The Doctor is IN

Keen Observations on Life … Whether You Need Them or Not


1 Comment

Adventuretime! Watercolors edition

At the beginning of the year, I started having Adventuretime! with my mom as a way to keep her active and engaged. We have a tasty lunch, do a little exercise, and use some brain power. Some weeks we color, some weeks we dance, some weeks we walk. This week, we headed to my mother-in-law’s house to do a little painting.

My MIL’s a retired math teacher, so it’s no surprise she was able to do a quick watercolor lesson. We started with a chaos background and built up from there. Lunch was a collective effort of homemade chicken and Israeli couscous soup and salad. And since we’ve all gotten COVID-19 vaccinations (the moms are finished, and I’ve gotten my first dose), we had free Krispy Kreme donuts for dessert. I mean …


1 Comment

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all

This has been a crazy year, but it’s given me much time for reflection. Twenty-two years ago we celebrated our first Thanksgiving with our little Sweet Pea. He’s sprouted way up now, but he’s no less sweet. I hope you’re spending the day with the people you love most in the world. Be kind to yourselves. I’m thankful to know you.


Leave a comment

Sharing the spotlight with my favorite son

I have the great honor of sharing the spotlight with my favorite (and only) son Peyton today as we’re highlighted through the Chatham Arts Council’s Meet the Artist series. I thought Rachel Flanagan did a great job; the whole process was enjoyable. The arts have been hit hard during this coronavirus quarantining, so shout out to all arts patrons who have helped keep the lights on with arts orgs, and who’ve helped artists pay the bills. I’ve been around the block, but my young, emerging artist is just starting out and his steady work during this period has a hopeful vibe for this proud mother, artist, and arts patron. Seek out local artists and arts organizations and see how you might help support them — not all support has to be financial, either. Boost the signal of their work, send kind words of support, share their contact information with potential patrons and clients. The arts are incredibly important, and through organizations like the Chatham Arts Council, and Hobbs Architects in downtown Pittsboro (who sponsor the Meet the Artist series), there continues to be an audience.

I’m always happy for folks to check out my kid lit stuff and my romance stuff, but I really hope you’ll check out the links for Peyton. He’s an amazing photographer, and a true emerging artist. And if you happen to need portraits, event coverage, a photojournalist, or film development, hit him up.

Peyton Sickles


1 Comment

Quarantine-TV

One of the unexpected upsides of quarantining has been rewatching old tv series we loved. Really, our only criteria was something that would make us laugh; something to lighten the mood and give us something positive to focus on. Thank god for satellites, subscriptions and streaming, right? So far, here’s what’s saved the days:

These shows reminded me of some of the greatest characters written: Jack Donaghy, Liz Lemon, Jimmy James, Rochelle, Leslie Knope … as a fiction author myself, it’s important to see interesting, compelling characters with depth and complexity that make it easy for everyone to connect with.

Once we’re done with Monk, we’ve got Psych and Cheers on the docket. Though, I think I may go really old school and look for WKRP in Cincinnati, Fame or Square Pegs. Think I can find those? I mean, Thanksgiving is coming up and on this COVID-19 schedule, it’ll be right around the corner, in the blink of an eye. I need to beef up on my turkey facts and get ready for the turkey drop!


1 Comment

Summer traditions: Calabash!

Last summer, fried cauliflower and zucchini fritters were the thing. This summer, we decided the big deal was getting fresh fish from our local monger at the Thursday farmers market and frying it up … Calabash-style. And it is SO good. Some weeks we have both moms, some weeks just one. This week, we had Rah-Rah, shrimp and grouper. Then we took watermelon rinds out to my chickens and grabbed some goodies from the garden. It was a great day.


1 Comment

Locals Lunch: The Belted Goat part deux

We were on a tight timeline today, so we didn’t get too crazy with Locals. But we had a new plus one (my peanut) to add to the interesting conversation. In honor of Brexit, I had fish & chips for lunch after spending the better part of the morning listening to The Beatles.

Lunch was just meh, but nevertheless I felt very continental. I figure Britain’s got a couple weeks to settle into its new predicament before we descend upon London.

My Adventurous Son regaled us with tales from behind the lens (including his work from the Women’s March in Raleigh and the Illiterate Light concert he shot last week at the Cat’s Cradle) and his excitement over the belted Galloways (he does love cows), before the discussion turned to politics. There’s a bunch of heavy shit happening in the world right now, but as I enjoyed a meal with some of my favorite people in the universe, I was reminded of how blessed I am to have strong women in my life and how fortunate I am to have equitable, #feminist men who love me. Pay attention, people … question everything, stand up for what’s right, speak out when you see something inequitable, and include people in your conversation who don’t just look like you. Enjoy the good times when they’re happening, and find a squad for locals lunch!


2 Comments

Locals Lunch: The Belted Goat

Last year, my mom and I started something called ‘Locals Breakfast.’ My goal was twofold–keep her from turning feral, and be welcomed a la Norm and Cliff. After nearly every Monday morning at the same restaurant, here are the results:

  • they never learned either of our names,
  • they did have coffee ready for me and a Coke for her, and
  • they did remember our orders: scrambled eggs with bacon, sliced tomatoes and whole wheat toast for me; scrambled eggs, grits and sausage for her.

Did it chap our asses that we remained anonymous? Sorta, but two outta three ain’t bad. Now that loyalty isn’t a goal and anonymity isn’t a bother, we’re switching it up to lunch in the new year, and rotating restaurants. Sometimes it’s just the two of us, sometimes we have extras.

This week, my mom, whose colleagues referred to her as ‘Rah-Rah’ for years, came loaded for bear (check out her outfit). I complimented her wardrobe and accoutrement selection and she said, “Well, nobody’s beat the crap out of me yet.” So, winning.

I thought it would be interesting to wrap up our weekly discussion. This week’s was pretty obvious.

Rah-Rah: “If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will set us back 50 years. Women have worked so hard to get where we are, and it’s just being chipped away. One of the things that’s so disturbing about voters in America is that they would support this administration no matter what happens, in order to have Roe v. Wade overturned … it’s as if no other issues matter. While that’s such a difficult and private decision for a woman to make–I wish it was something no one ever had to make–what I do support is having the option of making that decision.”

Thanks to the strong women in the world. You keep it running.


2 Comments

A Nod to the Creators

I’ve been a writer for a long time. I started off at Nortel Networks in the late nineties before being sacked during the dot-com bust of the early millennium, and moved into the non-profit and then media worlds. Along the way I added graphic designer, photographer … and all the other things that are part of my interesting career. I’ve written white papers, grants, reports, essays, book reviews, newspaper and magazine articles, novels, children’s books, radio commercials, playbills, obituaries, and a daily advice column from the perspective of Basset hound Miss Fifi (one of my favorites). I pay attention to the finished product, yes, but I also pay attention to the creative process. I’ve been part of the creative process. And I give a nod to the creators.

Last month, I worked to revise and re-issue my first children’s book, Peggy Noodle, Hula Hoop Queen, which rolled off of copyright when its small indy publisher shuttered in 2016. It was both easy and difficult, challenging and rewarding, but ultimately satisfying. As a published author who is getting back in the game after a life- (and career-) altering trauma, I pay attention to the creators. The creators of the books, of the photographs, of the graphics, of the distribution … I pay attention to where I can submit my manuscripts and article ideas. When I read the news, both online and in print, I look at who wrote the story and provided the photos. Because it matters. The creators matter. There would be no content without them.

Today, the creator I honor is my son, who is an up-and-coming photographer kicking ass and taking names. It started last year with National Geographic, and brings us to today, with the moment in time he captured of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who kicked off a college tour of the Carolinas at UNC Chapel Hill on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019.

Read the bylines.

Know who’s creating the things you’re reading and sharing and enjoying. Know the things they’re creating are the result of hard work, practice, talent, and skill.

Go Peyton! Go creators!