Tuesday, November 01, 2016

I have some friends that hate when people hide things.  And I not only understand that, but I love that they feel that way.  I love that they are so passionate about people being open and honest and real that they'd much rather hear bad news than see a smiling, dishonest face.

I've got to say, I'm not one of those people.  I feel very strongly about being who you really are, being honest and sincere.  But I feel equally strongly that your core does not belong to them. You do not belong to them.  You belong to few.  You belong to one. You belong to you. You belong to who you choose to share you with... and that is wildly beautiful to me.  I like looking at a person I know somewhat, and knowing they are concealing things from me - beautiful things, sincere things, their things.  I admire those people.

It makes it that much more wonderful when one of your few share one of those concealed pieces with you - maybe it's only for a moment, a timely secret, painful or happy, or maybe it's forever, a piece of them.

My world has grown so much smaller in the past few years.  Less ears, less voices.  In my old world, we used to always have to tell everything, to almost everyone, and everyone else would tell the rest anyways.  Talking.  Telling.  Sharing.  So little keeping.

I love the keeping.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I turn 30 in a couple months.  And I have a lot of time to think about it right now, which I think is good.  I haven't had a lot of "thinking" time over the past 10ish years, you know, time to just uncomfortably sit in myself so to speak.  So we've been doing that, we've been thinking and feeling.  We've been looking at situations from an older, different angle and we've been giving ourself room to feel things - feel wronged and feel wrong.  Feel happy, feel powerful, capable, pretty or not pretty. Feel shame. Feel injustice. All the feels. (All the royal we's as well.)

Lately I've been sitting with a big ? - like a REALLY big question mark.  I'm pretty tired of most everything there is to see, do, consume on a daily basis.  Yesterday I scrolled through the "explore" section of Instagram, looking for something refreshing - something that isn't puppies (I have a lot of those on my feed!), pretty moms in very gradient-colored homes with children dressed in fancy linen onesies (I follow a lot of those), house plants, white subway tile... I genuinely like all of these things, but I'm just sort of...full.  I need something refreshing, like sorbet to my Instagram, and my Facebook, and my days!

I'm a writer, but I don't want to write more of all the same. I don't want to start a blog on tiny homes or being a puppy mom or a newly wed.  So, the question mark.... and the looking, or waiting, and sitting.

We take a lot of walks when it's not pouring rain (the pup and me, not the royal we), and I've been reading. We've done some house projects.  We clean.  We think about how we are two months away from 30 - and we don't want to waste our life.  Nor this season of life where I get to course correct - where I get to catch up - where I can move nearly any direction I want to go! It's a good life.  And I don't want to be a consumer - so I try to buy less, shop less, try to not fill my time with pastimes that require purchases.  Because purchases are not progress.

30 in a couple months... and here's what I know that I didn't know ten years ago, or even five. You're stuck with you.  You aren't stuck with anyone or anything else. Relationships are a gift we hope and pray we are blessed to keep, but deep down you only have so much control of that. When you have a spouse, care for them like hell, but while you're waiting you should know - you're still always going to be with you. When you're 20, 30 or 90. Somehow, being married, I feel like the "me" is even harder to ignore in the room now than when I was single.  And I love that I have a husband that fully supported my goal for this year to be a healthier me - mentally, physically and spiritually. So two months left - we've made some progress, we have more to make... and we have a big question mark as to what this healthier, truer me is really all about - how she spends her time and what inspires and refreshes her and what valuable contribution she holds the capacity to give this world.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Last night I dreamt that our airbnb guests showed up a day early to just "check out" the place - the whole family trotted into the yard, across the patio and began heading into the house! I had to explain to them that that is NOT how this works.

Then I started debating if it was an honest mistake, or if they were sizing up my house!  Kids in tow!

We might spend a bit too much time on airbnb. ;)


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

I quit my job.

Most of you probably know that/have figured it out by now.

Here's what I don't know -

Have I quit the industry?
Have I quit 'my career'?
What is next?

People are asking what the plan is - what's next? And I want to jump in and say "Build my own business.  Offer communications and marketing support for small businesses I believe in."  But, that's not what today is about.  Today is a crazy gift where I get to let go of all pressure, direction, preconceived ideas, and experience - and reconsider... who am I? What am I good at? And more importantly - What do I believe matters? What makes me happy? What thing ADDS to me when I give it?

So, while a definite piece to me thinks - this business is "next" - and truth be told, it has a name and a url and an unpublished website... I'm letting it float out there, because it may not be what's next.

I don't know what is next. 

I know I've always loved to write.  I'm going to figure out if I still love it. 

I know I am a romantic - and I know I need to find a way to FEEL the romance in life and business all over again. I know I care more about doing than saying (a true problem for a "writer" - and something I'll have to tease out).  I know I cry when I listen to the symphony.  I love the taste and ceremony of a good glass of wine.  I love the heart of cooking a meal for people I love - but hate the pressure of preparing something people can rate/compare/time.  My dinners will be hours late. Plan on it.  They will almost always be something new.  They might actually not taste good.  I love the stars.  I love fires. I loves stories. I love feeling deep and close to another human being.  I love the magical moment when you realize you have found a new place in this world where you are safe.

I know these things, but beyond that, I really don't know much.  And right now, I get to step back and try to discover new things I know. 

I am one lucky woman.  I happen to have a man beside me who is better at letting people "not know" than anyone else I've ever met. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

I have been counting down the days until the end, then resetting and counting down again for so many months now it's hard to believe it's really the LAST WEEK!

We're not quite sure what's next and that is a bit unnerving, but it doesn't touch how exciting it is to be saying goodbye to something that just didn't feel right. We're doing our best to hold on to the unknown and not to fill the spaces immediately... the goal is to leave room and discover along the way.

Come Friday, I'll be spending time with my ENTIRE family, celebrating my parents' retirement and swimming in my own new freedom to create/work/dream/garden/write/cook away!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Things

As we live more of our days out in the same fashion, the same rhythm, the same pattern - it becomes increasingly harder to deviate. Doesn't it?

