Laurie Markvart's Diary



I started this blog and then stopped. And then started. And stopped. Primarily due to extreme heat in the Los Angeles area. Well, my laptop gets hot (bad battery). But the heat left weeks ago. So in between the heat going and me starting to write this again, I stopped. What’s my excuse? I have no idea. But I started writing again, so here we are. No longer in between.

The “in-between.” That time between saying you’ll do something and doing it. Like, when I said I’d write this blog and the time it was published.

In life, we are often in-between jobs, relationships, vacations, and places. The in-between can be exciting and fun. Or it can be frustrating and scary. It all depends on how we handle it. 

How about booking a vacation? Between the flight confirmation and the actual trip, I fantasize about vacation clothes, activities, and the restaurants I’ll visit. I also reserve the best deals at the best places in advance. There is nothing like the desired snorkel trip, and it’s sold out when you arrive because you didn’t book it. But vacation planning can get excessive. I know! I like to plan so there are no surprises, but it can be detrimental as I get anxious with “what ifs” during that in-between stage. That’s not how
to live! But I minimally want to know where I’m gonna lay my head. And let me tell you why.

Back in the late 70s, when my parents took us on long-haul road-trip vacations, like from Wisconsin to Florida, the only way my parents could get directions was through their travel memories and a foldable paper map. This was long before mobile phones, onboard navigation, and Google. My mom would sit passenger and navigator my father’s driving. This was fine until my dad would get hell-bent on seeing how far he could drive every day. It was like he’d be on a driving “bender.” Sure, we’d stop mid-drive for potty breaks or gas, but his personal driving goal would be forefront until he’d cave into my mom’s begging to pull over “for the kids.” At her urging, he’d surrender to the next motel at the next exit IF it had a vacancy. Or he’d keep driving for the next motel! And the hope that a restaurant was still open. Mom’s premade ham sandwiches and Chex snack mix could only get us so far. But a blinking motel vacancy light was a friendly beacon to my weary brother and me in the back seat. 

The glove box of our 1970s Plymouth station wagon was stuffed with many unsuccessfully unfolded maps. I was amused at my dad’s tenacity, apparent road vendetta, and my mom’s failed attempts to re-fold a paper map. I must say, it is an art to re-fold a paper map. Have you tried it? 

So, when I travel, I like to know my full itinerary ahead of time: Flights, hotel, is there a mini-bar or late-night room service? 

Oh, I have another “in-between” example. Say you bought a house but haven’t got the keys yet, but you’re already buying decorations at Target and fixtures at Home Depot? Whoops! I’ve done this one, home buying – twice, and purchased furnishings in advance! I think it’s normal to plan! There is a lot of fun in this. But I’ve learned with home buying that nothing is guaranteed until the contract is signed and the keys are in hand. Literally, the keys are in hand. Things can change, the result not being as expected, and you’re left with decorations and fixtures for a house you didn’t get. 

It’s normal to fantasize, plan, and prepare, yet it can take away from the present, especially when we can’t do a damn thing about the future. How about the in-between moment of taking a final exam at school and waiting for the results? Or waiting for pathology reports or blood test results? Filing your tax returns and waiting? So, it’s important how we handle the in-betweens. Because the in-between is all, we have. During these times, we must focus on being present and not worrying about what is to come. Easy for me to say, yes? No, it’s not easy. Cancer showed me the truth about scanxiety (anxiety over scans), so I’m learning to stay present between the scan and the result. Still sucks, though.

Now, I’ve had other in-betweens that were beautiful! My most anticipated and longest in-between was when I was pregnant with my son. During those nine months, the in-between, I was very excited about what he would look like, and I even fantasized as far ahead of who’d he become as an adult. It was a beautiful time, and I remember every moment while pregnant. The hopes and expectations. The burps, morning sickness, skin tags, the gorgeous belly, healthy silky hair, and the knowing I’d be blessed with a human who’d call me Mom. But as much as I thought about him during that nine-month in-between,  nothing prepared me for his full head of jet-black hair and dimples at his birth. Oh, those dimples. To this day, those dimples have won him many a mother-son battle. I never once thought about dimples during the in-between because that’s the point: the unexpected can and will happen with anything and everything. It can be unthinkable or beautiful.

While writing about this blog, I’ve thought about how I’ve been in-between. I finished this blog, yet during it, I floated between starting and ending many other moments of life – good and bad. And I remained as present as possible without worrying about what would come next except finishing this blog.

I wish you the best in-between for whatever or wherever you may be.

