My Words – My Shots


I love to write and I love taking photographs. Deep in my soul, I feel the need to share both. I used to think it mattered how many people followed any of my previous blogs, but I now realize that I don’t want to this to gain a following. I want – and need – to do this for me.

I hope you will follow and share your thoughts. If you choose not to do either, I will still be writing, taking photos of what appeals to me and sharing both here.



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Politics and the Dating World

Politics and dating. While you probably have thought a lot about politics lately, I’m guessing you haven’t thought much about dating and politics at the same time. I know I hadn’t. Until this morning. But, I’ll tell you what…

This nation has been a hotbed of political controversy since the beginning. Fighting for freedoms of all types both within our great nation and around the world. Men and women of the armed forces have defended our great nation from whatever internal or external foe has, or will come our way. In my 58 years, though, I don’t recall presidential politics ever being so polarized and heated as now.

Last year, as with every presidential election season, there were televised debates, news articles available online and in newsprint and on t.v., there were water cooler conversations and pamphlets and staffers calling to gain our support. There was every opportunity to learn and read and study and contemplate and, when it came time to vote, make an informed decision. By ballot time, there were two primary candidates – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Oh, sure, there were a bunch of other names you could vote for in the presidential race, but …

But what?  But this.

I recently got back into the dating world and met an amazing man online.  We had our first date yesterday and it was stellar! There were no red flags and we had already talked about so many subjects that I couldn’t fathom a topic that would be problematic. As we were ending the date, I made some offhand, smartass comment (as I am wont to do from time to time), and then quickly checked myself, apologized and asked if he voted for Hillary or Trump. We talked only briefly about it and I learned he was a Republican that didn’t always vote party lines. He asked for whom I voted and, in the moment, I couldn’t remember the guys’ name and I said I couldn’t. (I’ve since learned he thought I was still joking around with him. *lesson one*) The entire conversation couldn’t have lasted more than 90 seconds, if that.

We texted a bit later in the evening and he again asked for whom I voted and I replied Johnson, which I finally remembered.

This morning, I got a text asking again for the name of the person I voted for (he was still thinking I was being sarcastic and/or avoiding the question). I looked up the ticket and explained I had voted for Gary Johnson because I didn’t like Hillary’s dishonesty and Trump’s brashness scared me. Over the course of two additional texts from him, I got schooled, and deservedly so, from a man who is extremely devoted to this country and all it stands for. He’s worked on Capitol Hill, would have fought for this country had he been able to, was a political science major and is a staunch Trump supporter.

He shared his political and educational history, his adamant belief that Trump is exactly what this country needs and his willingness to pick up a rifle to defend this country in order to protect his family’s future. He was also adamant that he isn’t willing to defend people who don’t take democracy seriously. He wrote about throwing your vote away by not voting for Trump or Clinton – the only two real choices we had.

He closed by saying that he did enjoy our time to that point, but democracy and this country are so deeply ingrained in his thinking and how he lives his life, he just couldn’t live with someone who was at least as passionate and shared the same beliefs.

He also fully supported my right to vote how I felt called to do so and then pointed out that I hadn’t really voted at al.

After I read his words a few times and really accepted what he was saying (*lesson two*) I realized he was absolutely right. Without doing hardly any research, though. I cast my vote for … nothing. I didn’t support a candidate, I didn’t take my duty as a U.S. citizen seriously at all! I watched a few news broadcasts (well, parts of a few) and I read a couple of articles online (most of about 4 medium-length articles) and I made an ill-informed decision that I was going to vote for someone that had NO chance of winning. My vote took NOTHING away from either of the major party candidates. My vote had NO impact on the outcome of the election. I DID NOTHING.

