Get up!

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Trinity GET UP

Get up! Trinity says it to herself at the bottom of the stairs, before we even know who she is or what is happening we care and want her to get away! I’m hooked and I want her to make it to the phone booth! I feel like the people around me have been doing that for me, reminding me to get up and make it to the proverbial phone booth.

The moment I was thinking of today was when our friend, Joanna, came to visit. You see my mom died, we knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier, and I was lost. I was in a fog and just going through the motions when she called asking if they could come visit. I wanted her and her lovely daughter to come visit, it was close to Halloween and we knew it was a chance not to be missed so we said yes. Our son and Katya were only a year apart in age and our youngest was only one, I had some childcare arranged so we were able to do a few things with the older kids, ride the ducks etc. but the moment I remember, was my stairwell moment.

The two older kids were at school for the day and my youngest was in childcare, a rare moment for me to get away and we went clothes shopping. My mom had always taken me clothes shopping, so my heart was heavy that day when we went. We went to the store and had a lovely time. I chose a few things I wanted to try on, as did Joanna and we went into dressing rooms next to one another. As we were trying on clothes I put on a lovely sweater and looked in the mirror. When I did I was shocked, in my daze of grief, hostess and busy, I had left the house looking completely awful. I made a noise something like “oh NO” and Joanna asked if I was ok. When I commented I had just realized how awful I looked she said in her beautiful accent “Oh Thank God, I hadn’t wanted to say anything.” She was such an amazing friend to me in that moment and I will never forget it. She told me with love and gentleness I needed to at the very least make sure I looked in the mirror before I left was so wonderful. Her friendship was an immeasurable gift to me that day. She also ended up getting me a lovely scarf that day, in my favorite color, it is a piece I wear and treasure every winter. After 14 years that scarf makes me smile and reminds me the day my friend reminded me to take care of me. Thank you Jo.

In the now

bagpiper-bagpipes-elderly-man-63248Eyes crack open, shoulder sore. How did I end up sleeping on the floor?
Dorms may be nice, but geeze, twice?
Finding bagpipes in the morning followed by unlikely rain,
We’d do it again.
Finding myself at almost 50, many years used
Has left me thoughtful, happy and sometimes confused.
Making my way through and loving as I can.
Finding the journey fascinating, wondering do I have time for a tan?
Living in a country of prosperity
overwhelmed by a media obsessed with trying to convince me we lack
Just because they don’t like the guy in the back.

Whispers of the past

I sit in my living room having the privilege to preview a show for my son, I look over at the Legos, the ones he built sit quietly now. A whisper of a chapter closing, so slowly and so quickly, all at once here and gone. I have the privilege to sit here and remember I was here for the laughter, the frustration and the tears. To hear the loud noises and now the whisper as they fade. Fade into the past, another moment recognized, just after, that it was the last time. img_4179So privileged to be here and to remember. Things I never thought would mean so much, do so every day. The gift my mom gave me when she left, was the one of treasuring every single day I wake up and get to be on this side. This side where I can see, feel, laugh, love, hug, all of it. I will not regret time passing for every day I have is another one to be grateful for, I know too many people who would have given anything so simply still be here.

The scent of fire


The scent of fire,

Beach fire, burning, hissing,

wet and hot all at the same time.

Water boils from the logs,      images-1

they heat up and burn all at once.

The scent of the ocean,

the sound of the dogs dragging rocks around the beach.

Airplane fuel, halting laugh,

the sting of the sand as the helicopter lands on the beach.

Watching the fire get doused by the incoming tide,

safe in a blanket on grandma’s deck.

Squirrels bombing us with green pinecones

as we played in the woods, on the way to John’s Beach, so far away.

Concrete tube on the beach, half hidden in the sand, coated on the inside with mussels, play ’til the tide comes back in.

Singing by the beach fire,

laughing and playing as the sun goes down,  it’s 1 a.m.

in July the sun doesn’t go down for long…

 

 

The moment you didn’t realize it would be the last time…

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How many moments in your life do you recognize as the last time you will get to do something? We all seem to assume we will get to do it again. Yet I realize, especially with my kids, that really, every day is the last time. Each day I watch them change and grow, see them become new every morning.

