Happiness Scale

On a scale from 1-10, ten being the happiest ever and one being not happy at all, how genuinely happy are you? Post pandemic I am a six. Pre-pandemic I was a nine. I had a dreams, goals and a plan for making it all happen. Life was amazing and exciting! Presently life is just muddling through. There are different areas of life currently with different values greater or less than the overall six but generally I am a six. Here is why I think I am a six.

(some of this may be a bit redundant from previous posts but it really helps me to write it out…thanks for being patient with me)


I love people but I lately I have lost my faith in a lot of people. Over the past few years I have ended friendships with people who have not put in the same effort as me. I know everyone has different schedules and may be at different points in ones life but staying true to a friendship no matter the time passed doesn’t seem to be important to a lot of people. For example during the pandemic I tried hard to stay in touch with friends. We all know the days seemed to drag on and for some the days were monotonous and at times there was nothing to report really. But just checking in on one another felt like the right thing to do especially during uncertain times. One good friend in particular admitted to not calling because she had nothing new to say. Okay I get that, to a point. In mid January 2021 we spoke and I told her my mother was in the ICU due to Covid. She expressed sympathy but that was about it. Nine days went past until she called again to see how my mother was doing. During those nine days my mother had passed away. I was angry with my friend. Angry that she didn’t call to see how my mom or I was doing. Angry that she didn’t keep in better touch during that time as a whole. Angry that after 30 years of friendship she sent a lousy sympathy card then a few weeks later asked if I still wanted the Girl Scout cookies my mother had ordered. In her defense after she did find out my mom had died she texted me and offered to call. I immediately said no. I am so sick of people just texting. Thinking of the whole scenario now makes me well up with tears. If the tables were turned I would have just called. I would have sent flowers, I would have sent food, I would have done something for Pete’s sake besides send a half ass sympathy card. I did call her out on her “crappy friendship” and she did apologized and tried to own it…in a text. That is when I realized that our friendship was no longer the one I had cherished for a most of our adolescent and adult lives.


When my dad and I were leaving to go the hospital to have a family meeting with the doctors about what my mom would want and the decision my dad would have to make, he turned to me as he was stepping out of the door and asked me, “Promise me you’ll never leave me Lori. Promise me you won’t leave.” I told him I promise. After a while I was going to move out after 6 months, then it was a year and now it’s been a year and a half. I realized that I want to go and that my dad will have to figure out life without anyone in the house. Some people think I should stay and convert part of the house into a mother-in-law sweet. My siblings have been great in encouraging me to move and get on with my life and I so appreciate them for that. The guilt, oh the guilt. The thing is, it is my dad’s house. I fix and maintain things the best I can and urge him to fix or maintain the things I cannot. And to be honest that can be a real struggle. But I am ready for my own space and now that he is seeking therapy for his grief I feel like I can go.


I left my secure, decent paying job back at the end of January. It was definitely time to go and I don’t regret it. However, finding something that I like and something that does NOT require me to sit behind desk for twelve to sixteen hours a day is a real struggle. So I decided to take a nanny job for six months with the best little guy. I would like to find a part-time job so I may save to travel in the spring. Even though I have a solid plan I still feel like I should have a regular job with paid benefits. I wrestle with that a lot.


I have not put myself out there in a few years. Too much was going on with family. Now I feel I would love to meet someone who wants to travel and live life with “secure spontaneity.” Lol.. does that even make sense?! To me it does. I want to be financially secure but not be afraid to live new places and try new things. If anyone knows of a great guy in his forties please comment below! lol..

My six is slowly on an upward swing. It is just taking self realization and time. I have to constantly remind myself that I am doing okay and now that I have dreams, goals and a plan again I have to be patient.

Five years ago I never thought I would be writing words like depression, guilt, sadness or saying my life is a six. You never envision the pain that comes with life nor it lasting as long but here I am being truthful with myself while still trying to be positive. Because even in my darkest moments these past few years I always have felt that life would be amazing in due time. The tunnel just happens to be a long one.

