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Dreams of Scotland #2


I got out of the airport terminal with a small bag in my hands. He saw me from a distance and his heart began to race. I was still wiping the sleep from my eyes when he spotted me, but I was still wide eyed with excited, knowing he was there somewhere. When at last I saw his face above the others, I couldn't contain myself. I began to run and threw myself into his arms. The rest of the world melted away and nobody else existed in the world.

We were swept away in one another, standing in a blank white room with no walls, just the two of us existing together alone. He lifted my chin to kiss me and I could feel the soft press of his lips on mine. That kiss lasted for eternity. When at last we parted, it was only because someone in the airport had bumped into us.

We collected my bag and walked outside. He pointed out the things that I had mentioned before in my dream, this time everything was far clearer to me. When I looked up at his face, he looked down and smiled. He kissed me again and again. We froze there on the sidewalk, holding one another and refusing to let go. People around us looked, but we didn't pay attention. We didn't even notice them.

We didn't let go of one another for the next several days longer than the time it takes to go to the boys or girls room. We laughed, we cried, we shared and talked and fell even more madly in love. We went to bed finally, he snuggled up to my back, his arm around me.

When I opened my eyes, I saw him laying there before me. At first I thought I had rolled over - the dream was that real. Then I realized that he really was laying there before me, sleeping like an Angel - my Angel, my Saving Grace, my True Love. Once more I cried. I wept for joy and for sorrow.

He was there before me and I was on the other side of a glass wall. I wanted so badly to reach out and touch him, to hold his hand or stroke his face, to kiss his temple, and yet I couldn't.

I no longer fear - I know that this is right. This is my path. For once in my life, I know where I'm supposed to be - by your side, holding your hand.

There with you

Just an 'inspired' bit of writing...
(Some people in my life inspire me daily)

When you wake in the morning,

Keep your eyes closed a moment longer.

Imagine I'm there next to you,

watching you sleep.

I'll prop myself up on one elbow

And smile at you as you rest.

I'll reach over and kiss you on the cheek to wake you,

and whisper "good morning" in your ear.

When you get ready to leave for work this day,

close your eyes before you walk out of your home.

Imagine I'm there with you,

You're not allowed to leave without a kiss.

I've got a mischievous grin on my face,

and a playful look in my eyes.

"Kiss me," I beckon to you.

Kiss me or Ill tickle you!

When you walk up to your front door tonight,

Ready to go home,

Stop and close your eyes

If only just for a moment.

Try to tell yourself

I'm standing there with you,

I'll slide my hand into yours

When I sneak up from behind.

You'll turn your head and look at me

And we'll smile at each other.

I'll tell you then how much I adore you,

But I will never need to use the words.

When you close your eyes tonight

And rest your head on your pillow,

try to tell yourself that it's not a pillow

On which you lay your head.

It's my lap youve found comfort in.

I'll run my fingers through your hair

Lightly running my nails over your scalp.

I'll lean over and kiss you on the forehead

Ill rest my free hand on your chest,

and whisper softly how much I love you.

I'll be right there with you.

I'll always be right there with you.

The Lost Chapter

Posted Date: : Jun 29, 2006 2:09 P
A long lost section from my book...
A clearly strong emotion that I remember even now.

"Things are so hard right now. Last night I stood out on my balcony, where you would stand to smoke a cigarette. I watched the sun go down and thought about you. I could almost make out the steam as the sun finally touched the salty surface of the Pacific. The moon was soon to follow it off into the ocean. I sent my love to you on the bright side of the moon, so watch for it tonight. When it comes over that horizon, its going to have a heavy load its been carrying all night.

"The stars started to peek out one at a time, and I found myself doing something I've not done in a very long time. I recited a childhood poem about the first star of the night, and then I made a wish. I know I'm not suppose to tell my wish or it wont come true, but I'm positive you already know who and what it was about. It's been the only wish to cross my lips since last April.

"I was perfectly content to be alone for as long as it took to get myself on my feet. I've depended too long on others and decided to take a stand some time back. Just as I'm getting to where I want to be, here comes the most wonderful man I've ever met in my life and I'm completely swept off my feet.

"I didnt expect to ever feel like this. I had become cynical about love, emotion, and what could happen between a woman and a man. I didn't believe anyone when they said they loved me. In fact, when a man said that he loved me, often times that was when I decided I was tired of them and it was time to move on. I thought the words were a lie. That's mainly because of how many times in my life they have been clearly that very thing; a farce. It was used as a weapon against me. It would twist my heart to hurt me just as easily as some would twist an arm to hurt another.

"For the first time in too many years to remember, someone said it to me and I believed it. What's more, the emotion was completely mutual.

"I would give up so much to be able to spend one day a month with you. Two would be heaven. Three would be beyond paradise. I know in my heart that the way things stand right now, I'd be lucky to see you that often in a year's time. That's what makes this whole thing so hard. I've been perfectly happy to be alone. I welcomed it after the situations I've found myself in previously. Until I knew you, I didnt know what lonely was about. When I can't reach you, I feel like I can't breathe. Ive never felt so lonely in my life as I do when we don't talk. It's not that I can't live without you, because I have done so for a long time. The truth of the matter is that I dont want to have to.

I would give up so much just to be with you occasionally; to have you near me, and to not have to guess when the next time would be I would see the morning sun on your face.

I love you so much. I miss you terribly.

And I'll see you very soon.

Dreams Come True

With breathless anxiety I awaited that first chance, that first glance, that first love. When he appeared before me, I knew not what I had found. He was all I had searched for; longed for. He filled my thoughts for every waking moment from then on...

Spam Diaries #3

The Spam Diaries # 3

The sentence is :
It had been just after daylight when she escaped from Jetts camp.


It had been just after daylight when she escaped from Jetts camp. The men had been up most of the night trying to keep her from escaping and the exhaustion from the past several days of travel finally got to them somewhere around daybreak. She had been smart and planned out the whole thing. She slept while they kept watch. There was no better time to sleep!

She knew she was valuable to them. They’d have to keep her safe and alive, with no marks. How would it look if the Governors daughter came back with bruises complaining of abuse from the men he had sent out to find her? All day long the previous day she had done everything she could to cause some sort of damage to her perfect skin. At first she clawed lightly at her own arms, but finally they had grown wise to what she was doing and tied her hands behind her back. Then she began trying to walk deliberately through bushes and even kicked a tree with her shin once. The men started thinking she was just insane! Finally they tied her legs together and threw her up and over a pack mule in order to haul her like cargo through the woods on the way home. They’d never figure out how she got so far from home on foot.

She crouched low behind an old log laying on the forest floor to watch from a distance. Surely they would expect her to head for high ground. She’d fool them all by not only going in the direction of home, but by staying low. She wanted to be able to watch them ride right past her and never know she was there.

Rebecca was a rebel at heart, yes. Surely every one of these men thought she was insane for the actions she was taking to try to draw attention to her well being when she got home. Why would someone want to damage themselves, just to get someone else into trouble? They didn’t understand. Rebecca knew they never would.

The abuse had started when she was only about seven years old. This wasn’t the first time she had run away, and if she did go back, it wouldn’t be the last. She gritted her teeth. This WAS going to be the last. She would make sure of it. She would never go back there. She’d had to put up with her horrible father for ten years while her mother just turned her back and her baby brother was too young to know what was going on.

She knew that if the men did manage to take her home and she looked damaged, there was a chance her father wouldn’t touch her at least until her wounds healed. He might even think she’d fallen victim to one of the men on the search party and would think of her as ‘tainted’ after that. That would buy her some time to plan her next escape. All of these thoughts had gone through her head as she walked along side the horses, before being tossed over the pack mule.

She had thought about how to escape while she was tied up and laying across the mule the previous afternoon. The ropes bound her hands behind her back, but she was flexible enough to be able to maneuver just enough. Somehow she managed to wiggle her arms around to her side where she dug for anything sharp enough to cut the ropes. She hadn’t planned on cutting them then and there though. She would wait until nightfall. Her hands found nothing. After several minutes, she gave up that thought. She’d find something when they stopped for the night. She wasn’t expecting the blessing that would come her way.

