Monday, August 26, 2013

Birthday Week Ends At Steppenwolf Concert

My friend Dianne with me at the concert!
The Banger Sisters!  There I've said it. I promised Dianne not to call us that at the concert - but I love that title, so I am using it here. I also loved the movie when it was released in  2002.
 'The Banger Sisters' 2002 Movie
Turning sixty-five was nothing compared to turning sixty. Yes, I am older, but wiser, and settled into my life and loving it. At sixty I had been a widow for three months and just started on my journey to find my new life.
For my sixtieth birthday I bought a vintage corvette to help me along the road of discovery. I rarely drove it because I needed my van to haul antiques to my shop.  I made the car a character in my book The Unfaithful Widow.
I got more mileage out of the car sitting in my driveway than most did on the road. It made me feel alive to just to look at it and on days when I was blue, I could crank it up, listen to the motor hum, and smile at the universe. When my sixteen year old foreign exchange student came to stay with me for five months last year she, and her teen friends, looked at the car in awe. She called me 'mum'. My good friend said she should call me 'grand mum'. I mentioned that one night over dinner when she talked about calling me 'mum' in front of her friends. I will always laugh when I think about one boy's reply. "You can't be a grand mother with a car like that in your drive way!" Amen to that. My Vette finally found a new home this year with a young handyman who traded work for the car. My house got a facelift and the car went where it belonged. To someone who would give it a life I never did!
Now, on to the Banger Sisters! My friend met Steppenwolf some forty-years ago and told me about the concert. She wanted to go and I thought, why not? I love music, especially today's music, but back in my early years I was not a rock fan. I do remember Born To Be Wild, and loved it. And the concert was a biker and beer charity event. My cool factor was up even though the heat was on.

"We need to do something about your make-up," my younger friend kidded me. "And you might need to wear a sexy top or something."

I giggled. And then The Banger Sisters movie popped into my brain. She was the hip one who remembered the early years of John Kay and I was the older one who needed a refresher course on the bands. My redo included my hat. I knew my make-up would melt at the outdoor concert - but I didn't want my brain to fry.

We bought the V.I.P. tickets and sat next to the stage. The tickets came with a reward - a quick meet and greet with Steppenwolf. My friend got a hug from the band members in the thirty-seconds we had with them!

An incredible way to end a week of birthday celebrations. It was a great birthday shared with my best friends, all week long! The grand finale got me out of my comfort zone (I am not an outdoor concert gal) and I glowed with sweat until I sparkled with joy!

Concert memories!

Meet and Greet with Steppenwolf


Music before the concert in parking lot.
Mother's Finest
Concert Ad


Friday, August 23, 2013

In Dog Years...

Chloe Look-A-Like From Web

While I am taking sixty-five in my stride this week - Chloe has done the math in dog years and may never be the same!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

If You Can't Buy A Farmhouse Make It The Setting For Your Book

Sunlight from a skylight above makes this kitchen sparkle!
I still dream of an 1800s farm house. Not a huge house, but an old cottage with farmhouse style.  I've done changes on my own sweet ranch to turn its head in the right direction - retro to rambling cottage style. Picket fence,  old shutters, you know, the ones with the moon cut outs, old fireplace mantels on walls where there are no fireplaces.  All the charm I could find landed in my house the last months. I started a blog, first to dream about old houses, and then to share my renovations. The Cottage In My Mind was to cure me of my fixation. In fact, the last post was titled My Faux Farm. It failed. Demons still poke at me, prodding me, telling me I need a farmhouse. has not seen the last of me!
I am not moving. I do love my house now, situated in a neighborhood that is full of activity, restaurants, art, all within walking distance. But I am still haunted. Every time I see photos of cottages, farmhouses, porches, rose arbors, I sigh and ask myself, What's a gal to do?
I decided to do what writers do. If I couldn't live in a farmhouse, I'd write a book where my character does. The cottage farm I dream about is the setting in my new book.
A leap of faith on my part, I am writing a fictional thriller with a whisper of erotica. As a non-fiction memoir writer, and one who loves to write about life with dogs, this is an interesting journey for me. I am having fun living out my fantasy life - which, sadly is more in tune with the farmhouse setting than a romantic lead. I am working on my male character and looking for inspiration there!
The house in my book is a mix of many old houses I've looked at over the last year. Houses I couldn't afford and houses I could afford, but didn't buy, because I have six dogs that are at home here. How could I move them? I can't even get them all in my van at the same time!
The kitchen photo above, with the sunlight sparkling on the old brick fireplace with it's new insert, makes me melt. I could get erotic in my description on how this photo makes me feel, but I'd hate for you to see how really crazy I am!
And crazy is the subject of the second book I am working on. A memoir of a crazy dog lady - moi! There I am on familiar turf.
Two books in the works that are my presents to myself for my sixty-fifth year. It is count-down to my BIG birthday next week. Sixty-five will be my turning point, not for old age, but to do the things I've been procrastinating on! My list is growing and my mind is sparkling with so many new ideas, it may burst. If you see a trail of glitter, that could just be the remains of my over excited brain.
Poof!  She was such a nice gal.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

