Friday Night Take-Out

On the spur of the moment, my sister Sherri and I decided to meet at her place for dinner. Both our husbands were out of town but our weekend schedules didn’t allow time for a sisters-night. These involve wine and we usually solve the mysteries of the universe and all political unrest prior to midnight when we crawl into bed. In our younger days we were more raucous but I wasn’t spending the night. We were sharing take-out and I expected we’d eat on her back patio.

She had just returned from picking up our take-out, from the Italian restaurant less than a mile away, when I pulled in. I was freshly showered with hair still wet and neither of us had done our hair or makeup as this was casual time.

fostoria 003But when I got inside, her dining table was decked out with linen cloths under Fostoria American clear plates, water glasses, wine goblets, and more. Our mom had a full set and now Sherri has them displayed in her home and she does use them, though usually not for take-out. Our mom always said that no matter how pretty or fragile, china and crystal was meant to be used but with special care. Rose probably has a few Fostoria pieces, and I have the square pedestal cake plate. Sherri has a round one but she sort of covets my square one.

We had extra fun sharing our take-out dinner with the fancy place settings and maybe it made the food taste better, but even take-out from Bugatti’s is awesome. When I got home I looked at my cake plate and realized I probably hadn’t used it in a few years. I keep it on top of the cupboard over my stove and I could tell it was dirty. I’ve never used it to serve a cake but all kinds of other desserts have been stacked or displayed on it for parties. There were many years I’d turn it upside down and put it in the center of the table to be a family Easter basket full of goodies, when the girls were young.

I took it down today and washed it up. There was a short few seconds where I wondered if maybe I should give it to Sherri to complete her set but then quickly knew I wouldn’t. Instead, I think I’ll use it more on random occasions.

Settling into September

1 yr old Kaedence and 6 mos old Robbie.

1 yr old Kaedence and 6 mos old Robbie.

I am not a teacher but there were only a few years in my life when the school calendar wasn’t my primary one, until five years ago. During my childhood, I was always excited at the start of a new school year because I love learning new things; standardized testing was rare, and summers in Cleveland, Ohio were ripe with humidity and wild thunderstorms.

My summer activities revolved around riding my bike to the pool, friends homes, and the library. The school year included sports, dances, concerts, science fairs, and my friends were in town all the time. I was always thrilled to be done with school for the summer but felt the new school year was ripe with adventures.

Astrologically, the Sun forms a trine with my natal Mercury and Saturn at this time every year and that’s good stuff. This year I am feeling more of this as Jupiter has recently moved into my first house, initiating a new twelve year journey for me. I’m super blessed to begin this cycle teaching toddler grand-babies how to dance, even before they can walk.

Many life events that changed the tenor of my days have happened in early fall. This year I have a plan of action for my time and energy. I have a daily/weekly word count goal to finish my next novel. It’s doable with my baby duties and requires me to be organized and proactive. It’s been an amazing summer, rich with fun and family and friends. Now I’m ready to work toward new adventures.

The Next Generation

Yes, I am a Star Trek fan as I grew up enthralled with the original series. I became an avid fan of  Star Trek: The Next Generation but didn’t have time to enjoy all the Star Trek spin offs and fan fiction. Strong stories based on deep themes with diverse characters sort of take on a life of their own. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of our future is worth attention. We should boldly explore all the fun of living that includes the present, the future, and the past.

There are the family stories that can be stranger than fiction and some of those are happy family stories – here’s a picture:


These are only the “west coast” grandchildren. My sister and I live in Oregon and some will say it could have something to do with the water more than babies being a contagious condition. <grin>

There was a family barbecue to celebrate everyone being in the same state on the same day. The birthday cake was divided into four sections to honor two birthdays and two half-birthdays. Yep, that’s us, any excuse for a party, even a half-birthday.

Our parents had five children and 22 grandchildren. There are now ever more great-grandchildren as our siblings in Ohio have even more grandchildren.

The original Star Trek series was a bit more like “Space Cowboys” than Gene Roddenberry envisioned and The Next Generation was a bit more cerebral, technical, and with special effects that Gene may not have anticipated.

My childhood was that original type of space-cowboy story, with generations of ancestors and layers of crafts, skills, and achievements regarding the space crafted for where and how we lived our lives. There were adventures but there were also lots of morality sermons.

Every Original Star Trek TV show was a space adventure and Captain Kirk seemed to have a fist fight every week, but each episode ended with some type of morality sermon. The theme of the show was to boldly go where no man has gone before, but the show producers felt a moral lesson needed to trump the bold adventure. It’s been decades since I’ve seen any of those original shows but a Google search on “Captain Kirk Sermons” has about 403,000 results

According to my parents, everything was a life lesson and as we were Catholics there was usually a percentage of guilt assigned prior to the joy reward.

Star Trek: The Next Generation began 100 years after the original series. But in my family it’s half that. These babies will have “communicators” even more versatile  than those flip & twist gadgets that were so sci-fi fifty years ago. In every episode (I think) there was an electronic tablet for Captain Kirk to sign authorizing something. We’ve got those tablets now but how good are our signatures? Cursive writing is no longer taught in schools.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, instead of fist fights and expendable “red shirt” characters, Captain Picard read books, drank Earl Grey tea, and went on archaeological digs.

I hope this next generation of our family will have access to all those super cool tools and maybe use phasers to dig ditches because there will still be a need for digging ditches. The tools will mean the next generation can do their work easier and with passion while they also communicate clearly. They will have access all kinds of historical records by asking a question, and have multiple scenarios to consider prior to making a choice. That’s one thing I anticipate will never change – a choice will be needed.

I hope the next generation accepts having access to global databases of information and stellar communication systems. I hope they have tons of fun while putting all of the above into uses that are beneficial to many. It’s okay if the current choice with the technology available is to play games about angry birds and view cat tricks. Fads are momentary choices that barely impact a decade. Generations last a whole lot longer.

These are turbulent times on Mother Earth but babies keep arriving.

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.


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