That night when they stopped to make camp, the burly man named Thomas lifted her off the mule. Her body ached from being left in that position on such a bony animal for so long. She fell to the ground, her legs too weak to support her. Thomas leaned over to pick her up and she leaned on him for support – but not before grabbing the small knife from the holster he had on his ankle. She palmed it carefully and went with him to where Charlie had laid a blanket on the ground for her. They laid her down on her stomach and went to unpack everything.

Rebecca dropped the knife on the blanket and reached as far as she could to grab some of the wool shroud in order to conceal the blade.

When the meal of the evening was done roasting over the fire, Charlie untied her hands so she could eat. It wasn’t the best rabbit she had ever tasted, but it would do. She was very hungry. She hadn’t eaten in several days. Once she was done with her meal, Charlie came back to tie her again.

“Please”, she asked him sweetly, “Can you tie my hands in front? It’s so hard to sleep with them behind me.”

Charlie grunted and did as she asked. She smiled to herself. That was all she needed! Cutting the ropes in the morning would be so much easier if she could see what she was doing.

It was a couple of hours before she started to hear the panicked voices of the men searching for the missing girl. In that much time she had managed to dig a nice ditch with a stick and a couple of rocks. It was deep enough to be able to hide herself from view with leaves without looking like an odd, human shaped lump next to a log. She knew it was going to be a very long day while the men looked for her. She climbed into her hole and covered herself carefully. All that was left was to wait.

Rebecca heard leaves crunch under foot a moment later, less than three feet from her head. That wasn’t something she had been thinking about. What if someone or something stepped on her?

She peered between two leaves and saw the massive form of a man sit down on the large log there beside her, his back to where she lay. She held her breath.

Spam Diaries #2

The sentence is :
“I am sorry, gentlemen,” he added, smiling; "but this reduces your task to a very small matter.”


“I am sorry, gentlemen,” he added, smiling;” but this reduces your task to a very small matter.”

Thomas grunted in disgust and Brian grimaced slightly. They both knew what this meant. They were about to be let go. They had been working for this shady businessman for far too long to let him do this to them now. They had covered his tracks more than once, nearly landing themselves in jail for doing so. They would have proudly taken the wrap for Tony several times, and now this? As soon as Tony turned to walk back over to his desk Brian looked at Thomas and winked. Thomas grunted again. He knew what was coming. Thomas reached behind his back. Brian did the same thing.

By the time Tony sat in his plush leather chair behind his desk and was reaching for a fresh cigar, both Brian and Thomas had their guns pulled and aimed directly at Tony’s heart.

“No way you’re pinning this one on us,” Brian said with a sneer. “We’ve worked too hard to have you cut us out of the action. We’re going to get a piece of this whether you like it or not.” Tony smiled and suddenly Thomas felt very uneasy.

“You want a piece of this one, boys?” Tony’s smile broadened. “You sure you want a piece of this one?” Tony slid the 9mm out of his cigar box and pointed it at the two men behind the lid of the box, just out of sight.

Without warning two shots broke the silence and all three faces in the room fell coldly silent...

The Spam Diaries

For a while I was doing something called the Spam Diaries. I would get a rather odd email with a string of sentences that made no sense when put together. I got the bright idea to use it as a writing exercise and started doing the Spam Diaries at least once a week.

I started out by taking one sentence from the spam email I had gotten and growing inspired by it. It turned into a project that I continued with for a while. Most of these are still saved on a variety of other pages and blogs elsewhere in the world wide web.

What you will find below was the first Spam Diary ever written.

The Spam Diaries #1

The sentence is :
She would do good to forget how she picked him out.


She would do good to forget how she picked him out. He was nobody of any consequence then, and surely he could be that way again. She just had to forget what history they had. She could do that! She was convinced that she could do that.

She furrowed her brow. Couldn’t she?

The fact remained that she couldn’t get his image out of her head. In such a short time, he had become so important to her, and it was so clear to her that she didn’t mean the same thing to him. Often he would lead her to believe that she did, and though it was fully unintentional, it was still a very cold and calloused thing to do to her. He would hold her in the evenings and kiss her gently. He would tell her she was beautiful. He would reach out to her while in public, just to touch or hold her hand. And yet he was so distant. He wouldn’t open himself to her.

She’d be better off forgetting him completely. She’d be better off forgetting how he looked at her when she first met him, how they instantly clicked, how they never ran out of things to say… she’d be better off if she never knew him.

The phone rang. It was him. She scrambled for the ‘on’ button, held the thin mobile up to her ear, and tried to calm the anger and confused emotion in her voice.


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.

Amanda Martin

Dear Mr. X

Dear [Mr X];

I have a confession.

I know that’s a really bad sentence to start a letter with, but at least the top doesn't say “Dear John”… That’s the ultimate bad sign.

No, it’s nothing bad. I’m not telling you that I’m refusing to ever see you again or something like that. I’m not dying of some incurable disease. I’m not contagious. I’m not moving out of state. I’m not married. I’m healthy, well, and wanting to be with you. I suppose that’s where the issue lies, if you happen to see it as an issue.

Things between us did progress so quickly. In fact, I’m afraid you really don’t know how quickly they DID progress. I have to write this letter out to you because I fear that as brave as I am, I lack the courage to tell you all of this to your face.

The first time I had a conversation with you, I felt a connection. The second time, I was hooked. I knew from then on that I really needed to get to know you. You’ve confessed the same thing – wanting desperately to get to know me. I did something out of the ordinary by meeting you that night… but not for anything in the world would I change that fact. That is why we are where we are today.

You told me that you were keeping me at arms length because you felt I was dangerous. I don’t exactly feel like you’re dangerous for me, but I confess that I have kept you at arms length as well… hard though that may be to believe. It’s an odd feeling for me… I was dating several different people when I met you, but suddenly stopped seeing everyone else. I had to be with you, again and again. Each time I was near you I could feel my heart begin to race, and I knew that we were in for a lot of fun and some very good times.

The reason I’ve been keeping you at arms length is because I feel very strongly for you, and quite a bit more strongly than I had planned to. Yes, there’s a connection there, but there is something more than that between us. There’s no reason I should feel about you what and how I feel right now. I haven’t known you that long. I don’t even know you that well yet. There are so many things I want to know… and yet…

Yes, I’ve been trying to kid myself out of it. I’ve been telling myself that it’s all my imagination and that I’m just swept up in the moment. At the same time, I know deep down that it’s true, so I keep you at arms length so the way I feel doesn’t become stronger. If ever you feel like I’m keeping my distance from you, it’s because at that moment I’m trying to deny to myself that I’m starting to fall in love with you.

You’re wonderful. I adore you! I couldn’t see spending my time with anyone else now that I’ve gotten to know you. I understand if you think that things are moving too fast. You’ve always been forward with me, and I want to extend to you the same courtesy. It’s only unfortunate that I’m too cowardly to tell you to your face. I’m terrified it will come out wrong and I wont clearly express myself. I’m great at public speeches when it comes to teaching or training, and I’m a fairly decent writer, but when I speak from the heart it comes out a jumbled mess.

Feel free to come to me with any questions, or you can always ignore this whole thing, but something tells me that you’re not the kind to pretend something hasn’t happened.

Whatever you decide, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I’d be ok going on with life as usual, just so long as I know that I’ve been able to tell you how I feel somehow.

With warmest thoughts on a cold winter day,

Written long, long ago...

Open Heart

He puts that sparkle in my eyes like nobody I've ever known.

Though I may travel far and wide, my heart, my love and my purpose are stationary. They go where he goes. They live where he lives. They are wherever he may be.

Certain people in this world are private people. They tell people basically nothing about their lives. They share only small details with those they love. They share nearly everything with that one special person - but they're still very private people.

