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First Date

I was a teen run away.

I started at 16 years old and never really stopped until a few years ago. Finally, after spending almost half of my life running from the monster under the bed, I got tired of it. I ended the pattern with a new approach to life in general. It was a gradual change, I suppose. Though to me it seems to have happened almost over night, almost like I simply... woke up.

The first time I ran away, I was only 15 years old. My parents were coming down on me really hard and accusing me of things I had never even thought of doing. I had been accused of being on drugs since I was 13 years old and didn't even know what marijuana looked like. By the time I was 15 all of my parents friends thought I was sleeping around with anyone and everyone. In reality, I was still a virgin. More than once my mother threatened to take me to the doctors to verify that fact, but my parents never followed through with that threat. I wish they had.

I stayed with a male friend of mine the first time I ran away. He lived just down the street and his mom was out of town for a couple of weeks. I stayed in his room and he slept on the couch during that time. I always thought that was very kind of him. I had a huge crush on him at the time, but that never became an issue. We never so much as held hands. I knew what people would say and think if it became common knowledge, so we did what we had to in order to prevent people from finding out. That was the moment I knew I could trust Steve with my life.

I was working at Wendy's in Roy, Utah at the time. It was easily 3 miles from Steve's house, and I walked to work every single day while I stayed with him. I would work my entire shift, then turn around and walk back down the hill toward my temporary home. For the first time in my life, I felt a taste of freedom and I loved it. I couldn't imagine life any other way, and from that moment on, that was all I wanted. I wanted to have a chance to go to work and go home, to take care of myself, come and go as I pleased and know that I never once had to sacrifice my morals in order to accomplish my day to day life.

One night while working the change window at the Wendy's drive thru, a guy from school came in to the restaurant. He knew that I looked familiar and asked which school I went to. Right off the bat I knew who he was. I was amazed he even looked my direction. The Libby's were popular kids in school, and I was scum in the bottom of the tank of small fish in the big school. When he asked for my phone number and invited me to go play miniature golf, I thought it must be a joke!

We had a glorious time that night. We played miniature golf for the first time in my life. We stayed out until around 9:30 at night and then went over to his cousins house, where we sat in a group of 5, watching a favorite Disney movie. I was tired from work though and ended up falling asleep on the couch, my head leaned back against a very soft pillow. When Andrew woke me up later on to drive me home, I was incredibly embarrassed that I had fallen asleep in the first place.

I kissed Andrew on the cheek and for some reason I expected a call from him the next day. The call didn't come that day or the next. Nor did it come the next week, and by the time I had gone back home to my parents, I had all but forgotten about Andrew. I could only think that perhaps he didn't have fun with me, or he simply didn't like me.

When school started back up, I passed Andrew in the hallway one day. I said hello, he looked in my direction and simply nodded. He didn't say hello, he didn't smile. He didn't even really seem to recognize me at all! I was crushed. I had actually had a lot of fun, and Andrew Libby was my first date.

There's a strange unspoken rule still very much alive in the small town in which I lived. I wasn't a part of the religion, and I wasn't willing to convert. To many people (not all, but many) that was like having a swastika tattooed on my forehead. Andrew Libby found out somehow that I wasn't a member of the same religion, and because of that simple fact, was told not to speak to me again.

Steve remained my best friend for many years. When the world turned its back on me, he was my brother. When things went well for me, he was there to pat me on the back. There were times that Steve was more of a family to me than my own family was. I'll always love Steve for that.

Steve's little brother was another story though... Dan and I were involved in Breaking and Entering a private property. But that's another story.

Go Away! (poem)

Just Go Away!!!

You’ve asked me for a date.
Go away.
You want more time with me.
Go away.
You’re too impatient to wait.
Go away.
Why cant you let me be?
Go away.

You’ve called me every day.
Go away.
You’ve given me so many things.
Go away.
I don’t know how else to say.
Go away.
I wont be one of your flings.
Go away.

Its not ok in my eyes.
Go away
Please don’t cheat on your wife.
Go away.
I once thought you so wise
Go away
I wont be your second life.
Go away.

I wont be how you break your vow
Go away
You’re not who I think of.
Go away.
There’s someone else in my life now
Go away.
I found someone I love.
Go away.

Do not come by my house anymore.
Go away.
Please don’t call me again.
Go away.
I will not be your dirty whore.
Go away.
I am something you'll never win.
Go away.

Amanda Blackwood

(This was written and dedicated to a stalker.)

Mine for Tonight

Hold on to me
Lead me on all you like
I’ll smile for you now,
But you’ll leave me later tonight.

Keep reaching for my hand.
It’s here for you to hold
I can feel myself falling for you
But I shouldn’t be so bold.

Tell me I’m the only one.
Leave me with a smile.
Later I’ll have time for doubts.
I want to be happy a while.

Spend all the time you can
Taking me out with you.
It’s not until we’re really apart
That I’m ever feeling blue.

I know I’m not the only one.
You’ve told me that yourself.
I’ll mourn the day I loose you
And you place me upon that shelf.

But for now you’re mine each day
I’ll never take that for granted
I’ll smile at you and kiss your neck
And hope to God you're enchanted.

You’re mine for tonight.
I’ll hold you as long as you allow.
I’ll run my fingers through your hair
And live for here and now...

Amanda Martin


Something I've learned in all of my travels is that everyone has a story. From the little girl down the way that got exited over finding a penny on the floor in the milk aisle to the homeless man sitting on the bench outside. Sometimes all they need is a chance to be heard.

Colton sits outside every day of his life. He brings his wheelchair everywhere he goes. Every possession he owns often sits in the seat of that wheelchair when he isn't in it himself. His thick red beard shines in the sun over his rawhide, leathery skin. I don't think Colton owns shoes. Instead he dons dark blue corduroy slippers every time I see him. His smile is filled with rotting shards of teeth, but he lights up everything around him when he does smile. His blue green eyes are full of pain and misery, but also life, joy and adventures past.

"You wanna know the definition of class," he asked me today as I shared my standard greeting with him. His eyes instantly turned bloodshot and began to water. Fearful of what he would tell me, I couldn't help but be curious about his story. I've long been a believer that everyone had a story. Being a story teller myself, I was curious about his.

"Sure," I responded, almost reluctantly. The conversation we had before this was about suicide 1-800 callers. It had been a rather serious talk. Was the definition of class actually a touch of sarcasm?

"I'll tell you about class," he said, and smiled weakly. "If I can keep myself from crying." He wiped at his eyes as they were beginning to trickle down his face a bit like dew streaming from tall blades of grass. As they mingled with his beard, the color of the hair darkened to resemble that of a western sunset.

"My wife was an amazing woman," he said, as he wiped his eyes again. "I came home from work one day to find her waiting for me. She told me to get changed because we were going out. Let me tell you, Honey. Don't ever tell a man that you're going out and not tell him where you're going. It'll drive a man crazy. If you want to drive a man crazy, just do that to him, it works every time." He smiled, the shattered picket fence teeth glowing the color of a ripe papaya. I smiled back.

"Anyway, I told her that I needed to know where we were goin' because I didn't know what to wear. She told me to dress nice 'cause she was takin' me some place nice. I got dressed and we left. She still wouldn't tell me where we were goin'.

"She took me to a really nice restaurant. From our table we could see the cliffs and the ocean and the waves crashing. It was really nice. I'll never forget it. We both ordered Strawberry Margaritas. We sat there for a long time just talkin'. God, I loved her. She was so beautiful.

"You know how Margaritas separate when they've been sitting for a while? The ice starts to float at the top and the liquid all goes to the bottom? Everyone stirs their Margarita with the straws, right? So I started to stir my Margarita. I heard something in the glass go 'clink' and I asked what the Hell it was. She looked just as surprised as I did.

"I cussed a bit under my breath and told her to flag down the waiter if she could. I tried to fish out the piece of glass from my drink by working at it with the straw I had. I thought it must be a piece of a beer bottle, because whatever it was, it was a darker color and I couldn't see much of it. The Margarita was really thick.

"Do you know what it was," he paused, looking up at me. His eyes glistened with fresh tears. My heart could only guess, but I allowed him to tell me.

"What was it," I asked.

"A wedding ring." His face crinkled into a painful grimace. "It was a damned wedding ring." He sobbed once. "That's class for you. C-L-A-S-S." He spelled the individual letters out, his voice breaking on the second S. My heart went out to him. Against my better judgement, I asked the question I was dying to know.

"What happened to her, Colton?"

"She killed herself."

It's the first time in many years I was so moved by the story of a homeless man that I did something for him. When I went inside to purchase my case of bottled water, I bought him some soup and gave him one of the bottles from my case. As I walked back outside and handed him the gifts, he smiled at me once more. His eyes were dry, his heart had healed and he was the same Colton I had known from before.

"You're a sweetheart," he said to me, his picket fence teeth showing broadly. "Thanks, Honey." I said goodbye and walked back to my car. As I drove away, I waved to Colton. He shouted after me, "I love you Honey," and laughed.

Everyone out there has a story to tell.... all we need to do is listen. Sometimes it can change the whole world for someone else.

Blind Mans Bluff

Mike and Travis were twins that had my heart from the day we met. I was in the 5th grade and the brothers had different classes. Mike was in my class while Travis was in the rival 5th grade room. It goes without saying that Mike had my undivided attention. When Mike asked me to 'go out' with him, it was still at the youthful age when kids didn't hold hands. We just called each other boyfriend and girlfriend.

I doted on Mike. He was a bit chunky and short while Travis was tall and lean, but they had identical faces and I adored them both. They were sweet and handsome, kind and genuine. They were also rather popular in class. Both were considered to be the class clowns.

When Valentines Day rolled around, Mike and I had been 'going out' for about two months. He didn't want anyone to know, including his own brother, because I wasn't one of the popular girls. He was afraid it would damage his reputation. I found out on Valentines Day that he also had a crush on another girl in our class.

When the class got done handing out all of the Valentines cards to each of the other students, we all got back in our seats for a fun activity. Mike stayed a little long at Summer Sparks desk, though - and my curiosity got the better of me. I watched as Mike pulled a little black velvet box out of his pocket and set it on her desk before walking away. The teacher asked all of us to take our seats, looking directly at Mike as he did.

Summer opened the little velvet box and her jaw fell open. I had to wait until recess to find out what was inside, but when I found out I was furious. Mike had given her a small silver ring made entirely of entwined hearts. I wanted to slap him across the face!

Patience took hold of me though. I knew I would get my revenge. I just had to wait and be patient.

The following week as we were walking to lunch, I asked Mike if he wanted to play Blind Man's Bluff. He asked what that was and I explained the game.

"You have to walk with your eyes closed and I will guide you by putting my hands on your shoulders and tell you what's coming up. Then you do the same to me. You go first."

"Ok," he said, blindly trusting me. He still didn't know I was aware of the ring he had left on Summer Sparks' desk. He closed his eyes and I stood beside him, my hands on his shoulders.

As we walked slowly to the lunch room, I guided him over rocks and pavement, grass and tree roots. Just as I could tell he was starting to relax and truly trust me, I did something despicable. I walked him straight into a brick wall, nose first.

Mike fell backward, landing like a lead weight, heaped on the ground. He fell with a thud, right on his bottom. His eyes popped open, flooded with tears. He reached both hands up to his face and held his now bleeding nose. For a split second, I felt badly about what I had done. Then the image of the velvet box entered my mind and suddenly remorse didn't exist. I felt justified.

"Oh," I exclaimed with false worry, "are you ok, Mike?" I clasped my hands over my mouth to cover the smile I felt working its way onto my face.

"Whadya do that for?" he asked, stunned. Suddenly I exploded. What good was my revenge if he didn't understand why I had sought it in the first place?

"Why'd you give Summer Sparks a silver ring with hearts all over it?"

Mike's jaw fell slack. He stared up at me, incredulous.

"Are you kidding me?"

"No. I saw the ring. Why did you give Summer a ring and just gave me the same paper Valentine you gave all the other girls in class?"

"My brother won that in a quarter machine. He's going out with Summer. I didn't give it to her, Travis asked me to drop it off at her desk! Travis gave it to her!"

Shame and remorse kicked in full force - and I never sought revenge against anyone ever again.

Big Black Snake

The first snake I ever saw was in the middle of a dirt road tire track. He was black and slimy in my opinion, though I learned much later in life that it wasn't slimy at all. He sat there, sinister and shining in the sun, glinting as though it was encrusted with exquisite jewels.

In mid-pedal, I dumped my bike, jumped several feet backwards, and ran for home like it was chasing me. I could practically feel that forked tongue lapping at my heels as I ran. I stepped high, lifting my knees nearly to my chest. At some point, a blood curdling scream escaped from my mouth as I ran the half mile back to the house. By the time I got there, I had morphed that into screams of "Snake! Snake!"

My mother was waiting outside for me when I rounded the corner and leapt over the ditch in one tremendous bound. As I flew through the air, I suddenly realized that there could be any number of snakes in the grass I was about to land in. Just the week before my mother told me about a snake she had run over with the lawn mower over by the wood shed. My feet landed and I sprang straight back into the air, throwing my body wildly over as much ground as I could cover with each leap. I looked like a cross between a gazelle and a baboon, I'm sure. I was a rather lanky 7 year old.

By the time my mother convinced me to walk back down the road with her to retrieve my bike, I had stopped shaking and the sun had stopped shining. The stars began to peek their heads in the darkening horizon. The crickets chirped, telling of the coming evening. I walked slowly, not wanting to face that snake any more at that time than I had the first time I came nose to nose with it. A rabbit bounced across the path in front of us. The birds flitted from tree to tree and the cows grazed in a near by pasture, occasionally calling to one another. Arkansas in the spring was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

The snake was long gone by the time we got to where my bike rested in the middle of a small mud puddle. I still laugh at myself and how afraid I was of that little snake. I remained terrified of snakes for many years until one day I was face to face with a pet snake belonging to a boy I liked. So completely bent on impressing this boy, I reached out and gingerly took the snake from his hands. I wrapped it around my neck and over my shoulders the way I had seen him do. Then I smiled my most winning, fetching smile for an awkward girl of 12 years old. I was still terrified, but I was too stupid to show it.

At times I have moments of that same type of stupidity. My judgement lapses and when fear tells me NOT to do something, I challenge myself to do it anyway. I've learned a few tricks for doing this, such as convincing myself that when I reach the number 1 counting backwards from 10 I will attack whatever it is I'm afraid of. I've used this method for saying things that needed to be said and I was afraid of saying. I've used this to pick up snakes, hold spiders and tarantulas, ride glass elevators and climb into a VERY tall roller coaster.

This past weekend I tried to do something along these lines and I failed. I'll try it again the next time the opportunity presents itself - and I'll do it by remembering the big black snake. It's the first time I've failed at this method... and I won't let it happen again.

Camp Thousand Pines

I think I was in the 5th grade when I went to Camp Thousand Pines for the first time. I remember pulling up in the bus and having all the girls in one group, the boys in the other. It had been a hard year in school for me that year, having just lost my best friend, Louise Pritchard, when she moved away. I've never stopped looking for her.

The bus pulled up in one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. Little cabins were dotted through the woods with a central hall in the dead center of it all. The kids all piled out and began to scatter in multiple directions before one of the teachers bellowed for them all to freeze where they were and reassemble by the bus.

One by one we received cabin assignments. There was a teacher or parent in each cabin, but that didn't stop the girls from giggling and the boys from trying to pull practical jokes on one another at night. Parts of the trip turned out like the practical joke events in the original "Parent Trap" movie.

We went on night hikes. We met the local Native American tribe and they came to teach us how to do the traditional Rain Dance. I discovered my allergic reaction to bees. I had a metal ladder fall on my leg and sprain my ankle and we all took turns in the kitchen preparing a meal for the other kids before taking any food for ourselves. We even learned how to curl our hands and place our lips in the correct position in order to call the squirrels. I can actually still do it.

We told ghost stories out by the fire at night, roasted marshmallows over the open flames and enjoyed root beer floats while chatting about life in general. Though it seems as if Camp Thousand Pines has changed a lot since I was last there, my memories of the place before technology, live on just as they were.

Boo Hag - a Ghost Story.

You know how they say some folks are lucky at cards and some are lucky at love? Well, that fit Bobby Hansen to a ‘T’. He was the best poker player in the county, but somehow he couldn’t find himself a bride. Oh, he proposed to several girls, and even got accepted by a few. But they always got cold feet a day or two before the wedding, and it was bye-bye Bobby.

After the third time, Bobby was mighty discouraged, and his Pa felt real sore for him. They worked together in the family grocery store, and Bobby would sometimes sit on top of the pickle barrel and tell his Pa all his woes. And his Pa told him to hang in there, because a nice lady was on her way. Neither of them believed it, but it made both of them feel better to hear it said. Well, the day after their latest talk, the old woman who poled her barge through the swamp to deliver milk and eggs to the grocery store had a long talk with Bobby’s Pa. Seems she had this daughter who was hankering after a husband with a good steady job, and the old woman thought Bobby would do the job nicely. She suggested they introduce the pair at the next dance, and Bobby’s Pa agreed.

The night of the dance, Bobby’s Pa insisted that his son dress in his best. Bobby was dragging his feet a little, remembering all those women who played him false and not wanting to go, but his Pa dragged him out anyway. Well, the moment Bobby clapped eyes on the dark-eyed, red-lipped girl from the swamp, he was head over heels in love. Her eyes sparkled like the sunlight on the bay. Her skin was as creamy as new milk. Her voice was low and sweet.

