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So there was this thing …

OK, I know I said I was going to post right away after the first of the year, either Jan. 2 or 3. And it didn’t happen. It also didn’t happen on Jan. 4 or 5.

And then Jan. 6 came and I just couldn’t seem to find the energy, inspiration, or motivation to blog for a few days. When thousands of protesters descended on our nation’s Capitol building, and then hundreds forced their way in, vandalized the building, and scared the living hell out of everyone inside, suddenly writing about new year’s resolutions or what I learned in 2020 or what I was most glad to be rid of from 2020 seemed a bit … trivial.

I’m still not sure this is the right thing to do, but it’s what feels normal – and damn, if I don’t really want to feel normal right now. If we ALL don’t want to feel normal. So I’m here, posting what will likely be little more than a short stream of consciousness, hoping that it gets me past the writer’s block that’s jammed itself firmly in my brain.

I feel like I’m in a kind of purgatory in all of this – I in no way whatsoever condone, support, or am in favor of what that group did. It was repulsive and, honestly, terrifying. But …

I do have Republican friends, and friends who voted for Donald Trump. We are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but despite what others may say, I don’t believe for a second that any of my friends are racists, or homophobes, or home-grown terrorists set to overthrow the government. These are people I know. I may not understand their politics, but I know their hearts.

I also have many liberal friends who, like me, did not and would not vote for Donald Trump. Those friends far outnumber the others, but I value them all.

Unfortunately, my own toxic social posts about Trump over time have alienated many of my conservative-leaning friends, and the fact that I still have conservative-leaning friends has alienated some of my liberal friends. And just by posting this and admitting I (gasp!) have conservative-leaning friends, I may be alienating a few more of my liberal friends.

And it all just makes me very tired. Tired of hate. Tired of anger. Tired of being told who I should or shouldn’t be friends with. And now, thanks to a few thousand idiots who wanted to see their picture on TV, I’m a little scared – and I’m really tired of being scared already.

OK, I lied. This wasn’t that short. But it did kind of help. Cheerier thoughts next time. Girl Scout promise.


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… and we’re back

Sometime in mid-November I got an email that said my WordPress domain would automatically renew on a particular date in December. I thought about it long enough to think, “Oh, I’ll need to think about that.”

Then I forgot about it. At least until another email came on that particular day in December that said my renewal payment was successfully completed.

So I guess I have another year to think about it.

There was a time a few years ago I wouldn’t have even hesitated – I loved blogging. I still do, but back then it seemed I had more time to do it, and more material to blog about. The kids were still at home (OK, so more than “a few” years ago) and they always provided material, plus there was the never-ending online dating saga.

Then I started doing a lot more freelance writing, and more writing at work, and the blog just kind of, well, it got forgotten. When I got that email in November I had to look back to see when I had last posted – it was exactly a year prior, in November 2019 (remember 2019? Sigh …).

So … here we are. I’m going to give this another go, see how 2021 goes. Lord knows the last year gave me plenty to write about, and plenty to think about.

First up later today will be my new take on New Year’s resolutions. And those who know me shouldn’t be at all surprised that it will be coming out late on Jan. 2. Or maybe early Jan. 3.

It’s how I roll …


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The Online Dating Chronicles: On second thought …

It only took two posts in for me to realize this chronicling of my online dating adventures may not be as entertaining as I once thought it was.

Don’t get me wrong – I still giggle when I think of how I stopped dating someone for his gawd-awful pronunciation of aficionado (I know my story of his being “an aff-eh-KON-dee-oh” has ruined the word for at least a few friends), and while death is very seldom funny, getting mad at your boyfriend of three months because he suddenly stopped responding to your calls and texts for two weeks – and then feeling like a heel when you’re attending his funeral a week later – is a storyline that might have made for some good “The Mindy Project” fodder.

Those who know me best understand the struggle I’ve faced, sharing conversations like this:


Some have even offered help in finding “just the right guy,” like sending me profiles like this one:


So while I still rock the never-ending “you won’t believe THIS” dating stories, I’ll just share them little by little as they’re relevant – and welcome these “helpful tips” from friends.

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November 24, 2019 · 10:40 pm

The Online Dating Chronicles: Ghost stories are for Halloween, not dating


In keeping with the Halloween theme today (because, you know, it’s Halloween), I’ll just say this:

Ghosting should be illegal.

When I first started dating post-divorce 17 years ago, I was naïve, inexperienced, and really kind of a pushover. Guys could tell me things and I’d believe them or give them way more credit than they deserved. Let’s say I was impressionable. I’d been ghosted a few times, but looking back, it wasn’t all that surprising – the men were kind of aloof and not really looking for more than a hookup. When I wouldn’t hook up, they disappeared.

But now that I’m in my 50s, I have a different attitude and a different perspective. I’ve had a few relationships over the years and while I love the idea of being part of a couple – a team, a partnership – I’ve also come to value my private time. What that means is that you’ve got to bring something pretty special into my life to stay there.

I thought I was a bit smarter in my dating life.

Apparently, I’m not as smart as I thought. About a month ago, I thought I met someone – through the new Facebook dating app, actually – who seemed to be “my unicorn.” We chatted for a week or so, then had a few phone calls, then decided to go out on a date.

That first date was fabulous. It unseated what I had considered “the best first date ever” – which took place in 2005. He showed up with a bouquet of flowers in a vase – not just a few flowers wrapped in paper – and didn’t sweat it that I wasn’t ready. He gave me a soft kiss before we left, and massaged my shoulders just a little, to keep me from getting nervous. (All of this was OK with me because we seemed to just “click.” Trust me, I’ve had plenty of first dates where a kiss or shoulder massage would have been beyond creepy.)

He drove me to Galena, Ill., about 90 minutes from my condo, and we had one of the best Italian meals I’ve ever had. We walked through town talking and holding hands, and then drove back in driving rain – missing our turn and almost ending up another hour away. He came in to my place, we laughed, we talked, we joked, and then he went home.

That was on a Saturday. On Monday he sent me a bag of chocolate kisses at work. On Tuesday he came over to my place and made dinner, and the following Monday he came back and it was my turn to cook.

And then … he disappeared. He’d text a few times in the days following, told me he was sick and would respond when I’d ask how he was doing. Then he stopped. Everything. I checked out his social media just to make sure he was still alive (that’s a lesson I learned the hard way – but that’s for another post) and he was.

He just decided to stop. No text. No explanation. No anything.


Sometimes I really hate dating.

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The Online Dating Chronicles: Welcome to my world

It’s no secret – dating kind of sucks.

OK, that may be a bit strong. Dating itself is kind of fun – going out with someone, having a good time, getting to know them over drinks or dinner or a walk in the park, holding hands, kisses good night (or good morning 😉).

funny-dating-memesGetting to the point of having a date? That part sucks. Especially if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people using online dating sites to get there (and chances are, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 99, single, and looking for a partner, you probably are). Online sites are awful for many of the same reasons they’re great: You can meet lots of people, conversation is a lot easier over the internet, and it’s a lot easier to get out of a conversation if you can just log off rather than trying to back away slowly or hope your “wing man/woman” comes to save you at the right time.

They’re awful because people believe they can be whomever they want to be and say whatever they want to say – and often do. I’ve been thanked for chatting because he was “tired of doing the five-knuckle shuffle”; met a man who said he was single but was in fact ready to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary; and asked out by a man who should have been serving a life sentence in a federal prison but worked a deal with prosecutors for early release by helping to get a murderer to draw a map to where she hid the bodies.

You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

As much as I may hate to admit it I’m more familiar than I should be with dating sites. I tried my first site before my divorce was even final – in 2002 – just to get back into the swing of talking to men on a social level. I was an awkward dater as a teen, and after 12 years of marriage I wasn’t sure how it would go (turns out I’m a more confident adult dater than I was a teen dater). I met a man on that site and was convinced to move across the state.

The relationship fizzled, but my love for eastern Iowa was immense, so I stayed. And I dated. And dated. And dated.

And have developed quite the collection of crazy dating stories.

My initial intent was to write a book – and I still may – but that will take a while and I’m anxious to share some of these stories. So that’s what I’ll be doing here, on this blog. Some will be recent, some will have occurred sometime in the last 17 years. All – I assure you – will be true. No embellishments, no fictionalizing (other than the names, because, you know, most of them are still out there), no hiding.

I’d love to share some of your stories, too – same rules, no embellishments, yada yada yada. I’ll identify your stories as “from a friend,” so you don’t have to be as public in your self-deprecating humor if you’d rather not. Feel free to send them to me at

Here we go – this could get interesting.

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A little help for the holidays

Holidays can be tough – especially when you’re a single parent who has lost their full-time job and is struggling to make ends meet with Christmas and Thanksgiving looming.

Please take a look at this link and help if you can.

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It’s almost party time!


From the Facebook post my friends Trish and Cara posted inviting people to the party. They rock.

So very close!

2. I’m such a kid.

I know, I’m going to be 50 in just two days – it’s been a while since I’ve been a kid. But my birthday party is tomorrow (3-6 p.m. at Beer Burger in North Liberty – come on out!) and I feel like a 7-year-old. I’m a bit excited.

OK, that’s a lie. I’m a LOT excited.

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m not excited because people are coming out for me – I mean, I am, truly, because I’m looking forward to celebrating with everyone. But I think the real root of my excitement is that I’ve been anticipating 50 for awhile, and it’s finally here. It’s kind of like looking forward to college – not knowing how it’s going to go, you’re a little scared because it’s something new, but a lot excited because you know you’re going to be learning a lot and be a different person – a better person – when you come out the other side.

