Costco Cookies Made Me Cry

We celebrated my daughter’s birthday in a small gathering with a single candle on a chocolate fudge cake.

My daughter happens to share the birthday with my mother.

However, my mother passed a few months ago, so I couldn’t call, send her a card, or buy her a gift. Spending the day with my daughter meant even more than usual.

But I was okay – on that day.

However, the following day, upon walking into Costco, I encountered a display of European Style Cookies with Belgian Chocolate. I fell into memory: A few years ago and sent my mother a box. She loved them so much that, last year, for her birthday, she said, “I only want one thing – send me those cookies again!”

Tears clouded my vision. My trip abandoned. I rushed to the parking lot.

I started my car and began to back up but was stopped short. Not one, but two cars waited behind me for a free spot somewhere close to the front of the store. The lot was not filled. There were spaces everywhere. But these people preferred front row and decided to block the aisle in order to get it. A guy in the truck next to me tried to pull out. Witnessing the unnecessary traffic jam, he smiled in my direction and slammed into reverse, expecting them to get out of his way. They did.

I waited.

My phone rang. An unfamiliar voice identified herself being from my insurance company. In my frame of mind – she wasn’t making sense. I tried to listen and clarify, but my already hazy thoughts grew thick.

I suddenly needed to get off the phone. I needed to get out of that parking lot. I just needed to get home. “I’ll just talk to someone else,” I snapped.

Poor Jennifer. She did nothing to deserve my emotional overload.

But that’s where I was – stuck in the Costco parking lot, crying because of cookies, and overwhelmed with grief.

Jennifer responded as a professional, which I appreciate immensely. Thank you, Jennifer, for being who I could not at that moment.

Grief strikes at odd times, never when you think it will.

Usually, when someone lashes out, it’s because they have some unspoken pain. Previously, when I’ve been on the opposite end of that flare, I’ve tried to respond like Jennifer did – pleasant, polite, and understanding it is not about me; it’s about them and whatever they’re dealing with.

This modern world is challenging, stretching us to our limits. Many, many people have lost loved ones and jobs. There has been a lot of changes in society and our personal lives. It’s overwhelming.

Let’s try to be respectful of one another. Let’s give each other space to grieve.

The Most Hated Man in America – and how white privilege allowed him to escape

Let’s be honest here – had that body cam video showed anything other than a privileged white male, Petito would probably not be dead.

Had he not been a privileged white male – he’d not be free and on the run right now.

The most hated man in America – Brian Laundrie – is free due to a system that has always believed the white guy, gave him another chance, let it play out.

While many of us are sitting back saying – WHY DID THEY NOT ARREST OR DETAIN OR QUESTION HIM before he escaped? the FBI and police were also working under the challenges white privilege carries. If you arrest someone without all the proper paperwork, you risk the expensive attorney making a case from the lack of dotted i’s and crossed t’s. They FBI and police were playing it by the book because had they not built a proper case to send the person to prison for life, it would have resulted in a long and costly waste of money that would’ve allow him to walk the streets anyway.

Brian Laundrie is the most hated man in America not only because he seems to be getting away with something what we all feel he did, but because of his sociopathic behavior – he drove Gabby’s van home, refused to speak while he hid at the safety of his mommy’s bosoms seemingly going on with his life as if nothing happened. His parents seem to be sociopaths as well – they went on with their lives as if their child hadn’t just returned without his missing girlfriend.

Everyone who has a child can relate to Gabby’s parents. The horror of not knowing where your child is – the outrage that the person who knows refusing to speak.

But do they relate to Brian’s parents? Maybe that’s why people are pissed off too – while we want to protect our children, how many of us would go so far as to hide our child and help our child to escape a murder charge? How many of us would even be allowed to proceed with life as normal if our child was a person of interest in a missing person’s case?

It seems a mom of two, attorney at a lawfirm, has offered a $20, 000 reward for information leading to Laundrie’s capture. I say we get a gofundme page going and donate more – let’s put a bounty on this guy’s head so large that anyone in the world would turn him over –

because, ladies and gentlemen, his parents have most likely gotten him out of the country. He’s on his way – or already in – a country that does not have an extradition treaty with America. They had enough of a head start. And how long could he hide on American soil?

I have faith he’ll be found. He’ll be brought back. He’ll face charges. And I hope his parents do to.

But let’s not wait until then to talk about the women of color who are missing in the same state without the same media circus.

Creativity is a Well that Must be Replenished

Thanks to Joe Plummer from Carbon Radio for asking great questions in this author interview!

Head over to Medium.com to read the full interview!

How do you think about creativity?

