Summer 2017

Summer 2017

Summer 2017 was the summer of t-shirt dresses.  It was the summer of twilight ice cream runs.  Of sitting on the front porch and watching fireflies while listening to Sam Cooke.  Of country drives to my favorite covered bridge.  Of mosquito bites.


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The summer of two sets of Pacific Northwest houseguests and a Memorial Day barbecue.  It was my first summer watching the Braves.  Of the local 4th of July parade. Of going to a concert at the Fox.  Of 100% humidity.  It was the summer of Yellowstone and Tucson.


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Of afternoon book reading and morning ice coffee-ing.  It was my first summer taking care of hydrangeas, azaleas and hostas.  It was the summer I got a green front door.  And had an enormous spider spin a new web every evening on my front porch.



There were fireworks and Stephen’s shows.  Painted red toes.  A slightly sunburned nose. I can’t think of any place I’d rather be.





I just got home from a week in Tucson, AZ.  For seven blissful days I slept in, walked, stretched, ate, laughed until my stomach hurt and got waaaay more into a drum circle than I ever thought possible.  Who knew? (I blame the desert.)

Stephen and I talked for hours on the phone each night and my friends built a human wall so I didn’t get attacked by a tarantula who was stalking me (read: it was minding its own business and I had to WALK past it (!!) to get to my room).  I was buffed and scrubbed, massaged and balanced out.  There may have been talk about chakras.

And then I came back to the real world.


La rentrée has been painful.

Charlottesville, Barcelona and for some friends closer to home, the painful loss of a wonderful person who left them much too soon.

I wake up and try to figure it out.  I move throughout my day and wonder.  I talk to others to try and understand.  But hate is so fundamentally wrong I don’t understand how there can even be a moment’s debate.

Stephen and I see a guy driving an enormous red truck flying an equally enormous confederate flag in the grocery store’s parking lot.  He couldn’t have been more than 16.  I stare open mouthed and can’t take my eyes off his youth, his glaring disconnect.  I wonder if he’ll look back in a few months…years…ever (?) and shake his head at what he was thinking.

I don’t know what to do.

I want to help.  God, I want to help.  I don’t know where or how.  I start looking for causes that are already deeply entrenched in standing up for what is right.  I donate money.  I hope to donate my time if they’ll have me.

When I was in Yellowstone earlier this summer, the wind blew my hat off my head and closer to a geyser than I was comfortable being.  I didn’t want anyone to go in after it but I also didn’t want to leave it in case it would somehow hurt the bacteria and landscape.

An older Chinese woman came to my rescue and used her cane to reach down and retrieve my hat.  We didn’t speak each others language, but we laughed and she nodded as I said “thank you, thank you.”  She motioned putting my hat on and holding it down so it didn’t blow away again.  I nodded back in understanding.

Kindness is everything.  Seeing the humanity in each other is everything.  I continue to ask for guidance, pray and meditate for peace, hold open doors for strangers, offer to listen to friends. And I hope, when called, the spirit of the woman who saved my hat moves me into action too.

Every morning in Tucson I’d tear up at the end of our half hour mediation when the whole room would say “namaste”.

“I bow to the divine in you.”

In the drum circle we discover the word “ase,” an African concept where there is power to make change.  In churches here we say “amen.”

I’m moved equally no matter the language.  Truth and light have that power.




I’ll be 43 in a couple of days.

A lot has changed in the last year!  I’ve gone from living in the Pacific Northwest to living in the South.  From working in an office to working from home.  From a long distance relationship to an in the same town relationship.  I’ve had more fried pickles than I can count.  (Had to make up for lost time.)  And I live in a house after 20 years of apartment and row house living.

I’ve learned that I really like “gardening.”  (Read: I pick plants and layout, other people do the work.)  I’ve learned that the hard work people talk about in relationships is often times unearthing aspects of your personality you had no idea existed.  I’ve learned that I really like an Izze soda and a couple chapters of a book as the cue I’m done working for the day.   And I’ve learned that no matter how much I try and keep the hardwood floors clean, when there’s a golden retriever-mix in the house I’m going to have to get up close and personal with letting things go.

I used to write a birthday letter to myself each year.  While I miss the process, I don’t miss the limiting expectations that came with them.  I’m a planner and goal setter, I like to figure out what’s ahead (stop laughing).  And you know where this is going, right?  Because of a chance meeting, I’m in a place I never could have imagined.  I’ve learned a lot of life can’t be planned for.  I’m incredibly grateful this is the case.

My birthday wish is happiness.  For all of us.  The pursuit of it, the enjoyment of it and the wonder of finding it in the most unexpected places.


The Square

The Square


In the middle of town lies a square.  It hosts the 4th of July and Christmas parades, outdoor concerts and movies.  There are restaurants, bars, a great little coffee shop, bookstores (with kitties!), furniture stores and a local food market that sells the best goat cheese I’ve ever had.

The square also underscores my…challenged sense of direction.  Four differently named (!) streets intersect in the middle of town.  I’ve lived here for almost a year and still have to stop and give serious thought on which way to turn so I get home without making any u-turns.

Learning your way around is hard.  Change is hard.  There is no getting around it, just getting through to make it to the other side.  And sometimes, at least in my case, it includes u-turns.

I make a lot of u-turns.

As excited and happy as I am about this move.  As much as people have welcomed me.  As much as my quality of life has improved.  As much as I love it and everyone here?  Some days are still hard.

I miss my peeps.  I miss the ocean and burritos I don’t have to eat with a fork and knife.  I miss walking across the street from…basically anywhere…and grabbing a latte.  I miss things and places and the cool Pacific Northwest air.  It can be a little confusing when you’re homesick but also really love your new home.

When people ask how things are going, I always tell them well.  Because it’s true.  I am happy and grateful every day for this move.  I’m also a firm believer in focusing on the good while quietly working behind the scenes to change the difficult.  But I feel it’s important to note that all stories have struggle.

I mentioned being discombobulated to a woman I met recently, who rest her hand on my arm, leaned in and said “oh child, I’ve lived here my whole life and I still get turned around up at the square.”

So this is my story of struggle from the square and trying to understand which quadrant I’m in without the sense of direction that comes from time and perspective.  Maybe you’re going through some changes to?

Well if you happen to confuse the waitress, your boyfriend and yourself when you get teary eyed at a restaurant because you really wanted breakfast and she tells you that you missed the cut off and they’re only serving lunch (okay we’re still totally talking about me), this is me resting my hand on your arm, leaning in and saying no matter how long you’ve been somewhere you may still get a little turned around and it’s all going to be okay.