I blinked and January became May. Crazy how that happens. However, since I have a habit of wishing away my work week for my weekend, I shouldn’t be surprised when time slips through my fingers.

The girl is at her first camping trip with the Girl Scouts, so I would be remiss if I did not take full advantage of the rare quiet time to write. Create. Immerse myself in my fictional world without feeling guilty. Right now I’m sitting on my patio, fighting my urges to go inside and clean instead of tap away at my keyboard.

Right now I’m winning.


Pigs, chickens, and a kid holding a kid, oh my.

Mesquite Motor Mania classic car weekend with my dad. Even though I wasn’t always fond of being dragged around to car shows as a child, a love and appreciation for the classic cars did eventually settle in. Now Maya and I never miss a show. It had been 4 1/2 years since I last saw my dad when we went to Iowa. He finally took me up on my offer to visit and stay with us. It was a good time. (Check out the wood car in the photos. It’s pretty cool.)

Hot air balloon festival. I took a million pictures. I’ll keep it to a few here. Last year we spent the morning watching the balloons from the launch area, per Maya’s request. This year we decided to get up early and head to the top of the hill. Fantastic spot.

SNOW! I know, whoop-dee-doo. I grew up with the white stuff in Iowa, but you just don’t see it often here in the desert. This year we had measurable snow. In town. Twice. It was kinda cool to wake up to a semi-winter wonderland. The last of the snow just melted off the mountains last weekend.

/squints eyes to get better look at the summit

There might be a *little* bit up there.

Flu. It hit our area hard this year and Maya absolutely refused to get the flu shot. Not that it would have necessarily covered her strain, but it might have helped her symptoms. To top it off, she was unable to tolerate the Tamiflu. It was pretty rough and scary for a while, I’m not gonna lie. But she pulled through, thank goodness. And I didn’t get it, even with her sleeping with me every night. I get a flu shot every year and I honestly cannot remember the last time I had the flu. Maybe I’m lucky. Who knows. Next year could be different.

Paco. He’s my mom’s dog. An old guy who still runs around like a pup. Everyone likes a dog photo, amirite?


Sunsets. Desert sunsets are truly phenomenal. It was one thing I missed while living in Portland because all I saw there were trees, unless I was on the coast. Pictures never do justice. But here are a couple anyway. I get to see this almost every night. Can’t complain.

Patio. I finally caved and bought some patio furniture. I had a small bistro set, but it wasn’t comfortable enough for sitting for long periods of time. I spent less than $350 for the chair set with the small table, the portable (and extremely comfortable) hammock, and my rugs. Worth every single penny. I wish I would have bought them sooner. The girl lives in the hammock and I spend every single morning and night on my patio, and I’ll continue to until the heat kicks in. Then I’ll hibernate until the brutal sun begins to simmer down in September.

I also planted a small patio garden. My flowers still haven’t bloomed, but my herbs are doing well. I’ve already had a few salads made with my mixed greens, and the onions and tomatoes will be ready soon. Everything will die off in about a month due to the heat, so I’ll enjoy it all while I can and replant in September for a second go.

Ah, I love outdoor living.

**The hammock is honestly a steal and you can find it here on amazon.**

Hospital. I was in the hospital, but I’m okay. I had severe chest pains that wouldn’t go away. Chest pains that would make me stop whatever I was doing and gasp for air. Coupled with shoulder pain, dizziness, fatigue, and my (ahem) age, I thought it would be best not to mess around and end up one of those people who have an MI in the middle of the night and never wake up to see my kid again. I’ll likely have a ridiculous medical bill that I’ll spend the next few years paying off, but it is what it is. Turns out my heart is okay (yay!) but I’m terribly anemic, which can cause the aforementioned symptoms. I don’t eat a lot of meat and I’ve been lax about making sure I consume enough beans, legumes, and spinach to make up for it. I’m on the go all the time between work and Maya’s activities and I don’t always take care of myself the way I should. Take care of yourself! Anyway, Maya drew pictures on my phone for me.

