Locked up tight.

LockedHeartI’m single. Yep, I’m a 44-year-old single woman. I have been single for a long, long time. And I probably will be for a long, long time to come. I didn’t consciously make the decision to be single, it’s more like I have just became accustomed to it.

I will be the first to admit I am hard to love. I am too much for most men to handle. I am fiercely independent, but want a boy to hold my hand. I have plenty of my own money, but my heart will melt when presented with a heartfelt gift—no matter what the cost. Sometimes I get wrapped up in a project and will forget about everything and everybody. I forget my cell phone, but go into a panic if I can’t get the boy on the phone. I am over confident, but sometimes I am paralyzed by self-doubt. I’m cool with a bologna sandwich, sweatpants and no shoes, but other times I want black tie and linen napkins. I am a barrel of contradictions.

I have recently spent a lot of time getting to know myself again. I had forgotten who I was. I have been spending time trying to figure out the balance of fun and work. I have been cooking more, spending time not being a hermit and trying not to do anything stupid. I have sat on my hands to keep myself in check.

But even tho I am strong—really strong, I still get lonely. It’s the little things I miss. I miss having someone to eat supper with. I miss simple conversation. I miss his melodies to my harmonies. I miss hearing the alarm, waking up and realizing I am not alone in a big bed. It’s been a long time since I shared a bed, or anything else with a boy, but now I might be ready to try again.

I guess I have had my heart locked up for too long and now it wants out. No one is more surprised than me. I have kept it too guarded and never revealed all of myself to anyone. Maybe that’s my major life mistake. I have never trusted enough to show myself entirely to someone. Maybe I never will. But at least now I’m ready to try.

Open for business.

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Buck up.

I have been whiney, unmotivated, making excuses and generally just feeling sorry for my damn self. I recently told a good friend that sometimes self-doubt paralyzes me, and right now that couldn’t be more true. I am questioning everything about me. I can’t even remember who I am. I can’t remember how I like my eggs. I can’t remember what “normal” is.

Too many different assignments have left me questioning everything good in the world right now. And to top it off, I evidently have started caring what people think about me. What? I know, right.

I have trusted people who didn’t deserve my trust. And people have judged me too harshly for things I had no control over. I have distanced myself from almost everyone. I have taken back my solitude. But this time I don’t like it.

I feel like I am not being heard. Wait, I don’t feel like people aren’t hearing me, I just don’t think they are listening. It’s not that I have a lot to say, but what I do have to say is important.

I have been listening to too much h 90’s County music and that is affecting my mood too. As much I couldn’t live well without music, this stuff is messing with my mojo. And I want to smoke. I want to smoke 458 cigarettes. But, I won’t.

I’m dwelling on the past too much and failing to look to the future. I can’t find a job in Southern Illinois. Since I spent 16 months in St Louis at a 9 to 5 job, I let a lot of my freelance clients move on to other design houses. I have quite a bit in the bank, but I haven’t added to it in a few months and that is making me very nervous and unsettled. I have said “it’s only money, I’ll make more,” a lot to my friends in the past few years, but now I need to make more for my own peace of mind.

I’m stressed and I don’t like it. Who wants to go on vacation?

Hire me.

Yep. I need a J-O-B. I quit my dream job in the big city and went home to Southern Illinois. My heart told me to go home and now my bank account is telling me to find a job. I haven’t lived here in a LONG time, but Carmi called, and I answered. If you need a graphic artist slash web designer slash creative director, then I’m your girl.


Tomorrow is just another day.
What does it mean any way?
Tomorrow, it will be today.
Tomorrow, today will be yesterday.
What to prove, what is my point you say?
Tomorrow is a thought that will not go away.
We yearn for it on a shitty day,
When we get there, nothing is different any way.
The sun is up, soak in its rays,
But yet, those were there yesterday.
So see, tomorrow is always a day away.
You will never get there, yet you try any way.
So if you are looking for wisdom, today is a prison.
The sentence is life, so broaden your vision.
You sell the idea like you are getting commission.
You have nothing to profit, so why don’t you drop it.
Though I know you won’t listen and it’s rough around the edges,
So take life and crop it.
No reason to keep the blurred pieces there.
I don’t mean to upset you, I just want you to be aware.



Brandon-Brandon Fromm is my eldest son. He is a talented wordsmith, lyricist and story teller. After years of begging him to write something for me, he finally relented. He hosts the Facebook group “Pencil to Paper” where he and his like-minded friends share some of their writing. Brandon and I disagree daily, but we both respect each others’ intelligence and we have our best conversations after 2 a.m. 

Childhood and cookie jars.

CookieJarOver the course of the past 24 plus years I have learned thru experience that parenting is a daily struggle. It’s a welcome struggle, not a burden. Because we all chose to bring our children into this world, we can’t say they are a burden. Well, most of us can’t.

We all have our own stories, as both parents and children. I’m positive there are no perfect parents and I’m also sure no one has ever had the perfect childhood. Physical abuse, mental abuse, divorce, abandonment, deadbeat parents, and endless other situations can both define our roles as children and parents.

As a child I know I definitely didn’t have the best of times. My childhood was defined by one sound I will never forget—one big crash. The sound of a plaster-casted cookie jar hitting the wall at a very high rate of speed is one I will never forget. I can even remember what it looked like. It was a woven basket, the lid had two acorns on top for a handle. It didn’t fare too well against the wall, nor did the rest of my childhood.

My parent’s divorced in the 80’s before divorce became “fashionable.” Divorce was the exception, not the norm. I was only 7-years-old, my sister 10. My 7-year-old mind never quite understood why my parents split. As a child, it was way above my head.

As an adult, I have had many conversations with my mother. Looking back over the years I spent with my father, I’ve realized the rhymes and reasons for the dissolution of my “happy” family. Yes, I said, “years I spent with my father.” Back then (and now) it was unusual for fathers to gain custody of their kids. With that said, my mother was the best mother I could have ever asked for. She was loving, caring, tender and attentive—everything a good mother is supposed to be.

My father, however, was so much more than I ever thought he was, and not in a good way. When I was a young boy he was my world. He would do all the right things a good father should do. I know he loved my sister and me, but because he used us as pawns in a divorce, he was a horrible father. He took advantage of two very naïve and scared little kids. He used a pack of lies and half-truths to fight and take us away from our mother.

He emptied the bank accounts and left my mother with nothing. Without money she couldn’t fight him. We knew only what our father told us.

He scared the devil out of us when the judge took my sister and I into his chambers. We both told the judge we wanted to live with our father. It is a choice no child should ever have to make—ever. I have regretted this for many years.

After our father was awarded custody of us, we packed up and moved to Carmi, Illinois. We left our school, our home and most of all, our mother. I adapted rather quickly to the routine of my new life, but never really settled in. My sister, however, did not. By the time she was 12 or 13 she had moved back to be our mother. I honestly believe my father thought that if he took us away from our mother she would see things his way and come back. Of course she didn’t. And I am so glad.

My father is selfish and self-centered—a classic narcissist. It took me longer than I wish it had to figure out my father never did anything that didn’t benefit him in some way. My father used my sister and I as bait. When the bait didn’t produce any bites for him, he had no use for me. It’s too obvious to me now, and the pain still surfaces quite often.

The pain shows in the way our relationship has gone over the last 30+ years—the relationship he doesn’t have with me, my children, or even my grand children. It is astounding how unconnected he can be. We sometimes go months without communicating and when we do it is short and impersonal. It’s like I’m just another generic member of a group text.

The upside is that my mother and I are closer than we have ever been. She is my rock and my world, and her husband, my stepfather, has been more of a father than my biological one ever though of being.

I wish I could turn back time and tell the judge I wanted to live with my mother. But, I can’t. The one lesson I did learn from my father was how not to be a bad father. He showed me exactly what I didn’t want to be. Through my own divorce, my kids were the top priority. I have readily sacrificed and will continue to sacrifice to give them every ounce of happiness I can give them. I don’t know if I succeeded. And I’m sure they both have good and bad stories of their childhood. But, I know I can lay down ever night in my bed and be confident that I always put their needs first.

My kids were conceived when I was very young. I have tried from day one to give them my best because they deserve nothing less. They have never been a burden. Sure they have tested my patience to almost the breaking point and pushed every one of my buttons and they’ve taken advantage of me, but that’s OK. They have given me years and years of happiness. They have hugged me. They have spent time with me when they would have rather been with their friends. They call me—a lot. They trust me. They have put their own children’s lives in my hands without hesitation. Most of all, they have loved me unconditionally, and me them.

My children, a burden? No way.

Mike-Michael Collard is one of my life-long friends. We cruised many back roads in his vintage ‘70 Mustang “back in the day.” Professionally, he has driven a truck over-the-road for as long as I can remember. Too many long roads have given him time to overthink everything and hone his outspoken, independent, hell-bent attitude. With a little coaxing I convinced him to share some of his writing with me to publish here. When not on the road he spends a lot of weekends spoiling his six grandkids and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the seventh.


