Dear America,

I am Ebola. I’d like to introduce myself.



I am an ancient virus. I have lived a million life times.


I was birthed in the primordial ooze of a forming living planet.


I laid in the soil and waited for a root to take me up into a fruit.


I laid in the belly of the winged creatures that feasted on the fruit- still not a perfect host, just a resting place.


When I was younger, I waited in the excrement of the creature, in caves which gave cover to humans during storms, but this proved inefficient, so I mutated and slept in the blood of the creature itself, confident that it would find another host for me, all the while waiting- waiting for perfection.


And I was not disappointed.


My vessel, the Chiroptera, the Bat, often found the tender skin of swine a pleasant diversion, and so did I.


My perfect host was only one-step away.


And it is You.


I exist only to replicate. I have no other desire.


I am mighty and swift, hoping that in your attempts to attend to your dying, and in the hysteria that will surely be the result of the gruesomeness of my presence in your bodies, you will be careless.


And you have been.


I LOVE America-aside from hitching a ride on a man who knew he had been exposed, I didn’t wait too long to really get going, and you accommodated… when this human began to have bloody stool, you sent him away with an antibiotic.




By the time I was fully vested in his body, he was quarantined, but in a hospital that was simply not prepared for my dedication to my life’s work.


In fact, two of the women who ministered to his needs, have become my next generation, and you allowed one of them to get on an airplane.


I can not say ‘Thank You’ with enough humility.


Please don’t have your health care providers fully trained in infectious disease control, or provide them with proper gear. Your communities don’t really need to dispose of contact material in any more then a paper bag in the local dump- or a garden hose.


Please don’t ask people where they have travelled to- always believe them.


Please don’t require the people that have cared for my host tell you where they live, or to not get on mass transportation. I thought your allowing Nurse#2 to return from Cleveland even though she was already feeling ME was brilliant. Keep that up.


Please continue to disseminate the ‘We’ve got this under control’ attitude. So Wild West. I’m hoping to get out there, actually.


Maybe a train?


And stop debating the merits of attending to ground ZERO in West Africa. It’s a waste of time.


Trust me.



In closing I would just like to say I appreciate your generous welcoming, and I really enjoyed Dallas.



Go Cowboys.



The New Black?

  • Cary Vaughn - Very dark post, but I really liked it.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - What are you doing up at this late time at night? I NEVER post this late! But here you are! SHare Cary. Share.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Tienvieri - Thank you Cheryl….great post. Love & miss you!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hey Nance!!! Nice to see you here! Thanks. Miss you too! xxooReplyCancel

  • Lisha Fink - Nice personification of a very creepy truth.
    Lisha Fink recently posted…The Big OMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Very creepy. Very true. EeeGads we better get a handle on this.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Dear Ebola. Stay the F away from me and mine! I’ve got garlic. And crucifixes.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Sicily: fever dreamsMy ProfileReplyCancel

  • Elaine Ambrose - I read this last night and again this morning. I’m trying to decide if you’re being satirical or serious. Either way, it works.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - You are a clever chick, Cheryl. Great post, sad but all too true.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Tackett - wow. Still kind of reeling from this. Thanks for writing something so powerful…I wish I had a better response. Just wow.
    Kim Tackett recently posted…this week’s mojo to go :: 17 octoberMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s been amazing watching this unfold hasn’t it?ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Kraft - Chilling and so scary…ReplyCancel

  • David Stillwell - I loved this…. it was captivating, accurate, and a smack on the ass…. The satirical accuracy is a rivet to the brain, and the imagery was a flashback to the primordial memory in every cell….. Outstanding!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - WHy THANK YOU oh great one. Coming from you, I’m flattered.ReplyCancel

  • Starr Bryson - Cheryl says what we’re all thinking in a satirical and humorous way. There’s nothing funny about this, but the sarcasm and reality of what she writes is a bit tongue in cheek. Clever. ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Carpenter - Oh, my. So eerily stated. And so unfortunately true. Illuminates the reality in a clever, memorable manner. Scary…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Boy oh boy. And now someones on a cruise ship.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - Chilling tale told as only you can Cheryl.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Ruth. It was the only way I thought I could tell it and NOT add to the hysterics.ReplyCancel

  • Anne-Marie Kovacs - Never would have thought that the ebola story could be told in prose. All the facts and succinct too! Wow. Well done!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Don’t you think that some of life’s lessons are best told in prose? It, somehow, makes them more accessible. Thanks Anne-Marie.ReplyCancel

  • Helene Cohen Bludman - Eek! This made my skin crawl. I fear that with each day we’ll hear of another Ebola case. It seems almost impossible that we’ll be able to contain this disease.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Contain- Yes. Eradicate- No. So many questions….ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Genius! Satire. Says it all!
    Diane recently posted…A Devil of a DeliveryMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Sometimes ‘satire’ is the best way to communicate don’t ya think Diane?ReplyCancel

  • Valerie - I live in Atlanta where we are treating patients and I’m covering the story for the NBC station. Loved your piece! I thnk a travel ban may be coming soon, and just today covered a kick-butt training session for nurses.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Well, it’s about time! I’m so flattered that a real live news person read this post! I’m even more excited that nurses are getting proper training! Keep up the good work I’m sure you do. Thanks ValerieReplyCancel