Saying yes was once so easy - yes to hikes, drives, cliffs, unknowns. But the older we become the less we say yes.  Now I'm not sure if that's because we have less time or more responsibilities or if it's as I assume, merely we're out of the habit, but it's a widely accepted fact that the older we become the more risk-adverse we become in our choices and behaviors. 

Can I just remind you all - trying something new is so damn refreshing? 

It's scary and it will likely reacquaint you with what it feels like to be bad at something. But that's okay, because it's your first time!  And how glorious is it to remember what a "first time" feels like?  So maybe today, try something new.  Eat a food you might not like.  Read a book in a genre you've never touched.  Take a drive, schedule a class, buy some paintbrushes or sit outside a coffee shop and talk to someone who looks totally different from you - ask them something about themselves.  Maybe join a group, join a march, I'd say join a conversation - but for most of us, I think we talk plenty - what we need is to do something, do something completely new.  Something fun!  Something scary!  Something that reminds us we are still explorers.  And that we might not yet know ourselves as well as we thought.  We may have in fact changed into someone new in all those years we've spent living out a life of rhythm and pattern. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Importance of Goodbye

I think we can all agree that goodbyes are the worst. No matter how small, or big, saying goodbye to a favorite person, place, pet or even pastime can quite literally break our hearts and leave us aching for years to come.

But the only thing worse, is not getting the chance to say goodbye.  A sudden end.  I've been contemplating this on a number of fronts lately and it has me thinking about the value of goodbye.  Just skimming the surface here, but a few of my thoughts:

Goodbye shows you who a person really is.
With nothing left to gain, and little to nothing left to lose - how a person chooses to treat another when saying goodbye speaks of nothing but who they really are - loving, kind, patient, or not.

Goodbye shows you who a person really is to you. 
Relief or sadness, perhaps fear or insecurity - when we cut ties, our emotional response tells us a lot about what we looked to that person (or thing) for, and who they became to us.  Sometimes it surprises us what surfaces.

Goodbye shows you who you are. 
It's not a summary of your being - but you're bound to learn a few new things whenever you say goodbye - you'll learn about fight or flight, about your perspective of yourself, and about what you really want.

Friday, June 24, 2016

I Hope I'll Remember

When a tiny human cries and cries and refuses to sleep, and I'm exhausted and emotional and way past my limit... I hope I'll remember to be grateful that tiny humans, at least at the start, can't jump on your face. And bite your nose at 1am, and 2am, and 2:15am, and 3am... until two poops and a few pees later when they decide it is officially time for fetch and nothing else. And should you fall asleep amidst said fetch, thankfully tiny brand new humans, don't jump on your face and smash a wet, stinky stuffed bear into your head until you wake up, tear the bear away from them, and throw it. So they can jump off the couch, using your chest as a launching board, run and get the bear, jump up on the couch, jump on your face... and repeat from the hours of 4am to 7am.

Yes, I hope I'll remember to be grateful - that the baby can't jump on my face to bite me yet.  And that I not only chose that tiny human, like I chose that tiny hairy creature years before, but that I desperately prayed for both.

Monday, June 06, 2016

You Have Time

John and I were late to work today.  We were already late to work - and since we were riding his moto to work, we decided to stop off for a quick espresso along the way. A quick espresso turned into something more like a quick breakfast and suddenly we were sipping macchiatos on a sunny street, reminiscing about Paris.  Which re-engaged a thought from last Friday...

I was running errands on my lunch break, trying to get everything set so we could leave for a weekend trip right from work.  I'd been late to work, because I had to finish flipping the cottage, watering the yard, feeding the chickens.. etc. For two days straight, I was running, and I was running behind.

I looked around, and it seemed everyone else was too. Even on a sunny Friday afternoon, all of Seattle seemed to be in a hurry.  And in the back of my mind I remembered how different a scene Paris seemed.  I felt like no one in Paris was working, except for the restaurant staff.  People filled cafes along the street and watched life as they sipped vino... people who were speaking French... on a weekday... during the workday. And it wasn't just that they were taking long lunches or coffee breaks or whatever the literal thing that was happening happened to be, it was that they were walking and talking and tasting as if they had all of their lives ahead of them.

This morning, late to work and sipping a macchiato on a Monday, I tried to explain the thought to John - It's as if they live like they have time - - - and we don't.  And that's it. That is what was bubbling somewhere in my brain, trying to take shape - Americans, or Seattleites, or just me - we live like we don't have enough time. We rush, we schedule, we list-make, we rush again and try constantly to 'catch up' and 'get ahead' or return from 'falling behind.'  How many of our phrases are rung tightly around this concept of racing with the clock?

So I was late to work today.  And I'm okay with that, because we sat for probably only 30 minutes in a coffee shop, but it was Monday morning and we chose to live like we had the time to.  Because we do. We have a whole day ahead of us.  We rode the bike - we took the long way - we stopped for espresso.  It added probably 45 minutes to our commute.  And what is 45 minutes when you have your whole life ahead of you?  I'll tell you - it's a good conversation with the one you love. It's a centeredness when you walk into the office. It's that strange feeling you get on vacation like the world around you is unknown and uncontrollable, but your life is your own. It's the feeling that you have time. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I know it's still Thursday, but I'm dreaming of the weekend! And my only goals are:

  1. go for a hike
  2. finish my book
  3. get Krispy Kreme ice cream!

Is it Friday yet!?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We are getting close to the halfway mark on the year - for me, the last year before 30.  I set very few goals this time around, trying to pick just a few with the power to change my life.  One, was get a dog.  And boy has she changed our lives.  For the better for sure too - I feel like we're more engaged, we have to be. And while it's tiring that we can't just cuddle up on the couch whenever we want (because landshark loves to attack whatever she can reach when we sit on the couch), we're going for more walks, we're out in our yard, we're having conversations and learning new things and trying different problem solving. Plus, she's a loving little fur ball that knows we're her people and that's a pretty fantastic thing to be the recipient of! She's amazing. And we're pretty sure she's going to be a really cool dog as she continues to grow up.