It's a different thought process than mine, and sometimes I have a hard time remembering that. I'm incredibly open about so many intimate details of my own life. I tell the stories of my youth and the days when I was coming of age. I share things with the world that even my own family hasn't heard with the help of this blog. In doing so, it allows people to get to know me just a little more. I put myself out there for all to see and understand. I'm a strong person (I think some of my stories prove that) and I just want people to know and understand who I am and where I come from. Yet, some people in the world find me mysterious.

I don't write and share these stories in order to make myself look good. My purpose isn't to inspire others, though on the rare occasion I admit that I have done that exact thing, much to my own astonishment. I don't want people to pitty me or feel sorry for me. I'm a survivor, and everything that I've been through has led me to be who I am today.

I put myself out there because for so long I lived a closed off, lonely life. I was an island oasis, surrounded by shark infested waters. In my mind, the world was out to get me. They didn't understand me or want to know who I was. I was a target, easy to blame, easy to forget and easy to look over. NO MORE is that the case.

I want people to understand me. The world may not love me, but no longer do I feel surrounded and in danger. I've built a bridge over the water and I boldly step one foot in front of the other in order to reach where I'm going. I'm not alone. I have a connection with the world and those around me. I'm understood, not pittied.

And though the world may not love me, one man does. That's purpose enough to smile, to live happily and to have that sparkle in my eyes.

Dreams of Scotland

In my dreams this past March 3rd, I remember fondly walking along with a blue eyed man in among a collection of very tall, very old buildings, some as tall as 6 or 7 stories. It was the first dream I had of Scotland in a few years. At one time, my dreams of Scotland came nightly. Since this dream, they have continued every night once more. In only 3 days I'll be on a plane, bound for Scotland at long last.

We were walking hand in hand, the cobblestones and bricks underfoot clinking gently with each step. The blue eyed man was taking me on a tour of Edinburgh. It was so lovely. Some of the curved faces of the ancient buildings had signs and fire ladders on them, curving with the tune of the building. Bits of red or blue were painted on the faces of the buildings, but it was mostly stone work that towered over us. I marveled at the way they held their strength through the years, so proud and strong. Every here and there were modern touches, like an internet cafe or a tea house. One shop even had a giant nose with a pair of eye glasses attached to it over the door. That one made me laugh. We were walking up a hill when we saw that one on our left. I remember pointing it out and he made a comment about how it wasn't polite to make fun of someone's nose. I laughed more.

For dinner we cleaned up and went back to the old area and went to a place that had real Scottish food, since he knew that I'd never had any. I don't remember what it was called, though I thought it was an odd name, but I knew not to put a lot into a name. I believe it turned out to be named after the street it was on. The door was nearly on the street without much of a sidewalk just in front. The door was bright red and I immediately loved it. Inside it was beautiful! Round collumns stretched from the ceiling to the old wooden floor. It, like everything else, was steeped in history. It was ancient, with character showing in every crease. The walls were a shade of red and the entire place seemed alive. As if they knew we were coming, the staff seated us right away and he ordered a bottle of wine.

Dinner was amazing. I'll never forget the meal, though I'm still not sure of what it was we ate. Everything came out so beautiful, and it had to be some of the prettiest food I had ever eaten. The wine was exellent, but more than anything the company was the best part. Towards the end of dinner, when the staff cleared away the dishes and we were left with only our wine glasses, he reached over and took my hand.

"Did you like your dinner," he asked me slowly.

"Yes, very much so. This is so wonderful. I don't want to go home in a few days, I really don't," I replied.

"I know, but we both have responsibilities. We'll get it sorted out." I know I looked sad for a moment when he said this, but I decided that I wasn't going to let the thought of my inevitable return ruin this perfect evening. "You look beautiful, did I tell you that?"

"Thank you," I smiled at him.

"I think you're the most beautiful thing I ever saw," he said, and I blushed. "No, I know you are." I blushed more.

"Thank you." I paused for a moment before I continued. "These past few days have been some of the most incredible days of my life. I wondered what it would be like to be here with you and now that I know, I will be counting the days before I can see you again. My life is going to feel a little empty without you in it, over there in California. I love being with you."

"I love being with you too." He smiled broadly, his beautiful blue eyes shining. He was up to something and I couldn't quite figure out what it was. "Now," he said "this wont be happening tomorrow, and we'll have to plan it out, but if you agree to this, I think we can make a go of it."
"Agree to what?" I asked.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out something small. He held my hand tightly. The blue eyed man seemed nervous for some reason. He took a deep breath, and then he opened his mouth to speak.

"I remember a question I asked you. Why do you love me? Why me? I have an answer for why I love you, would you like to hear it?"

"Well, yes!" I said excitedly.

"I love you because you bring out a side of me that I never knew existed. Food and drink taste different. I hear and feel music in a different way. I think about goals and the future that include you now. You're always on my mind. I miss you when you're not around, but you're always with me. I feel loved. I'll love you for as long as I live. I know it will be hard and I know that we will have our up and down times, but I know we are good for each other. We are meant for each other. It was written in the stars. Amanda, will you marry me and take my name and be a part of my life?"

May all of our dreams come true.


It's strange, the things we learn as we grow older.

Recently I found some old friends on Facebook that I've not seen since I was barely 18 years old. Through them, I was able to see photos of a man I was once engaged to at that same age. I thought the sun rose and set with him. Little did I know...

I'll never let a man strike me. This particular fellow had a bit of a temper when he drank - and he seemed to drink every weekend - and sometimes almost every night. He frightened me on occasion, and on the weekends we would escape the heat of Phoneix to our home in Prescott, I would often find myself hiding in the top of the old barn by the house. There were a pile of old TV Guides from the 60's in there I enjoyed thumbing through, but my favorite find was a collection of short stories published by Alfred Hitchcock.

One afternoon he had a few too many drinks. He was young, only 21 years old, and rather immature at times. He got angry at me on the way to a store. I don't even remember the store. He pulled off to the side of the road, screaming at me. I got out of the car and started to walk. I didn't know where I was going or how I was getting there, but at the time anything was better than where I was. He got worse, screaming and yelling at me. Finally he talked me into getting back in the car. We continued on our way, my nose practically glued to the passenger window, crying my eyes out. He didn't let up.

"This was supposed to be a fun day," he screamed at me. I don't even remember what it was I had done. "You ruined it. Why do you always have to ruin things for me?"

He pulled the car over once more, looking more angry than he ever had before. He looked like he wanted to hurt me. He balled up his fist, screamed in outrage, and opened his hand. Finally he slapped me on the leg. It wasn't just a light slap - for him. It left a large bruise on my leg in the shape of his hand.

It was a matter of days later when I collected my stashed money from the fake plant at the grocery store and hit the road. He had struck me once. I wasn't going to wait around to see if it happened again, and perhaps waiting for a black eye or broken arm. I promised myself long ago that I would never stay with a man that struck me. I held true to that promise I made to myself. I walked out with nothing but what I had in my pockets.

Later on I nearly starved to death with this move. I survived on merely 5 saltine crackers a day at each meal, but that's another story entirely.

I found this guy on Facebook. It's amazing - he still has the same dark, mysterious eyes... but he's not who I remember him being. He's a happy person. He's got children. I imagine his house is devoid of holes in the wall now, and he's probably lost that wild temper. I'm proud of him.

He also told me long ago that I would hit my peak of physical attraction at 30 years old. Well, here I am at 30 and I've thought about him while that age snuck up on me. Though I won't be sending him a friend request anytime soon, it's good to see he's happy and well.

Honestly, the one thing anyone should take from this bit of writing is the fact that I never hold any ill will towards anyone. It's just not in my nature. The past is the past. I cared about him once, and I care about him as a person now. I wish him and his family all the best.

Headed to Glasgow

I left my heart in Glasgow
Although I've never been.
So look for me in Glasgow
And let me tell you when.

I'll be flying off to Glasgow
This coming Saturday morn.
When I'm standing there in Glasgow
My life will feel reborn

My angel with the blue eyes
Will be watching over me
From the moment I land in Glasgow
Until home I'll be.