Here’s *lesson three* — I missed out on what could have been an absolutely amazing relationship if I had just taken my duty as an American citizen seriously. If I hadn’t treated my vote as a follow-the-sheep or an I’m-too-lazy-to-care-enough proposition, I would have voted for Trump or Clinton. I would have voted for one of the only two people who would actually win the election. I would have cast my vote based on an actual love of country, a deeply researched knowledge base, an understanding of where the country was and where it needed to go. I would have cast a vote that mattered. I would now be able to legitimately bitch about the outcome if I were unhappy with it. And I might still be in the early stages of building an amazing relationship with a man that is so passionate about his country and his life in general.

*lesson four* … from the bottom of my heart, here’s what I wish for me and this entire United States of America. Stop throwing your rights and privileges away. Don’t let other people tell you how to vote. Do your own research from verified news sources. Take the time to understand why America is such a great nation and why every single legal citizen has a responsibility to make an informed decision. Cast a vote that can make a legitimate difference because you did your homework.

Finally, *lesson five* … opposition can a good thing. Abraham Lincoln opposed slavery. Rosa Parks opposed segregation. But, opposition that is destructive and causes harm  to other people and businesses is futile. Find a constructive way to help effect change if you don’t like the outcome of this or any other election.

Oh, and *lesson five – part two* … if you didn’t vote at all or didn’t vote for someone that could actually win, you/we/I haven’t earned the right to bitch about anything that happens because Trump was elected.

P.S. Want to know who I should have voted for? Donald Trup.  Now, I’m going to learn more about the 45th President of the United States. For areas I oppose, I will find constructive ways to affect change. For areas I support, I will do so. And, I will continue to search for the man of my dreams that shares a similar political viewpoint as I do. I will not lose another great man because of my lack of concern about the country that affords me the freedoms and privileges that I have thanks to the sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, husbands and boyfriends of people all around me.

P.P.S. And, J.S., if you ever happen to see this, I dedicate it you and your profound love of country. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for teaching me what I should have learned years ago. I will always be grateful.

A Rose for 2017

Here we are. Again. The early days of a new year. It’s a time to reflect, remind, resolve, return, refocus, remember, rewind, resume, repair, renew. It’s an opportunity to take a deep breath and move forward while shaking off the rough patches of the past.

For me, it’s a time to remind, refocus and resolve.

I remind myself of the little things that bring me joy.  Things like getting away from it all in a comfortable RV, sitting by a lake watching the sun rise while listening to the world come alive, sleeping in on a Saturday morning next to the man I love – just because I can, going for a motorcycle ride on the back roads to anywhere. Things that are essential to the health of my soul.

I refocus on things that I have a passion for but told myself I “didn’t have time” to do in the past.  Things like writing and photography.  I’ve been told – by people with far more skill and experience – that I have an eye for photography and my writing is pretty good.

I resolve to spend 2017 (and beyond) filling more and more of my time with things that I have a passion for and feed my soul.  So, as I navigate the dating world (again) to find my Mr. Right & Forever, I will be writing more, taking more photographs and sharing both here.

To that end, here’s one more “r” for you.  A rose to welcome in 2017.

May you find your “r” and follow it to a better year.

Happy 2017!


Searching … Finding

“Learn to be happy with what you have.”

“Don’t settle for less than what you want.”

“Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so live in the moment.”

“Start planning now for your future.”

The messages we are given daily are so conflicting.  If you struggle at all in your life, how are you supposed to know what to pay attention to?  How do you balance anything at all? Do you plan or don’t you?  Do you work toward your dreams or do you leave them just that … dreams?

Sometimes – well, most of the time – I feel like the whole self-help industry was invented solely as a way for people to write books and make money off of other people with genuine struggles.  Several of those authors have made money off of me, and I still struggled.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I have never looked for an immediate “oh, THAT’s the secret to being happy or finding love or the perfect job or right boyfriend.”  I have looked for some concrete guidance to help me find my way back to my path in life, though.  Something that truly and deeply resonated so much with me that it would carry me forward and keep me on task.  What have I tried, you ask (and even if you didn’t ask, I’m going to tell you)?

Religion.  Organized religion, to be precise.  I was raised in a religious household, went to church on Sunday and sometimes during the week, joined the choir when I was old enough, got baptized, played piano for different church choirs, etc.  I was always taught that a belief in God and Jesus would help me through the tough times.  That being part of a fellowship of believers would buoy my soul; I’d be part of a body of people that cared about their community.  After trying several churches of varying denominations over the years, what I found was, in large part, a group of people that were self-centered and more interested in showing off their newest pricey car or wardrobe, or being acknowledged for having given a large sum of money to the church coffers.  And the community they referred to was just their church and not the actual neighborhood or city in which they worshipped.

I tried making new friends – something I have a very difficult time with as I’m prone to distrust.  I thought that maybe I could be casual friends with people and that not all of my friends had to be people I could trust with my most intimate thoughts and concerns.  What I found was that I got caught up in their drama, my then-impressionable personality had me doing things that I would not have done if not surrounded by the people I chose.  After a few years of making extremely poor decisions, I went back to having relatively no one close and my distrust-o-meter when deep into the red zone.

I’ve read books, articles online, tried what other acquaintances said worked for them.  All with the same results.  Nothing worked for me.  Nothing spoke to me.  Nothing made a difference.

Nothing, that is, until I met a specific man who brought a handful of very important puzzle pieces into my life.  And, although the relationship itself was not meant to be lifelong, what he gave me was an understanding of some things I realized are vital – VITAL – to my having a happy existence.

First, there was love of a good man.  Just to know that someone else could fall in love with me after my divorce was amazing.  He is a good, honest man that could be very romantic and it was an absolute privilege to be part of his life, if only for a short time.

Second, there was joy.  The joy that was rekindled in me from riding on the back of his motorcycle was absolutely amazing.  Even if all we did was ride around town running errands, it was wonderful.  For me, there is nothing like that freedom and connection with the world around you.  It isn’t for everyone, and I respect that.  I now know that this will be a deal breaker for me in my next (and hopefully lifelong) relationship, though.  If he doesn’t own, or have immediate plans to purchase, a comfortable cruiser, it’s going to be a non-starter.

Third, there was peace.  He belonged to a members-only lake that offers camping, fishing and small game hunting.  The first time we went there together was for a picnic.  The peace and calm that came over me was incredible.  Now, I’ve known for decades that being near a large body of water was a zen thing for me.  Being with a man who could offer this to me and my soul on a regular basis?  Simply priceless.  During our time together, we spent many days and nights there and, without fail, every visit helped calm my spirit and my soul, giving me the much-needed opportunity to reset.

Fourth, there was contentment.  This came in the form of unconditional love from the puppy in the house.  My family had dogs when I was a kid, but as an adult I had only had a cat and that was more than 30 years ago.  I am allergic to both dogs and cats so once I parted with my cat, I never thought about getting another pet.  This little dog changed all that.  The first time I met this 8-pound Chihuahua, he was a bit stand-offish, but before the visit was over, he had humped my leg.  After that, we were pals.  When I visited, he always ran to greet me and I soon  started picking him up and cuddling him every time.  After I moved into the house, he became my lap dog — every time I sat down, he was there to sit with me.  He even started eating dinner when I did.  I became his caretaker of sorts, letting him out first thing in the morning, giving him a treat as I left for work, watching out for him when we’d be camping so he didn’t run off or get hurt.  Now, I can hardly wait until I live in a place where I get my own puppy and have that soul connection again.

What worked for me was having a man come into my life bringing reminders of what is truly important to me.  Reminders of what my soul craves, what it needs to survive.  Then, not just to survive, but flourish.

Writing this today has not been easy.  Mostly because I didn’t fully appreciate what had been given to me as gifts in that relationship.  I cry at the thought of what I’ve lost, yet know in my heart of hearts that I will have it again.  Because I must.  If I’m to live the life I’m meant to, I have to have the joy of  freedom on the open road, I have to have the peace of the water, I have to have the soul connection with a puppy and – most importantly – I have to have the lifelong love of a good man.