  • Doreen Mcgettigan - I am glad I am not the only one thinking our ‘LEADERS’ are idiots!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly Joyce Dalferes - This is the best explanation of Ebola is the U.S. that I have read. There’s now word of Ebola on a cruise ship. ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Wow Kimberly I thank you! PleASE SHARE.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Oy. Nothing else to really say on the topic …ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - True in one sense, but California has a bigger, more potential immediate disaster. One young woman who went to her old high school, and then to a reunion has died of Meningitis. That can be passed so much more easily and with her college courses, travel, and visits, they assume hundreds have been exposed.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Steck - There’s lots of catch-up work to do, but our medical professionals will get things under control. They will be forced to in order to protect themselves. My prayers go out to the brave health workers on the front lines. There are so many other areas that are of greater risk, but we don’t understand this one so it makes it so frightening.
    Jennifer Steck recently posted…Playing In the Namibia SandMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - All so true. My heart and prayers go out to the healthcare workers, as well. God Bless them all and keep them safe.ReplyCancel

  • Carollynn Hammersmith - Love it and your brilliant skewering of us stupid humans.ReplyCancel

  • Vagina - Ebola… Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding from your orifices and a sudden urge to travel!! -_-
    Vagina recently posted…Change the Channel and Pass the Popcorn!~My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - !!!!!! Come on folks- use common sense!ReplyCancel

  • the most - of every moment - A potential epidemic on US soil explained in layman’s terms!ReplyCancel

  • Lillian Connelly - I really think the “wild west” attitude is what is getting us into trouble.
    Lillian Connelly recently posted…Bedtime Postponement TacticsMy ProfileReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Mass hysteria is always appealing to a bug that wishes to become famous! :D
    Roshni recently posted…Terrific Tweets!My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It seems like the hysteria is calming down now that more consistent info is being made available.ReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - OMG I don’t know what else to say, either. Have to go wash my hands now… ReplyCancel

  • Jana - My gut tells me that Ebola is not going to be the apocalyptic end of us all — but I’m interested in seeing how it all plays out.
    Jana recently posted…I’m a Swinger!My ProfileReplyCancel


As the sweep of iced Canadian air pushed through the hard woods of New Brunswick, like a reaper strumming dead bones, a French immigrant family traveled by open carriage to the border of Canada, and crossed by foot onto American soil into Maine.


They managed by rail, and truck, and bus, and luck to find Boston.

The Father had a brother there already. The brother spoke of steady work, lodgings with heat, and stores where all you had to do was walk in and choose food, with fruit that came from wondrous places- like pineapple and banana. Warm places. Islands. You could taste them.


The Parents of this family had little formal education. It wasn’t needed to continue the trade on a fishing boat. The family tradition of hand-to-mouth. Eat what you catch. Sometimes you don’t– eat at all.



The Father did odd jobs for Boston- like occasionally running bootleg liqueur  along the Bay of Fundy or repurposing coat closets with indoor plumbing for rich people.


The Mother was in service as an upstairs French maid for a prominent Brahmin family on Beacon Hill, until the Depression hit, and then even all the money in the world couldn’t save you. Or their jobs.


By 1934, with a new baby just born, the parents delivered their eldest child to live with nuns. They couldn’t feed her and her two sisters combined.


The Mother was allowed to visit for one hour, once a month. Sometimes the child didn’t attend the visits. The Mother was told the child was being punished for bad behavior, that God wiling, hopefully next month she’d be more obedient.



When the Mother inquired as to the offenses, she was told that it was of no concern to her as long as the child was under the roof of the Lord and the Mother continued to require their services.


The Mother visited every month- for over a year.



By then, the Father had decided to move to the water, to leave the city, where he could fish for their supper, and on their way, they gathered their eldest daughter from the Nuns, and vowed to never set foot in a Catholic Church again.


The daughter was afraid of closets now. They didn’t ask why, but the Father removed every closet door from every house that they ever lived together-in again.



And then, one day, twenty year’s of days into the future, with the warm caress of a tropical breeze blowing through the fronds of soft palms, like a mistress whispering in the ear of a lover, a nun was found dead in a closet.



The family had finally made it to Florida…


The fishing was good.

  • William Kendall - Quite a twist!ReplyCancel

  • Diane - And now I’m wondering how much was truth and how much – fiction . . . Wonderfully told. I’m shivering at the sight of my closet now!
    Diane recently posted…At the ParkMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Some of it WAS true, but I’ll never tell what! Boo!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - I love a good dead Nun in the closet story. You don’t read about those as much as you used to…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - HA! I know right? I’m also jonesing for a good priest nailed to his parish cross tale. That’s always a good one.ReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - That was pretty cool.
    Cary Vaughn recently posted…The Fantastic Mr. Old ManMy ProfileReplyCancel

  • Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry - Okay I thought I was afraid of the dark or what was under the bed…but now Closets? Oh my Cheryl, this was good.
    Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry recently posted…Random Thoughts and Being A BloggerMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - When in a Church do NOT open closets- they hide all sorts of things in them.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Tackett - Yikes…and that is exactly why I stay away from closets. All of mine will confirm that I haven’t cleaned them out in ages! Fun (in a creepy way) story.
    Kim Tackett recently posted…coffee :: served dailyMy ProfileReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - Yikes! Like the nun, I never saw it coming.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You were a Nun in a past life right? HA!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Cook Bonifant - Great, great, great story.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - You hooked me with the image of the iced Canadian air and carried me all the way through to the sound of a nun’s bones falling out of a closet…. Gripping story, masterfully told!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Like iced fingers strumming a dead log she fell…..BOO!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Lucas - Very craftily written…I was drawn into the chilly scene and the BAM, I was trolling off a deep sea cruiser in Florida! Fantastic – I didn’t see that coming!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s kinda a true story. I just followed my grandparents journey. Except for the dead Nun. Tho I’ve met a few I can see that happening to.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - A delightful halloween story from Cheryl NichollReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you. There will plenty more ‘stories ‘ to come this month. I love a good scare!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy Walker Cushing - Fun story! I love a good tale!ReplyCancel

  • Its All About The Yummy - I think I will leave my closet door open!ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Wow! I don’t think I’ll be going into my closet for a good long while now …ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Okay, that was a smash ending. Except my mind keeps thinking of things like decomposition would have happened in a twenty year span. Great family legend.ReplyCancel

  • Angela Hall Weight - I felt like I was write there! Loved it. What a gift you have with words. ReplyCancel

  • Angela Hall Weight - Right, not write. Oops.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Clever writing===just what I needed this morning to get me going!
    Carol Cassara recently posted…It’s a WTF kind of worldMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m so happy I could return the favor seeing how you do ‘it’ for me every morning. HahaaaReplyCancel

How many times have you heard ‘Follow Your Passion’?


And, how many times have you thought, even felt, like somehow, you’re ‘Passion’ must be hiding behind that big stack of unpaid bills?


How many times have you been advised to ‘Find what you’re passionate about and do THAT’?


How many times have you wondered if something must be wrong with you because you’re either not very complex or you suck at hide-n-seek?


How many times have you heard that if you ‘do’ what you’re passionate about you’ll never work a day in your life?


How many times does a day’s work resemble unicorns farting rainbows?


That many?


Me too.


So let’s be honest, you and me, between friends and all, let’s be speakers of truth.


Let’s look each other in the eye, take a deep drink of wine, and say, ‘Me too and we’re awesome still.’



When I was young I played piano- well, that might be an ‘over-statement’ but I still played.



My grandparents had an organ, and one day, when I was eight-ish, bored with serving the adults dirty martinis between poker hands, I went to the organ, flipped the switch, and began exploring the keys.



Oh. My. God. This is fun.



Fast forward: Playing a piano became my passion. I played before I went to school. I played at school. I played any time I had the time. And I got good.



Now, what I’m not telling you is that (shuuuushhhh) I was self-taught. I couldn’t read music. I had spent years devising my own musical notations. And I was HAPPY.



My mother begged (BEGGED) me to take lessons.



I declined.



Now, you can’t play an instrument and not SING with it, so I SUNG. Loudly. And well. Every damn day. I played records on my parents phonograph and I mimicked the ‘Greats’. I listened and I learned and I got g-o-o-d. Really g-o-o-d. People used to come to our house so that they could hear me sing. I could do Jimmy Page as well as Patsy Cline. Whateva ‘ya need folks. And I was HAPPY.



My mother begged (BEGGED) me to take lessons.



I declined.



Again, Peter pays Paul, and then they go see Simon, so I began to write my own music with lyrics.



And some of my stuff was pretty good. I had the wife of a Entertainment producer tell her husband about me- THAT good.



My mother begged (BEGGED) me to Follow My Passion.



And I declined.



I declined.



‘Why?’, you might ask.


Because I was HAPPY.


Because I suspected that once this ‘thing’ I WAS passionate about became the property of someone else, became something that I might make a ‘living’ at– would ruin it- the Passion. The Happy… so I ‘did’ other things, other jobs, had other responsibilities, made differences in other ways WITHOUT BEING PASSIONATE about them.


And, ‘ya know what? It’s been good. Even great– this life of mine.


It has been my experience that you don’t need to be passionate about something to do it well, or to have it be rewarding.


You don’t need passion to participate in a meaningful occupation, to do a good job, to become accomplished, to be heard.


Because most of us don’t even know what our ‘Passions’ are, let alone how to finesse them into a career, and if you do know what your ‘Passions’ are, there’s no shame in just experiencing them quietly, with loved ones, by yourself, for the JOY, for the …HAPPY.


All of those ‘people’ that espouse these little ditties aren’t passionate about you, or your passion. They are usually standing in front of a choir, selling a book, or receiving an award.


It’s just so easy for them to inspire you. You feel empty. You feel left out. You are ripe for the pickings.


And then you go home and try to identify your passions. But the kids are crying and you need to get dinner on the table, and your husband needs his med’s, and your boyfriend hasn’t called, and your father’s insurance won’t cover his treatment, and you don’t know…


What your passion is.


Because LIFE is getting in the way.


Except it’s not


Because living Life IS the great Passion, and you’re a big part of IT, and IT may not always say ‘thank you’, and IT may sometimes walk right past you, and IT doesn’t buy you a house, and IT let’s you get old, but IT’s the story. The big reveal.


YOU are the Passion. And you are an awesome creature in all of your ordinariness, and invisibility, and seemingly mundane vanilla existence.


Because without all of us, in every form, suffering every malady, and creating joy from dust, there would be nothing to live for.


