Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



Is it Winning?

When you write like there is no tomorrow in the spirit of personal challenge, in the spirit of fun, is it fair to call it winning?

When you write from the heart whether it makes sense to anyone else, is it called writing?

Can it be something valued to others if you don't write to please them?

If you are just doing it for your own personal pleasure, is it selfish?

When you know there are thousands who are also applying themselves at the same time for one full month how is it that there is a sense of solidarity when you don't see them or know them?

Does 50,000 words make a novel all by themselves?

How can one just simply start at the word GO, and have a completed readable story in 31 days without having planned everything out ahead of time?

What happens to those who believe such a thing is possible and realize they cannot complete the task they set before them?

Enough with the questions, already!!!

Just celebrate that the goal has been met, the fun has been enjoyed, discoveries have been made and work with it until it is presentable!

National Novel Writing Month
I'm a "Winner"!


One Whole Self

Its hard enough to make it through life without disappointing yourself.

It can be twice as hard worrying about disappointing others.

Either way, equip yourself fully, start with one whole self, then begin.

~~Brad Rice


Winter Warnings

once verdant and plush,

once brilliant...

like red and amber jewels,

blessing with visions of warmth,

these harbingers of winter

hang listlessly now,

ready to fall

to their earthly graves.


Writing About Family

Writers Call for Submissions for Anthology: Writing About Family

Submissions are being sought for an anthology about writing and publishing by women with experience in writing and publishing about family.

Possible subjects:
using life experience; networking; unique issues women must overcome; formal education; queries and proposals; conference participation; self-publishing; teaching tips. Tips on writing about family: creative nonfiction, poetry, short stories, nonfiction, novels.


Two Trees

It's very difficult to untangle the roots of two trees that have grown too tightly together. The roots, clingy and knotted, are torn. Too often both trees growth will be forever stunted if not separated. It's painful to make that sharp final cut to be released from what is ultimately suffocating.  And like trees in a forest, each needs it's own sustenance in order to survive and still live together in harmony. ~Elizabeth Munroz


Kitty Letters

It broke my heart every day to realize the loss of personal dignity, and sense of independence taken from my parents. When they described life in the nursing home as being "kept imprisoned" it was the day I finally broke down and cried. Yet, I knew the nursing home was decent. I had traveled great distances to visit over that year. The place was clean, but noisy. The staff people, for the most part, were compassionate, though hurried.

But, I could see my parents point. I thought it was like prison, too. I made it a point to call them everyday to listen, to see if there were things I could mail to them, discuss the good old days, and to update them on their kitties. Yet, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for them.

So, their kitties began to send them cards and letters every day to cheer them, (well, I wrote on their behalf) in which they described their lives exploring their new home, getting acquainted with the Old Lady cat who already lived here, and their adventures in the new neighborhood.

As my parents settled into their new life, still the stressful inconveniences bothered them. But finally, they began to relax a bit and accepted the routine of where they were. The daily phone calls became more pleasant, (less complaining and unhappiness) and every new Kitty Letter they received brought them joy, gave them things to talk about, encouraged other fun things their cats had done in the past. They looked forward to every day. I was lightly scolded when they didn't get them "on time".

Three days before Dad died, I brought two kitty letters with me to deliver in person. My Dad, in hospice care because of a brain stem stroke from five months before, carefully opened the envelopes, shakily unfolded the pages, and read aloud in his slurred whisper to my mother, the latest news from their kitties.

With family members all gathered together, even among all the heart wrenching stress, those last days have been some of the most precious of my life.


This Old House

The paint had peeled and faded. But, it still captured the eye whenever driving by on the highway. The Anderson Place in Fluvanna, New York near Chautauqua Lake. Living inside was like being caught in a time warp. It was once an eighteen room mansion. I rented half of it for $65 a month in 1970.

Why was the other side of the house so carefully bolted? Had those hand crocheted lace curtains really been hanging there for 100 years? I thought so. So many things in my side of the place were very old. I could tell that the kitchen was probably the original settlers house, built in 1810, before less than eight families occupied that part of Western New York. The extra-wide floorboards ‘neath the fifty year old linoleum showed that they were hand-hewn.
The Anderson family had been successful enough that the rest of the place built up very fast. Ceilings loomed 15 feet above, in the dining area, living room and upstairs bedrooms which made the thirty foot entry hall and staircase a magnificent imposing welcome, if you entered through the double main doorways. But, no-one ever came in that way anymore. There wasn’t even the hint of a walkway to the entrance. The eastside porch was my entry. The westside was to the other side, no walkway on that side either.

