Dec 28, 2017

Remembering a Writing Year and All That Jazz For a New Year

If you are reading this, I’m so thrilled you’re here with me for a brand new year!  I’m looking forward to having you with me for all the high kicks, low kicks and the in-between kicks that 2018 will bring. Let's shake those jazz hands and make 2018 a real kick in the pants!

Image Credit: Lindsay Oien at

Can’t imagine what new stories, ideas or accomplishments will be created this next year, but I'm excited for the challenge.  When I look back on 2017…it’s been an interesting and incredible writing year for me.

Dec 15, 2017

Are You Embracing the Ugly Christmas Sweater Phenom?

It’s become an annual trending phenomenon!  That time of year when you search your closet into the land of Christmas sweater misfits and find stored away amid the darkest corners that Ugly Christmas Sweater.

You follow the smell of peppermint candy canes and dig out last year’s ugly memories to shake off the Christmas glitter and dab off the forgotten eggnog stain to get ready for this year’s “Ugly Theme Party" and celebrate in style. 

It might be the same traditional “Ugly Christmas Sweater” you wear every year or maybe it’s time to upgrade the ugly level and buy something new.  Or, should you buy someone else’s old?

Nov 9, 2017

Don’t Stop Believing: From the Page To the Stage

Nothing stomps out a dream or a goal you’ve set for yourself more than fear, not believing and just plain not doing the work to accomplish it. 

I recently had a flashback to when I was in 5th grade and collaborated with two other classmates to write and perform a play for a talent show contest. It was a silly little play, but I remember it being great fun and we got a lot of laughs.  We did NOT win, but that’s okay!  We did it and we showed up.

So you might think I went on to participate in other theatre ventures in my academic years. The answer to that is...NOPE. 

Oct 24, 2017

Great News! Story Selected For The Fiction Challenge Contest From Two Drops Of Ink

I’m absolutely thrilled and honored to have my short fiction story published on the literary website, Two Drops Of Ink. I submitted the story, Charlie’s Shoes, for a fiction story contest and the story made it through the first selection round by being published on their website. 

We were given a choice of images as a writing prompt and the rocking chair image was the inspiration to writing my story. This is a big step for me, since most of my writing is essay and non-fiction pieces.  I decided to take this challenge on, so I could spread my fiction writing wings, so to speak.

The Frightful Vacation of ‘79: Sort of, Kind of A Ghost Story

The dad was at the wheel, the mom in the middle and a listless teenager in the passenger side probably rolling her eyes in boredom. For the last 1100 miles she had been mournfully listening to the folk’s country music on the radio. It had been quite a vacation traveling in a Chevy camper pick-up back in August of 1979. 

She prayed that there was more exciting things happening at their destination than listening to an earful of Conway TwittyWaylon Jennings and Merle Haggard ballads than she cared to admit. Ghastly to say the least. 

There weren't iPods, videos streaming on built-in car screens, or internet games back in ‘79. 

I terrifying

It was just the folks and the teenager on the open road driving from Minnesota to Arizona. The teen was a moody 16 year-old longing for a Donna Summer or Blondie song to drown out Conway’s I May Never Get To Heaven and other heartbreak, whiskey swilling songs barely tolerated at every state line they crossed.  Clearly, a tragic ordeal.

Oct 13, 2017

The Mystical Charm of Felines: This Happened at the Cat Video Festival

After the love I witnessed at the Cat Video Festival, it's hard to believe there was a time in European history where cats were condemned and believed to be evil and often connected to witchcraft. 

During the Middle Ages many cats were exterminated to ward off evil. It’s long been argued that the death of so many cats had allowed the mice and rat populations to thrive. The fleas and disease these rodents carried are what created the conditions for the Bubonic Plague of the 14th Century.

Photo Credit: - Pezibear

On the other hand, the cat's mystical charm was highly regarded in Ancient Egypt as explained from the Ancient History Encyclopedia. It is said that when a cat died, all the inhabitants of a house shaved their eyebrows as a sign of mourning. 

Would you shave your eyebrows for the love of your cat?

Sep 27, 2017

Wine Tasting and Pairing: A Provocative Experience

There's more than one way to seduce my heart. Of course, dark chocolate is the obvious one. But, throw in a tasting of wine and a warm saucy plate of Chicken Parmesan prepared by Chef Todd Macdonald and my taste buds delight in a sensual explosion. 

Photo Credit: - Photo-Mix

The wine pairings, matched with the velvety tomato sauce and the lightly breaded chicken topped with cheesiness was pure foreplay to the heart and stomach. Ultimately, satisfaction was reached and a rosy glow followed. 

Wow! I bet Chef Macdonald didn't know all that happened. 

Or did he? 

I'll have to admit this was my first time at such an event where wine tasting was combined with a prepared dish, so the provocative sexiness of the whole experience was somewhat like losing one’s virginity. Will the next encounter be as passionate? I'd like to think this wouldn't be my last rendezvous. 

🍷 "If you can't be with the wine you love - love the wine you're with!"

Sep 12, 2017

Our Nest is Empty: I'm NOT Naked or Afraid!

