Decadent on the Deck

The Question

Would the world fall apart with out me in it? Perhaps not the whole world, but MY world surely would. Or would it? I found out last Friday. And guess what? The world continues on without me, and my world does not fall apart without me in it.

Mission Mode

Friday I had the day off from work at my real-time job as a graphic designer and copywriter, but I had a multitude of tasks to complete. The farrier was coming. A lunch date with a few girlfriends. And the deadline loomed for a client’s ad. And in the background of my mind the house needed tending to: the floors vacumed, the bathrooms cleaned, and the dishes washed. Oh and how could I forget, the cement pool needing to be recemented and painted before being opened? Always too many tasks and never enough time to complete them.

Here I had an entire day off and a whirlwind of activities to complete. In mission mode, I got up, set off and met the farrier. The girls and I, on our co-op farm where our horses are boarded, helped the farrier to shoe, trim and clean 12 horses—that’s 48 hooves being manicured. Three hours later we were done. Mission #1 accomplished by 11 am. Back home to shower, clean and remove the muck from my boots. On the road again to meet my friends for a quick hello and bite to eat.

My Downfall

The glitch in my fiercely planned day was setting up lunch on THE best outdoor deck on York Road with an all-day happy hour. The quick bite to eat in mid-afternoon extended well into the cool evening air. I held court as old friends left and new friends arrived at my deliciously decadent affair.

The Revelation

And you know what? It felt great. This sinfully sordid scene took place over 8 hours of my day. Eight hours of doing nothing but eating, laughing, drinking—for those of you who are keeping track of my imbibitions, I’m happy to say I paced myself with only three drinks over the 8 hours. None-the-less, it wasn’t about drinking woefully bad rail drinks. It was the decadence of doing nothing. Absolutely nothing, which if truth be told, is everything I wanted to do.


In this fast-paced life of instant connection to work, home, kids and partners we never indulge ourselves. Nope. There’s always something to hold our attention. Things have to get done. Mountains need to be moved. And we’re the ones who have to do it. Now I’m not suggesting you should be as self-indulgent as I was, that night, on a regular basis. Oh no. Then it wouldn’t be so shameless. Rather we just need to sit back and do nothing every blue moon. Take the time to breathe, heal, laugh, rejuvenate and reconnect with ourselves and old friends. There’s nothing like it.

Just Be

If you’re feeling out-of-balance, at odds with yourself, or simply overwhelmed, perhaps it’s time to be a little effete. Stop getting caught up in the doing and simply be.

In their article, Making Time for Yourself, suggests, “Taking time for yourself is really about Self-Care and is an extremely important component to creating the life you want. It is about honoring yourself and connecting with yourself. Taking care of yourself is one of the first steps on the journey of discovering your truth and accessing your creativity. When you take time for yourself it allows you to stop doing for awhile and to just BE. It is in the Being where your power lies. You automatically raise your standards and capabilities and create potential and possibility in your life. When you honour and nurture yourself you can hear your inner voice much more clearly—you can hear your own truth and this connection enables you to live authentically.”

As I was living authentically watching the blue moon rise above the decadent deck on York Road last Friday evening, I smiled at the serendipity of my world. It still revolved without me and I’m all the more blessed because of it.

Visualize Bigger Peanuts

The New Dating Scene

Three weeks ago my girlfriend invited me out to our local pub for girl talk. She’s been stuck in a relationship for the past year and wasn’t able to see the forest for the trees. Of course I was more than happy to help her out over dinner, drinks and trash talking.

Delilah, at least that’s what I’ll call her for this story, is a beautiful grandmom in her late 50s. This woman has a smile that can light up any room, is vivacious, sexy and just an all around great gal. She lacks in the self-confidence arena though. You see, she was married for 35 or so years, raised two great kids, and, for the past 13 years, cared for a sick husband. She’s now a widow and is experiencing the new dating scene. When she tossed her hat into the ring a year ago, she met up with a decent enough guy. But is it enough?