©Laurie Markvart

Memories in Boxes of Love in Storage Locker #39

I stumbled on a journal entry about my mom that I wrote in 2017, a year after she passed. I’m glad I kept it. And that I found it, stuffed between my other journals and books in a box labeled “stuff” at the back of my closet.

The journal entry now gives me insight into an agonizing time when memories were not formed but discarded.

When Mom passed, I was with her, an agreement we had previously made, and the experience hypnotized me. We were very close. Those memories of her departing are beautiful and crystal clear. But I have shreds of anxious, heartbreaking memories in the weeks, months, and year after her death, the year I refused to return to Wisconsin and sort out her belongings. No one was pressuring me to return. My brother and his family were dealing with their grief and were in no rush to sort through Mom’s stuff. Who wanted to go through a storage locker of someone else’s memories? Or was it our memories too?

A week after Mom’s death, I returned home to Los Angeles and back to an entertainment job I thought I could handle while processing grief. But was I processing? I sure put on a happy face and dove back into a job I was satisfied with, but it was not enough to distract me. Her memory infiltrated almost every hour of the day, and the idea of returning to her storage locker gave me an ache that meant I’d have to admit she was gone. So, I had no problem writing a monthly check for $119 to the storage unit in Wisconsin to hold her possessions, and apparently, my grief.

I was numb. I was a robot to my job, boyfriend, music, and my teenage son. That worried me the most. But her loss plagued me, and I thought, who was I, without the woman who made me?

Within two months of her passing, my son and I took a trip to Hawaii, in which I thought beaches, a Luau, and a rented Corvette convertible would uplift me; and provide my son and me time to regroup. But I discovered a Corvette or even Hawaii couldn’t fix a broken heart.

In the months after Hawaii, I fantasized what Mom would tell me about returning to Wisconsin to sort out her things. About getting my life back in order. How would she tell me to grieve her? I did feel an instinctive push to get back to music, writing and I’d find the answer on how to move on.

Six months after her passing, I quit my entertainment job and returned to writing a memoir I started in 2011. A memoir I thought was about me, but it became just as much about her, which in turn, is me. Unknowingly, writing the memoir became an outlet for me to process her death. As I continued writing through guttural tears, moments of laughter, and some anguishing and joyful memories, I knew I could handle the trip back to Wisconsin.

Finally, 15 months after her passing, in September of 2017, I returned home, and my brother and I opened her storage locker. The monthly payments kept her items safe from thieves but not from the ravaging season of Midwest summer humidity and frozen winter. Mold had grown up the legs of furniture and into boxes, papers, journals, and photos we didn’t think we cared about until we did. There was an odor to that storage locker that was part mold, mothballs, and dashes of her (which meant the smell of cigarettes and Fendi). It smelled like home. Which meant the woman I ached for over the past 15 months was now all around me. To sort through her belongings, notes, and writings, I knew I was getting the chance to know her again. And a chance to know the new me.

My journal entry from the day after opening Mom’s storage locker:

September 5, 2017, Wisconsin

I’m not sure how to connect my thoughts. I’ve come home. This is where she lived; I once lived. We all lived, and some still live. I’m here to clean out her belongings. To create space. To recoup costs. To close her physical life. To open mine. I look at her storage unit, and it just looks like stuff, shit. Before she died, all this stuff, this shit was vital to her. And I get it! We humans consume, create and collect stuff. Either physically or emotionally. I’m overwhelmed by her shit because I care about it. Much of her shit was about me, my brother, and our family. I care. Now, how do I separate her shit from mine? From protecting it to throwing or selling?

Today was travel from CA to WI. But it’s the first time I’ve come back home, and she’s not here. Tonight I rest. Tomorrow, I know there’s a lot of work. But also a lot of love. All documented in boxes. Boxes in storage unit #39, to be exact, of her.

© 2022 Laurie Markvart

“Karma Burrito” from “The Cut Collection” – Scenes, scenarios, and passages cut from my not-yet-released memoir.

This is the first post in my “Cut Collection.” A group of scenes, scenarios or passages deleted from my not yet released book, Somewhere in the Music, I’ll Find Me: a Memoir.

I kept these “cut” pieces in case they’d go back in the book, but at this point they’re scrap. But not the kind of scrap you throw. They’re saved like a baking spice, used once and then shoved back into the kitchen cabinet to maybe use later. Expiration date: unknown. 

