Home is warm summer days and endless blue skies
Splashing in a pool
Hoagies and cheesesteaks
Green rarely seen
Red barns I long to love back to life
And tastycakes…

I’m returning to Houston from a week back home. I had come back because my dad was having a heart surgery that I felt compelled to be at, even as he assured me that it was nothing more complicated than a tonsillectomy. Right, Dad.

Home a divisive work for me. Being a military brat I have no real  “home” to go back to. Home is where the heart is, my heart, the heart of my family. Home is where they welcome me, tease me, cook for me, love me.  I have no childhood home, so my aunt and uncle’s home in Pennsylvania is the closest thing I have.  It is a place where I know where everything, from the extra towels to the coffee maker are and I can help myself to either , where I feel comfortable climbing into my Tinkerbelle pajamas and stealing the remote control away from my cousin. 

When I arrived in Philadelphia and began the hour and half/two hour trip to the Allentown area in my rental car, I was confident I knew the way to my Aunt and Uncle’s house well enough to get there with no problems and ahead of the snow (an issue I don’t normally have since I visit usually in the summer)   As I eased down the turnpike and into Allentown,  the landscape became more and more familiar, even as it was covered in a dusting of snow.  Soon enough, I pulled into the driveway and the comfort of home.

The funny thing is, for as easy as it is for me to get home, getting back to my LIFE in Houston is much more difficult.  I always, and I mean always, get lost going back to the airport. Coming from the airport I can predict upcoming exits even down to which lane I need to be in order to get a ticket for the Turnpike. (A lesson learned when I ended up in the EZ Pass lane leaving me with no toll ticket. I’m still thankful for the toll booth operator who took my license and had very nicely assured me, “it happens all the time”  When  I explained I was “going home” he asked where I got on at, and told me, “yeah, it’s  kinda tricky there. You  need to be on the right for a ticket but then get over to the left.” Advice that saves me everytime.  Haven’t missed a toll since

Returning to the airport is a different story. One time I ended up in some residential area.I drove around looking at manicured lawns and colonial homes for half an hour before I found the freeway again.  Another time, I ended up going over some bridge and into a sports complex. That was not a good one. I totally freaked out and scared my kids to death.  Today was no different.  I could feel the anxiety building as soon as a grabbed my toll ticket. My heart was racing and heavy in my chest. I was nauseous and breathless as I headed out of Allentown toward Philadelphia.  Sure enough, just when I thought I had it, saw the sign for the freeway I needed to take. Just as the knot in my stomach began to slightly unravel, I exited too soon, and found myself on the wrong freeway, going away from the airport. Of course.

Now for those of you familiar with the concept of Turnkpikes  on the east coast, you know that exits can be fairly spread out, by like 15 miles. I had no idea how far out of my way this little detour would put me.  Panic set as I longed for a Texas size bottle of Xanax, and thanked God my kids weren’t with me.  Well, I thought, the worst think that could happen is I would miss my flight. I might have to wait awhile for the next one, but that is what airport bars are for, right?  If worse came to worse, there is a very nice Marriott hotel right across from the rental car drop off. I would check in, order room service, and try again tomorrow.  That is what credit cards are for, right?

Thankfully, the next exit proved to be only six miles up the road, with a gas station at the end of the exit! My GPS, which is possessed sometimes, took pity on me and decided to give me correct and easy to follow directions back to the airport. All and all it only cost me an extra half an hour.  I returned my car and got through security with time to have lunch and a much needed glass of wine.

I think it is some weird psychological block that keeps me from getting back to the airport, some weird Twilight Zone vortex that doesn’t want me to leave, just wants to keep me forever on that damn Turnpike:  Next service center 1 Gazillion Milles. Maybe it is the fact that Houston is not “home” and I always feel that I am missing so much by not being In Pennsylvania: holidays, birthdays, and just having family around.  It occurred to me then, that while Houston is not my home, it is my children’s home, where they were both born and (so far) raised. We rented a house when I was pregnant with my daughter,  who is now  10, and when she was four,  we bought a house  just across the street.  This is their home, and they have all the things in Houston that I miss in Pennsylvania. For that I’m eternally grateful.  I don’t think they would mind too much if we picked up and moved, they love their cousins and aunt and uncle and can’t wait to “go home”  every summer, I’m not sure that will ever happen.  Maybe, but  It sure would be nice to have home mean the same to all of us for once.




