Saturday, June 29, 2013


Good morning friends,
I’ve been busy sorting notes for over a month now, and I am still struggling to figure out how to tell the interesting tidbits about family members.  Lots of drama in my family.  Seriously intense stuff.  I’ve already covered some of it in my fiction, and that’s cool, but I want to tell some of these stories for real so that my grandchildren know the truth from the made up stories. 

And sometimes I look at them and just wonder if they will ever really give a damn about the past.  I have all these notes.  I might as well get them into some kind of format and at least get them on record, and whoever’s interested will have access.  However it’s a lot of hard work but then, if it’s all online perhaps some writer will come along someday looking for fodder….


 “Never let schooling interfere with your education.”—Mark Twain

 I was reminded of this quote recently, when I heard my seven year old granddaughter say she hates school…now mind you, she vacillates between hate and love from moment to moment, so I take broad-stroke statements like that with a grain of salt.  I had a love-hate relationship with school too.  I never hated school altogether, but there always seemed to be one subject each year that tried my patience. 

 However, the rewards for persevering through the difficulties were rewarded in spades.  Like from the age of five when I learned to read a whole world opened up to me and I was never bored again.  I never went anywhere without a book, and consequently waiting in lines, traffic, doctors’ offices, never really bothered me, but consequently just provided me with an opportunity to read another chapter. 

At eleven I began to write and English classes helped me hone those skills. 

And then as I entered middle school teachers introduced me to genres of literature that I hadn’t even imagined before that not only tantalized my intellect, but fired my imagination and launched me into writing dark fiction, which I write to this day.  And it all sparked in 8th grade when I read “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe.  The hour or so that I spent reading that story shaped the rest of my entire life. 

One class, one story, one magic moment. 

However, I must admit I had to wade through a lot of far less than magical moments to get to that one.  But I took a lot of notes, and even today I sift through them for story fodder, so it’s all a matter of perspective.  I try never to waste anything. 

As for chronicling my present, it’s been rather a quiet week.  Last Saturday Cait and Joe had a bunch of friends over, and laughter rang through the upstairs, which is truly music to me.  Cait and Joe work so hard, and Cait does it through a lot of pain, so whenever they relax with friends and have some fun I am always very glad. 

The sound always reminds me of something a relative of mine once said about her daughter and her friends’ laughter within her earshot, that it made her really happy on the weekends to hear the hilarity. 

Broken Old Broads must content themselves with simple pleasures and often live vicariously through others.  You can’t live in the past, but you can run through your memories like watching old movies. 


Today should be a good day for Cait and the kids.  She’s taking the kids to her mom’s where her sibs are gathering with their kids, and they’re going to hang at the beach for a nice chunk of the day.  After last night’s storm I’m relieved to see the sun in the sky this morning.  I hope it’s nice all day for them. 

So it’ll be me and Joe and the dogs here today holding down the fort. 

Earlier in the week, Cait found Capris Sun on sale and had several cases delivered.  We opened up the large boxes on the porch and pulled out the smaller boxes, whose weight we could manage.  I passed them in the door to Joey and Rosie and they piled them by the basement door.  The stack was more than half of little Joey’s height.  The kids played assembly line, came down the steps on their butts with the boxes in their laps, handed them to me which I stacked on my office chair.  Then we rolled the office chair over to the door of the pantry and passed the boxes to Rosie who stacked them on the bottom shelf in the pantry.  Quite an impressive operation.  Wonderful to have minions!  Muahaha!  The best part was that we could surprise Mommy when she got home by having a really grueling job completed. 

I added “Eye of the Needle” with Kate Nelligan and Donald Sutherland to my movie collection this week.  On the same dvd with “Gorky Park,” which made for a good buy.  “EOTN” is intense.  Very well acted.  I remember seeing it when it first came out, and am very happy to have it in my collection. 

I also added “Spinning into Butter” which was well acted, but I had it figured out 15 minutes into the movie.  Especially if you understand the title.  I guess that’s a spoiler…

Like I said, quiet week.  I did write a little mini-memoir which I published here this morning.  And I’m going to try for an essay this afternoon.  I’m running on fumes today—only slept about three hours last night—ugh! 

See you next week!





They say that every seven years comes a pivotal change in a person’s life.  While putting together notes for mini memoirs, I realized that there is such a pattern in my life, but that the major changes seemed to come every nine years or so.  It’s weird.  My great-grandmother died when I was nine, which turned my world upside down—everything in my life changed.  At 18 my relationship with my ex-husband began.  At 27 my youngest child was born.  At 36 I started menopause—with considerable problems.  At 45 I was forced out of my job in Delaware and began living in Georgia, and at 54 I moved back north to PA, after a devastating car accident that left me disabled. 


