Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cave Dweller Hits the Road

Can you believe it? I’m leaving my comfy cave! It’s been a few months since I left home, but I’m headed north for a trip to visit family for a couple of days.

Rather than stress about laptop issues and wifi connections, I’m taking a break from blogging to enjoy some face-to-face time.

I hope you have a great weekend and find time to do something fun and friendly.

Blue birds

Thanks for stopping by! Leave me a note or a comment–and I’ll see you in a few days!

The Joy (and Power) of Being Right Here

Over the past few weeks, Cave Dweller has become a fun and important part of my daily life. I appreciate those of you who stop by to visit my blog on a regular or a transitory basis, taking a moment out of your day to read and/or comment. Your comments are important to me and I’m equally happy to receive emails or messages on my Facebook page.

Yesterday, I was asked how the idea for Cave Dweller came about. I’d like to say that I was struck by a moment of divine inspiration, which feels kind of true, but actually, for quite some time, I’ve been looking for a place to share my thoughts on what has become a major theme in my writing: living alone in a social world. Cave Dweller has become that outlet for me and for what I want to say.

On June 1, 2013, my blog post at put into perspective some of my thoughts about life and writing so I suppose this was a defining moment for me in moving away from writing about writing to writing about life. This feels like the kick-starter for Cave Dweller and I suppose I have my son to thank for that (among a myriad of other fine things).

What follows is an approximation of my June 1, post. (I guess I could have just inserted a link to the page–the better to get you to browse my website–but I like it here in my little cave and didn’t want to send you adventuring unnecessarily.) The layout is different from the original but the content remains the same:

Sandy Feet

My son wants to buy a boat. I got a text message from him this morning at 6:54, which means it’s 3:54 where he is. “Nevermind why I’m up . . . the bottom of Hello is cut off!” he said from 2,000 miles away. I read this as I sat drinking my nth cup of coffee and wondering what else I could do to promote my book (which was released last night) besides send a tweet every five seconds and plaster Facebook with ads and promos and the usual pleas of “please buy my book.”

Happy Dance

[BTW: I found an app called Buncee that makes posters and invitations and all kinds of cool stuff on the fly and I wanted to give it a try. I’d seen a cool .gif of a cat doing a happy dance on Bing and was intrigued by the “make your own” tagline. So, I whipped up a little picture with a book announcement (alas, I couldn’t figure out how to make the cat or to make this one dance) and posted it at about 6:52. Come “like” me on Facebook to see my Buncee.]

At 6:55, I repaired the truncated Hello (a very easy fix), thanked my son for the alert, and then read that he’d “spent the night reading about sailing certifications. Just need a boat big enough to carry the ‘Dragon’ onboard.”

My response? OMG!


The “Dragon” is his motorcycle, his escape hatch, his get-out-of-jail-free card. It is his parachute, his springboard, and his path to sanity. But now he wants to buy a boat. I’m wondering where on earth he wants to ride that requires three vehicles to get there: the car to haul the boat, the boat to haul the bike, the bike to haul his butt all over creation so that he can feel free and untethered.

Don’t get me wrong! I love adventuring. I love my son. I love that my son loves to go adventuring. But I’m also wondering when my son will realize that he has already arrived. He’s there. He’s here! The adventure is happening all around him. Maybe he already has realized it and my worry is just a mother’s frenzy over her son’s desire for yet another dangerous toy. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been reading about and thinking about the art of staying put and contemplating how to find my own joy.

Martha Beck ( has written an interesting piece for O Magazine this month: “The Grass Ain’t Greener.” (Sorry, I couldn’t find a direct link to the article but it can be found in the “May We Help You?” section.) Beck’s focus is FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. What it really boils down to is this: from this side of the fence (or the computer screen), it seems to me that everyone has a happier, more exciting, more extravagant life than I do. And I want what everybody else has!

The article got me thinking. Being a fear-based phenomenon, FOMO creates all kinds of problems not the least of which is the anxiety created from rushing around from here to there and back again looking for a place, your place, the place where you will feel at home—even temporarily. It seems that almost immediately after arriving at our destination, the wheels begin to turn yet again and we plot and plan how to get to an even better place with barely a glance at the spot in which we’re standing.