It takes a hero to get up every damn day and go out again.


And life is made-up of unsung heros- thank God.


So consider giving yourself a break, apologizing to your own soul, kissing your own face, painting masterpieces on the weekends, creating an environment that provides for the next generation, rounding-up stray animals, being in love, being upset, being forlorn, planning a funeral, having a baby, being properly diagnosed, clean sheets, cold milk, hot showers, and receiving a smile from a stranger– all a part of your Passion.


You just might find yourself HAPPY.

At least enough of the time. 



All of these people are experiencing their PASSION’s without actually having laid the marble or painted the murals.




  • Sanrizz - I AGREEEEEEEEE! OMG! It’s like you’ve read my mind. You have no idea how many time I wondered if there was something extremely wrong with me! Thank you!
    Sanrizz recently posted…Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood … A Sad ShowMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh no. There is NOTHING wrong with you. I don’t know who started this additional ‘guilt-trip’ of advise but I call FOUL.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - I REALLY needed to read this. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Michelle recently posted…Getting Old Isn’t For WussiesMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You are so welcome. I feel a lot of us need to consider giving ourselves a break.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - Exactly. Writing was more fun before I got published. Now it’s an “I have to” instead of an “I want to.” Be careful what you wish for…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Be Careful What You Wish For, a cautionary tale.ReplyCancel

  • Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry - Cheryl, I loved this so much ..I read it twice and will most likely go over again. It is so right on. I know there is nothing wrong with me or my head and thoughts. I am loving living life just as I am and being a mom and wife are my passions that shine through. All the rest is just icing {fat free of course} on the cake. :) Bravo
    Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry recently posted…The 100 Percent MomMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I saw some kind of award ceremony where the WINNER ( I hate that word) said to the audience ‘Don’t let anyone stop you from following your Passion’, and I thought ‘ Really? Okay. That’s easy. No problemo. Gee, why didn’t I think of that’. Idiot.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Tackett - Most of the things I love doing, I am not very good at. And some of the stuff I am really good at, I don’t really love doing. And sometimes it’s not even about passion…it’s about joy, satisfaction and discovery. Thought provoking piece, thank you.
    Kim Tackett recently posted…wish you were here :: point reyes national seashoreMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You hit it on the ‘head’ Kim. ON THE HEAD!ReplyCancel

  • MIchelle S. - Beautifully written. Right now I’m thrilled that my occupation and passion align. But, I have also had the experience of turning a passion into profit, and then watching the joy drain out of it. When you let others in by accepting money for your talent, you are also letting them into the process and giving them freedom to critique and comment. You’ll never view the activity in the same way again.
    MIchelle S. recently posted…Homemade Frozen MeatballsMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. I’m not suggesting that ‘passions’ can’t be, or shouldn’t be, channeled into some kind of career- it’s just that so many people of influence make so many people without influence question their destiny, even make them feel like they have failed in some way. And that’s not accurate, fair, or even smart. Thanks for stopping by.ReplyCancel

  • Karen D. Austin - Agreed. I am very passionate about yoga, so much so that people ask me over and over again if I’m going to teach it. No. Way! That would make it a job, and then the joy it brings me would die. (And I have been a professional teacher for decades; yoga is a place for me to detach from that kind of bossy pants energy.) Glad you preserved good boundaries on what makes you happy!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - When your passion sucks the life out of you. Great post from Cheryl NichollReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - There are so many parts of us that we are, in a way, living our passions in our group. Writing, connecting, supporting, encouraging and not judging each other on what we do, how we write, and who we are. At least that’s my take on it. Passion is in the eye of the beholder. ReplyCancel

  • William Kendall - Well said!
    William Kendall recently posted…Murder Scene 2.0My ProfileReplyCancel

  • Janie Emaus - I loved this. I am passionate about my family and my writing and walking and laughing and…the list could on. I think passion is one of the greatest qualities a person can possess. Whatever that passion is. ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Dolgen - I never really had a hobby. I always thought maybe I was weird because I never really had a hobby. My friends had hobbies.
    Then I realized I DO have a passion. I am passionate about having fun and joy in my life and creating fun and joy in the lives of my friends and family. Love this blog…. I agree… life is the great passion!ReplyCancel

  • Ines Roe - I love what you say. I am one of those people who help women try and create a vision (passion by another name) of what they want in their life. But both words sound so solemn. The idea is to find something that is fun, fills you up and helps you get over the bumps it life. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose endeavor – just something fun!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I often times think it’s the small passions that are the most rewarding. And I agree with having them to help get over the ‘bumps’ in life! So true. You sound really good at what you do! We all need more of you. Ha!ReplyCancel

  • Tam Warner Minton - We all make choices, and I’m glad yours have made you HAPPY!
    Tam Warner Minton recently posted…Family RelationsMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you. I hope yours have as well.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Stafford - You seem passionate about that. ;) Second blog I’ve ready on following passions this week….and very well said!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahaaa. I guess I am! I never thought about this piece that way. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - One of my DILs is a fantastic artist. Fantastic. When I asked her to illustrate my books, she refused for the very reasons you describe. “I enjoy it too much to make it a job.” I didn’t understand her then. I do now. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - It’s something so simple and yet most of us chase it our whole lives and miss so much.
    Rena McDaniel recently posted…SPARTANBURG SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S!My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Passion can be like quicksilver can’t it? I hope for passion in everyones life- at least once. But to make it something you seek, or try to create just defeats it’s incarnation. Thanks Rena. For commenting.ReplyCancel

  • Deborah Batchelor - LOVE this one!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ohhhh. Myyyyyy. GOD! You are here! You read me!!! There has never been a happier SIL! LOVE AND MISS YOU PASSIONATELY (yes everyone- this is my sister-n-law).ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - And I LOVE YOU!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Well, it’s nice to know I’m so passionate. I’ll admit I must be. What I need now is my husband back so that he can put his arms around me and say,, “Aw, calm down, Mari,” when I get too passionate about something. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Esther Lombardi - I love those: Follow curiosity or follow the sunrise.

