Many of you out there who have been reading this blog for a period of time may recall a series of posts I made about a pretty terrifying situation that had befallen my family…again. A sociopath who was preying on my father for over a decade – financially, emotionally, spiritually, etc. I wrote about this here and here.

He caused me so much terror concern that in 2014 I confronted this scary individual, alerting him that I was aware of his exploitation, considered it nothing less than elder abuse and I put him on notice. He had been escalating. It was time to intervene after a decade of monitoring his manipulations and abuse.


His response was so vile, so threatening that I obtained my own legal counsel, discussed restraining orders, consulted my father’s lawyers and money managers and even had a long discussion with an FBI agent about the interstate nature of the extortion possibly going on (he took it so seriously he spoke to me for over a half an hour interviewing me saying it didn’t meet the criteria for extortion but if certain things escalated to call him back).  It was a terrifying time and one I’ve never really felt fully out of of the woods from. As one attorney said to me “they said about Elvis, you can’t save someone from themselves”.


I set about protecting our family estate for my brother and I as best I could yet lived with a slow hum of fear every day in the background. I knew this man was laying in wait and had invested so much for so long that he was going for a piece of the big pie– my father’s rather large estate. It’s been an entirely stressful two years with a written on the wall future. At one point he was attempting to get my father to change his Power of Attorney from me, to him– a person completely not integrated in to our social or family network.

I knew there would be a battle coming –  everyone did – either in my father’s life or death. This man had put a plan in motion and felt my father owed him. Very sick dynamics at play. It forced me over and over again to throw this to the realm of spiritual protection.

Airborne Operations

I found out today that this pathological dangerous man was killed in a freak accident while vacationing in Mexico. He was electrocuted.


It is not lost on me that the men who murdered my sister, also sociopaths, still sit on Death Row/ in prison and this second wave of sociopathy to land in our family received a form of execution.

It is also not lost on me that he received his sentence for his crimes on the birthday of my friend who was the person who broke the silence on his exploitation of my father about 10 years ago. There are so many elements to this story but I keep them silent to protect certain privacies.

There are times in life to feel relieved when a death has occured.


This is one of them.

There is balance. There is protection. There is justice.

Now let the deep breaths of exhalation begin.


55 in review



Three days away from stepping out of year 55 and in to year 56 has gotten me reflecting on this incredible pivotal year.


People usually associate year 50 with a big change and maybe that was the case for me but really it was a year of anguish and challenges. Yet I got through it alright and launched in to a new life of shining. Sometimes we gotta go through Hell to get to Heaven.


Just thought I’d do a little retrospective of this year as it was filled with SO much and give it a nod and a bow of gratitude and thanks as 55 really was my year. In all my life, this one was the most remarkable I think.


Spent my birthday last year back at Rancho La Puerta dreaming big once again. I made another prayer arrow and continued to blast in to the Universe my desire for a mate–not any mate of course–MY mate. That was always my wish…for the last 2 decades. Against all odds I kept wishing for it.



I started out 2015 getting engaged. I should be able to remember the exact date and I think it was Jan 9 maybe? My honey put a ring on it and got down on two knees in the middle of nowhere PA on a cold snowy night. He stuck a box in his still decorated Christmas tree and surprised but didn’t surprise me. I returned from that whirlwind trip a woman betrothed (is that the right use of that word? I think so).

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Within days of returning from PA, I pivoted again. I closed up my business for a month, closed up my home, serviced and packed my car and drove off alone on a big adventure to the great Northwest where I lived for just shy of a month, writing. I completed 30 chapters of my memoir Middle Child holed up in a gorgeous studio with a fireplace and a view. I knew the moment it was time to put closure on that beginning of the book and put a pause on it. My wonderful fiance met me up there, we had a beautiful Valentine’s Day in Seattle and drove down California together on our first road trip. It was, as everything is with him, filled with fun and laughter and adventure.


I learned on that drive just how much he knows about cars and trains (it’s really kind of crazy).

While in the Northwest we had our first fight (and the only really bad one–gotta know how to argue right?) and make up. And it’s where we started our ritual of drinking champagne. We pop open a bottle of bubbly every time we meet after time apart now. I love a ritual.


I also planned my wedding there–nearly all of it! I found a designer to make my wedding dress, planned our stay/honeymoon in Niagara Falls and it was a welcome respite to the diving in to a homicide investigation/trial, autopsy reports and mental illness. Some days I just devoted to wedding stuff simply out of maintaining my mental balance.

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(my friend Kathy Winter threw me THE MOST AMAZING shower in April)

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I posted all about that here but remembering that trip brings a big smile as we had just a perfect wedding and trip and I wouldn’t ask for one thing to be different. I can’t wait to go back to Niagara–it is truly a wonder of the world!


