Showing posts from 2011

Reflections in Silhouette: Poems is Now Available in Paperback on Amazon

The journey for the truth of self offers the opportunity for triumph and failure. Often as we search for who we’re meant to be in life, we misplace ourselves for a little while. Even when we’re struggling to reconnect with our misplaced cores, we can’t help but be ourselves. Life is simply a journey to fill in the gaps, to find our truths, to become our best selves. When we embrace the all of who we are, we live richer, fuller lives and avoid being simply reflections in silhouette…

Fearless... or Not

On my best day, I am fearless... Well, unless there are snakes involved and then I'm a shivering, quaking, squealing, screaming, shaking ball of fear wishing I could escape to the top of my laundry room cabinets like my cats do when a stranger steps into the house.  But, we're not talking about that kind of fear.

We're talking about looking at obstacles and knowing you have the power to overcome them, work through them, or just walk away from them. Each reaction serves its purpose in life. Determining which is the best option can be tricky depending on the situation.

So again, on my best day I am fearless. I like those days. On those days I smile no matter how frustrated I feel. I laugh at the absurdity that this thing - whatever it is - in front of me seems so incredibly important and the likelihood I'll even remember it in a month is pretty much nill. On those days, nothing phases me. I tackle obstacles with gusto and conquer challenges without so much as a crack in …

Announcing the Cover for Reflections in Silhouette, My Second Book of Poetry

The journey for the truth of self offers the opportunity for triumph and failure. Often as we search for who we’re meant to be in life, we misplace ourselves for a little while. Even when we’re struggling to reconnect with our misplaced cores, we can’t help but be ourselves. Life is simply a journey to fill in the gaps, to find our truths, to become our best selves. When we embrace the all of who we are, we live richer, fuller lives and avoid being simply reflections in silhouette…
Check back soon for the release announcement!!

Listening When Life Speaks

I wrote a post earlier this week that I've been tweaking all week. It's not that it needs that much tweaking. I realized today that it's about timing. While the timing was right to write it, it wasn't the right time to share it. So I've put it aside. I will probably share it sometime next week provided the timing feels right then.

Instead I decided to share a little something else with you.

This week has been a little odd for me. I had it all planned out, BUT life just refused to cooperate with my plans. Now that part isn't all that unusual. The part that was unusual was that I let it go. I didn't stress myself out or overtire myself trying to add the unexpected chores on top of what I planned to be doing. I didn't have a choice but to address the unexpected chores, so I did. I let my schedule just go. I didn't beat myself up - well, not too much anyway. I didn't feel like a failure. I didn't have any of my usual "I suck" attitude…

Sometimes... Love...

I recently published a book of poetry, Love in Silhouette, about love. Problem is I'm not feeling very loving lately. Don't misunderstand me, I live my life from a place of love. I'm just feeling like I'm a little out of sync with the love in my life, but to quote Luther Vandross. "Sometimes love is wonderful, but sometimes it's only love." I suppose I'm in an "only love" state of mind lately.

Love is a journey we take as we travel through life. We find people who offer us love, and we choose whether or not to accept it. Sometimes we love when we it's against our own best interests. Sometimes we love when it hurts more than we can imagine. Sometimes we love against our will. Sometimes we love even when we can't express that love. Sometimes love lives in our hearts waiting for the right moment to be shared. Sometimes love tricks us into making decisions that seem right in the moment but haunt us later in life.

Also on the journey of l…

Love Never Demands Perfection

My next book of poetry (coming soon), Reflections in Silhouette, is all about the struggle to find, accept, and love one's self in spite of... well, everything life throws at us. It's all about looking deep inside and saying "I don't have to be perfect." It's all about looking at those who demand perfection, even if they don't realize it, and saying "This is what I've got to offer. You don't have to like me. Someone will love me for who I am. Even if no one else does, I love me. And that's a start." It's also about recognizing those in our lives, who really do accept us "as is" and who genuinely think our best is perfect enough. Those people are truly rare.

Whenever someone makes us feel like we need to change to be with them, or we need to "fix" things about ourselves to be acceptable, that person isn't loving us as we are. That person doesn't think our best is enough. Whenever someone doesn't sup…

Ride-a-Long with the Albany Police Department

I arrived at the Albany Police Department a few minutes early for my ride-a-long. Officer Jason Camillo introduced himself. We exited through the back door to go to his patrol car. The temperature outside was around twenty-nine degrees. The car wasn't much warmer. I suddenly felt very glad I'd opted for warm clothes including my knee high brown boots, calf length tan wool coat, and striped scarf! Oh, boy, I began to second guess doing a ride-a-long in winter!
Officer Camillo got his gear settled. He stashed his duffel bag and some other things in the trunk, positioned his shotgun and assault rifle in their holders between the seats. I thought "I really hope we don't need those tonight, but it sure would be exciting." (Oops! There went my naughty side tempting my nice side.) I said with a little smile "I think I won't touch those."

