Hmmmm… L.T.D.B.!!!

The finished book after five years of much research…boson’s pipe please! Gardenia Duty has left the pier! I keep trying to thank all the amazing people I’ve had lunches with, shared wine or a draft beer. L.T.D.B… or as a sailor would say sarcastically— Living the Dream, Baby! But, thankfully and serendipitously with all the hard and good times… I am living the dream, baby!

Inspired by generations of loving family and friends!

I was blessed with a great father, mother and bonus dad—as they walked dutifully as career military sailors. If you have to move every couple of years, they provided me with a tribe of sisters that were a constant in the journeys. I look back and smile at the idea of a childhood with much less technology. Yet in the 60’s and forward television, phonographs, radio and movies were a bombardment of technology.

I was sheltered from the messiness of becoming an adult. We lost family, found family, integrated into new neighborhoods being the new kid while trying to find security of who I was becoming. Ironically, all that I was experiencing as a military dependent was depositing resilience, spontaneity and pride. I forged my way to marriage, parenting or executing my duties as a legal assistant of a private adoption attorney.

So, Gardenia Duty encapsulates birth order, transient lifestyle, and nature vs. nurture. When my father could no longer be present, my step-father eventually took over the helm— he didn’t have to! And, the joy for him and my mom to step into the role as grandparents was another part of the new chapters of their adult life. My aunt, Joyce Van Pelt Sprouse, finished Gardenia Duty in one sitting texting me her reactions several times last Friday. An author’s dream reaction!

I shared with her my desire to create a playlist for various scenes and chapters. I have local DJs helping me and I asked her if she thought of a song that would fit. She suggested He Didn’t Have to Be” by Brad Paisley. Yep…. ! When you venture into the world of the Higgins family and think of a song…. let me know!

Working with a Professional Dance Instructor!

Here we go! I have been blessed to dance with Andrey Gergel, owner of International Ballroom Dance Studio.

So far, we are running through basic rumba, waltz, shag and swing steps. There are more to choose from and so little time to decide! As a huge fan of Dancing with the Stars, I’m still pinching myself that the Charleston Chapter of the American Lung Association has offered me and my husband a chance to raise money for those who are hindered by various lung disabilities via our lowcountry version of Dancing with the Stars.

And it stays local… like us.

Each time Andrey introduces me around the studio, he always prefaces it by asking, “Do you know my celebrity, Kat Varn?”

It always makes me giggle and ask myself, Celebrity? Of what? I’m just Kat. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth– more of a blue-collar legacy. I can’t label myself in that I feel as if I have lived many lifetimes in my short 60 years. For me, Andrey is the celebrity.

So, not only do I get the joy of dancing with someone like Andrey whose body and passion for dancing will be a wonderful help — I can give back with help from friends and businesses. https://katvarn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Kat-Varn-Vote-For-Me.pdf

I’m so excited for this journey and promise to put my heart into the challenge for such a serious cause. I hope you will follow our progress and go on the website and vote for Kat and Andrey! Hopefully, we’ll strut our stuff March 29, 2019! Dance and song to be announced soon. Who knows? I could be the next Bobby Bones of Dancing with the Stars!

Vote for Kat & Purchase Event Tickets

Visit CharlestonOxygenBall.org to learn more (sponsorships also available).

Barbara K. McNally’s “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife”

My thanks to fellow author Dean Robertson for this guest contribution that first appeared in its entirety on her site in December, 2016. This was a book I loved as well… Dean’s thoughtful review speaks volumes!

unspecified-1A more unlikely group of healers you couldn’t ask for. There they are, laughing and lounging at a luxury hotel in Southern California, where they have come from all over the country for a few days of rest and rejuvenation that they badly need and have certainly earned… Continue reading

Runnymede – … a night of Funny-mede

fireflies-and-rubies The Middleton High School Class of 1976 cried for a ’40th reunion…’ in January, 2016. Not much time due to Charleston, SC becoming the hot event destination with brides flocking in their bridal gowns like our local egrets. But, as the heirs of the Reunion Committees resigned, we went into War Room mode, rolled up our sleeves, pulled out my weary duct taped folder of years of searching for classmates and met to discuss logistics at Bobby Bernstein’s office.

Strategically, Bobby strolled to the kitchen fridge and brought a cold bottle of Chardonnay and one glass. He sat it in front of me at the head of the table and gave me a healthy pour. What came next befuddled me as we had to choose the date to back into for location, catering, rentals and of course, hunting classmates. We knew it would be sometime near hurricane season. A non-negotiable for a Charleston Fall event.  Continue reading

Peace Out, Chaz

Chaz sleeping-editI owned the most gentle and eager to please mutt, Chaz. Back story: I am not a dog person—I’m a cat girl! Chaz migrated from my ex-husband’s home to my home sometime early 2000s. Eventually, my son graduated high school and Chaz remained in our home. My husband did the walking, feeding, playing and even showers with him once a week. I did potty duty during the day but it was on a leash and only as long as it took to get the deed done. Continue reading

Where were you when…?

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In the five decades I have lived and experienced, there is a common question among all generations…. Where were you when….? Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima? I am a baby boomer but I was not alive during the Great Depression or the Great Wars. My first deep childhood memory was the assassination my President, John F. Kennedy.

Looking back from my kindergarten eyes, I didn’t totally understand what had happened when sent home early from our school day. A couple days later, I watched my mother staring at our black and white t.v. in her ironing room as I quietly leaned against the doorway. The sobriety of his casket being pulled by a team of horses was eerily quiet. I’ll always remember where I was on November 23, 1963 and November 25, 1963. Continue reading

#IamCaitlyn

While I was diving in Roatan, I’d check my email for news from home. Unfortunately, one morning I opened my iPad and saw a horrific picture of a dog with her muzzle taped, preventing her from eating, barking or drinking. She was immediately taken to an emergency veterinarian center to be treated; they named her Caitlyn. The situation got global attention. Some may say… it’s just a dog. But it goes deeper…AR-150609329

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Christmas Traditions

Big Ass Santa GlassWe are in the last ten days of Christmas countdown. I see blogs, Facebook posts and other personalized media expressions of Christmas traditions. But to be politically correct (which I resent having to qualify such a simple term), it is understood that it reaches across the lines of many faiths and traditions. I look back into my own Christmas experiences and recall things that saturated my five decades of Christmas. One of my new adult favorites? Taking my Big Ass Santa wine glass off the top shelf!

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Is There a Halo in Your Life?

Let's_All_Go_to_the_LobbyLast Saturday night, my hubbie declared it Movie Date Night. Don’t get me wrong– I love date night– but he isn’t the best movie picker. We like to go to a locally owned and managed theater. A glass of chardonnay and some popcorn is my idea of an adult snack bar. So, at 9:00 a.m., we got on his Ipad and picked St. Vincent starring Bill Murray. I didn’t really understand the synopsis of the movie but I knew wine would make it all better, whichever way it fell. Continue reading

Her Grandfather’s Gun

I kept the postcard on my desk of this painting by my friend, John Carroll Doyle. It reminded me of the challenges of growing up in a career Navy family. The world lost the presence of John Carroll on November 12, 2014 and his artistic visions. I was not only privileged to be his friend, but he extended many opportunities to drop-in his studio as he painted. Nothing on canvas was placed without conviction and a deeper message. Her Grandfathers Gun-site_1 Continue reading