Another goal was to go outside more.  Which as mentioned, Magnolia Grey helps with quite a lot. ;) Though as the summer warms up I hope we'll use our weekends for more camping, hiking and all around exploring.

There are a few others as well, some I thought I'd have checked off by now.  And I could have, but it would be jumping the gun, giving myself the quick release we all crave.  And right now, I'm learning some really important lessons. After a looooooong time of John asking me night after night questions that surmount to "what can you do to change this?" And me getting annoyed because I felt like he was making the situation smaller than it was - if I could change it, I would, duh..... I guess I'm learning that I can change it.  Or some of it maybe.  Or I can at least make a strategic plan and follow the uncomfortable steps week by week in order to change the situation even if I can't change the people. And that's a pretty remarkable lesson - you can't change people.  But you can change situations. You might still find that it's not the right situation for you to be in, especially if the people refuse to make changes themselves - but learning that you have the power to change the situation you are in, the structure of the environment, and building up the power and conviction to create those changes - through a very tiring and long process... that's something worth going on the annual goals list.  Don't you think?

Another item on my list, which gives me a very similar feeling is my Guardian's List goal.  I've been reading through the Guardian's list of the top 100 novels ever written since I worked at LLF, about 5 years ago. (Right?) I average about 5 books a year off the list, that is typically my goal.  This year, I decided I wanted to be halfway done with the list by my 30th birthday!  That meant 14 books from the list in 12 months.  Which may not sound incredibly challenging, but to a slow reader like me - it is!  So here I am in a marathon of reading I feel - book after book after book.  I have 6 months left to go, and 10 books!

These aren't the only two goals that require this slow, daily, constant attention.  Like rolling a giant ball one revolution day after day after day - hoping you're moving forward.  I so badly want to just start making ruckus and crossing off boxes! But I guess that's not what this year is about. This year is little and a lot. Little, little, little and a lot.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Life isn't fair.  It's tough.  It's sweet.  It's unforgiving.  It's only too generous.  It's a cold-hearted mistress. If anything, it's unpredictable and unreliable.

When my sister administered a marriage exam out of her book yesterday, John listed my core life values as: love people well and be consistent. Something like that.  I thought "yes! That's it."  I added, "and be true." He'd boiled me down so well!

That's right.  In this unreliable world - I'll be reliable.  And I'll love the people who are reliable for me.  Consistently kind - to my face, and when I turn around.  To me, that is everything.

This morning I'm thinking I might have things wrong - not the kind - love - true part... but the whole over-intense value of working hard, following through, chewing whatever you bite off... even when swallowing it makes you gag. Which is of course the living out of 'love - reliable - kind' for two people who love to make big promises and dream even bigger!

I'm kind of a pain in the ass wife sometimes.  Too often I remind John "this is the life we chose."  It's a sort of quiet threat, don't complain and don't you dare quit. So we work and we work and we work.  I didn't realize this quiet threat before of course, because I've been saying it to myself for a decade - maybe two.  And there's certainly value in the message.  I think the world would be a lot better with about 200% more follow through. In fact, it's one of the things that drew me to John - his kindness, his follow through, his sincerity.

Still, I'm regularly baffled by how EVERYONE loves him.  Don't get me wrong, I think he's the greatest person alive.  But there are a lot of great people out there that get misunderstood and 'disliked' in a moment's breath.  It's like a rule of life: People get misunderstood and judged.  Not John. I've only ever seen people love him immediately.  And while I'm sure there's more to it than this - a major part of it is, he's kind.  He won't say a bad word about you - and somehow, people must be able to feel that immediately.  He must put off a silent message that echoes in a passerby. And it says a lot more I'm sure, but to me that echo said, "kind - honest - trustworthy - fun."

And that fun, man! When I'm reminded that this life could end at any moment, I only wish for more fun! Because life, it isn't reliable. And it isn't always kind.  Life is as generous as you want it to be, but it will deal you out joys and agonies in wild measures. And life doesn't listen to my silent threats.

Like I've said, I'm not a minimalist.  I don't see "simple".  I'm trying!  I want to!  But, right now I see a complex equation I'm trying to balance - kind, true, loving, consistent, fun, they are all in there to some power. A life well-lived means little moments and big moments. Spending ourselves in little and big ways to make big impacts in little and big places. It means working hard even when it's inconvenient. But it also means enjoying your people.

If I were to be given the '6 months' - I'd want to spend every moment I could cuddling, hiking, gardening, dancing, playing, kissing.  The fun!  But, after those 6 months, I'd want to be remembered for great kindness too.  I'd want to be remembered as someone who was there - a person always up for a good time, and never scared away by a bad one. Perhaps it is the difference between, what memories do I want to have versus what legacy do I want to leave?

How do you balance that when as far as you know, you have a lifetime?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Life is full of so many choices. Mint chocolate chip or oreo ice cream? (both) This job or that job? Greece or Paris?  Greece or Paris or savings? (real) Say yes to girls night or say no and stay home with a good book and a candle?  Read said good book or actually do laundry and clean the kitchen?

Never-ending-choices.  Which when evaluated, I don't actually see where "simplicity" arises.  Is it in the book or the laundry?  The fun evening fostering new meaningful relationships, or home being content all alone?  I love the idea of simplicity - I might even crave it - but I just don't see it in the choices.

Is it in working less hours or is it in being happy to put in the hours toward the long-term dreams? Is simplicity doing less today?  Or is it seeing that the long-term matters and therefore being happy in whatever today requires?

I guess maybe I'm just not a simplicity girl.  It's hot to be a minimalist.  But like I said, I want the twist cone.  I'll take a scoop of both please.  I'll do the laundry, clean the kitchen and then try to read the book.  I spend most all of my life with a "yes, and please." And maybe that's okay. Maybe I just don't see simple.  I see priorities.  I see plans and steps and layers and a million little details.  I don't revel in the ocean or the waves - I scan the rocks on the beach and collect a handful of strange broken shells and spotted rocks.  I see the details and can't ever seem to white wash them all to be "simple." I wish to God life were more simple, but for me it's always choices.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Around Christmas, John confessed that he had several presents for me that he couldn't find.  I offered to help.  I'm really good at finding stuff, guys.  (Especially presents!) But he said no. 