One day, I came home to discover the little old ladies I had rented from were inside of my house. They had let themselves in with a key in order to access the basement in preparation for winter. We chatted a while before they left. I asked whether they would consider renting the other side. No they wouldn’t That was “Mother’s side” of the place. Mother had been dead 47 years by that time. They didn’t reveal much except that they had lived on the newer side since becoming adult and married, raising their children there and moving on to other quarters in retirement.

After they left, I noticed they had accidentally left the door bolt unlocked between my kitchen and the other side.

Curiosity got the best of me and I opened the door. Much to my amazement, I stepped back into 1923. A kitchen with old wood stove, filled with time worn cooking utensils. The dining room and parlor with its ancient curtains still remained as they were, yellowed roller shades at half-mast beneath them. Why was there no accumulation of dust? Had these women kept a shrine to their dead mother all these years? Had they just spent the day cleaning every cobweb, every dust bunny as well as preparing the furnace for winter? It was a mystery to me.

Note: Since that old home was demolished after I moved away, I have no pictures of it. The photo I have taken and placed here is representative. This is the Mark Twain house located in Hartford Connecticut. Similar in style, but not as old as the home I lived in. The kitchen appliances are also representative.



Our thought processes
encourage wonder,
give opportunity
for consideration
of what will be,
or what once was,
to infinite possibilities
of fantasy and reality.

We are all capable
of thinking
no matter our intellect.

It is measurable
in all living creatures.

We are not alone 
in cognition.

Who is to say
it is not possible
in all species
until it can verified?

Thinking is the inevitable
background experience
no matter what we do.

"I think therefore I am".

Yet, It is the one thing
to be eradicated
in meditation
within certain sects
of spiritual practice.

Think of it.

Note: Digital art and Buddha photo by Elizabeth Munroz



The stories smolder
beneath my thoughts.
I search for my notes,
my misplaced
outlines and plans.
I want to write with
with cohesiveness and flow.

Like a river with the boat
carrying the readers
as though watching
the intricacies of shoreline,
both beauty and muddy,
trees and shadows
capturing smiles, tears,
and that sensation of
"I know what that's like.
I know, and I understand."

I want the reader
to absorb the book with their heart,
because it is my heart I have written,
my heart on the pages.
I want to give away my heart
with my words,
so you know me.

Note: Digital art by Elizabeth Munroz


Aging Pain

Looking to the future

I wonder if pain will continue

throughout the next thirty years.

I wonder if doctors

will proliferate in my life.

I wonder if coping will be

my everyday strategy,

if the enemy shall wake me,

accompany me each moment

throughout the hours

like it did the generation before me.

Are genes my destiny?

How will I break free

of the pattern

that's already begun?

Note: Digital art by Elizabeth Munroz



Indian chants
Arabic belly dance music 

red n gold
cross cultural
in my brain

life can be fun!

I know there's a dance for that!


Curve in the Road

When life throws you a curve
and you cannot fathom why...
Why is this happening?
What can possibly be the purpose?

it is what we all have to face
in one way or another.

No matter how threatening it feels,
inner strength you didn't know you had,
will come forth and surprise you.

The valiant soul you are
will surpass you and uphold you
when you are feeling overcome.

So hang on....
all things pass.

And, when your heart is thrilled with new results, celebrate.
Celebrate with all your heart.

Savor the gifts that life offers.
Cherish the things you hadn't noticed before;
the air you breathe,
the water slapping at the shore,
the soft cloud in the sky,
the little kids playing in the park,
purring of a kitten.
the sound of a quietly strummed guitar,
and yes, the neighbors dog

There’s something in it all you missed before.
Now you have the chance.

Take it moment to moment.

You know now the foolishness
the folly, the petty ways you'll leave behind.

You have struggled to come out of your cocoon.
You have worked hard,
You have released yourself
from the things that kept you locked up.
You have traveled beyond that curve...

Now free yourself,
and fly into that new zest for life you rightfully earned.

Have some peace of mind...
Remember you have triumphed.
You are stronger than before.

