Ice Cream Issues

Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey


We climbed back in our car after losing about 2 hours’ time and drove on.  The chatter picked back up and our singing out loud filled the car. I think, we compete subconsciously at who sounds better but let’s face it, we both equally suck.

We made it the Oregon border, where we stopped for a potty break and decided ice cream was a good idea.  However, I don’t think I mentioned it was nearly 115 degrees outside and the minute I stepped out the door with my vanilla cone it turned to sweet cream.  It was running all over the place.  My hand was white and it continued down my forearm and as I begged for help with the one napkin we were given, she laughed the kind of laugh that was infectious.  We stood there for a few seconds laughing as I struggled to get my shit together. Tears streamed down my face and as we came to the back parking lot we passed a car with the bumper sticker that read “I have issues,” and at the moment, I had some serious issues!  I posed for a photo, we made it back in the car and I sucked down an ice cream cone in a way that most people would think was savage.

The scenery around us had started changing. The Oregon green had changed to browns of many and tumbled weeds were blowing in the distance.  The miles and hours passed until we made it to the Idaho border.  We needed to fill up the car, use the restroom, and gather snacks.  The gas station had two very unfortunate characters behind the counter. I attached myself to my sister’s hip, I knew she would always be the one to do the ass kicking on our trips.  We filled a tiny plastic bag with unhealthy snacks, drinks, paid for gas, and there was no bathroom.

Next door in the middle of nowhere was a questionable casino.  We knew it was our only chance at a real toilet. Although we were hesitant to enter, our bulging bladders drew us in and what was inside those doors was unbelievable.  If one could picture the most redneck version of a casino, the smell of dust, dirty body, sweat and a big room cropped dusted by cigarette smoke – that is what we walked into. It was some place I wish we never entered and knowing what it was like inside, in retrospect, I defiantly would have chosen to squat and pee between two cars rather than use that bathroom. As we left, a little person with a cowboy hat, cut off shirt, sitting on a stool so high it was twice his height, gave us a head nod.

As we exited the building of smells, a ploom of what was trapped inside that building followed us to the car.  It was my turn to drive, we jumped inside and in my uncomfortable state of glee, I left the parking lot over one curb and then another and we were on the road again.


Cline Falls Road


She arrived later than she thought.  We unpacked her car and repacked into my car.  The tank was full and we were off on the first leg of our trip from Independence to Redmond.  Not really considered a “leg” of the trip because we had 17 hours ahead of us to Utah.

She had just driven over four hours to my place, drained the bladder and jumped back in for almost another three hours. As soon as we were both trapped inside, the chatter started and we carried it all the way to Sisters.  We started at least 15 stories and only finished six of them but we always made it back around to one that we didn’t finish, sooner or later we always finished them but it might be on the fourth day we were together.  Today, we still have unfinished stories.

It was not our first trip but it always felt like the first time.  The excitement…for me was like a kid on Christmas morning.  As an adult travelling was with my sister was like Christmas morning.  Our trips were this way.  The entire trip wrapped like a huge gift under the tree and we never really knew what was inside, every step or mile of the way it was thrilling like tearing open the gift you wanted all year long.

We talked and talked, she made sure to toss in a bag of peanut butter chocolate cups and we shared them as the odometer numbers increased and emptied a Nalgene bottle of water.  Hours passed and carried us to our resting place. We made our way to Cline Falls Road, she turned left, left again, and as the curves in the road wrapped us closer to our destination. We realized how late it was.

We were both sleepy, the windows opened to keep us awake, and our long hair tossed around us. I told her to slow her speed and in the darkness police lights flashed around the car.  As she struggled to find a place to pull over in the central desert, she drove on…further than my instincts would have taken me.  As I insisted her pull over, we came to our left hand turn. She turns and pulls over to the right curb barely out of the entrance and as we giggle and are slightly nervous about what we did wrong.

She insisted she wasn’t going too fast…the officer walked to the left side of the car and just as he asks for her license and tells her she was speeding; I start screaming at the top of my lungs as a sprinkler hoses me down from the top of my head to the middle of the chest.  It passes by once, screaming, it passes and again as my sister tries to silence me and politely insists I roll the window up. The officer looks down at me and shines his flashlight in my eyes without a smile, I babble about the sprinkler.  He was not entertained as I struggled in the front seat to not continue laughing and as well as I know my sister…she would break at any time, I kept it together until she got her ticket.

We continued on to our resting place laughing so hard we couldn’t catch us breathe until we drifted to sleep. The next morning, we woke before 6am and we still laughing.


