years I would go with no communication from her. I wrote, called, and with the advent of the internet and cell phones, emailed, texted, tagged on Facebook and private messaged. And Michelle responded. Sometimes. A little. But that thing. That thing that sisters do where they just talk – just pick up the phone and call for no reason, or a reason that means something only to them, that thing that means you have an inexplicable connection that means the world and more to you and you protect it and nurture it because having the other in your life is extremely important? Yeah, that was apparently just me.

It’s not as if she was unfriendly. She just – treated me like the second cousin you hear from every now and then and are happy to hear from but could do without. I stood it for, literally, decades, hoping she’d come around. I begged, cried, pleaded, yelled and begged some more for her to tell me what was wrong, what I’d done.  Dad said something? What could we do to make it better? Her answer was always, always the same.

“It’s not you, it’s me.”


I just don’t understand, I’d tell her. When we’re together there is nothing we can’t say to each other. It’s almost like we can read each other’s minds. I love you for so many reasons but one of them is because you instinctively know me in ways nobody else ever has! I know you the same way! You know this. Why, why do you shut me out when we’re not physically together?
“I don’t know,” she’d answer. “Don’t be hurt. I don’t mean anything by it.”
Is it too much? I will understand if it is. Am I asking too much?
“No, you’re not. I’ll do better.”
You don’t owe me anything! If we are to go forward with our relationship, let’s just actually have a relationship. You don’t have to “do better.” Just tell me what, if anything, you want.
“I just want us to be sisters.”

And then we’d go six months or a year and I wouldn’t hear from her. I’d back off, thinking if I did she’d eventually call or write, but no. Nothing.

A couple of years ago I hit a wall. Not a mad wall. I wasn’t bitter. I was just done and I let her go. I wrote her an email saying as much and telling her I loved her and that I’d always be here with an open heart if she wanted to be in touch. She got really pissed and started saying mean stuff.

Ironic. I beg her for decades to talk to me. She refuses. I try, over the same decades, to form a relationship. She refuses. I walk. She tells me what an asshole I am.

I’ve always suspected that the truth of the matter was that she never got over my father “giving her up.” Then, when they met again, I have a feeling their relationship never lived up to what she wanted it to be. That first day, when Dad picked Michelle up at the airport, it might have put closure on the sadness that still lingered for him.

Pretty sure it didn’t for Michelle.

Her adoptive father, Tom, never stopped reminding her, as she was growing up, that she was not really his daughter. That shit has a tendency to sting, then linger like a scorpion bite. It’s all a long and complicated story, though I do believe Michelle and Tom made some peace before he died. I don’t know for sure as I had already taken myself out of the picture. Not that I’d have been privy to their business. Michelle was pretty much ignoring my existence the last couple of years we were in any sort of contact, hence my somewhat belated exit. I’m only guessing from the pictures I still have access to through my mom’s Facebook account because she and my sister are still “friends,” which affords me the ability to stalk – I mean check on her.

Maybe, if Dad had been able to make a deeper connection with his oldest daughter, things would have been different. I don’t blame him. Not for giving Michelle up for adoption or for the inability to reconnect. He allowed Tom to adopt her to give her a better chance at a stable life with two parents who were around all the time.

As for reconnecting, Dad hated people.

But not her.

Not Michelle. He loved her as much as he could and he did his best for her. I would bet a lot that it wasn’t enough. And that’s not a negative toward her. It’s simply a wound that never healed. I suppose it was hard for her to feel like she was really my “sister,” if Dad wasn’t really her “Dad,” and that hurt. All of us.

It was easier to relegate me to distant cousin status.

I still love her. I still, every now and then, imagine what it would have been like for us to connect on that level I more than likely idealize. I see my sisters-in-law, though, and they adore each other even when one wants to kick the other’s ass. My daughters share sister codes and secrets I will never get to understand. My friends on Facebook post photos of outings and trips with their sisters and I tear up, wondering why that couldn’t have been Michelle and me.