Mistakes of the past.

BrokeHeartThis week has been full of epic highs and epic lows. I don’t want to write about the highs, they just make me really sad now. But the mistakes of my past need to be addressed.

This week my character was questioned because of my past. I was judged and dismissed without any input or explanation from me. Sure, my past is full of being arrested, bad marriages, bad decisions, and me being in the wrong place at the wrong time. All of which I own. I’m not proud of it, but they are mine and mine alone. But my past also has many arrests that led to dismissed charges and vindication, some epic love stories, and lots of other great things. And even as bad as some of the things in my past are, what I was confronted with was not entirely accurate. I don’t like being dismissed without being able to defend myself. If you are gonna judge me, at least get the entire truth before you make a decision.

I said recently, “it’s amazing how some people will question every good thing you do, but believe any bad thing they hear about you.” This week proved it.

I have fought my own inner demons for years. Sometimes I won, and sometimes they won. There were times when I drank too much and forgot what was important in life. And sometimes my only excuse is my own stupidity. There are times when my truth is harder to believe than any fiction a great author could come up with. Number 78 of “My 100” is “I am definitely a better person than I was ten years ago.” And that is true. It’s also true, that some of the leftover baggage has spilled over until just a few years ago. But you know what, I have avidly tried to pay my penance for past mistakes. I pay every single day. I will continue to pay. I’m fine with that. I make mistakes on a daily basis and there will never be enough days to make right some of my wrongs. But I will never quit trying.

I always seem to forget that everyone is not like me. I am nonjudgemental, I love unconditionally, and I never give two shakes about past mistakes someone else has made. I have proved this over and over. I don’t care what has happened in your life before I met you. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care about prison time, shady business practices, divorces that lasted decades, etc. I care about what I see when I look into your eyes. I thought I could see the heart that way. Evidently I was wrong.

I take offense to the uninformed people who try to define me by my mistakes. Who’s to say a mistake of 15 years ago still doesn’t follow them around too? The same people who judge me are judging you too. People who don’t matter will always look for the worst in me (and you too). And people don’t forget, and neither do I.

I am not perfect and don’t claim to be, but no one else is either. Every day starts with a prayer of renewal, thanks, and strength to keep going. I will never apologize for who I am, but I will continue to try to make past wrongs right. My mistakes are not the only part of me. And two weeks is not enough time to know everything about me, both good and bad. You never let me explain my faith or my reasons for it.

I will gladly answer any questions about my past honestly. Am I mortified to have to talk about it? Yes. Am I embarrassed? Of course. Am I scared of your reaction? Most definitely. But I can’t change it. Those who know me well, know everything about my past and still love me. This is why my circle of friends is small, but very tight. My past is also the reason I guard my heart fiercely. I don’t let just anybody in, probably never will. This past week has proven how right I have been to guard it.

Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to my life. Looks like I am headed back to the big city. Gonna swallow my pride and ask The Post to take me back. They have been great to me in the past and when I left April 24th they told me I always had a place there. So Monday morning I will finally buy another car, pack it up and head to St. Louis. Tuesday morning I will go to my meeting and find out if I’m staying or leaving the city.

I’m trying to trust the journey right now and not make too many plans. When I came “home” in April I was saying the same thing. I trusted that God would show me what path to take when I was presented with an option. So far, St. Louis seems to be the option. Although, Chicago is running a close second. Maybe the farther away the better. But back in April, I was confident He was calling me home to Carmi, now I don’t think I was listening well. Or maybe His plans for me have changed.

Seems like the only positive constant in my life has been my job. I may suck at life, but I am awesome at what I do. Ask anybody. I need to go back to 70+ hour work weeks so I don’t have to think, feel or have regrets. I can’t play the coulda, woulda, shoulda game anymore. But it doesn’t make me any less sad it just reminds me how absolutely broke my heart is. Time won’t heal this, but a guitar would help.

After midnight.

I have realized I do my best writing after midnight. Well, maybe not my best writing, but my most honest writing. And since right now my sleep patterns are kind of crazy and it’s a little after 1 a.m. I will write.

I have caught myself thinking too much lately. I’ve been thinking about someone. I’m really pissed off at myself for even letting this happen. I’m not anti-dating, anti-boy or anti-anything. It’s just that I made the conscious decision almost 5 years ago to date like a man. This means, no strings, no expectations, no long term, no getting used to anybody, no toothbrush at his house, no commitment, no nothing.

