Tag: self-care

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

29 May 2017

Today is Memorial Day.  My family and friends have served in the military.  Some have been lost in combat.  For all those lost, we continue to remember their service to our country on this day.  We adorn their graves to help remember and honor.  We decorate our loved ones graves because plants and flowers begin to grow (and survive, as it stands in my NY hometown).

And THANK YOU to those who continue to serve.

During my travels, I see military personnel in airports a lot.  If they’re not pre-occupied, I will step out of the way, trail off from my path for a moment, to thank them for their service. I don’t do this for me, and I have arrived late at my gate when I stop for a few seconds, but the plane is still loading; I do not care.  I do this because they deserve recognition.  They deserve a standing ovation.  It’s respectful, and an act of good citizenship.  I appreciate what they’re doing for our country.

Because of them, we feel safe flying around the globe, driving across state borders, going to concerts, football games, and more.

Because of them, I can sit on my patio in the mornings with a mimosa.  I can sit on my patio in the afternoons with a glass of bourbon, strong-add ice; write, study, and feel safe in my home and backyard. I can sit on my patio in the evening with a steak- overcooked- potatoes not grilled up correctly, but, yet, I have my glass of wine…as I continue to write: this blog, tweet, revise my thesis, finish reading a novel, compile my poetry book, and have the freedom to take Duke for a walk any time I want.



I feel it’s important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I feel it’s equally important to take one minute out of our lives (again, we have our freedom) to thank those who continue to serve. As a civilian, I may not understand what they go through, especially when called for duty, but to stand up and volunteer to keep the U.S. safe and protected is a massive burden to carry…while being an honor.

Which leads into a different type of discussion because my literature class this term has been focused on 20th Century American Literature.  It was not what I expected.  We have been examining how literature, from poetry to fiction, has changed since WWI.  Add in WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Beats Generation, and (now) Post 9/11.  That’s a ton of information to consume and filter…especially as I am waging my own personal war; some of this shit gets too heavy for me.  And I do not mean shit in a disrespectful way.  We just finished The Yellow Birds, a novel by Kevin Powers, about the Iraqi war.  Since I just finished a short paper on the unreliable narrator, I won’t go into my soapbox.  What I can say, however, is the books chosen for the course, and the contents contained within, brings forth a new perspective on literature and its evolution over wars and movements.  I was hoping for discussions about Gatsby; perhaps a tie-in from Victorian literature, but that was not the case.  Instead, I battened down the hatches (here goes the clichés), braced myself, and rode the torrential waves and storms that came at me for the past 8 weeks.

Yeah.  This is week 9.  This is the official thesis revision week. Something happened at 12:15am, the turned into paper writing a 2am, and giving up by 2:30am (I think).

I began Memorial Day with an 8am hour-long conference/Skype call, but it was okay because it was with new and old friends.  Any friends that enter my life these days are warmly welcomed.  We had a good discussion, and ended with laughter.  Although, I am curious to know how intimidated a male colleague, from another country, with zero understanding about American football felt as two women drove their own narrative about the game, fantasy football, the players we like, the teams we follow, and plans to attend an NFL game together…

Shall I put that into perspective for you again?

Females conversing about all aspects of the NFL.  Male from another country with zero knowledge-asking for a short version about the purpose of the game, etc. (perhaps something less than the Cliff Notes version).  Females talking about their favorite teams.  Male caught in between two females being enthusiastic about the NFL.  Male just shakes his head.

😊 This may be a long 5 months for him as we continue discussions leading up to a conference, and I begin to take over conversations at our committee meetings specifically involving football.  Yep, just counting the days until the NFL season returns!

I have spent many, many mornings on the patio.  Drinking coffee and writing in the morning.  Writing in the afternoons.  Reading mid-afternoons.  Drinking wine and writing in the evenings.  Reading/writing into the late evenings.  Simply enjoying the crap out of a home that consumed my inheritance.

I have returned to work, but it is now short-lived.  I will be taking a leave of absence again (my friend calls it a sabbatical! hah), through June.  However, because I am still waiting for the perfect lemonade cocktail to be whipped up, I am looking at longer.  For the first time in my life, I am only focused on taking care of myself; re-discovering who I am, who has been hiding behind glass walls, and who wants to break out. I may not necessarily have to decide on a set career at this point in my life, because I want to be the next mega-author, but I need a job that will help pay the bills, cover insurance, ensure extra biscuits, treats, and pay annual medical bills for Duke, and…make me happy.

This is my time, my year, my focus to get myself back into rebuilding a new system, and I dare anyone who wants to try to stop me!

We are free because our military protects us, keeps us safe.  The next time you see someone in a uniform, take a few seconds out of your schedule, even as you are rushing to your next gate, to stop and thank them.  Treat them to a cup of coffee if they’re behind you in the drive-thru of a coffee shop.  A random act of kindness goes a long way, and we can sure use a lot of kindness these days.  Lastly, keep remembering those who died sacrificing themselves for us to live in a world we have today.

Duke thanks our military, too!

Taking a Leap and Enduring

Taking a Leap and Enduring

14 May 2017


Happy Mother’s Day to any mothers reading this.  Happy Mother’s-to be Day!  My sister is a MTB, and they are equally important because they are still caring for a child.

I was at graduation on Saturday.  It was a day to me, for me, and all about me.  Prior to leaving for the ceremony, I was unwrapping my stole, cords, and charms to add to my cap and gown ensemble.  I was thinking about these next four weeks.  What I told myself was that I am finishing as a Hellinger.  This lead to taking another leap on Saturday.  It was time.  I took my last ring off.  A rush of liberation overwhelmed me.  I felt a little bit of freedom; a little because I’m not completely free yet, but it’s coming.  This was a giant leap because it meant that I am ready.  Ready for: new things, changes (big and small); and a new life.  However, I still feel a little disjointed.  There are scattered thoughts.   I am not my normal self.  In fact, normal doesn’t exist.  Eventually, there will be a new normal, but I’m not there yet.  These were thoughts running amok yesterday as I sat in my seat feeling the ridges on my left ring finger.  I hid my hand under my program to avoid thinking about things that were not the focus of me and my day.

I was sitting on the arena floor with peers in the MA Liberal Arts program at SNHU.  There were some dynamic speakers.  The keynote speaker for our school (COCE and CFA) spoke about where she’s been, how she got there and what she went through during her time as a student, a single mother, and working full-time.  The University President said he loved speaking to this particular school because students are from all over the world (one student was from Tuscany, Italy).  We are the ones who are studying late hours, after work, after families; we are the students sacrificing “small and big moments” to better ourselves.  Importantly, we arrived at this point because we have family and friends to support us.  I’ve been saying this all along.  My family and friends have supported me in various aspects of my life and my education.  I have sacrificed evening gatherings, and more to stay at home and get my assignments turned in.  I have sacrificed weekends on the golf course.  I have sacrificed dinners, lunches, and more because I needed to read a novel in 24 hours, write 5,000 words within a week; or had to do some research that kept me in the virtual library hours after work.  This sacrifice is priceless.  Family, friends, activities, events, and the golf course will still be there once I am done.

The speaker understands what it means for all of us to endure; she spoke about this.  We are functioning beyond.  I have no choice but to endure this chaos while finishing my education.  I can smile and laugh through the deep pain, tremendous hurt and invisible scars (already forming), and many would not even know how out of control (literally and figuratively) my life is currently.

Natalie has to endure trial and error to realize why she can’t wake up from her coma.  How does she do it?  You’ll have to read the book.   I have to finish the last 5,000 words week 7!  That’s it!  The last 5,000 words.  Then it will be time to edit once again, and prepare for my thesis completion.

Thinking ahead, I am determined to endure numerous rejections when I begin to submit my manuscript to agents/editors/publishers.  Empowerment and enduring are just two themes in my thesis.  I have endured some of the worst storms and darkest of days and nights.  I have grown more resilient through this mess.  I will be okay once I move beyond a few more obstacles.  I know I am not done taking small and giant leaps.  This is the power of positive thinking.

Both the University President and the speaker told us, as graduates, to take time to “soak it all in.”  I have been, and even reminded myself today to soak it all in.  Those smiles, laughs and memories I spoke about in my post the other day?  They happened because I let them. I embraced the moments.  I can’t seem to get enough, but it’s good enough for now.  Leaping, soaking, enduring, and embracing.


it's not about you anymore

Aunt Jude puts rose wreath on me18519065_1657516264276853_718103114_o



9 May 2017


Since this whole mess started, I have been disrespected.  I was disrespected during a phone call to Japan, by someone who loved me…or so I thought.  Immediately upon his return to the United States, he continued to disrespect me and our marriage.  It hasn’t stopped.

After being stripped down and thrown into a numbing coma, I remained still during a temporary order.  It angered, and hurt me, knowing the opposing party (OP) was off spending time and our money on a fantasy that is bound to crash and burn at some point.  Don’t worry-this is not the post where an expected bout of Tourette’s (Whore. Adulterer.) appears.

I trudged through the broken pieces of something we constructed together, crumbled and scattered all over the ground.  The only thing I wanted to do was to escape.  Escape.  Get away for three days.  That’s all I wanted.  Take off to Disneyland, get away from this mess, and have the freedom to be myself and enjoy my company.  Escape for three days.  It didn’t seem like it was that hard to fulfill.  On the contrary, it was extremely complicated and didn’t happen.

I began the process back in January because it was my proclamation to say, “You can’t do this to me.  This is not okay, and I told you this was not okay.”  I have too much respect for myself to be dragged around, even though the OP’s behavior imitates this, I control it by setting up boundaries and walls. I am the primary concern, and I have more self-respect because I was strong to take a stand.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to spend time near a beach.  It was exhilarating!  I called it my self-care weekend. I didn’t realize how badly I needed it.  I only had to make decisions for myself.  I didn’t need to consult anyone’s caIendar.  It was me, time, the world, the sun, and the sand.  I wasn’t scoffed at for having too many glasses of wine.  I wasn’t ridiculed for enjoying mimosas with friends at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.  Having the freedom to answer only to myself was exactly what the doctor ordered.  It was liberating.  I had spent five days surrounded by more friends─people who genuinely care for me and respect me─and it was the perfect ending before I headed back home.

