Sharla Dawn Gorder

Writer – Speaker

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© Jem Sullivan

(I love this story—a re-post from 2016.  Happy fa-la-la-la-la-ing, y’all.)

And we’re off!!!

‘Tis the season, y’all—in case you haven’t noticed.  It started well before Halloween this year, and now we’re already nearly a week into that post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas countdown.

And folks are cranky. 

It doesn’t help that this hectic holiday season falls within days of the most contentious political race in recent memory.  We’re starting out frazzled.  And we’ve still got 25 days to get through—and ideally, enjoy. 

And I think we can.  I certainly think we should.  But, for many of us, it will take conscious effort.  For me it will.  I have so much on my plate right now in addition to the cooking, shopping, decorating, hostessing and the other fa-la-la-la-la-ing that the season entails.  It’s mostly good, exciting stuff—marketing my book, teaching my classes, writing my blog, getting ready for a big family vacation, collecting seashells and sunrises…

But it is also a wistful time for me—and for most everyone I know.  It seems we have all lost someone we love, and for better or for worse, the holidays shine a spotlight on that empty place at the table, that empty stocking on the mantle.  We wonder what we will get them for Christmas, before we realize that they are no longer with us.  It’s an emotional time. Continue Reading

This is a re-post of a story from a couple of years ago.  Alas, Mercury is in retrograde yet again! But I’ve figured out how to cope!  I use this “three question” technique all the time.  You oughta try it!

Mercury is in retrograde.  That is my excuse—well, one of them, anyway.  My new favorite.  That’s why I feel like this.

I’m discombobulated—feeling lousy, anxious and discouraged.  All tangled up in my emotions.  It all came to a head—or headache, a few days ago, and I staggered out of my office and up the stairs and buried myself under the covers for the rest of the day and night.  I didn’t know it at the time, but apparently, Mercury had begun to move backward in the heavens the day before.  I say “apparently” because it really only seems that way to us Earthlings.  Since Mercury is so much closer to the sun than we are, its orbital speed is much faster and more elliptical.  Mercury circles the sun in a brisk 88 days compared to Earth’s sluggish 365.  So, three or four times a year, we seem to “catch up” and pass the planet, making it appear to back away from us.  (Similar to passing a car on I-10.  For a moment, even though the other car is traveling in the same direction, it seems, from our perspective in the faster-moving vehicle, that the other car is moving backward.) Continue Reading

            Yes!  Long slender legs! At last!  I love it. I’m not sure how I feel about the itty-bitty head though. 

            This is about as close as I get to shooting selfies these days.  I’m not all that excited about my looks; and therefore, I don’t expect you to be either.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think I’m hideous.  I actually clean up pretty good—and in the right light with the right make-up and clothes, and maybe a little Photoshop magic—I can see vestiges of the cute young thing I once was. 

            Who also disliked being photographed.  For exactly the same reasons.  I’ve never been excited about my looks, even though, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve never been hideous to behold.  Continue Reading

          It is one of those weary bleary mornings.  I had awakened way before dawn at 3:00 AM by a very rude headache.  I tried to ignore it (the way I try to ignore rude and obnoxious people) and doze back off, but the hammering was too loud, too jarring.  For half an hour, I tangled and wrangled with the sheets (sorry Ted), then I just got up and took a shower in the dark.  I got some coffee, took a couple of Excedrin Migraines and propped myself up against the headboard and tried not to move.  The headache dimmed, leaving its buzzy echo behind. 

            Then the anxiety kicked in; I sat in the darkness mind-tweaking:  How the hell was I supposed to function today?  When would I be able to sneak in a nap?  How will I be able to focus enough to get my column written for the paper? Where will I get the energy to teach my class? Why am I such a lousy sleeper?  Is something seriously wrong with me?  Am I getting sick?  Am I already sick, and just don’t know it?  Is that dark spot on my wrist really a freckle?  Why is it so cold in here?  What time is it already? Will it ever get light outside?  And on and on and on. Continue Reading

           I cried this morning.

           About the birds.

            They didn’t accost me.  And that made me sad.

            Just a couple of weeks ago the feisty little critters chased me into the Gulf.   Yes, that was me, splashing around in my pretty new yellow dress. And no, I had not planned on going swimming in my clothes at dawn.  

            And yes, that was me, flailing around, arms thrashing overhead and in front of my face like a displaced interpretive dancer on hallucinogens. And no, I was not having a psychotic break. 

            It may have looked that way from the dunes or the balcony of your condo, because you probably couldn’t see my assailant. But I swear, I’m mostly sane. I rarely go swimming at dawn—fully clothed and frantic.  Neither do I dance that early in the day (though I have been known to sing). Continue Reading