I think karma is a “thing.” It’s defined as A powerful action bringing upon inevitable results good or bad in this life or the next. Yup, that’s a big “thing.” If you believe. I don’t practice Hinduism or Buddhism, but I respect both and dabble with some of their concepts and beliefs. Especially this one. I do think what we put out, we get back. It’s the whole “universe” thing. So, if I see someone in “karma peril” (I just made that up, I think?), I’ll mention it to them. This happened in my life, and I wrote it into my memoir. And then I cut it. But, I cut the scene only because it didn’t move the full story forward. Yet, the situation did happen, and I do believe it’s worth sharing. If anyone can learn from someone else’s “karma peril,” good karma then!

Cut Scene from the book: “Karma Burrito” 

Laurie Markvart – a forty-something singer – waiting to audition
Stephanie – a forty-something friend of Laurie, along for support
Trey – early twenties singer, fresh out of college – waiting to audition
Jacob – early twenties friend of Trey, along for support
Jackson- thirty-something, experienced singer – waiting to audition

What: A group of five acquaintances (including a pair of two good friends) is waiting with over 8,000 other attendees, to audition for the reality TV show, X-Factor. The group is in their third hour of waiting. The scene is told from the perspective of the author, Laurie Markvart.

Setting: Los Angeles Sports Arena parking lot. Warm weather, in the upper 70s, but comfortable. Most people remain calm even though everyone is packed in like sardines within galvanized safety/police type barricades. There has been no announcement from organizers. There is tension in the air for the pending audition, but most of all, excitement is prevalent – just like the energy of a crowd waiting to go into a major sporting event. Except, those who are waiting are the sporting event.

When: May 2011, Los Angeles


“I am starving! I’m gonna look for food,” Jacob announces to our group. He departs and makes his way through the crowd, tapping people as he slithers through the shoulder to shoulder attendees.

“I wonder if we’ll ever see him again?” I say with a laugh.

“He better come back. I’m his ride!” chirps Trey.

A mere five minutes’ passes and Jacob appears from the crowd, right back to his stance at our circle. He hasn’t broken a sweat nor lost his breath.

“Whoa, that was quick,” Stephanie says.

“Yeah, there was no line for food. The worst part is getting in and out of this crowd. But I got an awesome burrito. Check it out.” He shows it like a prized turkey he shot for Thanksgiving.

I must admit; the burrito looks damn good, beans, cheese, and chicken oozing out of the wrapper. I’m getting hungry. It’s almost noon, and we’ve been standing here since 9am.

Jacob takes a big bite and in between chews offers, “I don’t know when I’ll eat again. And I’m low on cash, so this is good!”

“How much was that?” Jackson chimes in.

“Eight bucks,” Jacob slowly replies his mouth full. After a gulp he continues, “But check it out, I gave the girl a ten, and she must have thought I gave her a twenty because she gave me twelve back. So, hey, I got this badass burrito, and I made ten dollars.”

With a quick snap of my head, I say, “You didn’t tell her?”

Jacob eagerly stuffs another bite in his mouth, cheese dripping off his lip, “Nah, I need the money. Oh, well, too bad for her.”

“Wow, that is bad karma,” I reply like a school teacher.

He lifts his head, sheepishly, “What do you mean?”

“Well, you just put something dishonest out into the universe. You lied. Don’t you know that what you put out comes back to you?”

After my brief rant, I look around for support. The rest of our group have their heads buried in their phones, or they’re not listening.

Stephanie looks up, eventually, with a snicker, “Laurie, it’s bad karma to call someone out on their karma. It’s like double karma.”

I shift my attention to Stephanie annoyed she may be killing the point I’m trying to make to the kid. Tapping my foot, I reply, “What are you talking about, Steph? If that’s the case, you just called me out on my bad karma by telling Jacob about his! Isn’t that the same? Are we now at triple karma?”

Steph looks at me with a blank stare, wrinkles her face in confusion and looks back at Jacob. “I’m confused now. Whatever’s,” she says, diverting her gaze back to her phone.

I adjust my footing and unfold my arms. I’ve been holding them tightly against my chest ever since Jacob disclosed his shenanigans. Maybe I need to lighten up.

“Look, I’m not the karma police, and I shouldn’t call you out on it because I don’t know the true deal with karma, but my point is, that girl is now short ten bucks, and it could get her in trouble,” I say. Stephanie hums the Radiohead song Karma Police. The entire group chuckles, except me. I nudge Steph’s arm with my elbow. She stops.

Jacob squirms a bit in his stance. He takes his final bite of the burrito, rolls up its foil wrapper and shrugs, hesitantly smiling in my direction.

Maybe he didn’t get my point, or he really needs the money. I do remember being that age. Short on cash and common sense.

©Laurie Markvart

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