"Compound" - Completed Book Available on Amazon!!!!!

Compound  follows five strangers as they are each given a deed to a luxury beach home, a title to a new car and a cashier’s check for one million dollars with promises of more to come.  Golden hasn’t had the best life, yet is as loving and trusting as a puppy. She’s unemployed and tanking financially while waiting for her fiancé to return and help save her family home from foreclosure, marry her and start a family. When she’s contacted by the lawyer representing an anonymous benefactor, she attributes the windfall to the grace of God. When the lawyer also informs her that her fiancé is living with another woman and has a baby on the way, the blow knocks her sideways.  Golden warms up slowly to her neighbors at The Pointe, the luxury beach community where her new vacation home is located. They start working out together, sharing intimate secrets, having regular dinners and forming close bonds that celebrate each other and their differences. The enjoyment of their beach summer is rocked by one explosive, climactic event leaving someone dead, many confused and all conflicted once they discover the reason they have been brought together.   We’ve all been hurt a multitude of times and most things too good to be true generally are, but what if they are given in secret to right past wrongs? What if the worst of your life was evaluated and payment was made to soften all those blows? But payment from whom? For what ills? And what consequences does accepting payment bring?

Compound follows five strangers as they are each given a deed to a luxury beach home, a title to a new car and a cashier’s check for one million dollars with promises of more to come.

Golden hasn’t had the best life, yet is as loving and trusting as a puppy. She’s unemployed and tanking financially while waiting for her fiancé to return and help save her family home from foreclosure, marry her and start a family. When she’s contacted by the lawyer representing an anonymous benefactor, she attributes the windfall to the grace of God. When the lawyer also informs her that her fiancé is living with another woman and has a baby on the way, the blow knocks her sideways.

Golden warms up slowly to her neighbors at The Pointe, the luxury beach community where her new vacation home is located. They start working out together, sharing intimate secrets, having regular dinners and forming close bonds that celebrate each other and their differences. The enjoyment of their beach summer is rocked by one explosive, climactic event leaving someone dead, many confused and all conflicted once they discover the reason they have been brought together. 

We’ve all been hurt a multitude of times and most things too good to be true generally are, but what if they are given in secret to right past wrongs? What if the worst of your life was evaluated and payment was made to soften all those blows? But payment from whom? For what ills? And what consequences does accepting payment bring?

So, the book, "Compound," that's been in my brain for so long is now complete and available on Amazon!  I hope you read it and enjoy it!  I've been getting some great feedback from readers and it makes me laugh knowing how much they are connecting to the characters.  LOL!  I'm like...BE NICE TO GOLDEN, SHE'S BEEN THROUGH A LOT!!!!  LOLOLOLOL!  

If you read it, please give it a review!  Oh...and yes...part two is in the making!  WHOOOOOHOOOOO!

 

DIY Decorating Around a Flat Screen Television

I've had some stuff I've wanted to frame for a while now but never got around to doing it.  And...I had a super blank wall in the room I like to read in.  I have a television in there that I use to binge watch programs The Robinator doesn't want to watch like "Parenthood" and listen to music.  The room is comfortable and I've been finishing it slowly.  

That blank wall is opposite my mirror gallery and behind the television.  

Have I mentioned that I hate how televisions take up a wall?  Like...there never seems to be anything interesting about the wall the television is in front of.  I've seen where interior designers put a lot of art on the wall behind the television and I kind of liked that.  Then...I thought about other stuff that I like too and decided to make a mixed media wall.

Our friends, Kenny and Booth, have an amazing home.  Not because it's like this grand estate or anything (even though it is), but because everything in it has a story.  Anything your eyes light on has a unique history and story.  Walking through their home with one of them is like a cultural personalized museum tour and I love that everything has a story behind it.  They didn't just roll up to a furniture store and buy a matching living room set.  Every piece is unique and personalized to their personalities and the way they live their life.  They have fascinating art and bits of all sorts of amazing things to look at.  It's like a sensory party that you never want to leave. I could sit in their great room for hours and hours perfectly content.

And that's what I want.  I want spaces and things with personal and unique stories.  This room is the first one that I'm doing that way just to see how well it fairs and I am loving it so far.  I can't wait until I decide on window treatments because that will mean that I am finally finished with it as I've said they will be the last things I do in each room.

Michael's was having a 50% off sale on their wall frames so I picked up some of them for the vintage musical programs and art that I had.  I made a tray at an Annie Sloan paint techniques class I attended, did a canvas using stencils and added two wood pieces that I did myself.

The first one was an address sign with 13700 on it.  All my happiest memories in life so far were made at 13700.  It's where my husband and I first started out as a married couple and where we just grew into who we are.  It's where my family, framily and friends gathered all the time and where I've circled infertility, learned how to be settled and really just grew up.  