    I also was in a discussion today about the “follow your passion” mentality. There are all those moments in our lives that are not particularly inspired. It’s only later (looking back) that we realize the true significance of all those moments…
    Esther Lombardi recently posted…‘Velveteen Rabbit’ Writing to Life #booksMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So true. At least we often realize the great moments in reflection. Can you imagine being able to recognize them all when they are occurring? We’d all be stopped in our tracks and never get anything done.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Elizabeth Gilbert has a great video where she says don’t worry about following your passion — just follow your curiosity. I loved that, and I love this post!ReplyCancel

  • Alyson Shitastrophy Herzig - Cheryl you truly are a candy dish of amazing and awesomeness. I never know what I am gonna pull out but they are all good and sweet. ReplyCancel

  • Bodynsoil - Agreed and wonderfully stated. I don’t find the work the issue at any of my jobs. It tends to be who I work with that makes all the difference.
    Bodynsoil recently posted…Older Appreciated Person at Work,My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oohhhh. Don’t get me started on THAT one.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - I feel like the “follow your passion” concept is a new one. At least for me. My mother did encourage my passions, but always made sure I understood that making a living was numero uno even if you absolutely dreaded getting out of bed in the morning to go and do it. Hence, I always pursued things that were uber not lucrative while siting in cubicles seemingly wasting my life away and hating every moment of it. I think following your passion is important, but I completely agree that if you find something you don’t hate with the fiery passion of 1,000 suns, you’re good at it and you can make a living at it – BINGO!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Sure. I’m not saying following your ‘passion’ is a bad thing. If you can make a living at it great. But there are a lot of people that have no idea what their passion is and feel like there’s something wrong with them. I just wanted those people to know that NOT KNOWING is okay too. PASSION is a BIG word isn’t it? 1,000 suns is what most people think they have to feel. Hey! That’s a good title for a new song girl- get on it!!ReplyCancel

  • KymberlyFunFit - My passion has been trying to find my passion. Ok not really. I have always felt left out of the passion convo as I could not id one burning, driving desire. Thanks for exposing the myth!
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted…Vanilla Sugar Cinnamon RollsMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - ANother part of the myth is this; My challenge has always been that I have TOO MANY- so which one to focus on and does that mean that I’ll have to leave the others behind if I concentrate on just one? I don’t want to do that, so I rotate them, which means I have become expert at none of them. But I’m okay with that. As for exposing the MYTH in all of it’s complications- it has been a pleasure.ReplyCancel

  • Lillian Connelly - I think what we really need to do is change the way we define success and find happiness in our daily moments. Doing what we love or are passionate about doesn’t have to be tied to monetary gain in order for us to feel successful.
    Lillian Connelly recently posted…Bedtime Postponement TacticsMy ProfileReplyCancel

  • Roshni - I guess you and I have different perspectives on this but I’m intrigued with your take on the topic, Cheryl! How awesome that you sing and play so well!! A vlog perhaps?!
    Roshni recently posted…Terrific Tweets!My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I USED TO play and sing well. That ship has left the dock.ReplyCancel

  • Dana - This made me think how involved kids are in so many different activities, and at such an intensity that they burn out. The girl who loves lacrosse quits before she’s 16 because she plays it all the time, and has lost her passion for it.

    If you’re happy doing what you are doing, don’t mess with it.
    Dana recently posted…My biggest pet peevesMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Would that girl happen to have had lunch recently at Coquette?ReplyCancel

  • Jana - I’ve always been the Jill of all trades, master of none. Basically, I like a lot of different things — but I’ll never be world famous for any of them. I also have an incredibly short attention span — so I just enjoy my passions while they last, and then move onto the next one.
    Jana recently posted…I’m a Swinger!My ProfileReplyCancel


Once Upon A Time, I pushed two bowling balls out of a garden hose.


It wasn’t easy, but I had no choice. There was no were else for them to go.


I toiled and huffed, and ate ice chips and swallowed laxatives, and lo and behold, the universe brought forth an unbreakable obligation to burping and feeding and homework and worry.


Yes, there were the ‘special’ times, the ones that make it ‘all worth while’, like “I love you Mommy”, and “I’m not talking until I have my lawyer or my Mom is here”, kind of awesome moments.


Ahhhh. The memories…


And then you promise them that if they work real hard, and fulfill their ‘potential’ you will fund the largest Capitalist shell game of all: College- any college they can get into. Any one.


They call your bet, and go ‘all in’.


All in.


Your tears, when reading the acceptance letters, are mistaken for joy.