He showed me the electronic ticketing machine (I forgot if it has an actual name) and explained how much better it is wh…

Emotional Quicksand: AKA My Poetry

In a recent Facebook status update, I said:

just realized that I've spent much of this year wading through the emotional quicksand I call poetry while managing to stay afloat though at times it is tempting to just let go and sink...While some might see this statement as negative for me it was a point of pride. There was a point in my life where the work I did on my poetry this year would've sunk me into self-destructive behavior. There are only a few people in the world who know how truly self-destructive I can be when properly motivated and even fewer who know what it takes to bring me to that place or how to then get me out of it.

But this year, when I felt tempted to let go and sink into that emotional quicksand, I did things I'd never done before. They may seem like no-brainers to you, but for me this was revelatory.

I allowed myself to cry, to sit at my desk and let the tears flow while I worked. I didn't stop working, and I didn't stop the tears. I didn't…

Yoga & Love: Why I Practice Yoga!

Recently, I posted the following on Writers on the Move as my workout "status" for the day:

Yoga felt really great this morning!! Really great!! My focus was on target, and I even felt some negativity I didn't even know I was holding inside drain away.... And I thought I'd already dealt with those hurt feelings!! Wow!!
I really didn't think much about it until Jackie Dishner, one of the other membersof the group, commented:

I've not experienced that kind of power yet. But I'd like to.
I responded:

You will, Jackie! This isn't my first experience with it. My first experience with it is kind of hard to put into words. It was incredibly powerful and changed my life or at least my perspective on life because it changed the way I viewed myself and also those around me. BUT, and this is important, it can't be forced. That power comes when you need it and you're ready for it and not a minute before. Just be patient with yourself and with your yoga practi…

Gratitude & Thanksgiving

It's that time of year when people's thoughts turn to gratitude or as many are currently putting it thankfulness. It's nice that Thanksgiving gives people a reason, or perhaps an excuse, to turn their thoughts to gratitude. I find myself wondering why it takes a holiday to get people to appreciate the good things in their lives, but I wonder this every year. I still haven't found a satisfactory answer.

At the beginning of 2011, well technically the end of 2010, I decided to spend a whole year focused on gratitude. I've blogged about this a couple of times before, but it feels like it's time to say a few words about it again. Maybe because Thanksgiving is today, and I'm having a harder time feeling thankful than I have all year. I know why and a part of me feels like it's completely understandable, but I don't like feeling like this. I prefer my state of gratitude. I really do.

This year has had some strange ups and downs. My life has encountered som…

Albany Citizens Police Academy - Final Thoughts

I signed up for the Albany Citizens Police Academy to enhance the crime scenes and the investigations in my novels. I realized even before class started that the purpose of the class was to build better relations between the community and the police department, so I knew my needs wouldn't be the focus of the academy. I resigned myself to this and decided to garner what I could from the class because every insight, every new bit of knowledge helps, every observation can lead to something.

When I started the class, I also hoped to make a new friend or two. But then again, I go into every situation hoping to make a new friend or two. I'm of the mindset that one can never have enough friends. Well, I can say I made a few acquaintances, so it's a start!

As a writer, I also hoped to make some contacts within the department. That I'm fairly sure I accomplished. I have business cards of several members of the department, and Chief Boyd sought me out after my talk on the last n…

Albany Citizens Police Academy - Graduation!

The Albany Citizens Police Academy graduation took place last night.

The evening started with dinner catered by Izzy's Pizza. Mayor Sharon Konopa sat at the table where I was sitting while we ate. She chatted everyone at the table easily.

After dinner, Chief Boyd spoke briefly about the importance of the Albany Citizens Police Academy and its role in bridging the gap between the community and the department thanking the class for participating in the Academy. Lieutentant Casey Dorland then spoke briefly about how much the department appreciates those who participate in the class. Mayor Konopa spoke for a few minutes about how valued the police department is and the importance of the Citizens Academy. She encouraged class participants to spread what we learned from participating in the class.