You have gained appreciation
for those things of which you were unaware
and cherish the challenges that brought you to this new place.

Elizabeth Munroz
Aug 29 2006


Sunset at Capitola Beach

I invoke the powers that be to provide me with a parking space and... Voila! There it is! I ease my car into it and discover an hour left on the meter. The gods are generous today! Because of the chilly air, I find that I have my choice of benches. I wrap my blanket around me and prepare my meal.

The seagulls have already called it a day and stand huddled together on the sand one-legged with their heads shrugged down into their shoulders. A lone female dares to walk directly to me begging to be fed.

Of course, I will not feed her! It is against the law!

But then my stomach does a turn as I look at her. I notice a fishing line trailing behind her and a hook caught in the side of her beak. She walks up to my feet and stands there looking up directly into my eyes, never making a sound. I cannot look away from her.

My heart overtakes my hand as I pull apart my sandwich. She stays close by me to feed on the sourdough, hold the avocado, please.

I thought she would swallow more gently, considering the hook. But, I'm amazed to see her maneuver the pieces of bread over to the other side of her beak and painfully swallow. She must really be hungry. She chases off an Alpha male when he takes note of our encounter. Then, she comes back towards me.

I think she has had enough snack. Besides what if other people see me and disapprove? There are so many good sensible reasons not to feed the wildlife. I decide I am just adding to her pain by feeding her. So, I hold back, and look away, hoping she will give up on me. But now, she is spreading her wings and lowering her head in an odd position. She begins softly crooning and whining a sing song tone at me, begging to be fed.

Oh, my God, I cannot resist! I feed her until she turns and walks away content.


Photo is of an adult male seagull



 I look at the mess outside my back door the birds have made of the sunflower seed shells.  I'm responsible for some of that mess. I've been feeding them. But the possum has contributed too, trying to get to the bird seed, tipping over pots and stools and other garden paraphernalia. Not to mention his...  poop. Possum's poop a lot, and not just in one place but everywhere they go!

I'm sad. This mess is sad. It's a sorry excuse for a memorial ceremony location. I should clean it up.

Last year at this time, I was beside myself in shock. I had all the symptoms, rapid pulse, cold skin, perspiration, tightness in the chest, and an overwhelming sense of horror.

Who knew that loving someone so much for twenty years could bring upon such intensity?

I couldn't comprehend the possibility that I would remain sane. I sure didn't feel sane. That first six months was the most difficult. I went to bed at night and all I could think about was her. Not the good times we had. No. All I could think about was her death, and the things that led up to it.  I awoke in the same thought pattern day after day, night after night. I couldn't stop myself.

As clear as the moment it happened, I see her now, slipping out the door as I reach for the mail. She's plodding across the yard where her favorite plant grows... has been growing for years. Due to my recent surgery, I'm hobbling behind her. I liked to watch as she pads around her cat mint, and sniffs selectively until she finds that one perfectly formed leaf for her enjoyment. She nibbles. She lingers, waiting for my approach.

If only she hadn't.

I wasn't fast enough. The neighbor had let her dog out. He headed toward my house. I saw it coming. I tried, but couldn't run. There was no way I could have stopped it. It was instantaneous.

I heard a blood curdling scream as the dog's body slammed my little eight pound girl. It was me who screamed, but it sounded like it came from outside myself, as if the whole neighborhood had screamed. I saw her hurled away across the sidewalk.

It happened so fast.

I kept obsessively going over that in my mind, trying to re-capture that moment. It seemed she simply disappeared. Certainly she was suddenly not there.

My scream had startled the dog and his owner so much that everything shifted. For a moment the dog stood stock still and did not give her chase, but ran away. The neighbor and I had harsh words.

Since the door was still open, Keli made her way back inside before I got there. I examined her. No blood. She seemed herself. She seemed okay sitting there on her rocking chair, as usual.

It took two weeks as her life began to fade. I took her to the Vet, not relating the episode with the dog to her demise, because she was so old. It was the Vet who wrote in her chart about a mass in her adomen, the lack of bowel sounds. He asked if she'd been injured. Then, it all clicked.