I will be discussing many of these pivotal moments (and more that don’t fit into the 9 year pattern) in my life in some detail in this collection of mini memoirs. 


I started off calling these pivotal moments Magic Moments, and that would throw us into the whole white magic, dark magic topic.  Because all moments, good or evil, happy or sad, light or intense, shape us and lead us in different directions. 


Mostly I find that my interpretation of events determines whether they are good or evil. 


My great-grandmother Maggie’s death (in my arms, no less) rocked my world at age nine.  I lived in a house with her, my parents, my aunt Edith, my grandmother and her husband, and two boarders.  By the time I was six I had the vocabulary of a 40 year old, and my best friend, Edith, was in her late sixties when I was born.  At nine, Maggie died and all that changed.  My parents moved just the three of us into a neighborhood that had kids.  I made friends slowly, because kid stuff seemed so…childish to me.  I was used to adults around me all the time.  I related to my teachers far better than I related to kids my age.  Consequently I made friends with a drama queen at age 10, and even then my family drama trumped hers without fail—though I have to give her credit where credit is due, she really did try. 


But I digress. 


After twenty years of relatively happy marriage a sudden divorce shattered my heart.  But it forced me out into the world where I made friends of my own, some of whom had problems bigger than mine, which forced me to put my hardships into perspective and get on with my life. 


Even my car accident had some positive results.  Don’t get me wrong…if I could do it all over again, I would eliminate the accident and get my life back.  Trust me, I’m not a masochist.  However, I the time I spent just after the accident I had a shitload of time to pull my novels and stories together, create the columns and publish Owl’s Eye View Magazine for the first time.  That might not have happened until years later than it did, if I’d had time to make it happen at all, had I not strived so diligently to get something positive out of such a miserable experience. 



I guess that’s what memoirs are about: sharing the pivotal moments with others, particularly my grandchildren, and pointing out that nothing is really new except the moment in which events occur.  Everything else has surely happened before what is new is the path we take in reaction to pivotal moments. 





Saturday, June 22, 2013

An intense week....

Greetings Everybody! 
I cannot believe I started this blog two weeks ago, and already missed a weekly entry, though last week I was kindof out of it (story to follow)…I’m such a loser!  Ugh!  But hopefully this week’s blog will make amends, it figures to be longish, to get all the stuff in from the past couple weeks. 

Okay, I need a big breath.  Writing a personal blog, even once a week forces me to concentrate on me.  The whole thing is I, I, I, and that has always been a difficult thing for me…to the extent where I became a fiction writer so I could express my problems, large and small, through my characters.  And believe me, it’s no coincidence I chose dark fiction—which, incidentally has saved lives.  The Owl Sentries have punished a lot of villains in fictitious Owl’s Nest that I would be in jail for if I’d punished the real life villains in my world. 

Okay more on that in another blog, because of course, I’m digressing. 

I try very hard not to be my mother.  Not that she’s a bad person, because she’s not, but I think it’s natural for children to want to handle things differently than their parents, especially concentrating on the things that bug them.  Like the whole ‘what will people think?!’ thing.  Yeah.  That’s bullshit.  I don’t give a rat’s ass what people think.  I do the best I can, try to help where I can, and am frequently overwhelmed (more so since my accident) and stressed.  People need to deal with my circumstances before they judge me.  And I’m digressing again—I have a lot of shit on my blog agenda,  and being me, I want to blurt it all out in one blog, when there are decades worth of stuff I should probably address.  What’s that you say, what are you, my fucking therapist?  Well of course you are, gentle reader!  And I appreciate you being there. 

That’s another thing—this blog is not subject to the language police.  I live with my two grandchildren, 7 and 4 (as of this writing) and my son has become  the original language Nazi. (Though I haven’t censored his language since he was ten years old, except to tell him that he should tone it down in front of his grandparents or other adults who found swearing offensive; he knew who they were.  I was not among them.  There will be no such constraints in my fucking blog.  Damn that felt good!  Hahahaha!

More digression…jeez…talk about ADD (which incidentally I’m not altogether sure I believe in…there will be essays about that). 