The Man

I say not. Carl is a towering man in his late 60s with rich, shockingly white hair. He’s a lawyer and self-proclaimed workaholic. He treats Delilah to terrific meals. Takes her out to the symphony. Has bought her an occasional necklace, several massages and day spa trips. Sounds heavenly. But the flaw that this man has is he compartmentalizes Delilah to one area of his life. Saturday nights. And not even to four Saturday nights a month. Delilah is lucky if she gets two, sometimes three.

Carl is happy as a pig in shit when he sees Delilah on the occasional Saturday night. Delilah on the other hand mourns the relationship the other 28 days of the month. Now don’t get me wrong, Carl calls Delilah every day, with a hello in the morning and a goodnight in the evening. But when Delilah went in for surgery a few months ago, the night before her surgery, she was home alone, crying for comfort and a hand to hold. No Carl in sight–it wasn’t Saturday night.

New Years Eve Delilah spent with me and my gang, longing for auld lang syne with Carl. But December 31, 2008 was, yep, you guessed it, a Wednesday night.

What is Enough?

So I ask you, if you’re dating a decent enough guy, what is enough?

This is where the fun came in at that local pub three weeks ago. Delilah and I had a talk about peanuts and how the Universe works. Delilah knew that the relationship was never going to change. It is, as they say, well, what it is.

But just shy of 60, Delilah did not want to grow old alone. She was beginning to manifest her fear. I’d say—28 days out of the month of not seeing someone that you’re in a relationship with is pretty lonely. Delilah understood this, but all of her friends believed going on that date one or two days a month was better than no date at all. Besides, they all said, there’s not much out there. Well there’s not if you don’t manifest it.

Bigger Peanuts

That night at the bar, I stuck my hand into the bowl of peanuts, withdrew a few, and tossed them onto the bar. This, I told Delilah is what you have in your life, peanuts. Then I asked her to pour the rest of the peanuts into my hands; they overflowed onto the bar. I proceeded to form a figure, a large figure, out of the fistful of peanuts, “This is what you COULD have in your life, if you so choose to.”

“How so?” she asked.

The Bar Napkin

The best ideas are conceived on bar napkins, at least that’s my philosophy. “I want you to write down, everything, I mean everything, to the minutest detail of the man you want in your life, down to his toenails—leave no detail left to chance, the Universe has a pretty good sense of humor, so yep, describe all you want, inside and out, down to his toenails.”

Hesitantly Delilah started writing. “Oh come on,” I said, “You can do better than that.” Words started tumbling onto the napkin, then the backside. Delilah fumbled to open the napkin up wide, so all four squares were visible, and she wrote and wrote and laughed. “This is what I want; this is what I want,” she cried.

I began smashing the few peanuts that were tossed onto the bar. “And so you shall,” I said. Delilah’s fists pummeled the remaining peanuts with passion.

The Universe at Work

“You need to let go of the small peanuts, and start visualizing bigger peanuts,” I told her. “Take the napkin home, look at it, live it, breathe it, everyday for as long as you can stand it. Then burn it or hide it and give it up to the Universe. Now the Universe will know what you want and will deliver it, because you deserve it.”

She smashed another peanut, “I’m going to call Carl tomorrow and tell him I’m moving onto bigger peanuts.” “Oh no,” I told her. “You can’t dictate to the Universe the who. Leave that up to them. Detach yourself from the how and just concentrate on attracting the outcome that you want—the man that you wrote on that napkin. Wouldn’t it be great if Carl turned into the man you wanted? Don’t eliminate that possibility. Open yourself up to all of the possibilities. Concentrate on the man you want to bring into your life. Leave the rest up to the Universe.”

“Will do,” she sighed as she tucked the napkin into her purse.

Falling Out of the Sky

Last week I sent Delilah an e-mail asking her if she’s visualizing bigger peanuts. Her response, “You bet your sweet— I am.”

I went out with Delilah last night for dinner, drinks and trash talking. She looked radiant. Last Friday night she had a talk with Carl, who told her he couldn’t change. He walked out the door. Sigh. Another lonely Saturday night. But wait, not so fast.

