Thursday, December 18, 2014


Dismantling means that eventually you have to rebuild.

But in order to rebuild you have to have a plan.

And to have a plan you have to know your terms.

Which means you have to mull over your definitions and decide which ones work, which ones aren't quite accurate, and which ones are downright wrong.

I'm kicking "normal" to the curb.

Normal isn't.

There's no such thing.

It's actually just whatever I happen to be comfortable with at the moment.

And that's not necessarily completely informed or thought out. Or maybe it is but then two years from now I have new information and experiences and "normal" has changed.

Normal hems in and boxes up.

Normal makes me live with "shoulds" and makes me feel guilty when I don't live up to that arbitrary line.

And, why am I striving for "normal" when I would never use that word to describe who I am?

Crazy. Busy, Creative. Quiet. Thoughtful. Intelligent. Balancing on the edge of a full on breakdown...

Normal isn't even in the running.

So, I'm really working on banishing that word from my vocabulary in favor of a million other more accurate descriptions.

Because the nuances in my life give it color and meaning that is far more than normal.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Don't Drown

I have been systematically dismantling the safe structures around me; the visible and unseen.

Once I said "I want to be comfortable, but not too comfortable. I think we should actively look to disrupt our lives."  Then I took my words literally... 

As I'm wont to do, I tend to mull things over and over. Carefully thinking through all of the possibilities (whether this is in building a story or restructuring my's all the same). Then, one day, I jump. Into the deep end. Then I try to find my way to the surface while also trying to remember to keep a look out for the undersea beauty. Oh, and not drown.

So, if I ever am quiet and still, don't be fooled. It's mass chaos inside my head.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Perseverance, Sweat, and Pride

Six months ago I listed a bunch of activities that The Princess could choose from to participate in. Much to my surprise she chose Karate. Upon arrival at her first lesson (at the business closest to our home, because I wasn't going to drive a long ways on a whim!) I found out that they also had classes for three year olds. And, since I felt bad for Sweet Pea whose life was basically defined by tagging along on her older sister's life, I signed her up too.

Unbeknownst to me, I signed up for the family plan. The family plan that included free classes for parents...  "Oh, that's a nice," I thought.

But I am budget minded, and FREE classes just really shouldn't be wasted, so I sent Steve off to his first class.

When he came back he made me promise I'd go the next night so, with MUCH trepidation, I went. Not to Karate classes - those are just for the kids. I'd somehow signed up for Krav Maga classes.

Oh, you've never heard of it?  Neither had I...  My first class involved a twenty minute death trial that the instructors jokingly called a "warm-up", a quick stretch, and then 30 minutes of learning how to punch correctly ("you're punching THROUGH the jaw, you can dislocate it right here...") and get out of a choke hold.

Seriously, have you ever even thought about getting out of a random choke hold around your neck?

It was totally crazy and totally intriguing and so I went back a second time. And a third. And then I bought an extra shirt (cause you have to wear the right attire, duh). And then I started getting twitchy if something messed with my schedule. I even skipped a couple of naptimes to go to the noon class because I wasn't going to make it to the evening one. (She's ALMOST 4, she can handle it!!  I rationalize well.)

Which brings us to six months later.

I spent 3 1/2 hours in a Krav Maga qualifier to advance to a yellow belt status this past Saturday. I haven't been that nervous in a long time. Nervous for a week in advance. Nervous enough to make stupid mistakes at practice. Nervous enough to choke down food when I wanted to throw it up. Nervous enough to stand at the door and wait for my partner's arrival (we've been practicing together for three months. She's THE BEST!) and hug before we proceeded to punch, kick and choke each other.

At the end we were all shaking, nerves annihilated by exhaustion. We had bruises, scratches, black eyes and jammed fingers. And I accomplished something that was never even on my "to-do" list. Next week I go back, theoretically capable enough to don headgear, pads, and gloves to learn how to kick, punch, and defend myself even more. And I'm pretty excited about it!

Monday, September 15, 2014


There are good friends.

There are friends who are there through thick and thin.

There are friends who adopt you as family.

And I am so thankful for each and every variety.

Friendship is such a gift.

Sometimes friends just sit in support...

Friday, August 29, 2014



GIF credit to MorgainePendragon on Tumblr
(If you're not a Buffy fan we should have a serious discussion about your life choices...  However, that's not the point of this particular post.)