All you see is money: tuition, books, i-n-c-i-d-e-n-t-a-l-s, airline tickets, and living expenses.


You feel the blood dripping from your eyes, but you take heart that eventually it will be all over, only four years each. You can withstand anything.


Except it isn’t OVER in four years, oh no, they keep needing you, they keep calling your bluff. They keep saying, “I love you.”


And you simply cannot resist because these creatures, the very ones who have stolen your soul, somehow have a stranglehold on your reason and as much as you try, you, you, need them too. You want to help. You want to see them happy. You take joy in watching them fly…


And sometimes, that’s to a new city, a new job, new friends, and new worries.


But, sometimes, if your lucky, you get to spread your wings along side them, and transform a bland cocoon of an apartment into a beautiful butterfly.

Because, whether you came out of the garden hose, or not, I’ve got your back– or at least I’ll help you hang art.


Here are my TIPS on turning a BLAH apartment to




  1. Lighting- very few people have enough, or at the right height. I have a serious disdain for overhead lighting. It’s garish. Floods the room. No shadows, and you want shadows. They create mood. You should light at least one corner of every room. Use a floor lamp or something that hangs off the wall. We have both options at play here- a floor lamp in the living room and a hanging acrylic chandelier hanging off of an ordinary plant hook in the bedroom. You should have a light source for every place where someone will sit (and where you will sleep). We found an electrical outlet at the short end of the kitchen bar under the lip of the top, so we plugged in a charming lamp that sits on the counter but creates a wonderful over-glow when seated at the table that’s tucked under it. Also, notice the lamp shade. It blue. It stops your eye for a second so that you notice what’s going on under it. It brings in some color to the otherwise open dull space of the monochromatic kitchen.

  2. Furniture- it should multi-task. The coffee table has drawers for storage, and the couch pulls out into a queen size sleeping platform because this is a one bedroom apartment. A desk by the side of the bed could not only be a study space but an end table. Get it?

  3. Space delineation- space will most likely be tight, so areas will have to do double-duty. In this apartment, my daughter’s bedroom is also where she has her desk, and not in the living room. This way she can close her door from her cats and they still can reach their food and liter, and if she needs a mental break, she can exit her room and enjoy the calm organization of her larger space.

  4. Flooring- it will probably suck. Dull carpet, scratched parquet flooring, peeling linoleum. In this case it was carpeting and ceramic tile- all in greige. We chose to ignore the floors because in this tight space you want it to seem uninterrupted- except in the bathroom, where we placed a long (7 foot) indoor/outdoor runner. She originally thought it would be too long. I assured her it would not. I was right. All the way from the shower to the toilet you have a soft warm surface under your feet, and it adds visual interest to an otherwise utilitarian space.

  5. Art- my 29yr old son has a large piece of art hanging in his home office that is the accumulation of hundreds of cigarette packs. He thinks it’s cool. OMG. It must be burned. Most young adults will not have had the resources to purchase ‘good’ art yet, but ‘smart’ art can be had by all. In this case, I have encouraged both of my kids (What happened son?) over the years to not buy things to just cover the walls. Better to have less and have it be meaningful and appropriate then just crap on the wall. My daughter, years ago, fell in love with a large mirrored wall clock that is the focal point in her living room (and reflects light-SMART) and a lovely vintage oil painting she found for a few dollars at a junk store (and we had cleaned), for over her bed. When you walk into either of these rooms they are the perfect compliment- not overwhelming, not confining, not amateurish. You learned well grasshopper. Your brother- the jury’s still out.

  6. Color- in a small space color should be uninterrupted whether it’s bold or soft. Using all one color family, in ALL the rooms, will open the ENTIRE space. In this case the apartment walls were painted before she moved in, so we had to work with it. Thankfully it is a non-committal taupe. Easy-peasy with her warm whites and greys, but to make it your own- chose a few accent colors and use them to either bring your eye to a certain spot (like a comfy corner), or to add a bit of pizzaz. Look at that shrimp-colored wing chair in the living room. No other powerful colors- just that chair. Understated. Interesting. Powerful. Well done darling.

  7. Furniture Placement- Walk into your rooms and LOOK. Really look at the space. Do you want to walk into your bed? No. Does it make your bedroom look claustrophobic? Yes. Here’s the thing: ALWAYS place your bed so that when you walk into the bedroom the bed is somewhere you have to walk to, ahead-of-you, from the foot to the pillows. ALWAYS. Let me see the bed in all of it’s glory. As for living space, I love furniture placed on a angle, but that requires square footage this apartment didn’t have, so up against the wall it was. But- the couch is a sectional that has a switch-back that creates it’s own kind of delineation which cradles the coffee table and doesn’t block the view/light on the other end. Perfect. Also, the kitchen island counter stopped short of the kitchen flooring leaving this strange unused area which was perfect for slipping her table under. A continuation of the counter AND proper seating for meals. The lamp on the counter makes it very bueno.

