Off My Chest

Kicking cancer's ass and beyond

This year I resolve….

Ahhhh yes…. that time of year for reassessment again. The old year with it’s victories – and failures – is now officially “The Past”. The New Year brings with it so many potential adventures, possibilities, people to meet, words to write, paintings to create, dreams to fulfill….. Dreams….YES. I want to DREAM again. I won’t quit smoking… been there.. did that. I won’t drink less alcohol… I already don’t drink any. Won’t resolve to eat less or better… I did that already too. What I WILL  do is allow myself to dream.

I, like so many others who have beaten cancer, couldn’t allow myself that luxury for so long. I was too busy fighting for my life and then figuring out  what I didn’t want… Cancer gave me permission in my own head to say NO and so I made some HUGE changes. NO to cancer and death and despair…NO to the horrible relationship that I was in…. NO to a job that killed off part of my soul every day… NO to a place I didn’t like living… NO to someone else making all the decisions ….and somewhere along the line I didn’t know what to dream of or for…. or maybe even how to dream….any more. dream jar

So, this year I will dream… and create… and build a new life centered on… me. I don’t mean becoming self-centered…. but centered in myself. I am beyond grateful to actually still  have a life… and now I want to honor that by being my own North Star…  I resolve to value my own opinion and to trust my own judgment and be much nicer to me. I don’t mean by self-indulgence, but by remembering my value as a human person, and taking better care of me. I want to write, paint, skate, cook, fall in love, listen to music that is just a tiny bit too loud, play, work, hug, praise, smile, giggle and laugh out loud, enjoy the sunrise, walk the beach listening to the waves, and gather up every single ounce of joy that each day offers. Dream more and worry less…. and figure out why I am still here.


Stop Poking Me and Hold My Hand

hold handsDon’t you think it is long past time for real romance to make a  comeback? I mean the hearts and flowers kind of romance. The kind that  makes you hug yourself and twirl in a circle as soon as the door is  shut kind of romance,,, oh, and whatever the guy version of that is. The electronic substitution of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc. is about as delectable as fake food. (really? how can anything with any depth come from something called snapchat?) It is a very bad trade all together and we are all missing out. 

We have traded the “Gourmet-White-Linen-Tablecloth-With-Candles-And-Perfume-And-Floweres-And-The-Doors-Held-Open Romance” for the “Frozen-Dinner-In-Front-Of-A-Rented-Movie-At-Their-Apartment-And-They-Don’t-Even-Pick-You-Up” type of romance. We are settling for a text that says “Wanna Chill?”, rather than the ten-times-practiced-in-front-of-a-mirror-Invitation. We no longer luxuriate in the delicious anticipation of slowly getting to understand the mystery of someone, the carefully growing list of “firsts”, the creating of genuinely happy memories rather than paint-by-number-lists that have been marked off. It seems as if this art… the art of romance… the dance… been completely lost to a generation. They are accustomed to instant anything and disposable everything. Then, to make matters worse… we more “Vintage” singles have followed the electronic path to hurt feelings and doomed relations, rather than showing them how it’s properly done.

We need to get back to basics and start really getting to know each other….Pseudo-intimacy has been substituted for the real thing. We wake up next to each other before we even really know each other. We share too many personal private details about ourselves too soon, trying to Miracle-Grow emotional intimacy. Do you know every single color that is in your lover’s eyes or are you more aware about their “likes”? Who were they named after and what foods will they under any circumstances NEVER eat? Which Teacher did they secretly have a crush on in 7th grade and when did they feel like they were an actual adult for the first time? What are their politics and do they believe in God might be good to know too…. For crying out loud – can’t we make love instead of merely fucking? I don’t mean giving up the naughty or the fun in a relationship, but how about actually having a relationship rather than a status change.

Stop posting and start talking, stop poking and start holding hands, go out on a date rather than typing madly away online alone in a dark room, explore each other rather than web sites, live your status rather than sharing it, have real emotions not emoji’s, caress a cheek not a keyboard, argue in person – not in posts, touch rather than text, hug each other rather than a smartphone, whisper sweet nothings into someone’s ear – not the world wide web, look into each other’s eyes – not a lit up screen. Only then can you see who the other person really is… as a whole person rather than a sound bite. We all need some more depth not digits, conversation not comebacks, seduction of the senses not the masses. Convince each other that you have a relationship with each other… not the rest of us.

Love a person rather than “Liking” a page.

Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, MD

Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, MD.

C&O Canal National Historic Park, Great Falls to Swains Lock

C&O Canal National Historic Park, Great Falls to Swains Lock.

It’s A New Life

It’s A New Life.


water glasses

How you view life is for you to decide

Is it a bunch of bumps or a roller-coaster ride

Do you stand in your seat shrieking with glee

Or sit there complaining oh-poor-little-me

Is that sky blue or do you see the one cloud

Do you cry in your hands or laugh right out loud

Its your perspective that changes the view

The picture you’re living is all up to you

So jump on life’s carousel, brave the fast horse

Reach for the brass ring and stay on the course

Success is in front of you if you’ll only see

The glass is half full and not half empty

New Address, Better Me

Moving day boxes

In the process of moving, most everything one owns goes into boxes. My least favorite answer to “where in the heck is my fill-in-the-blank?” is “in a box”.  All of my books are (ulch) in-a-box and I had nothing to read after moving from one side of the state to the other. Thankfully, I was able to borrow a few novels so that I had something – anything – to read. Some of them were old friends I was well acquainted with and some were books I might never have read on my own. I usually read detective and adventure novels – fiction that distracts. I have joked and said that I didn’t want enlightenment, just entertainment. The book that fate placed in my hands was “Eat Pray Love”, written by Elizabeth Gilbert. I swear she and I must be related somewhere way back. She has never attended a family reunion, but I’m sure she will one day. Obviously, quite a few other people feel the same exact way, hence the popularity of her book and the movie that followed.

