About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Sunday, May 10, 2015


First off, let me wish all you wonderful matriarchs a Happy Mother’s Day. That goes for mothers of human babies, fur babies, or as a sweet person said to me last week, “If you’ve ever cared for someone else’s child.”

All nurturers are included in the celebration.

I would go on about my mom but as you could tell from last week’s post, she is awesome personified. The dedication in THE FIRE WALKERS refers to her as my “guiding light and spiritual compass.” I would not be level without her in my life.

“Level” is actually a good way to describe it. Moms encourage us to roam but lovingly catch us by our shirt collar when we’re about to stray too far off the beaten path…

I believe the Universe acts like a mother in that way sometimes, too. To use my sister’s expression, “when you’ve gone too far into left field, [it] kicks you back into play.”

The way I see this manifest is as interference. You know, the delays and detours that block you when you’re trying to go full speed.

The concept reminds me of a New Age book I’d read long ago. It said that “detours” were a stop sign from the Universe. That in the moments where you're stopped the best thing to do is look around. Instead of negatively focusing on the block, look at what else is going on near you, because the Universe is trying to show you something important.

For example, say that you’re late for work when you end up behind a school bus. As humans we get so fixated on control, on getting our aims checked off in rapid, succinct order. When the goal is getting to work on time, you will sit and glare at the flashing lights of the bus, anxiety building, frustration rising, when there could be an event or symbol nearby that you’re meant to see.

 I utilized this principle once, with a cool encounter the result. I was at work on day, many moons ago; the day moving by at a molasses-in-January tempo. Feeling twitchy, I was ready for lunch if for no other reason than to go somewhere, anywhere. While assisting my last client before break, my computer began to go slow, the process so sluggish that it almost felt deliberate. In no mood to make small talk, I stared daggers at the screen until my guest spoke. Surprising me, the lady struck up a conversation. The “stop sign” belief pinged through my head and despite my edginess, I engaged, and I was glad that I did. The lady was an expert on a subject that I happened to be studying at the time, and in the few short minutes we conversed, she was able to give me valuable information about the field. I was in awe. And, as if saying, “I told ya so” my computer miraculously didn’t give me any further grief that afternoon.

I touch back to that experience when I run into interference. I strive to: stop, breathe, and look around. To be receptive even when I’m restless. Which is tough, because contrary to popular belief, I’m not always sweet and easy-going.

Here I can give a shout out to Mom as being one of the few people who can coax me out those pissy moods; usually with a hug, a compassionate ear, and a bowl of ice cream—in any order.

But when the grumpy strikes I take full responsibility for my bad attitude, and I never forget the importance of understanding. There are a lot of people in this world, all of whom are subject to sub-par days. It would be great if everyone followed the rules all the time, especially where common courtesy applies:

·        Keep to the right side of the “road” with your shopping cart
·        Don’t dominate the walking path just because you’re a group and I’m solo
·        If you or your kids affect a stranger, apologize and correct appropriately

But there is a myriad of daily niceties to which we subscribe in order to keep the peace. The good ol’ Golden Rule, especially. I abide by the rules because there are defiantly days where I'm the idiot, and need to be on the receiving end of the goodwill. 

You will get those off kilter times, the periods where the cosmos seems to want to screw with your regular routine.

And the Universe must have realllly wanted my attention because last week was like the seven days o’ detour. I exaggerate not. 

I missed the memo that last Saturday was National Drive at a Snail’s Pace day. 

I don't mean going the speed limit or the random cautious driver. I mean 15 mph while in the fast lane, then swerving when I try to go around. And that was just the beginning. My blood pressure remained kosher by Clueless Driver #3, but it was thirty minutes later with Clueless Driver #4, that I began to question whether the Universe was trying to tell me sumthin’.

I stuck to the drill. I stopped. I breathed. I looked around.

Nothing caught my eye.

Pan to an hour later, I made a pit stop at my house. While rushing to lock up, I tried pulling my key from the door, but the deadbolt wouldn’t let go.

I tugged. I waggled. I yanked. I cursed.

I didn’t have time for that crap.

I heaved a sigh, and breathed. With a bit of cajoling and a finger bruise, I got the key to come out.

It was while exiting the parking lot that Clueless Driver #5 decided to make an appearance, the guy blatantly stopping in the middle of road, ignoring the fact that I was stuck behind him.

I waited. Patiently. While wondering if I was cursed.

I watched, as he stared down at his lap, the newsflash not registering that he was selfishly taking up more asphalt than necessary and thus preventing me from going on my merry way.

I sat some more, a picture from my previous CN post coming to mind, the image sparking a psychology theory—dial up internet. In the 90’s the two and half minutes it took for your computer to ‘speak’ to the dial tone of the phone was considered brief with the convenience of the break-through technology. You simply did something to fill the time while you were waiting; file your nails, flip through a magazine.

The point being that time can be defined in several ways. When you say “a long time” do you mean a million years ago? Seven hours? Five minutes?

With the advent of high-speed and Wi-Fi our expectations have been conditioned. What constitutes a “long time” isin realityless than a minute.

I tried to remember that as I was waylaid by Misuer Oblivious. I also reacted as any mature, conscious adult would in that situation. 

I growled, “Get off your phoooooone!” at the top of my lungs.

The “O” got morphed into the drawn-out, base “moo” sound that cows make—my personal take on “Mooooove your ...!”

I waited two minutes—timed using the dashboard clock, not my own distorted perception—and I then started like I would drive over grass to get around him. *Cue lightbulb*

He noticed me then. And proceeded to move... at 5 mph out of our complex.


I didn’t glean any divine wisdom from the experience other than:

Sometimes the more you push, the further nowhere you get.

          I’m sure everyone has had times like that. Where there are hurdles everywhere, and the more you try to correct it, the worse it gets. The situation is what it is. 

          It’s okay to let go. To just endure the feelsthe frustration, the anger—whatever form they take.

          We run here and run there, buying milk, picking up the kids. We rush from point A to point B to the extent that we fail to see the wonder occurring around us.

          Buddhists call it the art of “staying present” of being in the moment.

          I’m the first to admit, it’s those frazzled moments that make me think that meditation is a bunch a hooey.  

Be silent...be still... Ain't no one got time for that.

          But when you think about it, every second is a beat of our life — it's alive, vital.

          Do you want to waste that moment feeling hassled?

Like my fight with the door lock—I expected the lock to work and fast. That’s the thing's job. When the lock stopped working as it always has, when the set expectation failed, it put a bump in my seamless routine.

I was delayed.

Similar to the high speed internet, waiting that extra minute feels daunting. But a clarity comes when you take that moment. You may be performing a task that is second nature to you, but you’re doing it consciously. There’s no harm in re-learning something, you may notice something that you never have before.

You experience things when you slow down.

And you have a choice: you can be forced to pay attention or be willing to conduct the task with patience.

The next morning I gave myself plenty of time. Pausing at the front door, I turned the key and pulled, anticipating resistance. None came. It clicked and released without issue.

It's a thorough lesson.

Take your time.  

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Last week’s post got me thinking about the hobbies; the activities that exercise your mind, body, and spirit.

          With summer around the corner, I wonder:

How hard it is to pick up a hobby after a long hiatus?

          Personally, I know it takes practice. I mean; I write, walk, and take pictures, but all of those activities have been constant endeavors for me. I keep up with the trends and technology where I rarely encounter a lapse. Or so I thought.

The other day, a friend mentioned to me that she’d taken up skating, the type of wheels—Rollerblades.

In a haze my brain shut down, re-booting with a barrage of teenage memories at the news. Rollerblading is special to me for personal reasons...

The dawn of Rollerblading emerged in the wonderfully weird 90’s, the decade in which I spent my teen years. A way for winter athletes to train year-round, the inline skate revolution was also like an evolution of quad roller skates; the neo-design seemingly specific to the culture of the time. Rollerblading belonged to the 90's and there appears to be a revival going on now.

This could be the future, who knows?

Roller skating in general was a breakthrough in the 60’s and 70’s— The image of James Caan in the movie ROLLERBALL springs to mind with a chuckle, but I can see how the sport could be projected onto a post-dystopian future a’ la THE RUNNING MAN. You can compare it to modern roller derby, which is badacle in its own right. There’s even a 90’s movie based on blading that hasn’t lost its awesome after almost twenty years.


Looking back, Rollerblading was all the rage by my junior year of high school, and it fit with collective ethos of the time. While all teenagers are rebels, I was a member of Generation X. It was the era of coffeehouse indie rock, clodhopper shoes, and pagers. A plaid button-down thrown over whatever you had on was the fashion staple (and still is today).

Proof that dial up was once badass.  (HACKERS movie)

Laptops were the wave of the future as was dial-up internet, and rollerblades evolved from California boardwalk recreation to a hip, urban form of transport.
          I wish a few of the trends would come back: Metallic jackets, skater Henley tees, layered tanks, and drawstring cargo pants.

That's what I'm talkin' about..

Back in the day, black and bright blue were my colors, and the transient 90’s fad of comic book neon and vinyl jackets were a dream come true.

Imagine this in blue. Wild, right? 

I was grateful that the clothes were comfortable and the conversation was intellectual. A shy kid, it was enough of a struggle coming out of my shell during those delicate, ego-forming years. It was just me and my mom then, we had little money but a lot of love. Summers were a frugal time when I had to find ways to entertain myself on a budget, and hopefully expel some energy in the process. I'd worked part-time job at a pet store where I'd earned extra spending cash, and things were good.

A few weeks into June a friend from school started spending long periods of time at the paved lake near us, talking animatedly about how she’d gotten a pair of rollerblades. As so many things were novelty, I listened to her stories but dismissed the idea of participating, sure that this new roller sport had an egg-timers wait to obsolete. But shortly into our friend's foray into the blading life, my best friend also got a set of blades, the two going to the lake together every other day.

At first I didn’t mind much, I had work to keep me busy, and I really wasn’t the type who had to jump on every new trend. But June turned into July and I watched from a distance as the Rollerblading achieved all the goals for summer:

·        Kept us out of trouble
·        Social time together
·        Outdoor workout
·        Burned pent up energy

I tagged along one time on foot to see what all the hype was about. The lake had a paved path around it with a roller hockey rink. My friends would take a few laps around the water to warm up and then spend hours practicing tricks at the rink. After scouting it out I was intrigued. The problem was that Rollerblades, the professional kind, cost upwards of $200.00, a small fortune for a family of two.

So I put the idea on my mental back burner, not telling my mom, with the hopes that I’d eventually forget about it. July dragged on as my friends got better and better, and my want for blades hadn’t diminished. I eventually broke down and put aside some of my work money for a pair of non-name-brand skates which turned out to be a huge mistake. I'd paid $50.00 and rushed the cheapo pair home, my mom noticing my infatuation as I tried them on. The wheel frames were steel, not plexiglass, which made them heavy as hell and clunky. The next weekend when I tried the bad skates out, I trailed so far behind my friends that they thought they’d lost me. I got so many blisters on my feet that I had to sit at work the next day, and of course, once used I couldn’t return the skates to get my fifty bucks back.

It was disappointing. And to top it off, I began to wonder if it were me or the equipment that had failed.

After the bum attempt, I didn’t try to skate again, and as the summer came to a close my mom picked up on my lethargy. I caved and gave her a full disclosure of my issue. I was afraid to tell my mom because I knew that she’d do anything to get me a real pair of skates, and I didn't want her to stretch our already meager budget.

One Saturday, Mom and I visited the sports store up at the mall and perused the selection. That’s when I saw them for the first time. With all the stereotypical fanfare that accompanies divine intervention; the clouds parted, rays from heaven shining down on a pair of dark purple, name-brand Rollerblades. The box had a distinct dent on one side, the European sizing chart an exercise in translation, where a try-on was required to see if they fit.

They did.  They were light and comfortable and…perfect.

Mom and I immediately took the skates to the layaway counter. I remember the sinking feeling in my chest as I reluctantly handed the box over to the store employee, as if I knew the parting was not “farewell for now” but “goodbye.”

Sure enough summer turned into fall and we couldn’t buy the skates. The time expired for the layaway and I avoided the sports store. I found evidence of my mom’s efforts to find a solution around our apartment; rollerblades circled in sales flyers, budgets written out on scrap pieces of paper.

My birthday passed in October as did Christmas, and I understood. It was too expensive, it couldn’t be done.

As I was my pre-New Age self then, I didn’t yet know about Creative Visualization but I’d utilized the primal form of the belief well—pining. I’d lay in bed and dream of how fast I’d be if I had those purple skates. I imagined how happy I’d be…

Winter made for a nice distraction because everyone was indoors, but I knew that spring would bring with it a little heartache, my purple skates surely sold to some lucky girl. February rolled around and one cold afternoon after work I wandered to the east side of the mall, a strange intuition luring me into the sports store. I walked in thinking I must be masochist, strolling past the Rollerblade racks. A flash of purple sitting under a sign that read “70% Off – Clearance” caught my eye, my neck cracking from the force of turning so fast. 

My first response was It couldn’t be. The same skates COULD NOT still be here six months later.

I picked up the box, my fingertips finding the tell-tale dent in the side. I proceeded to have a happy-dance like seizure in the middle of the aisle. They were my skates, the same pair. Approaching the store clerk I learned that the skates were lost in the stock room after their return from layaway. As a clearance item they couldn’t be reserved again, but using every ounce of charm I had, I got the guy to make an exception and take the box off the floor for twenty-four hours while I rushed home. In an incoherent torrent I relayed the turn of events to my mom.

My blades were marked down, a total of $68.19 with tax.

My mom beamed a smile at me as she held up a rebate check that had come in the mail for $70.00.

I started to cry. Straight-up wept.

My mom had to take my arm and lead me to the car. We got to the store ten minutes before they closed. The checkout clerk looked at me like I was nuts as I clutched the box to my chest as if they’d have to surgically remove it in order to get to the barcode. I don’t recall the ride home at all, I was so excited.

I spent the following months learning about the skates, how to rocker the wheels for stunts, how to stop without the brake.

When May finally came I stood at the mouth of the trail, shifting my weight from left to right. There was one fleeting second where I thought, “What if I went through all this and I’m still no good?”

It was that moment when my friend said something like, “Going to keep up this time?”

I shot her an impish smile. Then I took off and never looked back.

That summer was the best of my life. I bladed every day, all day. I developed amazing tone in my legs and the overall cardio was incredible. I learned spins, jumps—all without a helmet.

I know.

As the saying goes, “Before you are old and wise you must first be young and stupid.” With the scars to prove it.

My beloved purple Rollerblades lasted me fifteen years before rain water from a leaky car trunk took them up to skate heaven.

To this day my mom and I refer to those blades as our miracle.

Santa Monica Beach, CA - 2000

So when my colleague told me about her new skates I must of gotten a faraway look on my face, the memories strong.

Summer is approaching again and everything feels like a repeat of the past. I need to watch my budget, but having fun is imperative, too.

Expel a little energy…

The first excuse I gave myself was that I’m too old, what if I can’t pick it back up again. But the very words make me a hypocrite.

Wasn’t it me that just last week spouted, “You’re never too old to try something new.” Or, "Old made new again."

Never limit yourself.  Life is short.

Wear bright blue.

Pin your hair up in girly poofs.

Throw a plaid button down over your tank top and cutoffs.

Go out and BLADE.

With rogue thoughts rolling, I let out a sigh that was part surrender and part elation. I did my homework, checking out the features before adding them to my digital cart. After I checked out, I opened Outlook and started a new email to Rollerblade customer service.  

Shelley, Rebooted  :)

Subject Line: "How to rocker the wheels on a new pair of Macroblades"

-         SNG