I sat crying in my room last Saturday, feeling like my head was going to explode and realized I need a release.  I need to express my feelings—good and bad, because it’s certainly not all bad!—on an adult level without censorship.  I need to get things off my chest—literally—before I have a damned stroke holding everything in.  Not that all my blogs are going to be out and out bitch sessions, because there’s a lot I’m happy about, but the craziness of being a Broken Old Broad in a young frenetic household is often overwhelming.  The good side is that my kids and their friends keep me connected to their generation, I have conversations and exchange ideas with people much younger than myself which keeps me in touch with younger perspectives.  But physically I really am a broken old dame, and my body simply can’t keep up with the demands I place upon it trying to function in a house with two kids, two dogs, and a daughter-in-law who is herself physically limited and often needs more help than I can provide. 

I think if I look back over my entire life, my single regret would be snacking on high carb foods which made me drowsy while driving from Georgia to Delaware in 2009.  I didn’t realize why I nodded off at first.  I actually discovered the reason over a year later when Googling hints for helping an insomniac get to sleep.  (My mother being the insomniac in question.)  One of the things they recommend is having a high carb (preferably corn product) snack about an hour before retiring.  I cracked the Cheetos about 7:30 in the morning, having been on the road since a little before four.  I was in the center lane around 8:15, looking for an exit to top off my gas tank and stretch my legs when my eyes slammed shut, and my car zigged across two lanes of traffic into an abutment on I85 North.  I was the only one injured, thankfully.  But it sure did a number on my body—and the rest of my life.  

Regrets are a waste of time and energy, I know that, but I could be so much more help to Cait and Joe and my grandchildren—and in much better spirits living in their home if I was just a normal fifty five year old woman, instead of the Broken Old Broad that I am.  Ahhh well, shit happens. 

Okay.  Brighter topics. 

Some ROJO funnies:

The kids describe the three spots at the base of Kato’s back as a “stoplight on his butt.”  And that is amazingly descriptive…gotta give credit where credit is due. 

Joey thinks girls have ‘chinas’ and boys have ‘peanuts.’ 

The other day Rosie and Joey (who bicker a lot, mind you) were making up a game on the sofa, and Joey said to his sister, “Pretend that you’re nice.” 

Brie, who is kindof cautious when dealing with me, I think she senses that I have ‘boo-boos inside my feet’ as the kids put it.  But the other day I was goofing off, messing with the kids faking sleep, doing the Three Stooges snore, and Brie, who was across the room snoozing on the sofa jumped down, charged across the living room and up onto the stool of my medical recliner to sniff my face and see where the noise was coming from. 


Back to a serious. 

Part of the reason I didn’t write a blog last week was because I was pretty much out of it emotionally.  The previous Thursday’s intensity dwarfed every other day for the past week like I barely remember what the fuck I did on that Monday or Wednesday. 

Rosie’s last day of school—she bounced all over the house like a super charged ping pong ball—ping! Ping-ping! Ping ping! 

Cait was deciding whether to brave the severe thunderstorm alert and hit Target to get a gift card for Rosie’s teacher on the way to last day celebrations at school, or wait and send it to her later. 

I went downstairs with Joey (thunderstorms were wicked, and we have trees bordering our property, so it’s safer in the finished basement).  Joey came into my room a little hinked out at the violence of the storm, and I gave him a little dish of cashews (his favorite) and was putting ‘The Incredibles’ into my personal DVD player when Cait called down the stairs, “Can you come up here—quickly?”

Something bad—Cait never rushes me—Broken Old Broad that I am. 

Joey stayed downstairs in the playroom. 

I hobbled up the steps with my cane. 

Cait turned to me with terror-stricken eyes, and verbally gut punched me as she had been verbally gut punched by her friend Trina moments before on the phone.  “There’s been a shooting at Rosie’s school.  They are in lockdown.  I’ve gotta go.  I called Joe, he’s on his way.  It’s on the news.” And with that she disappeared out the door into raging wind and torrential downpours that only a terrorized parent would brave. 

Agony gripping my heart I dropped into my chair with the remote and flipped through morning news shows in desperate need for any morsel of information—nothing on the school, just storm and flood news.  Fox had reported lockdowns for the three schools in the district, and possibly one man having been shot—which was inaccurate, by the way—but now they and every other station was obsessed with the storm—which my daughter-in-law and son were both out in along with hundreds of hysterical parents running red lights and hydroplaning on their way to the schools, their minds filled with grisly scenes of school shootings of late. 

At first I was pissed at the news programs, and whispered angrily ‘what the fuck happened to if it bleeds it leads,’ and then I thought it through a little and said to myself—‘right—so if it’s not leading maybe it’s not bleeding’—and forced myself to hold that thought. 