Do I still hold out hope? Maybe. No. Not really. My sister is a very stubborn woman and I pissed her off pretty good.

My intention was never – and I mean never – to hurt her. I only wanted to stop my own bleeding. I loved this woman on a soul level and for whatever reason, she couldn’t return that love and indeed, at times seemed to go out of her way to, if not wound me, then damage any potential we had as family.

And I just couldn’t watch her life unfold from the sidelines any longer. It wasn’t that I finally realized I deserved to be treated better. I’d been saying that for years. My epiphany came in the form of knowing I had a choice in the matter. I could say, enough.

I am sure Michelle has her side to this story, but here’s the thing. I asked her, for 38 years to share that side. It wasn’t until I stood up for love of myself that she started to tell me and then it was in the form of insults and accusations.

Brilliant in a way. It was the last play of her game. She pushed me away for almost four decades – trying to fuck up our relationship to the point where I’d have to walk away. Like Dad did in her little girl mind. The differences are obvious if one can reconcile the child with the adult and to my knowledge, Michelle never has. It took me 40 years from the outside looking in. Would that I could see my own shit so clearly.

I miss her.

I miss her laugh and her sharp as hell wit – oh the sarcasm! I’m sure we were twins in another life. I miss the reflection of myself in her and being her mirror back. I miss the discovery of how we differed as well. We have different mothers, after all.


Enough of that, I guess.

It’s more letting go.

As I write about Michelle, I feel again the connection we had – will always have – and the pain of separation is fresh.

For me.

At least.

The little sister.


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I heard a song on the radio the other day that took me back. I don’t hear this one very often and it reminds me of a very specific time in my life – and, honestly – more often than not I’ve turned the song off. It’s long and sad and I’m usually just pissed off by the end of the first verse – still.

That’s the name of the song.


Lionel Ritchie.

For many that information alone would be enough to change the station. This time, however, I didn’t. I wasn’t even tempted. In fact, the song was over before I remembered that I don’t like to listen to it. I realized in that moment, I’d forgiven myself for something.

It’s not that I haven’t reached the self-forgiveness point in my life before, but normally it’s a more gradual realization. This one felt momentous.  Though, Jesus, it took long enough.

Seriously. I’m pretty sure I heard Jesus say, “It took long enough.”

Still came out when I was 18, I think. Toward the end of the Lionel Ritchie/Commodores years. I’ve always made fun of Lionel in a Kenny Rogers/Michael Bolton manner. He was sort of the best of the King of the lounge singer hit parade. Which is pretty nervy of me to say, considering that the wealth of the three above mentioned men due to their musical success could feed several small countries for years. The truth is, at one time or another, I’ve loved at least some of the music from all of them. To the point that Mark used to play Bolton CD’s to a Barry White end, if you know what I mean…..

It worked really well.

In fact, I suppose we could have named our son, Matthew, Michael Bolton, had we been so inclined.

If you know what I mean…..

I went to college at Weber State in Ogden, Utah. I went there because it got me away from Casper, Wyoming, where I spent four of the most difficult years of my life. I wanted to reinvent myself at Weber. Be more assertive, reach out to people and make friends – and I was successful.

To an extent.

I didn’t know, then, about healing the pain. I didn’t know just how traumatic the move from New York and what I’d been through in Casper was. The loss of having my friends and family in my life on a daily basis, the bullying (four years worth) that happened in Casper caused me to sort of implode. I was walking wounded for a long time, including the school year I spent in Utah. The success I cultivated and achieved there, I turned around and in fear, sabotaged.

It’s that simple and looking back at what went on from that perspective, seems such a forgivable thing. Yet it’s taken me 36 years to realize that young girl was doing the best she could, and under her circumstances, did very well. If I could tell her anything, what I’d say, as I wrapped her up in my arms, is contained in the last line of Lionel Ritchie’s song, which, in the moment, driving in my car last week, lifted a decades old burden from my heart.