They are the moments when your kids used to need you, that until they don’t one day, you don’t realize, that last time they asked you- would be the last, until afterwards.  These moments are all poignant and beautiful, but so many, we miss.

We notice these most when someone dies, yes dies. I abhors the phrase “passed away,” we ignore death and avoid the topic so much it makes me angry. When someone dies we are forced to see these last moments all at once, because they are over. My goal is to take these moments as they come, recognize as many as I can, and celebrate them. I believe this is why I have fewer regrets than most people I know.

I encourage you to look at today with fresh eyes and recognize, in your own way, what will never pass your way again. Simply take the time to see it and recognize it for what it is.

P.S. My dog is sleeping by the fire…

Why Marilyn never had a muffin-top!

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Image from LIFE Magazine

Why Marilyn never had a muffin-top!

The real reason- LOOK- her pants hit at her waistline! This same figure would have had a “muffin-top” if she were forced to wear today’s pants!

Here goes- O.K. world, fashion pet peeve, the “muffin-top”, and not for the reason you are thinking! I have a small muffin-top, however mine is created more, note I said more, by fashion than fat.

Why do I have a muffin top?

I need to do more sit-ups?

(Uh, yes, but that is  beside the point)

Do I am blame it on having kids?       (While they are not the direct cause there is only so much you can do when skin gets stretched!)

FACT: I weigh exactly 4 pound more today than when I graduated from college 21 years ago!

I blame it on the fashion industry for lowering waistlines to a ridiculous place- our hips!

It is called a WAISTline not a HIPline for crying out loud! Almost any woman can create a “muffin-top” on her hips- I challenge any woman with a decent figure to create a “muffin-top” at her WAIST!

Now that the 3-inch zipper trend which created more plumber-butts than the world should ever have been forced to see, the trend seems to be becoming kinder. I am looking forward to having a choice in my waistline- I love hipster pants, but would love to get some which hit a little higher so I wouldn’t have to feel like I am fighting the look of a muffin-top just to keep my pants up!

Fashion industry challenge- just label them honestly- don’t call them “hipster” call them “muffin-top makers” and see how many you sell!

 

One Year Off

Little did I know at this time last year I would step away from my blog- only to find 318 followers on my return!

We have this image up in our gym, to remind us of the soldiers- the land of the free because of the brave- and to be grateful for the simple things every single day.Spirit of the Green Beret

During the last year I completed my first marathon, got a new business off the ground and reconnected with many precious people in my life.

Today I sit in the sun, with my son, feeling a depth of gratitude it is hard to explain.

In life as in all things, having the right balance is everything. This does not mean everything is evenly balanced, but that whatever stage of imbalance you feel- is where you are supposed to be, and learn.

This weekend we will see old friends, I will visit a friend newly diagnosed with cancer, My eldest is on his first extended trip away from home, and I will write again.

Looking forward to more and grateful for all of you.

As my guide and friend often says, Onward!

 

Miscarriage, The Ugly Secret We Keep

Yesterday I learned a good friend had a miscarriage, she was 6 months along.

She had intended to surprise me with the news at a Thanksgiving party last week, but it turned out to be on the day she went to the doctor to learn there was no longer a heartbeat.

baby feet image, angel

Thanks to Heather for sharing this image.
flickr.com/photos/31403074@N00

When we spoke I told her I had gone through the same thing, though at 3 1/2 months along.

What hit me was the feeling she of shame she shared, that she had not told me she was pregnant, but she very much needed my support in her grief. The word “selfish” was what came up. How is it selfish to need help when you are grieving?

How is it this loss is something we expect people to not talk about, not mention, not share! This pain, so unique and so acute, and so unmentionable. It is as if you made some ugly mistake and shouldn’t talk about it.

When you have a miscarriage people say stupid, horrible things like “It’s better this way,” “You can always have another one,” and “It was meant to be.” I say bullshit! These are words only people who have never faced this could say! How can you tell a woman whose heart is broken, who chose to share this loss with you at all- that it was meant to be!