I officially ended the five weeks of my education with a deeper tan, and a little more blonde.  I arrived home to be greeted by my lovable, four-legged furry dog, “my little rock.”  A friend had picked him up earlier in the day, and I was so thankful she did this for me. It was great to return home, my first real trip away since this mess began, being greeted at the front door with his tail wagging furiously.  He has been my shadow ever since.

This is another big thesis writing week.   I began writing this next segment in some of the best environments I’ve been accustomed to for years: writing in airports and hotels; writing in the sun; writing outside.  This is the big chapter, and you all know Natalie goes into a coma.  I am not going to give any spoilers at this point because it ruins the fun of reading the entire story.  This is where the story is going to grab the reader, make them hang on the edge of their seat, as the story plunges to the denouement.

This is also graduation week.  Because I finish in June, I can walk for graduation!  I have my cap and gown, my stole, charm and cords from the National Society for Leadership and Success; my cord from Sigma Tau Delta (International English Honor Society); I was given honorary cords from the NMT Society of Petroleum Engineers Student Chapter that I will also proudly wear.  For the first time, I am going to decorate my cap!  I have ideas, just need to buy the supplies now.

Another week is planned for self-care, respecting myself, and doing things for myself.  I am also thrilled that I will be spending this weekend with my family.  The anchor keeping me grounded as I floated.  My self-care program requires that I make time for myself, do the things I love (and missed) doing.  Family and friends are huge components.  Without them, some of my days and nights would have been a lot darker.  The best part-we are kind human beings and respect each other; how it’s intended to be.

Time to return to my thesis.  Natalie needs to become a stronger character, so I need to spend some time with her.  The world is waiting for this one, and the next novel to follow, post-degree.



Broken Promises

Broken Promises

Broken Promises

2 May 2017

Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_chr1′>chr1 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

I am staring at the messes surrounding me.  Fences tipped over.  Boards fallen off the fence.  A sprinkler system on one setting.  Windows with no coverings.  A china cabinet with a broken door.  Holes in the walls.  A satellite radio cord that came loose.  An old sink rotting on the side of the house.  Tools left everywhere.  An old grill.  Tires.  Cupboards taking up space in a garage, that I’m attempting to clean (the clutter, at least).  A garden full of weeds.  An unfinished patio.  Weeds everywhere.  Boxes left behind.  Everything left behind.  All of this, and more, are broken promises that linger, hovering like a ghost sweeping through the walls of each room.  In my family, we call it unfinished projects.  In this instance, I am surrounded by promises with no intention to fulfill them.

I am left to clean everything up; something very common in a past relationship.  “Just leave it.  Karen will take care of it.  Karen will clean up.  Karen will…”

Karen won’t.

I will not take care of “things” any longer.  I will leave it in a pile for someone else to deal with.  I will not go through boxes, bags and totes, sifting to set the important things aside.  I am sick of it.  I am tired of it. I no longer have to put up with this mentality.  Yet, I recognize that I also fed into this mentality, this behavior, and now need to set up boundaries to begin breaking this behavior.

This is week five and I begin to write from airports and hotels.  I’ve been pinching every penny, staying put while someone else spends money, flitting from country to country; city to city, and not alone, enjoying a gazillion (unoriginal) vacations.  Things seem extremely unfair while the OP gets away with everything; appears to be untouchable, yet wavers hoping that I will immediately jump on every reply.  The phone calls are long gone. The texts are long gone. It’s just Google hangouts-nothing more, nothing less; the bare existence of a voice.

I am traveling for work.  Friends have reached out, offering brief moments of solitude in different places, and I have gladly accepted their kindness.

Week five also means I am smack-dab in the middle of my last term, and have begun my journey into the heart of my education, thesis, and research paper writing.  I am taking a break from fixing broken promises to fix myself.  To take care of me.

I have moved beyond the inciting incident in my novel.  There is the progressive climb into the rising action.  The climax is not far off now-another 5,000 words.  Chapters 8 and 9 were submitted on Sunday, and they were emotionally-charged.  Nick has, once again, left Natalie to clean up and deal with things.  She has just realized how often this happens.  Does Nick leave a trail of broken promises?  I sense Natalie is going to learn far more than she ever imagined as I begin my descent into the completion of my novel.  At this time in my thesis, the characters are now breathing lives of their own and begun taking over the story.

I am looking forward to the short break away from all that engrosses my current situation, atmosphere, and life.  I am looking forward to letting the ambiance of new places, familiar faces, and exciting scenery soak into my soul.  I have only just begun this next journey of travel.  There is more to come.