Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trails End

This is our "front yard" at Trails End Campground, our home since last January. It's a delightful place to live! We spent our summer mornings doing water aerobics in the pool, afternoons kayaking or we drove over to Assateague Island and went to the beach. We have a beautiful view within a few steps, very friendly folks around, the best neighbors anyone could every ask for!

It's home. Probably our final home. And I can't help but chuckle about the irony of this place being named "Trails End." Yes, I want to add an apostrophe and make it "Trail's End"...but someone told me it is supposed to mean that multiple trails end at Chincoteague Bay. So I took that to heart and think of this little peace of Eastern Shore as not the end of our trail, but the beginning of a needed retirement where the sun shines most every day, there's always a cool breeze, and we are surrounded with friends.

Now, if I could only talk the kids into moving down...

Saturday, July 14, 2012


To me, being angry is a serious state, reserved for matters of life and death. I don’t get “mad” either – my grandmother always told me that dogs get mad, not human beings; human beings become angry. And anger was not to be taken lightly.
She gave me the same advice about love and hate, urging me to use these words as little as possible, assuring me I’d know when it would be appropriate to state that I loved something, or someone.

OK, so I didn’t listen to her about love, but I certainly did about anger. It’s such an entire waste of energy. I’ve been upfront with people and they’ve become angry at me, but I’ve never been a “read between the lines” kind of gal. Don’t ask me if you don’t want my opinion.

But then don’t accuse me of “being angry” when you’re really only dealing with someone who speaks her mind. I’m passionate, focused, energized, and sometimes frustrated and disappointed, but rarely am I angry. What’s the use? Quite frankly, unless you’ve wronged someone born of me or married to me, anger would never enter the room. If you believe it has, perhaps that’s something you might want to reflect on, because you’re most likely unable to deal with what constitutes your anger, and misery craves company. (Notice how I didn’t say “loves” company?)

I’d simply rather chose not to fight. This keeps me sane. I urge you to try it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Child's Laughter

Although he will always be my child, my son is in his late thirties now. This past week has been a difficult one for him. He’s suffering through a well-lived life. As the one in charge where he works, he’s finding out he has to fill in for those who call in sick. He is moving his family to a new apartment. He had oral surgery to remove two teeth that have been painful for weeks, and his band has a late-night gig.

When he called me earlier today, he ranted about all that had to be done in the little time he had available to do it. I listened, rarely said much more than little encouraging words here and there about how lucky he is to have a job, to be a talented musician, to have such a darling two-year old daughter, etc. Once he was done ranting, I filled him in on what’s going on with us – hardly anything by comparison – and we ended the call.

About three hours later, he called again. I lurched for the phone. We never speak more than once a week or so unless there’s something horrible happening. I wondered what had blown up in his life this time, reached for the phone and held my breath. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello? What’s wrong?

Darek: Wrong? S**t, I dialed the wrong number. I was trying to get Kate (his girlfriend).

Me: Oh, I see, and you just get your mother, that’s ok. I probably couldn’t help anyway, you know. I’m not the greatest mom in the world, never really there when you need me anyway.

A brief pause, and then Darek says: I wanted to ask Kate if my shoes were in her car. So there! You couldn’t help me with that now, could you?

And then we both laughed. Really laughed. I had forgotten how much I loved the sound of Darek laughing, something I’ve heard too little of recently.

Darek: Bye, Mom. Love ya.

I hung up still laughing. And the echo of his laughter has stayed with me all day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Waves: 4 Voices

It's done!  I have a copy in my hands of the poetry anthology my southern writing group has published. 

The process has been a fun one, most of the time.  The four of us meet weekly, critique one another's work, laugh, snack, cry, inspire, help one another through writing woes and celebrate our acomplishments. 

Making Waves: 4 Voices is a sampling of our poetry.  It is also the "demo" for our next project: publishing a journal of poetry, essays and short stories written by emerging and established artists, with an emphasis on women over forty.  Now that we've finished our book, I can't wait to get started on my new "job" as a co-editor of Rising Tide Review.

Stay tuned for more on Rising Tide Review!  If you're one of my writing friends and have something you'd like to submit for possible publication, email me at sunnywrite@aol.com.  We are in the process of developing our website, getting our post office box and all the little details that must be attended to in order for Rising Tide Review to become a reality.