The second one is made from handwritten sheet music from a musical in the early 1900s.  "Swing Low," "Were You There?" and "Deep River."  I bought this years ago with the other pieces in Maryland.  

The tray was a fun time and I enjoyed meeting the ladies and learning about different painting techniques. So there is a story behind it too.  The vases were made using dollar store vases and dots and tape to create a design and then spray paint.  

I love the way it has all come together.  It's visually interesting and the television is no longer the focal point of the wall.  I even have room to add more pieces should I ever decide to.  I like that I decided to use the whole wall instead of just up high above the television.  

1940s Double Glass Door Bookcase

This piece was seriously rusted and busted when I found it.  Poor thing was all creaky and hadn't been looked after in forever.  Folks are always looking for bookcases and having one with glass doors is pretty cool because you don't have to dust the inside as often as you're used to.  

So...I went to work.

We blew it off with the leaf blower and then wiped it down inside and out with a mild dish soap in a gallon of water making sure to wring the towel out super well so the wood wouldn't be "wet" if you know what I mean. Once it was wiped down I just looked at it for a few days trying to come up with a design for it that kept it as um...stoic as possible.  Just seemed this piece didn't want to be "happy."  LOL!  It's pretty serious about that life.  THUGS RISE UP!

The back of it was pretty busted so I removed it and added a piece of fabric to it using spray adhesive.  Then I took the doors off and soaked the hardware in some rust remover solution.  Next I sanded the whole thing down (did the doors by hand), stained the top, shelves and bottom with Minwax Dark Walnut stain using a brush on the top (it was pretty bad with water rings and whatnot) and a rag inside so I could get all the corners and whatnot pretty well.  

I painted it in Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray (love this color) because it coordinated really well with the Waverly fabric I used for the back and followed that with General Finishes Pitch Black glaze wiping it off quickly on the sides but letting it set in a bit longer along the details of the top front and doors.  Once I put it all back together, I finished the top, bottom and shelves with a polyurethane to protect the surfaces.  I kinda like the thought of the painted parts getting a bit more weathered looking.

I like it.  It makes me happy to look at.  And isn't that really all that matters?  That you're happy with what you're doing?  That you're content in the knowledge that you can set your mind to do something and then you can make it happen exactly as you saw it in your head?  And then...what you saw in your head is actually really pretty?  Yeah...I like it.  There is a bit of odd satisfaction in being able to find something unloved and busted and bringing it back to life in such a way it makes a statement.  Just says a lot about so much.  Yup.

Holla.

Mother's Day 2015: One Lantern Against a Dark, Vast Sky

For years I've tried to focus on the indomitable strength of my parents.  The people that brought me into this world and who made a conscious decision to be the all and everything to and for my brothers and I for a lifetime.  I made a consolidated effort to try and steer my thoughts whenever they strayed to the darkness and really focused on spreading light forcefully into anything that attempted to seep into my spirit and crumble my resolve.

Sometimes it works.

Sometimes it doesn't.

When I think of all a parent has to be, I am humbled by the sheer weight of the job.  Of dedicated fealty.  And honestly, sometimes, I'm thankful it's a job I never had to undertake.  I think of my mother, beaten and broken, getting up, no matter what, to get us ready for our day.  I think of her soft hands, smiles and kisses as she made our breakfast, placing our plates gingerly on the table in front of us wincing slightly at the weight of balancing the plate as she holds one of her wings close to her side to balance out her pain from her bruises, her abuse, her choice to keep her children in a two-parent home which all the Elders and society lead her to believe she needed to have so that we could grow, and soar and fly while she watched protectively from her nest.

With a broken wing.

So we had to learn early on to not depend on her always, not because she didn't WANT to take care of us the way she wanted to but because her choices might hinder her from being able to.  Her wing might be broken.  Or her jaw.  Or her collarbone.  Or four fucking ribs and her wrist.

And she'd arrange her long hair artfully.  A long spiral curl falling softly in her face hoping you wouldn't look closer into her eyes and see the bruise there fading or pay attention to how one half of her face slumped from the stroke she'd had and wasn't afforded with the luxury of recovery properly because he demanded that things get back to normal as soon as possible because the longer things weren't "normal" the longer he was faced with what he'd done.  Again, and again and again.  And how watching her hurt hurt him and he saw it in our eyes and he knew he'd done it but he didn't want to but dammit he did it.  FUCK HE DID IT.  HE HURT HER REPEATEDLY.

And always with remorse.  Always with gifts.  Always followed by something pretty when she was the most beautiful thing he could ever touch.