I do love you.



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I Like Intelligent Conversation….. Or Funemployment: Week Two

I have a lot of conversations with myself. Some of them are in different voices. If I’m feeling particularly emphatic about something I tend to speak in an English accent that I imagine sounds a lot like Emma Thompson in a Jane Austen movie. If I’m fighting with myself, it becomes southern. Sometimes it’s Scarlett O’Hara southern, other (drunk) times it comes out more like Larry The Cable Guy.

I have conversations with other people in my head. People I haven’t seen in a hundred years, people I just met, people I encountered while walking down the aisle in Target, people in line at Panda Express. The latter conversation is usually very judgmental even though I eat there now and then. I mean, who doesn’t need a good plate of salt?

Do other people do this stuff? Am I abnormal? Is it crazy to have something random remind one of the short girl who sat in front of you in Sophomore Lit and have a dialogue in your head about what you’d say to her if you somehow ran into her? I mean I’m over what a bitch she was and how shabbily she treated me and after all, her punishment was going through life shaped like an olive on toothpicks and being branded a slut from grade six. But I don’t care. I’ve forgiven the whore.

I digress.

I had a whole conversation with myself yesterday regarding the state of the union address.

Me: It’s the last one for President Obama and I do appreciate what a good man he is and what a good job he’s done in the face of incredible opposition and under the microscope of a right wing bunch of crazies. I should watch.
Myself: How many have you watched since he’s been in office?
Me: Well – none – but –
Myself: “But” nothing. I think we can proudly say we’ve never willingly watched a state of the union address in. our. life. Let’s keep it that way.
Me: I guess I can read about it tomorrow.
Myself: As usual.
Me: In “The Skimm.”
Myself: Duh.

I had a mental conversation with the guy who waited on my mother and me at The Good Egg this morning at breakfast. We were seated in a booth by the front door where it was loud and the light was glaring. This made it difficult for Mom both to see and hear, due to advancing cataracts (“They have to ripen, Lorie Ann, before I can have them removed.” “God, Mom, that is a disgusting term. ‘Ripen?’ It makes them sound like food. Who thinks this shit up?”). The hearing difficulty is because she doesn’t yet have hearing aids (“Mom, when are you going to break down and get a hearing aid so you can participate in our entire conversation?” “Yes, the car broke down, Lorie Ann. I had it towed and it’s fixed now. Why do we have to keep having this same conversation? I could have driven if you didn’t want to!”).

Our waiter who was humming some stupid melody as if he was the happy to be there, kept kind of floating by us before finally flitting over and taking our order. Not that I mind if people hum and are happy, but it was contrived and he wasn’t like super nice, so I knew his heart wasn’t in it. But I would never say anything to him such as shut the hell up will you? I haven’t had my coffee yet and trust me when I say you’re taking your life into your hands. Even though it crossed my mind to the point that it was written in neon on the mental billboard behind my eyelids. You don’t say stuff like that to someone who has control over your food from kitchen to table. You don’t piss them off.

Unless you’re my mother.

And to be fair, she wasn’t trying to piss him off. She just couldn’t hear well over the people waiting either to be seated or pay their bill and the glare from the outside light bothered her eyes.

“Let’s move,” she said.
“Let’s wait till the waiter comes back and check with him,” I countered. “I’m sure it’s fine, I just want him to know where to take the food. It’ll just be a minute.”
Mom saw another waiter walk by and because she never does what I say anymore than my children do, she decided we had to go NOW.
“Miss,” she said.
The waiter looked over.
“We’re moving to that booth.”
The waiter nodded.
So we did – just as our waiter came out with our food. He looked very annoyed so I mouthed an apology just to keep his drool off my omelette. He set our food down with a tight little smile, and made a show of bringing us all new silverware and water glasses and water. The rest of the meal went off without a hitch, except for the concert, so between bites of food and conversation with Mom, I was talking to musical boy in my head.

Me: Stop singing.
Waiter: Lalalalala
Me: Jesus! Stop singing! It’s not a tune. It’s not even an unconscious ditty one hums when one is doing odd choresathomeinprivate! It’s annoying as hell and you sound stupid.
Waiter: Dumdedumdum (no lie)
Me: <Sigh>

The woman who took our payment when we left called my mother sweetheart and I gave her a half-hour lecture in my head. It’s apparent to me and all who just witnessed you referring to a woman older than yourself as “sweetheart,” that you do not have much self-confidence. When in a business setting or any setting for that matter, where one is not referring to a small child one knows well, it is wildly inappropriate to call another by a pet name. You are lucky singing boy poured enough coffee down my throat. Otherwise I’d have to punch you in the forehead. Honey……… was only the beginning.

Is it just me? Am I the only one who does this? It’s not always when I’m irritated. Sometimes I’m simply cleaning or driving and things will pop in my head and they need to be discussed. If I’m alone, what choice do I have? Even now, as I sit here with a stomach ache brought on by eating pizza and ice cream for supper, I feel compelled to talk about it.

Me: Why am I so stupid?
Myself: You love pizza. And ice cream.
Me: I know, but this happens every time!
Myself: Because you are sensitive to gluten and lactose intolerant.
Me: Shut up, okay?
Myself: Fine but you know I’m right.
Me: That doesn’t stop my stomach from hurting.
Myself: Tums?
Me: Yes please.
Myself: I hope you’ve learned your lesson this time.
Me: Eff off, whore.                                                                                                                   
    Myself: Woah! Hey, it’s not like I’m the mean girl in high school English.
Me: No you’re not. She’d have eaten all the pizza and ice cream so there wasn’t any left for me.
Myself: Bitch.
Me: Right?

Funemployment – Week Two…….. I really need a job……..

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There Were Moments

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. I have, over the years, written about the women, my own mother in particular, who have inspired me. This time, as I contemplate the stages of life my children occupy presently, I’d like to write about the people who made me a mom.

Pure indulgence, maybe – well, I guess a little. Fine. Total and complete indulgence because they’re growing up and if I don’t discuss it a little I might cry…..  I’ll get emotional…..  I will break down and throw a sobbing fit requiring valium and time in an ashram – or a padded room – whichever is easier to reach.

Kimmy and Loran are graduating from college.

Nothing to cry about there.

Kimmy “retired” last Saturday night, after 11 and a half years working as hostess/expo/server/bartender/manager at the Taco Shack. Through the money she earned there she supported herself, bought cars, travelled to some magnificent places and put herself through school, up to and including a Master’s program at one of the best universities in the country.

Loran, likewise, has occupied space in all of the above categories and has put herself through school – she graduates next week with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education – and supports herself and the light of all our lives, Kache Monkey Head. She will soon move on from the Taco Shack, leaving space and memories behind the bar where I’m not sure I’ll be able to sit for a Margarita or Corona again, because in spite of all the country songs about it, I don’t think crying in your beer is something anyone wants to see.

Maybe when Olivia (she’s a server now) becomes a bartender I’ll be able to drink publicly again. Until said time, I’ll do my drinking out of a vat with a straw at home because I’m old, shriveled up and my kids have all left me…….. Well, except for Liv and Bran. But damned if they’re not on their way.

I figure I’ve got another couple of years till the bookends are on their own. What then?

Mark and I are looking at mini motor homes. More on that later……..

People have asked me, over the years, questions about what it’s like to have a lot of kids.

First, let’s establish that we are not 19 Kids and Counting. I won’t begin to fathom what the hell is in the minds of the parents in that family. It’s not my business, which doesn’t always matter, of course, but I’m not here to judge anyone…….. Don’t you wonder, however, if those two people even know all their children on more than a Hey, how’s it goin’ basis? I mean, kids are such individuals. And I don’t know if it’s only my little tribe, but they each have several, separate and distinct personalities. You know, just like their father. As a parent, it’s a challenge to know and be open to more than one child. Five was definitely pushing the envelope. 19? The very idea makes me want to lay down and take a nap. If I was Mrs. Duggar, I’m sure I’d be pregnant by the time I got up.