Call me callous, but this has worked relatively well for me for the past five years. Then last year I let my guard down temporarily and got burnt horribly. I knew better, and my heart payed the price.

Don’t get my wrong, I am far from perfect girlfriend material. Click here to read a post from back in January where I explain some of this. I think part of my problem is I have been in self-imposed isolation for too long. I have gotten too used to being on my own. I love the perfect solitude, but right now all I can think about is not being alone and it is freaking me out. And, I have turned down 4 guys in the last month.

I am so sick of all my friends telling me just to do what makes me happy. Wanna know what makes me happy? Brandon and Luc, beautiful flowers, unlimited Mountain Dew and Twinkies, loud music, water (ocean or lake), medium rare steak, my phone ringing, Adelitas Way and Cracker Barrel salad—just to name a few.

It’s hard for me to admit, but thinking about him still gives me butterflies. I can’t shake it. I can’t figure out if this a good thing or a bad thing. Worse yet, is I just wrote it here and he’ll probably read it at some point. I haven’t figured out how far I can put my guard down, still be completely honest, but not scare him off and not lose myself in the process. Does that even make sense?

For now, I will remain calm, listen more than talk (which is easy, because I love the sound of his voice), pray a situation works itself out sooner rather than later and try to carry on with business as usual. Right now business as usual is getting back to making money, figuring out exactly where I want to live and then doing something about it. The kicker is doing all this without thinking about him. Fat chance.

I have said, “it is what it is” way too many times lately. And although it is correct, I want to never have a reason to say it again. I respect the situation, but I don’t like it. I even understand it, but I don’t like it. I want him to be happy and I want to help with that. I want to take care of him—and him take care of me. I want dull Saturday nights with him curled up on the couch, eating pizza and watching the big screen. I want Sunday afternoon ballgames at Busch Stadium with him. I wanna get started spoiling my grand daughter (she’ll be here August 22). I want him to realize his happiness is important.

I want him to choose me and let the rest work itself out. Isn’t it about time for something amazing to happen?

Déjà vu.

Manipulation is a valuable tool,
Whether opposed to the guards, the kings or the fool.
Kicking the legs under the stool? That would be cruel.
Now if you’re the stool, that’s really not cool.
Now understand, no one likes to be kicked.
Also remember, no one likes to be tricked.
The kicker, the trickster?
Who is really the prick?
Don’t think of an answer, it has to be quick.
Well to be honest, its the one made of sticks.
Always doing nothing,
Or on the wrong end of a swift kick,
On rare occasions losing a limb to a pair of steel toes (size 6?)
Regardless, you’re doing nothing.
You have one job, to be under someone,
Fuck being the stool, it’s back to a stick.
At least as the stick, I’m nor the prick or the fool.
Good luck bending me, now who is manipulating who?
I’m not giving up, just providing Déjà vu.

Brandon-Brandon Fromm is my eldest son. He is a talented wordsmith, lyricist and story teller. After years of begging him to write something for me, he finally relented. He hosts the Facebook group “Pencil to Paper” where he and his like-minded friends share some of their writing. Brandon and I disagree daily, but we both respect each others’ intelligence and we have our best conversations after 2 a.m. 

Almost over, over.

Seven minutes shy of a life.
Time that matters most.
Will they weap his passing?
Will He welcome his soul?
Nothing left to say,
nothing left to do.,
hear the reaper knockin.
The saying is dead man walkin’,
dead man walkin’.
Guilty of his deeds,
no way to change his story,
beggin’ for forgiveness.
What good is it doing?
Nothing saves a dead man walkin’,
dead man walkin’
The chains burden every step,
small price to pay for a lost soul.
Beating blackened heart soon to cease,
dead man walkin’,
dead man walkin’.
Two minutes shy of a life,
strapped in for a short ride.
The needle rips a hole,
grains of time faded to black.
Nothing left but the darkness,
nothing left but the tingles,
finding the light.
No sorrow due for this dead man walkin’,
dead man walkin’,
dead man wakin’.
Justice is served,
dead man,
dead man.

Mike-Michael Collard is one of my life-long friends. We cruised many back roads in his vintage ‘70 Mustang “back in the day.” Professionally, he has driven a truck over-the-road for as long as I can remember. Too many long roads have given him time to overthink everything and hone his outspoken, independent, hell-bent attitude. With a little coaxing I convinced him to share some of his writing with me to publish here. When not on the road he spends a lot of weekends spoiling his six grandkids and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the seventh.