An Invitation To What????

At the end of the day - it was only an invitation - not a sign from the universe I was ready to go, but a reminder of what I needed to do.

       I haven't even had THE BIRTHDAY yet - it is next week - you know, the really, really big one - but the universe is having fun with me I do believe. I'm listening and laughing back.

      If you know me, you know I poke at everything, even serious things. I've found humor and laughter have a way of smoothing over the rough spots. A broken heart can feel the tug of a smile. And I follow that old adage,  laughter is the best medicine. Even dark humor has a healing power, perhaps the best of all healing. Surrounded by sadness if you can make an off the wall joke a ray of light shines in all the murk.

     My caveat for humor, is it is always at my expense, not at another person. I don't make fun of others but I sure do make fun of myself. You are cordially invited to laugh with me as I do this!

    My last BIG birthday, and I categorize big birthdays as stepping stones to the years that make us reflect on life because we are crossing a threshold we've joked about, was my sixtieth. Three months before I hit that milestone, my husband died. So I met age sixty with my widow crown.  I wrote my book on that first year alone - The Unfaithful Widow - a memoir doing all those things I never thought I'd do again. My book, and my adventures that year, were my therapy. I had a choice to let the darkness take over or to find the dark humor in my situation and write my way back to a life of my own. Some days I look at my book, which I self-published in 2010, and think how quirky it is. I sounded like the little engine that could.... I think I can, I think I can. And I did.

     So next week is the big date, my sixty-fifth looms at me.  Three small, minuscule, hardly worth mentioning things happened this week. Three pokes from the universe that tickled my funny bone, and if my funny bone gets tickled, I share.

     1. My primary care physician fired me. I showed up for a routine exam, anxious to try out my new Medicare card, which was effective August lst. Friends of mine, who retired from the same federal agency I retired from, reassured me it was wonderful to have Medicare, especially with my outstanding federal insurance policy as a secondary insurance. My doctor's office - the doctor I really have never liked because when I visit her I leave feeling old, fat, and crazy (that's a story for another time) - informed me they do not take Medicare assignment, I would have to pay up front and be reimbursed by my insurance company.  A life-event about to happen.

     My reply, thinking I stood on firm ground with my excellent insurance coverage, "Then I'll have to find another doctor." I think my chest puffed out about that time, thinking I had the upper hand. A stern nurse looked at me and said "You're fired." Well, not in so many words, but a rule is a rule, and I was booted.  The good news, the universe did what I hadn't been able to do. Make me look for a doctor I might like. 

    2. Later that same afternoon I got my daily snail-mail. A lovely envelope with pale green trees in the background was saved for last. A few bills, a ton of advertisements for Medicare supplements, and then what looked to be an invitation. I was excited to open it and hoped it would be an event I would love to attend.

      "Plan now for your cremation."

      Not what I was expecting but maybe a wake up call?

      Okay. I think that sums up the quality of heath care I might be facing with my new Medicare card if I don't find the right doctor. Yes, universe, I get the message, I will find my new doctor today.

    3. The same batch of mail included an envelope addressed to my late husband. It was stamped boldly on the front, Get out of your time share forever.

      I wanted to call them and ask, "Does this mean I get him back?"

Enjoy your day and remember to laugh! I plan to.




Monday, August 12, 2013

An Old Chandelier Sparkles In The Sunlight, Ghosts Smile Remembering - a repost from

 Post originally on my 'Writer With Dogs' site on Skirt. com.  One of my first posts on Skirt written in September 2010. It seemed fitting to share it here again. The old chandelier sparkles with age!

     I love this chandelier. I sold it on Ebay seven years ago. It was broken in transit. An arm cracked. The purchaser wanted a refund, and since I always like a satisfied customer, I took this lovely old, slightly askew, vintage crystal chandelier back.

