Kindness Fridays

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Caring gumby figuresThis week’s kindness centers around the dining industry where waitstaff work their tails off for us gastronome-wannabes and oftentimes receive little thanks for it, other than what I hope is a decent-sized tip for excellent service.

My sister is visiting me from California, and with her visit coming on the heels of my publication contract, (see Irene Frances Olson – me! – has signed with a publisher) she wanted to take me out to lunch to celebrate. In between touring the Seattle Art Museum and attending the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, both in downtown Seattle, we settled in for a delicious lunch at Palomino Restaurant.

Our server for the day was a fine gentleman named Sam. After he introduced himself, my sister announced that she was treating me to lunch to celebrate my book contract. He was astounded, genuinely impressed that one of his customers was soon to be a published author. (I wonder if perhaps he is also a writer – or perhaps an actor – and therefore fully understands the enormity of the situation. Writing is like acting: many people want to break into these industries, but find little success in doing so.)

He asked all the appropriate questions about manuscript publication, honing in on the details of my novel’s roll-out process. He then asked what we would like for our beverage and I chose a half diet, half sugar loaded, Coke. My sister also ordered a Coke. He walked away to get our orders but returned within a minute’s time and said, and I paraphrase, “Wait a minute, you got a publishing contract and a Coke is what you’re ordering to celebrate? You sure?”

Unfortunately, I was sure, because if I had imbibed on my 1st choice – a margarita – the remainder of my day’s efforts would have fallen by the wayside. He complied with my request, and throughout our time at his table, served us attentively (but not over-attentively … we all know what that feels like). At one point during our lunch I told him I would be featuring his kindness for my weekly Kindness Fridays column. He asked for my blog website address so he could have a look-see when it’s published.

Toward the end of my our lunch, he asked about the storyline for REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO. He was touched by its origin, saying how intrigued he was by the story, and sorry for our family’s experience.

I guess the way I would describe that day’s kindness is that I felt important and appreciated. I felt special.

And who doesn’t want to feel special now and again?



Lighten up Mondays

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That's her on my mother's lap
That’s Erin on my mother’s lap

My daughter’s birthday is today.

February 20th, 1976 was the best and not quite worst, but at least challenging, day of my life. I mean, come on, 21 hours of labor only to end up having a caesarian section isn’t a walk in the park by anyone’s definition. But Erin is the part of my life about which I am most proud, hands down, every day of the week. So let’s celebrate birthdays with some birthday humor, shall we?


Signs you are getting older: you have to scroll down a lot before finding your birth year for an online form.


What did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus all have in common? They were all born on holidays.


The old lady was being interviewed by reporters on the occasion of her 110th birthday. “What do you think is the reason for your long life?” one reported asked. ” She replied, “I suppose it’s because I was born such a long time ago.”


Dear Google, Happy Birthday. You just turned 18  years old and you know so much. Thank you for helping me with my homework. Sincerely, Me.


I guess the worst part about being a birthday cake is when you’re set on fire, and then eaten by the hero who saved you.


Said by the young adult, “My mom’s favorite part of my birthday is describing my birth in detail to an 18-year old waitress who is just there to take our drink order.”

Hopefully I was never guilty of that! Happy Birthday Erin Green!

Picture of Erin on her 10th wedding anniversary
Picture of Erin on her 10th wedding anniversary 7 years ago

A winner is just a loser who tried one more time

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success-620300_1280A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.

I am positive proof of that statement.

Confession time for me: after four years of pounding the pavement/internet trying to get my books published, I seriously considered walking away. I’m not proud of that revelation, but I think after awhile, the prolonged efforts in which many of us are involved start to lose their shine, don’t they? They feel cumbersome in their fruitlessness.

Until they bear fruit.

That is the simple lesson here: nothing comes easily. Nothing. There is no such thing as overnight success or instant stardom. The instances of such anomalies are so few, they’re barely a blip on the timeline of creation.

If you want to accomplish something as much as I did – for me it was becoming a published author – you must continue on that quest. Speaking personally, if I had given up on my goal of publishing a novel inspired by my experiences as my father’s Alzheimer’s caregiver, all the research, writing, and re-writing I did might have been considered a waste of time. It was a valuable and cathartic writing experience, to be sure, but its outcome – a published novel – would have never been realized.

What a shame.

The tentative date for publication of my first novel, REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO, is the third week of July, 2017. (Click on the Irene the Novelist page for a synopsis teaser.) And I hope you will visit my publisher’s website, Black Rose Writing, and see what they’re up to. And when you do visit, please sign up for their monthly newsletter. You’ll benefit from doing so as they offer free e-books and sneak peeks throughout the year. Only one e-mail from them per month. No muss, no fuss. Not a bad tradeoff for being up to date on the publisher who chose to place their trust in me.

Irene France Olson – me! – has signed with a publisher!

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fullsizeoutput_31aI’ll let you collect yourself, calm down, and come down to earth before I go any further with my announcement …

Okay, that’s enough time. REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO is slated to most likely be published by the end of 2017, thanks to Black Rose Writing. I submitted my novel to them in October 2016, and received an e-mail on Tuesday, February 14th, stating that they feel strongly that my project will make a successful addition to their publishing house. The owner of the company further stated, “I am excited about adding an author with such high potential to the Black Rose Writing family.”  I have been in contract talks with the independent publishing house the past several days, and I confidently signed with them this afternoon.

I suggest you go to their website to sign up for their newsletter to get free e-books, deals, and exclusive content. The opportunity to do so can be found at the bottom of their Home page.

REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO is my first novel, inspired by the five years I spent as my father’s caregiver. Of my two completed novels, and one work-in-progress, this is the manuscript in which I have been most invested. I mean for gawd’s sake, REQUIEM is why I started on this anxiety-ridden writing journey back in December 2012.

All you writers out there know of which I speak when I say the road to publication is a pothole-filled one with Dangerous Curves, U-Turns, and Dead Ends that terminate many a writer’s quest to see their book in print.

I am pleased with all of my novels but late 2016 I recommitted myself – and redirected my energies – to getting REQUIEM published. I believe in the story and absolutely feel many current caregivers, and future caregivers, will discover themselves on the pages of the novel and realize their struggles are the struggles of many. They are not alone. Consequently they will find reason to hope, and even to laugh, when they read about Seattle, Washington’s fictional Patrick Quinn family.

So Don Patrick Desonier, this celebration centers around you, the father for whom I would embark on a caregiving journey all over again, just to have more time with you.


 Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a bottle of tequila that’s waiting to be opened and enjoyed … it’s not gonna do it all by itself, ya’ know. I may not be available for awhile.

Kindness Fridays

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Caring gumby figuresLast month my husband and I went on a 3-state driving trip. We hiked in two of the states: Joshua Tree National Park in California, and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada. We are crazy-ass hikers, and by that I mean that we are fully addicted to this activity and don’t function at 100% unless we hike at least two times a month. Because of our addiction – for which, thankfully, there is no 12-step recovery program – we hike whenever and wherever we can.

The hiking community is a a healthy one both socially and energetically; we’re like-minded people who love what we do so we’re all smiles and happy-go-lucky people. While on our challenging Red Rock Canyon hike – clambering over large boulders and trekking through snow and ice – we encountered one local couple who told us out-of-state visitors that the boulders in the portion of the trail we were about to encounter were extremely icy and slippery. Their helpful intel was all we needed to decide to cut our hike short.

Them were some tall boulders

On our return trip down this same trail, we encountered a recently retired couple from Washington State (the wife was wearing a Seattle Seahawks knit cap) and we shared in their joy of being retired by saying, “We’re retired too!” And what was so cute, a younger couple just coming up the trail met up with us and said, “We’re retired too!” Of course they weren’t, but they joined in with the jocularity and told us how much they were enjoying the hike and getting away from the Las Vegas gambling and drinking scene. The young man said, “Wow, hiking this place is like being in Lost Vegas!”

It was, and meeting up with like-minded people away from The Strip was our generous dose of kindness for the day.

On Aging and Kindness

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old couple in loveKindness smooths out many daily wrinkles and benefits so many. We all need to remember that we’ll not be the age we are forever. Imagine being quite a bit older. Wouldn’t you want to be respected and treated kindly? Of course you would.

I hope you enjoy this piece from a fellow blogger on that very topic.


When I finished college in the mid-70s, jobs were scarce. I searched for months to find employment. Of course, the fact that I was an English major with no discernible or useful skills probably played a small role in my joblessness.

But after eons of fruitless resume-scattering, I received two job offers in the same week.

One job was as manager-trainee for a large discount chain store. The other was a clerk’s position for a nonprofit organization providing services for the elderly.

The retail job was a bit more money, and had that magical seductive word “manager” in the title. I was a college graduate after all! Summa cum laude, even. The no-discernible-skill part was immaterial (to me).

The nonprofit job was the absolute lowest rung on the nonprofit ladder. I would be typing names and addresses on service orders.

But my mother – who you know by now is…

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Lighten up Mondays

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hope-1220980_1280Valentines Day is tomorrow, but love isn’t just about romantic love; love comes in many different shapes and sizes, as is evident from today’s selected funnies.


It has been said, “If you love them, set them free.” I say, “If they come back, no one else wanted them either.”


If you like being intimate while listening to music, be sure to choose a Live album, that way you’ll receive applause every three or four minutes.


I love everybody: some I love to be around, some I love to avoid, and others I’d love to punch in the face.


They say the only way to get over a broken heart is to fall in love again. I fell in love with myself. Best relationship of my life.


Have you ever had that moment when you’ve been deep in thought, then realize you’re staring directly at someone?


Every girl on earth wants to be the reason a guy looks down at his phone and smiles, then walks into a pole.


Wife: “I love you.”

Husband: “I love you too.”

Wife: “Prove it. Scream it to the world.”

Husband: *whispers in ear* “I love you.”

Wife: “Why’d you whisper it to me?”

Husband: “Because you are my world.”

Happy Day everyone. May today – and every day – be filled with love, both received and given.