Have you ever had a profound, life-changing event over a cup of coffee? I have – which I know must seem very odd to those of you out there who do not have that special place in your hearts for caffeine. Of course, anyone that knows my mother would not at all be surprised that her little daughter apple did not fall far from the coffee-flavored tree – my mom is as loyal to her coffeepot as she is to my dad, maybe even a little more to the coffee since Dad’s only been her husband since 1966. We used to joke with waitresses at restaurants that they could just run a central IV line to my mom to save them time and energy in refilling her cup. So, with that caffeine addiction running true in my genes, no one should be surprised that I am finding philosophy in coffee.

Ok, so anyway, back to my profound, life-changing moment. During one of my regular runs to Dunkin’ Donuts to grab an iced coffee (one of the few edible/potable vestiges of 1xRun_Denial_Restoration-Sale_Limited-Time-Only_24x24_Web01.jpgmy former pre-surgery life that I still desperately cling to), I was hemming and hawing over the new “limited time only” flavor selections. I just HAD to try that flavor because it was going away, what if I missed something important, what if there was some goodness that expired because I was too afraid to try something new….what if…what if?

So here’s my epiphany: Life in general should be lived like it’s Limited Time Only. Try those new flavors or that new type of ethnic food, check those items off the bucket list, embark on a new adventure, sign up for that tap dance class, travel to Scotland, learn how to sky dive. Do all those things that you want to do – because there is no guarantee of tomorrow. We, as humans, do have an expiration date so we need to enjoy our one trip on the planet. Live your life to its fullest because it is Limited Time Only!


The WWE Amazement

If you’d have asked my college-aged self where I thought I’d be in 15 years, never in a million years would I have imagined my current answers – divorced, ‘living in sin’ with a man, working far out of my trained field of study, and working down my bucket list as the years of my life pass by.

But, interestingly, the answer that most would have shocked my 20-year old self-righteous, intellectually snobbish self would have been this – a fan of the WWE franchise. That’s right, I said I’m a WWE fan. Wrestling. Fake, real, predetermined, scripted – it doesn’t matter. It’s just so dang entertaining and for Roman-Reigns-Spears-Sheamus-HD-Wallpaper-624x351those hours on 2 nights a week, I can set aside adult responsibilities and serious thinking and just lose myself in the often soap operatic quality to the plotlines. The actual matches aren’t really why I watch – I know very little about traditional Greco-Roman wrestling, MMA, UFC or boxing – but I do admire the skill and athleticism that it must take to do some of those stunts and not die. Watch one of them fly off the top turnbuckle sometime and tell me you’re not impressed.

But it’s the silly stories and the constantly changing characters that keep me entertained.  There’s romance, action, friendship, breakups, betrayals – the WWE is sports entertainment as a microcosm of the American experience. I don’t have to invest serious thought into what is happening. I don’t have to question motives when a character turns heel or a tag team splits up. I don’t have to study or take notes or please anybody or answer the damn phone during those hours – I can unplug my brain and guilt and sense of service and just be.

“Oh, It’s True. It’s Damn True!” 


Have you ever met someone who just can’t help but bring a smile to your face? Maybe they’re goofy and just make you laugh. Maybe they’re genuinely kind and do something that brightens your day. Maybe they’re generous and bring you a small gift. Maybe they’re good with animals and small children and it just makes you glow to watch thembigbabysmileonetooth.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smart with those innocent creatures. Maybe they’re giving and help you out with a task or chore. Maybe they’re polite and remind you that basic human civility still exists in this world. Or maybe they’re just so full of laughs and life that you can’t help but smile with joy at their vitality.

The Who, in their rock opera Tommy, wrote “I had no reason to be over optimistic, but somehow when you smile, I can face bad weather.” How blessed I am that I have found that person I described above, the person who on a daily basis makes me smile with his kindness, his humor, his giving, his joy.

I truly had no reason to be expecting happiness after my divorce. And I certainly didn’t have any optimism left in my soul. And yet, God gave me this wonderful gift – my best friend and my rock-solid foundation. For me and for our four-legged rescue fur baby, he is the smile in our lives.

Today is his birthday and he will likely kill me for making him the subject of my online ramblings but I can’t help but celebrate the day of birth for this genuinely good guy. Thanks for the smiles, Earl, and here’s to another year of joy!

Girls, I don’t care how intelligent we are or how much time we spend around men – our brains just don’t work the way theirs do. Our emotions do not play on the same field as theirs do. And the compartments for our feelings and our experiences don’t always mesh.

One of my best guy friends offered me some very sage advice as I began the tedious and challenging process of getting back into dating several years ago. He told me that guys will treat a girl like a convenience store if she’ll let them – hitting them up when its convenient for their needs, stopping in for what they want, and then leaving quick. Cheap, easy, no niceties, and no luxuries. (Ironically, at the phase in my life when this advice was being offered to me by that friend, HE was one of the customers that frequently stopped in to my convenience store but that’s another saga…). At any rate, this advice was actually an eye opener for me and made me realize that was an incredibly wise piece of life wisdom. It made me realize that I want more out of my life than to be a 7-11 – I want to at least be an Applebees, applebees_0dammit! I don’t have any false pretensions to being a 5-star restaurant or a high-end department store – but I do have enough self worth to not let someone just treat me casually and carelessly and then move on down the line. I want more, I need more and I definitely deserve more!

So girls of all ages and experience levels, I can only pass on this bit of wisdom from the guy brain – don’t be a convenience store for any man! Don’t accept that someone just wants to pop in on his schedule and use you to meet his needs – you are worth more than that!

Surviving 15 Years

At the annual banquet for my volunteer fire department last week, I was both honored and amazed to receive my 15-year service stripe. 2017 marked 15 years of volunteerism and endless learning about fire, rescue and EMS operations for me – but those years have also taught me lessons in brotherhood, loss, service, upheaval, fear, bravery, disenchantment, persistence, change, frustration, giving, and surviving.

Here is what I *thought* fire service would be: 9474973637_cb6f92dcc0_b












Here is what I *hoped* fire service would be:  firefighters










Here is what the fire service really *is*: moe-larry-curly-fire-pole








And in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that. But, seriously, to the men and women that I have had the honor of serving with for the last 15 years, thank you for all that you do. And thank you for letting me serve beside you.

The Salt in Life

Any good baker will tell you that a truly great dessert recipe has an element of salt in the recipe to balance the sweet. A chocolate souffle, a good pie crust, a rich custard, a chocolate-covered pretzel, a salted caramel – they all have the salt to bring out the richness of flavor in the sweet.

I have chosen to view my ex-husband as the salt in my life. No, I’m not saying he was crusty or salty (although he is but that’s not my problem anymore). I’m choosing to view him as the salt in the recipe of salted-caramel-1.jpgmy life. He was brought into my personal history to balance the richness that I have found since my divorce. He is the flavor that overwhelmed me while I was with him but now that I have added many more ingredients to my recipe – like independence, self-worth, strength, adventure, kindness – he balances out the good things. The flavor of his memory makes me appreciate the sweetness of the new life I’ve found even more.

Life is about balance, or so I’ve been told. And life is about really good desserts.

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around

Our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues strong
But it’s always darkest before the dawn
Shake it out, shake it out


artwork by AnnyAlice

Shake it out, shake it out,
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off.


‘Cause I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
‘Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out,
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off.

I tried to dance with the devil on my back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a final mess but it’s left me so empty
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
‘Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Well what the hell I let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out,
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off.

“Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine

Written by Paul Epworth, Tom Hull, Florence Welch • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group