Love you all,


Dreams and Reality

Dreams I had 5 years ago did not pan out the way I had hoped but that is par for my life’s course. My five year plan of traveling in a van and making a living working remotely for a good company or for myself, morphed into something so completely different. I mean the plan started off great until “life” kicked in and then it was no longer my dream but my reality that I had to comes to terms with. With that said I tend to take them, meaning the universes alternate routes, in stride and learned to quit questioning the its plan for me. During the daylight hours I am bright eyed and optimistic. I am a dreamer who is hopeful and determined. At night though, once in a while the doubting demons creep in and I think I have made a series of wrong decisions. That I should be married with children going to soccer games and vacationing in Myrtle Beach or Florida. NOT that there is anything wrong with that. But as time presses on I question my path. Who doesn’t?! Lol…

Dudes I am not mad about my plans being shifted by the universe. I was able to be places that I needed to be and spend time with my family in ways I could not even fathom I would. I was present to make critical decisions and beyond fortunate enough to work with the most AMAZING and SUPPORTIVE coworkers throughout the most difficult time in my life thus far. Seriously if it wasn’t for them my mothers death would have been even more difficult to handle and to process.

So here I am at the tail end of my five year plan and it is going to be extended by another 6 months. I mean heck why not?! Barring any family health emergencies I am going to make this happen. Spring is my favorite time of year and it is when I leave to embark on a new journey, come hell or high water.

Dear Universe,

Please for the love of everything in your big giant heart please let me enter this next phase of life unhindered by trials and tribulations. If you do need to throw something in my path can it be completely beneficial in the most positive and happiest of ways.



I am not ready to share that journey yet, however I have started working towards it. I set myself up with a goal (no longer using the word plan around here) and a job that will allow me the freedom to achieve said goal. I am starting my third week of working toward the goal and I feel really really good. πŸ™‚ It is nice to be back into the swing of things. To feel uplifted, to have something to look forward to and not be so depressed.

Let’s talk about that shall we? I do believe I was suffering from a little depression after my mom died and it lasted about 16.5 months. I attempted new things that I normally would have found interesting. I singed up for courses that I was SURE would help me ‘snap out of it” but nothing worked. I slept away more days than I care to admit. I felt comatose at times because I felt like I had zero direction and no one to turn to. I admit that I had my sisters to talk to and once in a while my brother but there was really no talking to my dad. Every time I would share what I was going through or feeling I would inevitably have to make way for his feelings when all I really needed to have was someone hear me. The thing is is that we were all trying to handle my mother’s death the best we could. With no one to really lean into, a man to hold me at night and tell me everything is going to be okay, I sunk into a depression that like it or not, only I was going to get me out of.

One day I was searching online for a strength training program that was not a thirty day-er but longer so I could see results over time. I came across one that seemed doable and so I started. The first day I was able to do at home because I have the equipment to do so. The second day though I HAD to go the the gym. Funnily enough I did not have any hesitation about doing so. Over the past 3 years I went from running three miles a few days a week to being completely sedentary. Getting back into the gym seemed daunting and I feared I would not achieve the results that I would like to see. That’s what depression can do. It can be a real buzz kill. But I woke up on that second day and headed into the gym with my to do list. What exercises I wasn’t sure about I asked the nice young gal working there and she was so kind and informative about how to use what machine, what muscle group the exercise would target and proper form.

Now that I am starting on my third week of the program I am starting to feel and notice little changes in my form and stability! MOST importantly I have not slept one day away. My feelings of sadness and directionless have really dissipated. The night time “doubting demons” have stayed away for the most part although they tried to creep in last night but I am better equipped to handle them. I stay firm in my resolution and kick them out the door. Cliche as it may sound, I feel renewed each morning and I haven’t felt that way in years…

More to come friends,


β€œIf you don’t make time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.”

-Robin Sharma

Lost… kind of…

I am feeling lost these days. I am just going to be honest.

I have three courses that I am working on, and I use that term “working on” very loosely as I cannot seem to find the motivation for any of them. I don’t know if it is the crappy Cleveland weather, the fact that I am still at my dad’s house or I lack self confidence.

I am stuck. I see the light at the other end but I feel like I am trudging through mud to get there.