Months later, I was putting away a sweater in his closet and stumbled across a tiny treasure trove!  I saw boxes... little boxes that could only be for me... little Madewell boxes.  (Pure delight!) Like a responsible adult I moved away quickly and told John what I thought I'd spied.  Sure enough!  Ever since, I've been asking him about these little treats and when I can have them.  He always says he'll give them to me on some random, unnamed day.  So I keep asking.  "Today, can I have a little something that's in your closet?"  "Today?"  "I could really use a little surprise today.  Maybe something from your closet?"  There's another from Europe too that he told me I could have when we got back... then for Christmas... now, he won't give days.  

Yesterday, I asked again. I really felt I deserved a treat. And it turned out he did too!  In fact, he agreed so quickly I thought he was tricking me.  I spied the little box he pulled out and mistook it for a Toblerone box... which was not what I had seen in there people. And it is unkind to let your wife think she's getting a tiny Madewell box and instead give her a candy bar from the hardware store. 

Thankfully, that is not the man I married.  He quickly stowed the mistaken box in a brown bag and handed it over. He said "this is because you are fierce and cute" as he handed me the bag.  

Some days, you think you want Madewell earrings, but you realize quickly that what you really, really wanted was a cool Buck knife. And what you wanted most of all was a man who'd buy you one for no reason and then hide it in his closet until a random Wednesday when you braved a tough talk at work. 

I deserved a treat - not earrings, but a knife.  Because I'm tough.  And I'm cute. :) 

I hope today you get a little something good that you weren't expecting.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

John and I were both wondering this morning, why can't doctors be as awesome as vets??

I mean, this guy's job includes sticking a thermometer up my pup's butt, and yet he makes sure to personally call me the next day to tell me everything is okay and what things I should watch for in her health.  The 10 minute voicemail ends with "I'm not in the office now, but I'll be there from 2-4 if you'd like to call me back to talk more." Oh, wait, you called me the day after our visit, and you aren't even at work?

This is the second vet we've seen at the clinic up the street from us.  It was our first try at a clinic, and they have both been incredible!

Meanwhile, I've been looking for a doctor for several years now.  Since Dr. Curtis moved on from seeing patients regularly, I have seen 3 or 4 different doctors. And all of them have left me pretty dramatically unhappy.  The first left me a voicemail telling me she was going to put me on a medication that I'd need to stay on for the rest of my life - she left this in a voicemail! After my first time ever seeing her! Um, sorry. Come again?  Did you say potential "auto-immune disease"?  Yeah, that would be cool to tell me in a real conversation - not after the tone. Not before you even can remember my name. Nope.

But back to the vets - they are amazing!  We love them!

And my dentist?  If I've gone on about my dentist once, I've done it a couple dozen times.  He's the absolute best!

So was Dr. Curtis - who had been my doctor from my first breath of air until about 26! But finding another with his knowledge, kindness and overall considerate approach to involving the patient in the decision making - that has been a sadly long journey.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I was up early this morning thinking about extremes.  A few weeks ago, my brand new puppy only ever wanted to sleep and cuddle.  She was a little bundle of loves and dreams.  Now, she only ever wants to play - and bite - and chew.  That is it!  All the time.  From one end of the pendulum swung to the next.  Isn't that just how it is to be young?  It takes a lot of time for that pendulum to slow down - to just sit someplace in the middle without a ton of energy bounding inside dying to propel it one way and then back the next.  In fact, it takes somewhere between 20 and 30 years for most of us.... maybe 40.

Whenever I find myself in this uncomfortable spot, wanting to swing out one way or the other, but knowing that I can't always draw clear lines or create clean cuts, in that moment I remind myself that maturity means learning to be centered, to feel good even when you can't have extremes, to choose patience and hope even when you feel more gravity than energy.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I've been having some fairly frank conversation lately, asking people inside my industry for career advice.  On a similar note, I've been listening to others as they share what they've accomplished and what they wish they'd accomplished - and travel keeps coming up. Not just travel, but "live someplace else" has actually come up twice in two days.  John and I have talked about this ourselves a lot (don't panic, mom and dad.  try to stay calm.) - we'd love to spend at least a year living in a different state - or country. I guess the reason/opportunity just hasn't presented itself yet.

This week I had lunch with a previous boss that I highly respect - and when I asked him for general advice on what I should be doing - he encouraged me essentially to not be afraid to move around, he added "while you're young enough for it to be a benefit."  I think that is something possibly unique to his industry, or even company, but traveling, gaining broad, almost unrelated experience and living adventures made young employees that much more desirable to them.  According to him, when we're young, any new opportunity, just demonstrates to a boss that you were able to adapt and learn new skills in one new situation or environment.  I find that remarkably freeing!!!

I'm the youngest child with the classic fear of "missing out" - and for some reason I have a lot of gravity to me that makes me less afraid of missing out on the fun stuff than on the "important" stuff. I never wanted to miss out on a future college based on my high school grades - I never wanted to miss out on starting in Sunday's game by missing Friday's practise, even if it meant skipping a party or movie night. I didn't want to miss out on being with an awesome man, by buying wasting time with a lame one, even just for a dinner. So for me, it's more natural for me to think I must stay in the crummy situation, power through, do the hardest thing... otherwise, I might miss out. And here is a successful company owner saying, "Do stuff.  Travel.  Quit.  Jump around. Try out different roles and size companies and industries. Do what you want to do. It will make you better right now." Awwwwww! It feels good. (PS - not an exact quote - but the gist of the message)

I know not all business owners feel this way - and honestly, I think a lot of people need to learn to push through the shitty stuff, learn to finish, walk away from the experience with a full story, not just a climax... but it sure feels good to know you aren't stuck in that one story forever!!