Book Covers??

It is getting closer.  There have been some delays. Some stressful days waiting to hear that the phone didn’t ring when it was supposed too and the emails didn’t come when stated.  I am still learning about patience.  Another 7-10 days, I am not counting the time.

I was given three cover options because I requested the options. I wanted something to compare to what, I thought I wanted.  I should have gone with my gut right away.  What I thought I wanted is exactly what I wanted!! (HA!) These are the covers that didn’t make the cut – not my CUT! They are wonderful and were discussed but hey, you might get to see these illustrations again.

It has been months and months. I am done with the sequel and on to another book.  A different style of writing, a different voice, and a story I have always wanted to tell!

I am so blessed!


A Place of Comfort…


A navy bench lines the wall with a chalk board of half erased cocktails and what’s “on tap” … covering the green and yellow wall.  The bank it once was only remembered, in the now as a game room complete with barred doors, a deadbolt and a dartboard at the end of the room.  In 1926 the vault held treasures, gold, wills, and secrets of plenty.

Stories whirl around me and I listen without listening.  Ease dropping, people would hate and enjoy the ridiculousness of their topics. Girls giggle and coo and a young man sits at at the same table texting and looking around the entirety of the bar. He looks bored but continues to listen as if he really cares.

A couple dines, what seems to be a Thursday night date. They eat, drink a beer, wine, food, napkins on laps and then breeze back through the ding of the door without saying goodbye.

The men behind the bar are bearded and sexy.  One, with slicked hair, with what looks to be a curling iron burn on his forehead (which can’t be right, in my mind), it goes on. He has a mustache for miles curled up in just the right way it looks to be cradling his nostrils just beyond his face.

Three in vests holding to a fashion piece in their closest but I think this maybe their only piece. But hey, does any man need more than one statement piece?  A suit jacket makes anything look good and a vest and tie looks good with any bottom…. maybe not whitey-tighties or boxers but the right lady, would love it!!

Oh, another shows up and waits behind the counter in a tweed vest, backed with maroon polyester running from here to there, douting on any person who waves their hand in the air.  Clearing menus, regurgitating the nightly specials, and running with plates at his shoulder like a marathoner without the number on his shirt but only the 100 meters and shorter – table to table, back and forth, back and forth.

Kindness, gentle, and a black paisley tie runs down the V of the owner’s vest, maybe needs his neck-hair trimmed…. the beard is very Duck Dynasty but somehow fits him.  It’s rugged and sexy.  Rough waves have knocked him to his knees lately but not to the ground.  How is that men can take so much more of an emotional mental beating than women? Are women not built to be as equipped? Quick to respond or just built from different materials?? Are men just better at hiding it??

Women are completely built to handle what men can, I say.  Strength is something I will not argue.  Sometimes it comes down to men being men.  I would like to be tough and rugged but I am not.  I am determined and committed to complete any task but can’t handle what most men can…honestly, no.  I am frank and I am honest about this.  I am who I am.

However, I would like to give a big shout out to four women: JMM, Utah, DJ, and BH.  These women can move mountains and if you put any of these women against any normal man…in a certain setting – ANY of these women would do some serious damage to any part of their body.

I know if anyone came after my kids, I do not know what I would be capable of. I would probably surprise myself! I would be kickin’ some serious shit. Woman, defending spawn.

This place, I have written four times now with the same people behind the bar. The same hi-backed chair, the same copper bar top, and the same “me” sitting at the end corner of the bar with a laptop.

I write well here, there is no explanation. Is it the ambiance? Maybe the way I show up? It’s quiet and then very loud as the hours pass. Expecting nothing but the blank computer screen in front of me?

Who knows, but I keep coming back to this place that I find comfort, people that I would say are “my tribe” and an evening of observing people.  Or at least, feeling comfort with my “words,” in this moment with these friends and another few moments pass as the minutes’ hand circles the clock on the wall.

That’s one way to end a workout!

Poker Face by Lady Gaga (*the only song I could find to run too.)

FullSizeRender-8I am not a runner.  I would rather do anything else in the world to exercise than run.  The pounding of my feet on asphalt, joints in my knees slamming down into my ankles. However, if I was being chased, I think that would be different.  But I am determined to keep trying to like running. This morning I woke early and the fresh smell of rain drew me outside.

Today, I needed more than yoga. But I am encouraged to work out by my friend, her personality, dedication, and attitude is awesome! She makes me want to do better.  In my head, I am constantly challenged by her.  Every time I have taken her class I feel like I can take on the world when I leave.