I recently left my job back at the end of January and I will say it is the best decision I have ever made. I really liked my co-workers and management but I did not like the job. It was a job to nowhere. And as I looked through the endless possible employment opportunities at the company I could not find one that would make me happy and I liked the company I worked for! (Thank goodness I put money away for the unexpected)

After I left I decided to immerse myself in learning and taking courses that I have always wanted to pursue. But something deeper is going on. Loneliness for sure is one monster that is at the ready every time I have too much time on my hands. Still being at my dad’s house, after the year I said I would stay after my mom died, is stressful in ways that I do not have a place of my own. I look around and see my mom everywhere and I am a source of therapy (chat therapy) for my dad and this in turn bears more weight. Not that I don’t want to listen because I do, but because I have yet to work through everything. I have to leave soon for both our sakes. I find myself not wanting to converse and I often just hangout in my room (that’s not really even my room) just to get away from the television being constantly on. And you know what? It is my dad’s house and he should be able to have the television on 24/7 if that is what he wants. He is a GREAT dad and a loving dad but it is time to leave so we can both move forward independently.

The problem is I don’t want to stay in the Cleveland area but my family is here. I have grown somewhat attached to them and I like spending time with them. I know that I do not want to be in this area anymore. I want to travel again, live different places and explore more wilderness. Yet I am tired of traveling alone. I have done it for so long that I have lost a little bit of love for it. Also as much as I love my little home on wheels it is too small now. I need room to stand, stretch and breathe. Getting a new vehicle requires a job, a job requires permanence in one place AND I DO NOT KNOW WHERE I WANT TO LIVE PERMANENTLY!!! I really thought that at this point in my life I would be sharing my travels with my soulmate. I have yet to meet him.

What I do love about Cleveland is coming to the lake every morning. Today I am here without the pup and I feel bad admitting that it is more peaceful without her on the constant squirrel hunt. Wherever I move I know that I will miss my mornings with Lake Erie. It is the one constant in my life that never fails to comfort me.

Later this afternoon I have a second job interview with a wilderness therapy company up in Wisconsin. This is a position that will suit me wonderfully but I am not so sure about Wisconsin winters. It is mid March here in north east Ohio and I have cabin fever. I want sunshine, warm sunshine. I want leaves on the trees and my paddle board in the lake. I want thunderstorms and rainbows, goslings waddling around, deck furniture out to sit on, beers on restaurant patios and most of all I want to watch the sun rise and set over Lake Erie. I honestly do not know if I could bear a Wisconsin winter when I can hardly bear a Cleveland one anymore.

I am up at the lake right now, coffee in hand and listening to the coming and going of waves and light traffic (it is the morning commute). Birds are chirping and love is in the air. Oh let me not get started on love. I’ll save that for another post. Although I will say that I am still very picky. I am not looking for the perfect man, just the right one for me. Strong, kind and adventurous.

I think also I know that when I do leave my dad’s house and start my own life again I will be faced with the past three years. I don’t want to forget them but I am tired of reliving them in my head and I know when I am by myself there will be a lot emotions to go through. It is all these things that keep me in the mud but I want out. I want to be on level ground and in a healthy independent new life. Like the one I had three and a half years ago but better.


“For everyone who is still looking for their person, do not adjust who you are or make yourself smaller to find them. Be patient and never settle for anything less than you deserve. Your person is coming and sometimes β€” they’ve been standing in front of you the whole time.”

~Chelsea Handler

Feeling like me again…

I was chatting with my sister on my way home from work this afternoon. As I was pulling into the driveway the older neighbor couple was walking on the sidewalk toward my driveway. They are such a lovely couple as she always has treats for Phoebe (my dad’s mini schnauzer) and her husband is a kind as can be. They always have a kind word and beautiful smiles to share. After showering Phoebe with treats, Phoebe and I went inside. I hung up my keys, kicked off my shoes and took a long hot shower.

After getting out of the shower I put on some music. I was listening to Sturgill Simpson as I was doing my facial routine. I love his music because I believe he writes from the feelings of his life and he isn’t afraid to share them. I don’t know this artist personally but I have to say there is something about a man who is able to freely share his feelings whether they are good, bad or insecure. In my eyes it is a sign of being whole, of not being afraid to be human and not being afraid to be vulnerable. To be able to be vulnerable is a sign of maturity and growth. Who are we if we stay stagnant in our feelings? We are the same story, different day. But to be able to grow, share, express, feel and acknowledge our feelings to our own self is beautiful and to be able to do all that with someone else is life changing.

I was listening to Sturgill I found myself dancing around my bathroom as I was cleansing and moisturizing. I have not done that in a long time. I got a sense of carefreeness and I really haven’t felt that in a very much longer time. To sing and dance and take care of my skin was fun and it made me smile. I haven’t smiled in the mirror since my sweet momma passed away in February. Her and I have the same mouth and same slightly crooked smile. When I look in the mirror I see her and it has been too painful. Today I smiled, danced and sang. It felt really good, I felt a little more like myself this afternoon.

I have been meditating a little everyday, a couple of times a day since my last post a few days ago. Taking the time to sit, be still, listen and let go has been so helpful. I find myself more peaceful through out my day and happier as well because I cultivated some time for myself.

To the people who are caregivers out there, the ones who set aside their own life for a little or a long while to give to, take care of and encourage others…I understand and love you. No one knows what it is like to be you. No one knows the conflicting thoughts you have about wanting to live your own life and being there for loved ones like you do. All our thoughts are different yet connected. I can only act on my own conscious. I never wanted to give up on nor stop encouraging my momma. I told my dad I would stay for a year and that year is almost up. Life is not the same. Hopefully the future will hold love and memories and be open for new adventures of love and exploration.

Reflections of my family. (San Francisco 2009)


“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

~Mother Teresa

If it feels good, why don’t I do it more?

Today is Christmas. I am not going to get into the mood of the day or emotions of this past year. I just want to figure out something.

I stress around the holidays a little more than usual. My mind goes awry with all that needs to be done with gifts, family logistics and a grieving dad (that I am living with for two more months) and job that has crazy hours. EVERY single day I feel my body tense up in a way that is screaming for help. My neck is stiff, my upper back is like a wall of stone, my lower back is begging to be stretched, my legs are not too bad but my hip flexors are NOT flexible! My body is a wreck and on top of all that I have Let. It. Go. I mean seriously let it go. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I cannot even recognize the person looking back at me. She has to be someone else because when she looks back at me she says, “Ummmm, who the hell are you?!” The only thing that still looks good and is still the same as a few years ago is my hair and that is because I pay someone else to take care of it! Lol….

Getting back to tonight and the reason for this post. I came into the spare bedroom that I made into a yoga/meditation room. When one walks into this room they see long flowy pieces of driftwood that go from floor to ceiling in the far corners. Curtains that fall whimsically to the floor have softs corals and beautiful flowers. The little nightstand in the corner hugging one of the pieces of driftwood is a soft white and has a drawer with seahorse pulls. On top of the nightstand sits an aroma therapy candle, a beautiful cedar box with yoga toes, essential oils, smaller pieces of driftwood, a singing bowl, sand grains from India that a former lover gave me, a rock in the shape of a heart and plate with sage to burn. In the middle of the rooms lays a yoga mat, a meditation pillow and a foam roller. This room has all that is needed to relax, unwind and move my body.

I have always wanted a room like this and I feel amazing when I am in here. I feel most at peace when I am sitting upon my meditation pillow and letting the cares just roll off my shoulders. When I am in this room I often bring in a hot cup of tea and just sit in silent giddiness because I am so happy to be there in that moment.

When I do yoga in here I am grateful that I have the space to spread out and move my body freely.

So what I need to figure out is:


More importantly, why am I not doing what makes me feel good more often? Granted these past few years have been stresssssful and when I am stressed I’d rather just go to bed or go sit in the park with a bean burrito and a bean soft taco supreme! I know, I know…it is easier to run and hide with comfort food. But running and hiding with comfort food is a temporary feel good thing and I regret it later because of weight gain and indigestion. Meditation and yoga is long lasting, so why again don’t I choose long lasting over temporary?

