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…


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!


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.

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.!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!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.

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

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.

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.

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.

100 Words for Victory Girls

Eyes 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.

A woman named Volley

Blonde, quiet, German and kind. Volley was my childhood best-friend’s mom. Her house was always the safe, quiet place to be. Sandra, blonde like her mom, was my tried and true best friend. We stayed in touch as I visited my hometown through middle school. I have a fun photo of us at my mom’s house in Washington, wearing terrycloth “rompers”, all the rage of the early 1980’s. Just on the verge of becoming women.

Is it funny my most vivid memory of being at her house is when my hair caught on fire at their house and Sandra put it out? That smell is unforgettable, the other piece I realize now is how unfazed Volley was, perhaps reality was different, but I remember it well.

She was a great friend to my mom, helping her through my parents divorce, being a safe haven and one who understood and supported her decision to leave. My mother’s decision to leave her hometown, as I look back now, was incredibly brave and hard. She left many things she loved behind, but left some unhealthy stuff behind as well. I am so thankful for her bravery. I know my whole life is different and better because of her brave choice.

I think of my Mom often now, she died 10 years ago this fall, just after my youngest’s first birthday. I wonder where Volley is and know she would be sad to know my Mom is gone. I would love to say thank you to her to all she gave my mom and my family. Wherever you are Volley, thank you for the laughter, the safety and the support you gave us when I was too young to realize how much it meant- your visits, your cards, your kindness and friendship, all meant more than you will ever know.


For the darker days and deeper moments when we feel alone.

Remember we all live on this beautiful rock together.

Seeing, feeling and knowing together.

Finding ways to shine light into one another’s souls gives us purpose, shows us meaning.
And reminds us kind, loving words, can write a message so beautiful, brave and true, they are unforgettable.
They become written in the stone of our being, they inspire us to
be strong when we feel weak, and remind us that gift
is available to us all,
if we dare.
Dare to speak the words of love and kindness that linger,
on the edge or our lips,
and too often remain unsaid.

Sometimes there is no over, under, or around there is only though the terrible through.

There are times in life, things in life we would all like to avoid. Death, illness, loss. Today I was thinking about my Mom, it would have been her 72nd birthday on Friday. She has been gone for almost 9 years this year and it is less hard than it was, on most days. There are moments I wish I could talk to her, just for five minutes. She could help me unpack things no one else could.

I was thinking of my Mom because I recently read a post by Carin Towne, the mother of the late Ben Towne. Ben Towne died of cancer at the age of 3 and Carin was brave enough to share about losing him and I was reminded of losing my mother. While in no way does it compare with the loss of child, it is the closest I have come to that pain. All I could think of when she wrote about the howling, scorching pain, was how sometimes there is no over, under or around, only through, the terrible through.

For the days you wake up and for a moment, have forgotten the pain, only to have it come screaming back. How only after losing my mother-in-law in December, my favorite grandfather in January and my husband’s uncle in February did it all seem like too much. So after I had to cancel something I had committed to, telling them what was going on, and got “And?” as a response I knew I needed to start saying “No.”

So I did, I started saying “No” to playdates, “No” to volunteering, “No” to time with friends, “No” to NPR because even the radio just made me mad. I kept going until all I was taking care of was me, my two boys and my marriage. Only then did I even start to heal.

And the magical gift which appeared were the people who were still there, patient and loving, waiting for me to return. What I gained from saying “No” for so long, was the power of “Yes.”

The power of “Yes” is making sure every time I say “Yes” to something I support it 100%. No regrets, no complaints, just “Yes.”

This is a lesson I would never have learned without visiting that dark place, where “No” was the only word that helped.

I do not wish a horrible loss on anyone, but that kind of pain changes you and helps clarify what is truly important, it helps you find your “Yes.” And so, for that, I miss my Mom, Nikki, Grandpa and David, but if it weren’t for them, I would have failed to know the true power of “flexing my “No” muscle.”

Without “No” there can be no room for “Yes.”