Book Review: Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess

Not even dark chocolate can fix this mess by Kathy Eliscu is so much fun to read! I started reading this book weeks ago, when it first came out, and then I Not even dark choc coversadly had to put it aside so that I could finish a project (okay, publishing my own book!). But ‘Not Even…’ called to me the whole time, patiently awaiting my return (okay, fine! I lost it! I had to invoke St Anthony to help me find it and now that I’ve finished reading the book, I can see that he had a vested interest in the recovery effort). All I can say is that it was SO worth the wait.
This book is like a page (okay 309 pages-I checked) from my own life. Maybe from your own, too. From the GYN table to the toilet stall (really? Still wrestling with wings or no wings? I win-I quit that s*** years ago! Sorry, TMI? My bad), Tink had me at “hormones”. Once I picked the book up, I couldn’t put it down again. I read it all at once.
Not Even chronicles the daily life of Tink, which is a cacophony of ringing phones, buzzing beepers, and pinging answering machines, underpinned by the love of her friends, family, and fiance.
A good life.
A few notes to author:
Kathy, my nursing cap was white with 1 blue stripe! Or was it 2? Dammit, now I have to get up off the couch and go look…
Oh, and that gray hair trauma thing in Chapter 15 (insert zipped-lip smiley emoticon here)? Total empathy for Tink (again, sorry, TMI? My bad).
Also, I have one word (okay, 2 words) to add to the ‘SHUT. UP.’ list for nurses: ‘Best Practice’.
There are illustrations in the book. A bonus, like free gift with (book) purchase (thank you, Kathy Eliscu! And William D. Eldridge!). My favorite one is on page 133. Don’t ask me why. Art is personal, remember?!
Now I have to go. That “little portable whirlpool tub” for tired feet? Gotta get me one of those…
This book? READ IT.

(This is my review adapted from the one I wrote for

After you finish this book, read my book! One Brave Thing


My foremothers

This is the first Mother’s Day in 3 years that I have had the day off from work.


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It gave me more time to spend with my kids, for which I am endlessly grateful. It also gave me more time for reflection, for which I am also very grateful. In years past, I have gone to the ocean to remember my mother and grandmothers, which I got to do today.

In the past, I have written about ‘grieving my dead relatives’ quite often. Today, for some reason, I feel inspired to put up their wedding pictures instead.

My mother and grandmothers: strong, confident, capable women, all. Even if they didn’t always know it.

All are greatly loved and missed.

Just for fun, I am adding a wedding picture of my own (recently taken when renewing our commitment to one another).

Me and Bill

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Book Review: Pieces that Fit

Pieces That Fit: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Son’s Puzzling Diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome by Karen Pieces That Fit coverMacNeill is an important book for anyone to read that has, or wonders what it is like to have, a child with different needs in the school system. I found it to be immediately relatable. There are so many passages that could be a page out of my own life, from sitting at the IEP table (p 25. ‘…the process is exhausting…’) to putting undeserved trust in educators who ultimately proved unworthy of that trust. I also love that Chandler and his family found their way with the help of some wonderful teachers and other professionals who were committed to his growth and well-being, both at school and long-term.

This book also reveals how important it is for parents to take nothing for granted and to be strong advocates for their children. The hope is that as the child gets older and witnesses his or her parents modeling this behavior at IEP meetings and elsewhere, they will learn to advocate for themselves, which Chandler has clearly done well. Yay, Karen and Jim! Writing honestly about your real life experience is a difficult and brave thing to do. Bottom line: Read this book!

After you read this book, read my book! One Brave Thing

May is Lupus Awareness Month!

May is Lupus Awareness Month!

lupus awareness month

In honor of my niece Lauren, 100% of the profits from One Brave Thing for May will be donated to help find a cure for Lupus! Spread the word!

Book Review: SARK has a new book: Succulent Wild Love

I am writing today about the new book SUCCULENT WILD  LOVE by SARK and Dr John Waddell.

Succulent Wild LoveSARK’s books are lovely, bold, and vibrant celebrations, and this collaboration is no different. It’s as visually gorgeous, vibrant, and engaging as all of her prior offerings.  In the past, she has written about being soulfully single and marrying herself, but in this book SARK is happily coupled. So happily coupled that she wants to share her ‘joyfull-ness’ with us (I am a wordsmith myself, so I especially appreciate SARK’s reconfiguration of words to suit her purposes).