If you're interested in reading Making Waves: 4 Voices, it can be purchased at Amazon.com.  I'll sign it for you next time I see you! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Want vs. Need

Our goal to downsize and simply our life is nearly met.  Nothing new comes in now unless something old goes out.  This isn't simply because we've chosen to live each month on the amount of money one of us used to make in a week.  It's more a commitment to weeding out what's truly necessary.

We're not quite to the point of only owning 100 things -- our CD collection alone would put us far over that yardstick, and then there are cassettes, LPs, 45s, reel to reel and, yes, 8-tracks.  We consider "music" one "thing:".  Same with books.  More than anything else, our music and books define us.  We consider these items "needed".

We only have one set of dishes, a half dozen coffee mugs, minimum cookware, etc.  I don't miss fancy china, table clothes, or that gravy boat I only used once a year, if then, cluttering up my limited cupboard space.

And clothes -- gone is the closet full of black pants/skirts/blazers I once wore to my 9-5 job.  My daughter, hoping to borrow something from my closet during the time I had a real job, stared at my work wardrobe and asked, "Just how many funerals a week do you go to, Mom?"  Hubby had button down shirts, ties, suits.  Today you'll find only jeans, bathing suits, tie-dyed t-shirts and such in our one closet.  Sandals, sneakers and mud shoes are all we need.  Most days it only matters that we're dressed, not what we're dressed in.  Ah, the freedom in this alone!  I've cut all hubby's shirts into strips for a rag rug that now collects sand at our front door.

I've always tried to instill in my kids and others that taking care of basic needs then allows you to enjoy all life has to offer as well as better handle those occasional curve ball tossed at you when least expected.  I feel the truth in this every day now as I tend my garden, walk Rupert, make chicken soup, walk the pier while sipping a cup of tea from my own kitchen, or relaxing in the yard when friends drop by. 

I am blessed.  What I need is all I want.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Going Back to Sleep

That's what we do these days, we go back to sleep.  Awake before 6:00 a.m., we'll read or snuggle or simply listen to the laughing gulls, terns and doves beginning their day.  Then we find ourselves waking again later -- sometimes late morning -- and our day starts by coaxing Rupert the Wonder Dog, seven years old now, into going for a walk.

We've had a couple of years now of tremendous work that equalled the successful re-birth of a used bookstore, so much so, we had to walk away to conserve our health.  Our only regret is not having made the move to open the store about ten years earlier, before age caught up with us.  The agony of that decision to shut the doors of Book Hounds PLUS weighs on me still some nights, but never in the morning when I'm able to roll over and go back to sleep.

My mind and my body thank me for this new habit on those days when the feeling of total renewal washes away the memory of not having any feeling left in my feet or legs after fourteen hours on my feet.

Rupert's morning walk has become a joy again, welcoming a new day by wandering down by Chincoteague Bay instead of rushing down the Island Trail to get the walk over before opening the store.  We take our time, refreshed by those extra hours of sleep and the sweetness of knowing we have all the time we need.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Webster's second definition for gleaning:  to collect or find out (facts, information, etc.) bit by bit.  That best describes what this past year on the island has been for me:  a year of gleaning.  I've been finding out what I really want to do, who's really important to me, who feels I'm important to them, and how my life is going to look in the year or so to come.  This has been both exciting and disheartening as I look forward to new adventures and leave old dreams behind.  But the gleaning was necessary.

With the gleaning came some deadheading, the plucking off of dead petals so new growth could take place.  Old habits, some old friends had to be left behind in order to let the positive energy flow in and take its rightful place in our lovely bookstore, where we wish to keep hope flourishing and smiles alive.  The energy is alive here and we've worked hard to make our community of peace and understanding, where no one who enters is judged or ridiculed by others, where all have a place to come rest and chat a moment.  We've tossed in a Board Game Night, a group of women who knit and chat, a writing group very much like the one I left behind that keeps me sane, play readings, poetry readings, and live music to keep the smiles alive.  We're selling books, too.  It's working.

While collecting information, I learned to listen to my own heart and trust my own instincts, that others had the right to their own opinion but that didn't make their opinion right.  We all need to remember that and not be so easily influenced by pundits, news reporters, friends and family.  There are always at least two sides to every situation.   You figure out those who live with truth and positive energy in their lives and when you wrap yourself around those folks, life gets good.  So much easier never to have to play games or tiptoe through the landmines others set up for themselves.  A musician friend of mine recently said, "It's better to run with scissors than walk on egg shells."  Oh yeah, I agree....take some risks, live your life, live truthfully, accept others for who and what they are, enjoy the ride, toss the negativity away.  Who needs it?