But back to travel -  John and I had the trip of a lifetime, and I feel like 6 months later, it's only beginning to sink in.  I hope the fruit of that trip continues to grow in us and define us.  And I hope we keep taking trips.  I hope we keep living an adventure.  I hope we go live someplace else someday, if even for just one year. I hope we buy a bed and breakfast or open a restaurant or start a business. I hope we help our city.  I hope we think up a good opportunity/solution for those facing homelessness in our community - even if it is just providing one of their basic needs.  I hope we see the world and keep letting it teach us how to better see the world.

I also hope I find that job that I love. That I feel made for.  That thing that makes my spirit say, this is it. This is what I went to school for - this is what I worked through all those other roles and experiences for - this is what I'm for!  Most likely I'll find it by continuing to move forward... and maybe a little bit more moving around, maybe even taking a wild risk or two. Maybe more doing what I want...less doing what I've done.

People who inspire me on this: Madison Unger, Jordyn Cline, my sister, my husband. They know doing what you want isn't easy either - but they're forging paths in the direction of what burns inside them rather than disassociating from their dreams for a paycheck.

Friday, March 25, 2016

We're house training Magnolia - so every time she potties outside, she gets a treat (and a lot of excited puppy-love-talk).  It's amazing how quickly you can see her getting conditioned by this sort of reward. 

I think I did the same thing to myself by accident. :/

Every time I go to Lowes or Home Depot, I get an ice cream cone. EVERY TIME. If John is going to one, I often ask to come along.  This is because I love flowers and plants and anything pretty to put in our garden. Or is it? 

Because Krispy Kreme told me last summer that they'd decided to keep their ice cream machine running all year this time - and then I showed up one day and it was gone.  They asked if I'd like a hot chocolate instead.  I KID YOU NOT.  Who thinks that hot chocolate is actually a great replacement for a person who wants an ice cream cone!?!? Sure, they're essentially the same thing, except one is frozen people, and I sit there licking it the whole way home, tail wagging and proud of the good girl I am for going to Home Depot. Hot chocolate? No thank you, donut man. 

I haven't been to Home Depot/Lowes much this winter.  And sure, that's because it's just not gardening season... but it is also because it's not Krispy Kreme ice cream season.  I know it's not Krispy Kreme ice cream season, because I insisted they tell me what day their machine starts up again and that day has been marked on my calendar for months - in all caps - highlighted.  Some people call that day Memorial Day- I call it "Krispy Kreme Ice Cream Day!" 

I still plan to drive by regularly and ask if they've started up the machine early - and if they haven't - refuse to take any replacement (I need them to know how I feel) and drive out of the drive-thru empty-handed. I did this last spring at least 6 times. And I've done it a couple times this winter too if I'm being honest.  One of my greatest strengths and flaws is an undying hope.  It has tortured my heart on many occasions (and now has tortured my husband a time or too as well) - for better or worse, sometimes I just can't make it stop!  And my heart hopes for ice cream!! (always.)  

To me, molly moons has got nothing on Krispy Kreme soft serve swirl.  

So Monday morning, May 30th you'll know where to find me and Magnolia! They give us the day off, because it's ice cream day!! Only 66 days to wait!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


You guys.  I got a puppy.  [stay calm. stay calm.]

It's March and I can check off one of a few real goals/hopes/dreams for this year!


You see, she's Canadian. And she's only 8 weeks old so she can't get her rabies immunization yet. And that's a problem with the CDC. Which means they turned us around at the border last week.

So we own a beautiful little girl named Magnolia.  And she lives in Canada, unless the CDC will approve our request for a Confinement Agreement and let us bring her home this coming Saturday as we've requested.  So, everyone, please pray for favor.  :)

If they say no, we'll have to wait 2 more months to bring her home. Which is sad.  But we know sadder things happen every day.  And people sit waiting for answers and loves much bigger than the one we're waiting on.

Meet Magnolia...

She's a Canadian Australian Shepherd. 

We can't decide if we're going to call her "Noli" or "Naula" for short.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's raining out, a Sunday and I've got mellow love songs filling up an empty office.

I'm fighting day dreams and distractions because I just want to get this all done and get home. But my heart keeps taking off anyways. I want to get away someplace, any place with him.

I want a weekend by the coast, with books and coffee and just the two of us.  No work.  No house.

I'd take Portland though. Or Vancouver. Whistler. Anywhere on the islands. Ocean shores. Cannon Beach.  I'll knock out a few hours of work and then I'm back to looking for cheap airbnb spots.  NO - work, Kati.  Work.

No, Work.  No.

I need books.  I need him.  I need to be watching this rain fall.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Part of Your World - Little Mermaid (Claire, 3 Years Old)

Have you ever been a part of a team?  Not just on a team, a part of it.

I was running downtown tonight and came to a stoplight.  We were down by the waterfront and clearly no one would be coming down this street just then - I looked at the runner across the intersection from me.  We made eye contact and both started running toward one another - we were going for it - both crossing from our opposite sides.  I had an incredible desire to reach out my hand and give him a high five in passing. But he looked away. In that split-second connection, the amazing feeling of being part of a team had lept back to flames inside me.  Tagging out - checking in - great job - go get 'em - a high five at a run.

I've been on a lot of teams over the years: on the field, the court, the classroom and the office, but being a part of a team, not so often.

It's a good feeling.  I'm looking for it - also, I want to learn how to create real teams, real teamwork. Having a group of people more concerned with working hard together, building each other up, pushing each other, sharing their tricks and secrets, challenging each other, feeling free to be strong themselves; good Lord, creating with a group of people like that - getting into a tough situation together - taking on some crazy feat and walking away successful- it's sooo ridiculously good you guys!!

I think I'm going to start offering high fives to any jogger I pass when on a jog. Also, I'm gonna build myself a team. I'm going to work better at being not just a teammate - but back to being a captain.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


It's difficult to weed someone else's garden.

Years ago, when my mom was away for a bit, my sister decided to weed her garden.  By the end it looked beautiful - clean, plenty of dark freshly turned soil.