The pair cuddled and cooed and waltzed the whole night long, and come sunrise Bobby was all for bringing his new love before the visiting priest who delivered his sermons in the grocery store (since there weren’t no church in that vicinity) and getting married right away. Well the girl was willing to get married, but not by a priest.

“Let’s just go to Beaumont and have the judge marry us,” she said to Bobby, and he was so smitten he agreed, though it would have been quicker and easier to just walk a mile down the road to see the priest.

By the next evening they were wed, and Bobby brought his pretty bride to the nice little cottage he rented just down the road from the family grocery. It had a nice front porch with a swing, a big bedroom on the second floor and a big attic with a window that could be made up into a second guestroom should his new mother-in-law care to visit from her home in the swamp.

After fixing him a nice dinner, Bobby’s new bride sat awhile in the rocking chair near their bed while Bobby yawned and watched her fondly. She cuddled under the blanket and knitted and hummed, and Bobby’s eyes grew heavy. He didn’t wake up until early morning, when his new bride crept into bed all hot and sweaty and fell asleep at once. When he asked her where she’d been, she wouldn’t answer him. Bobby was mighty sore that his bride had snuck out on him on their wedding night, but when she got snappish and her eyes blazed like they did when he questioned her, he grew frightened and backed down.

Life took on an odd pattern for Bobby. During the day, everything was perfect. His wife was sweet and pretty and loving. She kept the house sparkling clean and cooked him wonderful meals. But each night she refused to come to bed after supper. Like their wedding night, she sat up singing and rocking and knitting until he was asleep and did not come to bed til just afore dawn. She was always sweaty and cranky when she came to bed, and went to sleep before Bobby could question her.

Bobby was very confused and upset by this behavior, and finally confided in his Pa one morning after opening up the grocery store. Bobby’s Pa was awful worried. The visiting priest had gone on to his next parish, and there was no one they could consult but the local conjure woman. So he sent Bobby to her with a couple of chickens as a gift.

The conjure woman knew all about hoodoo magic and was an excellent herbalist. Local folks went to her when they were sick, on account of the doctor lived nigh on twenty miles away. When she heard Bobby’s story, she told him to pretend to go to sleep that night and watch what his new bride did. Then he was to come back and tell her everything. Bobby agreed.

The next evening, he pretended to fall asleep while his bride rocked and sang in her chair. Then he followed her up to the attic and watched through the crack in the open door as she sat down at the spinning wheel and spun off her skin, leaving only pulsing red muscles and blue veins. She was a terrifying sight and she sprang through the window and flew away into the night. Bobby ran out to the privy and was sick after he saw her. Who, what was this monster he had married? He was still trembling and in shock when his bride, looking like a normal person again, crept into bed at dawn, and he had trouble behaving normally at breakfast.

Part 2: Video created by a Reader
As soon as he could get away, Bobby ran to the home of the conjure woman and told her about the spinning wheel and the terrible skinless creature who flew away from his attic. “A boo-hag,” the conjure woman said at once. “You’ve married a boo-hag.”

“What’s a boo-hag?” asked Bobby. “A Boo Hag is a witch and a shape-shifter,” said the conjure woman. “She lures men into her trap and then delivers them to her Boo-Daddy, who eats their flesh and gnaws their bones. And that’s what she’ll do to you if you don’t get rid of her first.”

The conjure woman told Bobby to get himself some blue paint. As soon as the boo-hag left the house that night, he was to spread blue paint on every window frame and every door frame and make sure it was two coats thick. A boo-hag couldn’t fly through a window or door that was painted blue. And if she didn’t get back into her skin before dawn, she would be trapped without it, and be revealed for the monster she was. So he was to leave one tiny window unpainted, and keep it open a sliver so the boo-hag could squeeze through. Then he was to fill up her skin with salt and pepper, which would burn her up from the inside out. And Bobby promised to do exactly as the conjure woman said.

That night, Bobby lingered over his dinner, looking with sad eyes at the pretty woman sitting opposite him. He knew she was really a monster inside, but it was so nice to have a little wife in his home. He hated like anything to see her go. But he didn’t want to get eaten by a Boo-Daddy, and that was his fate if she stayed. So he went up to their bedroom and pretended to fall asleep while she rocked and sang and knitted. Then he followed her quietly upstairs and put salt and pepper into her skin after her ugly red-muscled blue-veined figure had flown out the window to her Boo-Daddy. He spent the rest of the night painting over every door and window frame with blue paint, leaving only one small unpainted window open in the cellar. He nailed it up so that it would open no further than a crack, just as the conjure woman instructed him. Then he hid himself behind a large chest of drawers up in the attic to wait for the boo-hag.

Just before dawn, the boo-hag came flying up to the attic window. As soon as she touched the blue frame, she gave a shriek of pain and rage. Bobby listened as she flew around the house, testing each window and door and howling like a banshee when it burned her skinless hands. Then she found the little window in the cellar, and he heard the thump as she landed beside it, followed by a painful whimpering sound as she squeezed and squeezed herself through the narrow opening, her skinless red muscles and blue veins tearing painfully against the rough wood.

The boo-hag ran up three flights of stairs into the attic and squeezed and squeezed into her skin as fast as she could. She just barely got it on when the first light of dawn shone over the horizon. And that was when the salt and pepper did their work, burning the boo-hags body from the inside out. With a scream of agony, she flung herself out the attic window. The glass shattered everywhere as she tried to fly away, tearing at the skin to get it off. But it was too late. She exploded into tiny pieces right over the swamp, and the alligators had them a mighty feast of cooked boo-hag for breakfast that morning.

So Bobby was once again without a wife. But bachelorhood looked much better to him after that, and he never went looking for a wife again. ‘Course, after he made a pile of money in oil, the girls started chasing him. But that’s another story!

To Be the Bad Guy

Sometimes something happens in our life that causes us to have to be the bad guy. Though it's a horrible moment to go through, it's a necessary evil in order to make sure the world goes round.

Before I had the job that I have now, I've never had to fire anyone. Now I've done it twice in the past 6 months. I've never had to yell or reprimand someone for not doing as they were asked - because they usually always did what I asked - until this job. It doesn't change the fact that I hate being the bad guy.

Even when I need to reprimand someone, I'm gentle about it when I should be more worried about getting the point across. I'm mothering and soft, wanting to avoid hurt feelings. Sometimes I'm too mothering and it gets in the way of teaching someone the right way to do something. I've really beat myself up over this at times when the consequences end up so severe that someone is wounded critically in their career.

Such was the case today.

I still hate being the bad guy, and in all things I'm an eternal optimist. When there seems to be no hope and the silver lining has fled every cloud in view, I search and reach, grasping for straws that might save another person - sometimes at the expense of my own career. I try to use my better judgement in these situations, but if the person I've defended or found a solution for lets me down, then my judgement is seen as skewed and not at all the caliber it should be at for the job and title that I currently hold.

How does one get their employees to do what is asked of them? How can I teach them loyalty and camaraderie while still being the boss I want to be - compassionate and kind, just and loyal to my own people? I have only one person left that was an employee at my place before I was promoted. Only one. I've been through many. Is the bleeding done yet?

I Love Because I Can

The eagle soars high because he can. The coyotes cry at night because they can. The cougar screams aloud because she can. I love as I have never loved, because I can.

Perhaps it's the feeling of having loved and lost. Perhaps it's knowing that love is worth risking all. Perhaps it's because of the struggles and trials I've had in my life. Whatever it is, I know that I risk nothing and yet risk everything to love another. Still, as I always have, my heart freely gives of itself.

There's always that chance that someone won't love or can't love in return. And yet, what is risked?

When a gift is given, it's not done with the intention of receiving something in return. It's a thought, a gesture. It's a way to show someone that we care about them, appreciate them, will miss them, or even that we love them. Why should it be any different with love?

Love is a gift. It's one of the greatest gifts we can give to another human being. It should never be given expecting anything in return, even for our feelings to be returned. If they are returned to us, it's a reason to be overjoyed. We have, in return, been given the greatest gift someone can give to us.

How does someone "give" their love?

It can be a simple gesture - a hand picked rose placed on the windshield of a car. It can be a picnic in the park with cold chicken and baked beans. It can be a bottle of wine with crackers and cheese on the table when coming home from work. It can even be a romantic comedy rented at the video store and watched in the privacy of ones own home, snuggled together on a cozy couch with a little dog licking at your hand.

How do you know it's love?

This paragraph remained empty for a long moment as I sat here trying to decide what I would write about this subject. How do you know it's love? How would I know just from being near someone if they loved me? How would someone I love ever know of my affections? How would anyone ever know if they were loved unless someone told them as much in plain and simple terms?

I can drop hints and clues with the best of them, but far too often the hints are cryptic and the clues are acres above the heads of others. I could tell someone that I loved them, but the words are used far too often these days to have as much meaning as they are meant to have. I could tell someone I missed their voice, or that I liked their laugh. I could tell them that I loved their smile, the twinkle in their eyes or the way they looked at me. So if I can do all of that, why is it I don't feel like telling someone I love them is ever enough? Even defining the word "love" with the help of doesn't seem to help with the struggle I have of trying to indicate how I feel when I 'love' someone, even with it's 28 definitions exquisitely spelled out in plain black and white print.

