School of Beauty

I go to the local beauty school every four to six weeks.

My mom always stated my hair was my shining glory which meant from my earliest days I was not allowed to complain about my thick and vibrant mane. I wanted to! I tried! I got no sympathy from my friends that my hair would do its own thing no matter how I tried to tame it.

I stopped arguing with my hair in grade school. It grew fast and I was required to get it cut three times a year. Fortunately, the local salon was owned by two men who won lots of awards for hair styling and they never grumped about how long it had been since my last trim, or whatever I’d done with the scissors during the interim. I think they were Jay & Bob, and both were married with children, and I always got a great cut for my hair with their dedicated attention to style. I really only wanted it off my face.

I moved to Oregon in 1997 and one of my first friends was my neighbor, Nancy. It wasn’t long before she revealed she taught at the local beauty school. Nancy was happy to trim my hair and soon she was coloring it too. I’d been content with the low-priced box that would cover dull and gray strands. Within a few months, Nancy told me they needed “real heads” for the students to learn. I thought it would be fun, and it was! During one color class I had four students working on my mane.

I soon learned that Nancy had to cut and color my hair because my personal “beauty regime” was such a disaster that she couldn’t talk to me without cringing.

So, since 1998, whenever I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror I called Nancy at work and she’d get an appointment on the schedule within a few hours. The students I met were always in their final days of the program, excited to be moving soon into their new careers. Working on my hair was their treat from Nancy, their teacher, even though she’d hover because a less than good job from a student would impact our leisure chats.

Nancy and I have lots of stories we’ve share through the years and our eldest grandsons are the same age. She was the mom-on-the-street when I had to leave our younger daughters, at 13 & 16 yrs-old, in charge of our home; the horse, the dogs, cat, bunny, after  Ed’s accident in 2002. His job included 85% travel and he couldn’t do his job without me as his pack mule, for almost a year. A few years later I was there for Nancy each day when she sold off everything after her husband’s death in 2005.

I continued going to the beauty school every month and later learned from the students that I was one of the few friends from Nancy’s former life that was still a friend in her widowed life. For about a year, the students assigned to my hair already had heard about me.

I became addicted to meeting these students and hearing their life stories and career plans. I’ve sampled every beauty treatment taught at that school and I’ve been a test client for a variety of beauty treatments from facials to pedicures. I enjoy being the guinea pig for a new process for beauty students. It rates way higher for me than being a medical test case. One is interactive to make me look and feel good, the other requires documenting heart palpitations and diarrhea.  Yeah, I avoid pills and a good shower after the hair color chemicals is a favorite cure.

Nancy is the Beauty School director now, she still teaches some classes but the students know her by sight and reputation instead of as their primary mentor. The school has also moved twice, so I’m really knowledgeable regarding the differences of wash-out bowls and issues with water temperature. I’m known as that novelist friend of the director, who tips well, and has this most awesome head of hair to cut and color.

I understand that my association with beauty schools is tainted by having students hand-picked for my treatments. However, my attention to my shining glory hasn’t changed much. The only difference is, I’ll pull out my business card and explain that I need to look like my author photo.

The students and I have a great time because I really am more interested in their personal life stories; goals, dreams, challenges, achievements, than what they do with my hair.  And they love running their fingers through my hair.

I totally appreciate what I have learned about what goes on behind the scenes in film, television, fashion shows, and plastic surgeons offices.

There’s a lot to learn in beauty schools.

A time for plans, maybe

During full moons we like to place our crystals and special gems to be bathed in Luna light. But my sister and I were careful to make sure the moon had left Capricorn first. This is to get the recharge from the eccentric and freedom loving Water Bearer, who’s ruling planet is Uranus. (Cap’s planetary ruler is Saturn, the taskmaster.)

According to Jacqueline A. Carl  of the American Wildlife Foundation: “Today’s full moon, which I like to refer to as Dispute Moon because insects are at peak activity in August, is a Super Moon. Beware anyone who’s really affected by the cycles of the moon.” 

