On Writing: Glory of Gossip

For those in need of a writing prompt, or a simple kick in the pants to get back to your project — I’ll be posting brief pieces I’ve recently submitted for a Lighthouse course.

This week’s assignment: write a short narrative about hot gossip.


The Glory of Gossip


“You wouldn’t believe what I heard the other day, Mary.”

“What, darlin’?”

“Hector’s becoming a Helene.”

“You heard me. Hector. Hector Martinez – the man down the street with three kids and that fat wife? Well. Come to find out he wants to be the fat wife.”

“Uh, honey, you want to tell me how that’s going to happen? I reckon they can’t just. You know. Cut it off.”

“That’s exactly what they are fixin’ to do. Cut it off. Shirley Lewis told me he was in the Yellow Penny the other day trying on ladies’ dresses and heels. Heels, Mary! Can you imagine? I can’t even believe they make heels big enough for Hector’s feet.”

“Honey, you done lost your mind. Ain’t no way Hector is buying heels at the Yellow Penny. They don’t have my little size 7 most days.”

“I’m telling you! Shirley stands next to me in the choir. She’s been working there for five years. She’d know if Hector Martinez asked to try on dresses Mary!”

“Oh, lordy. Lordy lordy lordy. Can you just imagine? They are going to cut it off? What will his wife do?”

“Celebrate? I don’t know, darlin’. I just don’t know. Imagine his kids? The oldest boy is on the football team. Something tells me they aren’t going to be in Conville much longer.”

“I mean, heavens. Gladys, what would you do? Would you stick around to play bridge and sing the gospel with women who knew your husband shared your brassiers? I don’t guess you would.”

“Honey, Frank is too lazy to wear clean underwear most days. The last thing he’s thinking about his cramming his fat bits into one of my bras, or going to the Yellow Penny for a girdle.”

“Oh, that poor Mrs. Martinez. What should we do?”

“Casserole – I’ll drop one off later. Plus, if I lurk around long enough, maybe I’ll get a glimpse!”

“Oh, Gladys – you’re the worst. Call me after?




Oh, yes.

I just spent 8 days on holiday and oh, how lucky I feel. I slept 10-plus hours most nights. I ate like I’d never seen food before. I even cheered for football.

It. Was. Fantastic.

A few photos from the road trip. (Of course, upon review, the majority of the photos taken were of food. Food prepared. Food eaten. Groceries. I’m starting to understand why my family requests I leave my camera at home when we get together for celebratory meals. A beautiful meal — as far as I’m concerned — should be recorded.)

Thanksgiving road trip

Thanksgiving road trip

Thanksgiving road trip

Thanksgiving road trip

I am really looking forward to work tomorrow, and to getting back into routine. Always a sign of a vacation well done!


(food photos to come)

Thank You


Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! I am off celebrating with new friends, a ton of food and some great views. Hopefully as you are reading this, I’m photographing some gorgeous landscape. Or putting on a pair of stretchy pants for another run at the buffet.

On to the obligatory Thanksgiving list of gratitude. I am every so thankful for:

1. Family. Friends. Faith.

2. Willie Nelson Mandela, who never lets me go a moment without feeling like I have purpose. Even if that purpose is to throw the ball. Again. Again. Again. AGAIN!

3. Democracy.

4. Clean sheets. Such a great feeling to climb into a bed with crisp sheets.

5. Cardamom. Great in stew. Great in brownies.

6. Snow shoes + podcasts. My favorite way to spend a couple hours in the snow.

7. Lighthouse. One of the best reasons to live in Denver.

8. Mattmas and Drunkmas — two of the best reasons to celebrate Christmas in Phoenix.

9. The post office. Incredible, their ability to take a piece of paper from here to there for a handful of change.

10. Travel. New friends. Old friends. Great traditions.


Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Wishing you and yours a day of rest, relaxation and love.




Christmas supplies in action

  • Christmas tags stamped
  • Christmas photo taken, cards ordered and stamps in hand. Envelopes to be addressed this week.
  • Decorations out and ready to be swapped for Fall decor
  • Shopping underway (I’m so not a Black Friday girl)
  • Christmas spreadsheet updated
  • Craft supplies purchased, patterns printed
  • Holiday theme decided: year of the monogram

I love me some Christmas!




Who needs a cute fix to get them through this painfully long short-work-week so we can all just go stuff ourselves with turkey already?

Couch hog


Wait. Did someone say turkey? WE LOVE TURKEY.



Hostess Gift

Hostess gift: embellished cloth napkins

News flash: I over-think. When I found out I’d be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in family’s home I hadn’t yet met, I got a little sweaty.

What do I wear? 

What do I bring? 

What do I do?

Wearing: jeans, boots, chunky turquoise jewelry, jackets and loud scarves. And a genuine smile.

Bringing: a hostess basket including embellished napkins.

Doing: Nothing. Knitting. Taking photos. Sleeping in. What am I thankful for this year? That I’m not responsible for anything. Not the driving. Not the planning. Not even making reservations. It is going to be a much needed break.

Back to those napkins. Being budget conscious, I wanted to make the hosts something without going too far down Regretsy Lane. As such, I bought a package of cloth napkins from my favorite French boutique, some fabric paint for a stamp, and some pretty poppy ribbon. A few hours later — voila:

Hostess gift: embellished cloth napkins

Hostess gift: embellished cloth napkins

Hostess gift: embellished cloth napkins

Monogrammed cloth napkins ready for a big meal. I think this Christmas’ theme may be “the monogram.”  Fully aware I might be a little crazy, but at least I translate that mania into thoughtful, if not always well-crafted, gifts.