The phone rang on Saturday morning. A male friend of a male friend called Delilah. They went out to breakfast and had a lovely time. She drove home. The phone rang again. He asked her over for dinner. A home cooked meal, with wine, cheese and grapes by his pool—and laughter well into the night. Then Monday night Delilah’s upstair’s neighbor called to say that she had a friend who wanted to take Delilah out next Saturday night. And when I was sitting at dinner with Delilah last night, she retrieved a phone message from yet another one who wanted to take her out on Friday.

Delilah laughed with tears in her eyes, “They’re just falling out of the sky!”


You bet your sweet—! Make your list. Live it, breathe it. Want it. Attract it. Open yourself up to all of the possibilities. The Universe will open wide when it’s clear on what you want, and guess what? If you visualize bigger peanuts, that’s what you’ll get.

Visualizing Bigger Peanuts

Visualizing Bigger Peanuts

Honor in My Heart


“This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation, as a token of our appreciation for the honorable and faithful service rendered by your loved one.”

My loved one. My dear son Eric. Who, five months after being honorably discharged from the U. S. Marine Corps, lay motionless in a flag draped casket. The presentation of that flag, ceremoniously folded, was the most heart-wrenching moment of his funeral. Uncontrollable sobs wracked my body as the Officer-in-Charge presented Eric’s next of kin—me, his mother—with the folded flag that had covered his casket.

All my life, and to this day, three years after Eric’s painful suicide, I have walked up to and thanked members of our Armed Forces for serving our country. That is, by chance, how this mother, at 46 years of age, found herself dressed in full ACUs (Army Combat Uniform) on this Memorial Day Weekend.


In January, as I walked the aisles of a horse-filled exhibition hall at our local state fairground, two uniformed men flanked a booth. With tears in my eyes, I extended a hand and thanked them, “But what branch of the military are you with—I don’t recognize the uniform?” The commander’s soft eyes smiled from under his draped black beret, “We’re with the Cavalry, Ma’am—Maryland Defense Force, Troop A, Cavalry.”

The Cavalry. I didn’t even know it still existed—but my curiousity was piqued and I was hooked. For the past three months I have been working toward completing my basic training: passing muster in front of dignitaries and generals, riding the trails of history in Gettysburg, learning Customs and Courtesies, obtaining my Red Cross certification and on Saturday, completing the Saber Qualification Course.

Irony or Purpose?

In preparation, as I was putting the emblems and insignias on my ACUs, I hesitated before placing “LOSEY” on my patrol cap. Tears streamed down my face as I ran out to Eric’s truck to retrieve his—the one he hung from his rear view mirror the day I picked him up from Camp Lejeune, NC three years earlier. I clutched both caps to my aching heart. Irony? No, purpose.

As I placed my cap on my head, I rehung Eric’s on the rear-view mirror of his F-150, hopped up onto the seat and hauled my horse, Rocky, down the highway to see if we would qualify as members of Troop A by completing the timed Saber Qualification Course. We succeeded. Rocky ran fast and hard as I jabbed a heavy m1913 Patton Replica Saber into 20 or so burlap sacks stuffed with hay, strategically positioned on a field with cross jumps, bales of hay, and tarps simulating water. At the day’s end, my commander asked Rocky and me to serve in a special unit to honor our fallen comrades. “Would we be interested in training to pull the caisson, which bears the body of the veteran, at military funerals? Only four horses and riders in Maryland are selected.”

With Honor in My Heart

Exhausted, sweaty and dirty, I drove home with honor in my heart to prepare for Sunday’s Memorial Day picnic and celebration with my family.

Most of us view the weekend as the unofficial beginning of summer, with picnics, barbecues, family gatherings, and sporting events, but please, let us also remember and bestow gratitude upon the men and women who serve our country during war and peace. I miss you Eric.

Eric and Me at his USMC Graduation

USMC Graduation, Parris Island—Eric and me

I Just Want to be Mad for a While

Some claim I’m crazy. I really can’t argue with them. I rode 4000 miles across America by myself on a horse. On the eve of my second wedding night—yep married and divorced, twice—I slept in a ditch. Then one night, this past week, I slept in my pickup truck at a truck stop. I don’t tell you all this to confirm the crazy notion, but rather to let you know anger affects your life. And sometimes it ain’t pretty.

The Journey

When I took off and rode my horse from San Diego to Maryland, four years ago, I was angry. Oh my lord, I was mad as hell at God. He stole my little boy Sammy. My 10-year old son was crushed beneath the wheels of a trailer hauling a five-ton tractor. As a parent, I faced my worst nightmare. As a mother, my heart was ripped out and I ached for my little boy. As a nutcase, I rode and rode and rode and rode. And healed.

The love that I had for my little boy Sam bottlenecked in my soul when he died. There was no where for it to go. Stopped up. The love turned to anger and began to fester and eat away at me like a maggot on an open wound. And I hurt. There was nothing left of me to give to my children, my family, or myself.

As I packed up and headed out on that long journey, I thought, “What more could God do to me? Bring it on.” Little did I know all that He had in store. That’s a whole ‘nother story, but in the process of riding and caring for my horses, in meeting strangers that welcomed and embraced me, in sleeping with the Navajos who taught me how to believe again, I let me anger go. Step by step by step. And with every step, with every day, the anger toward God was released. I learned to live again, laugh again and love again. But if it wasn’t for that release, of letting the anger go, on that long soulful journey, I wouldn’t be here today. Thank God, He had something more in store for me.

The Wedding

As to my wedding night, I went kicking and screaming down the isle. Nope. Didn’t want to do it. Oh don’t get me wrong, I had a choice, but I never thought my ex would go through with it, after all I wouldn’t sign the pre-nup. My gamble didn’t pay off, however. Two days before the wedding, he agreed to no pre-nup and I had to honor my word.

I knew the marriage was wrong from the get-go, but I didn’t honor myself. And I didn’t have the courage to call it off, hoping that the pre-nup was my ace in the hole. How wrong I was. How sad for all. And anger started working overtime. By the end of the second night of my honeymoon, I was sleeping in a ditch as I began to walk away from my marriage, angry and hurt at him, at myself, at my plight by choice.

But I didn’t get that then. It was all a choice. Choices I made. Choices I didn’t make. But hard fought lessons were learned. Or so I had hoped.

The Truck Stop

Two years ago I met a terrific guy. We bought a house and have been living together for the past year. But old issues surface and it’s hard to keep those feelings at bay. Anger takes over, lessons learned fall by the wayside and I end up in my pick up truck sleeping at a truck stop to process, to think or perhaps to leave. But I didn’t leave.

As Kim Olver, a life and relationship coach states in her article How to Stay Calm Instead of Losing Your Cool , “When you use anger, it is not responsible because anger almost always interferes with the other person getting his or her needs met. You definitely have not only the right, but also the responsibility to get your needs met but not at the expense of someone else.

Underlying most reasons for choosing anger, you are probably attempting to improve an important relationship in your life. Anger will never work to do that. You may get the initial satisfaction of getting the other person to do your bidding, but you have damaged something in the relationship.

You must make a proactive plan about what you are going to do instead of using anger. It should be something that has at least an equal chance of getting you what you want while supporting others in their process of getting their own needs met.”

Tossing and Turning

As I tossed and turned in my pick up truck that night, I thought. I processed. I looked at the situation and realized that both our needs weren’t being met. Selfishly, not just mine. But to his credit, he’s calm, cool and collected and listened to the feelings that tumbled out of my mouth and heart. No judgments made. No bitter words. Just the heart-felt simplicity of, “Please don’t leave.” Be still my heart. A man who listened. Who felt. Who opened his heart wide open to my fatal flaws and embraced me. God is good.

Anger be gone—you have no power here.

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