There Is No Pattern





Do you know what the pattern is?  No, you do not, because there is no pattern.

You graduate from college a semester late.  Your mother angrily advises you not to marry him, but you get married anyway.

The promotions come.  Melbourne, Richmond, Bartlesville, Jackson, Memphis.  Until the closures come.

You never really wanted a baby (gasp), but there she was, all puffy and pink and amazing.

You quit work and threw yourself into motherhood with conviction and desperation to craft every detail perfect, sublime and well groomed.

But here’s the thing.  Your hair is turning white.  That man you should not have married still makes you smile and feel all beautiful inside.  And that amazing baby is a way more awesome young woman.

When you think it is Spring
It snows
Big, beautiful, sparkly flakes float down from Heaven
There is no pattern
All we really get is love.




Speeding Tickets



At 4, she would bolt across the street.
“Look both ways!”  I called.

First day of school, watching that blonde head,
She never looked back.

Basketball, cross country
Always striving.

Half marathon,
A metaphor, of course she placed.

We bought her a car.
Speeding tickets.

Job during college.
Got promoted.

She never hesitated.
Not that I could see.

“Fly, be free!” I used to say.
She enlisted.




Yep, I Heard You

When I was 27, and newly promoted to branch manager, I was quietly ushered to an office, door shut, to be told that I probably would not close on as many loans or accounts as my peers, because, well, I was a woman and “people like to discuss finances with men.”

Yep, I heard you.

When I was 31, and thinking of posting for a promotion to a position in the mortgage department, I was told by the bank president himself that I “did not have the right body parts.”

Yep, I heard you.

When I was 51, and running in my neighborhood one lovely, sunny morning, I was laughed at by a male neighbor and was told what a waste of time running was. Sneering as he drove away, he called out, “go, go, go!”

Yep, I heard you.

Last night U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was stopped from reading a letter by Coretta Scott King during hearings for the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for AG.  Senator Warren was “impugning” Senator Sessions.

Yep, I heard you.

Who is impugning who?  And I have one more… should not write this, but I am angry, frustrated and embarrassed by our government right now…my daughter is a United States Marine.  Females make up just 7% of the USMC, but you know what? Those female Marines may help save our collective ass some day, and I bet no one will turn them away then.



Traveling Exhibit/Discovery Park of America

There is a jewel sitting in a field in Union City, TN.  To describe the area as rural would be a misnomer…is there a word for more than rural?  If so, it alludes me, but it does not matter…

The grounds are beautiful, the main Discovery Center building is full of light, dinosaurs and hands-on exhibits and the staff is welcoming.  If you are visiting Memphis, TN or the surrounding area, especially if you have children, go…

I went (alas, no children) to see the traveling exhibit entitled Da Vinci Machines.

Exhibit Da Vinci Machines
Discovery Park of America

Da Vinci’s robotics.

One of Da Vinci’s designs studying human flight.

A study in geometric design.  My favorite…sit and follow the lines… a sort of meditation.

Discovery Park of America is a mini Smithsonian plunked down in a corn field. Adjust your expectations that it may not be worth the drive…it is…it is a fabulous way to spend a Saturday.


That beautiful blonde head is shipped around the world by acronyms that even if I know what they stand for, I will never understand what they really mean.


How is it I can be so proud, yet feel like I have been kicked in the gut?

Why is there this overwhelming compulsion to hold on, but I open my arms and let her go?

A force called orders pulls her along and all I can do is stand in the parking lot and try to breathe.


Oversee Joy


Women’s March Memphis, TN

There was a sign on Saturday that read “Our Daughters are Watching.”

My daughter is an adult now, 21 yrs. old, but what do I want her to see?

That equality, no matter your race, gender or religion is a fundamental human right that should be tended and cared for.

That kindness and patience can be cultivated not only by setting an example with your own actions, but anticipating respect in return.

That peace is overseen by all of us as we take on the responsibility of tolerance for our neighbors and forgiveness for those that may trouble us.

And that there can be joy and optimism in unity,  resolve and with the start of each new day.

What do you want to see?