I am going to do an experiment starting tonight. I am going to log and track when my stressful mood and feelings hit and why. Then I am going to log and track which path I take in dealing with said feelings. Run and hide or flow and meditate.

(side bar: this is why I buy a daily planner with the month AND the individual days so I can write stuff out day by day.)

I would like to say that I am going to do this for a solid month but who knows. Really I just want to figure out some things and if that takes a week, 3 weeks or a month than so be it.

In two months I know my stress will dissipate dramatically. I know I will have ample amount of time to let feelings of these past few years rise and fall. But I also know that I cannot carry on for two more months like I am now. It is not working.


β€œTell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver


Random grieving thoughts.

My dad’s pocket knife.

A piece of small branch.

Me sitting on a small boulder in the middle of a low gently flowing river whittling away.

I couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7. That is my fondest childhood memory. Something simple, peaceful and out in nature. I am my best person when I am outside. So how at this point in my life am I still in a job I don’t love or really like and I live in a house that isn’t mine?

My smart, beautiful, amazing and loving momma passed away on February 2 of this year. She passed with her husband and children all around her, loving her. No matter how surrounded by love my momma was at the end…it still sucks. I can barely type these words because they still seem so unreal.

I was fortunate enough to have my momma Gina for almost 44 years. Life is now totally messed up.

I don’t know how to move forward. My dad is lost. I am lost. I am ready to move out of my parents house. It’s been almost 6 months since she has passed. My mom would say to move out and move forward. My dad on the other hand wants me to stay. I worry about him being alone. Is six months long enough to leave a grieving parent after the other one passes? My siblings say to move out as I need privacy and dad needs to get used to life with out someone in the house all the time. But they are not here at all hours of the day seeing the look of confusion and loss on his face. It is heartbreaking.

For my own good I need to move on from this house. I look in the mirror and do not even recognize myself.

I miss the outdoors. I don’t go hiking much these days. I have been backpacking once since February and was so grossly out of shape that it was embarrassing.

I have to find my way back to my passions. I am bushwhacking through life right now. I have all the gear to forge a path but no motivation to do it. The grief/depression has a grip that I cannot wrestle myself from underneath. Maybe it will leave me when I leave this house.

I need a home that is mine. A place to work on, cultivate and make a home.

This is my dad’s home and my mom is still here. I love that she is still here.

I miss my mother.


“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Dude Where’s My Van?…lol

Duuuuuuuuuudes…..  I am totally at an impasse!  I have been wracking my brain for the past several weeks about what to do come June 19.  I have this cozy, sometimes air conditioned, sometimes not air conditioned, Airbnb until then.  What comes next is either buy the van which will take 12-16 weeks for the factory to build because of certain things I want, or rent a place for a year to give myself some much needed stability and structure.

See this past year and half was wonderfully stressful.  Make sense?  Yeah, probably not so let me explain.  lol…

On the evening of December 31, 2018 I was having fun with friends at Sky Bridge Station down in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky when I received a phone call from my dad that started out, “Don’t rush home but I had to take your mom to the E.R. tonight.”  What?!?!?!  So I of course rush home the next morning.  What turned out to be bronchitis quickly turned to pneumonia and then almost 4 months of hospitalizations, cardiac rehab and back to the hospital and then back again to cardiac rehab.  My momma is doing fine now but it was a long road when she finally did make it home and then it was months of in home care.  I stayed with them to help out which was my pleasure for two reasons.  1.  I had foot surgery that February so they let me convalesce there and 2. They are my parents and there isn’t anything I would not do for them.

So my mom gets to a point where she is healing up pretty well so I decided to take a big ol’ trip out west for three weeks.  Upon return my dad, yet again the bearer of great news, tells me that he didn’t want to tell me while I was on the road but he has to have a heart catheterization literally the day after I get home.   Turns out my dad needed triple bypass surgery!  Duuuude…really?!?!?!  So he asks me to stay and I of course said yes because I am the only one out of their four children that sent my mom into labor, they wiped my butt, put up with my oh so pleasant teenage boy crazy attitude and I pretty much blew out the 4×4 on their Ford Bronco (the massive one where I could barely see over the dash board) because I was in a hurry.  I was sixteen years old, my boyfriend was coming home from college and I couldn’t wait to leave my lifeguard post for the day.  When I hopped in the Bronco at the end of my shift and threw it into drive I crashed because I didn’t see the cement light post (sans light post) in front of the hood I could barely see over.  Soooooo I figured I owed them ANOTHER round of daily in home care taking.