THAT is what will keep me going.  THAT is what will fulfill and sustain meTHAT is the life I will have!

So, the search continues.  It no longer is search for what my life is supposed to be, though.  It isn’t reading books or going to church or trying someone else’s “cure.”  It has become a search for what feeds my soul and spirit — the right puppy, the body of water and my very own Mr.-Right-For-Me.

Thank you, sir, for the amazing reminders.  Thank you for helping me find what I was looking for.  Thank you.

One Day

One day  …  that’s a powerful thought.  “One day I’ll be thin.”  “One day I’ll find the man of my dreams.”  “One day I’ll find the perfect job.”

What if today was “one day?”


One Day clock

Do You Ever Think of Me?

In moments of quiet contemplation, I think of you.

I wonder where you are,
What you’re doing.
If you ever wonder about me.

I recall the early days when our love was new
And we were filled with excitement and anticipation.

I recall vacations and day trips.
All kinds of exploring.

I recall fun times,
Sad times.

All snapshots of our life stored neatly in my memory.

If I close my eyes, I can almost see you sitting with me.

I can almost hear your voice as we talk
About everything
And nothing.

I can almost feel your touch.
A soft kiss on the lips.
Holding hands.

All too soon, as I slowly open my eyes,
I wonder once again.

Do you ever think of me?


My Soul is Hungry

My 58th birthday is in about two weeks and it is time for my annual soul-searching. Seems like starting about a month before my birthday, I start delving into my psyche trying to figure out the W’s of my life:

  • who am I
  • what I want to do with my life
  • where I want to live
  • what I want to live in

This has been going on for about 16 years now … ever since I got divorced. Usually, I spend time off and on during the month prior just taking stock, and generally coming to the conclusion that where I was at that point in my life was “okay” or “good enough.”

This year seems to be a bit different. This year seems harder. This year seems … well, this year it seems that finding answers are so much more necessary. There seems to be an urgency this year. There are times that I can actually feel my soul reaching up and tugging on my brain saying, “I need feeding!!”

So, what types of things feed my soul? Music, for one. Music has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. Everything from piano lessons to singing to being in the school band, etc. I’ve had a piano of my own – consistently – since I was 18 years old.  Unfortunately, several years ago, I was in a very bad financial place and had to sell everything of value that I owned. That included a much loved electronic keyboard that I had since the late ’90s. Since then, I haven’t lived anywhere that had room for one or that I was allowed to have one. Although my skills have faded, I still miss it very much.

Another meal my soul can truly feast on is solitude, preferably near a body of water (sans mosquitoes, naturally). It allows my brain to swirl and toss out all the clutter so I can think, contemplate, sort and cogitate on all manner of things. It’s also when I take some of my best photos. Solitude is very, VERY hard to come by living and working where I do.

Love and romance — there’s another thing that truly feeds my soul. I’ve had two loves in my life so far. Sadly, neither were meant to be life-long, but I still have faith. I do believe I’ll find a great man that has all the qualities I’m looking for and we’ll grow old together.

Photography, writing, reading, music, solitude, love (not necessarily in that order) … those are the things that feed my soul. Those are the things that are scarce in my life. Those are the things that my life needs to revolve around.

I don’t know if it’s the way I was raised or just my personality type, but I have continued to work in jobs I don’t like just for the financial security. I can’t seem to find the strength to change the things I want and need to change. I can’t seem to let myself go so I can feed my soul properly. Every part of my life needs to change if I’m going to be able to live the rest of it without regret. And I’m deathly afraid of that.

I have to find a way to push through that fear. I have to find a way to take a leap of faith. I have to feed my soul so that the mere thought of not doing so no longer brings me to tears.

Peace Here

There is peace here.
City sounds become white noise.
A small plane flies above yet the solitude is not disturbed.

The murmurs of the neighborhood further relax the senses.

There is peace here.
Peace in my mind.
Peace in my soul.
Peace in the moment.