I'll loose myself in Glasgow
I know I won't want to leave
I'll loose my heart in Glasgow,
But I'll be back, I believe.


I've always had an incredible memory for food. Just ask a friend of mine in Redondo Beach, if I don't remember the first meal I had at any restaurant I've ever been to, I'd be surprised. Occasionally that spans to any meal I had during a conversation that covered a particular subject. I wouldn't remember what I was wearing, how we got there or what time the reservations were for, but I could remember the appetizers, the main course, what accompanied the meal and the dessert afterward. Sometimes I can even remember the servers, but mostly it's just the food.

There's one particular meal that I had as a kid though that somehow completely skipped my memory until just recently. Due to a conversation with someone in Scotland before my trip, I started to discover things about Scottish food I didn't previously know and had never been aware of. Some of it could be comfortably compared to some of the meals my mother made when I was a kid.

Probably the most popular talked about Scottish food is Haggis. My mother never cooked anything similar to it as far as I know, but then again I've never had Haggis and have nothing to compare it to. I'm sure I'll be trying it for the first time during my trip in 4 days time.

There's another traditional Scottish dish however that I'm very much looking forward to comparing to something my mother renamed.

Taken straight from Wikipedia,
Stovies is a traditional Scottish dish. Recipes and ingredients vary widely between regions, and even families, but the dish contains potatoes, usually (but not always) onions and often (but again not always) leftover roast beef, mince or other meat. The potatoes are cooked by stewing with fat; stove also having the meaning of stew or to stew in Scots. Lard, beef dripping or butter may be used.

Mom came home from work late one night. She was tired and she didn't feel like cooking. Dad had come home from work early, but had spent the afternoon working on one of the cars. Both were tired, both were hungry and neither felt like cooking.

"What's for dinner," Dad asked my mother as she walked in the door. She tossed her purse in the chair and glared at him.

"We're gonna skip it tonight."

He knew the signs and left her alone for a while. Finally hunger got the better of her and she wandered into the kitchen to see what she could dig up.

She had some ground beef in the fridge that she meant to cook and didn't. She tossed some potatoes in the skillet and cooked them with some bits of onion. Carrots went in the pot then, and when it was done, we had a great meal that she had invented - so I thought. It turns out the Scots invented it decades before.

She served it on plates and set it on the table. Dad squirted some catsup on it, and to him it was a complete meal. Meat and potatoes is all he ever really wanted in order to be happy anyway. As we took our first bites, his eyes lit up.

"This is great!" he exclaimed. "Funny name for it though, Skip."

It happened before I was born and I actually grew up on Skip. I love the stuff and am contemplating making some for dinner tonight. I might if I had potatoes and onions... and carrots. Oh, and some meat.

MADD - Manda's Against Drunk Driving

I hadn't been feeling well...

We didn't bring any water with us to the lake. The guys had brought plenty of alcohol, both of them were in their early 30's. I was only 18 years old and not really interested in drinking. My head throbbed and the only thing available for my scorched throat was a wine cooler. I took a sip and the sugary fluid coated my tongue. It hit my stomach and I felt everything inside me jar as though a large rock had just been dropped into my gut. I doubled over in agony.

"Mike, I'm not feeling well," I told him. I couldn't even stand up straight. He already had a number of cheap beers in his belly. Nothing much was getting to him.

"Why don't you go lay down in the truck then," he said. He cast his line back out into the lake from the dry, cracked shore under the Arizona summer sun. DePasqual, his best friend at the time, leaned back and reached into the cooler for another beer. Mike tossed me the keys and I walked as slowly as possible to the dark blue Chevy S10 pickup.

I laid down the little jump seat behind the driver’s side and sat in front of it. Then I grabbed a jacket to prop my body up, laid my head on the jump seat and pushed my feet as far as I could to the other side of the cab. Somewhat comfortable and terribly ill, I fell asleep there in the back of the truck.

When I woke up, I thought I was delirious. The whole world was bouncing and jostling around. Things were shaking like crazy. I felt my body lift from the floor of the truck slightly and I grabbed at the back of the seats next to me. I screamed as I felt the truck tilt nose down and I shoved myself to the floor of the truck as quickly as possible. My hands flew underneath the jump seat, pulling my body back down to the floor. My hair trailed out behind me, and I heard Mike scream.

When I opened my eyes, I was inches from the roof of the truck. Glass was blown out of every window in the truck. I was no longer worried about my headache or the heat in my mouth... I wanted to know where the blood dripping down the windshield had come from. I wanted to know why the roof of the truck was inches from my nose as I huddled in the floor of the truck. I wanted to know why Mike had screamed.

Mike got out of the truck to survey the damage. DePasqual didn't move from his seat. He tilted his head back and spoke through a stuffy nose.

"You ok back there?"

"Yeah," I said. "I'm fine. What happened?"

"Shh!" DePasqual silenced me. "The cops are coming over. Don't say anything."

One Police Officer opened DePasqual’s door and asked him to step outside. As he did, the Officer got a good look at the back seat of the truck.

“Sit down right there,” he yelled at DePasqual, pointing at a boulder that looked as though it had recently moved. The Officer sounded agitated, as though something were severely wrong. DePasqual knew better than to say anything. Then the Officer stuck his head in the truck and looked at me, scrunched in a ball in the back and barely able to see between the seats. “Young lady, are you ok?”

“Yeah,” I said, ignoring DePasqual’s advice to not say anything. “I’m fine. What happened?”

“Can you get out of the truck?”

“I think so…” I said, trying to squeeze out between the bucket seats in front. “Maybe not,” I grunted as my narrow hips got stuck between the seats. If the roof hadn’t been inches above me, I would have been able to get though without a problem. The seat back was crushed in an unusual position. The head rest looked as though someone had Karate chopped it at the level a man’s throat would rest at. It hung backwards, pressed up against the seat in a violent, brutal manner. DePasqual still had his head attached… he was lucky.

I shimmied and squirmed until finally I popped out from between the seats like air from a balloon. I tumbled into the passenger seat. The Officer backed up in order to give me the room I needed to stand up.

“Are you sure you’re ok?” He looked at me, but not at my eyes. Something else had his attention. He was staring straight at my forehead. “Medic,” he called over my shoulder, “Can you take a look at this?”

My hand shot up to my forehead and I ran my fingers across the hot, sticky surface. A trail of blood was streaming down my forehead and along the side of my nose. I felt it drip and stick in my eye lashes. The Officer asked me to have a seat in the passenger seat of the small truck to relax with my feet on the road and the door open.

Road? We were parked on the parched, cracked and dried beach. What did he mean by road? I set my feet on the pavement below. My mind whirled. I was completely turned around and I felt delirious. My headache suddenly came back 10 fold and I moaned in confusion and agony. I leaned back against DePasqual’s seat and waited for the Medic to come over.

“She’s been drinking too,” he said to the Officer.

“Have you been drinking?” He looked me square in the eye as the medic parted my hair in order to find the laceration to my scalp.

“They only brought alcohol,” I explained. “I didn’t want it, so they told me it was fruit punch in the glass I drank from. It tasted funny so I stopped drinking it.” My lie didn’t work, even though I admitted to having tasted the alcohol. They brought out the breathalyzer machine and had me blow into it.

“You’ve got a 0.001 % in your system. Between me and you, if you would have said no, I would have let you go. Since you said yes, and Arizona has a Zero Tolerance Policy for underage drinking, I’ll have to cite you. Nothing personal,” he explained.

The roof of the truck was still uncomfortably close to my head. I wanted to sit down on a curb, so I stood up. Nearly falling over from the heat and lack of fluids in my system coupled with a growing bump on my head I didn’t know the origins of, I was lucky the Officer caught me. The medic advised that I sit back down in the truck, but my occasional issue with claustrophobia was beginning to attack me. They stood me up and began to walk me over to the curb.