I don’t feel too bad slinging big family jokes. I was certainly on the receiving end of many. For the record (pretty sure I’ve said this before), yes, I know what causes it, yes, I know how to prevent it (or we would be the Duggars) and yes, we meant to have this many kids.

Kimberly asked me not too long ago if I was ever overwhelmed by her and her siblings while they were growing up. In the moment I said no, but it made me think.

The answer is still no.

There were certainly moments. Do I really have to make macaroni and cheese again, moments. Oh my God, school is out for the summer next week, moments. The health scares. Matthew’s near drowning. Brandon’s diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. The letting go moments. Everything from watching them walk away on their first day of Kindergarten to knowing I couldn’t save them from disappointment and the deepest kinds of pain – to Matthew’s move to Colorado earlier this year and Kimmy’s impending move to California.

The only thing that ever overwhelmed me, honestly, was and is joyous gratitude to whatever Divine Universal Spirit exists that allows me to be the mother of five such unique and amazing individuals.

My father used to bore his friends and really, anyone who would listen, talking about the love and pride he had in my brother Micah and me. My friends (children of his friends) would tell me how it drove them nuts to be privy to any of these conversations. They always said it with a smile – not because they thought my dad was so right about us – but that Dad said it and meant it. It was that he loved us so much and couldn’t help but express that love.

I totally understand how Dad felt. I would extol the virtues of my children to the moon and back – discussing it with anyone who would sit still long enough – because I am captivated by them and have been from the moment I met each one. There are not enough gig-a-whatevers in the world to contain the only thing that ever truly overwhelms me – my love for the family my darling Mark and I were blessed to have created.

I’m contemplating a very different kind of motherhood this Mother’s Day, as my children grow and move on. I’m here for them. I pray for them. I support them in all aspects of their lives. Just like always. It’s from the stands now, though. More of a spectator sport – not that I am afraid to be vocal if the need arrives – but I’m no longer the driver for them. The change was gradual and it started, literally, the moment each was born.


Yes, Kimmy…. and Brandon and Loran and Matthew and Olivia……. you have each given me so many amazing moments. I would not trade a single one.

Happy Mother’s Day.


Filed under Daily Life, Memories, Parenting

I Am Horrified

I had the nicest afternoon yesterday. Had to go to the bank at work. Yeah, instead of allowing us to walk the 100 feet from the front door of my store and put deposits in a secure drop box, the company I work for insists we walk to our cars in an unsecured parking garage and drive the money 1.5 miles to the actual bank where they have exactly one teller and a line of 20 crabbier than hell people waiting to see her.

Stood there for 30 minutes.  I didn’t mind.

Smart phone. Facebook.

I had to take my lunch after, so I sat on a bench in downtown Scottsdale, soaking up the sun and 78 degrees, while the sweetest little breeze lifted the hair off my the back of my neck.

I do love my living in the moment moments.

My mind started to wander 13 seconds in, but I brought it back to nothing by breathing so deep I got a dirty look from a woman walking by with her husband. He’s a hundred and three, honey, I’m old enough to be your mother and I’m pretty sure he was checking out the busty mannequin in the window of the vintage clothing shop behind me. Probably reminds him of his first wife. Let him look.

That was it, though, concentration broken. So I looked around. Scottsdale is really pretty. To my left and across the street was a restaurant called The Sugar Bowl. It’s been there since 1953. Pink clapboard siding and huge darker pink and purple letters spelling out the name. To my right, two blocks down, The Poison Pen.