The caption on the bottom states:

Tonight will be a Super Full Moon. Which means the Moon is closet to earth than any other time making it appear much bigger than usual.

Not only is it a Supermoon but it coincides with the Perseid Meteor Shower so expect to see lots of shooting stars in the night sky. Remember to make a wish.

This supermoon is in Aquarius and that’s my sister’s sun sign. She is having back issues, specific to where the stars are placed on the goddess image.


Check out for a variety of insights regarding this full moon goddess energy.

In other news -My sister shared the insights of Philip Sedgwick who states There are four planets currently transiting Scorpio; Saturn, Mars, Vesta, and Ceres. It may surprise you that Vesta and Ceres are planets but when considering stellar advice it’s easier to go with the flow. Arguing with astrologers includes using terms like quincunx so I prefer to nod and smile a lot while listening to see if I can discern an energetic or psychic message for me.

Scorpio (deep water, secrets, and revenge energy!) rules my 4th house which represents HOME. This includes family life, my roots, my end of life, and real estate. Saturn is all about chores and restrictions, while Mars is all about action and battle. It’s a good thing I spend my days with a baby and a toddler who are super cute even when burping and pooping.

Vesta is the keeper of the home fires and Ceres is the ultimate advocate and I’m not really sure what that will mean for me. My meditation is all about creating a structure for my days that will benefit my spirit and inspire my creative writing projects.

Ed’s on a boys adventure with his grandsons so I went wandering along the Willamette River to soak in the views and clear my mind. Then I went into a small bookstore with the hope for a story to inspire me. Of course I found one, it was even on a display stand, and it is a book I’ve intended to read:

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess. I intend to only read one chapter a day as I know it’s going to be a long time before all these energies leave Scorpio.

A proactive intent

Aug 09 063I am anticipating the August days will dawn with a flavor of continuity and control… Ha Ha…

The Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury are in Leo and that’s more fire than this sunset picture I took of Mt. Hood a few years ago. I expect to feel invincible and ready to party daily as Leo rules my 1st house, my persona, and is represented by my mane of hair that is too short for a decent ponytail.

Mars, the planet of action, is giving me the sudden urge to get my house in order with intent for some structure to my writing career. I believe there will be a consistent grammy-nanny schedule for August and that will be great! I like routines but there is nothing routine about babies. The greatest blessing is that after days with babies I am too tired to bother with global, or even local, news. This means I’m only paying attention to what is in the present moments of my life and there’s been lots of good things.

Today I felt full of energy to get stuff done but instead paused and did a computer back-up session. It’s been a while since I did and there are a few hundred pictures of babies, people and places, from recent months that are now stored in a safe place. It’s so easy to get caught up in the digital cloud and forget that a good thunder and lightning storm, like the one last night, could wreck havoc on electronics.

A lot of my friends and family are feeling a shift toward abundance in their lives. We are all grateful for lessons learned that make these good events so much sweeter. I hope you feel the same.

A Sisters Trip

Stonehenge Memorial in Maryhill WA

Sharon and Rose at the Stonehenge Memorial in Maryhill WA

My sisters and I have made a point to take “A Sisters Trip” when life allows. The first trip was in 2007, two years after our parents’ funerals. We met in Warm Springs, GA to tour The Roosevelt Foundation. Aside from being a highly nostalgic trip, we enjoyed having private time together and decided to do another trip, soon.

We designated that A Sisters Trip would be at least a few days in a row spent together that didn’t include big life events, like weddings or funerals. We have to get away together where we won’t be distracted by spouses or children. During these few days our memories and dreams can be shared without censorship, and we can indulge in shopping, dining, and wine.

The second Sisters Trip was in 2010 at Canon Beach, OR, and included a writing retreat. Trips need to be in the summer until Rose retires from teaching and there have been a few weddings during the summers. (Fortunately there were no funerals for us to attend together.)

July 2014 062

Aligning the stargazing tools while waiting for dark skies.