A 3 ton bolder sat in the bed of the tiny pick up truck. All four tires were flat, and the roof of the truck was completely caved in. Glass had blown out everywhere and it crunched under my feet as we made our way to the curb at the base of the rock cliffs. DePasqual, perched on his smaller boulder, watched as I walked along with assistance.

“Do you know these guys,” the Officer questioned me as we walked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“So they didn’t kidnap you or anything?”

“Haha!” I laughed weakly. “I’m not the kind of girl that gets herself kidnapped.” Looking back on that line only a year later, the bitter irony still gnaws at my intestines worse than the wine cooler on that hot Arizona summer day.

“They didn’t force you into anything?”

“What do you mean,” I asked, “force me into anything?”

“Did they rape you?”

Shocked and stunned, I sat down with a thud. “No!! Mike wouldn’t ever – he isn’t like that! He’s my boyfriend!”

Dawning comprehension crossed the face of the young Officer. He looked at me as though I had completely lost my mind and grown two heads. Then he stood up and walked away from me, completely disgusted that I had been dating someone 32 years old when I was only 18. Looking back now, he was right to do so. At the time, I found myself insulted by his instant change in tone.

Mike had apparently decided I was too ill for them to stay at the lake. In a drunken haze, he fished the keys out of my pocket as I slept and told DePasqual to get in the passenger side of the truck. They crunched across the dried, cracked lake shore and left every empty beer can and bottle sitting right where it was. Mike tossed his fishing pole in the bed of the truck, jumped in the driver’s seat, and took off for home. He was slightly angry at having to leave because I wasn’t feeling well, but he got over that.

About the time Mike reached the near by man-made dam, another car in front of us had slowed way down. In his newly revived frustration at the circumstances, Mike decided to go around the other car. He went too far to the left and one of the tires hit a rock. After a short series of over corrections, Mike launched the truck off of the dam, straight towards the boat docks below. The truck bounced and jerked the entire way down, tearing loose several boulders. When we landed, it was on the front end of the truck. The back half was about to land on the ground when the boulder struck the bed, forcing it down so hard that it burst all four tires and blew out every window on the truck. It also crushed most of the cabin over my head.

The Police just happened to be close by. They had actually seen the truck land and the nearly comical but crushing blow at the end. Since I had been lying down in the truck, they never saw me back there and never imagined anyone in the back seat would survive that kind of an impact. Had I been sitting up, my ears would have been resting on my knees, with most of my head still attached to them.

I hadn’t actually been drinking that day. I ended up with severe heat stroke and almost had to go to the hospital and be hooked up to an IV. Still, I wasn’t in control of the situation and someone I trusted nearly got me killed. I’m very strongly against driving while under the influence of alcohol. I’ve seen the effects first hand and somehow managed to survive through it.

Mike never admitted he had done anything wrong. He insisted that he wasn’t drunk, and all he had wanted to do really was get me home and make me feel better. While that was sweet of him to say, the truth of the matter is that he got drunk and stupid.

It was the last time I ever got into a car owned by someone who had been drinking. I easily could have lost my life that afternoon. I still don’t remember certain details, and I wonder if I had been knocked unconscious when the boulder struck the cabin of the truck. Part of me even wonders if that’s why I’ve never been drunk even once in my life. If the people around me aren’t thinking clearly enough to not put my life at risk, then I need to remain in control of myself. It may also have something to do with my trust issues… I trusted him with my life, and he nearly paid me back with a head stone.

Excuses vs. Solutions

The first time I ever met Chandler, it was my first day on the job in a male-dominated industry. That wasn't a first for me. Chandler was a big guy, stocky and very tall. He had been a Marine in his youth and still walked with that cadence to his step. It was quite impressive when he was in a hurry. He intimidated most of the guys he ever came into contact with, and to this very day he scares the daylights out of anyone he’s angry at.

Chandler walked in to talk with the Supervisor, Rob. Rob was at his desk, and I was standing in front of it as he was going over some basic items with me like where to park when I came in to work and how to clock in, since it was my first day.

Chandler walked up to Rob’s desk, briefly glanced in my direction upon doing so. and turned back to Rob.

"It's done" he said. I have no clue what they were talking about even to this day. Then Chandler turned back to me, smiled, reached out his hand for mine, and said hello. Rob tried to make the introductions and told Chandler my name before Chandler pulled a typical move he’s very well known for. He fully introduced himself to me with his job title and gave a brief run down of what his job title meant that he did. He welcomed me to the property and smiled a big, broad, genuine smile. I've not seen him or heard of him doing that with anyone in that job position ever again.

He stayed for a chat, kind of a "getting to know you" conversation. It was right around shift change, so several more people came into the office. Chandler was in rare form to these guys. He was laughing and smiling, cracking jokes left and right. Everyone in the office was smiling and laughing.

Somehow we got on the subject of families. He mentioned that his parents had him in dance classes when he was a kid. Stunned, most my new co-workers either took a step backward or stood with our mouths opened. He could tell half of the people there didn't believe him, so he broke into a Tap Dance routine and danced right there in the middle of the office floor for all of us. Then, seeing that he had an audience waiting for his next move, he demonstrated a full Ballet pirouette with his fingertips touching over his head and one leg extended slightly.

By the time he left, the entire Security staff thought I had cast a spell and was actually a living witch. Their only pRoblem was that they couldn't decide if they should still burn witches at the stake or not. It seemed as though I had done a good thing.

Chandler has been that way with me ever since. He's his natural, crazy self around me. The rest of the world only gets to see what he's willing to show. Chandler's a really great guy when it comes down to it. He doesn't ask for much - just that things get done when they are supposed to, and when people screw up, they go to him and tell him rather than waiting until he finds out on his own. Chandler will always find out. It's best just to tell him early on.

I have a personal motto that I've posted here at work – and Chandler was a large portion of the inspiration behind the quote I live by.

"There are no excuses, there are only Solutions."
I've never seen him tap dance again, and I'm pretty certain I'll see that before I see another pirouette from him. Every time I tell the story to anyone who's even met him once dont ever fully believe me. It's ok... I don't need them to. If Chandler wanted to tap dance for them, he would have.

Return Flight Night

Another tale from my book - May 2006

"The Return from Vegas.

I wimped out finally. I got on average about 3 hours of sleep each night for the entire time I was in Vegas. That's not like me at all! I'm usually pretty cranky if I dont get at least 7 in a night. I got home late Saturday night. Southwest Airlines lost my luggage! I'm a fairly calm and relaxed person, so rather than throw a fit like the guy in line in front of me, I cracked a few jokes and made everyone laugh. I believe I said something about "The only distinguising thing in my bag would be a couple of pairs of high heels and some dirty undergarments, but how is that different than any other woman out there?" They got a kick out of that, and laughing only fuels my fire. By the time I walked out of their office I had them all rolling.

I went straight home from the airport and crashed out cold. It wasn't until about Midnight that my phone started to ring. Groggily, I opened one eye and then the other. It was a number I didn't recognize. All I kept thinking was "Who would be calling me at Midnight on the day of my return from Vegas?!" I hit the infamous 'ignore' button and let my head drop back to the pillow. It rang again. This time I answered it, knowing it wouldn't stop if I didn't. It was Southwest Airlines, telling me they were out front with my luggage. I threw on some jeans and a jacket and ran out to get my bag. I live on the third floor of an outdoor appartment complex and was thrilled to think they had brought it up for me. Instead, a rather large woman, the female version of Hagrid from the Harry Potter movies, stood below my balcony with the bag at her feet. She screamed at what would have been the top of my voice, but the booming, thunderous volumes that echoed off of the side of the surrounding buildings was probably a normal voice for her.

"You'll have to come and get it."

"Great", I sighed to myself. Barefoot, I clutched the cold metal railing and stepped gingerly down the stone stairs, making my way down to the pavement below.

"She's here!" The female Hagrid screamed out to her friend waiting in the car several hundred feet away. Her voice rang in my ears, deafening me momentarily.