     I was so pleased to have it again in my possession. It doesn't work, it has some flaws, but on days when the sunlight shimmers through the prisms it is a magical sight to behold. One dead tree limb hangs over the old six foot high stone wall that runs down the side of my patio. I gently hung this sweet piece on that limb. On stormy days I take it in, but on most days it graces my patio adding a touch of old world elegance.

     My yard has become as full as my house with treasures that once belonged to someone long ago. I wonder, on days when I sit sipping a glass of wine on my rusty vintage patio chair, who this piece belonged to.  It was not wired when I bought it, but at some time I imagine it was hanging from a ten foot ceiling of an old home where the family gathered around a dining table for a festive holiday meal. Perhaps young lovers shared a drink under the soft glow from the sparkling bulbs. The crystal prisms, reflecting the light from above, adding romance to the evening ahead.

      I like to let my mind wander to imagine what my vintage treasures meant to others in a prior life. As a former antique dealer my treasures have come and gone over the years. Lately, however, I find I am keeping more things. I've parted with enough. I like to think I have the ghosts of antiques past smiling at me as I raise my glass to celebrate the past and wonder about the future. Perhaps one day someone will look at my lovely old things and wonder, who owned this? I like to think of my possessions going on to another life, but I am not quite ready to give up the ghost to send them on just yet. But my will stipulates, sell! Have the biggest estate sale of the year (that year many years off) and find the best of homes for my things.

    Once loved beauty needs to be loved again and again over the years. A past, a present, a future. Antiques bring us an amazing history to sit and think about. The patina of life brings life to those of living with them.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Holy Crap, I Just Got My Medicare Card or Sparkle At Sixty-Five - It's All In Your Attitude

My new mantra for age sixty-five.

My first reaction to filing for Medicare was not a pleasant one. It was a symbol I was getting really old.  I'd ignored AARP for years, but you can't ignore Medicare. Of all people, I knew this better than most. Ten years ago I retired from my job with the federal government, working for Social Security. 

I called my best friend and whined. "What if my Medicare card falls out of my purse while I'm out with a young guy!"

She brought me back to reality. "You haven't dated in months. If you do go out, keep your purse and your mouth zipped."

I filed for Medicare the end of July. My coverage began August lst. For those of you reading this, my birthday is August 21st. Feel free to help me celebrate. But no old age jokes. They are off my radar and have been since I was very young.

The day my card arrived (last week) I looked in the mirror to see if I'd changed overnight. A long critical moment proved what I needed to know. I was exactly the same gal I was the day before, the month before, and actually all the last year, and maybe even a year or two before that! My daily routine of slathering my face with ROC at night paid off, I didn't see any more wrinkles. My lip-gloss shimmered and made my smile and teeth look good (all mine pu-lease, what were you thinking?).  My short hair (which I cut myself and have for twenty years) had that bedroom look I love. I still needed to lose weight. I was still ME!

What I needed was an attitude adjustment so I could put the fear of sixty-five behind me.

Then a close encounter of a romantic nature and a plan for my books gave me the kick in the pants I needed. I also found my word for age 65 to guide me through the year!


The day I filed for my Medicare card on the phone ended with a perk that made it the best day I'd had in a dog year! (you do the math)

I filed my claim at 1:30. At 7:30 I was making out in the back seat of a car parked at Starbucks with an old boyfriend I dated in the late 1970s. He'd rolled into town to visit family and we had a small window to reconnect. Talk about perfect timing. In a matter of a few hours I went from feeling old to the high of a teenager steaming up windows in a rented car. The back seat was so small we couldn't get into big trouble . . . but passionate kisses were the best prescription for what ailed me that day.

Follow your bliss at any age. That is what I am doing this year. My two books are turning into a reality. A romantic, erotic thriller "Writer Beware" is almost completed and my long talked about sequel to my widow memoir should follow behind.

A new website and blog complete my goal to feng shui my writing portfolio. If you follow me at all, I have too many blogs, too many websites. I plan to simplify with one main blog and website for all my writing this year. We'll see how long that lasts. You know, two dogs eventually led to six. I will never get my old shop merchandise out of my house, because I still buy more. If I get an idea that inspires, a new blog could sneak in. But this blog will be my home base. So I hope you will book mark it and come back to visit.

Then look for Gilbert Street Press to build its business to include book and cover designs for others with my talented sister Pam King at the helm.

When you follow your bliss it doesn't hurt to sprinkle it with glitter. My new word for sixty-five is Sparkle!