Too much dark soil. She pulled more than some weeds.

This past weekend was filled with yard work - the good kind that leaves you achy and sore in a fulfilling way. As I pruned the lavender and hedges, and weeded through the front beds, there were several times I had to pause and think "What is that?" A master gardener might know, but I think even they have to think twice in the first days of spring.  I'm no master gardener; I'm absolutely in the apprentice stage.  I sat there staring at the little leaves just breaking through the soil, trying to make out the shape and recall what bulbs I've planted and where over the past couple years.  Ah!! That's right!  That's what that is!  I thought to myself, thank goodness this is my garden, I think someone else would have pulled that.  Shoot, in anyone else's garden I would have pulled that.  It's difficult to weed another woman's garden. And yet, we do. The thought blazed through my mind, and began to take root.

How often do we look at another and determine what is weed and what should bloom on some sunny day?  How often do you think we're actually wrong about it?

I spent the rest of the day cutting, digging and planting, feeling thankful for all those in my life that haven't tried to weed my garden for me - grateful for those who recognize that they didn't plant anything in that dirt - the ones who've been willing to show up and water for me, willing to wait years and watch, willing to keep an over-eager weeder at bay even. Thankful for those who know a thorny ugly thing is just a rose in the winter. She'll be beautiful by spring and blooming by summer.

We're all a bed of surprises, so let's agree to not weed each other's beds, okay?  Chances are if you try, you'll pull out some daisies that really just needed a little sunshine and water from you. Or perhaps, just patience and a person for whom to bloom.

Maybe you think you're the exception because you're just good at reading people. Or, you're prophetic. Yeah, I've told myself that too. But I've had a few prophetic women tear me to shreds in a winter and I've still got some roses that just won't seem to bloom any more. If you're gifted in really seeing through things, look for the flowers.

Feed, don't weed. ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hermione Mix | Pogo & Jeesh

It would be totally normal to name a daughter Hermione. Right? Totally normal.


5 Reasons I Love Living in Maple Leaf

Having known a number of friends toying with the idea of moving toward the city, I've been considering my favorite things about living where we do.  Below are five reasons I love living in Maple Leaf. They aren't mind-blowing, in fact, they're mostly very obvious, and I think these pertain to all our little neighborhoods on our edge of town:

1. Tiny Libraries - I know these are making their way out to the burbs, but tiny libraries was one of many reasons I loved living in Fremont. When they started popping up on my own street and the surrounding areas in Maple Leaf, my heart lept! I always keep books in the back of my car (books for unexpected park days, books I need to return to friends, books I'm ready to donate).  Several times now I have hopped out and traded a book in the back for something appealing in the little lending library on the sidewalk.

2. Parks - My mom took us girls to a lot of parks growing up.  I have such strong, happy memories when I pass by the one with all the flags halfway between Bothell and Edmonds. That's where most often we'd end up with Elise - I remember us setting our sodas in the sand so they wouldn't fall over while we enjoyed the swings.  Sure enough, our teeth met a nice amount of grainy soda when we returned. We always drove to the parks though. And as a kid, I had no complaint about this, as an adult I don't either really. I love driving to a favorite park.  But you know what's even better?  WALKING to the park! I love that living in one of the outskirt neighborhoods of Seattle essentially means you have a park within walking distance.  For us, we have two or three, but one of them is so great it's the only one we even think to go to! Maple Leaf is made by it's incredible Maple Leaf Reservoir Park!

3. Local Businesses - For us, the local businesses starts with coffee and ends with either Ace Hardware or The Maple Bar.  Not because there aren't other awesome businesses (like a Vet I can't wait to visit someday soon! When have you ever heard those words before, right?), but because we LOVE these local haunts and something about buying goods from the guy who literally lives on your street is awesome! But in our little Maple Leaf town center strip, we also have accountants, a florist, a mechanic, a cake/bakery shop, two salons, until a month ago a drug store, midwives, a naturopath, a chiropractor and a dozen other shops.

4. Short(er) Commute - I decided yesterday that the only thing that sucks about Seattle, is the traffic.  It seriously is ALL the time now.  And it's awful; no denying it. Everything else about our green city is awesome. That being said, living on the edge of the city is a pretty nice situation. It shortens your commute into the city for work each day, while also allowing you to avoid the nasty traffic on your off days. I really like not having to sit on 45th or 50th for close to an hour any time I want to hit I-5, or go visit my parents. Where we live now, we are essentially 15 minutes to everything! (Except Bellevue and Kirkland.) And by "shorter commute" to work, I also mean we get to commute in on a bus! Sitting on a bus, instead of behind a wheel means you're spending less money and you're probably enjoying a good book. You're also walking from your bus stop to work, which is healthier for you. Of course, this is also healthier for the environment, and for the nasty Seattle traffic so everybody please get on a bus! And now that you're on a bus, read a book.  Look, I am literally solving so many major US problems right now - we're all on buses and we're reading, so there's no traffic, less exhaust, and an educated, empathetic population! I'm getting t-shirts made!

5. Community - we're still figuring this one out.  But I visited our Community Council Executive Board meeting this past month, and I'm happy to know there are wonderful people who have been members of this community for 30 years.  Like every part of Seattle (and Washington), the neighborhood is undergoing massive changes, amidst that, it is wonderful to have long-term, committed neighbors who can hopefully help us hold on to the very best parts of who Maple Leaf has always been, while wisely adapting to how the city needs to change. Living in tight quarters with neighbors can be frustrating - it's hard to not be all up in one another's business, but it also leads to conversations and hellos and goodbyes and "Great day to work in the yard, isn't it?" across the street. When Heidi lived here, she made friends with other moms at the coffee shop. I love that (as did she). As I said, we're still figuring this one out, but I think these specific neighborhoods have a lot of promise for community and I treasure that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day 3

I'm thankful for those moments when you totally know you got something you shouldn't have... or shouldn't have gotten something you did.  (PS, I hate the word "got" - I have no idea why I just used it multiple times in the opening sentence of this blog.  But now that I've written a whole second and now third sentence about it, I haven't the time to rewrite.)