"Thanks", I grunted, and turned to walk away. Lights around the neighborhood flickered on all around me. Silhouettes started to appear in the windows, people trying to figure out what was going on. I only moved into the complex 2 weeks ago! What an embarassing thing to have happen at twelve o'clock at night! Barefoot and carrying a 40lb bag, I grunted my way back up the stairs and to my quiet, warm little room. I tossed the bag down on the floor, gently enough to not wake up the appartment manager who lived below me, and didn't even bother to shed the jacket or jeans. I laid down and was out again in an instant. Somewhere off in the distance, I heard a little car drive away, with a very loud woman in the passenger seat saying "She was a cutie!"

A cool breeze wafted in through my open window, damp and delicate. The heavy air comforted me back into my peaceful dreams."


One horrible night on the 405 freeway I experienced some car trouble with my Miata. I later wrote a blog on Myspace. That blog is what you'll find below.

First, my phone went dead last night. I was at work when the battery
started to fade, but I wasn't worried about it... until it died.
Suddenly I had this horrible feeling of dread creeping up inside. I
was off work and on my way home when it happened. It couldn't have
happened in a worse spot - or a better one. I was on the 405 Freeway
northbound and was on the cloverleaf loop heading to the 110 southbound.

My power steering went out suddenly. I was in the middle of the
cloverleaf turn, and quick thinking saved me from scraping the guard
rail. I muscled my way through. No sooner had I realized what was
going on when the "Check Engine" light came on. My first reaction to
that was "Well, duh." That never escaped my lips though, because
almost as suddenly, the entire car died. On the freeway. On a
freeway transition road between the two busiest freeways in the
area. ACK!

I did my best to coast to a safe spot. Just about out of the
cloverleaf, another car ahead of me suddenly slammed on their breaks,
causing me to break in my already coasting car. That did it. It
didn't make it another ten feet. I pulled the car as close to the
shoulder as I could - right into a pile of glass from where some
other poor motorist had been stranded and smacked by oncoming
traffic. Quickly, I hit the four-way flashers and watched traffic
behind me like a hawk... and when it was semi-clear, or as clear as I
knew it was likely to get at 9:00 at night, I ducked out of the car
and ran around to the bank. Remember, my car's a Miata - a fiberglass
death trap in this situation. I couldn't crawl over the e-break
without injuring myself and wasting valuable time, so I had to get
out of the drivers side. People all around were honking at me. I
was wearing a black mini-dress and black knee high 3 inch heeled
boots... on the freeway in the dark of night. I guess my knees,
hands, and face were all that were visible by oncoming traffic. I
probably scared a few people.

See, in Arkansas, someone would have pulled over to see if I was
ok. Here in California that's a foreign concept. I dodged for the
bridge that was the 405 going over top of the 110. I knew i was only
about a mile and a half away from the California Highway Patrol
office where Pete works, so I started to climb my way under that
bridge in these high heeled boots, nearly breaking my ankle in half.
The going was very slow, but there wasn't much help for it. I really
didn't want to take my boots off and walk through the glass and road
debris without any shoes on. It took me about 15 minutes to get from
one side of that bridge to the other though.

Finally on the other side, I knew the worst wasn't over yet. The
traffic was flowing at me from both sides all of a sudden when the
405 Southbound was transitioning to the 110 Southbound. I was caught
between lanes!!! Traffic was moving steadily and I couldn't see a
safe way across - except to dart across as quick as my little boots
would let me. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I saw a
half of a shot and took off running for the other side, not looking
at the cars coming. If I had fallen, that would have been the end of
me. Adrenaline pumped, and my boots launched me over the railing on
the other side. Somehow I still landed on my feet, in a crouched
position on the side of the freeway, my left hand out behind me and
my right hand on the ground between my knees like some super human
Catwoman. Again, car horns were flaring around me, honking angrily
at the madman who had just crossed the freeway right in front of them.

I had only another mile to go before the exit I needed to take, had I
been in a car. I would have had to double back at least a half of a
mile once there, though. Traffic was still angrily honking at me for
walking along the freeway. Didn't these people know a stranded
motorist when they saw one? I was really worried about my well-being
at that point. Too may drunks had been known to go careening off of
that freeway, right where i was. I didn't like the idea of being a
pancake - so I started to jog. I ran the rest of the way to the CHP
office... freeway side. The fence looked like it might have a hole in
it near a corner, so I went down through the mud and ice plant to
look closer. If this was going to save me another three quarters of a
mile, I'd take the shortcut! I didn't like being on that freeway!!!

I was wrong about the hole in the fence. Slightly worn from the
adventure so far, I took desperate measures. I stood a little on the
embankment of the freeway closest to the fence and threw my coat over
the top. I was going to do what I had been known for as a kid and
shimmy over the fence. In a dress. I took one leap, landed with my
chest on my coat, and looked wildly around. Nobody was looking, and
it was just as well because I pathetically slipped backward in slow
motion. My feet touched the ground, and i knew there was no way I was
going up and over. I grabbed my coat back down. I just wasn't a
criminal - especially dressed like this.

A noise caught my ear. It sounded like a car door. I looked up the
hill at the freeway, wondering if someone had pulled up to check on
me - and saw nothing. Then I listened closer. I heard voices. The
CHP visitor parking lot was empty. It wasn't there, either. I looked
farther along the freeway and saw the CHP back lot there, right down
the hill from the closest call box I had seen since the adventure
started. A couple of guys were gassing up their car at the end of
shift. There was a good chance I knew these guys... so I launched
into action again. I plowed my way through the ice plant somehow as
steady as if I were running down a sidewalk, with every bit of the
speed sneakers would have allowed me.

I grabbed a hold of the rusty fence and hollered to the nearest tan
uniform I saw.

"Hello! I need help! Can you help me?" I made certain to keep my
voice even and steady so that I didn't scare them into drawing their
weapons or think that someone was out to kill me. The officer nearest
the fence heard me and peeked over the gas pump to see what was going
on. It was clear by the expression on his familiar face that he was
concerned I was some crack head wandering down the freeway in some
dazed state while under the influence of narcotics. I could see the
wheels turning. I thought i should clarify the situation... "I'm
Pete's girl! My car broke down!" Officer Brown then came around the
car and up to the fence.

"What are you doing over there?" I explained the situation. "Why
didn't you use the call box?" he asked when I finished the short

"Well, I would have but that's the closest one." I pointed up the
hill at the box that was still about 10 yards down the freeway from
where I was.

The officers, the friends I see at Christmas Parties and special
events, took care of me. They had my car towed to the shop, they sent
a car around to pick me up and take me to the station, and they all
worried over me when I got there. I couldn't believe how kind they
all were being. I had quite the audience around me, all wanting to
know my story. One of the Sergeants came out of the sergeants office
to check on me - and it happened to be a very close friend of ours.
Dave walked me to the break room, turned "Get Smart" on the TV and
gave me a glass of water. Pete was on his way, I wouldn't have to
wait long. Finally the panic set in. My car was dead. I knew in my
heart that it was completely 100% dead. It wasn't going anywhere
anymore, no matter how much I love my convertible.

Pete's at the shop now trying to figure out what's going on with it.
I doubt the verdict is a good one, and I have no clue what I'll do -
but one day at a time, right?

Broken Glass

Broken glass
Shattered dreams
Nothing now
Is what it seems

Heart of stone
Eyes of ice
Never again
Take your advice

Darkened room
Lighted candle
Your picture missing
From the mantle

Stinging tears
In open wounds
Alone at night
Through many moons

You promised you
Would stay with me
And I’m left to care
For your debris

Lighted candle
Licking flames
Burning up
All those names

Scorch the list
Toss it down
Watch closely as
The page turns brown

Ashes flutter
In the breeze
I drop my head
And hug my knees.

Broken glass
Shadowed mirror
Mommy's sad, but
I now see clearer.

~Amanda Martin

Parting Kiss

Part your lips so gently
And plant a kiss on mine.
Hold me close to you dear.
Hold me for all time.