Then it was my turn to speak. I'd spent some time reviewing the blogs I've written over the duration of the Albany Citizens Police Academy and making some notes. As I sat there, notes…

Love in Silhouette: Poems is Now Available on

Love in Silhouette: Poems is now available on in paperback. Kindle version coming soon!
Read, enjoy, review!!

Love. We long for it. We feel the sting of love’s loss. We give love in hopes of receiving love. We withhold love out of fear it won’t be returned. Love connects us. Love disappoints us. Love distinguishes us. Love extinguishes us. Love abandons us. Love disappoints us. Love creates expectations. Love fulfills lives. Love is always a risk worth exploring even when it fails. Love is poetry… Poetry is love… Love becomes a silhouette.

Lessons in Memories of War Now Available

New poem, Lessons in Memories of War, now available for your reading pleasure. This poem is based on an inteview I did with my Grandpa Stamm for my American History Class in high school.

Standing in the Moment

We stand in this moment. Then we'll stand in the next moment. Then the next. Then... Well, you get picture.

As we stand in each moment we choose how to act and how to react. We can stand in love. We can stand in anger. We can stand in resentment. We can stand in sadness. We can stand in happiness. We can stand in disappointment. We can stand in satisfaction. We can stand in ectasy. We can stand in gratitude. We can stand in isolation. We can stand in togetherness. We can stand in openness. We can stand in closedoff-ness.

Often it feels like we don't have a choice of what we stand in due to outside circumstances. The words someone says to us hurt our feelings. Someone's attitude towards us cuts deeply. Someone denies us something to which we feel entitled. Someone makes us do something we don't want to do. (Yeah, yeah, we all say no one can make us do anything we don't want to do, but if that was true there would be no victims in this world. There would also likely …

Albany Citizens Police Academy - Week 10 - Computer Forensics and Narcotics

As per usual, class started with a few words from Community Education Specialist, Carmen Westfall. She asked for volunteers to speak at next week's graduation. I felt my hand go up before I even realized it, so I guess I'm speaking at graduation.  Oh, boy, maybe I can use these blogs to pull together something interesting... Oh, well, at least I enjoy public speaking.

Then we posed for the class picture... Okay, think high schoool, the whole class stands together in a group and snap, snap, snap. Now there's a pictire of you with a bunch of people you may never see again, some of whom you likely won't remember, truth be told. Only in this instance, there are some people in the class I've not exchanged more than two words with. And, yet, we've spent our Tuesday evenings together and two Saturdays together over the past ten weeks. Oh, well! Apparently, we each get a copy, so I'll share once I've got it in my possession!

Next, Detective Dawn Hietala explain…

The "Proofs" of Love in Silhouette

Last week, I shared the cover of Love in Silhouette with you. This week, the proof! Two typos have delayed the release date I'd hoped for! It should still be available for your reading pleasure by the end of next week! In the meantime, here are photos of the proof - both the front and back cover!!


Albany Citizens Police Academy - Week 9 - Detectives and Major Cases

I was late for class tonight, so I missed the information/introduction. Oh, well, sometimes life works that way...

Captain Eric Carter (remember him from way back - our first class) talked about the detectives unit including who the detectives are, the structure of the department, and the role detectives play in the Albany Police Department. Detectives in the Albany Policy Department work on a rotation. They apply for 2, 4, or 6 year terms. At the end of the term, they return to patrol duty. Patrol officers and Detectives are lateral on the heirarchy at the Albany Police Department. Many patrol officers have or will have detective experience, so they are equipped to handle cases. The small size of the Albany Police Department dictates that all police officers be able to help out on major cases.

Captain Carter also talked about evidence collection. He explained that it's important to have a wide perimeter around the crime scene to make sure all the evidence is uncontaminated. Every…

Your Feelings and Mine Hold Equal Importance, Really They Do

Today I read a statement that stopped me cold - just an innocuous little statement in the middle of several others. Johanna Garth is doing something she calls The Fulfillment Project to make her already good life a little better or something to that effect. Today, on her blog, Losing Sanity, she's talking about a reward system of marbles she set up for her children. She lists a few of the things for which they can earn marbles. One of those things is what made me pause and think. She included "put someone else's feelings before your own" as a behavior that earns a marble. In theory, I don't disagree, but alarm bells started going off in my head. When we teach children to put others feelings before their own, we have to be careful to not teach them that their feelings aren't important.

It's one thing to value someone else's feelings, but it should never come at the expense of one's own feelings. I learned this the hard way. In many ways, as a lot w…

New Attitude? Old Attitude? What's in an Attitude Anyway?

I'm not particularly fond of the word attitude. It has to do with my history with the word, but I don't want to go into that at this point.