You see, I drove today because we are getting a new fridge and we were chatting about it and I was dicing onions (oh dangit, I forgot to put in the onions!) and carrots and celery to put in the crockpot with the chicken.  All this means I missed my bus and the next one I could catch wouldn't get me to work until almost 11!

So I drove.  I parked on the street and determined I would repay at 12:30pm.  Then at 2:30pm, I'd move to the garage that my gym reimburses for up to 3 hours.  Smart, right?

Only at 2:30pm, I realized, OH MY GOSH I DROVE TODAY! That's right.  I'd only gotten up (there it is again) from my desk briefly and was rushing to hit a 3pm deadline for the day and had completely forgotten to repay at 12:30pm.

I ran down to my car to pick up my parking ticket.  And it wasn't there.  2 hours past due - and I had no ticket!!!!

Today, I am thankful for that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Day 2

You know how we all love countdowns?  I decided that instead of doing a count-down.  I am going to just count up.  Keep it positive - keep momentum growing - staying focused on what I have and how much I can accomplish in these days.  Yesterday was day 35 for me and I decided to start 35 (Work)Days of Thankfulness.  Yesterday, I was home sick and I ended the day with movie and dinner on the couch with John. As every list of things I'm grateful for begin - Day 1 went to my Beau.  

Day 2. I'm grateful for coffee.  Not in a "I'm always tired" way.  I am literally just so grateful for one of my favorite daily rituals.  Most mornings, John makes me a morning cup.  He often asks "What kind?" or "Do you have a preference of method?"  And typically, but not always, I let him decide.  On weekends, I'll often request the mocha pot with a hearty amount of creamy foam on top. He'll pick mocha pot or aeropress, or maybe his siphon pot.  He'll pull out some of our favorite beans and grind them up.  We're back to boiling water on our stove, so he'll turn on the faucet and fill  up a sauce pan. Yesterday he used the pour over - which is incredible rare. Within time he'll hand me a cup of coffee, and if I'm lucky it will be in one of my favorite metalic stone ones and we'll have time to sit on the couch and half-cuddle and talk. 

Today, I'm just drinking the office coffee, which is terrible.  But I'm drinking it as the ritual right now - as the start of my morning and the beginning of my day.  And I'm thankful. I'm grateful for such a lavish little ritual that begins almost all of my days. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Life gets harder as you get older.  That is my takeaway.  When I become a mom, I want to remember, life was hard now too.  Really, really hard.

I don't know what will happen to me - I don't know what it will be like.  I worry I'll go mad.  I mean it.  I really, sincerely worry about that.  I worry it will be too much.  Thank you Woolf and Plath and life.

And then sometimes, I wonder if it will really be nice.

I've always wanted to be a mom.  When I was little, it was one of the answers I alternated with when asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  I wanted to be a lawyer, a writer, a soccer player, and a mom.  I had 13 babies.  I should correct that and say, I have 13 babies.  Because I never let my mom throw a single one of them away.  I paid for a sitter when I left the house.  Seriously, my business minded older sister suggested that perhaps her doll, who was naturally older than all of mine,  could keep an eye on mine while we were away from the house.  So, I paid her doll.

Yesterday, the InDesign decided it would repetitively error out on page 28 of my proposal.  I didn't know it was page 28, and I didn't immediately know what image on page 28 was causing it - but this isn't my first time at this rodeo so I traced it pretty quickly to the problem, screen shot it the page, zoomed and linked the screen shot of the picture instead of the faulty actual picture - and away it ran to the printers (thank God!).  This meant I missed my UPS pickup by about 3 minutes.  Thankfully, again, not my first rodeo - I had a backup plan and ran it down to the UPS drop box that usually gets grabbed around 5pm.

It had been like that all day - with a critical boss, faulty equipment, a lot of questions coming from a lot of people, a lot of missing and poor information for me to track down. I was coordinating company-wide new headshots - leadership group shots - collaboration shots, while rushing through creation of a proposal --- all due to be done by end of day yesterday.  And then I started feeling sick, right around 4pm.  My calves, thighs, back and abdomen started cramping like someone was dragging a metal rake from the inside of my toes all the way up. So there was that fun reminder of my gender - and a deadline.

I made it to the UPS box, with minutes to spare.  I think.  This morning I'm waiting for notification of the UPS delivery, like I do regularly.  I walked back up from dropping off the proposal, sat down at my desk, drank water and opened my Facebook. And straight up top was a Mommy article about how tiring it is. The woman had a cute messy bun, an adorable graphic tee about coffee, she was wearing yoga pants and drinking coffee with a cute little kid next to her.  From the comments, I gathered it was about how tiring it was, but truth be told, I don't really know what that article said.  At that very moment, I just couldn't read it.  Too many long days under deadlines.  I needed sleep too.  By Tuesday afternoon, I realized I wasn't even able to speak full coherent sentences to coworkers.  I'd hoped they hadn't noticed.  They looked at me strangely.

I closed the article and wondered again if being a mom would push me over the edge.  Or if maybe it really wasn't worse than this mad house I've been running around in for 3 years.  I know that's an almost illegal statement to make.  This isn't a "who has it worse post" - this is me letting you into the question and fear that cycles around in my head regularly.  A both longing to be a mom - and a fear that makes me also want to push it away as long as possible.

I don't know if all the mom's realize their Facebook posts actually do that. I suddenly feel like I'm not allowed to think it won't be too hard, because that's wrong and judgmental and who the hell am I anyways?  So all I am allowed to think is that it's the toughest job in the world and it's terrible and the children will make you want to tear your hair out like little tiny adorable demons.... and if my current job already takes everything out of me and already makes me want to cry and scream at the same time... what will this unspeakable terror do to me?

I don't know.  But I decided yesterday, I shouldn't read that article right then.  And I should write to myself for the future - now is hard too.  Remember that.  And yesterday, while I was exhausted and tired and angry and frustrated and knew I had to do it all over again the next day --- I was in a dress, with full makeup and my hair done and uncomfortable shoes. And I wasn't allowed to yell. Or scream. Or say anything terrible to anyone.  I had to be direct, and kind, and keep going.  I had to let it go.