It was too late to save her, he said. I could pay a thousand dollars and they would do everything they could, but he didn't feel there would be much hope at her advanced age, the fact she was dehydrated, etc. etc. I needed to let her go.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER take your very sick pet to the vet without having a friend go with you!!! Driving home is extremely dangerous, for other drivers, as well as yourself. Several times, I had to pull over just to breathe. I was convinced I would pass out, but not within my senses enough to just stop driving entirely. Very dangerous.

Every night before I slept I re-lived the vet office visit, her looking into my eyes with such clarity that last moment. Every morning the same thing. I thought I would die from the grief.

So here I am a year later, and her resting place beside the back door is a mess with seed hulls and possum poop. Naturally, I got busy and started cleaning. I decided to go out to her favorite plant, her cat mint, dig it up and transplant it. Put it beside her. It gets such beautiful blue flowers on it.

Much to my surprise, I can't even call it surprise.

Just imagine ..... I find the location of Keli's cat mint and discover instead, a four foot circle of dead plant. All the living flowers and grasses surround that circle. But, nothing invades the space that once was the living plant my cat loved.


A Letter to My Muse

Dear Muse

They say you are fickle

and when you call upon me

I must be prepared.

I don't wish

to appear ungrateful.

But, dear Muse

why do you have to inspire me

on the freeway when traffic

is thick and I can't pull over?

I don't mind

if you come to me

while I'm on hold.

But, I might not

get through to them again.

And is it really fair

to give me two subjects at once?

How can I write about

that dark tragic day

at the same time you want me

to write about the fun

when Gertrude changed

her name to Anastasia?

Do you really have

to nudge me the moment

when the doctor

walks in the room

after I've waited an hour?

It's perfectly acceptable

if you wake me

in the middle of the night.

I 'll have pen and paper at hand.

I can reach the light.

But you know

I'll have to pee.


E Pluribus Unim

a tree has many branches

a river has many bends

a sleeper tosses and turns

a wheel has many spokes

most refuse to believe

we all have more than one path


Queen of Horse

This picture has been altered in the spirit of fun in photoshop. I hope the Queen won't mind.


NaNoWriMo Excitement!

I saw the odd word posted in my friend's facebook update last year. NaNoWriMo. Immediately I googled it.... National Novel Writer's Month. I was impressed. My friend, (and his mother) had signed up to participate. All they had to do was write their 50,000 word novel in one month! Knowing them both to be intelligent, creative people, I wished them well.

I knew, of course, that I could never complete a novel. But, I felt inspired by the emails sent out by the authors who had succeeded. If nothing else, I would develop a stronger commitment to my writing. I would gain knowledge in how to organize my life around my writing instead of allowing myself moments of luxury for writing.

I added up the days in November. I divided them into 50,000 just to have an idea of how many words those other writers would be completed, on average, per day. That comes out to 1667 words a day. Wow, I was impressed!

But, wait a minute. Wasn't I already writing that much every day? Emails to friends far away, journal entries of my daily life, blog postings to my too many blogs, messages to the patients in my Chondrosarcoma Support Group. I was online a lot! So, I began to re-think the possibilities. I calculated further. If one were to write at 50 words a minute, my average, one could complete 3,000 words in an hour. Of course, I realized that the words might not flow into my mind that quickly, so I figured if I were to average 30 words a minute I could manage 1800 words a day, providing the creative juices were flowing and my muse was on my side. I realized wouldn't have to sit for a straight hour to do this. I could break it down to four sessions of 15 minutes each. That would give me time to think about my story line, in the time in between work sessions. So, I signed up!

I suspended all the automatic emails I recieve from various sites. I announced to my facebook friends I would be lost to them for the month. I posted a lot of November's blog ahead of time, so they would be automatic. I even stopped myself from dropping into my support group ten times a day.

On the third week, I went into a slump. I avoided the computer. Upon questioning, I printed out what I had created and asked a friend to read it. She was so enthusiatic that I went back to my writing. Lo and behold, by the end of the month, I had written a little over the "required" 50,000 words.

It was in no way, "a novel". Of course, it would need revision. I took a break in December and let my New Year's resolution be to work on it further. As time went by, I began to slide. I got involved in a poetry writing group, then a few months later, a memoirs writing group. The revisions to my novel? Forgotten.

So, here we are again. A new idea has inspired me. This time, I've worked on an outline, made notes of ideas, and worked out some scenes and timelines before I started.

It's NaNoWriMo time!