We just had our third sisters trip as Rose was in town because one of her daughters recently moved to Oregon. We decided to skip having an agenda beyond star gazing, dining, visiting local sites, and shopping. Of course the star gazing included a few gadgets to counter the light of the full moon.

Our visit to Sam Hill’s Stonehenge was extra fun because as children, whenever we would do something random, one of our mom’s expressions was, “What the Sam Hill were you thinking?” Apparently Sam Hill was a notorious character during our mother’s youth as being the creator of the ridiculous. However what was considered a mistake at the time may be pretty awesome for future generations.

Family fun and more

Cousin Love

My Day Job. Cousin Love with 11-mos-old Kaedence and 4-mos-old Robbie

I’m a writer, a published novelist, with books to write, stories to tell, and projects in various stages of disorder.

I’m not really writing at the moment. I can blame Mercury Retrograde but the truth is, I’m “filling my well.” This is a phase writers must accept as part of the process. Writing is not all about daily-word-count, all year long.

There are seasons when the butt-in-chair works best and a writer must learn their seasons. I’m very seasoned now…

I’ve attended many motivational talks where the message was about how writers will never make it (succeed) unless that is the # 1 priority in their life. Women often fail at being writers because they tend to make their family a priority over their writing. Well, that makes me a failure as a writer at the moment. No worries, fall will arrive in a few months and I live in Oregon. We have amazing summer weather – and ten months of rain…

Ed visits me at work sometimes. Yoga baby always has a foot up on the tray when eating.

Ed visits me at work sometimes. Yoga baby always has a foot up on the tray when eating.

I haven’t had any time to really celebrate or promote the publication of my first novel. I know my publisher is very busy with all the other awesome novels in the catalog. I adore being part of an innovative company but this is familiar territory for me. I remember the whirly-dervish days. They are tons of fun but I’m happy to let other do that, at least this year…

I still haven’t contacted my publisher for a date when my novel will be available in print. No worries, it will happen sometime. I operate on five-year-plans and by 2019 I could have a few companion books, and package them all together…

Who knows what “publishing” will look like in five years? It’s only been seven years since the first Kindle ereader. Fortunately, storytelling is ingrained in our DNA as humans after the survival objectives are met. I think it’s shelter, food, and clothing for survival. Then we want community and stories…

My sister, Rose, is in town now, from Ohio, and adventures will commence. We’ve got a day trip to The Sisters on our schedule…

My two older grandsons

My two older grandsons

My grammy-nanny job has evolved into something I never would have agreed to at the beginning BUT I’ve realized it does Nourish My Soul and babies are such a short term thing…

Granny’s know the best time to pull back from too much contact is when the child can talk back – that stage is parenting and I’ve been-there-done-that.

I certainly didn’t let my 11-year-old child ride a 5-year-old sibling around the yard on a dirt bike. Of course I didn’t know what a dirt bike was back then, nor did I have that much yard…

Life is always an adventure, take the journey then write about it. That’s what I do…

The moon and more duality

A Full Moon on Friday the 13th!

We’ll be attending a daughter’s commencement ceremony.

The past weeks have been wild with new routines and insights and contemplation, and allergy-post-natal-drip and ear-numbing-congestion. I am now rational enough to attribute all my foggy misery to my enthralling New Orleans experience – which was during the Full Moon last month.

May’s Full Moon was a Seriously Saturn one, but there was a Sparkling Venus in the mix.

May 20-2014 001So what’s been happening in these few weeks between full moons?

Both my business partner and my husband are embroiled in large company reorganizations.

Two daughters were offered (and accepted) great new jobs. This will create changes as my day-job of grammy-nanny now includes two babies, 3 days a week, and as long as I remember to eat I should still thrive on this for the year.

TWO trailersThere are now two recreational vehicles parked at our weekend place. The one is like a mini apartment and has been parked for six years. Having a grandchild or two inside for the night made it very crowded. Now, The “Tango” is a comfortable bunk house type that is very road worthy and adventures are planned. This set up maximizes shade and wind-block for a protected picnic area.

These listed activities are the main life events since May’s full moon, which shone while I was at the convention in NOLA and that silver light was illuminating all kinds of significant potentials for my career as a novelist. There’s this evolving new genre that may be a niche for some of my stories that are already in process. I was chatting with editors about “rite of passage” stories for Adulting

June’s full moon is also a doozie!  Read about it from Kelley Hunter (She lists many other stellar aspects that are in process now, too.)

The polarity dynamic between the SUN in open-minded GEMINI and the FULL MOON in goal-oriented SAGITTARIUS reveals options and new vistas and visions. … 

The old threads are stitches we are picking up thanks to the Mercury retrograde cycle.   …  

This Gemini-Sagittarius Full Moon can bring out the intuitive, visionary manager who sees where everyone on the team can make the best contribution, where each point of view fits into the puzzle. A variety of our sub-personality voices are vocal. A change-up is called for, though there might be a musical chairs shift of positions before each element is properly positioned. 

Astrology aspects are fascinating to interpret after they’ve passed in relation to what events unrolled, but it’s also fun to have these types of predictions to consider.

Full moon’s are great for navigation on the high seas, and deserts, and Shakespeare included the light of the silvery moon in his comedies and dramas.

I’m never sure what made Friday the 13th famous but we do have a black cat. She is Pele, named in honor of the volcano goddess.

Leash your Dragon

May 20-2014 109

“Toothless” on his first camping trip. His “person” wears size nine shoes.

Okay, it’s not really a leash, it’s actually a shoelace that is longer than his tail. It is tied only to him so when he takes off on his mad dash for shade we can at least see this black leash bouncing across the grass.

Dragons are high maintenance pets as they like lots of affection, prefer sleeping under a log (or the couch), and they nibble fresh greens between feasts of crickets.

The story is, close friends of our family hoped to have children but after years of following the natural process to conceive, and having fun but not making babies,  decided not explore other options for a few years. Instead they began collecting pets, in pairs, like dogs and chickens. As babies seemed to suddenly be blooming all around their neighborhood, adding a really high maintenance lizard to their menagerie felt like a good idea at the time. However, pregnancy in our family tends to be contagious and can spread to friends and long distant relations.

Once these close friends realized – Eureka! Our dream baby is on the way! – they assessed their menagerie and began looking for suitable homes for the overflow…

Ever since our eldest daughter took her sons to see the movie, “How to Train Your Dragon” she’s stated that she wants a pet dragon. The soon-to-be-parents (It’s a Girl!) are happy “Toothless” has found a new family and will have frequent camping trips to a favorite climate.

But there’s another layer to this story as our eldest was in a car accident in September and was still having issues with using her left arm. Toothless was perched on that left arm as she couldn’t use it for much else even after months of therapy. I’m not saying carrying a pet dragon around on an injured arm helped it heal, but it certainly didn’t do any harm!

Or if we believe in magic dragons, there were two people with a wish. One for a baby, one for a dragon. And one dragon was all it took.

Memorable Rites

May 20-2014 049Our grandsons attended their first Memorial Day tribute to Veterans. Their mom wanted her boys to understand it’s not just a long weekend to kick off summer. She wanted a more personal experience than a parade and flag waving.

They were camping at our weekend place with us so we all attended a small and poignant ritual presented by the local Oregon chapter of the American Legion.

We arrived at a historic and small cemetery on a windswept hill outside of the town of Wamic, OR, a little before the 9:30AM ceremony. There were a variety of gravestone designs and sizes, surrounded by individualized gardens, bushes, or well tended grass. It was almost like a maze where there was something new to see around each tree. Small American flags were placed by the stones that marked the grave of a veteran who served their country and returned home.

The flags are the USA stars & stripes, POW-MIA, and the American Legion.

The flags are the USA stars & stripes, POW-MIA, and the American Legion.

This was the first of three ceremonies and all included the flag procession, short tribute prayers, a 21 gun salute (historic rifles!), and “Taps” played clean and clear on a real bugle. Red silk poppies were distributed to be added to the flags on the veterans graves.

Memorial Day is not just about the soldiers who were killed in battle, but for all those who served. Like my dad and his brothers who served in WWII, and all three returned home and returned to their lives, established careers, married and had families. They were proud to have served but considered their military duty as a short phase in the years of their lives.

May 20-2014 020Our grandsons were interested and respectful, as it was charming, heartfelt, and comforting. I’m sure the boys will remember it even if they don’t make it an annual ritual in their lives. But now they know what Memorial Day means in the USA. Regardless of what their future experiences may be regarding war, they will have a memory of paying tribute to the military personnel that served their country with patriotism and honor.


NOLA 104

One of the small events for attendees to choose between the big events.

I’m also sneezing, coughing, and my ability to hear has finally returned. I blame the clogged ears on a week in air conditioning. I don’t like it. At All. Which is why I love being back in Oregon. Except now I’ve also got the basic spring allergies making me groggy.

Last week while I was in New Orleans the weather fluctuated from chill 50’s to humid 90’s, and the whole range between. The number of convention attendees increased daily which made the hum of conversation in the lobby build to a crescendo of sound as thick as a wall when the elevator doors opened.

I am not a crowd person.

I had a marvelous time!

However, being out of my comfort zone I was reminded more than once that my “mom” role was not required. My friends did not need my permission to have drinks or extra chocolate with lunch. I think we’re all still friends…

I also got to see an actual “stalker” scenario. A friend posted a picture to Facebook of her pre-dinner cocktail, and someone saw it as an invitation to crash our dinner party. And that’s just one tidbit. We took a ghost tour one evening and did a pub crawl the next eve. I think. The schedule and activities are still a blur. I also forgot to go to the tea party and get my leaves read.

I'm sitting between the trees knees during a walking tour of The Garden District

I’m sitting between the trees knees during a walking tour of The Garden District

I don’t bounce back from traveling, or marvelous times, as quickly as I did in previous decades. Ed also had a tough time staying awake until 1:00 am to pick me up at the airport. It took until now for me to catch up on my sleep.

It will be next week until I can follow up on all the stuff I did, and connect with the people I met.

I have read one of the books in the New Adult genre that I brought home. It is a NYT Bestseller. I was Not impressed. Fortunately I’ve started reading the second book on my stack and I am totally impressed, which shows how we all relate to stories in a personal way.

The last time I attended a convention this large was in 2005, in Reno. I plan to stick with small local events from now until 2023, unless I earn some VIP treatment and can avoid the herds…

I’m back into my grammy-nanny routine and this weekend will be off kayaking and camping with the older grandsons. I’m looking forward to summer activities.

She’s so excited

She's so mobile now she doesn't want to sleep!

Kaedence is excited to be mobile now and she doesn’t want to sleep! As soon as she’s out of bed the dogs run to go outside.

This title also applies to me, and many of my friends who will be in New Orleans next week for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention.  This is my first time attending this event and I’m extra excited to be wearing the pin that shows I’m a novelist with Soul Mate Publishing. There are about a dozen of us that plan to meet for the first time in person, instead of online.

As I was getting my hair color refreshed, I was chatting with the stylists and nearby customers and they all said my book sounded like one they’d enjoy. Then they asked me to autograph my business card. It is such a thrill when that happens. It’s also fun to hear that I am the first novelist they ever met. I always forget we are a bit rare.

On the business side of my writer life, we recently were interviewed for The New Writers Interface newsletter. Morgan and I also have some Author Marketing 101 books to gift to select attendees at the convention. I love this work and book but it has distracted me from the celebration of being a Novelist! I’ll be rectifying that in New Orleans.

This Mother’s Day I’ll be on a plane to spend the week before my birthday at this convention! My mom may even be there in spirit with me as she was the inspiration for the Samantha character in my novel.

Which reminds me – Checkmate First Mate could be a great Mother’s Day Gift for someone in your life. Tell your friends about it too. It’s got some fun mother-daughter scenes, good looking men, river rescues, and a wedding!


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