I had a mentor back in the ‘90s who used to insist that the only way to find true peace and happiness is to “bloom where you’re planted.” Mildred Ramsey found inspiration and courage to live an action-packed life, traveling around the country giving seminars and selling her book, The Super Supervisor, wherever she happened to be standing. Mildred could carve out her own little piece of sacred ground, till the soil, and plant her seeds in a dusty parking lot while selling books from the trunk of her car. She’s one of the few people I’ve met in my life who could be on the move, rushing in ten different directions, and still be totally centered and at home wherever she stood. (And without a hair out of place, I might add!)

Unlike Mildred, I think most of us are constantly searching for the next thing that will bring us joy or happiness or security, searching for that little piece of ourselves that’s blowing on a breeze in the far off reaches of somewhere else. There is joy and power in being right here and right now. There is something adventurous about experiencing this moment, breathing this air, in this place of all places.

Mildred Ramsey

I think the magic of life, the cure for FOMO, is finding ourselves in the now, in this blink-of-an-eye moment of life, cherishing it, and then taking that joy into the next moment—no matter where we find ourselves.

As a writer, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to find my joy in the writing process rather than in the number of books I sell. I am happy at my desk with the world revolving right outside my window. I’m creating my own worlds, my own friends, my own experiences and finding pleasure in the sensation of living with one foot on the floor and the other resting on the haunch of the black lab curled up at my feet. Mind you, it took me 42 moves to get here and there were moments when I believed that the gods were playing some weird game of chess with my life, but I’m here. In this moment. Breathing this air. And I am thankful for it.

Life is what it is. And it’s ours. Here and now. Bring on the joy!

And Topher. . . Sweetie . . . don’t buy the boat! 🙂

George Lucas Got Married and I Feel Dizzy



George lucas 01

Is George Lucas a Cave Dweller? I’ve always thought so. He seems like someone who values his privacy. Then again, if he has everything he needs at his ranch, why leave? But maybe that’s just the impression I’ve gotten from what I’ve read about him. Or maybe it’s just that I like the idea that he’s a quiet soul living a sequestered life away from the weirdness of the real world. Nevertheless, I read this morning that George Lucas got married. Good for him!

Now the dizzy part: I’ve taken to cruising through Goggle Trends lately, checking out the big top ten of what’s happening in the world. It sure beats wading through website after website. Then again . . . George Lucas was the top trending story, so I clicked to find out why.

Tread lightly through the mine field!

I use Chrome as my web browser with all popups turned off, yet I had to wade through a myriad of advertisements just to get to the story (and heaven forbid you accidentally click on an image while trying to X-out of a pop-up!). Upon arriving at the landing page, I was lambasted by more ads surrounding and clouding the seven sentences in six paragraphs that briefly identified Lucas, his bride, and a short list of attendees at his wedding. Had the story not been in large font, the better to take up space, I would never have been able to find it among the whirly-gigs vying for attention.

Shiny, whirly, shiny!

At the top of the screen, just below the banner that hosted every social icon known to man–as well as small ads for sponsors–was a camera limping along pushing letters out of the way; a video on the right showed running commercial segments for unidentifiable products; below video number one ran video number two advertising a credit card. Sandwiched between the paragraphs and the videos were other advertisements, sponsor notices, and links to other news and trending topics and related stories and more news about other people only marginally related to anything on the page.  I’m assuming there was a little profiling going on here along the lines of, “if you like this story about this guy, then you might like these stories about these people, too!” Yikes!

And people wonder why we suffer from attention deficit disorder. Even that discussion is enough to cause symptoms: AD/HD [A.D.D. OR ADHD]–the whole strings of letters–is now the acceptable term. How can anyone not be distracted from original intent if we are constantly bombarded by–Oh, look! Shiny!

A couple of years ago, I considered walking away from TV for good. I found myself turning more toward the internet for news and weather updates, where everything I needed was instantly accessible. I’m finding that’s not necessarily true anymore. If I have to click through ad after ad, wade through tons of video clips and news bytes just to get to the information I need, it defeats the purpose. My purpose anyway. I don’t want to be smacked in the face by advertisements. I realize that many people are making a lot of money on blog/news ads, but this is ridiculous. I don’t watch CNN because I hate that scroller that brings me all the news I don’t want all the time. The internet is now inundated with the same stuff presented in the same way.