There is peace here.

Solitary Chair

My First Shot

It was a beautiful late winter/early spring day and I had a new camera to try out. Without any specific destination in mind, I drove off in a westerly direction, toward the foothills. Everyone so often I would stop at a park or pull over when something caught my attention but everything was too … ordinary. I knew I wanted to try something different with any photos I took. I wanted to find flora, fauna, structures — things that had a story to tell, things that I could find a unique look to.

I pulled into a park so I could get out and stretch.  Then, I discovered the park included an amazing lake with bits of ice still holding on for dear life to the rocks and reeds around the edges. The ice glistened and sparkled just perfectly. I took a few shots, but got distracted when I saw the steel railing of the bridge nearby. That had potential, I thought. I headed over and took shots from every angle I could. Nothing was quite right. Then, just for the heck of it, I decided to try shooting straight along the railing itself. This is what I got. And, for a long time, was a favorite among my friends.

Bridge railing circa 2008  WM

While a bridge railing may still be “ordinary” to most people, I think – for my first official print in what has become an eight-year long endeavor to find a following – it is a good portent of things that came after.

The Evolution of [My] Man

I don’t remember being the little girl that dreamed of growing up, getting married, having children, living in a house with a white picket fence. I don’t remember daydreaming about what “he” would be or look or act like. I don’t even remember my first kiss, but I do remember who he was.

Since then, though, I can remember every guy I’ve been interested in. So, by way of both a walk down some-better-than-others memory lane and you-better-be-laughing-with-me avenue, here’s a brief description of the evolution of [my] man. Uh, men.

First, there was Doug (I think it was Doug). He was the aforementioned first kiss when I was about 10 or 11. He had no facial hair, probably had a bicycle, and the romance ended when dinner was over and my parents took me home.

That was followed by a dry spell … until I was 17. Mark was the other half of a makeout session on the band bus coming home from a band competition in southern Colorado late in the evening. Little did I know then just how lousy a kisser he was. Blech!

A couple years later I ran into a guy I had known most of my life. He had a great mustache and beard, was a motorcycle guy, was a pretty good kisser and treated me well. Sadly, it just wasn’t “our time.”

After another shorter dry spell came a fiance’ who turned out to be an ex-con (and burglarized my parent’s house) followed by a guy that was straight out of a romance novel. The ex-con had a mustache, but it was scraggly and he was a mediocre kisser. The novel guy was clean-shaven and a sloppy kisser (but his apartment was on a high floor and had a killer view off the balcony). No motorcycle between them.

Skipping over the stupid crushes and limited dates with guys that were SO not the right one, I met “him.” I knew when I met him that I was going to date him. Long hair, full beard, mustache and a great kisser. He was great in almost every way. At first. He was a motorcycle guy (just didn’t have one at the time, nor ever bought one) and liked camping (but we never went). One wedding, eight years of marriage, one divorce and another 10 or so years together (sort of), we parted ways.

After a couple of years getting beyond that there was the boyfriend with wonderfully long hair, full beard, mustache, motorcycle, camper, a love of the outdoors, visions of traveling the country in an RV after I retired … it was grand. All too soon, though, it ran its course and we each moved on.

And, so, here we are. Now tell me. Do you see the evolution there? Do you see the connections? Funny now so much has changed in what I look for in a guy and yet, so much has stayed the same. I bear absolutely no ill will toward any of these men. Thanks to them, I have been able to figure out what – beyond facial hair, motorcycles, RVs and being a good kisser – is truly important in the man I spend the rest of my life with. It isn’t about the wedding (money better spent elsewhere) or the children (ask anyone, I’m not good with children!) or the white picket fence (although I would like a small home of my/our own). It’s about his character, his integrity, his trustworthiness, his interest in me and in us, the way he treats me on a daily basis.

And, of course, it’s about the fact that I really like a man with facial hair and a motorcycle.

For that … I thank each of you men.



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