Although our cross country marriage is unconventional and curious to some, for us it’s absolutely perfect. We are both loners and introverts (I’m a social outgoing introvert which is totally confusing) and have been alone for a long time. This allows us to ease in to this marriage. He makes his money there and of course has his two adult children and darling 4 year old Lillian nearby. I make my money in AZ and have my dad and brother I need to be close to so this is how it works out for us. We are each other’s respite, at times relief, adventure outlet and safe haven. I love being married to this man and just like this.


I’m sure in maybe the not too distant future we will have a different living arrangement but we decided to play the cards we were dealt and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s a life of movement and adventure and exploration. It’s really like the life I was already living but now with a partner. John understands me, my unique challenges and loves me unconditionally. For the first time in my life I know what it means to fully trust a man on every single level. That in itself is a miracle.


About one month from returning from my wedding/honeymoon, crisis struck. I was hit in a parking lot by an 84 year old drunk driver. I was a pedestrian pushing my grocery cart and was flung head first in to another car at full acceleration as the driver’s foot slipped off the brake and on to the gas.

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What I’m left after going through all of that and the following rehab (which I’m still in) is that my life has new meaning now. The fact that I hit head first, unprotected, with such force and didn’t have a massive brain injury, fractured neck or worse surely has gotten my attention. No one working with me in therapy can believe I wasn’t more injured. Especially when they see a picture of my shopping cart, also hit with the same force–so hard that its momentum kicked a parked car out of its position in the parking lot. Amazing.

I have a renewed sense of purpose after that and am looking at my life in an entirely new way. I also learned about true love and support from a man. My husband was amazing taking care of me for an entire month.


My life hasn’t changed all that much in terms of how I spend my time so I may be married but still have lots of individual time with old friends and cultivating new ones. I vowed not to become one of those “now that I’m part of a couple we only do couple things” type of people so I’m not. In fact I’m even more sensitive to my single gal friends making sure I don’t abandon them now that I’m married.


How could I wait so long to mention my darling stepdaughter Lillian? She has been such a bonus addition that came with my beautiful husband! Who would have ever guessed, me, childless and feeling like I really missed out on something important in life, could at 55 meet a man with a 3 year old? Most people our age have grandkids that age. And honestly I could see a lot of women not being so ok with this situation but not me. I may be one of the few women on the planet who is absolutely ecstatic to welcome this darling beautiful little girl in to my life.


We took Lillian in September on her first plane ride to Maine where we stayed for a week on the beach. It was gorgeous and incredible to have my own family like that, finally. Her mother was gracious enough to allow her to be with us on her 4th birthday–amazing. I absolutely adore Lillian and she feels the same for me. I am so in awe of how my life turned in this way and that I get to be involved with a little tiny girl growing up to a woman and all that comes with that. It’s almost hard for me to write about, this is that huge for me . It’s almost hard for me to take it all in sometimes.


John’s two adults kids are great too–Alyssa and David–and we’ve spent quality time with both of them back in PA as well.

I bumped up my writing adventures this year and got several pieces published in an online magazine called Elephant Journal. I picked them to pitch to because I’d been reading them from inception and felt their publication really matched my sensibilities. Good thing they think so too. You can see my six pieces here. It’s honed my writing skills somewhat as I’m getting ready to dive, again, in to finishing my book next February. Again for a month in Edmonds–this time to finish it.


John and I went back there this Fall to the writing conference where all of this writing started. We met a freelance writing coach/editor who both of us will work with. I’ve decided to pitch my book to some big publishing houses so she will help me with that process. My confidence in it really elevated this year so I’m gonna start big and see where I go. Either way, it will get published and I will finish it. It’s been cathartic and healing for me.


I found a home across the parking lot from me for my Dad and brother to move to which also happened this summer/fall. It’s of course challenging having an aging parent and mentally ill brother yet rewarding as well. I was glad to move them out of the 872 square feet they were living with their 2 cats and in to something closer and larger. I helped my brother outfit his room with a beachy theme and am hoping they are settled in there by the end of the year. I learn patience every day with them (or don’t learn it sometimes).


John (Alfonse) is still singing with the chorus and even went on an overnight weekend retreat with them out of town. This is major stuff considering where he’s been. He even got himself there and back all on his own! He’s up and down with symptoms but I always keep a close eye on him no matter where I am.


John (hubby) comes tomorrow for our next adventure to Santa Fe for my birthday–another road trip! He’s been making arrangements and reservations. It’s so wonderful to be married to a giver–I’ve just never experienced anything quite like it. Well worth the wait!


I’m sure there’s much more but that’s what’s flowing out this morning.

55 was an amazing year of new beginnings and transformation and LIFE!