During my last year of high school I cried myself to sleep every night during the month of March. I was leaving home for college that coming September and mourned in anticipation. And then I mourned again when I actually got there, for all of the same reasons and for all new ones too.

We try to prepare ourselves. Visualize the scenarios, plan the course of action, and imagine what it will feel like and how we will react.

We know the facts, we know the steps, we know what’s coming and still, with all of the preparation, there is the moment.

Toe up to the line we could see coming, the one drawn with “someday” in mind.

Pause in the breath between then and now.

Step over the edge.

And it’s an entirely different world.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

World Cup Connections

It was just another normal day at work where I ride down the hill on the tram to spend 20 to 30 minutes waiting at the research pharmacy to pick up medication for a patient. This time, however, Germany was playing Portugal and the score was already ridiculous - 3-0 Germany. I checked the score, since I had nothing else to do, and was shocked to see that Germany had scored again. My surprised intake of breath caught the attention of the man also waiting and playing with his phone.

Now, normally I would have exchanged a polite smile and returned to my private bubble. I'm not that great with small talk and I work under the all encompassing HIPPA regulations; it's just easier to politely keep to yourself.

"Germany just scored again." I blurted out instead and his eyebrows rose in surprise.
"You're watching the World Cup?" I don't really look like a soccer/futbol fan I guess.

And then we started chatting like old friends with different accents, comparing notes on teams and commiserating on our countries', Mexico and the USA, poor chances for making it past the first round. I told him that we're watching all the games on Univision and working on our Spanish and he directed me to the Univision app so that I could watch the games on my phone (which is what he'd been doing).

It was a connection that wouldn't have been made except for the world-wide excitement about The Cup.

I've thought of him while cheering Mexico on in each of their games (even though a win over the Netherlands would have completely broken my bracket!) and wondered if he remembered me when the US played each of their heart attack inducing games.

I don't think the game can save the world. But, oh does it open doors for some human interaction. And the bridging of different worlds, that is a small step in the right direction.

Monday, June 30, 2014

World Cup 2014

Can I tell you how much I LOVE the World Cup? Despite the ridiculous and awful FIFA corporation?

Three Reasons:

1. My brother and I have long conversations (in person and over email) about players, games, our bracket picks, and current outrages.  It's so awesome!  Plus, the 30 minute conversation with my sister about soccer and the fact that two old guys were TOTALLY eavesdropping on the entire thing is icing on the cake!

2. The Princess is totally into the games. To the point where, when going upstairs for quiet time, she reminds me to update her should any team score! (I had to update her twice during the France-Switzerland game. If you don't know what I'm talking about you missed a completely BIZARRE game.)

3. Immersion language lessons as we're watching all the games on Univision because they're streaming them for free. (I'm looking at you ESPN who requires a cable subscription. Shame on you!)

I know there are politics involved, I know there is corruption, I know there is stupidity...but for 90 minutes it's just about the joy of the game. And the certainty that you're ACTUALLY going to die from a heart attack by the end.

Watching the game first thing in the morning.

Monday, June 23, 2014


This girl loves her solitary moments.

I completely understand, even when I'm trying to provide "socialization" for her - because that's an important skill too.
Basically, we like to be solitary together.

Which is a lovely sentiment.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


There is magic outside.

You just have to get out in it.

Fort Vancouver, Washington.
June 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lenten Journey

I've been thinking about Lent.

Yes, it's June and I'm still in March. But that's the way of things, time marches on but the brain takes longer to work through things.

It's a journey

I've always liked the idea of Lent, the time of contemplation, deprivation, and the possibility of inspiration. It's the opportunity to lose a tiny bit of self during the everydayness of life.

But Lent is also possible because we know the end result. The miracle, the resurrection, the new life is in the back of your mind as you work through another day. Haven't we all comforted ourselves with the final 10-day countdown until it all can go back to normal? We make it through the mourning, the black day, the empty day, the questions and unknowns because we know that there is an end, right around the corner.

I thought I was going to have the perfect Lenten inspirational post, how after 40 days the path was clear, the way straight, the end in sight. But instead, the waiting continues. There's no clear destination, no straight answers, no questions wrapped up and tied with a perfectly wrapped bow.

Which, of course, is what the first "Lenten Journey" was like. The disciples had no idea what the end would be, there were no answers to their life upending questions. They didn't know it would be "just" 3 days before their waiting would end. They didn't know that the end of waiting was just the beginning of a new normal that they could have never anticipated and would scramble to acclimate to.