SARK and John share six habits, which I think of as tools, to help us reach this joy-full state with our own partners. Because, as SARK tells us on page 25, “You can do what I have done.” 

One of these is our Inner Wise Self. You know those voices you hear in the back of your head, chatting away all day long, mostly telling us untrue and unkind things about ourselves? Those are NOT your Inner Wise Self. They are your Inner Critics. But our Inner Wise Self is in there too! She is patiently waiting to muscle those other chuckleheads out of the way.  

  • Hello, Inner Wise Self? HI! Long time no hear! It sure has been a while!
  • Um, oh, you’ve been here all the time? Duh. Time to start listening, huh?

Because you can consult your Inner Wise Self about anything. And everything. Can and should. You will receive loving, kind advice when you do. Let yourself listen to it. Let yourself act on it. Even if it’s scary. Especially when it’s scary.

Another of the six valuable tools they teach in this book is the one I’ve come to think of as the “Perfect Person” tool. John tells us on page 155, “Susan was being the perfect Susan, and any way that I was not able to see that was my responsibility.” Wait, what? Your partner is already perfect? So they do not need any fixing? So they do not need any fixing! They are already just fine! You are free! You can work on yourself, instead! As excellent this tool is to use in a relationship with your partner, I think it is equally as powerful, maybe even more so, to use in relationship with one’s children. Try it. Let me know what you think.

I have so little free time. I don’t waste it reading (or recommending) books that are not worth reading. This book is WONDER-FULLY worth reading!

If you are interested in buying this book, here’s a link to the product page on the New World Library website:  You can also find it Succulent Wild Love on Amazon.



My first 100 Days of Grace

I was wondering once again this past Sunday why the heck I had chosen Grace to be my word–or more accurately, Grace had chosen me to be its person –this year. Brave, my word last year, was a grace rockgreat word! A word you can sink your teeth into! Get your mind around! Get a grip on! Grace is…not. It’s elusive. Ephemeral. Unknown. Unfixed…kind of like me.
So my old friend Jane and my new friend Lisa and I were talking about this on Sunday, when they told me about the 100 day project they had started. They invited me to join, so I did.
Every day I say:
Thank you, God. I am in day ____ of my first 100 days of Grace.
Here is what’s happened during my first 3 days of my first 100 days of Grace:
  • Day 1 Grace: Jane introduced me to Lisa, who told me about her company Cosmic Tonic and T shirts that say Limitless on them (written in a special way). The song Limitless had been in my head all morning, and I had posted a link to it on one of my Facebook pages, The Metaphysical Nurse, right before I met her. (I know, right?!)
  • Day 2 Grace: Bill, my husband, finished reading the first book I wrote and he told me he loved it.  One thing about my husband: He never lies, especially not to spare my feelings. YAY!
  • Day 3 Grace: The song King of the Road was in my head, and a brief flash of a memory of my mother singing it. A visitation? It felt like it was. A gift. The 20th anniversary of her death is this month, February 29.

That’s it so far.

Consider trying this for yourself!

**Here’s a clip of the song King of the Road being sung by one of my mother’s favorite singers, Dean Martin:
**Here is the link to some of the many posts I’ve written about My One Word.
**I gave meditation a hundred days last year. Here is the link the Give it 100 website, which really helped me succeed:

Life’s short

So, this year there will be a February 29th. This is significant for me because my mother died on February 29th in 1996, 20 years ago. We sort of joked about how kind it was for her to pick a day that only comes once every four years so we wouldn’t have to be sad every year.

Ha. Ha.

the fam in billerica

The family in the early 70’s.

The irony of it is this: there is not a leap year every four years. Did you know that sometimes leap year skips (leaps?:) ) its year? Yep.

Anyway, she was 55 when she died. Two years older than I am now.

She did have two years warning, but sadly, she was very sick from chemotherapy side effects for a lot of that time.

Today, I’ve been thinking. What if I only had two years left? How would the next two years be different for me if I knew they were the last two?

Of course, the lesson here is that none of us knows how much time we have. The reminder is that we can always choose to enjoy this day that we do have. Today.

What are you doing today?


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