Ooh! A book store! A real, old fashioned bookstore. There are several around the valley I like to frequent, including Bookman’s and Changing Hands, both second hand stores. They smell weird, though. Like old, somewhat dirty attics of people who had a lot of cats without proper ventilation. When I walked in The Poison Pen it smelled like books. And incense, of course, because anyone who owns a bookstore that doesn’t say Barnes and Noble has to be a hippie.

I only had ten minutes, so wasn’t afraid of dropping a hundred bucks because I felt as though I was in, like, an antique store and needed to buy shit that would preserve the moment in time. Still, I managed to find one thing I couldn’t leave without.

Because I’m not as smart as I think I am.

A Stephen King novel.

What the……..

I know better. I don’t read Stephen King. He’s scary. He even looks scary. Seriously, if I met the guy in an alley – light or dark – I’d run in the opposite direction.

And only an actual bookstore could possibly make a Stephen King novel seem like a good literary choice for someone such as myself. It was under, “Staff Picks,” on a separate shelf, next to Moby Dick and Anna Karenina. If, anywhere on that shelf, I’d seen Eat, Pray, Love, a James Patterson selection or anything with the words, “Shades of,” I’d have backed away and walked out empty handed. Instead there was the shiny, red and black cover of Dr. Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, staring at me, reminding me of how much I admire Mr. King. And I do. I love his book on writing and his imagination seems endless.


After reading Carrie years ago, I vowed to stay away from scary stuff. I broke that vow with The Amityville Horror, (not King, I realize – just scary) then The Shining.

At that point I was done, with a capital D.

My brain does not let go of those horrible, frightening-to-the-bone images. If I happen to wake up in the night anywhere near 3:15a.m., let me tell you, so does Mark. Colorado mountains in the snow? The idea horrifies me and not just because I get a chill at anything below 75 degrees. Charming old, secluded hotels? Give me a Holiday Inn next to a freeway.

I’ve never seen Psycho, The Exorcist, or more than the first 20 minutes of any of the Halloween movies. I won’t watch any of the current crop of fright night offerings because – well, I’m frightened. I watched some of American Horror Stories, The Coven, but they weren’t very scary. Just gross and I stopped because I felt like I needed to shower after. Like I was dirty with negativity or some sort of spiritual illness.  My dad let Micah and me watch The Blob when we were little and I, literally, still have a nightmare about it every couple of years.  No idea what triggers that short in the connections of my gray matter.

So what was I doing marching out of a bookstore with a Stephen King book, anxious to settle in and read it like it was the new Great American Novel?


Half a page in, Half. A. Page. In., I said to myself, “Lorie, you are an idiot.”

Still, with tax, it was $18.00. That’s four iced venti, non-fat, one pump vanilla lattes from Starbucks or five large iced coconut milk lattes from Dutch Bros. It’s half of a french pedicure with tip. It’s – it’s……….. It’s the reason I am still reading.

The book is great so far. I haven’t flipped out and I even found a way to keep it from scaring me when I’m not reading and see it laying around, staring at me. I got the idea while binge-watching Friends on Netflix last week. It’s the episode where Joey is re-reading (what else?) The Shining. He claims it’s the best book ever written and he loves it. In between readings, he puts it in the freezer to protect himself from being scared. I laughed along with Rachel and Chandler while I was watching the show. I mean, how ridiculous is that idea?

You know what?

It works.

I don’t have the book in the freezer. Between the vodka and chocolate there’s simply not room. I slipped it into the lower left of my nightstand drawer, as far away from me as possible, with my rosary, energy crystal bracelets, angel cards and a miniature statue of Buddha in between it and me.

I’ll keep you posted.


Filed under Daily Life, Lady stuff......, Memories

Some of the crap I feel compelled to share so my head won’t explode…….

I have stalked people on Facebook.

There. I said it. Out loud. So to “speak.”

Sorry, feeling a bit literal today.

Anyway, I have. And I know others have as well. It’s how one finds long lost friends, which is part of the reason behind the medium, no? However, if I’m honest, and it looks like I’m going to be, that’s not the only kind of stalking I do.