You’re a part of me, Love
And I’m a part of you.
The love between us is real,
Even though it’s so new.

We wont admit it out loud yet
Fear still grips at our hearts.
Yet we fall into each others arms
And so rarely are we apart.

We wont give any titles
You’re not mine, nor am I yours.
We wont burn any bridges,
We wont slam any doors.

Kiss me before you leave me
This night will be so long.
How can passion so unyielding
Ever be thought of as wrong?

Hold my face in your hands
Kiss me strong and true
Not a soul is near us now
It’s only me and you.

When you start up those stairs
I don’t know how long it will be
Before I see that beautiful face again
And there’s nothing else I’d rather see.

Take the rose from my hair, Love.
Carry it in your coat.
Hurry on back to me, my Dear.
And send me a passing note.

I just want you to think of me often,
As I’ll be thinking of you.
Your kiss will last on my lips forever
Your touch on my face will too.

Amanda Martin

Love Me Not

He loves me, he loves me not.
Straight through my heart his arrow shot.
He loves me not, he loves me true
A once used heart now feels new.
I’m not sure how he feels
His emotions he never reveals.
I know precisely down in my soul
He’s the one who makes me whole.
But do I mean to him as much?
Does he crave my every touch?
Does he think of me when I’m not there,
His fingers lightly in my hair?
Will he remember touching my face
Caressing my skin with so much grace?
Does that last kiss linger on his lips
Or the tingle remain in his finger tips?
Does he dream of me like I of him?
Does he reach for me with every limb?
He looks me deep into my eyes
I can see his words are never lies.
He loves me true, He loves me not
He will remain my one soft spot.

Amanda Martin

Heart on a String

Day in and day out
I dangle by this thread
At times I want to scream at him
He’s messing with my head!

I don’t think he really knows
Just what I’m going through
He really has no idea
He doesn’t see it from my view.

He introduced me to a friend
“Girlfriend” I heard him say.
He didn’t bother to clarify
So I sat smiling all damn day!

He told me later that evening
That it was “the easiest thing to say”
My car swerved a little bit.
My mind began to sway.

I told him that I missed him
He said he missed me too.
I replied “That’s a good sign”
But he didn’t share my view.

I feel so like a yo-yo
He has my heart on a string
Will he ever feel the same?
Or am I just a play thing?

Is there to be a future?
Or is it just the past?
Maybe I’m being hasty
Or moving just too fast?

Surely it’s not inconvenient
To want that simple title.
Though I guess I’ll sit and wait.
After all, it’s not really vital.

So there he stands. I know,
He’ll pull my string again
And when he does, I know,
This yo-yo will continue to spin.

Bill Murray


Last night I dreamed that Bill Murray was trying to cuss someone out in Spanish at a wedding. All I remember him saying was something that translated into :
"Until tomorrow I never knew you didn't have any nons choze."

I think what he meant was :
"Until now I didn't know you were that stupid."

Perhaps it was a failed attempt in my mind to make sense of the movie title "Lost in Translation" that he starred in a couple of years ago. Good movie; odd title.

Love Is...

"Love is a slow kiss goodnight. It's anticipation.

Love is a back rub that starts above the hairline and ends around the insoles. It's exploration.

Love is the arms around you tightening their embrace. It's ecstasy.

Love is seeing a new side of a person you thought you knew. It's renewal.

Love is two people only taking up a third of a king sized bed. It's closeness.

Love is opening your medicine cabinet and finding your tube of toothpaste turned into a pretzel. It's adapting.

Love is sitting at the window, looking out and remembering who you were with the night before. It's reflection.

Love is hearing the weather for a winter storm and wishing you could spend it in bed with your lover. It's missing them when they are not there.

Love is hearing your partner snore, and finding it comforting. It's re-assurance.

Love is your heart beating a little faster when you see your partner, or get an email or other unexpected token. It's excitement.

Love is being given a honest chance to say no when you thought you were committed. It's consideration.

Love is passing up an opportunity because the time isn't right yet. It's patience."

Deafening Silence


I've had a lot going on in my life lately, and to some people I may have dropped off the face of the earth. I go through this occasionally. I wouldnt really call it depression, but others might. Maybe its just a healing process I go through. I guess I can trace it back to my recent posting about personal isolation.
I go through these bouts of exhaustion induced by a mild form of insomnia. The insomnia is actually induced by sensitive ears, believe it or not. I cant sleep, even though I lie down and stare at the ceiling. I cant stand to have any noise, be it radio, television, or telephone, because suddenly my hearing is hypersensitive. I wake with the sunrise to the sound of birds chirping softly outside, sounding to me like a herd of cattle stampeding through a campground, around 5:30 in the morning and cant get back to sleep.

Often during these times I find myself at my most creative levels because theres nothing else for me to do. I used to write in my book while soaking in the bathtub, but the fan in my bathroom in this new apartment is too loud and completely unbearable to my suddenly sensitive ears. Even to brush my teeth I have to light a candle to see what Im doing. I cant stand that fan. I usually fall asleep to some sweet music on iTunes through my computer, but I cant stand that right now either. No matter how quiet it is, its just not quiet enough unless its off entirely. The television blasts my ears out on the lowest settings, and the phone ringing drives me up a wall and makes me want to smash it into a million pieces by throwing it as hard as I can from my third story window. The striking of the keys as I type this rub my last nerves until theyre bloody and raw. Even in the dead silence of the night I have a slight ringing in my right ear from an injury many years ago leaving me partially deafened in that ear. The ringing is maddening! Occasionally at night I put one hand on either side of my head and push them toward each other with all my might, wondering if it will eventually drive me out of my mind.

So for all of you dear friends Ive not talked to on the phone for so long, now you understand whats going on with me. I think its reflected in some of my artwork as of late, though even that has been a challenge since the pencil strokes on the paper have been loud enough to raise the dead lately, though Im touching the paper as lightly as a feather.

The following images are colored pencil art done by yours truly in a moment or two of madness. These are copywrited images and any use other than the one in which they are intended is strickly prohibited.

This Week

On Monday my rent check bounced
No funding left in bank.
On Tuesday I had no money
I couldn’t fill my gas tank!

On Wednesday I was fired
From the job that I enjoyed
Thursday night I got a call
My relationship had been destroyed!

Friday's here and I’m in a sweat
What else could possibly go wrong?
I realized just now that I
Have held my breath all day long.

Saturday I have plans with a friend
But maybe I should just hide!
Sunday I’m going to hibernate
Stay hidden all day inside!

But then it’s Monday again
Its turn to kick my butt.
Will next week be as bad as this?
Can I escape this rut?

Written in February of 2008 and is 100 true for that week in my life.

The Miller Miles

The first time I ran away with Byron Miller, he snuck me into his Grandparents house without their knowledge.

Byron Miller went to the "Alternative" school with me. We met one day in our Math class, I think. He was a cowboy, and back then I had a weakness for wranglers and Stetson hats. He was adorable at 5'10 and 175lbs. His dark hair and eyes were a sharp contrast to his fair skin pigment. His ancestry was Scottish, and anyone who's ever known me would know I've had a weakness for the Scottish blood lines and pride my whole life. Even my last name (Blackwood) is a Scottish name, though it's not my actual last name at all.

So few of my friends had cars that when I discovered Byron had his own car, he suddenly became a God in my eyes. He had it all; Wranglers, a Stetson, Scottish blood, a license and a car. He was a dream come true! I flirted mercilessly.

For some odd reason, Byron liked me right off the bat. Perhaps it was because I showed an interest in him while he was still new to Washington High. He was scared, much as I was the first few days I spent there. The school had many suspected Gang members in it, and each looked scarier than the next, but what Byron didn't realize was that we were all equals. Even the gang members were respected and were respectful of others. They even made sure to pay attention in class, lest a teacher get upset with them. They treated everyone like family and were even protective of the kids that would have normally been picked on in any other school. We were the Misfit Toys.