I can even go so far as to say I adore someone, but to say "I love you" just doesn't seem strong enough. It's more than four little letters. It's more than the love song written in cliche rhymes and sappy lyrics. It's more than a photo of a stolen kiss, a moment suspended in time. It's more than the parallels of two lives, always coming so close to touching and never reaching out.

Love is simply this:

I 'love' wanting to be around someone all the time, to be near them, to talk to them and to touch them. I 'love' with my whole heart, every fiber of my being, every basic instinct in my body. It's a raw emotion, animalistic and instinctive. It's the emotional need of knowing that the person you love is right there at a moment's notice, that they would drop everything to come to the rescue. Love can be shared between friends, family, soul mates and lovers. Love is so much more grand than just a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Love is a feeling of belonging, to read the words or to hear the words "my girl" and to have them shoot a shiver through your spine. Love is knowing that you 'belong' WITH someone or TO someone.

Love is all of that and more.

love [luhv]
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, Love?
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
8. ( initial capital letter ) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
9. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one's neighbor.
10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.
11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.
12. the benevolent affection of god for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
13. Chiefly Tennis . a score of zero; nothing.
14. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.

–verb (used with object)
15. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
16. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
17. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
18. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
19. to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover.
20. to have sexual intercourse with.

–verb (used without object)
21. to have love or affection for another person; be in love.

—Verb phrase
22. love up, to hug and cuddle: She loves him up every chance she gets.

23. for love,
a. out of affection or liking; for pleasure.
b. without compensation; gratuitously: He took care of the poor for love.
24. for the love of, in consideration of; for the sake of: For the love of mercy, stop that noise.
25. in love, infused with or feeling deep affection or passion: a youth always in love.
26. in love with, feeling deep affection or passion for (a person, idea, occupation, etc.); enamored of: in love with the girl next door; in love with one's work.
27. make love,
a. to embrace and kiss as lovers.
b. to engage in sexual activity.
28. no love lost, dislike; animosity: There was no love lost between the two brothers.

Cousin Kyle

Kyle, my cousin, was a troubled kid. He was my fathers’ sisters’ son. I don’t know why he was troubled, and I don’t know what he did, but I do remember the summer I met Kyle.

He came to stay with us for a few months. I was so excited to have a new body in the house! “Someone new to play with,” was the first thought in my mind. I didn’t realize that my cousin was 16 and I was 5. He wasn’t interested in playing with me. He wanted to go smoke nasty smelling paper things out behind the bushes. I stayed away from him when he went there. I remembered those bushes all too well. I knew what people did when they went to hide behind bushes.

I wanted to impress my cousin; make him think I would be fun to play with. Maybe then he wouldn’t want to hide behind the bushes with his burning rolls of paper. I loved the swings. I played often on the playground and had calluses that would make a professional gymnast proud. Still, my favorite things at the playground were the swings. I used to lie on them on my stomach and swing back and forth, pretending I was Superman. The day I decided to impress my cousin, I really did impress him, but not the way I had planned.

I took off running toward the swings, arms over my head as if in a diving position. Suddenly, about 2 feet from the swing I was aiming at, I soared into the air. For a split second I felt like I was flying. Then I landed. Not with my stomach making contact with the swing, but rather with my head making a stunning, sickening thud when it contacted with the sand underneath. My legs hung limply over the swing, my butt in the air. I had soared right over the swing completely and landed on my skull on the other side.

Kyle and my brother both came racing over, asking me if I was ok. Once I could get the dirt out of my mouth, I grunted that I was all right. I claimed that it didn’t hurt at all, and even got up to show Kyle the cautious way to do the Superman, forcing back tears the whole time. Kyle marveled at how tough I was not to cry at landing directly on my noggin.

Kyle had to suddenly go home one day. I remember coming in the house with my mom yelling at him. I wanted to stay out of the whole thing, so I tip toed upstairs to my room. On the way I smelled a funny odor coming from the bathroom. It smelled like the funny smell my nose sensed every time Kyle went behind the bushes. I had never smelled it in the house before, except on Kyle’s clothes. I figured that was why mom was mad a Kyle. Years later, I found out I was right. Kyle never came to visit again.

In The Eyes

It's in the eyes. I've always believed it's in the eyes.

Have you ever stood less than two feet from someone and stared into their eyes durring a conversation? It's easy to read the emotion and depth of the person, even if the color of their eyes isn't as clear as everything in their mind.

I stood looking into the eyes of a relative stranger, talking about work, my cats, writing and some of the best California surfing spots. I marveled at the color of those lovely eyes, though with the sun behind the subject of my gaze, it was hard to tell if they were brown or green. Yet, as I stood there I could read this person almost like a book. I knew what that person was thinking and I knew which direction the conversation would go from there. He had more potential of being a good friend than anyone I'd met in a long time.

When he invited me out for drinks, I jumped at the chance to go. Not only was this a highly interesting person I would love to get to know better, but he was also someone I knew I had a number of things in common with. I could easily get lost in conversation with him and be reminded of many stories I've not told in a long time - future reasons to blog.

Burbank Dreams

I was staying at a friends house a few years ago, and the electric energy from the old home really got to me. I had visions all night long of that area coming alive and progressing from about 1845 to modern day. There was a peace treaty signed between the Calvary and the Native Americans to start out with in my dreams. Then it went on through history and I saw the town around there begin to develop. I witnessed an old fashioned Spanish wedding out in a field not far from the home I was in around 1890.

A cemetary was formed near there between 1915 and 1920, but before that the large field was used for filming a couple of silent movies.

Life progressed, the river changed course, the children grew up, and then there was a hanging around 1920 in a large oak tree out in the middle of the field next to the new cemetary. The children I watched grow up had kids of their own and they in turn grew up. More people moved to the area and the buildings began to pop up all around, including the house I was staying in. The oak tree where I witnessed the hanging was struck by lightening and through several years the stump stood jagged on the hill side before someone started to take pieces of it appart for firewood. Kids would go and play on that stump.

Finally around 1960 a bull dozer came by and pulled it out to make way for an area they would be turning into an addition to the nearby cemetary.

The cars would change every time I blinked, and the lines of traffic would fade in and out of the daylight as the days passed in seconds. Finally the time began to slow, and I could clearly see my own car sitting outside, the dawn creeping up over the horizon. In what had to be only an hour or so, I had lived for more than a century.

There was something that stuck with me through that dream, though... something I have promised to go back and investigate. There was one family in particular that never left the area. Someone that I watched from 1890 all the way through modern day had relatives that always stayed at the same plot of land. The house has changed since then, but the land and it's occupants have always remained within the family.

Was it just a dream?
Is there any way I could have been right about this?

The Handshake

That initial attraction speaks volumes about a person. Sometimes all it takes is a smile across a room, a greeting, an introduction or a handshake.

He shook my hand with eagerness. It was obvious he thought I was an attractive female. I'm not one to see myself for my physical appearance, and actually ignore it completely unless applying my makeup in the morning. I don't see myself as pretty or attractive, but rather as smart, driven and determined. I blushed instinctively.

I could tell just from looking at him that my head would fit perfectly on his shoulder, but I also knew that I shouldn't have such thoughts the first time I met someone. His eyes burned into me, his smile warmed me, his touch made my hand burn with a pleasant tingle. There was no denying it, there was something special about him.

That was too long ago to want to admit. I didn't do anything about it.

I won't let another opportunity like that to pass me by.
I'm doing something about it this time...

Early Memories

My earliest memories defy explanation.

I remember traveling through the countryside and seeing fields of green divided from the road by a split rail fence, lined by tall pine trees. I remember the plastic seat with metal bolts on the back of my fathers bicycle. The metal bolts used to pull at my long hair. I remember a little patent leather hand bag I used to beg to take with me whenever we went to the store - but I only remember being able to take it to the Olan Mills portrait studio. I remember walking to the bus on the first day of school in Maryland in a little pink dress with my Mom. The wind in Maryland was so strong it lifted me off of my feet and my Mom had to hold me down.

One memory in particular was one my parents swore up and down there was no way I could remember.

The ladder was cold to the touch, even on a warm day. The steps clanked as we climbed up. I took the three steps on a ladder attached to the saddle right behind my brother The wiry hair and grey, wrinkled surface seemed so foreign to me. The smell was something I'll never forget - not bad, but different. I couldn't believe as I sat there in the little green jumper my mother made for me that I was sitting on top of an Elephant. I was only 2 years old.

They say I couldn't remember this. They say I must have seen it in pictures. They say my stories aren't true... but they are wrong.

