Hell is for Gingers

The thing about a fresh start is, it isn’t fresh and it definitely doesn’t just start out of the blue all sparkly shiny.

New beginnings happen because we have an epiphany in a series of epiphanies, surrounded by events completely out of our control, and are goaded into context by the good, the bad, and the ugly inside of us.

I should know. I am standing here, right now, somewhere (I think) in the middle of mine.

When did it all start?

Well, to put it bluntly, after a couple years’s worth of stepping backwards, doubting myself, taking wrong turns, consistently selling myself out, dumbing myself down, and allowing myself to be treated like caca by all kinds of people. You name it, they were there. Employers, co-workers,“friends”, boyfriends, family members, grocery store clerks…

My fall from a very much less than ideal heaven began with a) the loss of a REALLY crappy job (Jan), b) falling in love with “my Hero” (aka a crush of two years) who turned out to be a Total Shit instead (Jan – May), c) coming down with pneumonia (Mar), d) slipping on an icy stairwell, cracking my head open and sustaining TBI #6 (Apr), e) and losing my beautiful dog (angel) Mateo suddenly to cancer a week later.

It certainly didn’t stop there, Oh No. For 9 months I worked three part time jobs to exhaustion just trying to cover rent and car, and despite using every shred of my being to prevent it, f) I had to give up my place and move into someone’s basement (Aug).hell_quote

While I was grounded in that disheartening dungeon, things began to bubble up and out.

I started grieving. My tumultuous dreams were vivid renderings of beautiful yet deadly angel wings flying me high through the sky, then plummeting into mountain sides, volcanoes, and other assorted unsurvivable venues.

So I cried, screamed, hit pillows, kicked walls, but also went for long cool walks at night with my other dog angel, Singer.

In September (after volunteering for disaster relief and rescue during the Waldo Fire and then Black Forest in the summers of 2012-13), I went out on horseback looking for stranded people and animals during the Colorado floods.

I worked to reunite people with their pets, separated from them suddenly in the chaos and farmed out to shelters within a 50 mile radius. I also hauled hay out to folks who’d lost everything except what they loved most– their cows, goats, horses, burros, and chickens.

I did a ton of farm work and disaster clean up. In the process I wore down my favorite boots, got dirt stuck permanently under my fingernails, and came home stinking like horse manure more often than not. I still find hay stuck in the most random places of my car and clothing.

The hard labor did my soul an awful lot of good. Even in October when I became the grateful recipient of a real job, I kept putting in as much time as I could after hours. When my physical efforts weren’t needed anymore, I jumped into other animal welfare pursuits.

Once November arrived–and in the midst of letter writing and calling campaigns badgering representatives to step up for wolves, wild horses, and pit bulls– it finally hit me that this rescue bent of mine wasn’t going away.

Nope, it was here to stay, and wasn’t it actually building me into someone I thought I’d never see again? I couldn’t be sure, but I felt something suspiciously close to the tremble of angel wings as my fire started to blaze deep inside of me


Now, as a gainfully employed number-cruncher, looking out the window of my new apartment and watching the clouds pile up and roll in, I can finally take a breath and see my future.

I can’t go into much detail yet, all I know is I’m shaping up to be one helluva HellRaiser. Just check out my battle torn angel wings.

ginger angel



Clouds from huffingtonpost.com

Angel found on facebookkappaylas.blogspot.com.




Ginger Unlucky in Love and Other (Post-Apocalyptic) Valentine Tales


After talking with folks today, it seems there are quite a few hearts bent, broken and smashed on the roadside.

Well. For the first time ever, and in an attempt to lighten things up a bit I, the Redhead, shall share one of my many Valentine Fables (debacles).

(Starring My very dear *ahem* “friend” Strawberry Ginger.)

Strawberry Ginger was feisty, and in regards to the L-word, she was not only persnickety, but incredibly Fickle.

However, and this is a Big However, when the Amazon Ginger finally did Fall, it was HARD.

Strawberry had been pining after Stevie Van Zandt for quite some time.


The guitar player, not the mobster in “Sopranos”.


When he finally noticed her existence and asked her out, she was overjoyed.

Immediately her imagination ran wild on all the really fun things they were going to do together, including cooking Paleo, early morning runs around the lake near his house, sweating it out in Spartan and being the first “Power Couple” to build an AMAZINGLY successful Krav Maga gym.

krav maga

Weeks later, when none of these things had begun to foment, much less the occurrence of a Real second date, she became anxious.

Stevie Van Zandt, who called and texted Strawberry several times a day, Every Day, was non-plussed by her concern.

“A Plan of Attack”, he announced. “We will come up with one.”

Weeks later, when there was No “Plan”, Strawberry again expressed her worry that perhaps they were not on the same page. Using the upcoming Valentine holiday as an example, she mentioned to Stevie that he never made arrangements to see her ahead of time.

No answer. But still, daily calls and texts from the intrepid guitar man. (He didn’t wear the bandana in public, fyi. He was cool that way.)

Two days before the Big Day, Strawberry wondered what to do. She had prepared some special Valentines for her Man, and still No Word.

To be safe, she put his card in the mail, Just in the nick of time so he would recieve it on Thursday, February 14. You know, in case something “came up”.

The night before, she decided to run with her naturally positive exuberance and assume that No Word meant Big Surprise.

The next morning, she awoke bursting with excitement and possiblity.

She put on her most fetching outfit and went to work.

Four hours later, Nothing.

At her break, she checked her phone. A bawdy text declaring, “Don’t make me masturbate alone”, with blank “To” and “From” lines awaited her. She blinked.

You see, Strawberry is friends with lots of uh, Men, and plenty had Shared this kind of humor with her, but never actually Sent it as a Valentine message before.

An hour later, a new text arrived, and it said “Help I’ve fallen for you and I can’t up.”

Encouraged, Strawberry thought Stevie Van Zandt was just playing tricks until he arrived with an Actual Valentine. She freshened up her makeup and smoothed her hair.

By the time she clocked out from work, her Hero had not shown up– in Any Way, Shape, or Form–and her hope + optimism began to die an Awfully Long, Very Horrible, and Painful death.

When they finally spoke on the phone later, and he thanked her for the card, she realized that. was. all.

She let out a painful sigh as he regaled her with all the activities he would be engaged in that evening, sans her.

After hanging up the phone, the stabbing pain in her heart directed her to a visit and regroup with her Other Hero, Bruce Willis.


Once she had her wits about her, Strawberry gallantly sent Stevie the rest of his Valentines. (including a recording of the Love Song she was going to sing/whisper into his ear that night, after they tore each other’s clothes off and performed passionate, Valentine-related activities.)

The next day, instead of ripping Stevie a new one, Strawberry left her dreams, songs, gym, and feelings behind her and extended a hand in friendship.

But this wasn’t just your average everyday, “hey, let’s be pals” kinda gig. In Strawberry’s mind (and heart) this would be a New Beginning.

A Chance for the Two of Them to Start Over.

Steven Van Zandt apologized for his ignorance, promised he’d make it up to her someday, and took it.

The two now live happily ever after, arguing, reading books, working out, and cooking Paleo.

Forever and ever in the sacred bonds of Friendship. Amen.

The End.

(here, of course, is the disclaimer: