Thoughts on a dream of a lifetime…

god-quoteQuote from a Twelve Step daily reader:

When I say to myself that I am going to turn all my problems over to God, this does not give me leave to shirk my responsibilities. I have been given certain tools with which to run my life, and the free will to use them. They include judgment, intelligence, good will and the power to reason. Perhaps much of my trouble stems from having misused these tools. Judgment may have been warped by resentment, my intelligence by failure to face issues honestly. Good will can be lost when we are unable to be tolerant of the faults of others. The power to reason can be dulled when we fail to detach ourselves from the emotional content of a problem.

When I am desperate enough to ask for help, I will not expect it to come in the form of easy solutions. I must play a part in solving my problems, but my HP will provide the guidance and strength to take the right action.

My thoughts on this passage, November, 2016:

I need to use the tools I’ve been given. Too often my judgment has been warped by resentment when I’ve envied others and by neediness when I’ve want MORE than has been my portion. My intelligence has been underused when I failed to face issues honestly and try to substitute fantasy for reality. My good will has been lost when I refused to tolerate the faults of others or forgive them as God has forgiven me. My power to reason disappeared every time I let my emotions override my good sense. And I certainly have expected easy solutions.

Getting past a lifetime “dream” does not come easily. The “dream” lingers but like thousands of diehard  Cubs fans who lived out their lives without achieving their dream of a World Series win, I may live out my life without my dream of finding a life partner coming true. But that doesn’t mean those fans didn’t go to the games, cheer on their team, live the rest of their lives to the best of their ability, even though that one big dream didn’t come true. So I can keep playing the game, leave myself open to another season of loss, and cheer myself on for the efforts I do make. I can work on becoming a better player—healthier, stronger, more sociable. I can choose not to be resentful when other teams win, some of them over and over. And in the meantime, I can stop making the game of finding a life partner my focus. I can live my life fully with work and family, with faith and friends. And maybe I will look down from heaven one day, as those many departed Cubs fans did,  and see my grandchildren or great grandchildren finding life partners and win that relationship World Series that I never won. And perhaps they will think of me in that moment, and I will watch with a grateful heart and tears of joy as they raise a toast to me at their weddings and thank me for being a Grandma that helped them be the people they were created to be, willing and able to make good choices for life partners. And then I’ll hoist a beer and  join those Cubs fans in heaven in a round of Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

An ode to life as it is

cheeriosticking items off my list
picking popcorn from aging teeth
polishing up health policies
affecting thousands
popping cheerios into hungry mouths
cleaning up spilt milk
plopping exhausted on my couch


cameliasfinding joy in life as it is
winter camellias in rosy bloom
carried to school in pudgy hands
a warm sun drying sidewalks slippery from drenching rain
friends doing more than expected
kind words here
good thoughts when needed
even when not

crocusthankful for hints of prayers answered
before they are even lifted up
a new relationship springing up
like a purple crocus breaking through
freezing snow
bringing forth the hope of
spring as my life slides into
its own winter

wisdomallowing each moment to elapse
with no regret and
few expectations
asking only for
a sense of wonder and

Mimi’s morning

IMG_0896pitch black
door squeaks open
four little feet at the
bottom of sturdy legs
wrapped in Frozen flannel
pad over to my bedside
turn off my c-pap
can’t breathe
can’t sleep
peal covers off my
reluctant body

clock says 6:36
“get up, Mimi”
down two flights
bananas in hand
turn on Sophia the First

up two flights
gather outfits
pink stripe
polka dot princess
down two flights
distribute same
stern warning to get dressed or
TV off
clamber into shower
try not to slip on
treacherous tile

everyone dressed
up one flight
cheerios for one
toast for the other
orange juice
sipped through snout of

assemble lunches
daddy fixed the night before
line up
water down hair
slick back into

clock ticking
mommy says 7:45
ready or not
everything on
down four flights of
red brick steps
van seat still blocked by
boxes of whatever
beyond my brain to
figure it out
mommy helps
off they go
chattering in French

up four flights of
same dangerous brick
gather garbage
down four flights
stuff in cans
up four flights
count as exercise
dishes in dishwasher
down one flight to my
Provençal pink lime
strangely quiet
writing time

children here and afar

prayers for women
who have not my
whose exhaustion comes
not from hectic mornings
but from mourning
lives without
little ones to
pry open their eyelids at


old lovesa tight spot in my chest
aches from the inside out
I want to
rock my heart
sing it a lullaby

revelations slip out
roused from dark places
deep hurt
flash frozen at eighteen
unthawed after fifty years in
cold storage
singed by freezer burn

past bliss
squints in the bright light of today
losing definition
more chimera than

a whiff of his cologne
provokes an intimate connection
did we breathe the same air
share the same bed
touch skin to skin
or was it all

changed with age and wear
snap together with the strength of
opposite polarities
he startled by new feelings
me saddened by the irretrievable

serendipity joins two bare wires which
spark as eyes meet in
air charged with expectation

selves are turned inside out
frayed inner seams exposed
mine more than his
healing and disappointment are
stitched together in a
bitter-sweet quilt

my higher power watches
seeing if I can find my way
force myself into real choices
not hypotheticals

every desire is coated with the
plain truth of distance
lives rooted in different soils

old obsessions are defused
left lifeless on the floor
swept away by the stiff broom of
common sense

new understandings of the past are
separate lives
filled with choices
some good
some lousy
thankful we didn’t visit those choices
on each other
we never divorced each other
a gift in and of itself
never fought over money or children
never nagged
never closed our ears

can we accept it was all meant to be
exactly as it occurred
paths ordained to diverge
amid pain and misunderstanding
predestined now to intertwine
just long enough to
uncover buried secrets

we part with a body memory that
no one else will share or

our futures turn
more in keeping with our
current lives
but this reunion
this unexpected reconciliation
lingers to sweetly
flavor reality