Maybe we’d better change that word before the cops show up at my front door, because it would be just my luck that a whole bunch of people actually read this particular blog and the word, “stalk,” comes up and somebody gets spooked, like I’m operating out of a room set up for an UNSUB on Criminal Minds.

I have checked some people out. And let’s be real, all it takes is typing in a name and looking at profiles until you decide you’ve found the person you’re looking for, though it’s not as easy as it sounds when one gets to my age (39 and holding for those with inquiring minds), but I’ll get to that in a minute.

I write stories. It’s what I do – professionally when I get the chance – but pretty much all the time even when it has to be done for free. The sub-title of my blog is, “Crap I feel compelled to share, so my head won’t explode,” as is, I believe, aptly illustrated by this particular entry.

As a person who writes stories I, naturally, like to know the whole story. With people I used to know, I can get that from checking them out on Facebook. By people I used to know, I generally, at this point, because I have found pretty much all the old friends I care to talk to, mean old boyfriends.

I must say, and hope it doesn’t come as a shock, that, although I do enjoy seeing where people have gone in their lives, this is mostly done out of pure vanity.

You’re shocked, right?

Okay, nobody is shocked.

Shut up.

I just like to know the end of their story. Or, you know, the story so far. Well, and I like to see if they’ve uglied up. And if they’re married to someone uglier than me. And maybe, who didn’t, well you know, keep himself up over the years.

I may also have looked up a few of the girls at Natrona County High School who were mean to me to see if they fall into that latter category. I don’t wish bad things on them. Anymore. I don’t even gloat when I see gray hair, wrinkles or a few (hundred) extra pounds. I mean, tempt fate like that? No sir. Karma is truly a bitch.

Which reminds me. I saw a woman the other day with a sweatshirt on that read KARMA in huge letters. I grinned and said, “Hey, you’re a bitch.” She didn’t get it because I’m thinking, if she had, she wouldn’t have told me to f*(k off……….

For about a year, I routinely looked up a couple of guys I dated. Not all men from my generation are into social media, so I was beginning to think I’d hit a dead end and would have to live with not knowing where these particular blasts from the past ended up. Then about a month ago I found first one then another. It took me a few minutes to be sure they were them. It’s funny, the women I looked up hadn’t changed all that much. I mean, I could still recognize them fairly easily, even with the added years and the rode hard and put up wet expressions on their faces. (I said I didn’t wish them anything but blessings. The fact that they all look like Bruce Jenner is not my fault.) The two former boyfriends? Not quite as recognizable.

The first one I identified through a process of elimination and the fact that he still lives exactly where he used to live when we were kids. He sort of looks like he did – just older. His hair has thinned and he’s gained some weight. His wife is pretty, which would irritate me, but she’s kind of a contrived pretty and a little on the chubby side, so I’m okay with it. The second guy is the one who really threw me. He looks so old. I mean, white-hair-old-guy-old. He’s only (I checked this out) two years older than I. Yikes! I wasn’t convinced it was him till I remembered his name wasn’t, “David William Smith,” it’s, “Davey Bill Smith,” so this guy was the correct one. Looking through some of the photos, I remembered his eyes and the smart-assed, overbearing way he sort of sneer/smiled, which is why I couldn’t stand the jerk and what in the world was I doing wasting my time, looking up guys I dumped over 30 years ago?

Facebook is stupid………

There is that one guy, though. I wouldn’t call him the on that got away, because I got the one that got away back and I know what he’s been doing since I was 17.

No, that one guy, and everyone has one, is the one I want to be sorry he was stupid enough to let me go. I don’t wish it was different or want him back, I just want him to say something like, “Oh Lorie, you were the best thing that ever happened to me and I was a complete fool to let you go. Alas, you are happy and fulfilled in your life, and that fact alone, does bring me some comfort, though the regret of not knowing what I had when I had it will live with me every day of my meaningless life.”

Is that really too much to ask?

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