Ethical Dilemmas


You are driving down a deserted highway when you come upon an accident. A man is trapped in a burning car and there is no way to get him out. His arms are broken, his legs pinned.The fire is now close to the gas tank and you know she is going to blow. The man says, “I have a gun in my bag behind me. Please get it and shoot me. I do not want to suffer death by fire.” He starts screaming that the heat is getting so intense. “Please, just do it!” he screams.

Do you shoot?

Years ago before the invention of cell phones this situation would be much more of a dilemma than it might seem to be now. As technology changes so does our ability to respond to the ethical dilemmas before us.

I always find people amazing who declare they know EXACTLY what they would do if they were in this situation or that. People who are so sure of themselves that they believe without a doubt that every situation is so cut and dry that there is only one answer and they would automatically follow it. That they would always choose the legal way, the most noble path or the one that God expects of them. Unfortunately, life is usually a lot more messy than we counted on and the path is usually not as clear as what we imagine when we make these types of proclamations.

Once a young mother of four and I were once discussing the illegal immigrant situation. She is in favor of building a wall between our nation and Mexico.  She believes that if she was a Mexican citizen she would go through proper channels to come here. She is steadfast in that belief. When I presented her with varying scenarios such as:

Would she cross the border illegally if her children were starving

Would she come illegally if there was a violent war and killing in the streets

Might she slip over if her family was split up and her kids were needing their dad who was living illegally in the USA

She always answered that no matter what she would go through proper channels because that it what you do. You follow the law no matter what.

I think that is easy for United States citizens to believe they would do the “right” thing because we really have not been put to the test for close to 170 years. For the most part we don’t live in fear of our lives on a daily basis, we don’t have bombs falling from the sky, and most of us are not dying of starvation. For the most part we are not put in the position of having to live the unimaginable or to live our lives surrounded by fear, so we don’t really know how we would react in crisis situations. We like to imagine that we would hold steadfast to our beliefs but do we really ever truly know until we are faced with these true life dilemmas?

What I do know is it is often very difficult to do the “right” thing. Situations are muddy, emotions are involved and there are plenty of reasons both pro and con to take or refuse to take a particular action.But I also know that the time that took the path that felt ethically wrong to me  has caused me more heartache and pain than if I had the “right” thing. Going against your own moral fiber is one of the most cutting things you can ever do to yourself and you have have to live with those regrets the rest of your life…I certainly have and I quit my profession in large part because of it.

So back to the man in the car.

What will you do and can you live with your decision for the rest of your life?




Books And Fear


Every once in a while you read a book and think with a smile, shudder, or frown, “Hey, I know that character!”

A Man Called Ove was such a book for me. The main character, Ove, was really my father in disguise. He was a man I knew well and as I read further into the story gained insight into what kind of man my  real life father is and why he operates the way he does. Sometimes these discoveries made me happy and some made me sad but it brought to light things that I was able to put under the microscope and examine in a way that I had not been able to before. I have a real appreciation for books that are able to do that. Those books that can bring clarity into some part of our own lives are amazing. They contain stories teach us, provide insight and make us think of our own experiences in new and different ways. That kind of writing is rare and oh-so-special.

I am a good short story writer. That is why I write for magazines. But I dream of being a novelist. A good one. I dream of writing the type of book where it takes six months for you to get it after putting it on the reserved list at the library. A book that is meaningful. A novel with characters that the reader connects with from the first page and cry with at the last.

I have a half-dozen half-started novels in binders and on my computer. One day I would like to finish just one but I find that I have difficulty sustaining the thoughts/actions of my characters after many chapters. And so I stop. Thinking about them, developing them and challenging myself to work harder to figure out exactly who they are. Because I am afraid. Afraid to push myself harder. Afraid to commit. Afraid to find out who I am so I can find out who they are. Afraid of adding anything else to my plate.

I am afraid and I am ashamed of this fear for it is unlike me to tuck my tail between my legs and run. But run I do…I sprint back to the safety of what I do well instead of  walking towards the unknown outcome of my dreams.  I suffer for it and settle because of it. Fear binds me and wraps its chains around me and I don’t even struggle to break free.




My therapist tells me that I need to “just sit with it.”

Don’t make any decisions and don’t go planning out your entire life

In a moment of fear or concern

Just sit with it…listen to it

But how does one do that with this sort of news?