I head in to 56 even more excited to see where it will take me. I’ve decided my theme word for next year is MOVEMENT. So get ready…things are gonna shake up.


Thanks for being along for the ride all….love you all out there reading and caring. :)

great or nothing



(My latest article in Elephant Journal this week–click through at the bottom to read the complete article – hope you like it!)

Why it’s Going to be Great or Nothing.

In a tone completely lacking in condescension, he asked, “Why don’t you just get what you want?”

It was entirely foreign to this man, my date, that anyone would ever consider anything they didn’t really want.

I had recently ditched my Toyota Previa out of vanity. I was newly divorced, childless and driving a mini-van. It had to go. I got into a much “cooler” red, metallic, brand new, sporty Chevy Blazer. I hated it from the start. It had a bumpy ride, the seats were stiff and the cup holders sucked. I’d finally admitted this to Sam, my date.

I missed my cozy silver-bullet shaped van with its sliding doors, double sunroof, hug-your-ass seats, smooth ride, abundance of cup holders and black bra. Yet I judged it. I judged myself in it. I was kicking myself for replacing it with something so not me.

Sam’s question landed like lightning in my brain. Why am I settling for this shiny new object that I don’t like?

By the time I got home (from what turned out to be our last date), I had already answered the question. What I really wanted was that pearl white Lexus mini SUV. That was a me car.

I started researching immediately, threw caution and a year’s worth of car payments to the wind, and found what I wanted. I walked in to the dealer a week later and traded in Mr. Wrong for Ms. Right. In the nine years I drove that gorgeous perfection on four wheels I’ve never regretted my decision. I only thought of the Blazer in the fond memory of getting rid of it. It was a great car, just not my car.

Little by little, I began applying this gem (of a process) to broader areas of my life, as I distilled it to one question: “Is this ______ great?”

My motto became simple—it’s going to be great or nothing.

Finish reading here.

fox face makeup tutorial



I had great fun getting my fox on last weekend for a costume party so decided to make a bit of a tutorial to help anyone else out there do this amazing 3D looking fox face. Enjoy! Feel free to share your own with me if you end up doing it! I had as much fun getting ready for the party as I did at the party (which was spectacular) because I just love a creative project! :)


This Pinterest pic was my inspiration.

First off I slathered my face with this Smashbox primer to create a canvas and protect my skin somewhat from all the junk I was getting ready to cake it with.


My basic supplies:

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I picked up from Target some basic Halloween costume makeup–black and white. Then went to the cosmetics section and found a LA Colors matte orange lip crayon (which was perfect) and an eye shadow trio–both in the 99 cent range.

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I already had that eye shadow palette which was perfect in all those reds golds and bronze tones to do my highlighting and shading.


Before–bare face

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Before anything I put a thick matte foundation all over my face which I later kind of regretted on the lower half when I started applying the white as it bled through a bit.

Started with the lightest shades–made a foundation of white in these key areas–used both the crayon and the white costume makeup for this. The makeup in the tube was really not thick enough but I had used it as a foundation all over my chin.

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Used that gel eye liner to start drawing on some black areas–under my chin


This was a perfect crayon for the coloring here. I put bronze colors on top of it some places but the color was spot on. Target for 99 cents.

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Used some tan foundation and concealer to create contrast around my eyes and nose then went to town with the orange crayon in key areas on my cheeks, forehead and upper eyes.


Started getting more dramatic with black–using a liquid eye liner, to draw the areas under my nose, laugh lines, dramatic eye shapes and around my mouth. Also started incorporating some brown eye pencils for shading in contrast. I also started playing with some various contrasting rusts and browns in powder eye shadows on my forehead and cheeks.

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Found some yellow concealer and a gold crayon and used that for contrasting color under my eyes and on my nose and between eyebrows. with more white to highlight.

The black detailing around the mouth area gives it the 3D look. See how my entire upper lip is black?


I made all the blacks blacker and sort of set them with a black eye shadow from that big palette  using a small flat makeup brush. I used about 5 brushes of varying sizes plus makeup sponges and about 30 q tips. I also used my fingers a lot to work the colors in.


Toward the end I really played with shading with browns and rust color eye shadows along the sides of my nose and forehead. I used an eyelash brush (looks like a mascara brush) along the transition areas to give it a feathery furry look. I used a makeup brush to bring the colors in to my hairline as well.

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The final product! As you can see I also brushed my neck and chest area with bronzer and reddish eye shadow to bring it in to the mix. The under side of my chin area is almost completely black.


Me at the party with a 14 year old Derek Zoolander. My lips had worn off a bit from, well sipping some libations. :D

Hope some of you out there have as much fun as I did with this costume!