Guest blog by digital artist Bob Keck…on growing old gracefully

DegreesofObsession240Digital artist and illustrator Bob Keck was kind enough back in 2005 to create a digitally produced cover for my first novel Degrees of Obsession from an idea I had come up with. It took dozens of hours for his computer to create the image as we tweaked the content over several weeks.

Download Christmas 2014 to see Bob’s Christmas Letter in its original pdf form AND SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM to see the incredible sci-fi and fantasy digital artwork he has produced in just the past year. More of his digital art can be found at

I so resonate with his comments on growing old and how it affects our abilities, our attitudes, and our art. And if I wrote fantasy or sci-fi, I would head straight to Bob Keck for a fantastic original book cover. Send inquires to my CONTACT page and I will forward them to Bob.


Just Cruising by Bob Keck

Moon rise_jpg

Moon rise by Bob Keck

 Here is the text of BOB KECK’S CHRISTMAS LETTER–A paeon to aging gracefully

Well, I almost didn’t write a letter this year. Not much happens when you are semi-retired and work from home. It’s mainly because you are almost always at home. It’s hard to write about nothing. Getting older is strange; you start to become more of a homebody. You no longer want to deal with, or have to deal with, daily stress, traffic, waiting in lines, or the many things that upset you. With the Internet you can even get most things on line and delivered to your front door and don’t have to deal with going shopping, the crowds, and finding a parking space. All the things you put up with to go to work and all the other life events you had to deal with seem to become minimal and fade away. You no longer are into fashion, image, impressing people, bars, and hot spots to go to. All the days seem almost the same and one of the hardest things is remembering what day it is. I’m not sure if this is good or bad.

Being cool is not the same as it was in my twenties. In your twenties you want to be accepted and try to fit in to your social circle (your tribe). In my generation, if your group had long hair or wore jeans and a t-shirt, you did too. Things haven’t changed. In today’s generation if their group of friends has tattoos, they feel like they should get one too. They think it’s a form of rebellion, doing something their parents hate, but actually it’s a form of conformity to fit in and be accepted. Everyone seems to do it in different ways depending on who you hang out with. When you are young to be accepted is what makes you cool. Things change when you are older. I think that when you are older and retired you are cool when you can talk about something besides your kids, the expensive trip you took or your old job.

Now, all this doesn’t mean that you become a hermit, which is really easy to do. It means that you have to come up with things to do that interest you or stimulate your mind. You end up contemplating your past failures, successes and how you got to where you are now. You realize you only have so many years left, so you don’t want to waste them on boring people, stupid events, bad movies, and unproductive tasks. I’ve always said that the hardest thing in life is not getting what you want, but knowing what you want and being happy with what you have now.

There is a certain freedom that comes with age. It’s similar to the freedom you had when you were a kid. You are again on the quest to discover what defines who you are. You no longer have to fit into the restraints of the working world. You can do whatever you always wanted to do. The only thing is that most of the time you forget what that is. Heck, sometimes you even forget why you walked into a certain room.

Anyhow, Christmas and New Year’s seem to be way markers in your life. They are a time when you get to stop and see where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. Hopefully, you appreciate what you have, the friends that have shared your life, and the fact that you are still here.

As I’ve said not much has gone on in the past year. I’m still doing graphic design work for my last company as a consultant. It keeps me somewhat busy. When I’m not doing graphics, I try to do some art or work on my house. I’m still doing sci-fi and fantasy illustrations and even got to do another book cover. I’m also doing some fine art and photography too. I won some more art show awards, which is always nice, but having people buy my art is always better. Sales have been going down the last few years. I’m not sure why.

My cats have changed. Ramone passed away. He was a very nice cat. His nickname was “Mr. Mello”. He has been replaced by Sally. One of my neighbors moved away and left her. She was somewhat feral and ran away from them when they tried to get her. They told me that she hated to be touched. It took me about a month or so before I could pet her. Now she lives in the house. She is like a clingy girlfriend. She seems to always want to be on my lap and loves being petted. At night she sleeps by my head. She is a really old sweet cat. My other cats Frank (the gourmet) and Cindy (the gray ghost) are doing fine and get along with her.

There isn’t too much else to talk about. My house is good. It’s a slow constant project. I’m still trying to update it. My car is still running fine. I keep tinkering with it to make it even better. I’m doing fine too. I have been lucky. There really isn’t anything wrong with me, just the usual getting old aches and pains and basic memory loss. I still exercise and walk fast for a mile or two up and down the hills almost every day. I’ve always exercised and taken vitamins for most of my life. Guess it was a good thing.

Well that’s about it. I hope you have a Happy Christmas and a great New Year. Take care, Bob