Creativity is a well that must be replenished. Creating a space and time for oneself and one’s growth will keep the well abundant. For me, the replenishment requires an inner focus, quiet spaces around me, lovely views — not necessarily when I’m writing, but before and after. Trips to the local art museum, beach, or the woods will recharge me. When I’m running dry, I know there’s something scratching at the bottom. Some parts of me or my needs I’ve neglected or ignored. I get too distracted by the outside world. There is so much we must do in this modern time and too many easy diversions. My soul counts on the regular activity of writing, it’s like a cleaning out of my mind. It keeps me balanced and happy. Without the regular practice of creativity, the soul cringes and starts to fold over on itself. If it’s been too long, it’ll be a rough restart. Rocks and dirt come first but, if we keep at it, our well fills again and the water becomes clear and plentiful.

This is Not a White Karen Woman

I have to admit the whole Karen thing frightens me. As a white woman, I don’t want to end up on youtube for complaining about cold coffee on a hot day to a minimum wage struggling college student.

A few months ago, at a local shop, I got into line. As there were three lines, I chose the shortest line. This is practical and makes sense to me. Yet a woman in the longest line began to call over to me. “That line’s not open. There’s only one line. You have to go to the end of this line.”

I leaned over to the cashier – because I was only the 2nd person in that line – and asked, “Is this line open? Is there only one line?”The clerk appeared confused and glanced around, “No, there’s three lines.” I stayed in line.

The woman, yes, a white woman, probably middle class, bright eyes, lovely skin, hair in braids, got out of the long line to come over and inform me, once again, that there was only one line and that I needed to go back to the very long line because “it wasn’t fair.”

I told her I’d asked the cashier and, indeed, there were three lines. This annoyed the woman. She grew a little louder, more insistent, trying to engage me. I ignored her. I felt the click of cell phone cameras everywhere. She grew more insistent, “You can see how unfair this. You know you should go to the back of that line.”

I finally raised my hand between us and offered, “I will not engage with you.”

A gasp of disappointment rose to the ceiling. Wouldn’t the internet have loved that?! Two Karen’s going at it in a DIY while buying plants and pots, unneeded glassware, a light fixture.

It was early. I was tired. It was hot. I really did not feel like fighting because I was smart enough to get into the shortest line.

HOWEVER, sometimes I do want my coffee hot or my tea cold. I want to feel free enough to lean over the counter and say something, but I don’t want to be the next victim of Karen fame.

I guess, maybe, it’s the way we engage. I complained about a postal delivery. Not having any luck over the phone, I went in. I never received my package, but the post office maintained their “GPS proves it was scanned at my door.”

When I went in, the post master said, “I don’t know what to tell you, the GPS… ” I felt the cell phone cameras click on over my shoulder. I informed him what google said about gps’s accuracy limitations. He shrugged. “What do you want me to do about it?” I smiled, spoke softly. “Maybe find out who delivered the package and see if they made an error.” Another sloped shoulder shrug. I consider the postal shootings of the 80s. Even softer, even smilier, “You guys keep track of that, right? If you have gps, you know who scanned it.” I shouldn’t have to ask someone to do their job, but this is the world we live in.

I recently came across a cell phone video of a woman losing it at a fast food drive thru. I wanted to link it, but there are so many “Karen loses it at drive-thru” that I couldn’t find the right one. I did save a screenshot of the original when I saw it.

Officially, this is not a Karen. A Karen is defined as a middle class white woman upset because she’s not getting the privilege she believes she deserves. The woman pictured is most likely not middle class or upper middle class. Most middle class women do not dye their hair pink nor do they get out of their beaters to hang their bodies into a drive thru window and batter the tea dispenser while berating workers.

Everyone is posting videos of women (and men!) freaking out, and calling them Karens. Some of these “Karens” aren’t even white! Can we limit it? Find a new name? I feel bad for my friends named Karen – sweet, wonderful women. Who decided this Karen thing? Can’t we use Denise? I don’t know any Denise’s. Maybe Mable. No one’s named Mable anymore. Don’t those names signify a middle class white woman? Mable sounds nice though, she’d probably never freak out. And Denise sounds pretty calm, a Denise would probably never scream at a minimum wage clerk.

The woman in DIY didn’t seem like a Karen. Maybe a Kate or Jane, but not a Karen. The post master didn’t look like a Karen. He appeared to be a lazy Larry.

The truth is we’ve all been living in hell for the last 18 months. We’re all a little on edge. Some more than others. Some of the videos are obviously depicting people with a mental illnesses. Some people are dealing with that last straw – you know the one that broke the camel’s back? Humans have been stretched thin in the last FIVE years. We all lose it once in awhile. It’s terrible to take it out on others. But there are better ways to handle these outbursts than filming people at their worst.

I’m tired of the who Karen thing. Can we Bye Felicia it? Can we move on and make up something new now?

Hell in a Starbucks Cup

It’s been a year since I’ve had caffeine – and it’s been HELL!

Specifically, my signature black tea, and more specifically, sometimes a half a gallon a day!

I was sitting back today, calm as a koala on eucalyptus, thinking I should be doing something – like writing. And it’s been a year since I’ve had real flow.