Because as I sit in the silence

Trying to meditate myself out of the place I am in

I hear the incessant buzzing of an annoying insect

Trying to tell me something

That I don’t want to hear


Just sit with it…feel it

But instead I feel the sharp bites of chiggers

Trying to get my attention

Biting around my ankles

So I will get up and move

From this place that is suppose to be a refuge

Away from what is suppose to be a peaceful spot in my mind

While agreeing with myself that sitting with “it”

Is much too hard

I know I over think… over analyze

I have enough 20-year freeze dried food

In my pantry I feed us for a year

In case of a holocaust

I am prepared for every disaster, every emergency

Except this….not this

B says, “I don’t want to think about the future

I just want to live in today”

Smart man

I wish I were that way

Able to block out what I do not want to deal with

Or compartmentalize things in lockers so deep

You die with them stuffed deep inside

Locks rusty and worn but secure

Taking them with you

To God knows where

Maybe that is hell

Having to look at those items over and over again

The things you refused to see

When you were alive

The things you could change  but chose not to

Or maybe hell is that place

Where you go over your plans a million times

Trying to change the outcome

But are unable so you remain in that

State of anxiety for eternity

Neither sounds appealing

So I will go and get the bug spray

In an attempt to remove these distractions

And sit with “it”

In the silence




I Got Me Some


Last month I bought a SEX calendar. No, not one with one position for each day of the year but one to keep track of just how much sex we were having after a not so great comment from B about “slipping back” where sex was concerned. I was pissed as it appeared that the blame was being leveled at me and I was determined to do something about it if only to prove a point. This calendar now hangs on the bathroom wall for easy access so no one “forgets” when we did the dirty deed. Problem is with three teens in the house one just can’t be writing SEX all over the place especially special days like their birthdays. So I have had to become inventive in order to keep track of who did what to whom.

My first entry “B fixed the closet” was a little farfetched but I figured it would work until I wrote it a second time and Gracie said, “What is wrong with your closet and why is dad always having to fix it?”

So I then went to a capital S with circle around it. Andre asked me why I was marking Superman on my calendar. Although it may fit B in the bedroom I quickly got the point that I needed to change my records keeping ways.

Paul asked with the star was about and if it had anything to do with the cycles of the moon.

Frankly, all this calendar watching by the kids was  getting to be a tad annoying. I mean can’t we have any privacy even if it is just on paper?

So I have had to invent a series of codes

IDIOT-I did it on top

GHO- Got him off meaning there was nothing in it for me

GMO- The crops have come in and it was all about me

FTD- F***** twice in a day (we have yet to need this one yet)

BS-B was sick (yeah I am not taking the rap for not having sex when you have a fever and fall asleep at 2 pm

CASS-I was sick.

And so it goes.

Unfortunately, we have not had much chance to use these secret sex codes as of late. Between freezing in Tibet, me in Chicago for a week, Nicole with grand babies here necessitating Gracie sleeping in our room, B being sick, me being sick…well, let’s just say the odds have been stacked against us. But yesterday Nicole left, Gracie returned to her own room and late at night we had sex. Finally. Happy, Joyous, Lovely. SEX.

Let’s just say the earth moved and the richter scale said it was a 5.0  which was not bad for two old folks with kids in the house.

Onto my calendar went GRITS

But in morning after taking the kids to school as I was cleaning my bathroom  I noticed handwriting scrawled on the calendar other than my own. It read “Can you keep it down please some of us are trying to get some sleep!”


How embarrassing! I think we will buy the little dears ear muffs for Christmas next year!





Falling Spirits And Falling Faces


My face is falling as are my spirits

My life in free fall too

The jowls of my life crammed and swollen full of life’s misery

While the jowls of my face sag and slide into other parts of my body

Lines like jump ropes criss cross my life

Over which I play an endless game of jump rope

The beat as they interrupt my life kerplop, kerplop, kerplop

In rhythm with my teardrops falling

While my heart goes into an arrhythmia making up its own disorganized beats

The lines around my eyes crinkle

Belting out a song sounding like an opera of sadness and worry

Madame Butterfly perhaps

These lines now permanent reminders of times gone by

And things yet to come

Scary things, sad things, worrisome things

Over which I have little to no control

Will I find joy with the hand I have been dealt?

Or must you look for it under rocks and in deep dark forests?

Elusive joy. Elusive happiness. Elusive everything

My eyes are closing through no fault of their own

Loose skin moving like an avalanche

And weighing them down

The suddenness of this onset surprising me

Taking me down

Down further than I have ever been

I hate it down here

In this sad and lonely place

I have given myself a week to digest this doctor’s news

Give myself a pity party

And then I shall climb back up

Plaster a smile upon my face

And find some sort of life

With the new knowledge at hand

What it will look like

I have no clue

Do we ever?