  8. Accessorize- it’s personal, as it should be. Accessories are supposed to reflect who you are, but they are often disjointed and spread out all over the place. GROUP your like objects- either by Topic, Function, or COLOR ( Wait. I’ll tell you how in a second). Case in point: TOPIC-1) Group all of your framed family photo’s in one place- not three in every room. Do I really have to stare at you and your dog in the bathroom? See your wedding picture from the kitchen counter? 2) The only other place GROUPS of books should be, other then in a bookcase in ONE room, is on a coffee table. Do you really think that by casually stacking a few classics together and putting a vase of flowers on top, that I’ll think you just happened to leave them there on your way through? Coffee table books are conversation starters- that’s why they’re out. If you have a collection (three or more)- of anything- GROUP them together. Don’t put one here, one there, another thata way. GROUP by FUNCATION. You put all of your flatware in one drawer don’t you? Put all of your magazines in one place, your electronic charging stations, your cooking utensils, your small appliances, your cleaning supplies, your cat supplies, your bills! Have places ready to recieve these items. Put them where you use them. If you need TP it’s a bitch to have to go to hall linen closet isn’t it? GROUP by COLOR. Okay- let’s say you don’t have a lot of any one thing, but you love the color blue. You tend to have a lot of things in the color blue. GROUP them. I recently walked into a women’s clothing store that didn’t have it’s selections separated by size. They had them grouped in color blocks. Not only was it very pleasing to the eye, it made my shopping easier. If you have a collection of vases, some in red, some in yellow, some in white- separate them and group them by color. THEN- separate the groups.

  9. Finishes- chose three. My daughter likes painted surfaces, upholstery, and natural fibers. A space full of dark cheery stain, shabby chic whites, stainless, 50s vintage bakelite, and South American indigenous pottery is a mish-mash of style, Continents, and history. Pare it down.

  10. The WOW factor- each room should have a little surprise. It might be an object. It might be a color, or it might be the size of something- a really big couch, or a little lamp placed just so. In this apartment, my daughter’s WOW factor is the crazy awesome chair in the living room, the chandelier in the bedroom, and the lamp on the bathroom counter…


And ME.



BEFORE/Living Space …

AFTER/Living Space









BEFORE Bathroom


AFTER/.Bathroom.. with Ned inspecting.


  • Carol Cassara - Great tips–and pix–for everyone. Like me.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…What Fashion Week is really likeMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Something tells me you live surrounded by beauty. Inside and out.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Awesome job from an AWESOME mom! Happy kid = happy mom! Such a fun AND helpful post from a pro!
    Tammy recently posted…If My Dog Could Talk …My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I really should have gone pro but the thought of having to deal with people’s neurosis’ was a game changer. I leave that up to my mother, who’s still designing. At 82!!!ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Amazing! Absolutely stunning. With a few tips and tricks and not a huge outlay of $$$! Genius!
    Diane recently posted…Passing the Pancake CrownMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes! Very cost effective. It’s all smoke and mirrors Diane. Smoke. And. Mirrors. You just need to know where to pace them. Hahahaaaa.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) - Love all your tips. Most people over-furnish. But mostly I love your description of interacting with your kids. I was so happy and so thinking about how much more money it would take when my daughter started a PhD program… sigh. Someday I will have the money to decorate! School has to end one day, doesn’t it?
    Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) recently posted…Dreams of Strength and WisdomMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Does it? End? But, it’s true- most people either over-decorate or just fill their spaces with a mish-mash of stuff. Or, don’t have things ‘at the ready’, like not having magazines by the couch, or coffee mugs on the other side of the kitchen away from the coffee machine. Why?ReplyCancel

  • The Finishing Touches - You did a fantastic job! I want to live here!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Tackett - I swear this is true. When my oldest lived in Vancouver, I visited a house she shared with 8 other people. The lamps were on the ceiling. As in, Kate and her boyfriend took all of the floor lamps and attached them to the ceiling, so the floor lamps were now upside down ceiling lamps. It was kind of spectacular. That was 5 years ago. Kate and her boyfriend (same one) are now Masters in Architecture students at SAIC in Chicago. Their lamps remain on the floor, but they are both kind of spectacular.
    Kim Tackett recently posted…musings :: song for autumnMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Great idea! Especially if you have high ceilings! As students of Architecture I imagine that they are always experimenting. Did you know that it was a woman designer, way back, that first suggested not only overhead lighting, but the very first WALL SWITCH! Maybe your daughter will invent something wonderful! I hope so.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - Oh you have an eye for just what belongs. I hope my son meets some like you to help him balance out his place because that is not one of my gifts!!! And the cat in the bathroom was such a nice touch!ReplyCancel

  • Its All About The Yummy - Love this! I am sending your post to several of my children’s friends who are now leaving in their own places!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Johnson - Oh well done! It looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Dalferes, Author - Love, love, LOVE what you’ve done with these rooms. Sending this post to many of my son’s friends who are working on their first post-college “real grown-up” place. ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - The blue lamp in yhe kitchen, genius! Great style. I think this is one of the things I miss the most with taking care of mom. Hubby and I have a very definite way of decorating and have taken months to put something on the wall because we simply haven’t found “it” yet. Great booksmon the coffee table even the aquarium rocks and decorations were taken into account (OCD) but mom will buy little kittens or puppies or abox wharever strikes her fancy and she just puts them anywhere. I just let her she has Alzheimer’s and used to have lovely taste. What can you say? Luckily we don’t know anyone in this state so nobody sees it but us.
    Rena McDaniel recently posted…A VIEW OF SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARKMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s hard enough to be dealing with Alzheimer’s (both you, your husband, and, of course, your mom). I don’t blame you for ‘letting it be’ with the kittens, or china puppies, etc. in your mom’s place. Whatever makes her happy in the moment.As for waiting months to find the ‘right’ object for a room- I agree. As long as it’s not TOO long. HAHAAAAaaa. I’m sure your place is fabulous just like you Rena.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Wow, my kids’ places look nothing like that! I’m forwarding this to both of them for inspiration, although I’m sure I’ll be getting back replies asking for money!ReplyCancel