Because I have lived this too I was able to ask my friend if she got to hold the baby when it was delivered? If they took pictures (YES I said it took pictures of her baby, who was dead), and if they had a service.

If you have felt this loss, you will understand the acute pain that comes with never holding the baby that lived inside you, never seeing it, having no photos. My one regret is I didn’t get a copy of the ultrasound image of my baby before it was gone.

We went through four miscarriages and have two beautiful sons. When we were finally blessed with our second son (order went like this, one miscarriage, one live birth, three miscarriages, one live birth) I looked at my husband and my best girlfriend and said “I have a baby!” The people in the delivery room, I am sure, thought I was a bit dim, but by then, had been pregnant four times, and only once, had been able to keep and hold my baby.

So for all of you out there who have had a miscarriage, no matter how far along you were, share it. There will be a day and a person in your world who is SO thankful you get it- and maybe we can end the shame and stigma that come with this ugly secret we keep.

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=pirates+of+the+caribbean+jack+sinking+boat&hl=en&biw=1200&bih=673&tbm=isch&tbnid=A2-u1n_xdmOlKM:&imgrefurl=http://pirates.wikia.com/wiki/File:Jack_and_Sinking_Jolly_Mon_COTBP.jpg&docid=rZyUMaebmssF_M&imgurl=http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110317222324/pirates/images/archive/5/56/20110428164502!Jack_and_Sinking_Jolly_Mon_COTBP.jpg&w=1017&h=431&ei=tsl7T-aOFMmUiQKx9_hi&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=419&sig=112215829806165423212&page=1&tbnh=81&tbnw=192&start=0&ndsp=16&ved=1t:429,r:14,s:0&tx=108&ty=41

Dancing with the Devil

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=pirates+of+the+caribbean+jack+sinking+boat&hl=en&biw=1200&bih=673&tbm=isch&tbnid=A2-u1n_xdmOlKM:&imgrefurl=http://pirates.wikia.com/wiki/File:Jack_and_Sinking_Jolly_Mon_COTBP.jpg&docid=rZyUMaebmssF_M&imgurl=http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110317222324/pirates/images/archive/5/56/20110428164502!Jack_and_Sinking_Jolly_Mon_COTBP.jpg&w=1017&h=431&ei=tsl7T-aOFMmUiQKx9_hi&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=419&sig=112215829806165423212&page=1&tbnh=81&tbnw=192&start=0&ndsp=16&ved=1t:429,r:14,s:0&tx=108&ty=41

Seeking this kind of grace in ditching my leaky ship

There are moments in life when you realize you just danced with the devil. Now don’t worry I haven’t been doing anything truly scary. This is the kind of stuff we look at every day and often fail to see as that dance… Losing our temper, laying down a guilt trip, struggling to re-write a deeply ingrained script.

You know those scripts, the ones which were laid down for you, time and time again by someone you love, trying to teach you….something. Whatever it was and whatever that voice in your head says or what comes out of your mouth on occasion- this is what I call dancing with the devil. You see he is sneaky, he breaks things, a crack at a time. Rarely does he show up in such a way that we can see for what he is.

When we do recognize it, it’s usually on the news or is in the form of the person who sets off every alarm bell in your head, every hair on your neck and every flag your senses can throw at you to get away…. But those times are fleeting and it is that every day dance I fight with most.

Working on rewriting some OLD scripts, and it is hard. Trying to see the pattern before it comes out of my mouth…sigh.

And so, my quote for today comes from Warren Buffet- “In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

Working on ditching my leaky boat!

F*#K the Goody Bag!

OK, if you know me, swearing is not off limits- I just read this article and it got me going.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/avantgo/2017750670.html

Obviously the people at the Seattle Times didn’t READ the article they put the photo with- the photo of a store in New York (ugh) called Doodle Doos- DEDICATED to children’s birthday party favors. Now why was this photo wrong for the article? The article is talking about how the trend of children’s goody bags have gotten out of hand! And you feature a STORE for goody bags! UGH!!!!