Pick Joy Instead

September flowers

I had a conversation with a coworker the other day that left my face burning with shame. I realized, quite suddenly, how comfortable I’ve become. I was caught complaining about the mundane — tasks I didn’t like. Clients who were too difficult. Other coworkers and their duplicitous ways.

He didn’t bother stopping my rant, but also didn’t fan the flames. Instead, he told me what was on his plate. By comparison, I realized my woes were entirely unimportant. I was creating my own unhappiness.

Sometimes I do this: I manifest problems. I make relationships more difficult than they need to be. I go on a subconscious hunt for something that isn’t acceptable so I can fulfill my juvenile need for drama and conflict. I pick fights.

Don’t ask why; I just have to hope realization is the first step to change. Other than my grandparents’ health, my life has never been better. I’ve got a job I secretly love. It isn’t public health, but it is so challenging I can barely keep up.  I live in a place that takes my breath away when I arrive from the natural beauty. I’m loved by a tiny furry pooch who makes me feel like the best thing since squirrels.

Life is really good.

Today I’m thankful for those tasks, clients and coworkers. The burning embarrassment of realizing I have nothing to complain about. Knowing being comfortable means it’s time to shake things up.


November Fashionistas

My darling Kara,

Hello from the chilly, snow covered Rockies!

Okay. Fine.

Hello from the kinda cold, sprinkled with snow Foothills. Days like these, I like to imagine I’m writing you from a log cabin, wrapped in a plaid blanket by a roaring fire. Two really well behaved dogs rest at my feet. Reality looks a bit more like me wearing gloves at my desk so I can clutch a Diet Coke over my laptop. Nelson’s likely farting in his sleep at the foot of my bed.

Almost the same, right?

This month’s fashionista theme is a bit mean spirited and totally my idea. I love the Fug Girls. Their view of fashion cracks me up and the fact they made George Clooney their fake intern makes me giggle. (Javier Bardem is the intern at the casa de Heirloom Homestead.)

Sorry. Got of track there. Phew. Javier!

This month’s theme is what not to wear. Things we see in public that make us shake our heads and wonder if people are either living without mirrors or are actually blind. Oddly enough, most of my observations have to do with shoes. Really, really bad shoes.

November fashionistas

Kara, these are an actual shoe I saw for sale while traveling in California last week. And! They cost $200. To anyone interested in these shoes — let me save you $190. Go to Target. Buy a pair of fake Chucks for $8. Buy a stuffed teddy bear for $2. Hot glue.

You’re an idiot, but you’re welcome.

Now — for the shoe choices seen on feet in the wild:

November fashionistas

Denver International Airport: sweat pants tucked into boots. DO NOT.

Fashionistas November

Manhattan: Great jeans tucked into nice boots. DO.

Fashionistas November

Phoenix Sky Harbor: Lace stockings under boots with a lacy top. When it was 92 degrees outside. DO NOT.

Here is what I’m wearing this month:

November fashionistas

Lots of stripes. Skinny jeans. Boots. (I’m traveling like a maniac at the moment.)

November fashionistas

An Africa shirt I love.

November fashionistas

More stripes and boots. And that trusty jean jacket I live in this time of year.

November fashionistas

Even a silk skirt and bare ankles on occasion. Although this night I should have really worn tights. We ended up in a cab for an otherwise short walk because my teeth were chattering. You can take the girl out of Phoenix…

November fashionistas

Found the tights! And my signature red jacket, boots and wrap dresses.

November fashionistas

And a bit of new bling from H&M. Cheapy plastic baubles make me happy with they give a splash of color.

So, what do I know? Not much about fashion, or otherwise. But there is something about wearing sweat pants getting on a flight that just seems off. I like dressing up for flights, and am doing so twice a week at the moment. And wowza am I loving my skinny jeans.

What are you wearing for the holidays? I’m off to spend Thanksgiving as a guest in a secret locale, but I will need both somewhat formal and totally casual clothing (including pajamas) to wear in front of others. Terrifying — right?



Mazel Tov!

Bill and Amanda's wedding

Bill and Amanda were married last weekend. The ceremony was the most tasteful religious wedding I’ve ever attended. The programs walked those of us who weren’t familiar with Jewish wedding customs through the process. The pair added their own contemporary twists to several steps.

There wasn’t a dry eye the moment when Bill saw his bride walking down the aisle — even though they’d been together earlier in the day for the first part of the ceremony.  She has never looked more beautiful, nor Bill happier.

You know that feeling when your own happiness for your friends gets caught in your throat and you feel like spinning in circles and screaming with joy because life is just so right? That.

Bill and Amanda's wedding

As the sun set over South Mountain, we all watched as these two vowed to remain forever true to each other and God. I can’t think of a better way to spend a warm November Saturday in Phoenix. They went on to have their first dance to one of my new favorite songs. May we all be so blessed to be able to look at each other the way they do!

The only way to make this party more fun? Invite these two and let me be their third wheel:

Bill and Amanda's wedding 

I’m fairly certain Kent, Juliann and I could get in trouble, and laugh ourselves silly,  anywhere. Occasions that provide free booze and a dance floor? Well. It only gets better.

Bill and Amanda's wedding

Mavel tov, Mr. and Mrs. Mason! Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness! (Also thanks to the father of the groom for giving Willie Nelson Mandela a shout out in his toast! Nelson’s first wedding mention! Woo!)