My Greatest Addiction

There are many things that the human race has been addicted to since the beginning of time. Probably one of the first and most primal addictions was adrenaline. The cave man knew not why he enjoyed the hunt so much other than the feeling of accomplishment once the kill was on its way home to feed his fellow tribesman and woman. What he didn't realize was that a catecholamine secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to stress was stimulating an autonomic nerve action; in other words, an adrenaline rush. A day in the life of a Neanderthal wasn't overly exciting, I imagine. Suddenly, during the thrill of a chase, the danger of the kill, he felt alive. He felt new and refreshed, like there was a reason he was alive. His body tingled with the very sensation. His hearing was more keen, his sight more honed in, and his nose far more sensitive. He could feel every breath of air that swept past his bare arms.

Man has had the grand misfortune of finding many more highly addictive substances over the past couple of million years, some of which we've discovered how to fabricate for ourselves. The number of drug and alcohol addictions in this country is staggering!

One must wonder who it was who discovered that this horrible, tiny, hard, bitter bean would be wonderfully pungent and delicious once ground into dust and hot water was filtered through it. Did you know that Americans use more than 2.3 billion pounds of coffee beans each year? We are addicted to caffeine!

But my addiction is none of these. My addiction is something much more serious, and taken with a much more lighthearted attitude. My addiction is love. Some of you may sneer, jeer, jest, heckle, and just plain roll your eyes at this. Others may say that I'm either crazy or headed that way. Maybe so! All I know is that I love to be loved. I enjoy that feeling. I crave it! And I know that when I cant get the love I crave from the source I so desperately want it from, I become a very sad person. Its a horrible addiction, and one that I feel I am on the road to recovering from. I do not wish to live for that feeling. I don't want be depressed, sad, or lonely when I feel I don't get the attention I want. There will be times in my life when I wont be able to have that attention and I must learn to live with that. Just knowing that the one I've decided to give my own heart to loves me should be enough but I crave that interaction between two hearts and souls; that beautiful moment when nothing else in the world matters but the two in love.

I have known many that said they loved me, far less that meant it, and far fewer than that whom I have ever loved in return. Still, I let those who loved me believe that the feeling was mutual so as not to loose their love. Was that bad? Was it wrong? I believe it was, and yet I could not help myself for so long. Every time I had the opportunity to let one of those people I did not love fade off into the background, I seemed to pull them back in and dangle that carrot just out of reach once more.

It took so long to grow into the person I've become. I know now what I want in life, I know how to let go of those I do not and can not love, while at the same time holding tightly to those I do. I know finally what real love feels like. I know it's waiting for me - just patiently waiting. He's right there. Maybe he's waiting for an email or a text message from me... but he's out there. Very soon now, I'll be looking into his eyes as he looks deep into mine, soul mates seprated too long ago and forced into strange lives we were never meant to live appart.

Night Thoughts

The Beep beep beep as a truck backs up somewhere in the distance...
The rumble of the motor when it finally stops, purring somewhere in the darkness...
The sounds of the passing cars on the street...
A truck revs its motor at a stop light, ready to roar off into the night...

I hear it all from my bedroom on the third floor.
I see it all clearly from the window.
These things that would annoy or pester most everyone I know are the things that lull me to sleep at night when I'm laying here alone.

It's nights like this I miss having someone there with me the most. He's out there, and I can only pray he's thinking of me right now, too... waiting for me, wishing for me... wanting me...

I close my eyes and let the slight dizziness from complete exhaustion take over me for a moment. When I open my eyes again, dawn will have broken and the world will be waking up again. I will have made it through another lonely night.

Someday ...
Someday it wont be like this.
When that someday comes, it will never be like this again.

Sleep, take me now. Guide me into sweet thoughts and dreams. Let me see, if only for a few hours with my eyes closed, exactly the way I imagine life should be.

No Beauty Here

The following definitions were taken directly from today. After you've had the chance to go through them, I'll explain to you why I do not see myself as pretty.

pretty adj. prettier, prettiest
1). Pleasing or attractive in a graceful or delicate way.
2). Very bad; terrible: in a pretty predicament.
3). Considerable in size or extent: a pretty fortune.
4). Ostensibly or superficially attractive but lacking substance or conviction: full of pretty phrases.
5). To a fair degree; moderately: a pretty good student.

First of all, the girls that were referred to as pretty when I was in school fit one or more of the definitions on a daily basis. I, however, never really conformed to any of these definitions. Shall I explain?

1). Pleasing or attractive in a graceful or delicate way.

First of all, I'm far from graceful. I've been told by many people that I was the clumsiest person they had ever met. Graceful is defined as showing grace of movement. I dont think you can call someone who trips going UP the stairs a very graceful person. I trip over my own feet, whether I have shoe laces dangling on or not. I'm also pretty much a tomboy.

Second, I'm not exactly delicate. I admit, I may have a few delicate features, but I am not delicate. Delicate is defined as frail in constitution or health. I'm actually about as healthy as a horse, and not at all frail in construction! If you're looking for another definition, we could always go with easily broken or damaged. I'm neither of these things. If you've read any of my previous blogs, you know this about me already. I'm actually extremely durable, and have learned to NOT break or damage easily. Actually, rather than a porcelain sculpture, I'm more like a rubber ball. I bounce back pretty quickly! The site goes on to say that the word can also be defined as marked by sensitivity of discrimination. Also not me. I'm numb to being discriminated against. It's happened too often. Requiring tactful treatment? FAR from me Treat me like one of the guys and I'm as happy as I can be.

2). Very bad; terrible: in a pretty predicament

I believe this one to be pretty self explanatory. I don't believe that anyone here can say that I'm very bad (unless you know me better than I thought). But I'm certainly not terrible!

3). Considerable in size or extent: a pretty fortune

I think this one is also pretty self explanatory. I'm not a very big girl. I mean, I'm only a whole 5'6" tall and the shortest person in my family. I'm fairly small about the middle, have basically no chest to think about, and (the way I see it) I dont have a bubble butt, so there is nothing about me that is of a considerable size or extent.

4). Ostensibly or superficially attractive but lacking substance or conviction: full of pretty phrases.

I would like to think that I'm far from superficial. I believe I DO contain both substance and conviction. In fact, I have so much substance that I cant seem to fit it all into the one book I wrote! I instead have had to start another one. Conviction is defined as a fixed or strong belief. Conviction? Ask anyone who knows me well and they can tell you just how much conviction I have.

5). To a fair degree; moderately: a pretty good student.

I have to say that this one probably gets to me the most. I've worked very hard to not be "moderate" at anything. I'm a pretty tuff cookie. If I say I'm going to do something, I do it! If I am going to try to do something, Im not going to give up on it until I get it right. I'm a borderline perfectionist. There is not an option for me to do things to a "fair" degree. It's all or none.

So here it is. These are the reasons I don't see myself as pretty. I see the overall term as more of an insult than a compliment. Now if you said I was beautiful .....

beautiful adj.
adj 1: delighting the senses or exciting intellectual or emotional admiration; "a beautiful child"; "beautiful country"; "a beautiful painting"; "a beautiful theory"; "a beautiful party" 2: aesthetically pleasing 3: (of weather) highly enjoyable; "what a beautiful day."

In my own eyes, the only beauty I possess is in the creativity I exude. No, I see no beauty when I look in the mirror. What I see is much more precious to me than that. I see my creative side, the happiness I feel, the smile that so many people find contagious, and my everlasting zest for life. I see that I am unique. That's more important to me. I may never see myself as a "beauty"... but I will appreciate what I see anyway, because what I see is personality.

HOWEVER - To have my face cradled in the hands of a handsome man who looks deep into my eyes, staring straight into my soul, tell me with honest and sincere intention that I'm beautiful... well, there's no greater compliment on the face of the Earth.

First Date

I've had a lot of first dates in my history, most of which didn't make it to a second date. It's hard to find a stable, drama free guy.

One guy ended up seeing me for a while, constantly charming me, flirting, teasing, dancing and dining. When finally after many months we took it to the next level he made a disastrous comment immediately after kissing me.

"I think you like me more than I like you," he said calmly. He was cool - no, strike that. He was cold. The whole thing had been a game for him. When I laughed at him, it really blew him away. He didn't know how to take it. He thought I was angry at him. Had I been angry, there would have been no doubt - I would have torn his head off. It upset him greatly that I wasn't actually angry at him I think. I laugh it off as one of the all time biggest relationship failures.

I once had a man propose to me on a first date. With my history of first dates, I knew he had a screw loose and played it off as a joke. I gave him an easy way out that way, and yet he didn't take it. He insisted that he was serious. He claimed that I was the "perfect woman" and he already knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. At the conclusion of that date, I gave the wrong address and walked a full three blocks home from where I had told him I lived.

Another first date once took me to a buffet style dinner where he proceeded to gorge himself in the most ungentlemanly fashion imaginable. By the end of the date, there was a full meal splayed down the front of his shirt. At that point I had already learned my lesson about meeting somewhere rather than riding together.