Where’s a Cave Dweller to go for simple, straight-forward news? I’m still looking. And clicking, and . . . Oh, look! Shiny!

Just for Fun!


I love this image and it feels appropriate today.

A Sea of Potential

I cast my intention into the vast ocean of all possibilities and allow the universe to work through me.  (A Meditation on Abundance: Deepak Chopra)

White Waves

I found this photo on Pinterest the other day and it has haunted me since. Not haunted in a bad way, but the image has lingered in my mind in a substantial way that brings my thoughts back to it often. In the early morning hours, I find myself awake, listening in the darkness for the sound of white waves on a golden shore and realize that my life is a vast ocean of endless possibilities, taking my hopes and dreams and intentions into its depths.

The ocean is just around the corner now, yet I seldom go. When I was living land-locked, I craved the sea: the salt, the sand, the water, the motion of the earth as it rocked with the tide. Now that I’m here, so close, I don’t feel its pull any longer. I don’t feel the need to dig my toes into warm sand or feel the lap of cool water on my feet and fingertips; I no longer feel the need to sit and ponder its mysteries or its origins. Somehow, the beach feels like home, no longer an adventure but a soothing backdrop to my life.

Perhaps my desire to be near the sea has been internalized. The sea is in me now, ebbing and flowing as I feel my life crash on the shore. It feels like that sometimes as I throw my message in a bottle out there, a book to ride the waves. They’re floating on the horizon, waiting to deliver their messages, waiting in the depths of possibility to be reborn.

Just for Fun!


Imminent bloom

I love dragonflies and this one looks like he’s waiting on the cusp of opportunity.   Lke me.

Use Your Wings

Today is a good day to just be.

(Or fly.)


Rain From a Clear Blue Sky

raindrops on flower petals

No matter how often it happens, it’s still surprising to be caught in rain falling from a clear blue sky. Since moving to Florida in 2004, I’ve seen it happen a number of times and been caught out in it once or twice, thinking it safe to go to the beach only to get drenched.

This morning, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and it looked like a perfect opportunity to sit outside to finish my coffee and maybe make a dent in the book I’ve been trying to read. No sooner had I gotten settled, though, when I heard the patter on the leaves above me. The dogs hustled in from their interrupted stretch in warm grass, and we made it into the house just as the sky opened up. It rained for about thirty minutes, just long enough to get settled in again and marvel from my office window just how cool it is to watch sparkles of light in raindrops. Which reminds me…

On the hunt for Minnie

When my granddaughter turned four, she and I took our first solo trip together to see Minnie Mouse at Disney World. We hadn’t spent much time together–I lived in Maryland and she lived in Georgia–but we were determined to get to know each other better during our week in Florida. Our first morning out, a warm and beautiful January day, couldn’t have been sunnier–until rain came down in buckets unannounced.

I was worried about what we’d do if it kept up, if a storm settled in to stay for the entire week. Not being familiar with the weather in Florida, I didn’t know that the showers would come and go in small bursts, leaving us plenty of time to play. That first day with my granddaughter, I worried that it would be hard to find things to talk about if, rather than stalking Disney characters, we were forced to stay indoors.  She’d become quiet and I thought a little brooding (like her mother) once  the rain began but she put my mind at ease as smart-beyond-their-years four-year-olds often do.

“What would you like to talk about?” I asked thinking another comforting discussion of how much fun we were going to have or how much her mama and daddy would miss her on their cruise might be in order as she stared out the window at the rain. Big brown eyes turned to me with a smile. “I’d like to talk about the pattern the raindrops make on the window,” she said and traced a track with her finger.

I knew then that we were going to be just fine.

Just for Fun!

Orange moon

Super Moon Reminder! At 1:32 AM (EST) Sunday morning, we’ll be able to see the largest and closest moon of 2013. Rising at just after sunset and setting just before dawn, the moon will be at its perigee, 221,824 miles from the earth rather than it’s apogee of 252,581. There seems to be be mixed messages coming from scientists about what this means but regardless of the percentage (14% vs. 7%), the moon will be pretty darn huge! I hope you have a chance to see it.

Anchored in Time

stonehenge 2

Today is June 21, 2013, the longest day of the year. I know the date; I know what year it is, but I’ve noticed lately that I have to stop and think about it as I save a file. It has long been my custom to identify my files by name/subject and date. This helps with draft updates and revisions and it also helps keep me anchored in time and space.