Copyright 2016 as are all writings put onto this blog





A Grand Slam


Marriage is like baseball. If you are lucky you get to play in a few extra innings, you make it to home plate more than you strike out and you have many winning seasons. I was reminded of this tonight when a guy showed up at our door to take out our daughter Jackie. He was wearing a baseball cap; his ears sticking out from the sides. He looked nervous, kind of like the rookie on the team, who is up to bat for the first time. And as I watched him look at my daughter I knew without a doubt that he is not “the one.” He’s a pitch hitter until she find the one who hits the grand slam. I suspect that just by looking at her face I will know “the one” when I see him.

I can only hope that our daughter picks well. That she finds a man somewhat like her dad. A kind, caring and compassionate man who puts those he loves in the forefront of his life. A husband who tries hard each and every day. A partner that is smart, funny and shares his feelings. A man that she find as hot 20 years into their marriage as the day that she met him. The kind off mate with whom “the rest of your life” truly means just that, and who, when he envisions the future sees her in every play-by-play, and in every scene. I hope she chooses a husband who dares to dream big dreams and has the tenacity to make them come true. And one that doesn’t spit. Yes, definitely one who doesn’t spit.

I hope  as the game plays out that they both understand that it isn’t the World Series events that pull you apart but the thousands of annoying pitches that you have to take day in and day out and that if you don’t have a loving and positive attitude during practice that eventually you’ll get hit by a foul ball. Anyone can survive playing in the majors but it is really how you handle the everyday minors that count. And I hope that when it is time for them to create their own team that they understand that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it is how you play the game. For it is only with an abundance of kindness and giving more than you take that you get to walk in this life together around the bases instead of striking out early on it the game.

Copyright 2/9/16

I’m Confused…Can Confusion Increase Creativity?


I’m confused. Most of my life I have been confused about one or two areas of my life at a time. Now I am confused about everything. My marriage, my children, how to plan for the future, how to sit with the silence and how to live in the now. Everything is confusing and I DON’T LIKE IT…one single bit.

One of the major issues I have with being confused is that often you cannot see the forest through the trees. This confusion often leads to living in limbo, a state I consider akin to having a gas mask at hand with a limited time sensitive filter. Knowing you cannot see, smell or watch the gas coming, do you put the mask on now and risk using up a filter that will protect you for a short but specific amount of time; or do you wait for the person next to you to drop and hope you are not too late in securing it around your face? Yep, for me limbo is one of the worst experiences known to man.

Yet, surprisingly, I have recently experienced confusion as a positive thing as well. Because it seems to me the more confused things are the more creative I’ve become. While confusion can shake your soul, rattle your senses and sometimes lead to a sense of paranoia because you can’t seem to do anything but stand there because either way you move seems equally dangerous or intimidating; it would appear that confusion can also lead to creativity. Instead of seeing only the limiting options of A or B, confusion often allows you to explore many paths that would normally go unnoticed like JJ, Z and Q. Confusion can stretch you, it can lead you and it often makes you examine minute details that while once seemed unimportant become pivotal to your understanding of the situation. It makes you ask the basic questions of:






It is the answers to these questions which often help clarify the situation.


So I am confused. Really confused. But I am also glad (kind of) because the way I am approaching problems and issues is bringing me a sense of peace that I have looked at all options as I walk this journey. At least all the ones that present themselves at this time. And I am okay with that. Because I am holding the hands of those who have gone before me and they are holding me tight so I feel safe and my doomsday gas mask is put in the deepest darkest corner of my Place of Mysteries.

On Motherhood…Does It Really Ever End?


I talked to West last night. He hates his job. He hates his life. He wants a girlfriend. He wants a wife.

“What do I have to get up in the morning for?,” he asks. A sob catching in his voice.

He is 32 and lonely. And tired. Of a life in which he feels he carries the responsibility of 12 million people’s accounts on his back and a management that just doesn’t give a F*** about anything but making a name for themselves.  That and big bonuses. They love those more than the people they are suppose to protect.

“What would you like to do?” I ask.

“I would like to build houses. Go from point A to point Z and in the end see the product of my work standing there, something to behold. Something that is meaningful and will bring a few people joy.”

“So you are looking to do something tangible, ” I say.

And I think back to all the days of child raising I have done. Days of toys strewn about, laundry piles a mile high and someone tantruming loudly through out the house. And sometimes that person was me. I remember struggling to see if what I have said and done had made a difference. I still wonder now even as the kids get older, their needs not so intense and demanding as they once were, is anyone listening? Is anyone learning something meaningful? Has what I have done mattered? Has what I have given up to be a SAH mother been worth it for anyone? I am not sure I know the answer to those questions.

I think back upon all the mistakes I have made. Ones so shameful that I glance around to see if someone can see the pink stains of guilt still written upon my face. Yet, I also see the times where I did the exact thing without preaching that made my child learn a valuable lesson that they desperately needed to know. And if I am truly honest with myself, my goods HAVE outnumbered my bads by a large margin but it is so much easier to remember the mistakes. Why is that? Why do those errors in judgement reside in the front of our minds while the things we should rejoice about slip silently away? Why do we crucify ourselves for things that were long ago forgotten as if the thorns embedded in us make our lives more noble in some sort of sadistic way? I don’t believe suffering brings about clarity so why play this game?

I wonder if is there ever a time when you can sit back and feel your job is done and you retire from parenting? You’ve done well, you know it. Instead of a gold watch all of a sudden a grandchild appears at your hip and she is your new timekeeper as you see things winding down. The minute hand of  your life speeding around the dial while hers is still being wound.

Maybe all of this letting go of guilt, worry and wonder whether it has all been worth it happens when you are truly old.  I must not be there yet.

I wonder if it will ever happen and I will rejoice on the day it does.

So Paul’s Therapist Says…


So Paul’s therapist said to me yesterday, “I know you are not going to like this much, less want to do it, but you will have to do this so it gets through to Paul. If he attacks any member of the family you must (without telling him) call the police and have them take him to the hospital on a 5150. He is getting too big and he needs a reality check that if he hurts someone there are dire consequences. If you do not do this now at this age while he still has a chance as he ages he will be incorporating this behavior more and more into his life. You have got to try and stop it now.”

Hearing those words cut me. Deeply. Call the police on your own child. You must. You have to. It is your obligation. Failure to protect your other children charges could be brought against you if you don’t. He has to learn.

And so I “get” the logic I must ask … if he was rational I would agree. BUT if someone  is undergoing and episode of psychosis/mental illness how can they just stop themselves? Is it as easy as all that? I think not.

One of the things that scares me is that police will come to our door. What if Paul were to run, resist being taken or because he cannot stand being touched in certain ways..hits an officer? We all know what happens to minorities in these times of situations. Often they are seriously injured or they die. How do you risk this happening because a 14-year-old is in a rage?

Yes, I know it is what must be done but what unintended consequences might result? Could I live with these if something horrific happened because I picked up the phone? Could I live with these if something horrific happened because I didn’t pick up the phone?

How do you wrap your head around all of this without it destroying your soul? Without it destroying…you, relationships, your child and your heart?

Nothing makes this possibility better. Nothing. All it looks like is a long scary road which I do not want to take but will in order to try and save my son.



Dyed Love



I loved you once you know

Deeply. completely. selfishly

I devoured you…wanting you to know

Everything I was thinking

Because you couldn’t tell me

What was in your own head

So , instead, I put ideas into your head

While trying to force you to examine things

You had hidden away

From yourself for protection

Of a soul shredded

Long before I came on the scene

I am tired of you blaming me

For what the ghosts in your past

Did to you

And I am tired of seeking answers

From a man is not brave enough

To figure out whether he wants a life with me

Or without

I feel raw, used, scattered

Blown up into pieces that are gone

There is not enough glue in the world

For me to painstakingly put them all together again

Because I am busy and tired of trying to fill up

Your empty spaces and your selfish wants

The ones you know about (yes… those ones you selfish bastard)

And the ones you aren’t even aware of yet

but I am…

I am aware of more than you give me credit for

But I cannot put you together anymore either

You have to do it yourself

Stop depending on me to make

You feel good about yourself again

I can no longer carry your feelings for you

I can barely carry my own

When I remember I even have them anymore

Instead I remember a grenade

That exploded deep within my soul

And you are the one who threw it

Wounding us

You and me

And I wonder if we will ever be the same

For I am running on fumes

Somewhere near the end

Of wanting to figure all of this out

Wanting to run away from the pain

From You

From this life

That at times no longer feels right

Or loving or kind or cherished

A life that is made more complicated

By the issues of others

Until I can no longer differentiate between

Their issues and yours

But find I am growing tired of both

Of giving of myself 100%

When I just want to retreat

Somewhere deep. silent. and kind.

A place where I am no longer wounded

On a daily basis

A place where I can heal

And I can stand up again

Full of confidence. happiness. and belief

That I really do have purpose in my life

And that it starts with me

My purpose. my wants. my needs.


Without having to consider

And put first

The needs of anyone else in the world