I Will Survive!

I looked forward to going home every summer.  This year we were doing something different.  This year we would be more active while still having fun, a little quirky, to include all ages.  I couldn’t wait to get on that plane and back to Wisconsin.

The ex was from So Cal and after getting out of the Army in 1978, he decided it was where we would live.  We were there long enough to have a baby, get jobs, move to 3 different homes, spend most of our money and move in with Ex’s divorced father and 3 siblings.  All that in 2 years, until we moved to Wisconsin, my home state.

We settled in a wonderful medium sized town, got good jobs and later put our son into a great public school.  We had it made, on the outside, anyway.  Ex started his construction company.  Good money and a lot of stress.  We built a home in an upscale neighborhood.  One of the jobs he took was remodeling a restaurant and lodge. It was a big project and took many months.  He did this on a handshake.  After it was finished, they didn’t have the money to pay it all.  Bankruptcy, moving out of our custom home, and then too much drinking.

Time to move back to California.  That was at the end of 1989.  Ex went back first and found a house and a job.  Our son and I came out shortly after that.  I had to leave a job I loved for 8 years and my family.

Oops, back to the story and fast forward to 2001.  I go back to Wisconsin for a week every summer.  I go by myself.  Ex is never happy about me going and won’t come with me.  After a few years, I don’t care, I just need to go.

I always end up at my parent’s home on the Island and my 7 siblings come, at least for the weekend.  We had done Christmas in July the years prior.  This year (2001), my brother-in-law suggested we do a family “Survivor”.  There were plenty of emails and phone calls to plan the weekend.  We figured we had between 20 and 30 people with sibs, in-laws, nieces, nephews, my grandma, my parents and a couple friends.  The teams ended up with 12 people each, ages 7 to 81.  We had spouses on opposing teams.  Each team had four siblings, mine with 2 sisters, a brother, Dad and assorted others.  The other had 2 brothers, 2 sisters, Mom, Nanny plus 6 more.

Events included food challenges, basketball shooting, how far can you jump, hit a golf ball and sunflower seed spitting.  We picked teams on Friday night and saw the area my bro-in-law chose for the tribal counsel. Games to begin on Sat morn…

Tribal Counsel

Writing 101 Day 4



The gate was open.  This time he would do it.  Escape!  He would live in the forest.  He was part of the 101st Airborne.   He could do this.  They would never find him.

He moved from behind the wall.  Down the stairs and off he went.  Running like the wind until he thought his lungs would burst.  He stopped.  Safe.  Finally free.

No!  They caught him.  Put him in the chair.  He heard as they wheeled him back, “Nice try for a 95 year old.  He made it 20 feet further this year”.

“Happy Birthday Henry!  Everyone’s waiting for cake.”


Thanks again to Rochelle for Friday Fictioneers!


Ring of Fire or My Love of All Things Spicy!!


I’m not sure when I had my first experience with spicy.  It may have been the weak “taco sauce” Mom used for her Wisconsin tacos.  Or, the fact that my uncle pushed me, or tricked me into trying new foods.  Like the time he gave me a bite of his “sirloin steak”.  We were a family of little money and many children, so sirloin was not on the menu.  I loved the new taste, even when he told me it was actually liver.  With that experience in mind, it may have been Uncle Willy’s trickery that began my journey of fearless food discover, including spicy.

Tabasco is my all-time favorite, with its vinegar taste, a definite plus.  I can’t imagine an egg without it.  It was a requirement when eating in the mess hall.  SOS with tabasco was one of the best parts of being in the Army.

When eating at a Mexican Restaurant, I’ll judge it by the salsa they serve when I first arrive.  It must be tasty, and have a bite.

I keep a huge container of pickled jalapenos in the refrigerator and add them to most things.  There is also a container of horseradish that is used regularly.  I know horseradish is not the same hot as a habanero, but I love its “heat”.

I have even been known to put a touch of cayenne in my brownies.  Just enough to have people wondering if there is something different about them.

I won’t say,” the hotter the better”.  I need to be able to taste it, but I do love spicy

Day 5 Talking to 16 Year Old Me

I’ve been thinking about how to write this one.  It would be easy to just list 10 things I would or should tell a younger me.  The truth is my 16 year old self wouldn’t listen.  I am trying to pinpoint that specific year, not 15, not 17, but 16 year old Debbie.

So here is my attempt to make Debbie listen to me.

Here I am, back at high school.  It’s the fall of 1971 and I am about to have a meeting with my 16 year old self.  I chose a Wednesday morning to talk to her.  On Monday she would’ve been tired and Friday she would’ve had her mind on the weekend.

As she walks into the room I see the long brown hair parted in the middle.  She’s wearing a tight striped T shirt and a pair of hip hugger big belled jeans.  I remember these were my favorite pair.  The style was to have them long and dragging so I had sewn on an extra couple inches of denim to the bottom of the bells.  The ass had big red iron-on patches.  I fell in love with them all over again.

She looks nervous as she doesn’t know who I am.  Do I tell her or wait until she figures out that I am her, 42 years later.  I introduce myself as Deb and ask her to sit down and tell me a few things about herself.  She tells me her name and says she turned 16 in May.  She has a boyfriend and her driver’s license and is a junior.  She is blushing and I know she is uncomfortable talking to me.  I ask her about her family and she says she is the oldest child and has 3 sisters and 3 brothers.  I tell her that I am also the oldest child but that I have 7 younger than me.  I ask her about her boyfriend.  She says his name is Scott and they have been going together for a while and will probably get married someday.  Does she have any dreams of going to college or traveling or anything more than getting married, I asked.  No, not really, she says.  She’s not smart enough to go to college.  She likes to read but sometimes the school work is difficult and sometimes she just doesn’t feel like doing it.  I ask her what she likes to do.  Her response is, I like to party and be with my boyfriend.  I tell her that she reminds me of someone else.  She looks at me and asks who.  I hadn’t expected the conversation to go this way so I had to make up a name quickly.  Her name is Samantha, I say.  They called her Sam for short.  I knew she didn’t know any Samantha’s, so that name worked.  I ask if she would like to hear about her.   Sure, go ahead, she says.  She slumps down in her chair and gets ready to listen.