I was never big on “find yourself” books or “self-improvement” books. I always felt that they were expensive self-discipline wrapped in a pretty cover. I make myself do all kinds of things that I don’t necessarily feel like doing at the time – without a book. I make my bed, take out the trash, oh and let’s not forget the never ending chore of laundry. I manage to do all of this without some book reassuring me that I am

A.  A good person if I don’t accomplish these chores

B.  One that tells me how to do these chores

C. One that slams me for not wanting to do these chores.

I try to be understanding and compassionate. So far, I have managed to keep from killing anyone in traffic or in line at the grocery store, even when they clearly have more than 10 items in the express line.

At any rate, I started reading “Eat Pray Love” because I didn’t many other options. I began the book expecting proselytizing, complete boredom, or cavities in my teeth from too much sweetness and light. Much to my surprise, the introduction was so conversational that I almost forgot that I was reading…. so I kept reading. I felt as if an old friend had sent me a letter. I enjoyed every delicious adjective and beautifully worded description. I adore Italy, having traveled there with my parents as a child. I was completely enchanted by the scenery, the warm, liltingly spoken people, and the glorious food while I was there. My new friend, Elizabeth Gilbert, liked all the same things I did and I ate up the pages like a sumptuous meal. Then I got to page 65.

Excerpted from “Eat Pray Love”;

“Moreover, I have boundary issues with men. Or maybe that’s not fair to say. To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time – everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else”.


I would like to add here, that rather than becoming infatuated with someone else, I would talk and talk and talk to which-ever-him it was and we would resolve that we would try again, and I would be filled with new resolve – again, and the object of my affections would become attracted again, and the cycle would start all over again. I couldn’t understand how such seemingly different people would all end up treating me with the same lack of regard, sometimes even cruelty, never mind treating me as a priority. I did know however that the common denominator was … me.

I was more concerned with that specific someone else’s opinion of me than my own opinion of me. Someone else loving me meant that I was worthy of love. The only value I had was that which someone else determined and bestowed upon me. Everything I did was for someone else’s approval… to get a good grade on the girlfriend report card.

Fortunately for me, I have managed to be a good friend to my good friends. I was rescued by my best friend when she came for a visit. She saw the awful reality of the situation. She asked me questions that in answering, forced me to see what was really going on. Only by enumerating for her, the step by step diminishment of my own self-esteem was I able to see what had happened.I was re-introduced to my self by someone who loved me and I was compelled to re-examine me.

You know what happened? I think I kind of like me.  I think I need to treat myself as I would one of my close friends. I think I need to love me. Not in that condescending I-am-wonderful-and-divine-even-when-I’m-acting-like-a-jackass” kind of way. I mean that I need to be nicer to and more respectful of me.I need to acknowledge my victories, not just my failures.  My favorite line of any song ever is “…and in the end only kindness matters”, and I am going to apply that to me too.This is emphatically NOT a blame game. If I am to have a bit of credit for improving, even if it is my opinion of my own self, I must accept responsibility for needing that change.

Now, that is Off My Chest.



The Hunt is ON…

ImageMost men cannot understand how women can shop for hours, days, weeks, and months looking for that perfect, particular something. I cannot comprehend this incomprehension. These are the same people that sit in a deer stand, on a boat deck, on the side of a bridge, on a river bank, on a beach, or  in a tree, to catch a fish, deer, moose, duck, pheasant, wombat, or whatever, for hours and hours and hours. They will travel to strange and faraway destinations. They hire guides! They spend small fortunes on various and assorted equipment, specialized clothing, transportation, etc. Even the sports they follow require time, attention, specialized clothing, assorted equipment, transportation, and even special food… tailgating anyone? Guys, shopping IS hunting Chick Style. So, I must go put on my uniform and gather my hunting supplies. Stylish, but not too…, comfortable shoes ( I think the lower heeled suede boots for today), large (matching, of course) purse to carry notes from my online research, strategy map, color coordinated water bottle, lip gloss, and credit cards, flyers and ads from competing stores, and get in my SUV that has enough room to hold the prey that I’ve bagged. Today; the perfect sofa.

Every day

I said I would write something every day… so: I am starting a Design project today. I have to get a wonderful beach cottage in turn-key shape in 7 days. I have to buy furniture, linens, art, etc. and get it all in place. I want bright, happy, Caribbean colors as it is a vacation cottage, right on the beach. It’s a lot to do, but I am filled with enthusiasm and am running out the door to get it started. Wish me shopping luck!



Positively Resolute

new year beachHappiest of New Year Wishes for you all!

After a huge health scare, I am back writing again. I am going to try something I have NEVER been able to do before… Even if it is just one word, I want to write something every day. One of the ways I see my self is as a writer, but I haven’t really written anything – other than the ever-hated Algebra – in quite some time.

There was so much that happened, wonderful and flat-out-horrible, that dealing with all of it didn’t leave enough “me” left to write. Funny as it might sound, my New Year Resolution is to not lose the “me” that writes, again. Many people see New Year Resolutions as a path to certain failure, trite, or just too much to bother with.

To me, the coming of a new year is a good reminder to consider where I’ve been and where I want to be. How do you see it? Do you make resolutions? The more people that are Positively Resolute, the better this world will be. For this New Year, I wish you strength, joy, and courage.
Now, this is “Off My Chest”



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