We're still waiting. Still wondering. Still living with hope and fear messily mixed together in a gradually congealing new normal we don't yet recognize. It is frustrating, it is scary, it is faith at work, no matter how small each step may be.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Fragility is scary. That risk of shattering into pieces so tiny they can never be fit back together. Shards that pierce your heart, your soul. Fragments that burrow in deep, cutting apart millimeter by excruciating millimeter.

Better to be tough and protected. Practical and sturdy. I'll trade my bone china for dishwasher safe, microwave safe, ovenproof crockery.

But it's a lie, this safety. It crumbles around you. Hearts shatter, souls explode. There is no protection from life. There is just the delicate balance of living with risk, with fear...with possibility.

The risk of being broken on the floor, bleeding out from soul deep wounds, is also the risk of discovering the true essence of yourself; the strength, wisdom, sheer grit and unanticipated beauty that comes from rebuilding, as unfair and unwanted as the reconstruction may be.

There is beauty in the rough edges, the cracks and seams, the missing gaps where pieces were lost and never found.

Because, there are gaps and lost parts - crevices that are never filled or covered over. But maybe it's the cracks where the gust of thankfulness rushes through.

Maybe it's the gap where the whirlwind of wonder forms.

Maybe it's the vibration in the fracture that makes us recognize and sing with the exquisite pleasure of each beautifully fragile moment of time that we're given.

Friday, March 28, 2014

My First

My mom is sick. Look both ways at the cross walk and get hit by a truck anyway sick.

I’m scared. Scared to think, scared to feel, scared not to.

My mother is my First.

My first sound was her heartbeat.

My first movement was the sway of her walk.

My first touch was the warmth of her body.

My first.

There is a connection that can’t be severed by time, distance, or independence. A cellular connection, a oneness with the feelings of the other.  It is beyond empathy, beyond thought, beyond explanation.

It is the bond of joint ownership of kidneys and blood. It is the anxiety of separation and the relief of being in the same room together. It is the timing of my breath with hers, the deep inhale listening for rattles, the exhale when nothing is heard.

My brain is rational, digesting facts and figures with keen interest and pleasure. My heart is emotion, big wave after small wave crashing in a tumble of fear and hope. But my cells just know.

She is my only.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


So, The Princess isn't really into dolls, fairies, or even princesses anymore. She's completely in love with animals. All animals, insects, reptiles, extinct dinosaurs are on her list but when she plays pretend she almost always chooses to be some type of predator.

I am now very adept at holding a stuffed animal out at arms length so that the Caracal in the house can practice her jumping techniques to catch her prey...

A Lion once bit me in the butt in the kitchen.

Sweetpea is often roped into playing the "prey" and runs shrieking through the house while the Cheetah nips at her heels.

After being roped into being a Polar Bear I was informed that the Killer Whale would rip my arms and legs off easily because of the rows of sharp teeth.

And then...

At her school presentation this week The Princess brought her stuffed seal to talk about. The stuffed seal that is the size of her younger sister and is wearing a tutu. She didn't tell me what the presentation content would be but I assumed, considering the tutu, that it would involve a nice story about sleeping with and dancing with her favorite seal.

"Hi my name is ________ and today I would like to tell you about my seal. This is my stuffed seal and I like to sleep with her at night. She has spots because she is a leopard seal. She lives in the Arctic and she eats penguins."

The end.

No mention of the tutu or dancing or that they're cute with big eye-lashed eyes. Then one of her classmates asked her if she had a stuffed penguin.

"No. She ate it."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Spring Fever (It might just be wool fibers lodged in my lungs)

Where have I been? Oh, where have I been...

I am neck deep in the retail world and about a season ahead of everyone else. Last night I was dismantling and revamping an entire store. What this meant for me specifically is, among other things, sorting and hanging rugs. Some of them weighed more than I do, no joke. And I had to haul them up a ladder (with one other petite girl) and then clip them to hanging racks. We were both covered in a fine dust, actual dirt, and wool fibers that stuck to our sweaty skin. It's a glamorous job, don't be fooled.

Once finished we hied ourselves over to the candle shop where we moved an entire wall of candles, floor to ceiling to a different part of the wall. Candles aren't lightweight either.

All this to say that, while I actually enjoy the organizing part, I didn't expect quite so much heavy lifting.

Spring is right around the corner people. You might not see it yet but it's in creation at a retail store near you as we speak!