In High School, one of the popular boys asked me out on a date one night. I had been working at Wendy's in Roy, Utah at the time and he had apparently admired me from afar. He didn't know that I didn't fit the mold of what his family deemed a proper girl to him (mainly due to my religion unfortunately) and we had a glorious time anyway. We played miniature golf, watched an old Disney movie with a group of people where I fell asleep, and then he drove me home. I kissed him on the cheek before I got out of the car, and floated on air all the way to bed. The next day at school, he wouldn't even say hello to me. Someone had told him about my religion. He never spoke to me again.

I've had first dates that would go down in the record books as being some of the most horrible. One openly gawked at a passing woman with a large chest. One tried to slip a drug into my iced tea. One actually tried to put a drop of acid in his mouth and then kiss me without my knowing about it. He almost didn't survive the night.

I've had some very nice first dates as well. One guy showed up with a dozen red roses and a pencil drawing he did of me from a photo. It was sweet and romantic - and I eventually married him. Another took me dancing, also a very romantic move. Unfortunately he didn't really know how to dance and ended up sending me home with bruised feet. We were together for 2 years. Yet another took me to a beautiful restaurant in Beverly Hills called Vibrato and got a seat reserved right near the Jazz band where we dined on incredible steaks accompanied by dirty martini's, just the way I like it.

With all of these First Dates under my belt, one would think I would be an expert in the field - but there are those who have still taken me by surprise.

One first date in particular stands out in my mind above all others for some reason... A noisy restaurant isn't exactly the best place for a first date, but the food was good and the view was spectacular. Afterward we decided to go for a stroll. Walking along the beach in the dark, 10:00 at night just talking with someone I hardly knew turned out to be a wonderful night and an evening to remember. It's the little things I remember most; the sand between my toes, the ocean waves lapping at the shore, talking about surfing, going to Hawaii, being burried in the sand, odd family members and just life in general made that night the most successful first date in my history. There was nobody stomping on my feet or a Jazz band to shout over. There weren't any buffet lines, hidden drugs, sneaky idiots or marriage proposals. It was what I had always wanted - a NORMAL first date with a wonderful person.

There are many events that have happened in my life that I can swear I will never forget for as long as I live. I've forgotten most of the horrible first dates, and I remember most of the good ones. There are those that will live in infamy within the recesses of my mind though that will always make me smile, just with the mere thought of them. And as you all know, I do love to share my fond memories.

The Wreck

"... and here we are, going round in circles, wondering if the lie will be discovered. I’ve told some big ones, but never really on this grand of a scale. And to what end? Actually, strangely enough, it covers her tail end in several different directions. She’s a crazy one. Perhaps someday she’ll let more people in on the secret, but for now it’s only me. For now she won’t even tell her own family. For now, nobody knows. Nobody but herself, me, and the driver of the small pick up truck that crashed into us..."

Exerpt from my book three days before Heathers death.

Big City Life

I used to feel so alone in the big city. All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because how do you meet a new person? I was very stumped by this for a number of years. And then I realized, you just say "Hi."

They may ignore you.
Or you may marry them.

And that possibility is worth that one word.


I was awe struck as I walked into my little appartment last night. I had just climbed out of the shower and was going to settle into bed to read for a while before drifting off to strange and erratic dreams when I heard a noise below. The cats were settling in to bed. The lights outside filtered through the wooden slats covering the window, eluminating the room with a pleasant, faint glow. I couldn't help but to smile, remembering fondly the wonderful memories I've already made in that room with my own friends and lovely little pets.

I climbed down from the loft to fetch myself a bottle of water. I walked through my very own living room and saw the computer on the desk still open to a project for work. I had managed to feel highly successful yesterday in the mid-year meeting and was ready to attack my job with a new sense of purpose and determination. My smile grew for reasons I couldn't yet share. Oliver jumped down from his carpeted tree and nuzzled my bare leg.

I've been in some hard spots, and I've had a really hard time trying to find my place in this world. Even now it's a daily struggle for me, but I know where I'm meant to be. I know what I want to do for my career, and getting there has been a challenge, it's one I'm eager to face every day when I wake up. I look forward to going in to work. Even now that path isn't guaranteed, but I know that I'm well on my way and I have a support system greater than any I've ever known. And yet, as I walked through the appartment last night, I realized something that maybe I had known all along and just hadn't realized.

I have my home. It's the first time I've felt like I belonged somewhere and had my own place in my entire life. I belong here. This is my sanity, my safety, and my savior. My career has just begun and I have great plans for my direction, but I have everything in my life that I've ever really searched for - stability, self-sufficiency and confidence.

This was an eye opening walk through my own place. I found something in the past year I guess I never really lost - my inspiration and my soul. They've just been waiting for me to realize that all I had to do was reach out for them, held captive in the recesses of my own mind. If not for people like my boss, friends and co-workers who have stood by me in this most difficult time, I may never have taken this walk to the kitchen on this warm and humid night in my house coat and slippers and seen the magic of my own home around me. I wouldn't have that glorious appartment. I wouldn't have my two cats, warm and friendly, loving and giving. I wouldn't be where I am in this world, with dreams, desires and determination to not only succeed, but to conquer.

Yes, I am still me. I am that vibrant, energetic little girl I knew growing up. I'm that sassy, somewhat crazy redhead I knew in my teens. I'm that young, ambitious adult I knew in my early 20's who saw the world as nothing but a game to win. I'M BACK, and nothing can stop me this time.

My job has opened new doors to meeting new people and trying new things. I've become more empowered than ever before, and after so many years of searching and never knowning, I've found my niche. I've found where I belong.

I've finally found my purpose.

Need a New Friend

Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy.

I mean, when he's not at work, he's with me - and I'm usually trying to get as close to him as possible because I miss him all day. I have to learn to leave him alone sometime before I drive him away. I need to remember that - go in the other room and read or something, no matter how badly I missed him. I need to make the sacrifice. Lord knows he's made sacrifices for me.

I cant stand TV anymore. Reality shows are driving me crazy. That Idol show gets news coverage about every time it's on the air... mainly because the main guy is a complete jerk, and the washed up Pop singer sounds a little bitter. The Disney shows are talking about teen girls being jealous of Tomb Raiders "Double D Body" in shows that are supposed to be appropriate for 5 year olds. I don't want my 6 year old talking like that!!! Adult TV shows are filled with vulgarity instead of intelligent conversation, and bullets, blood, and bodies rather than anything of substance.

I dont have any friends other than Pete. I run alone. I work out alone. I shop alone. When Pete works, I live alone. I have no company, night or day. There's no dog to warn me of strangers, there's no cat to curl up on my lap. It's no wonder I want so badly to be near Pete when he gets home.

What happened to me? I used to be such a people-person. I don't answer my phone anymore unless it's Pete or my parents. I walk past people on the street and look down at my feet rather than smile at them like I once did. I dont smile at strangers anymore, and I never entertain the complaints of the person behind me in line at the department store. At one time I took it as a personal challenge to make someone smile if they weren't already. I did that everywhere I went. Where am I now? Am I so engrossed in my life with Pete that I dont even see the outside world anymore? What could I possibly be concentrating so hard on?

Pete will be home in about an hour... and I'm exhausted. Maybe I'll just go to bed. Then he'll have some alone time. Would that be better for him? Am I smothering him? Maybe I should just ask him.

(Written in the summer of 2006)

Leave me be

Written in May of 2006 to my then-stalker

Just leave me alone.

Forget you ever met me. I'm wishing that on my lucky charm even now.

That is all I've desired of you for a year now... just for you to forget you ever met me. Loose my number, my email, my name, and anything you ever knew about me.

You're an ass.
I'm done.
You're not worth my time.

Any correspondence from you after this will be erased without being opened. I've set up my email program to do that automatically.

If your goal was to get the last word, you failed at yet something else in your life.

Good luck with that ego of yours.

In Time

I didn't actually write this one, but it was worth sharing with the world.
Please, don't ever forget those who love us, even if we can't return their love.  

In a very short period of Time, just a little more than a month, you opened my eyes to a whole new world. It’s a wonderfully exciting world full of life and it is called “Amanda”.

In that short Time, you showed me a glimpse of what I have been missing all of my life. You showed me what true love, caring and yes, passion can really be like. It’s as if I have been sleepwalking my entire life and you awakened me with one incredible kiss. But it was just a brief glimpse…a preview of what could be. Unfortunately, you never gave me the Time to explore it with you…to know what heaven could really be like. During this all too brief period of Time, you brought me up to heights I didn’t know existed and then let me plummet back to Earth.

In Time, we could have explored that wonderful world together. But I feel like the more I want to get closer to you, to get to know you better, the more you back away. I know only the superficial you, not the real you. It’s like you have a shell built up around you that no one (at least me) can penetrate. I can only guess at what beauty lies within. You must have been hurt deeply at some point in your life to have to put up such defense. I have also come to realize that your feelings for me aren’t the same as mine for you.

In Time, your name won’t be the first thing on my lips when I awaken in the morning and thoughts of you won’t be the last thing on my mind as I drift off to sleep every night.

In Time, I won’t think of you constantly throughout the day, wondering what you’re doing, how you’re feeling.

In Time, I won’t go back to pictures of you and feel a closeness to you and dream of our being together.

In Time, my love for you will diminish and will no longer give me this empty feeling that I have inside right now. And in Time, this ache in my heart will be just a scar over the memory of what might have been.

But time will never make you love me.

Expectations and Desires

This is What He Doesn't Want
But This is What He Expects

He wants to think of me as a Bond Girl?
That's just fine by me.
I'll be the cold hearted bitch
That he expected me to be.

He thinks that I'm impulsive
I'm a danger to his heart
He's been up front and honest
From the very start.

He wont ever feel for me
The way I feel for him.
That's fine, I'll be ok
I wont make that mistake again.

It's time to be the Bond Girl
That he thought I always was
Dangerous, cold, and calculating
I'll be the end effect AND the cause.

No more beating round the bush
I'm done with playing games!
The plan is to sever all ties now
Before I go up in flames.

I'm tired of being hurt
Because I freely give my heart
It's time to wall it up now
And be safe and smart.

Yes, I know I'm all talk.
I wish I didn't feel this way.
Still, I can take that job and move
I no longer have reason to stay.

Lady Blackwood

Is there an US

An email I wrote what seems like years ago now... I had continued seeing someone on occasion and I'd finally had enough of the games.

As far as there being an "us"... it seems as though we're in a bit of a bind here. I mean, I wouldn't normally go out in lingerie to dinner with just anyone. I also wouldn't spend the night with someone that I'm just 'seeing'. It seems that every time we get together with the intention of talking, other things take place and we dont get very much talking done. Perhaps Bridget is right. Perhaps we're both being idiots. What ARE we doing? Maybe it's time we had a talk. You said that if there was an 'us' perhaps I should clue you in. Maybe there's a very good reason neither of us have a freaking clue here. What are we?? Best friends? Lovers? Aquaintances? Occasional companions? Ex's? Or are we even friends at all? You make jokes about how you still hate me. I dont believe that to be true at all... but then again...

We both need to wake up and get a clue. I moved out almost 5 months ago now. Of those 152 days, how often have you wanted to see me or invited me over? And how often have I dropped everything or canceled other plans to do that very thing? The answers - few, and often.

I dont want to sound cold or caloused here, as that is far from my intention... I just think it's about time we hash this out. We can do that in person, or we can do that here over email. It's your call. I think this needs to be settled before we make any other plans together. The last thing we need is to have either of us get our hearts wrapped around the other one again only to find out all we're doing is sleeping with each other occasionally. The results could be detrimental.

You know me well enough to know I'm passionate about things I care about. That would be why this sounds more like a moody rant than anything else, and I am sorry for that in advance. I'm passionate about you. I always have been.

Now for the ticking time bomb.
Are you seeing anyone else? Bridget perhaps? Is knowing that you may see me on occasion holding you back in any way from seeing anyone else? For a while it was keeping me back, but I finally started seeing someone. It's nothing serious, and he's not interested in exclusivity. He's been up front with me about that since the begining.

I dont ask these things because I want to reopen 5 month old wounds. I'm not telling you these things for that reason either. I want to be up front with you about all of it. I, like you, need to know where 'we' stand, if there is a we at all. I cant move things forward with you OR with anyone else for that matter until I know. It leaves us both in a very unfair situation, neither of us available to move on with either each other or someone else.

Sorry to have vented out like this. I never meant to, and I do hope you understand that. I also hope you understand where I'm coming from. This entire portion of the email (everything after the ~~) was meant to only be about a single paragraph long. I guess I had a lot in there I needed to get out. I suppose I could have summed this all up with a single sentance rather than typing out a novel for you to have to sift through.... "We Need To Talk" would likely have gotten my point across.

Get back to me when you can... I'll be here.



Leave Me Be

Written in 2006 to my THEN stalker.

I guess the short and long of it is that if you were to ask me today where I thought this relationship was going, I’d have to be brutally honest and say nowhere. I cant see a future with you. I’ve never had such a short amount of time with someone be the whole of so many problems! I try very hard to keep my life as drama free as I can. Lord knows I’ve had enough drama in my short life to last me for the rest of it. I keep work and personal issues completely separate. I hang my problems outside the door every night and I know where to pick them up in the morning. There’s a line.

If there is anything more you need to say to me about anything personal, you may feel free to email me or call my home number. Other than that, the work numbers and email addresses are for work related topics of conversation only. I understand it would not be fair of me to completely cut you off from vocalizing your thoughts and opinions after an email like this, so I do extend that courtesy to you. However, please be sure that you have collected your thoughts, opinions, and ideas well. This courtesy will only be extended one last time.

I will be home tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST. If you wish to talk to me via telephone, that is your window. Otherwise, just drop me an email sometime. Just remember, only one. I can not stress enough that I ask you’ve collected your thoughts well.

I have terms and conditions I suppose you could call them.
I will not put up with being cut off, having the conversation dominated, or being spoken to in a condescending manor.
The conversation will not exceed the 6:30 time I have outlined above.
If for any reason I hang up on you, you do NOT have the right to call me back.
(there will be prior warning if there is a violation to the terms so that you might have the opportunity to correct your actions BEFORE I hang up.)
The phone conversation will be as an alternative to an email.
If you decide instead to send me an email and not call, that will be a replacement for the call.
If you call me before the time outlined above, the call will be voided and you will be hung up on immediately.
If you call me at my work number and try to discuss anything outside of the weather, your health, or work related material, the call will be immediately terminated; any other personal calls scheduled will also be terminated.
If more than one email with your name attached reaches my inbox, they will all be immediately erased without being opened.

All other personal communications after that will be avoided by me at all cost, and I would only suggest that you do the same.

Split Days

On Monday I looked into the eyes
Of a man who loved me dearly
I felt the warmth and compassion
More than before; so clearly.

How could I ever tell him
That his feelings I cant return?
My heart belongs to another.
It’s for HIS love I yearn.

On Tuesday I stood face to face
With the man I always think of.
I told him of my true feelings
I told him I was in love.

He couldn’t return my feelings
I saw the look in his eyes
And as sad as this sounds
It wasn’t at all a surprise.

You can lead a heart to love
But from there it’s on its own.
You cant force it to fall
And you cant make it melt stone.

So I’ve resolved to a solution
I know now what I’m to do.
If nothing else, this experience
Has given me a new point of view.

I cant expect him to love me
Now or anytime soon.
I cant force myself to love someone
In a single afternoon.

So I’m to be alone for now
Don’t be sad for me!
I’ll get over the one you know
And the other will be ok, you’ll see!


Go Away

Just Go Away!!!

You’ve asked me for a date.
Go away.
You want more time with me.
Go away.
You’re too impatient to wait.
Go away.
Why cant you let me be?
Go away.

You’ve called me every day.
Go away.
You’ve given me so many things.
Go away.
I don’t know how else to say
Go away.
I wont be one of your flings.
Go away.

Its not ok in my eyes.
Go away
Please don’t cheat on your wife.
Go away.
I once thought you so wise
Go away
I wont be your second life.
Go away.

I wont be how you break your vow
Go away
You’re not who I think of.
Go away.
There’s someone in my life now
Go away.
I found someone I love.
Go away.

Do not come by my house anymore.
Go away.
Please don’t call me again.
Go away.
I will not be your dirty whore.
Go away.
I am something you'll never win.
Go away.

Lady Blackwood

Best Friends

Best Friends.

Best Friends are there to guide us
When we need a helping hand
They’re ready to protect us
When we cant take a stand.
They’re the last hope for survival
When we’re sinking in the sand

True friends are really angels
Dressed up in disguise
They crack jokes all day long
But when it’s time they’re wise.
They truly love us for who we are
And are willing to compromise.

They take us at face value
And never ask for more.
When the world seems so cruel
They help to open doors
When we’re up a creek without a paddle
They’ll hand us the only oar.

Best friends are a god send
True to their every word
Of all the people in the world
He’s who I’ve most preferred.
That’s why I’ll marry mine
Anyone else would be absurd.

Lady Blackwood

Bond Girl

Bond Girl

He called me a Bond Girl.
I’m dangerous in his eyes.
He tried to keep me at arms length
He’s not like other guys.

He’s got a set of rules
His friends all know he follows
So when they each met me
You could hear the audible swallows

I’m the girl that broke his rules
Almost every one!
But he had to get to know me
And now I’m too much fun.

He refused to date a smoker
I smoke a pack a day.
He didn’t ever want a mother
My son turns 6 today.

He’s always liked the redheads
But knew they were dangerous
Now I’m learning the danger
Is really just a plus.

He kissed me for the first time
I thought I’d melt away
I think he’s the “one” I want
And he’s one I’ll never betray.