When the heck did I write that? I often ask myself when I run across a stray journal entry or errant dream fragment or short story. Oh, I remember now. September 18, 2003. That was about the time this or that happened. Lately, though, I’ve been hesitating before hitting 3, even catching myself typing a 0 or a 1 for no apparent reason. It makes me think where my head is, where my mind has cast itself back to, and what my higher self is trying to tell me.

Make it so.

Time is a funny thing, stretching and twisting and expanding at will, then warping back with a snap. My kids and I have a time warp theory that stems from common experience. We’ve all experienced moments when time seemed to stretch out before us, allowing us to cover miles of road or innumerable pages in the seeming blink of an eye. My first experience came in high school when my mother drove 45 miles in 15 minutes. No kidding. My mother who never exceeded the 55 mph speed limit. We left my uncle’s house at 4:00 in the afternoon and arrived at our exit–45 miles away–at 4:15. Now, unless that old Oldsmobile had hidden warp speed capability, the only explanation we could come up with was a time warp.

That strange sensation of time slowing down has a boomerang effect though, too. As it’s happened time and again throughout the years, I’ve come to realize that at some point, time catches up with itself–and usually while I’m brushing my teeth. When I was working at a real job, brushing my teeth was always the last thing I’d do before walking out the door. Dressed and ready to go, I can’t tell you how many times I looked at the clock as I headed to the bathroom and it would read 7:22 (or so–plenty of time), brushed my teeth (quickly), and then glanced once again at the time: 7:44. Holy crap! I hate to be late and I’d rush around the house settling dogs and locking doors. My son used to call me on his way to work and he could always tell. “Time warp?” he’d ask. “Yep. Playing catch up.” It happens.

Happy Summer Solstice!

So, on this longest of days I get the distinct feeling that time is, once again, playing catch up, allowing us to drink in the sunshine for just a little longer, holding the darkness at bay for just a few minutes more. Time can afford this stretching out of the moments at play. Winter will come soon enough and it all balances out in the end.

A Different Kind of Day


It’s been a different kind of day for me today. As much as I’ve resisted the need, I went into town for the second time this week. My friend Mary and I have a standing Tuesday-like-clockwork lunch date which forces me to leave the comfy confines of my cave and venture out into the sunlight–or more accurately, the rain–one day a week, at least for the 90 minutes it takes me to drive into town, wolf down lunch, and zip home, stopping off for groceries or dog food if necessary.


Today, though, was a shopping day (Yikes!) and as much as I dreaded doing it, I changed up my routine: Coffee, smoothie, email, internet news, and then (gulp), I got dressed and left the house. On a Thursday. At nine o’clock in the morning. Me out in the real world. (Did I say Yikes!?)

My daughter’s birthday is coming up soon and this year, I want to do something a little different. Like me, my daughter doesn’t like surprises, but it’s so much fun plotting and planning and keeping secrets. I usually buy her a book (or send her one for her Kindle); sometimes I visit and we go out to dinner or to a movie if there happens to be a good zombie thriller she wants to see. (I’m thinking World War Z but I won’t be with her opening weekend and I seriously doubt she’ll wait for me.)

 The Eyes Have It

This year will be different. I’ve recently discovered the joys (as opposed to the usual curses) of Photoshop Elements. It’s been trial and error, with a heavy emphasis on error, since I downloaded the program several months ago. I’m finally getting the hang of it, though, and I can proudly say that as of this afternoon, there is not a single photo in my picture files that hasn’t been tweaked in some small way. My kids might not think that’s such a good thing, but I happen to be very happy with the sparkling eyes and superimposed backdrops that I’ve learned how to create. So, my daughter is a getting a photo montage of her family–but only the eyes, black and white, of course, with black matting in black frames. Actually, it looks pretty cool.

Braes eyes

It was worth the trip out to the crafts store, the meandering around the aisles looking for exactly what I needed. It was actually almost fun shopping for a beach bag, towel, sun hat, and insulated drink cup to be raffled off with signed copies of my three novels at a cancer benefit next week. I made it home in record time, too, just before the afternoon storm rolled in with a timpani of thunder. And then I settled into my cave, ignored my email and the chime of my phone, and framed my prints. Present complete.

