Putting Down Roots

This one is taken from my Carly blog.

I was at work the other day  talking to a coworker about my future relocation to California. She asked the valid question, “What if you move and it doesn’t work out? You’ll be stuck out there.” She’s not the first person to ask it. In other situations, that same thought would be crossing my mind on a daily basis.

I replied simply that, “Nothing will happen.” But even if  it did, like if Ryan died which I can see as the only thing that would prevent a long future together, California is eventually going to be my new home.

When I was in high school, I’d readied myself to go to Salem State College. I’d planned and dreamed and breathed in the ocean air, mentally preparing myself for this new life. I ended up not going last minute (something I regret to this day) and stayed in my home town. Eventually I met my first husband and we moved around quite a bit, all within a 30 mile radius. Each new town I made my own, the best I could. I loved Middleboro. It was by far the cutest IMG_0046town I’ve ever lived in. I lived there for about five years. I never got to know any of my neighbors well, and didn’t socialize much, but that town … I walked to the Boston bus for years, in front of the town hall. The church was there, and Ivy’s kindergarten. Each summer I’d walk down the street to the local fair and watch fireworks. If it weren’t for the life troubles at the time, it would have been Heaven. In some ways I guess it still was. I loved the cranberry bogs and flat land and the undeniable charm around every corner.

After the divorce I moved ninety miles north to where I live now, on the New Hamphire border. It was for a man and I knew nothing about the town except that he lived there. It was scary and hard, but I was excited for the adventure. The relationship didn’t work out, and now we are strangers, but this hasDownloadedFilebecome my town, as if I was born here. The hills, and winding roads without streets signs, and the ski lodge, and the river that runs through all the local towns have become my mental backdrop to life.

So when I think of Simi Valley, I am mixed with fear of moving to a new place, but excitement over settling in to another life, one that will eventually become my own, as if I was born there. This time it’s different because I feel truly connected to many people here, relatives and friends, and even just the sights in the town. And sometimes I worry that I’ll never see another town that looks like this one again. But one time Ryan drove me to Ojai and that was a darn cute little village. I wouldn’t live there (too far from work) but it’s drivable.

IMG_2448As much as I’ve grown to love the duck pond near my house, both shining in the spring, reflecting leaves in the fall, or frozen over in winter, I will learn to love the orange groves, staffed with migrant farm workers. I’ll learn to love the palm trees the way I love the pines. And the mountains, well they are already a part of Ventura County that take my breath away.

I know this blog doesn’t touch much upon my love for Ryan. That’s evident by now. But this is more about the other side of relocation. Forging a connection, nesting in the new place, while missing the other one. I’ll miss the sound of plows overnight, and dog prints in the snow, but I won’t miss the cold, or spending all my nights and weekends alone. And trust me, there is something intoxicating about standing outside in shorts and a tank top at 8 am and feeling warmth on my skin, and finding lizards in the closet.

For now, I visit as much as I can, and I’ve sent a few things on ahead, moving in a handful items on a time. I’ve sent a jar of rain and some acorns, some fall leaves. With my next box I’ll send pinecones and (melted) snow. Little by little I’ll make it my home. Ivy will be in college, hopefully not too far away, DownloadedFilein San Diego. Part of me thinks this is just like when she was six and we moved north, where I drove us toward a new life, car filled with our things and pets, toward an adventure. I guess it’s somewhat the same (though she’ll be eighteen and a half), pulling us both from what we know to start fresh. College and adulthood and a world so different from what we’ve known.

It’s all still a ways off, another eighteen months or so, but it’s on my mind, as Ivy grows older, SATs loom in the near future, and time rushes faster than I can track it. Each time I drive down the street I capture images in my head. Each time I meet with local friends or take the subway, I’m logging it all in.

Nothing will happen, and California is my future. But New England will always run in my blood.

-Carly G.

When Love Turns a Corner

From Rebounddogs.wordpress.com



Until a couple of weeks ago, all the times I’ve seen Ryan were on his turf, in his world.