Oh and I got my costume itself from Halloweencostumes.com. It was a great comfortable costume to wear!


Happy Halloween! May you get more treats than tricks!

weaving, woven



I woke up this morning in Edmonds, opened the blind over the huge picture window at the head of the bed and on the side I was sleeping appeared a dangling spider. I looked more closely as clearly it was swaying from side to side and not attached to the window, to see it was situated firmly in the center of about a 24 inch perfectly woven web.

My husband who reads animal cards every single day sat right down, pulled and read the spider card for me and the words that stuck out were “create, create, create”.


Before noticing the spider – who remains right there, right over my pillow 10 hours later – my mind was filled with ideas as I woke up early to the sounds of train whistles, ferry horns and my husband’s sweet rhythmic breath of slumber.

I was thinking about this great life we’ve found ourselves smack dab in the middle of, seemingly out of nowhere. Yet just like that spider, we’ve been weaving it for years, decades even. Every time we held on to a wish, a feeling of deservingness against all odds, we were weaving.


Yesterday we had one of those days that while you’re in the middle of it, you know you will reflect on it for years to come as one of your best days ever.


It started out on the train–the Amtrak Empire Builder that we hopped on on it’s very last leg from Chicago to Seattle. It was just a 30 minute ride but truly spectacular. We sat in the upper level and felt like we glided on air along the Puget Sound coastline in our reclining comfortable leather seats side by side.


My husband is a total train nut so seeing him in his element was also a thrill for me. He has studied every aspect of trains all his life and is filled with minute details about the cars, engines, the rails themselves. He was like a kid in a candy store.


We landed in Seattle in to the most gorgeous train station I’ve ever seen, not that I’ve seen that many, but I had no idea a station existed as a living art form like this. We oohed and ahhed at the carved walls and ceilings and certainly noticed that we’d both landed on Track 5 to debark and were welcomed in to Door 5. Our 5’s just keep showing up over and over again. Like magical stepping stones.

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We embarked out on our day of exploring in Seattle with very little planned other than tickets to see the movie The Martian at the famous Cinerama movie theatre at 3:15. And our return trip on the train at 6:50.


We simply started walking, found a hat to replace the one my bald husband lost the day before on our way and meandered our way to Pike Place Market by 10:30. We decided to get a bite to eat at the well known Lowell’s cafe with it’s gorgeous 3 story views and landed at, you guessed it, a waterfront table. As we finished our breakfast the crowd kind of thinned and out came our travel chess set. John’s been teaching me chess this trip so we’ve been playing it on the go from the airplane to happy hour to coffee shops. Of course I lose every single time but that’s to be expected. At least I give him a run for his money and staved him off my King for over an hour one time. Psych vics he calls my psychological victories which are increasing my confidence.


We wound our way through the market then huffed up a STEEP hill to my favorite tiny coffee shop in Seattle, Moore’s. It’s my favorite because a. it’s out of the way b. I love this Cafe Madrid they serve there and c. they are famous for putting designs in the foam. I got the Madrid, John got hot chocolate and we sat on the tiny patio on the street, you guessed it, playing chess. I got my very first “Check!” during that game…SCORE!



From there we found our way to Cinerama, careful to be on time as last time we went we deedawdled drinking champagne in a nearby lounge and were half an hour late. The movie was really good and we had great seats where we could prop our feet on the railing in front of us. We sure love our movies. And the half regular half chocolate popcorn they uniquely offer there.


We had just about enough time afterward to quickly hoof it the mile and a half back to the Amtrak Station and got there just minutes before they started boarding the Cascade train back to Edmonds. Another fantastic ride but this time we got the sunset–spectacular seems too small a word for it. Gliding along like that taking in the scenery with our legs stretched out on one another’s laps like lazy dogs–heaven.


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It was just one of those days–one you will never forget. Only to be capped with one of our favorite dinners–the “nack paddler” (snack platter) of Washington cheeses, crackers, almonds, fruit and a delicious bottle of white wine from our Finger Lakes wine weekend he’d hauled all the way from PA. Everything with us is a celebration filled with fun and love and humor.



And we don’t seem to be slowing down at all–the opposite–we’re accelerating. And gliding on air.

I went from the most unlucky person in love I really knew to the luckiest.


All I can say right now about that is when your dream is standing before you, grab it and don’t look back or even sideways. Just grab it and leap.


Then you can look out and see the web that’s been woven all along, just waiting for you to take your rightful place at it’s very center, safe, supported and vibrantly alive.

Oh, and PS? We went and looked at a home here in Edmonds today that is very likely our dream home and on the way in saw two dangling spiders. Wish us luck on that lottery ticket we bought using the numbers from a card left behind for me in a fortune telling machine at the Market yesterday.

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