Since when are kids goody bags supposed to rival what adults get at conventions... cute bag though- image from them http://www.skiphop.com

This trend has bugged me since my eldest started going to parties  and the bags keep getting bigger. When he was young I decided if I was going to do this whole “send them home with something” routine I would make is special, and not something expensive or cheesy! For one of my son’s parties I sewed Harry Potter hats for everyone (total cost about $20 and 2 hours) another one I made capes for everyone (also total cost about $20 and 2 hours). These were fun gifts the kids used at the party and then got to take home to play with for a long time and wouldn’t end up in the garbage.

I love to have birthday parties at my home, it gives me a chance to meet the kids I hear about outside of the highly structured “playdate.” It is amazing to me how we have made everything need a goody bag, prize, award or something else. What ever happened to thank you for coming?

OK, rant done, glad I don’t live where a goody-bag store can actually stay in business! Or do I……

Today I ran in my underwear…

So, today I ran in my underwear. It was Cupid’s Undie Run in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood- one of the few which would not have protests regarding a bunch of people running around in their underwear! It was hilarous and so much fun!

Running in your underwear, cold, humbling and hilarious

What I learned today:

1    Fashion Tape can make any decent underwire bra work as a decent jog bra for a SHORT run.

2     Underwear runs are much more popular with 20-year-olds interested in drinking BEFORE they run

(not that this was a surprise mind you- just fun to watch)

3     I was not too old to run fast, not so worried about my self image to care if I looked perfect in my silly outfit, and knew enough to come with friends!

4     Regular nylon stockings keep you pretty warm and might be a good idea for a longer, cold run I want to wear shorts, but am concerned about being cold!

5     It felt good to go run for a cause and have a good laugh while we were at it!

And finally, this was training of a different sort, you see I know there will be moments in the Tough Mudder where I will feel VERY humble, this was an excellent training exercise in humility!

A Long Way from “Home”

Here I sit in my home office, everyone settled and here I am working on building my blog- love sharing photos so here is one from “home.” Which feels very far away tonight.

Home in this photo is just outside Ketchikan, Alaska. This is the place which calls to me. I miss the community born of true reliance on one another. If you go hunting and have trouble or don’t come back when you should- it is going to be your friends and neighbors or Search and Rescue coming to get you- which is also full of your friends and neighbors… Small town rules, what are they? In my opinion they go a lot like this…

Be good to everyone, you never know who will be saving your butt!

Don’t talk badly about others, you are probably within earshot of their mom or sister!

Be generous and honest, always, because it matters.

Recognize talent and beauty and call it out- bring it the attention it deserves.

Try not to get too irritated with the fact that everyone knows everyone else’s business because it is a small town- these are the things the rest of the world misses! People in big towns- most often complain of feeling disconnected and out of touch- they want what you have-neighbors who know all the details whether you want them to or not!

To Southeast Alaska, I miss you every day, but love where I am- less rain- however I hear you calling and wish Alaska Airlines didn’t charge so much to get there. I can usually fly to Miami for less than going to Ketchikan- go figure.

Small words, big impact.

downloadYou get what you focus on in this world. Focus on frustration, it shows up, focus on joy, it will show up too in equal force. Not every day do you get what you want, that is what faith is for. Faith will get you through and I am not talking necessarily about faith in a certain god. I am talking about faith in yourself and the world around you. The world is out to do you good, not bad; the world is conspiring to help you, not hurt you.

Today you might be sick, tired, grieving, frustrated, hollow, lonely or all of the above, but take a moment, celebrate you are HERE, breathing! You have the power to do good for someone else, a quick text, a phone call, a note to someone you care about telling them a fond memory, something you appreciate that they did for you? Take a moment to make someone smile. Sometimes it is the smallest thing that can make the biggest impact.