By age 12, I was put in charge of her Mother's Day gifts.  My father would give me a wad a cash or a credit card and he'd take my brother and I to the mall to pick something out.  He'd sit on a bench and wait no matter how long it took.  He didn't rush us, he wanted to make sure that she got something she'd love.  I'd go store to store looking for the perfect something for her.  Something I'd seen her linger on before but wouldn't buy for herself because she didn't want to spend the money on herself because she had four growing children running out of yesterday's clothes.  I'd touch the fabrics as I'd watched her do a million times.  Rub it against my cheek to see it if was a pleasing feel.  I'd imagine how she'd look dressed in it.  How'd she'd walk if she wore it while free and happy with the wind blowing in her hair and with her dress up jewelry and shoes.  I'd always get it gift wrapped there and take my time choosing the paper and ribbon in the back of the store or at Gaudchaux's up the elevator that smelled of ammonia and something sweet in the middle of it.  I'd be proud and my little brother would be quiet knowing that this was the most important thing we were tasked yearly because it was her day.  HER day.  The one who did so much and took so much yet  received so little in the form of hugs and kisses.  Not knowing then...that it's what she truly valued the most.

Her babies.

And when the box was complete, when I'd passed over the money and the gift was placed directly in front of me, he'd stand on his toes to take it off the counter so he could carry it gently.  Wearing his clean and pressed shorts, his tube socks with the coordinating stripes.  His afro picked out to perfection because she plaited his hair every night before bed so it didn't get tangled.  And he'd carry it reverently and I'd follow behind him, small chest poked out.  I got it right.  I know I did.  I know she'll love it.  Not that pretend mommy love either.  The for real kind.

She'd love it.

He'd see us coming and ask if we were good?

You good?

Big grins.

We're good, daddy, we're good.

Your mama gonna like it?

She's going to love it daddy.  

My brother silent, looking at him with eyes that were always cloaked hiding what I now know he never really hid.  He simply kept it at bay from this one.

From him.

And we'd keep the gift hidden.  A secret.  Until Sunday morning and we'd be so excited.  And she'd sit on the furniture we never sat on and she'd exclaim over how beautiful the wrapping paper was and she'd take it off gently so as to not tear it and we'd be giddy with excitement, jumping beans in pajamas with bed plaited hair and sleep crust on the corners or our eyes.  A runny nose from the air conditioning and ashy knees and elbows.  And she'd open it and lift it from the tissue paper, her eyes glazed over with happiness.  She'd place the box gently to the side and hold her gift and she'd look directly at me with softness in her eyes, girl-to-girl, and smile KNOWING IT WAS ME WHO KNEW HER SO WELL.

I so loved that feeling of being able to do for her something she'd never do for herself in a way she'd taught me how.  Paying attention to the details.  

I don't know if I would have been able to be her.  I doubt I could ever bend the way she did.  I doubt putting the lives of four other people always above her own is something I would have ever been able to do the right way.  The bar of motherhood she set would have been a struggle for me to lift myself over.  I don't have the dexterity it would have taken under the conditions she did it all under.  I doubt if my anger, always right below the surface, would have been able to be pushed out of the way by light as she did.  I doubt having my wing broken would have ended with my making breakfast.

All the mothers I know have this.  That all consuming power they use to cover their children and keep going. Bullshit at work with a smile because they can't pop off in an explosion of words and angry emails taking down fools with them and rolling out in a blaze of glory.

MINGO OUT.

I am in awe of what children do to women.  How it polishes them into such rare and beautiful sparkling gems.  How it preens them into powerful all knowing beings.

For the past month I've been on top of the world doing what I love.  Last night I dressed up like a girl and danced with true happiness.  Nearing the end of the night...someone release a lantern into the sky.  Just one.  As I watched it fly away my mind exploded with thoughts and images and sensations of her and my heart cracked open yet again.  A wound nothing will ever truly heal.  

I drove home in pain.  In silence.  With tears streaming down my face missing her so fucking much even as she'd been gone more years now than I had her.  

But I remember her.

And I miss her.

And God knows how very, very much I fall back on the strength of her.  Of needing her.

I walked into my cool, clean and quiet home dodging frogs at the door and went straight to him.  My love.  And he enveloped me, kissing me asking if I'd had a good time immediately up out of his sleep with a light on.  For me.  When I didn't answer...he knew the cracks in my interior were open and hugged me tighter.  

I miss my mommy.  I'd give practically anything for that to be something I never, ever felt.

Happy Mother's Day to you and yours.  It's a bond so extreme...you will never be able to shatter.  And the power it gives you is a light we all see and admire.  Have an amazing day.  Be the Queen.

Love,

Monnie

MINGO OUT