Byron's car was a little 1989 Honda CRX. It was white with black details, and before then I never even noticed them before. After I saw Byron drive into the parking lot one day before school, I noticed them everywhere I went. I even ditched my wonderful English "Business Writing" class one day to sit out in his car, claiming I wasn't feeling well. A few of the kids tried to pressure me into driving it, but I'd never driven a car before. I put the key in and turned it. The car lurched forward and jerked to a stop just before smashing into a light pole. It died instantly. All the kids laughed at me. They chanted something about a stick shift, but I didn't get the joke. I just closed the doors, rolled up the windows and took a nap.

By the time Byron came outside after class, the battery to his car was dead. Since the car had died, I didn't realize I had to turn off the car all the way and pull the keys out. Once more I had to endure an onslaught of laughter. It was a different laughter than I had been used to at Bonneville, though. They weren't laughing at me to be mean, but rather because the whole thing was quite funny. One of the kids with a big truck pulled around to give Byron's battery a jump start, and Byron kissed me on the cheek sweetly, telling me that it was ok. I confessed to him what I had done and why the key was in place to begin with, and he smiled ear to ear.

"You don't know how to drive?"

"No," I said, ashamed of myself. I was 17 years old that past December and I wasn't allowed to learn how to drive due to my grades.

"I'll teach you," he said to me, kissing me on the cheek again. "But in return, you have to promise not to steal my car." The kids around us laughed again and I smiled broadly. Byron held my hand in his, and suddenly I went from being a friend of his to being his girlfriend. That was automatically what it meant when a boy held a girls hand in front of everyone like that.

I got in trouble for skipping that class when I got home that evening. I was yelled at and screamed at. I stood there and took it, never once shedding a tear, never once breaking down or giving in. They had taken away everything but the mattress on the floor - what more could they do to me?

I bottled up my anger and frustration that night and let it all out when I saw Byron the next day. Even then I had very alternative ways of showing anger and frustration, though. Instead of crying or whining, I explained the situation in a matter-of-fact way. I even laughed at the cruelest of details, like the reason I wore the same clothes each day and why I chose to walk 4 miles each day in the snow and rain to reach a bus stop rather than catch the one by my house, because I wanted to get out of the house before my parents woke up. I told him about Tirzah Tolman and Steve; the two times I ran away from home. I laughed when I told him about my parents taking away everything I owned, thinking they could control me that way. What more could they take away from me? They would never control me, I wasn't the kind of person to be controlled by anyone, especially through acts of cruelty. Byron listened. He asked questions. When all was said and done, he asked what I would be leaving behind if I left.

"Only my dog." I didn't want to loose Cookie, but I knew that my mother loved her as much as I did. In the back of my mind, I knew she would never get rid of her just to punish me. Taking away everything I owned was one thing. Gambling with another living thing was something even my parent's wouldn't dare do. Would they?

"You're not going home tonight," he said. "You're coming home with me."

I protested, but only a little. After all, being the manipulative teen that I was, this was exactly what I wanted. Byron pulled me close and held on to me. I let him think I was in pain and that the hug was helping me, but in the reality of my mind and heart, I was once more getting exactly what I wanted. I found a place to stay other than with my parents. An evil grin spread across my face as I hugged him back gently with a weakening, sad grip.

He smuggled me into his Grandparents house and I stayed there the next several days. It wasn't easy coming and going. They didn't know I was there. I had virtually no freedom, but I was ok with that. Byron brought me food from the kitchen, and I lived the life of luxury, sleeping under a quilt and watching TV in the bedroom. I had soft pillows, there was a computer to play on and I could finally stretch out and touch something with the tips of my fingers no matter where I stood. The room didn't echo like my own did. What a wonderful feeling that was.

Three days went by before my parents showed up at the front door. Since Byron's grandparents didn't know I was there, I watched from the bedroom window as they knocked on the door. Byron's grandmother answered, told my parents that they didn't even know who I was, and watched them walk back down the steps to Mom's car. As they drove away I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I heard the footsteps coming down the hall.

I shimmied under the bed and grabbed my shoes to pull under with me. As I had predicted, they entered the room, looked around, turned off the television and walked back out. Unfortunately, they forgot to close the door behind them. I was trapped under the bed for the rest of the afternoon.

When Byron came back that evening, the look of panic on his face was as broad as a search light. He grabbed the door handle to his room and looked around wildly, obviously wanting to know what happened to me. His grandparents called him to the living room and I could tell he thought the world had just ended. They had surely found me.

They asked Byron who this Amanda girl was, because her parents had come looking for her. He told them that I was his girlfriend and that I hadn't been in school for a few days. He also embellished, and told them that he thought my dad beat me every night. He told them that he was worried about me, that maybe the reason I hadn't been in school was because my dad had beaten me so badly that I couldn't walk. His grandparents gasped in astonishment and told him that if he heard from me to please let them know. I slapped a hand over my mouth and sat there, stunned.

"Did you go in my room," he asked them both.

"Yes, why?"

"I just remember closing the door this morning before I left," he explained. "Did you need something?"

"We were just checking to see if maybe you had smuggled someone into your room. We didn't see anything so we just turned off the TV and left again. We didn't disturb anything else."

Byron came back to his room and closed the door. He sat down on the bed, trying to sort things out in his mind. I reached out and grabbed his ankle - probably not the smartest thing to do if we were trying to be quiet. He yelped.

"Byron? Are you ok?" His grandfather called out to him.

"Yeah," he said, obviously through a smile, "I just," he paused, searching, "stubbed my toe."

He jumped up from the bed and got on his hands and knees to peer under the bed at me.

"I'm so glad you're still here! I thought for sure when I saw the door open..."

"I've been here all day long," I told him. "I heard them coming down the hall and I just found a spot to hide. It was either under here or in the closet, and I thought they might look in the closet."

"That was smart."

"Yeah, but when they left the door open, I knew I'd be here for a while. I probably wont sleep much tonight. I've been sleeping almost all day. There was nothing else to do."

The next day we decided it would be best if I snuck out through the window and we both went to school. We would look around and ask friends throughout the day to see if any of them were willing to take me in for a while. About half way through the day, the Police showed up at the school. All the kids faces were pressed to the windows, wondering what was going on. They came straight into my classroom and asked the teacher which one I was. Then they had me get in the car with them and they took me directly to the Police Station where my parents picked me up. I was humiliated. I felt betrayed. I had trusted Byron to take care of me and yet I was being sent home.

I forgave him the next day.

There really wasn't much my parents could do to me, though they threatened even more. Physical pain only lasted so long. I was numb to it all. They said that they were going to pick me up from school each day and drop me off in the mornings. I scoffed.

"I'll get up before you and be gone. I'll skip my last class of the day and disappear. The only way you'll know where I am at any time is to be handcuffed to me all day." I kept a straight face, numb and devoid of emotion. I spoke calmly and rationally. It infuriated them. The threats and ideas continued, each one a weak attempt of gaining control over me and crushing my spirit. None of it worked.

That was the moment when I discovered that no person of the face of the Earth can force another to do their bidding. The human spirit is too strong for that. Even with a gun to our heads, we still have a choice.

"So what happened," Byron asked me. I told him everything, not skipping a single detail. I told him about the fresh bruises I expected to see in various places. I explained how they had planned to control my every move even more. I told him everything just as calmly as I had replied to my parents the night before. He hugged me tightly again and I knew I had him where I wanted him. He's surely find me a permanent place to stay now.

"Look," he said, "my Dad lives in Arizona. I wanted to go down there this summer to stay with him. I was going to drive. My little sister lives with her mom over in Clearfield right now. I was going to take her with me. Why don't we go now? We'll plan the whole thing out and I'll take you with us. School is almost out anyway, we'll only miss the last week."

And so it was planned. We would scrape together every cent we could between the three of us, eventually growing the group into four people. We piled up into Byron's two-seater car and we began the long journey to Arizona, three fugitives and a free spirit.