  • Doreen Mcgettigan - I love what you did with the lighting, I really like all of it. The cat is a wonderful finishing touch. Adorable!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - You do good work. Looks fantastic.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Kraft - Beautiful! The sentiment, the words and finally, the apartment. ReplyCancel

  • lisa Froman - This was fun to read. I gotta say….your kids are lucky. LOL. And I LOVE what you did with her apartment….Southern Living would be proud.
    lisa Froman recently posted…Choosing Peace in the Grocery StoreMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Since this apartment is in Columbus, Ohio, let’s call Midwest Living!ReplyCancel

  • Lily Lau - The best thing that could happen to that bathroom is Ned (in my humble opinion!) :)
    Lily Lau recently posted…Impressive Frida Kahlo’s illustrations created by young artistsMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahahaaaa. Yes he is the centerpiece of any room! ps: Did you notice little Ned on the bed?ReplyCancel

  • Vashti Q - Hi Cheryl! I love before and after pictures. Great job! I’m going to be moving into a new house soon. I’m going to remember what you said about the WoW factor. That’s really cool. I’m actually going to pin this so that I won’t forget anything. :DReplyCancel

  • Sue - Love how you hung the black clock down low too and that it is black to go with the black in the WOW factor chair.
    Sue recently posted…The Real-Life Ozzie and Harriet TV HouseMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You bring up ANOTHER bone of contention I have- people hang their wall pieces at the wrong level- always TOO HIGH. As always, you have given me an idea for a new post with pic’s from MY house to use as examples. Thank you Oh Wise Woman.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - First of all, you crack me up! “…they keep calling your bluff…saying I love you.’
    And second, you have excellent taste! I am a decorating junkie. I watch hours upon hours of HGTV and devour the magazines. So I loved this. Well done! Hey, aren’t you going to be on HGTV? Make sure you let me know when!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Well, that’s what they SAID when they showed-up and filmed us! I’ve really got to write a post and I will MAKE SURE to let you know.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - That sure looks like a huge apartment! Absolutely love the chair! Great choice! !ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s not. It’s small. But the light is good and the space is open- except for the bedroom. The chair IS GREAT! She got it at a discount $350 bc it was a little dirty, which we cleaned and viola!ReplyCancel

What do you get when you combine a guilty pleasure in a huge crowd of other people who have the same guilty pleasure (aside from knowing your not alone and your Mother was wrong all along)?



You get Country Living Magazine’s Fair and a whole lotta happy happy pinch-me-now.

Because if you love like magazines (all kinds) with their shiny and hopeful and clever ideas, and answer when they call ‘Cherylllll. You can do this!’ and then they come-to-life, REALLY come to life with admired artisans and glitter and food and lifestyle authors and demonstrations… you go.

To the Fair.

And, as is so often the case in my ridiculously opportune life, I found myself in need of a portapotty but found instead a tribe of crazyass ladies who celebrate their awesomeness in vintage travel trailers with cute curtains and crocheted spare tire covers and wine- lot’s of wine.

At 2- o’clock.

In the afternoon.



With their own private facilities.

My kinds gals…


My kinda Fair.




Making Merry at the Country Living Fair



What I call the Aqua Trailer. And it was FOR SALE!

Cowgirl Trailer


50’s Trailer

Which one is Your Fav?

  • William Kendall - What a trailer! It has a lot of character.
    William Kendall recently posted…Lake Of Two Rivers MarshMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Aren’t they great! Like a little box of perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - You could film a movie in that, the setting is so perfect for that era! Fun to see!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Such fun. I want all of those trailers!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - This is all so right up my alley. I have a subscription to Country Living and I’m giddy when it arrives. I love all of it. I want that white table. And the Hills Brothers coffee can sure gave me a flashback. The fair sounds like heaven.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I can SO see you toolin’ around in an old vintage trailer that reflects your personality. With your guitar and a campfire, and hot coffee and me right behind you in mine. Boy- we’d have a good time, and we could share all of our favorite ideas in the latest edition and maybe go junkin’ along the way! Yes!!!!ReplyCancel

      • Linda Roy - That’s it – pack your bags, we’re goin’ on tour!ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - Right? I can SO see you in one of these- the guitar, the boots, your kickass’tude! I want to be your sidekick though. Promise.ReplyCancel

  • Phil - I could easily live in that trailer! It looks like a set out of I Love Lucy and American Pickers! Cool.
    Phil recently posted…Once again it’s the Return of Spam! In StereoVision 3D!My ProfileReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. Yes. Yes Phil! Exactly! They are so compact but everything you need is right there! You really have to see them in person to get the full effect. My pic’s don’t do them justice. So many details are lost. Thanks for stopping by! ANd I LOVE American Pickers!ReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - OMG I want to have wine and use the bathrooms in ALL of those!! Awesome. Going to check out your mamapedia now :) and congratulations!ReplyCancel

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