That flow where you sit back and the ideas come. That flow wherein you read the news and see how each story can become a hundred short stories, a disaster novel, and a rom-com.

I consider how I used to sit at the dining room table, hot cup of black tea mere millimeters from my fingertips, and type like a hamster on a wheel. Go. Go. Go!

It’s the lack of caffeine – of course- which has caused my caustic dry spell. I glance toward the kitchen, knowing, somewhere in there, lies a discarded tea bag at the bottom of an unused drawer.

Screw the doctors! To hell with anxiety! I shall abandon caution and dive over the cliffs of caffeine haven.

I hesitate, like I do now while strung out on herbal bounty, and consider, weigh the pros and cons, and question my decision. Damn chamomile.

A knock on the door steals my attention. (Caffeine improves focus – pro). I pop off the couch and spring toward the door. (No late afternoon caffeine drag – con). I throw open the door. There, on my patio, a tower of chocolates.

SALVATION!

The Little Things

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that worms into the back seals of our functioning. loosening the stopper, and causing fissures which disrupt our well-being.

Most of those worms are so small, they are unseen to the human eye. We may not even know what is bothering us, but something is. Other times, we know it’s an insignificant movement which shouldn’t bother us.

But it does.

It creeps in, the leakage begins.

There’s a sense of right and wrong, good and bad, and someone or something has crossed that ethereal line.

They probably don’t even realize they’ve done it. For each of us those lines are different, sometimes wavy and indistinguishable.

I tell myself it doesn’t matter that the neighbor has left the end of their car hanging into my driveway or that the clerk has overcharged by a portion. But things like these seems to weigh on me more than they should.

Characters need such issues, such efforts; it makes them human, makes them relatable. We are not the only ones who become distracted at the off-centered tie clip, miffed at the chipped nail polish.

In Mirror People, Jewels reacts to Marnie’s odd behavior. It’s something that builds underneath. She’s not even certain what it is, but something annoys her. In Paperwasps, a whole city block falls apart, one person is perfectly content, yet another can’t deal – but What’s bothering them, really? Is it something that has seeped into their brain some time ago?

Introducing: The Red Wing Chronicles (A Stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism)

Love this book!

I really don’t know how many people read my blog posts. For the past year or so, at various times, I have posted several pieces with subtitles like “A stream of consciousness rant, or lament, etc. from “The Red Wing Chronicles (A stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism). This is my latest book- part memoir of my first 30 years or so, and part stream of consciousness rant. Stream of consciousness is a technique in which the writer’s thoughts are quickly rendered into written words with minimal thought or fermentation. James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, and Virginia Wolf have used this technique in various of their works and when it is successful it often is akin to a jazz improvisation in words.

Although the words often flowed, this was a difficult book to write. My childhood was hardly a pleasant one. It was rife with serious illness, bullying and family abuse. The…

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Passion

Today, listening to the soft roar of the waves while walking on the beach, I thought about life’s passions – that thing or those things a person dedicates themselves to until the day they die.

I heard a podcast about an 84 year old man who went on his 121st sunken ship treasure hunt. I remember the stories of Einstein on his death bed still working on his next theory. How wonderful to be that passionate about something that you don’t want to stop ever!

I want to live with that passion. I want to always look forward and be working on my next passion project. Some people wait for retirement to travel or write or follow their life’s desire. But I want to live every day bathing in that fervor.

While work and other projects sometimes keeps me from writing, I can’t completely blame those things. As a teenager, I wrote endlessly, not concerned with sales or promotion. These things, I’ve come to understand, are what temper my passion for writing. The idea of the work that comes after the publication. The work a writer must do these days.

There must be a happy medium. My goal is to live more in my passion. Just write.

Read, Write, Publish

Billy Collins – famous poet – says he published everywhere. Any literary journal that accepted his work, big or small, he was honored.

It’s wonderful to have your hard work recognized. My gratitude for all the literary journals which have published my work. And today – thanks to Jelly Bucket!

JELLYBUCKET.ORG

The Importance of Running Away

Getting away, even if for a day or a weekend, is so important to refresh the creative spirit. Whether or not you actually work or write on this get away isn’t the valuable moment – it’s a temporary respite from the usual.

Research shows “blue space” and “green space” (the beach and the woods) do our minds and bodies good.

Having not taken a trip in the last 18 months has left my spirit in a state of desolation.

Therefore, I took a drive up the coast and landed in Cambria. Cambria is known, I think, as a beach town, but I stayed tucked away in a little cabin in the woods – I got my green space and my blue space. I didn’t write so much as I walked, explored, meandered – but it was enough. It was a gift to my pandemic weary spirit, a reset. Ending the old, beginning anew. It felt nearly normal again.

I returned refreshed, ready for the school year to begin, ready to finish another story.

Runaway. Runaway often. Near or far. Explore. Unplug.