I hate not being in control.  I don't like being tired.  And I have incredible anxiety about feeling trapped. All of these things will make being a mom (and being pregnant for that matter) challenging for me.  But, they also make being a manager, as part of a company, working with a history of very difficult bosses and people difficult too.  Thank you Woolf and Plath and life.

As a friend has always reminded me, this is all training for something.

I am sure being a mom is very difficult.  But right now is difficult too. And life isn't as separated as we like to make it.  You're not a career woman.  And then a mom.  You're you - and I'm pretty sure you bring that same you into parenthood, just like you do into every other challenge and new phase or career.

I think I'm starting to get what that friend had meant.  Before, I had thought she was trying to tell me that learning to coordinate my bosses' schedules meant I'd be good at coordinating my family's one day.  Now, I think she meant less tangible things - but maybe more meaningful.  Like learning not to lose my temper. To be kind under pressure.  To be consistent without sleep. To be better at communicating what I want a teammate to do, what I need my coordinator to learn. To treat others with respect - even when I'm in charge of them. To care about their growth. To present a cohesive front. To be trustworthy.  A confidant. To guard what I really need, but also to push myself.  To put John ahead of the rest. To be the same me in every situation. To learn to trust and find peace when I feel stuck or trapped or out of control of my own life.

I think then and now are difficult. I also think now is part of then.  I'm learning the same lessons.  I'm just not allowed to wear yoga pants and posting about it on Facebook could get me fired. But we're all learning similar lessons, or our own lessons.  So I hope I won't crack.  I'm going to try to see those mommy posts as them training just like I'm training so I stop feeling crippled by this looming doom that I once just called my dream.

I hope this wasn't hurtful to any of my friends who are in the yoga pants days right now.  I honestly really didn't write this to you - I wrote it to me. To the me on the unknown mommy-side in the future - and to the me today who's on the cusp of it and realizing she's been made terribly afraid and to feel largely unprepared and inadequate. I wrote it to remind myself that today really is/was hard. And to convince myself that it does matter, now and then.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekends are for thinking, and talking together, and thinking more, and apparently for g-chatting articles to one another from our home work stations across our tiny home.  A good deal of this today circled around the ways John and I are already becoming hurried along in the so-called American Dream.  Growing careers, a home, dreaming of a dog, and then babies. But that means late nights of work, and Sundays working.  It means a world pushing in on us - managers and deadlines telling us they're our number one priority if we want to keep up - keep on.

We're also not the American Dream.  We're living small, and seeking to live smaller across the board.  We decided 5 weeks together on an adventure was a priority, and we decided our careers, and managers, and deadlines could learn to accept that. We decided we wanted to provide a place for others, some small semblance of community where we share what's ours with others.  And we decided we'd learn what it means to be business owners. Then we decided that wasn't enough - we needed to learn how to be business owners that were a part of solutions, not contributing to the greed.

So we're somewhere between the dream, and this non-american dream.  But lately I hear as much of one as the other.  I think the alternative story I keep hearing over and over is almost as big of an idol now - maybe it's the new American dream. The one where you gloriously quit your jobs and travel the world on a yacht, or in a van, or with just a backpack, and somehow you're still stylishly dressed and your legs are tan and somehow hairless, your wayfarers are on, hair dyed, and your makeup is natural and perfect. People follow you from their desks at work. Now I'm convinced, it's the new American Dream. You escaped - your beauty intact.

But I don't really want to buy into just another stereotypical perfect world.  I mean, I do, I really do, it's a dream.  That's the point. But it's probably still not quite right.

What I know I want is to not spend my early marriage away being dragged behind one deadline after another.  I don't want to wear myself out for a company, rather than give myself to meaningful goals, and being present with the important people in my life.  Five weeks together gave us a taste of something so wonderful - and it wasn't standing under the Eiffel Tower or on the Cliffs of Moher that we continue to hunger for - it was holding hands on a street corner we didn't recognize at 2pm on a Tuesday. It was falling asleep together every single night.

I buy into that new American dream, and I buy into the old one - not for the house, or the dog, or the photo atop Machu Picchu - but for a home you share with a real partner, and for working out a fight in a dark square in Barcelona, waking up knowing it's just the two of you forever and this is something to go through, not around today.  Not to make it all about "couples" - if you're single, it's still as much about who you're living that dream with, yourself included.  But chances are, marital status aside, you have a handful of deeply meaningful relationships. Dreams are about these.

We've got to find a way to get more of that part of the dream.  Less of the rest that keeps us exhausted in pursuit. I'm just not sure how to entangle them.

Remember, it's the long game - but the rules of the game aren't clear for any of us.

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Life is such a gift. You work most of your day.  Please, do something that brings you joy."

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I'm hooked you guys. I'm digging this boy so bad I'm here rumagging through my pockets for any words I've got hanging around - something to keep him here, reading me.

No warning needed - this isn't a #brag post.

This is a desperate attempt of a girl to put down pretty, compelling words that can keep a good man on the line...

Because it's dark outside.
And soon I'll tidy up my desk.
I'll close the windows.
And I'll head home to the best man.

And I'll know he's been here.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

I have a scar on my right knee that looks remarkably like a "K."  I've loved it from the beginning.  My sister has teased me over the years for how beat up my knees are - the K has company for sure.  And for the first 18 years of my life (at least) my knees were a certain shade of camo at all times of the year.  For some reason, my little K feels like a promise. Something certain.  Something unchangeable. A secret. At times, an inside joke. A tiny little emblem that can't be erased.  My own personal logo.  I imagine when I'm 80, I'll catch a glimpse of it and smile like the 15 year old who first got it.  I'll remember, I'm still that same girl.  I'll remember to be grateful for creases, scars and stretch marks - I'll remember they're punctuation marks of stories - I'll remember they're emblems, copyrights. They prove I'm the real deal.