I wanted to share a small moment which made a big impact with you to remind you how small something can feel and what a huge impact it can make. I saw a friend of mine a few years back, one I had known since elementary school, and we were at her house having a small party. It was there I overheard her, telling one of the other guests how we knew each other. She told a story of how she had overheard me describing her, in detail to someone. I had been telling one of my friends how beautiful I thought she was, how her hair was black, but had blue highlights and how her skin was the most lovely shade. I had no idea she overheard me, but she was telling her guest that that was the first moment in her life she truly felt beautiful. My description changed how she thought of herself when she looked in the mirror every day. That ripple I made had power for her and was still impacting her 25 years later, you have done this for someone, has someone done this for you that you should tell? It just might make their year. Go share the moment that changed you with the person who did it- they probably have no idea how much of an impact they made!

“It’s not your brain; it’s your cage.”

 

monkey free in cage

“It’s not your brain, it’s your cage.” Whether you know it or not, you have built your own cage. Your world is what you make it, you put all the things, people and choices around yourself. Everything you do is a choice.

Feeling caged to me means you stick with the familiar, all the time. All your friends agree with you on politics and everything else, it is a choir of people who all think the same. All the groups you associate with, work, church, volunteer, at your kids school, are filled with people who you are sure think like you do.

When was the last time you had a discussion with someone who has a point of view you don’t agree with? Do you think anyone who thinks things you don’t agree with are a threat, do you demonize them? Talk about them like they are monsters?

You may have friends who don’t agree with you, but haven’t shared their thoughts because they are afraid to discuss their questions for fear of losing your friendship or having their idea attacked. Starting to see those bars yet?

Our world is full of screaming voices, trying to convince you our country is the worst cage, we are all selfish, racist and cruel, when in reality our cage is beautiful! Does our country have problems? Of course. Are there people suffering? Yes, should we help them? Hell ,yes. But we can’t do that if we are fighting each other, the only moral high ground it taking care of each other, not tearing each other apart.

So I am going to remind you of what the news media won’t. They know if they don’t make you scared and angry you might come to your own conclusions and then they will be out of a job. I’m here to remind you our country is full of truly amazing, talented, giving, kind, hard-working people. It’s hard to remember this when the sound system being piped into your cage is one telling you the “others” are to blame. When anyone you don’t understand, agree with, or dislike has become ” evil” you are in a cage of your own making. Isn’t it time to open the cage door and explore? Open the door, the rest of the world is waiting to meet you…

 

 

 

Baggage and the “Worthy” shirt

Baggage, we call it that because it can be heavy, and in my mind more importantly, it can be put down and left behind. What baggage are you carrying? Is it the ugly, large, heavy leather bag labeled “you can’t”? Or the other one, the worn out, grubby black back with too much wear on it, this one is labeled “Why you?” And last of all the one the size of a briefcase, but weighs as much as a small VW, it’s labeled “You’re not worthy.” Now, because it always comes to mind when this word comes up…

.tenor

It bring to this word…. worthy.

It is such a funny word, it wasn’t until it entered my world with force a while back it got my attention. When my Dad was getting re-married one of my good friends had said she wanted to meet his bride-to-be to ensure she was “worthy” of him. We laughed, but something about that word stuck in my mind and when we went on our first family vacation together my new Mom got us all “Worthy” shirts. I was amazed at how much this shirt meant to me. I felt sheepish about wearing it, but it made me feel so good inside. I felt seen. It’s hard to explain, but it obviously was helping fill a hole I didn’t even realize was there.

Just in case you needed to hear it today, “You are worthy!”

Perhaps the next step is the “Worthy” shirt- mine was royal blue with just the word “Worthy” embroidered in the same blue on the left side, right over your heart.

Music is my running partner

Creating a playlist has a special place in my heart. I remember when it was hard, when I had to hover by the radio with my cassette player cued on pause to start when I heard my favorite song. Evolving through CDs which were never worth anything for playlists, then on to digital. Going for my first Ipod and going from there.

Today I went out with a purpose, to hit a pace with my running partner, and the only tool I had was the one which has taken me through hundreds of miles of runs- my playlist. I have a playlist set for a certain pace, because it allows me to focus solely on the music, to push through the discomfort and distraction of running without it. Perhaps my brain just needs the distraction, but today was beautiful. Running in time to the music helps me set my body to pace and push myself in ways I can’t without it. So I realized, my music is company, inspiration and sometimes, coach.