16 May 2016

The Reviews Are In! (And New Availability from Online Book Stores)

  • "A superb adventure in Africa"
  • "A delightful read"
  • "Makes you want to travel to Africa"
  • "Mountains Never Meet is a fantastic airport or beach read. It’s light, humorous, and all about the mushy love stuff."
  • "Kept my attention from the first page to the last"

I want to thank everyone who has read and reviewed Mountains Never Meet. I may not say this often enough but I am so thrilled that anyone has paid attention to it and when I read your thoughts on my book it motivates me to keep sharing it with others and to keep writing.

If you haven't reviewed it, please consider doing so on Amazon and Goodreads. And not just my book, on any book that you read. From the best-sellers to the indie authors, everyone loves hearing what the readers have to say about their work.

I know that not everyone loves Amazon, so online distribution has been expanded to a couple other sites for the paperback version. If you already have an account at one of these retailers, why not check it out?

I am still working on bricks-and-mortar stores and libraries. I'd love to see it on a shelf someday!

Thanks again for reading!

10 May 2016


I’m a week away from the Mystic Half Marathon. About a month ago I felt unprepared. I feel better now, stronger, prepared. The second half of this race is hilly. Very hilly. I love hills. Last week some friends took me to Mystic and we ran the first eight miles of the course. We encountered a few big hills. The biggest is at mile 9 1/2. I’m not afraid of the hill itself. I’m afraid of how much it will slow me down. I’ll get it done, no matter what.

I’m apprehensive about a goal time, however. If I can match my PR from the previous race I’ll be thrilled but I’m willing to accept the fact that I’ll likely be several minutes slower, due to those hills.

People talk about mantras to focus on to help them recenter and relax. I have one word. Run. No inspirational quote, no favorite song. Just the one thing I went out there to do. Sometimes I do it quickly and sometimes I don’t, but it’s what I do.

I know I’ll finish. And I know I’ll be going to the barbeque place for lunch after the race. Those are the finites in my life right now. Those, and I will run.

04 May 2016

I'm the Mom Who Doesn't Care for Mother's Day

Over the weekend I had a huge blow-up with Muffin. I still feel terrible about it but I'm going to stand my ground. She wants to throw a big party for me on Mother's Day. I want a quiet day with several hours of alone time. She doesn't think that's special enough. I tried explaining to her that I'm not a huge fan of Mother's Day to begin with and that I'm going to insist on my quiet time. For a little girl who loves party planning, this is a big problem for her. But it's Mother's Day. I'm the mom. I get to choose.

On the radio yesterday morning the DJs were discussing a poll that said seventy percent of mothers just want to be left alone for several hours on Mother's Day. So if you know a mother who says that's really all she wants, please let her have it. Going to Mother's Day brunch in a crowded restaurant is one of my personal circles of Hell and I suspect that might be true for many women.

Even now that I'm a mom, I don't care for Mother's Day. There's no genetic code that made me love brunch and pastels the moment I gave birth. To me it's another commercial cards-and-flowers day and it holds little interest for me. (If you really like flowers, that's totally fine! I love flowers and I hope my florist friend does good business this weekend because of all the others who love flowers, too. But only get someone flowers if you mean it and they love them, not as an afterthought because it's just what people do.)

I read too many blog posts from moms whose children made them breakfast in bed and left her a messy kitchen to clean up. And the moms shrug and say, "Oh, well. I'm the mom and it's my job to clean up after them, even on Mother's Day."

No. Otherwise what's the point of the day?

If you have a mother, ask her what she really wants for Mother's Day. If you are a mother: Be. Honest. You will be subjected to endless noisy brunches or messy kitchens coupled with good intentions unless you are honest and tell your children and whoever else is helping them plan the day what you really want to do. If you don't want to wash dishes on Mother's Day because you do it every single other day and it's your least favorite chore, take a stand and tell someone. Otherwise, accept the fact that it will be like every other day and don't get miffed. Commercials build up expectations that can never be met. I like to keep the bar low.

My ideal Mother's Day would be Mike and Muffin going off for a nice adventure on their own for a few hours and bringing home amazing cupcakes for us to share. However, that's pretty much my ideal Sunday year round. And with Mike coming home this weekend for good, I should be able to realize that dream for several upcoming Sundays.

Mothers, I hope you get what you want this Sunday, whatever it is. I'm so happy that my family is safe and sound and will be back together again, it's really all I need.

02 May 2016

Another Obnoxious Run Happy Post

One day toward the end of March I went for a run.

I’d been taking it easy since getting a nice personal record at a half marathon a few weeks beforehand. My daughter was home from school on spring break and my husband was home for a week, too, so it made sense to relax and not worry about running as much. Toward the end of that break, though, I began to get a little anxious. At the time, my next half marathon was about six weeks away and I needed to up the training a little bit.

So I went for a run. All the kinks I’d hoped to work out after the first mile were not worked out. I stopped and went home. That’s right. After one mile. I’m not run streaking right now. I just wasn’t having fun and didn’t see the point. Instead of having a bad run that would put me in a bad mood I decided put the time toward something else that would make me feel good.

The next day after a chat with a friend who’s in a similar place with his running as I am, I decided to try again. Talking to him made me see it was time to get a tad more serious for the race. I aimed for five miles. After a few minutes the kinks and aches were gone but my legs felt unusually tired. I stopped and checked my GPS. I’d only gone two miles. But I’d done them quickly. The weather was so nice I decided to keep going toward the five-mile goal but slow down. I returned to my house at 4.9 miles and ran up the street further until I reached an even five. Normally I wouldn’t care about getting an even number but my goal that day was five and I had it in me to accomplish that.

These are actual decals on my car.
For me, upping my training for running a marathon means vaguely paying more attention to my mileage. After a long run I’ll look at my splits and see how I’m doing compared to my previous long run or goal time for a race. My friend likes math more than I do so I ask him what my splits should be for certain times at certain distances. I don’t do speed work. While I often stop to check my mileage while running, I rarely look at my time. I trust my body and I do what feels good.

I recently saw a headline about running happy to run faster. I didn’t read the article because I didn’t have time at that moment to read about something I already practiced. When I remembered it the next day I couldn’t find it.

Running seems to have been taken over by Type A personalities who track every mile, every calorie, every step, every bite. I used to follow a lot of blogs and social media accounts of runners. I tried to do all that counting and accounting in the past. But it’s not me. And I can’t help but feel there might be other runners like me who start to feel bad because they aren’t documenting every step, aren’t caring about every new piece of gear, aren’t enjoying kale and protein powder smoothies. (Chocolate-flavored protein powder is not a treat. Chocolate is.)

Magazine articles and other media outlets tell me I have to do these things to be a better runner. Why do I need to do these things? Why do I even need to be a better runner? What if I don’t want to be? What if I’m happy right where I am? What does it even mean to be “better”? I’m healthy and enjoying myself. That’s enough for me.

The point is, run your own self. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. If you want the cute running outfits, go for it. But if you’re happy in sweatpants and a cotton t-shirt, go for that. I use Strava on my phone. I can’t be bothered with a GPS watch on top of that. Too much stuff to keep charged and I’m taking the phone with my anyway for emergencies and for taking photos. Oh, that’s right. Stop and take photos if you want to. Or don’t. I like the simplicity of a quick snapshot of the scenery or something interesting spotted over setting up a shot and posing.

Marathon training has to make me happy. It will be challenging. There will be pain. There may even be an inspirational quote or two along the way. But I don’t plan on changing any more of my habits than are absolutely necessary.

Except for a Fitbit. I’m very curious about Fitbits and I’m thinking of getting one.