Catch My Breath

I don't wanna be left behind
Distance was a friend of mine
Catching breath in a web of lies
I've spent most of my life
Riding waves, playing acrobat
Shadowboxing the other half
Learning how to react
I've spent most of my time

Catching my breath, letting it go, turning my cheek for the sake of the show
Now that you know, this is my life, I won't be told it's supposed to be right

I've been on  such a journey lately. Trying to discover who I am, what do I want and what I have to say has let me discover all the  things that make me "catch my breath"

My daughter dancing
My son wrestling, and my screaming "GET HIM!" and then wondering "who is that crazy person screaming?"
When I take a pic and it is exactly the shot I saw in my head
When a patient says simply, "thank you for being NICE"
The fact that my son will be leaving for college next year
That I'm 44 years OLD (emphasis on OLD)
Running (or trying to get back there!)
That I still can let someone's offhand comment convince me that I'm "less than"

I open myself up to and actively seek all the gifts the universe creates that makes me catch my breath.


Taking The Long Way Around

   Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself

But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around

Maybe i have just been too worried about doing it "right."
Maybe I should be worried about just doing it.
Trust the process.
Trust Myself.
Trust that, in the words of the amazing Marie Forelo,  that crazy dream I've buried deep inside, yeah, THAT one, is the one I'm supposed to follow.
Trust more. Seek acceptance less.

I know have something to say. Something to offer. I may not always be sure exactly what that is, but I have finally realized (and accepted) that sitting around waiting for the vague image of what I want my blog to be, do, say, to become clear, "is not manifesting the glory of God that is within me", that is within all of us.

My daughter doesn't wait to dance until she knows all the steps perfectly. She just does it. Over and over again if necessary, until she gets it right, and she feels no shame about not having it right the first time. she doesn't "play small." She just gets out there and shines. She inherently knows that the power and beauty of dance already lies within her and at the same time knows that the only way to access it, to show it to the world is to... well....dance...(as if the world isn't watching) and there is such beauty in that it often brings me to tears.

Zoe DancingIt is time to Challenge

Challenge myself to trust

It is time to Commit

Commit to myself

It is time to Create

Create my voice

It is time to dance!



Going Back to Cali


I'm going back to Cali, shakin 'em, bakin 'em
Takin 'em to spots they never before hung
?? the place, on Sunset it's a trip
Where the A.C.'s cold, and the girls still strip
The record skip, but this girl kept dancin
Prancin, grindin, grinnin, romancin
I asked her to the barn, so we could hit the hay
I wanna do this, Brutus, but I don't wanna pay

I'm going back to Cali, Cali, Cali
I'm going back to Cali - no man I don't think so

I'm back in California after 22 years. 22 years of bad choices, big mistakes and unexpected grace. I think about that poor misguided little girl who ran screaming left all those years ago and I want to reach out and yank her back, shake her and scream, "what the F*& do you think you are doing! No good can come from this!" Of course I'd be right, but even if she knew how right I was she wouldn't have listened. She would have to figure it out for herself.

I still don't have it all figured out, I wish I did, but do any of us ever? I wish I could say that I am a totally different person than I was 22 years ago, and in many ways I am, but there is still enough of that self-destructive, desperately seeking...something lost girl left to give me pause and wish I were better, further along, more successful...different.

It so easy to mourn the person you aren't, the woman you want to be. It's harder to look honestly and see the growth, change, goodness, the character beneath the scars. The road that still needs to be traveled is so much easier to see that the one already traversed. 

 I'm a great mom, with two great kids, I have a good career, and am good at my job, I'm healthy. None, of which could be said about the girl who left here all those years ago. Not even close. How far we have come.



TGI Friday! 

It's been a minute since I've done this so I'm officially bringing TGI Friday's back!

Today I am:

Trusting: That everything is going to be ok. I went back to work and an filled with doubt about my ability to do the job itself and worry about the impact it will have on my kids.

Gratitude: I'm grateful for helpful neighbors and the peace the settled into the house on the first day of school

Inspried by: my fellow bloggers. All of us who, for what ever reason, take to cyber space and leave our mark!

What does your TGI Friday look like? Tell us about it in the comments below!