I have been making an effort to confront things that I would normally avoid, so I am going to talk about why the word attitude is on my mind lately. See, I've recently realized my attitude has undergone a change. At first this scared me because I felt an attitude emerging that I haven't felt in probably twenty years. And, there's a huge part of me that doesn't want to be who I was then. There were things about that girl that I really didn't like, even then. There were other things about her that I loved.

Crazy thing is that as I embraced the attitude I've been feeling over the past several weeks, I realized this is just more of me stepping into who I am. I can face - perhaps even embrace - having a new attitude even if it is an attitude rooted in an attitude I abandoned long ago.

For so long I pushed aside anything …

Cover for Love in Silhouette

Love. We long for it. We feel the sting of love’s loss. We give love in hopes of receiving love. We withhold love out of fear it won’t be returned. Love connects us. Love disappoints us. Love distinguishes us. Love extinguishes us. Love connects us. Love abandons us. Love disappoints us. Love creates expectations. Love fulfills lives. Love is always a risk worth exploring even when it fails. Love is poetry… Poetry is love… Love becomes a silhouette.

Check back soon for the release date!

Albany Citizens Police Academy - Week 8 - Use of Force & Jail Tour

This week's Albany Citizens Police Academy started with Community Education Specialist Carmen Westfall started the class with a few reminders about upcoming classes. Then introduced Lieutenant Hyde.

Lieutenant Hyde explained the law surrounding use of force. He explained the effect that case law has on state statutes. Use of force is always determined by the situation but is governed by five rules:

Self Defense
Defense of Others
Effect an Arrest
Overcome Resistance
Prevent Escape

In determining the amount of force to use, the officer must interpret the suspect's intent as well whether the suspect has the means and the opportunity. All three elements must demonstrate all three elements in order to be an immediate threat. The level of force the officer uses must then be a level above the level of threat the suspect is using and must be reasonable for the situation. Reasonable is determined by what other officers would do in the same situation.

Officers must be mentally prepared …

Albany Police Academy -Week 7 - Class Two - Evidence, Records, Dispatch, & Firearms Training

Saturday's Albany Police Academy class started with a tour of the evidence room lead by Property & Evidence Specialist Debbie Buchert. She explained the different evidence storage techniques and apparatuses including paper bags, plastic bags, and boxes. Plastic bags are never used for anything wet that could mold. Boxes are often used for handguns and other weapons that fit in them boxes. Some weapons are too big for a box or a bag. She talked about the process for logging evidence and how it's improved with the use of a computerized system. She explained the process for disposing of property from the evidence room. Evidence that isn't returned to the owner can be sold with the proceeds going to the department (see or destroyed by fire once it is no longer needed and the designated time period it must be kept has passed. Some evidence must be kept for many years.

One discussion that seemed particularly disturbing to me was regarding anonymous rape kit…

Albany Citizens Police Academy - Week 7 - DUII & DRE

Community Education Specialist Carmen Westfall passed out our Albany Citizens Police Academy t-shirts as we arrived! She gave us a quick update about to expect in the next few classes.
Next OfficerRobert Hayes took over to talk about Driving Under the Influence and being a Drug Recognition Expert.

Officer Hayes began by clarifying the answer to a question from when he taught the traffic class two weeks earlier. Apparently when any part of a person or any extension of a person (i.e. a walker, dog, weekchair) steps from curb to crosswalk with intent to move forward that person is considered crossing the street and people in a vehicle must wait for them to cross. As someone pointed out, intent can still be subjective.

Moving on to discuss DUII, Officer Hayes discussed statistics, penalties, and other reasons to demonstrate the dangers of drinking and driving. Officers work to keep drunk drivers off the streets for safety.

Officer Hayes demonstrated the "walk and turn" test and …

Friends, Enemies, Breasts

As I see all the attention given to Breast Cancer Awareness because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I find myself squirming in my seat. I didn't understand my reaction at first. I really didn't. I'm all for encouraging women to take control of their health and to take better care of themselves.

Then it dawned on me... I keep wanting to scream  "Can we please, please, please have Breast Health Awareness Month?"

It's not that I don't understand the need to raise awareness about breast cancer and the devastation it can cause. I've seen it. I've had family members suffer from breast cancer. I've had scares of my own. I understand that early detection saves lives and that self-exams are important. It's not that I'm against any of that.

Let me reiterate, I am for self-exams and early detection. I am for finding a cure for breast cancer. Above all, I am for women having healthy breasts

But, here's the thing, too many women aren'…