And I now have coffee. Did I mention I was out of coffee? If you want to know the truth, that’s the real reason I ventured out. But we’ll tell my daughter it was for her present. Shhh. Secrets.

Just for fun!

Leap of Faith



I am Driftwood…

It’s not often that I feel totally cut off from the world or really mind if I am. But there are times when it’s quite disconcerting to find myself adrift in a quiet world.


Thunder storms are common this time of year in Florida. Lightning struck last night wiping out cable, wifi, and telephone service. Although I still had lights, I found myself without my normal means of connection to the outside world. Cell service was still up and running and I suppose I could have reached out through my limited and precious 3G data plan, but after making the rounds again and again, confirming that, yes, the cable was still out, I finally settled down with a glass of wine and an old familiar friend: William Gibson.

So, what to do when there’s nothing to do? Read, read, read!

It’s a sad state of affairs in my cave that I have read every book I own at least once and in some cases, many times more than once. It is also sad that when I pulled Spook Country off the shelf, I couldn’t immediately remember the plot which made it a good choice for a rainy night alone but a sad choice because I can clearly remember the story lines of Neuromancer, Count Zero, Burning Chrome, Mona Lisa Overdrive. I wasn’t sure if this was a statement about my functional memory or the book itself.  Twenty minutes later, I decided it had to do with the book as my mind wandered away from the story and back to the video I had been working on when lightning struck.

My mind was still on angels and healing and the power we each hold within ourselves. The video is a very short introduction to A Gathering of Angels. I was in the process of posting it on YouTube when my computer freaked out and I suddenly lost all control. I couldn’t move forward, I couldn’t shut down, I couldn’t refresh or even minimize. I sat waiting for a resurge of energy to kick start my programs but nothing happened.

I sat bobbing in the water, waiting for another wave to carry me to shore. I am driftwoodWashed upon the shore. Once a lover of the tides but I don’t think I can take that anymore. I am becalmed by too many years of dissonance and solitude, but harmony and love can move my soul. It moves my soul. (Paul Williams, of course. If you haven’t heard Driftwood, find it if you can. I hesitate to point you to a download site that may or may not be a bootleg.)

So, I’m back at work this morning after a very quiet night, connected, becalmed, harmonious. My wine glass, still full, was sitting on the table with my unread book this morning. I went to bed early, a rare event for me.

I am still adrift in my thoughts today, wondering if I should attempt, once again, to upload that video. For now, I’ll post it on this page and see where we go from here.  A Gathering of Angels

Just for Fun.

elephant and kitten

When you find yourself in a river of doubt, help can show up in the most unexpected ways.

A Gathering of Angels

Angle with black wings

Angels have been hovering lately. I know, I know, it sounds silly. But it’s true.

I have a friend, a Cave Dweller like me, whose sister has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She’s going through chemo with no insurance, no backup plan, a million questions, and a shaky resolve, surrounded by friends and family. People are coming out of the woodwork to help in any way they can which strengthens my faith in human kindness and my belief in angels.

A call went out a few weeks ago, a call for a gathering of angels:

There comes a time in our lives when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. Cancer sneaks in on silent feet, takes up residence, and clips our wings. We fight, we flutter, we do our best to just keep flying–and then we have to ask for help, from our friends, from our family, from our loved ones near and far. We’re asking for a gathering of angels . . .

birds in cage and flying

And they came.

It seems everywhere I turn, lately, I find a pair of wings: dragonflies, finches, cardinals, hawks. I often see birds in the empty lot next door, keeping a safe distance from three barking dogs, but they’ve taken up residence in the jasmine vines that cover the pergola on my back patio. As I sat reading last night, I heard a soft tapping on the window behind me. A huge pale white moth, attracted by the light, fluttered its wings at me and then flew away.

Red with broom

If you want to fly, let go.

My Facebook page is overflowing with images of angels, wings, and various suggestions of flight. Even a figure in a long red cloak carrying a broom evokes angelic peace rather than wicked fear. People are gathering in support and love for a sister, a friend, a woman in need.

I believe we get what we asked for and we asked for a gathering of angels.

They’re here.

Links to photos: Source of the Earth, Everything Under the Moon, My Own Path