Whenever I go to see him, there are no real life trappings around me. No dog, no cat, no teenage daughter, no house to clean, no food to cook. No snow. California is warm and sunny and pretty. It always feels like a long overdue vacation. If you’ve read my previous blogs, this whole relationship has been wonderfully romantic and magical.

Ryan has tried to stress to me the importance of my seeing it as it really is and I’ve argued that I AM seeing it that way, that my eyes are wide open.

But when Ryan came to visit Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago,  in my world, it was a whole different experience.

It was his first time in Massachusetts and his first time on an airplane as a matter of fact. He took a red-eye flight in hopes he’d sleep through it and avoid the angst of flying. He barely slept at all. I picked him up at 8 AM at Logan Airport. He was pleasant but tired. We got back to my place and Henry and Lily immediately claimed him as their own. He sat on the couch, covered in mammals and fell asleep.

He finally got to meet Ivy. In my mind, I suppose I was still looking to secure her a father, someone to look up to, to confide in. Ryan and I had often talked about how, despite our geographical distance, we were a family now. And I’d insert silently in my fairy tale mentality, “we’ll live happily ever after.” It’s become apparent that Ivy is more realistic and grounded than I am when it comes to fantasy. She wants none of it. Now is now for her. No projecting, no pretending. She was pleasant to Ryan.  There was no arguing but not much warmth either.

I’ve seen a few types of teens and how they react when their parents bring men or women home. There are the girls who will be pleasant and sweet and welcoming, and accept everyone without question. There are those who will hate whoever arrives, without discrimination or fairness. And then there are the Ivys. She’s pretty much hated everyone I’ve met, in short order; but ultimately her instincts have proven true. Out of three kinds of kids, I’d prefer honesty and fair judgement even if it’s just her opinion.

By Ryan’s first night here, he got the sniffles which turned into a cold and fever. Over the next couple of days, he developed a cough. And then there was the issue of weather. It was supposed to be 60s and raining. But instead it was in the 80s and sunny, then 60s and rainy, then 70s and rainy. He got to see how we New Englander’s live on a day-to-day basis.It was not like the California visits. Not by a long shot.

One night he woke up at 3AM coughing so badly he couldn’t fall back asleep and ended up sleeping on the recliner. He woke me up around eight in the morning the next day. Ivy was at school. He sat and gave me the “We have to talk” look. I was afraid. I’ve had a few of those morning talks where someone wakes up and decides I’m too much.  I was the Massachusetts Carly here.  Scattered and busy and dripping with dependent mammals. He’d acted a little cool since he’d gotten here, more reserved. I felt like now that he’d seen this me, not the carefree California Carly, well I was more than he’d bargained for.

“You know, you’re a lot more entrenched in this life than I realized,” he said. “Moving out to California is going to be a much bigger deal than you realize. Letting go of all this. You’ve got a whole life here.”

“Of course I do. I have an identity. I just want to be with you so I’ll give this all up someday and move out there. It’s okay.” I’m not sure how it looked from his end, but for me, I felt everything flash before my eyes. This was surely his way of ending things, of letting me down easy. When he reads this blog, I’m sure he’ll be surprised that I was going through all that, in my head, because it wasn’t his intention.

He merely wanted me to start seeing everything for what it was. A real relationship with a future where it’s not all heart and flowers. Where Ivy may never be thrilled with our relationship, where my relocating is going to rip my heart out, where one or both of us may sometimes be sick and not perky. I’m not sure why, but at first that realization rattled me. The voices of exes echoed in my brain, “You can’t handle it when a relationship becomes real! As soon as the romance turns real you run!”

I looked to Ryan. In that moment, we turned a corner. It was hard corner for me. Like I was letting go of one stage to move onto the next. I was nervous the next couple of days, the rest of his visit. I was still on eggshells, on some level sure that he was moving toward a different step, of running himself. I couldn’t be sure. I just knew I was afraid and it was another reminder of how much more he means to me than anyone else has.

But it was all fine. He went back home. I got some sleep, his cold got better. And we resumed our normal routine of nightly long phone calls and texts and emails and IMs during the day. But it’s been different for me since then. It feels more secure and permanent. The veil of fantasy was lifted and I’m truly happy with the future that is underneath.

Here’s to building a solid future-a real future.


For more on the life and writings of the real Carly G please see her WEBSITE or her Amazon Author Page.

Ivy’s Growing Up

Sharing this blog from Rebounddogs



Ivy turned sixteen recently. I didn’t anticipate that changing much in our lives, as she will always be my little girl.  But it seems that benchmark has been a real turning point into adulthood for her. A few months before her birthday she had her braces removed. Overnight, she looked grown up. Then she got her driving permit.

But those things didn’t affect “us.”

Then she got a boyfriend. In and of itself, that didn’t make much of a difference, but it drove home to me the realization that someday, someone else is going to be her family.  In two years when she graduates, and I hopefully move to California, she will have every reason to want to stay in Massachusetts, or at least on this side of the country. As she said “My whole life has always been here. Why would I want to move out there?”

For the first time in her life, I’m finally seeing her as her own person, not as an extension of me. That’s a wonderful thing, and healthy, and as Ryan likes say continually, “It’s the natural progression of things.” But it’s a tough pill to swallow.

Today she had some friends over to hang out.  They are newer friends, not the ones she’s known since kindergarten who have seen our house and her room a hundred times.

She cleaned her room all day in preparation. It wasn’t that dirty to start with so I wondered why it took so long. And then I discovered something in the hall closet. Her stuffed animals.

Over the years, most have been donated. The special ones are in plastic bins in the basement. But the very special ones have always stayed in her bedroom. When I saw them, it was a blow.

“Why are these in here?” I yelled, knowing the answer.

“I don’t need them anymore.”


“At all? Do you want me to donate them?” Please say no.

“I guess.”

I pulled out the two that, I’m sorry, I cannot part with. Rolo, the Cabbage Patch doll I got when I was pregnant with Ivy, and Martina, who we got when Ivy was six and going through her Civil Rights phase. She named the doll after Martin Luther King Jr. and for a while the doll sported an, “I have a dream” pin. Those two will be safe in my closet, not the basement and certainly not donated. I’ve seen all three Toy Story movies, and I know what happens in daycare centers.

Finally Ivy’s friends arrived. It was a sunny afternoon and my work was done for the day. I had planned to run to the post office but was dragging my feet. Maybe she’d need me here to make cookies or pick up a pizza. She walked into the room.  “So can you um, go out somewhere or something?”  I didn’t see the harm of my sitting in another room alone on the couch just incase, but the idea she didn’t need me coupled with the fact she wanted  that much privacy…it shows me she’s really growing up and I’ve somehow transformed from mother to awkward roommate.

“I don’t want any  That 70’s Show stuff going on,” I said. I like to think she laughed but it was probably an eye roll. She’s a good kid and I don’t have to worry about her. I guess I never have.

It’s the natural progression of things, this distance. I am at Starbucks for a little while, giving her time to miss me. Right.

Despite her age or independence or the fact that she does not need her stuffed animals anymore, or any of the childhood things she’s outgrown, I will always think of her as my little girl.

From the time she was three until she was five and in kindergarten, she rode the train with me into Boston everyday to her daycare. Even though that was a very unsure time in our lives, when we were beyond broke and I had no idea how our future would pan out, I have to say those were probably the best two years of my life. She was still little enough to carry and bundle under my coat when we walked in snowstorms through the North End. Maybe it was unhealthy that we ate out most nights at the train station because dinner at seven o’clock was too late for both of us, or that it was a rare day we didn’t go to Mike’s Pastry and buy something. It was a special time. And to this day I don’t board the train without thinking of Ivy and our daily trips. I am perpetually proud of her.

When it’s time for Ivy to go to college and move out, it’s not going to be easy but it will be time. I will have California and Ryan waiting for me at the end of my journey and I am eagerly looking forward to that chapter of my life.

I hope that in years to come, whenever Ivy rides a train she thinks of me too.

I will keep her special dolls safe, just incase Ivy has brief lapses into childhood while she’s spreading her wings.

-Carly G.

2011-What a Time it Was

I haven’t updated this page in ages, but since it’s the time of year to reflect on the prior year’s successes and failures, I’m resolving to resume updating my life and writing here in this blog. 2011 was a big year for me, too busy and too many changes, but it was also a year of listening and of learning.

Where to begin? A year ago my first book was released. It was through a small press, not one of the big hitters. And it wasn’t big book either, not the type my Thriller Genre friends put out, or even my Horror Writer friends. But The Man of Mystery Hill was a long time coming, a YA based loosely on true heartbreaking events with some sci-fi and local paranormal sites tossed in. I wrote the book to give the real life events a happy ending, a sort of do over. I threw myself into promoting it wholeheartedly even though the book had some problems from the get go. I didn’t care, I was rushing ahead. For a number of reasons I won’t go into, it didn’t work out as I had hoped.

I was dating a man a year ago who seemed nice enough and relatively compatible. He had a toddler, and I thought it would be  fun for my teen daughter and I to have  a little one around.  The baby was delightful but the relationship between us grown ups was…well, too much like other ones that had crumbled in the past. The patterns were there early on but I didn’t care; I was rushing ahead. As with the publishing venture though, eventually reality caught up with me and it didn’t work out as I had hoped.

After his departure, I decided last summer I was DONE with relationships. Done making the same mistakes and choosing the same types of men and yes, watching them all end the same way, in utter frustration. In so many aspects of my life in 2011, I found myself walking down familiar shaky roads, then arriving in unsavory and familiar situations.

As 2012 draws near,  the biggest thing I have learned, above all else, is that sometimes Do Overs are really just recycled failures. Things fail for a reason. You can’t go back and simply redo what you did (Changing the players) or it will come out just like the first time.

On this New Year’s Eve, I am sitting contentedly in my home, looking at the cover of The Soul Collector. I heeded the critiques of The Man of Mystery Hill, and there were many. And this time, I cared. I changed the age of the character, tightened up the writing, changed the cover, the title, and yes, the publisher. It’s not a do over; I wrote it as a person who learned from her mistakes.

I’m co-chair of the New England Horror Writers, which now boasts almost 300 members. This was a successful year for us. We revamped and moved our website, increased membership by leaps and bounds, created an NEHW Facebook page and released our first anthology on 11-11-11 at AnthoCon. Epitaphs is an impressive collection. 2012 is going to be an even bigger year for us with several writing events already planned for the members.

I started a new blog last July, when I was militantly single, called Rebound Dogs. I wrote it anonymously as Carly G and recorded my bitterness and jaded attitude toward dating. For once I was brutally honest, publicly and to myself,  about what an utter fool I’d been too many times. I owned up to my own mistakes and  saw in startling clarity for the first time, men as they had been, not how I envisioned them. I even got a new puppy, Lily G, to keep me occupied, keep me from falling in love again.

But alas, as I was changing and growing, a man in CA was reading my blog, and enjoying it, not  horrified by how resistant I was. We began chatting on Facebook, comparing notes on the inherent downfalls of falling in love. We were kindred spirits in our mutual reluctance to trust anyone again. And certainly, having a male friend 3000 miles away was about as safe as I could get. No chance it could turn into anything…

Except it did of course, and now I am unexpectedly happy and content and settled. Yes he lives far away but we are alike in so many ways, so close, and such good friends, that the distance is manageable. It’s a different kind of relationship than I’ve had before. I guess I’m a different person than I was so that’s at least half of it.

I’m rolling into 2012 a changed woman. I’m neither bitter nor naive just sort of placid for the first time. I don’t have the usual list of resolutions for the upcoming year. I like how things are going. I look forward to focusing a lot more on writing this year though, and marketing what I’ve already written. It should prove to be an exciting and rewarding 2012.

I wish everyone a peaceful new year. I’ll end with a You Tube video of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends.

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences


The Soul Collector and Epitaphs are available on Amazon.