We’re both slightly down about our lack of travel this year. We both got bit by the travel bug during our trip overseas last year. So many places to visit, so little time and money when you’re a single parent. However, maybe next year we’ll hit one of our dream destinations. Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Spain… Oh, the list goes on and on. Plus, I need to return to Finland to retrieve my heart. I left it there.

But more on that later…

Hello, 2019

Greetings and salutations, all. I hope this bright and shiny New Year’s Evening finds you happy and well. And hopefully not too hungover.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve found myself on this side of a blog – the writer’s side, that is. The break was intentional as I found myself with scant desire to do much of anything useful, let alone write blog posts that no more than a dozen people might read on a regular basis. The last time I wrote a post was in July of 2017 when I was in the middle of a weight-loss challenge. I lost a significant amount of weight, but then gained it back. My mental and emotional states were not functioning at a high level (or even mediocre level) of well-being. I was terribly stressed and unhappy.

Some people can lose and maintain weight-loss or write novels and screenplays and be creative little bad-asses while they are mentally and emotionally fucked.

I can’t.

At least, not for long periods of time.

I decided that 2018 would be the year I would focus on my inner well-being. Inner only. I wouldn’t obsess about my fat rolls or amble backside. I wouldn’t constantly berate myself for not writing as much as I *should.* I would drop the blog for a while and simply focus on being mentally and emotionally healthy for myself and for my daughter.

Man, what a difference a year can make.

Here’s something I caught today during my “years past” review that I didn’t catch a year ago, despite my initial goal of inner change for 2018: I write in journals on a fairly regular basis, and on January 1st of 2017, I wrote this, “Here we go! New Year, same me, bright new shiny goals!” The problem with the latter sentence is there is no way I would meet my upgraded goals under the management of the same me. I didn’t realize it at the time.

You don’t make significant changes in your life as the same person you’ve always been. You must change. You must evolve. You must step out of your comfort zone, embrace and move beyond your fears, and try to act as the ideal you would act if you want to make your goals and dreams your reality. Period.

I made significant strides in increasing my overall well-being this past year.

  • I read many books – books by Tim Ferriss, Mel Robbins, Marianne Williamson, Brendon Burchard, Thich Nhat Hanh, and many others, from which I gleaned so much useful information that helped changed my life in the small moments from day-to-day.
  • I blew through my fear of applying for a passport (who knew that sort of fear was a thing? more on that in another post) and traveled to Finland and Estonia with my kid. Just wow.
  •  After 4 1/2 years, I saw my son, Josh, who lives in Finland. We stayed with him and his wife Sonja, and I was able meet her family. It was an incredible experience.
  •  I let go of a bunch of garbage that was holding me back, and I stopped chasing down and giving a crap about certain people who constantly lied to me and verbally abused me.
  • I created a solid morning routine to help install a positive mental and emotional framework for each day and I practiced gratitude on a regular basis.
  • I listened to informative, uplifting, and motivational podcasts and youtube videos, such as those by Tim Ferriss, Tom Bilyeu, Lewis Howes, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mel Robbins, and channels such as Be Inspired, Success Archive, Video Advice, and daily Motivation.
  • I stepped out of my comfort zone and had tremendous inner growth.

I don’t make grand resolutions for the New Year per se, but I certainly don’t look down upon people who do make resolutions. Here’s the thing about the New Year: it’s a reminder to all that every single one of us has a reset button. We can pause, take stock of who we are vs. who we need to be to make our visions a reality, and then set ourselves on a path to make it all happen.

Now, some will say that we should do this reset on a daily basis, and I tend to agree; however, we’re all human and we fail. Inevitably. Life gets in the way and that’s okay. Press that reset button any damn time you feel like it. Press it now. Press it again in twenty minutes or in twenty days. If you press it in twenty years, so be it. At least you’re making an attempt to move forward, and I think that’s wonderful. I like to make goals and try to re-evaluate every quarter. I frequently (and I do mean frequently) fail to meet my goals, but I inch closer toward that goal line with small wins than if I refuse to try at all.

trust the process

This past year was a huge win for me in many ways and less so in others. That’s the way it goes. My morning routine is a vital part of my life now and I’ll continue with my inner growth until the day I stop breathing. I’ll always want to be a better human being and the best role model I can be for my impressionable daughter (I’m afraid I might be a little late for my 25 yr old son). I made some fun goals for 2019 like trying a new recipe and reading a book each week. I also made some slightly more serious goals with regard to improving my physical health, figuring out a new budget for the next year, and setting myself back on the writing path. One day at a time.

I trust you’re all shaking off the debris that was 2018 and moving forward into the future with hope, love, and a greater vision for your life and for the lives of others.

You’re going to see much more of me in the future. I look forward to re-connecting with you.

Much love and happiness.
















Two weeks of Shift Shop done. I feel stronger and somewhat leaner but slightly irritable. I suppose weeks of no carbs (except small amounts of starchy veggies) can do that to a person. This last week of the program cuts out the starchy veggies, so I’m trying to mentally prepare for that nonsense. I’ve been dedicated and on-point (not even sneaking a bite of mac-n-cheese from Maya’s plate) except for eating one mini-cupcake with no frosting today. So freaking good. Anywho, I’ll post a light run-down of the program and meal plan along with my (hopeful) weight loss and inches lost sometime next week in case anyone is interested. I have zero plans to post my before/after pics. Trust me, you don’t want that until I look like this again:

WP_20150607_003 (2)
Summer 2015 and soon-to-be Winter 2017

I can already tell you right now that my next round will have a modified eating plan that allows for some carbs. My kid doesn’t need Ms. Grumpy Pants for a mom.

Three weeks of zero alcohol as well. A few weeks ago, right before my bbq/pool party for some Portland friends, I decided that after said pool party I would cut alcohol out of my life until 1) I lost all the weight I gained while living in Portland and 2) I finished writing the first draft of my novel, Stupid Cupid.

Why did I decide on the alcohol exclusion, you ask?

Well, here’s a tidbit about myself: I love IPA. I mean, I like red wine as well (and that’s it for me for alcohol), but IPA is my thang.

me swami ipa
yum yum Pizza Port’s Swami’s IPA 

Hoppy, cold, high-calorie IPA. I’ve enjoyed it for a long time, but the past few years of the IPA explosion have been like Christmas to me. Couple that with moving to the craft brewery heaven of the US (breweries within walking distance of my old apartment) and an extended period of outright laziness thanks to the calm comfort of cool, rainy PNW weather (and perhaps a slight bout of depression) and you have a significant weight gain.


The weight gain not only made me physically unhealthy, it murdered my mojo. I am simply not comfortable with my body at this size, even if a potential partner is cool with my ample curves. I feel like a gelatinous blob. I don’t need to have rock-hard abs and a backside you can bounce a quarter off of, but I need to feel like myself again. I’m the only one who can change it, so change it is. I can already feel a shift in the way I carry myself again, so I know I’m s-l-o-w-l-y on my way.

The second part of my alcohol-free period is because I am not a spectacular or profound writer during/after drinking. I can brainstorm while kicking back a cold one, but the actual process of writing is different beast altogether. There are many writers who can pound out fantastic literature while intoxicated. I do not fall into that category. My drunken scribbles are disjointed and only moderately humorous at best. When I can understand them.

My brain has a tendency to wander far too much if I partake in adult beverages. I muse on life and love and what my life will be like five years from now, browse animal shelters looking for a dog to adopt, watch some Grey’s, post stupid stuff to FB, get lost in the Pinterest black hole and imagine all the cool stuff I’m *going* to create, and basically waste a buttload of time. My journaling is pretty damn interesting, I must admit. But journaling won’t pay the bills unless you’re Sedaris.

This may come as a shock to you, but I am not Sedaris.

So, I needed a huge reset, and that’s exactly what I have right now.


Here’s the thing: I don’t miss it much at all. I don’t have a special someone around who also loves IPA, so it wasn’t difficult to drop. It’s not something I need and my life runs perfectly fine without it. It was all about breaking a not-so-great habit and (re)creating a few old good habits. Thus, I’m writing more, exercising, and working toward the future I want.

Cheers to that.