Someone So Smart

I write because my mother did not.

She read and read and read some more.  Ten novels a week was not unusual.

My mother spent hours a day in that kitchen chair drinking coffee.

Sometimes, if I was not in school, I would sit with her.

Sometimes we talked.

Sometimes we were silent.  My family was comfortable with silence.

Mostly introverts, we were more comfortable in silence than conversation.

Yet I would sit there in our kitchen wondering what she was thinking.

So I write, trying to will a gift, at least a token, to my daughter.

She will know what her mother was thinking.

There are family members that wonder why I do not stay at a job.

They think I am not contributing.

Why does someone so smart just stay at home? And my mother-in-law would shake her head.

Tsk. Tsk.

I never colored in the lines.

I never made more than $27,000 a year.

And I breast-fed for 14 months.

I am viewed as not forming opinions.  That I am apathetic at best.

They sometimes think my silence is arrogance.

They sometimes think my words do not hold weight.

Honestly, I could not have chosen two worse past-times for people to understand.

Writing and running.  Or running and writing, depending on my mood.

If you speak about writing, the conversation quickly trickles down to “that’s nice when you have absolutely nothing else to do” (including things like setting fire to your hair or murdering puppies).

If you speak about running, especially long distances, there is no conversation at all.  They look at you suspiciously out of the corner of their eye and simply walk away.  If you are lucky, you get their jaw to drop and a grunt comes out.  At least you know they heard you.

Well, hear me now.

know what my silence means.

I know why I write.

And know where I am running.

Lifting Up Someone Who Serves: Writing a letter to someone in the military

At the age of 20, after 2 years of community college, my daughter enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

The Few.  The Proud.

Semper Fi.

And they mean it.

“Sometimes your letters are the only fuel to my fire.”

This was the last sentence of a letter written about a month into Boot Camp.

Since the American Revolution letters have documented the horrors and triumphs of war, as well as the tenuous bonds that tie humanity together.  All this always mixed together with an intense longing for normalcy.

A hand written letter can be a gift, a motivator, a cheerleader, an inspiration that is tangible proof somebody out there is rooting for you.

The slant of your words and the pressure of your writing on the paper, how you cross your t’s, how much (or how little) punctuation you use are all intangibles that show your personality and state of mind.

So.  Sit down and write.

Do not be afraid of that empty piece of paper.

I am often intimidated by the muscular guys lifting weights at the gym…sometimes so much that I do not complete my workout.

Do not let that paper intimidate you.

  1.  Always put the date, as this allows the recipient a point of reference.  Occasionally I also put the time of day.
  2. Salutations:  I don’t bother.  Why should “Dear Anne Marie” be necessary? She already knows who she is, and if she doesn’t know she is “dear” to me by now, then I have not done my job.
  3. The Body:  Write about anything.  The weather, your dog, a class you take, a joke you heard, what you cooked, what you didn’t cook, how you feel, how your fish feels.  It does not matter the topic.  The point is to give the serviceman/woman a snapshot of your life, of some kind of normalcy they are not experiencing right now. The following was part of the body of a letter I wrote my daughter after her request I send her “Gorilla Glue” for hair.  This paragraph is not deep or important, but I am having (what would be for us) a fairly unremarkable conversation with my daughter.  The paragraph will be important to her:  normalcy.

“I asked the girls at Ulta about “Gorilla Glue” hair gel.  They had not heard of it– though we had all heard of Gorilla Glue super glue– which I certainly do not recommend for hair. But since it never would come out, I guess that negates any “hassle” with styling.  For basically the rest of your life…  (heehee)”

4.  Closing.  It is best to end with something inspiring/motivating/encouraging.  We may not have enlisted in any branch of the military, but we still should task ourselves with lifting up those that have.

Be well.  Be fine.  Be strong.

Be diligent.  Be tireless.  Be studious.

Be patient.  Be tolerant.  Be capable.

Be your best.

This was the close of a letter mailed today.

5.  Lastly, keep the letter to 1-2 pages, as servicemen/women do not have a ton of time.  They just need fuel for their fire.

With Warm Regards, D.