I’m not the first person to turn 50, and God knows I won’t be the last. It’s just a number, we all add one every year on the anniversary of our birth. And to be honest, I don’t know why I’m so excited about 50. I was excited about 19 (that was the drinking age in Iowa back then) and then about 21, but I don’t think I’ve been excited about an age since. I love birthdays, but it hasn’t been about the number in 29 years (OK, that realization kind of stung. It’s been 29 years since I turned 21?).

I was kind of depressed about 25, and 30 was good in that I was “finally a grown-up” and not a 20-something. When 40 came along I’d been divorced for five years and was raising two kids on a very limited income – and I had no idea how much that decade would change me.

But 50? I don’t know what it is, but I’m excited for what it has in store for me.

So go ahead, 50. Bring it.





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Learning to hold onto my f*@#s

Walk away

Learning to walk away when you just don’t give a f*@# is energizing.

Ohhhh, so close now! (Oh, and if the headline didn’t warn you, there may be some offensive language here. Just sayin’.) (And my apologies to my parents, my Aunt Patty, my sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Sellens, and to a few pastors who I know aren’t fond of the language contained here.)

4. A while back a friend posted this blog on social media, and it really resonated with me.

Not because of the photo – although it really is a great illustration – and not because of the language – although, as anyone who knows me is aware, that is sometimes one of my favorite words.

The reason I held onto this blog, and have shared it so many times I think Mark Manson should give me a promotional fee (kidding!), is that what he says is true: We really shouldn’t be so reckless with the fucks we give.

So I’ve started holding on to mine.

That’s not to say I’ve become cold and callous – far from it. What it means, instead, is that I don’t get worked up – or let go of a precious fuck – about things that really I have no business getting worked up about. Things like how other people raise their kids, how people choose to package their garbage, whether someone parks in the spot I normally use.

What I will give a fuck about – without end – is how other people are treated, how we serve and help each other, how my kids grow into adulthood and how they treat other people, how you treat animals.

When I was younger I was often curious as to why I didn’t have anything I was passionate about. I mean, I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was 12, so I was passionate about that, and I had my kids, and was passionate about them. But hobbies, pastimes – I’d see people passionate about baseball, or stamp collecting, or rock climbing and wonder why I didn’t have something I was that enthused about.

The last few years – and Mark’s blog – have helped me see that I am passionate about something – I’m passionate about expending energy, or giving a fuck, about something that helps or benefits others, that gives voice to the marginalized, that works to level the playing field.

That’s how I plan to go into my 50s: saving those precious fucks for things that really matter.



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Heat, humidity, and Willie Nelson


Willie Nelson, the stark white figure in the center of the photo (blame my Samsung 7 – I’m not a photographer) singing, “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.”

Just a few days left to 50!

5. When you get a chance to see a living legend, you take it.

That’s pretty much what my bestie and I decided when she offered to get us tickets to see Willie Nelson – at an outdoor amphitheater – for my birthday. I cautioned that the tickets were too expensive, she argued that 50 is a big birthday and, really, how many more chances will there be to see Willie Nelson? He’s an icon, for crying out loud – and one that is 84 years old.

Besides, the concert was scheduled for June 12 and we’d had a pretty mild spring – how hot could it be?

In Iowa, it depends on the time of day you ask the question.

I admit, I wrote the headline for this before I went to the concert last night. I had just checked the weather – no clouds on the radar, temperature of 94 degrees, high dew point. It was going to be gross. I got home, changed into shorts and a tank top (you KNOW it’s going to be hot if I go out in public in a tank top – I make “pale” look tan!) and headed out.

We had no more gotten to our seats when a front started passing through. Winds picked up, a few (I felt four) raindrops fell and temperatures and humidity levels dropped. There were actually a few moments I was actually a bit chilled. It. Was. Awesome.

This Birthday Week has been pretty awesome, to tell you the truth – and it’s only Tuesday.

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Laugh a little … or a lot

Woohoo – getting closer!

6. My 2-year-old Lab mix, Ceili (pronounced KAY-lee) and I have a game we play every morning when I’m getting ready for work. When I get the hair dryer out, she goes into a frenzied search for her tennis ball and then brings it to me. The whole time I’m drying my hair – it takes about 20 minutes, unless I haven’t let it air dry for a while, then it takes longer – she brings the ball and drops it at my feet. I then kick it into another room, or sometimes right to her, and she fetches it and brings it back.

Laugh it offIt’s a pretty harmless game, and lets her work off a little extra energy.

Well, most days it’s harmless. This morning I got a little close to the door when I went to kick the tennis ball and ran my left pinky toe smack into it.

Ceili was a bit skittish after the flow of obscenities that escaped (but she did keep bringing me her ball).

I share this as yet another instance of where I have the chance – and so, now, do you – to laugh at myself.

It’s something I’ve gotten a fair amount of practice doing, and I like to share, so … yeah, people have laughed at my missteps, oddities, clumsiness, etc. for some time. I don’t mind. I refuse to take myself so seriously that I miss out on the funny stuff.

In case you missed them, here are a few stories I’ve shared over the years:

Life’s an adventure, folks. You just gotta laugh and enjoy the ride.


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