However, I didn’t want to drive to the gym so as the boys got on the bus I took off with my old shoes (old Nike’s, Austin has adopted because he now wears my size shoes), these shoes have been through it all, with a 12-year-old running around in them rain or shine.

After the rain last night, the soil is moist under foot and I start with a fast walk.  The fresh air runs deep into my lungs as I inhale;  waking me from a long slumber. The sky grey – it could rain.  I start my run, really half run, half walk down the perfect isles of the hops that climb the twine to the sky. The row looks as if to drift into nowhere, I cannot see. Like looking out at the ocean – going on forever, you cannot see the end.

My shoes cake with moist soil and I keep lifting my legs and my feet get heavier. Running eight minutes and walking for 30 seconds – a goal I told myself I had to meet.

I am sure anyone watching me would think “what the hell, does she think she is running??” I feel less than graceful when I run.  I continue down the perfect isles – up one, down the other, up another, down the other, this lasts about five rows.  I walk toward the orchard.  Circle it once for a cool down and head to the garage for my own personal unorganized rendition of a gym instructor where I lift weights – arms and legs…sit-ups and push-ups and finally, lay back onto my yoga mat that I rolled out on to the patio.

My chest rises and falls, I feel slightly exhilarated, burning in my arms, legs, and abs, and I close my eyes. I look up to the grey sky and my to do list floods in. A few more deep breaths. I am calm, relaxed and without notice I feel Halo’s paw sharply jammed into my stomach, on my chest and a big slobbery kiss on my cheek. That’s one way to finish a workout! Happy Monday!





Ode to Cushman

Alan Jackson, When God Paints

Many sleeps in the A-frame of our family cabin I dreamt …the comfort of the hustle and bustle below. Hearing Grandpa and Grandpa chatter, Grandpa sitting like a silhouette in front of the wall of windows rocking in a chair, coffee in hand. Every morning I would make my way down that steep ladder like stairs. The wooden beams I counted when I couldn’t sleep. The slamming of the screen door, the totem on the deck, the enveloping smells of comfort food, the view from that wall of windows to the lake, the crackling from the fire place, and Louis L’Amour paperbacks lined a shelf at the end of the room.

This place was like no other, built by hand by the Carroll James Martin family, a labor of love. A piece of heritage that some day would be steadfast long after the love it was built upon….the marriage that made it through the hammering, nails, windows, injury, cement, and wooden beams. The rich family history seeped from the walls when you entered.

Frequent trips to this magical family cabin; love, laughter, tears, joy, and the feeling that we were this tight knit interwoven family that nothing could break us.  This place I always felt love in…felt everyone within those walls loved me and I them.  Yes, I got in trouble within those walls, probably broke a glass or two, the time I spilt milk across the dinner table….despite my youth and at 39 now, the memory of our cabin burns like fire in the corners of my mind.

For me, Grandpa was strong, sometimes short tempered but so kind. He would melt every time he embraced any one of his grandchildren.  “Hey girl, how’d you sleep?” He rubbed his cheek against mine, coffee on his breath and squeezed like he’d never let go.

Grandma in the kitchen buzzing like a bee, her light blue night dress and slippers, I would always go to her next. Hugging her was like being wrapped in a warm soft cloud.  Sunny days were always special lake days.  And oh, that long wooden dock.  I miss the way it felt under my feet, slivers and all. Long days drew large appetites with a table fit for kings, mini bagels, orange juice, toast–there was so much food everywhere…filling our bellies full with tasty treats and a lot of love. Grandma’s smile will always be easy to remember.

Today, nearing publication of my first book. Her letters and encouragement for me to write and never stop writing make the tears flow. She wrote, “Tom had that gift too. You have so much to share with the world. Keep writing,” those words rest on a card in a box with most of the cards she wrote to me, in my night stand. An old grey shoe box that holds grandpa’s letters too…written a long their travels, handwriting hard to read, but stories and stories of different places they visited in their airstream.

This cabin, still feels like our cabin…I have visited too few times as I have gotten older and I can feel myself still there. Laying on the couch sun shining though the windows  carrying me to a warm cat nap. This place is a home because of the people who are in it, I need to go back, let my kids feel what I felt there.  Show my husband it’s beauty and bring them to this magical place filled with family, happiness, and hertiage-aunts, uncles and cousins that have carried on and kept our cabin alive. Rich in love and memories, a tall A-frame steadfast love still bleeding family deep in the wooden beams.