I tell her Sam had a fun childhood, lots of friends and brothers and sisters.  Then when she was a young teenager her father died.  It was hard even though she wasn’t Daddy’s little girl.  Her whole life was about to change.  Her mother remarried and they moved away from the town she grew up in.  She had to leave her lifelong neighborhood friends, her new school friends, a new boyfriend.  This sucked for her as she was shy and making new friends just scared her.  They made the move and surprisingly Sam found her place in a group of girls.  They weren’t what you would call the popular girls, but they were definitely known around school.  She was an average student and never stood out in any one subject.  She liked math and loved to read.  If she had a problem understanding what was taught to her, she never asked for more.  She was happy to sit in the back and never be noticed.  This continued in high school.  The subject of college never came up and it never crossed her mind.  She wasn’t smart enough.  The only classes she got A’s in were 4 years of typing and a year of photography.

Sam had a boyfriend; he was a year older and got in trouble sometimes.  She seemed to be drawn to those 2 things.  They drank a lot and went to all the good parties. Drinking was their past time and with the drinking came arguments and jealousy and magnified all the insecurities she had.  They broke up and got back together a few times.  She was always heartbroken, he didn’t seem to care.  She kissed his ass, they had sex and it was all good again.  This went on until she was out of school.  They got engaged and unengaged all in the same year.  There were even a couple halfhearted attempts at suicide thrown in there and were probably more a plea for someone to pay attention.

She made a couple treks to the Florida Keys and one to the southwest.  She drank too much and slept with too many guys.  She used them and they used her.  There were a couple guys that got too close and she broke their hearts when she walked away.  She just didn’t care.  She partied, had fun, but always felt alone and lost.  She wasn’t comfortable anywhere.

Sam decided to join the Army after talking with people who were already there.  She went in and was given a job as a truck driver at Fort Stewart, Georgia.  It worked for her.  She had somewhere to go and something to do every day.  Most of the recruits were young and they all partied on the weekends.

In 1976 she started going out with a sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division.  He had a Corvette, money, parents who had a nice home in Virginia with a boat on the ocean they stayed in sometimes.  He was nice, good looking and good to her.   He got too close; she walked away when she met a “bad boy”.  One more broken heart, she didn’t care.

She married the bad boy after dating for 6 months.  Sam got pregnant and they were on their way to being civilians.  He had a temper; she saw it before they even got married when he punched holes in the walls.  It was always a temporary thing and he was so sorry when it was over.  Her parents never fought, she never had to deal with family arguments or conflict.  When conflicts happened in the past she would just walk away.  No walking away now.

They got out of the Army and moved to California, where he was from.  They lived in a shack up in the hills; she dealt with it and made it into a home.  She had a beautiful baby boy and she should’ve been happy.  Soon after baby was born, bad boy changed.  Or had he, maybe it just finally came out.  He hit her when he was mad, the great sex they had before baby, stopped, and he came home later and later after work.  There were other women, drugs and emotional abuse.  She was now the heartbroken one.  He didn’t care, it just annoyed him.

Sam stayed in that marriage for 35 years.  She tried to leave a few times but had no skills and did not want to run back home to her parents.  She was always optimistic and thought she could make it work.  She would change, she would be better, he would love her.  There were a lot of happy times and a lot of sad times over all those years.  In the end it was the lack of love and respect that made her leave for good.  Sam is in her late 50s now and told me if she had 10 things she could tell her 16 year old self they would be:

  1. Talk to your Mom about your life and your feelings
  2. Go to church, get to know Jesus
  3. Do better in school, ask for help
  4. Find a mentor
  5. Go to college
  6. Read about everything, knowledge is power
  7. Don’t drink so much or wait until you’re old enough to handle it or don’t drink, you don’t need it
  8. Be nice to everyone including your siblings
  9. You do not need a man in your life to be complete
  10. You are worthy, you are important, you matter

20 Facts About Me. Day 1 of 30 day blog challenge.

So, here are 20 facts about me.

1.  I love the Lord!

2. I’m in love with the best person I’ve ever known.

3. I was in the Army.

4.  I’ve killed a rattlesnake.

5.  I am a cancer survivor. (Melanoma)

6.  I have one child. A 35 yr old man.

7.  I am divorced. ( I was a good wife.)

8.  I lean to the right.

9.  I am the oldest of 8.

10.  I love to read, mostly nonfiction.

11.  I zip-lined in Mexico.

12.  I tandem surfed.  (Waves were small)

13.  I HATE mosquitoes!!

14.  I’ve never smoked cigarettes.

15.  I’ve competed in 2 triathlons and numerous 5K’s, all in my 50’s.

16.  I am a Grandma. (Nanny to the girls)

17.  I make the best chocolate chips cookies that I have ever eaten.

18.  I would rather clean the toilet than go shopping with my girlfriends.

19.  I don’t have any girlfriends.

20.  I love being a woman and all the stuff that goes with it.  Good & bad.

There you go.  I actually started this list last week as I was going to post 58 facts about myself for my 58 yrs.  I may still do that after this.

Next one is to discuss my current relationship.  Not going to be around tomorrow so that may wait until Sunday.