There's a T.V. show on cable that's called “Naked and Afraid and I've never understood the fascination with walking around doing every day duties while naked. And, if they're not afraid of being naked then what are they afraid of? I believe their fear comes from being able to survive the wilderness while completely naked and vulnerable to their surroundings. 

No thanks! I’ll take a parka and thigh-high mukluks please.

Sitting bare-butt on a patch of dirt and twigs while creepy crawlies wander around burrowing into any crevice would definitely make me naked and afraid. So, it’s safe to say I wouldn’t put myself in that vulnerable spot of being naked and afraid in the first place.

How does this relate to my survival in the “wilderness of motherhood” and the onset of an empty nest?

That’s right...the kids are gone, now what will I do?

Jul 4, 2017

Savoring the Minnesota Summer Days!

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” 

Town Gazebo at Marine on St. Croix, MN

I'll be taking some time to find and appreciate the peace and joy that is offered in this great country. So, I've decided to put my blog writing on a summer hiatus to discover new places, ventures and opportunities. Hoping to return refreshed and rejuvenated with new stories of laughter, inspiration and ideas to share.

All it takes is a slice of the little things that sometimes go unnoticed to lift our spirits.  Like a quaint town on the river that's a throw back to simpler times, Marine on St. Croix, MN.

Marine on St. Croix, MN

Jun 5, 2017

A Square Of Chocolate Lists the Unexpected Most Popular Posts

After 170 published blog posts and nearly 86,000 page views packed into this journey of 2 1/2 years, I thought it would be fun to share the Top 10 most popular posts of all time as of today's date. Can't say any of these went viral (or urinal as my mom would say...but, that's a different silly story). 

I'm just happy to have reached some treasured readers along the way.

In countdown fashion, we’ll start with number 10 then reveal the NUMBER 1 most popular. Each title has a link to the original story. Click it to read more.

Here we go.... 

May 17, 2017

A Mouseketeer Shows Up for Dinner!

If it hadn't been for a well-placed coffee table, my surprise dinner guest would have turned my kitchen into a Disney amusement park and tapped danced through every nook and cranny of my home. 

Image Credit:

In fact, this dinner guest wasn't interested in the dinner menu or enjoying small talk over a glass of wine. 

Not at all. 

To make sense of this story, we have to back up to where it all started at a bank parking lot. 

May 1, 2017

Audition Confessions From: Listen To Your Mother Twin Cities

Just thinking about the word audition can cause a tight throat and a whirling mind. So, why would I decide to put myself through another audition experience?

Where were my thoughts, what was my heart searching for, who am I trying to be? I can't explain it, but something in my gut was telling me to audition for LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER."  They were looking for writers, mothers, and storytellers to share and read their unique motherhood story. What’s the worst that could happen? It might turn into a meaningful experience.

I’ve only had a handful of auditions in my short-lived turn on the theatrical stage. It started as a bold challenge in midlife to get out of my comfort zone and fulfill a lifelong acting dream. (Read about that first time here).

You might have guessed that I’m not a seasoned thespian, not an experienced public speaker, or even a remotely good curtain fact; doing any of these makes my tummy twist. 

It's true; I'm still plagued by that stage curtain fiasco. But, that’s another story. 

So why do it? 

Apr 18, 2017

Red Copper Cooking: Reduced Fat Pizza Potato Casserole

I had a little time during spring break to prepare another recipe in my Red Copper pan.  I had a craving for something hearty and meaty, but yet lean with reduced fat. Once again, I love one-pan cooking! If you have time, pop over and check out this other meal I made using this cookware - Uncle Ben’s Rice with Chicken,Veggies and Lemon. Don't have the Red Copper worries, feel free to use a casserole or baking dish for this recipe.

Let’s get cooking my little chefs!

Apr 8, 2017

Talents Discovered: Connecting Through American Sign Language

What a wonderful world it is to be able to express your thoughts and words through the complexity of hand movements and facial expressions that flow with ease, grace and mastery.  

Image Credit: - Darelle

American Sign Language (ASL) is a fascinating and beautiful language to watch. My son is taking Advanced ASL classes in high school and I've been very impressed with his commitment to the language and how he is constantly improving his skill level. 

Being able to communicate with someone who is deaf opens up a very intimate and personal connection to people that would otherwise struggle in our hearing world. 

I had the opportunity to sit down with my son's ASL teacher to interview him for an article I was writing featuring Deaf Awareness Day for a community publication called, Town Life Magazine.  

Mar 22, 2017

A Mysterious Bookstore Encounter

I discovered mystery stories don't just lie on the book shelves of Barnes and Noble. Sometimes it's the patrons lingering between the shelves that present the mystery. 

Many books are displayed on the shelves having their cover titles facing outward with the intention to draw the eye in and seduce the curious reader. I stood completely absorbed in front of one of these book displays when I felt the presence of someone standing next to me.

Image Credit: - Jessicajin

Mar 7, 2017

An Upbeat Sandwich Artist Spreads Confidence

I walked into a Subway shop to order the usual 6-inch sandwich, but had no idea I'd be walking out with the Picasso of all sandwiches!

Image Credit: - WandererCreative

I soon discovered that the Subway employee making sandwiches on this day took his sandwich artistry very seriously. After building and stacking all the ingredients on my 6-inch Italian Herb bread bun then painting it with the precise sauciness, he pronounced… 

Feb 9, 2017

A Crazy Thing Called Love!

My daughter just turned 21 and besides legally being able to belly up to the bar for a daiquiri, a cold beer, Jell-O shot or a snort of whiskey, I've noticed that she's turning into quite a mature and independent adult. 

Contrary to the negative press about millennials, she and her high school sweetheart seem to be responsible with living independently from one another, taking their college studies seriously and recently survived a month long winter break backpacking, camping and cliff jumping their way through New Zealand and Australia together. 

Image Credit: - bngdesigns

However, from the story told, at nearly the end of their trip, it’s surprising that one of them didn't end up crimping the air hose of the other while scuba diving. 

I jest...but after a chuck-full of glorious time together day in and day out, cuddling like koala bears in a tiny tent, holding hands while gazing at stars and sharing a can of beans over a campfire, somebody or something had to snap. 

Feb 3, 2017

Book Review: Kissing the Crisis

New to my blog this year, I'll be adding some book reviews periodically. Disclaimer: I'm all about networking and supporting fellow writers in their publishing journey. I love the idea of being part of the writing landscape by offering an opinion or two. 

My opportunity to read Kissing The Crisis really got my attention because I felt a kindred spirit to the author and humorist, Kara Martinez Bachman. Essentially, we're around the same age, give or take a few years, and I felt a real connection to the book's subject of maneuvering in midlife and making sense of it all through humor. 

Her collection of short stories, I guarantee will either bring back flashbacks of your own stupid youthful shenanigans or you'll find she 'nails it' in relation to real midlife circumstances. Daring to say what we're all thinking in the throes of parenthood and our own questionable adulthood. 

Starting off with regrets for turning down Brad Pitt while in his infancy to stardom and how bowling may have been his favorite pastime. 

Kara reminds parents that you should always be prepared for six-year-old questions like, "why is that man's butt mostly showing?" As a mother, I could relate to this and the horror of trying to come up with a good answer. 

She shared moments of not wanting to give in to digital music, but rather putting a record on the turntable just so you could remember those Boogie Wonderland times. 

Jan 23, 2017

Bowling Shoes Just Aren't Cute!

I knew I was in trouble when the 3 year-old kid in the next bowling lane had a higher bowling score than I did. 

Granted he had the help of a "thingy-ma-jig" bowling ball ramp that helped aim the ball just right to roll off gently down the ramp in the perfect direction. The ball would slowly meander down the lane to barely kiss the pins; teetering them with a domino effect, which created some score-worthy results for this little guy. But, little Theo had something more, something I was missing from my bowling game. 

Cuteness. The bowling style of dog-gone cuteness! 

Image Credit: - Unsplash

There's just something so darn adorable about watching a little kid grappling ahold of an oversized bowling ball in both arms with wide-eyed excitement. With the help of dad, they'd carry the ball; baby-steppin' along a slippery waxed floor, hoisting it, lining it up and giving it a mighty push. 

I, on the other hand, a rookie bowler of a different sort was still trying to figure out how to enter my name on the scoreboard. 

Jan 9, 2017

Minnesota is #1 for This and My Space Heater is Proof!

I've talked about Minnesota winters here before (Read this post), but now it's been validated that Minnesota is ranked #1 as the worst and most miserable state for winter by Thrillist Travel

Image Credit: Pixaby - Unsplash

Truthfully, I can't believe we out-ranked North Dakota. I'm wondering if the authors of this article just weren't hardy or valiant enough to risk life and limb to enter the subterranean blustery tundra of North Dakota.  Mister O worked a few winters in the oil fields near the N. Dakota Canadian border and had stories comparable to Ice Road Truckers. Stories of white out conditions where you couldn't tell the difference between the blowing snow over the road and the clouds in the sky. Stories of -30 below temps with frozen equipment and parts snapping off like ice covered twigs. 

Jan 2, 2017

Red Copper Cooking: Uncle Ben's Rice with Chicken, Veggies and Lemon

Do you have the Red Copper pan? I just got one as a Christmas gift and thought I'd share with you the first meal I made. I'm not one to watch infomercials, but for some reason this one caught my eye. 

The pan came with a few recipes ideas, which inspired me to create my own meal using the veggies I already had; including that standby box of Uncle Ben's wild rice sitting in the cupboard. 

If you haven't already seen this on T.V. with spokesperson, Cathy Mitchell, whipping up and demonstrating easy one-pan meals, here's what it looks like. I love making meals that can be made using only one pan!

Have you seen this one? It claims that it's "the only pan you'll ever need!" I don't think I'm ready to ditch all my sauce pans and smaller fry pans, but I'm willing to bring this one into the pan family and see what we can do with it.

So, let's get started, it's time to whip up my own one-pan creation with the Red Copper pan!

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