I put down my last cigarette
I gave it up complete.
I'll try to not be so dangerous....

At least not to one so sweet...

Lady Blackwood

Unfolding Wings

Unfolding wings

Have you ever seen a child take flight,
Running with his arms open wide?
Flapping them madly around
Over his head, and back to his side?

In that moment he flies
He’s soaring through the clouds
He’s escaped the every day world
No longer deals with the crowds.

The birds all look at him strangely
As though he’s lost his mind
But the little one echoes their cooing
For a moment he’s one of their kind.

The concrete steps will echo
With each thudding step he takes
The birds spread their wings and take flight
The ancient coble stones shake

The innocence of that childhood
Will be gone before you can blink
So before you curse at his antics
Take a moment to sit back and think.

What would you do to have your youth
To enjoy your childhood all over again?
It’s a fleeting moment of our past.
Why wish this one to grow up then?

Let the little one enjoy his run
As he pretends to be a bird.
To ask anything more of a child
Would simply be obsurd.

Lady Blackwood

The Thief (edit)

Facing the Past

80 and aging
Climbing the stairs
Thinking back to his youth

With each step
His mind reels
Should he tell them the truth?

His climb today
Will be his last
He knows he’s going to die

But his family’s there
Waiting for him
Should he continue that lie?

He’s been in hiding
For so many years
How should he begin?

No matter what
They wont understand
Exactly where he’s been.

He didn’t skip out
And leave them there
For just no reason at all

The saga was real
It came to his door
The details he vividly recalls.

His mind so full
He reaches the top
A stretches out a hand

The door gives way
Into the hall
And there his family stands.

How to begin
He wonders inside
Or will he even be able?

He empties his pocket
And spreads the contents
All across the table.

Diamonds shone
The gold did glitter
But what caught the most attention

Were twelve passports
All in a row
He watched dawning comprehension.

Their faces lit up
They came alive
And the questions flooded in

He sat them down
And told them all
Exactly where he’d been.

Years ago they sent me
So very far away
I’ve been around the Earth.

I’m back now
And I’m sorry I left
For whatever that might be worth.

I thought of you often
And now I’m here
But my little girls, you’re grown!

I’m dying now
And I don’t care
If my cover has been blown.”

He told them all
Of his magical tales
Working for Her Majesty

Such an old man
So fragile and frail
How could this really be?

There father was
The “Bond” inspiration?
Surely that wasn’t so!

He opened the cover
To the top passport
Revealing the name Jon Doe.

He went through the stack
Opening each
Revealing a different name

Upon the last
It said “Jon Clark”
And he hung his head in shame.

“This is me
As far as I know
But I’ve lived this lie too long

The aliases I’ve had
Are far too many
And my memory isn’t that strong.”

80 and aging
Descending the stairs
Thinking back to his youth

With each step
His mind reels
He finally told them the truth.

His descending today
Will be his last
He knows he’s going to die

The shot rang out
He fell to the ground
Her Majesty lost her best spy.

Lady Blackwood

(Not one of the best, but I saved it for a reason.)

Daily Color

Wake to the red
Night time has shed
It’s time to start the day

Yawns so mellow
Lighting so yellow
What will that mirror portray?

Step onto the green
The lawn so clean
The mower just finished its task

Stare into the blue
The clouds askew
“Why go to work” I ask?

Purple flowers
During work hours
Help to speed the time

Stuck in all day
Some people would say
Should be considered a crime.

With orange hue
The sun departs you
It’s time for the day to end.

Off to bed
Now rest your head
Tomorrow we’ll do it again.

Alone in my room
My life will resume
When day once more sails through.

Drifting away
Into the gray
Peaceful dreams of you

Lady Blackwood

You Don't Know

I've been on a poetry kick lately - bare with me... They usually dont last long.

You say nothing serious
And then kiss me like you do
You dont know what youre doing to me
I could so easily fall for you.

You say just having fun
Like the chemistry isnt there
Yet we meet most every day
Of this Im sure youre aware.

Youre attracted to me And Im crazy for you
Someday you will understand
Youll reach over And Ill feel alive
When you only touch my hand.

You tell me that Im beautiful
And whisper into my ear
You ask where I came from
Your words are so sincere.

We plan our next meetings
Before we finish a meal
We laugh all night and yet
You have no clue how I feel.

Youre attracted to me And Im crazy for you
Someday you will understand
Youll brush my hair out of my face
You gently hold my hand.

I think about you all the time
My thoughts are riddled with you.
You hold me close in my mind
And I have flashes of De Ja Vous

Ill be happy with Nothing serious
And Im ok with having fun
I dont want you to know my real feelings
For I never want you to run.

Youre attracted to me And Im crazy for you
Someday you will understand
Youll reach over and touch my arm
Before you hold my hand.

Commitment isnt your thing
And for now thats ok by me
I know youve been hurt before
And would rather just be free.

But someday I wont be content
To have you not want to be mine
Im sure youll know my feelings
Before we ever cross that line.

Youre attracted to me And Im crazy for you
None of this was planned!
Youll caress my face And Ill feel alive

Will you ever understand?

Lady Blackwood

Letter to Michele

Private email from me to my friend and old boss...


Hi Michele...
I hate to do this to you, but I have nowhere else to turn.

Day in and day out I wonder how I'm going to be able to pay for my gas, my insurance, and most importantly, my food. I scrape together everything I can to make ends meet, and when it comes right down to the wire, I've had to borrow money from friends, warning them in advance that I have no idea when I'll be able to pay it back. I'm going slowly into the hole.

I've had a couple of job offers that I've not told anyone inside the company about, because I didn't want anyone to question my loyalty to my job here. I love my job and as such, have turned down several offers of making more starting out than I am after almost a year at this company. As our mutual friend on the East Coast says, though, loyalties dont pay the bills.

It's been on my mind a lot, but I suppose the real breaking point for me was finding out that the new assistant was hired making more money than I am even now. My car is about to conk out on me - and then what? If I loose my car, I loose everything! I cant afford another one obviously. I would have no transportation to and from work. I would have absolutely nothing left. I'm sure we can both see where that would lead to.

I'm feeling lost, alone, depressed, and down right scared right now. We both know that I'm a pretty tuff girl with where I've been in my life. I really do need a feeling of stability at the moment, and that's something I dont have even after working here for 10 months. I dont cry often, and the issue has brought tears to my eyes this morning.

Something needs to be done, only I'm afraid nothing would be done even if it was brought to the company Presidents attention. We dont have an HR department for me to turn to, the Assistant Manager wouldn't care, our friend in Accounting wouldn't know what to do, and the Manager wouldn't want to cause waves with the President. It would be indecent of me to go straight to the President, skipping right over the heads of everyone else, but that leaves me standing here alone pulling my hair out by the roots and praying every night that I can pay my bills for "just another month". I cant survive on this, Michele. I have nowhere to turn; nowhere to go.

I need to feel stable, and I dont. At any minute my world could be yanked out from under me, and I've worked too hard to let that happen. If you have any suggestions, I would really appreciate it, but really all I needed to do was vent. I wanted to keep you up to date. I've always felt like I could come to you with anything, be it work related or not. You're a dear friend to me, and one of very few in my life. Thanks for always being there for me.


Unfairness Poem

The world isn’t fair
I’ve heard some complain
The injustice in the world
Could drive a man insane.

Some are paid unfairly
Others disrespected
While others who don’t deserve it
Are constantly protected.

Racism runs rampant
Thought those days were past!
Hatred is the only thing
That most people think can last.

Death and taxed are certain
But is the unfairness just as sure?
How much more can common man
Be pressured to endure?

Those who need medical help
Are denied it every day.
Then those who are hypochondriacs
Know exactly what to say.

Male assistants are hired
At a higher rate of pay
Than those whom they work under
If it’s a woman of modern day.

Murders get off Scott free
If they are attached to fame.
While citizens with minor violations
Get treated the exact same.

What happened to the class?
The respect we all deserve?
Should we all just stand and take it
As they grind at our last nerve?

Lady Blackwood

The Back Massager

I did get to have a little bit of fun over the weekend. On Saturday I went to have my car washed and oil changed (it desperately needed both) and had a leisurely lunch at Quiznos. Then I went back to my appartment and wrote a little bit in my book. I've now passed the 200 page marker and have moved on into volume two! Yesterday I went to the beach for a bit and got a little toasted. Actually, my shoulders are fairly well scorched. I'll see if I can send you a picture in a little bit.

I also had a friend from New Zeland come to visit for a few hours. I needed a shower after being at the beach, so when I trotted off to the shower I told him to make himself at home. When I got out of the shower and got dressed, I wandered back into my room and he held something up to me. He looked at me quisically and asked as I imagine a child would "What's this?" He had found my vibrator. I turned about three shades of purple, took it out of his open hand, shoved it into a drawer and told him it was a neck massager. How humiliating!