And for the record it was NOT just me taking care of my parents.  My siblings and I pulled together like soldiers to make sure that everything and I mean everything was taken care of.

My sister Lisa is an ICU nurse and kept everyone abreast of what was going on in calm yet “let’s cut out the bullshit” way of a nurse she is.  I am sure she is nicer at explaining things to her patients than she is to her family.  But she was literally the cats a$$ and that is why I made her my Healthcare POA.  Plus I know she wouldn’t pull the plug on me too early nor too late.  ;D

My sister Lana was the comic relief.  No one can do a slutty Russian accent better than her and she continuously boosted our spirits with her humor and need to keep the peace attitude.  Plus she is a pretty decent baker so that came in handy!

Our brother Donnie (the oldest) and most likely to have a plaque on his desk that says, “I’m kind of a big deal”, talked to every doctor, nurse, social worker and beyond.  He seems to have endless connections because, he was kind of a big deal, at a hospital where he once worked.  Although his three sisters do keep his ego in check. πŸ™‚  So he made sure that our parents received the absolute best care where they were being treated.

Now we are back.  It is now mid January, my mom is doing better and my dad recovered in the utmost text book way.  Three cheers for them and their not wanting to kick the bucket before I get married!  No I am not getting married but hopefully I’ll meet the man of my dreams and they’ll be around hanging on beyond their time when I do get married!  Probably screaming Holy crap it’s about time!!!  Hahaha…

Along comes February and I am looking for a van. I will stay with my folks the few months it’ll take to build out and then be on my merry way!

Then COVID-19 strikes and sends everything into chaos.  Next thing I know I have to quarantine myself from my parents because I work in an ICU that was housing COVID patients.  Now the van is a distant memory for the foreseeable future.

This all leads me to where I am now, sitting in this rented Airbnb typing away trying to figure out what to do next while sweating my butt off.  :/

Do I buy a van and hope COVID doesn’t have a massive resurgence with everything reopening or get a nice place for a year to regroup, breathe, get in better shape, don’t be stressed and sleep like an effing rock!?

To be continued…


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




Springtime words…

Light is shining through the front windows casting slatted shadows on the hardwood floor.  Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgeralds’ voices are filling the air of this cute space I rented for a short time.  Frida Kahlo is staring at me with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  She is probably wondering what I am going to do with the next five days off, praying I am not just another boring guest in this home.  I filled the front of the house with bushy beautiful bouquets of flowers to make this place feel a little more soft and homey while I am here.  Momma Earth is coming out of hibernation and her gift of a renewed earth every spring is the loveliest time of the year.

I am sitting at the bottom of a hill that is filled with so much history.  Normally the streets are filled with people darting in and out of shops and cafes.  But during this pandemic most are holed up in their homes making the best of it and hopefully becoming inspired by free time and imagination.

Morning Poem by Mary Oliver

Every morning 

the world

is created.

Under the orange


sticks of the sun

the heaped

ashes of the night

turn into leaves again


and fasten themselves to the high branches –

and the ponds appear

like black cloth

on which are painted islands


of summer lilies.

If it is your nature 

to be happy

you will swim away along the soft trails


for hours, your imagination

alighting everywhere.

And if your spirit

carries in it


the thorn

that is heavier than lead –

if it’s all you can do

 to keep on trudging    –


there is still

somewhere deep within you

a beast shouting that the earth

is exactly what it wanted –


each pond with its blazing lilies

is a prayer heard and answered


every morning,


whether or not

you have ever dared to be happy,

whether or not

you have ever dared to pray.img_0762



~Much love and health,


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Mary Oliver

I was just introduced to this poet. Now I’m not much into poetry but this gal was truly a luscious flower in the field. Mary Oliver I wish I would have been introduced to you sooner ✌🏻🌱🌎


“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow