Sometimes there's too few, other times far too many. Hopefully these words are just the right amount.

Everyone needs one of these.


Preferably two...each with a different view.


And a place to stop and rest.

London, England

Have a cup of tea...or something stronger.


Remember to keep your

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

and don't abuse them.

Enjoy a bit of Magick...

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

And Spirit along your way.

Princes Street, Edinburgh

Maybe learn a bit of Latin,

"Nemo Me Impune Lacessit" is the motto of The Order of the Thistle and the Scottish Regiments of the British Army. This is written at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle. It means "No One Attacks Me With Impunity."

But don't forget how to have your

Jollie's Close, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Once in a while it's okay to be immature, especially if you can't help it.


Always play like a child.

Do what you love. Follow your path to your very own tune. Come on, don't be a



Up ‘til noon, back up again at sundown. Or is that the other way around? Just breathe.

Hesitantly her hands reached out to grasp the ledge of earth above her head and then focusing her strength, pulled herself from out of the hole. It's bright up here. The sunlight made her gasp and squeeze her eyes shut. Sunlight is a powerful thing. She’d forgotten how brilliant and warm it is. She sat there a moment on the ledge, her feet still dangling into the hole she’d just struggled from and trying to decide: open her eyes or keep them closed, go back into her oubliette, stay right here, or move forward. Decisions like these should not be made lightly. It took her so long to escape, what difference could another day or two or three make? Besides, it's not so bad sitting right here…
~ IK

It was much pleasanter at home, when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits.
~ Alice (and my sentiments exactly)

Do I have an excuse for not writing a blog post in (ahem) over a month? Ye-gads, of course I do! After all, I am part human and we humans excel at making (up) excuses: “I’m not feeling well,” “My hands hurt,” “I don’t really have anything to say,  A white rabbit keeps asking me to go with him to Wonderland” and my personal favorite, “I’m too busy working to write a post.” Are those the best I can come up with? Well, yeah. I could say I was abducted by aliens, but that would  merely be a vacation for me and therefore, not a very good excuse. And if we’re going to make (up) excuses, I say “good” isn’t good enough. Make them “very” good.

So, what is it about working that makes me forget about everything else? I have been writing, by the way. I’ve come up with all sorts of weird little tales (as is my wont) but I don’t post those to this blog. This blog was supposed to be about me. In a way. Kind of. Sort of. “Me,” is not my favorite topic, you see. There are just so many far more interesting topics out there (and in here). So yeah, I’ve been writing, just not about me. Yay for me.

Side note: The truth is, I almost wonder (weird expression, eh? How can I “almost” wonder, I wonder?) if blogging stops us writers from writing. Okay, I realize how that sounds. Bear with me a moment, folks. Does blogging keep us busy writing so we don’t feel guilty about not writing? Yes, blogging is writing. But is it the writing that we set out to write? Maybe. Sometimes. This is actually a question we have to answer individually, isn’t it? Crap. There isn’t a Universal Answer, is there? Crap. Crap.

I always think of myself as a Storyteller. Stories are easy and they’re everywhere. Basically, I can’t shut the Storytelling thing off. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m a big, fat liar. My stories aren’t close enough to reality to be confused with lies.

Storytelling is simply a twenty-four/seven thing, man. Anything and everything has at least one story, and most often several. And I’ve been telling them before I was even able to scribble, since about the age of five. By the way, stuffed animals make a great audience. They don’t interrupt and they always laugh in the right places. They're also incredibly patient and best of all, they reserve their judgment. 

When I’m not performing for a room of stuffed animals, then I’m scribbling the stories down or perhaps doodling a few pictures. Stuffed animals possess many wonderful qualities (see above paragraph), but a vivid imagination isn’t one of them (lucky them). So, it helps if you can show them a picture or two while you tell them a story. If I could stop there, that would be awesome. But damn-it, it doesn’t stop there. ‘Cos there’s eating, sleeping, general housework (dusting stuffed animals), socializing, white rabbits that must be followed to their natural conclusions, bills to pay, and a business to crawl (sorry, I can’t say I “run” my business, yet. That’s just too grand a phrase). Oh, and breathing. I really need to remember that one. I forget to breathe constantly. I get air into my lungs most of the time, but that’s really not the same thing as breathing.

Storytelling is not something I take credit for, because I was just born this way. Writing came afterwards. And as most of you know, writing is work. Same thing with doodling. Doodling is fun. Doodling is easy and can be done anywhere: on a bus, a plane, in front of a TV, at the breakfast table, in a meeting (especially in a meeting), inside, outside, right side, left side, upside down. And you can doodle on anything: napkins, paper plates, cheap tablecloths, empty pizza boxes, old tee shirts, your husband’s back while he’s asleep (harder than it sounds), whatever. Drawing is the work part.

Writing and drawing can leave one stiff, exhausted, in pain, exhilarated, and out of breath. Or that’s how these activities often leave me. You’d think I’d been hiking, skiing, rowing (highly unlikely), or all three at once (now that would be interesting).

 “There were no life jackets and as the little boat hit the waves I was beginning to wonder if this was yet another of my not so bright ideas.”

I do remember to come up for air every-so-often, but again, this is not the same thing as breathing. So, where have I been for the last month? In my oubliette without window or door, which is the perfect place for discovering stories, encountering doodles, writing (grrrr), drawing (double grrrr) and much occupied with trying very hard to remember to breathe. Hope your breathing is going very well. 


By any other name...

The rose still smells sweet and its beauty remains regardless of whatever we may call it. In the case of this post, I’m including all flowers. I believe Juliet would approve.

As opposed to “green” my thumb is brown. Decaying, even. Cracking and crumbly. Maybe more of an ashy-gray-brown than merely brown. Nice visual, eh? Just trying to get my point across as firmly as possible. How’s this? Someone once said of me that when I visit a nursery the plants quake in fear that I might actually purchase and take one of them home with me. A death sentence for the plant, to be sure. Not on purpose, mind you. I bear no ill will toward plants of any kind. Mercifully (for the plants sake), I gave up on gardening years ago. Now I stick strictly to taking photos or doodling plants and flowers.

The well-manicured holds little interest for me and my taste runs to wildness or at the very least deliberate unkemptness. As such, rather than receive a flower delivery or cut and arrange them in a vase, I much prefer them in their natural element: growing in gardens (other peoples), waiving delicately from fields, or my favorite springing up unexpectedly by the side of the road and sprouting from cracks in the pavement. I’ve always felt this is Nature’s way of saying “Fu*k you, humans. Think you can restrict me? Hah!” in the nicest and most beautiful way possible. Nature is amazingly resilient and Beauty always finds a way to be expressed in the world. Sadly, ugliness also always manages to have its say, but that’s not what this post is about today.

Due to the sticky, at times unbearable, and generally annoying uncomfortable heat of summer like many others, I’ve taken to hiding indoors. One day I’ll find a lovely cool cave, preferably one located behind a waterfall, and I'll wait out the summer from there, but until then the walls of our home will have to do.

I still take my early (early, early) morning walks; however, the darkness at this time is not brilliant for taking photos. I need to force myself to do things other than (and totally unrelated to) work. Photography generally fills this spot for me. Since the burning sun of summer is not my friend, I’ve been going through and cataloging my prior photo endeavors. A girl has to have some fun, right?

 A couple of years ago my husband and I took a trip to the country he left for me, the UK (I call it the “old country”). For three amazing weeks we traveled by plane, car, bus, train, and foot from London to Edinburgh and quite a few spots in between. I won’t go on and on about it (for now), but I will say that I fell hard for the UK. And ouch, it hurts to be parted from a place that you love so much. Under what (for me) passes as normal circumstances, I take a considerable amount of photos. But in the UK? I went insane(r). If I wasn't stuffing my face with chips or slurping a beer, I pretty much had a camera glued to my face. And because I literally took thousands of images, I’ve been meaning to sit down and catalog them. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, don’t you just love digital? I could have never taken so many photos with good old 35mm film.

I already had the photos sorted into files by date, but I decided that organizing merely by date or even place isn’t interesting enough, so I’m also creating collections by subject matter. Regardless of the tediousness of the process, I am finding it enjoyable sorting through our memories. And you may find it a relief that I'm finally getting back to the subject of this post by saying that below are a few images from my still-in-the-process-of-cataloging Flower Collection. If wherever you happen to be is also too hot to enjoy being out and about, I hope you’ve found some fun ways to occupy yourself indoors during these summer months. 

Hyde Park, London

Hyde Park, London

Leasowe Promenade, the Wirral

Thurstaton, the Wirral

Thurstaton, the Wirral

West Kirby, the Wirral

West Kirby, the Wirral

Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Ripley Castle Gardens, North Yorkshire

Ripley Castle Gardens, North Yorkshire

Ripley Castle Gardens, North Yorkshire

Ripley Castle Gardens, North Yorkshire


Viva La...Something

With the fireworks, cookouts, and various celebrations of American Independence Day just behind us, I find myself looking forward to celebrating Bastille Day on July 14th. I’ve never celebrated Bastille Day before. Why now? I’m just not done celebrating Freedom. I want more. Because the seeking and winning of Freedom, regardless of one’s country of origin, must be encouraged and commemorated above all else. 

Always ready to embrace change and move forward with ease, Marie Snail celebrates both Bastille Day and the American Independence Day with the great enthusiasm and loads of ice cream.

Sometimes I become overwhelmed with everything I want to do and everything that I must do. It is clear to me that I cannot do it all, at least not all at once. What I can do is trust that I am taking the correct steps for the path that I am meant to follow. 

That sounds really enlightened, doesn't it? I'm not quite there, yet. I'm working on it. I opened the doors to my online stores a little over three months ago. Sales are not overwhelming. What I am finding overwhelming are: 
- Marketing-on-a-shoestring, which requires constant vigilance and for me a massive learning curve. 
- Inventory. I create the inventory, which requires many steps: I write it, doodle it, sketch it or photograph it. Then I scan it to my computer. Then I clean it up, add stuff (maybe), change stuff (probably), format it, print it, photograph it, write descriptions, tags, upload it, tweet it, facebook it, pinterest it...then I have to let it go and hope someone will take interest.

Up until six months ago, I had always worked for someone else, doing my best to make their dreams come true. It was never presented to me in such a lofty manner. "Yeah, come work for us and make our dreams come true." Did any of the places I worked at actually ask me to make their "dreams come true"? No. Never in those words. But that's what I took on. Look, this is what I subscribe to: a business shouldn't be just about making money. A business should be about fulfilling your heart's desire. What you do for a living needs be about doing what is in your heart period. Some of us are Healers. Some of us are Teachers. Some of us are Artists, Nurturers, or Storytellers. The form our healing, teaching, art, nurturing, or storytelling manifests is not the point. In fact, it really doesn't matter. If you're a healer you can choose the form of doctor, nurse, therapist, masseuse, witch or shaman. It doesn't matter. You'll still be a healer, regardless. Whatever lies within our heart is who we are and what we must express. Or else…what? Or else we’re freaking unhappy. And unhappy people make for an unhappy world.

With this as my compass and little else but huge-white-hot-gulping fears and major-butterflies-in-my-stomach excitement, I began my very own Quest for Freedom to do the work that lives in my heart. Let the Serious-as-a-Heart-Attack-Doubts begin! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! What a ride this is. I cannot say that I’m enjoying it all. Some of it has sucked. Sucked in ways that I’d never even imagined. And my imagination sits on a lone outpost somewhere beyond Pluto welcoming pretty much anyone and anything to sit and place an order at its Diner O’ Strange & Unexpected.

I’m not kidding about the doubts. The doubts are huge and overwhelming. Way more overwhelming than marketing, finding the right 100% recycled paper and envelopes, setting up an online store, or doodling. Doubts can absolutely kill you, literally and figuratively. I had to come up with a plan on how to deal with the doubts. After trials and many errors (something I proudly admit to excelling in), I’ve come up with this: do it anyway. Really? That’s the best you could come up with, IK?? Yep.

Eventually, what I’m hoping for is that by “doing it anyway” I’ll gain freedom from my jailor, Doubt. I realize the doubts will not go away entirely. I know that there is a reason we have them in the first place, but ultimately, freedom is what we’re meant to experience. That I do believe. We are meant to be free. We are meant to be free to do the work that lives in our hearts. It’s why we’re here. And nothing can truly stop us, except ourselves. So, Viva La...fill in the blank. 

This is how I celebrated the Fourth of July and this is how I’ll celebrate Bastille Day. To honor the lives lost and the sacrifices made in the effort of becoming free, I must battle my own demon doubts with equal bravery, drive, and commitment.