About half an hour after the verbal gut punch Cait called and said “It’s okay.  Nobody’s hurt, seems to be a hoax but school is locked down.  I’m waiting to take Rosie and leave.”

I am grateful that Rosie’s teacher is calm and cool in a crisis—her class thought the whole thing was a drill for the most part, like ones they’ve had in the past, which had desensitized them to the emergency procedures that have become routine for them.  However few first graders watched the news about Sandy Hook and have those images indelibly printed on their minds. 

So rather than year-end celebrations, three school full of kids braced themselves in their emergency positions, just waiting…

While big, burly, tough police officer in full body armor and weapons drawn, thoroughly combed the schools on a monster hunt. 

Mercifully, Thursday was a hoax.  A cruel and dangerous hoax. 

Cait waiting with other terrified, stunned, crying, relieved parents, gathered up Rosie and got the fuck out of there.

While I wish she had a better, fun-filled memory of her last day of first grade, I am grateful that her memories are not worse.  I am grateful that she’s alive to have memories. 

With that said…

It infuriates me that every day we all live our lives at the mercy of psychopathic monsters who are capable of violence at the drop of a hat. 

It’s not just about getting mugged or even raped or murdered anymore. 

Now we are terrorized en masse.  There is no safe haven—office buildings, mass transportation, malls, theaters, and worst, schools—have all been targeted and bloodied. 


It infuriates me that one monster picked up a phone and terrorized the hearts of hundreds of parents who sped through violent storms, speeding on flooded roads, punching red lights, with their hearts in their throats, grisly images of recent child slaughters flashing through their minds.  And it infuriates me that by the time the monster is caught, (if they are caught at all) all of this will have blown over to the point that he or she will probably get off with a slap in the wrist.  Exasperating.


Later in the week Cait and I were talking about the lack of security in schools.  We both agree that there should be armed security guards in every school, and that there should be only one way in and out: past the guard. 

It baffles me why schools don’t have at least as much security as a bank—security guards at the main desk, and swipe card devices on every door.  Reporting to the office to sign in is a joke.  If you were a murdering psychopath, would you sign in? 

The call at the middle school in Rosie’s district came from INSIDE the school.  If that jerk had had a gun that day, the story would have bee very different. 

Unless the police are present beforehand, they are never going to respond fast enough. 

Suppose the caller is casing the schools to gauge response time.  Again—that call was made from inside the school.  Suppose it was made by a whack job who just didn’t go all the way off—this time. 

I do not envy the police their job.  Too many creatures out there in the ‘crazy not stupid’ category.  And because of budget cuts and politicians who are more concerned with their own vacations and retirement plans, schools will be the only government buildings without posted security guards and our children will continue to be sitting ducks.


Back to lighter stuff…

Rosie and Joey (ROJO) are enjoying the summer, but still learning every day.  Joey is learning to read and write the alphabet and sound out words, and Rosie is keeping me busy making up math problems (addition/subtraction/little bit of multiplication) for her.  She loves math.  And I read to them every day, which they love.  And of course there is still plenty of time for painting, bickering, playing outside, bickering, romping with the dogs, bickering, playing with the trains in the playroom, bickering, and playing rock star.  Oh, and throw in a healthy portion of bickering.  Gotta love ‘em! 


I put this up on Facebook the other day:  I was watching “The Abyss” a few nights ago.  When they were all kneeling around Lindsay on a wet metal deck and used the defibrillator on her, wouldn’t it have fried them all? 


Line I liked:  “That woman’s nothing but a spoon…always stirring up shit.”  I liked it because I had an aunt like that.  I wish I’d heard that line while she was still alive I would indeed have had some fun. 


Oh, I finally got a memory card and adapter for my phone so I can download my pictures onto my laptop.  Wahoo!  So prepare yourselves, there may be visuals to accompany my text—think you can stand it? 

I’m going to wrap it up tonight, but tomorrow I think I’ll sift through some of my completed essays, whittle them down a little and start entering them here on my blog site…being the opinionated bitch that I am. 

Hope you have an interesting week.  If it’s not ooky enough for you, drop by Owl’s Nest, via Owl’s Eye View Magazine and stock up!

Catcha next week! 


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Being the opinionated bitch that I am....

Good Morning, Friends! 
As you might know, I am a dark fiction writer, and self-publish my stories, novels, and columns in my online magazine,
Owl's Eye View satisfies my need to make stuff up and bring the ooky to my fiction readers, but there is a part of me, the opinionated bitch part of me, that needs just a little bit more.  That's where this blog comes in. 
I plan to keep a weekly journal for my personal thoughts and a chronicle of my life (if anybody really gives a shit about the minutiae of my life...).  And I will be doing little memoir pieces about my childhood and life history and personal experiences as well. 

Even more, I will include mini-essays here and there which will be labeled in the subject line as such--for fair warning to followers of my blog: Brace yourself.  Some of these essays will be thinly veiled rants about crap that bugs me, some of them will be sensitive pieces about life that some of you may consider borderline maudlin or downright sappy, and some of them will be bits of my life that if I don't cut up and be sarcastic about I'd probably be whining and crying about. 

In other words, this blog is a hodge-podge of aspects of my life and personality that don't get attention in my horror magazine. 

Hopefully I will stir your minds or hearts, or both, or at the very least let you know I haven't fallen off the planet (again, if anyone really gives a shit about that...).


To update you on my current life:  I live with my son Joe and daughter-in-law Cait and grandchildren Rosie and Joey, and their two Australian Cattle Dogs, Brie and Kato, because I am partially disabled after a car wreck in 2009.  Fortunately I am able to spend every day with my grandchildren, and help around the house, especially during difficult times, when Cait's cystic fibrosis throws her a curve ball and she needs time to physically regroup.  However, my physical limitations (even when I push myself past the point of caution) prevent me from doing as much to help as I like, but anything is better than nothing, I guess.  My family and my writing are my inspirations to go on with the obstacle course that is my life. 

Before my accident I lived in Alpharetta, Georgia for close to ten years, renting a room from my Georgia Family, Winnie (known to most other people as Buster) and Linda Gregg, and happily joining their family which includes their daughter Christine, her husband JP, their grandchildren Ashlyn and Alex, and Linda's mom Nan and dad Roey (who passed away last year, and I miss his wrinkled butt!)  How I arrived in Georgia is a story within itself that I will cover in another blog.   During those mostly blissful years I worked as a pharmacy tech at CVS pharmacy (which is why the years in Georgia were only mostly  If you want to know how I feel about working there, it sparked the creation of my dark-fiction novel M*E*D*S.  However, there are friends I made while working in that pharmacy that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

After my accident when I lived in Georgia, I had no responsibility beyond caring for myself, and so I had all the time I needed to write Owl's Eye View.  These days I'm upstairs helping out several days a week, sometimes from seven in the morning to late afternoon, so I've begun going to bed by nine (gasp!  I used to be such a night owl!) and rising at four in the morning to carve out a few hours of uninterrupted, silent writing time, when my mind is rested and fresh.  It has made a world of difference, and relieved a lot of my previous anxiety and stress.  (Like, I seldom go, "SHIT!  It's publishing day and I'm short a column!  Augh!) Yes, much better now...

So there you have it: I love my family with whom I live, and I write; therefore I am. 

For the chronicle update, I will be covering the past month and a half or so. 

Early in May we adopted Kato, a little brother for Brie, our Australian Cattle Dog.  He is not only an Australian Cattle Dog as well, he is almost identical to Brie, except that his ears bend and hers stand straight up, and  he is only about six months old while Brie is a mature dog.  (Well, mostly she's mature, except when they are playing together and then they're both just ca-RAZY!)

I got a Kindle in the middle of May and it has really simplified my life.  I read to Rosie and Joey (henceforth to be referred to as ROJO in my blogs) and rather than having to hunt down one of her books or lug books upstairs from my room, I just tap the screen of my Kindle and VOILA!  Stories by the hundreds!  And I can switch from age groups with the touch of a fingertip.  And when I'm done reading to ROJO, another little tap returns me to whatever grown-up book I'm currently reading, or whatever book I'm using to research a story or novel.  I can carry hundreds, nay thousands, of books around with me in my pocket.  Quite an awesome little toy, and I regret holding off buying one.  I've previously preferred books to devices, but not so these days.  Especially since I cannot sprawl my research out on a tabletop because I spend most of my time with my legs elevated and cannot sit up to a desk or table due to back pain. 

So I've come into the millennia as far as my reading habits are concerned. 

And eventually I will be changing my writing habits as well because I plan to publish my novels and stories (or perhaps Owl's Eye View) as eBooks, in addition to the website.  But that might take awhile, I have to learn the technology, which I'm currently researching--you guessed it!--on my Kindle! 

Okay, I guess that's about it for this blog.  I will be pulling notes together for the memoir bits and the mini-essays today, and perhaps will publish other items this very afternoon.

Once I get the comment field activated, I hope you'll respond to my blogs...

And when you want the made up, ooky stuff, drop by my site:

I will be in touch again soon.