Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Garden

My mind is a garden. My thoughts are the seeds. My harvest will be either flower or weeds. -Mel Weldon

This is an interesting thought to me. I truly believe that you will see whatever it is you are looking for. I remember going to visit Steve's family and pretty much every time I expected to have my feelings hurt and guess what? I did. It came down to how many times they would be hurt vs. if they would or not. That is one area I still have to be aware of. If we are going to be visiting with his family, I work to adjust my mind set. It has worked lately and I'm sure it will get easier the more I practice it.

This year has ended in a way that I really didn't expect at the beginning and I was feeling sorry for myself until I took a moment and really looked at all the great things that blossemed in our lives. Sydnee spent four and a half months in Wales with side trips to England, Scotland, France and Italy. Robin graduated from high school and is now enjoying Western Washington University. Steve has the opportunity to do contract work with his eye on early retirement. I have begun teaching more and looking at what other ways I can help others.

Our family is healthy and our friends are fabulous. Life is a garden of flowers.

Be Free,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I need to let you all know the reason I thought he was insane. When we bought our first timeshare, 10 years ago, it took four hours because he just wasn't convinced that it was a good deal. At the time I thought that it would force us to take nice vacations. It has, we have had some amazing trips in the last 10 years, not only with our timeshare. So I think timeshares are great. I just didn't see us buying more right now, so I expected that we would listen like we have in the past and leave. Steve listened much more patiently that I and when we were left alone, I really did blurt out, "Are you insane?" The look on his face was truly priceless. It was a real life reversal of personalities. But he thought it a good deal and so we bought it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Such a Fine Sight to See

Well, we are back and we survived. It was a fun and beauty filled trip. I’ll start at the beginning.

We flew to Phoenix instead of Flagstaff because the difference paid the cost of the rental car. Sweet. We arrived on time and got the car and headed north to Sedona. It was a beautiful drive. We arrived and checked in and immediately got scheduled for our timeshare appointment. Now I wasn’t sure if it was worth it, but Steve said ok, so we were on for Thursday.

Our room was fabulous. It was a one bedroom with a kitchen and a huge garden tub. I was in heaven.

Sunday morning, at the free breakfast, we were approached by a woman who had the paperwork to get into the Grand Canyon, but didn’t want to go alone. So we drove and she went with us. The Grand Canyon was spectacular. We started at the east side and drove west stopping at almost all of the view points and such. Here are a few pictures.

We walked quite a bit around Sedona and got what I consider some good photos. The next day we drove to the Petrified Forest. Along the way we stopped at Walnut Canyon, which are Indian ruins. Pretty cool stuff. The Petrified Forest was cool too, I don’t know what it is about science, but it makes me want to learn more. We hit the north edge of the forest and saw the Painted Desert. It was really beautiful too. It was a good thing we had unlimited mileage on the rental car, we ended up putting over 1100 miles on it. We stopped in this small town for dinner on our way home. You get extra points if you can sing the song.

Thursday morning and we went to the sales office. We listened to the reasons why we should buy a timeshare with their company and then looked at two different rooms. I don’t think Karen, our saleswoman, believed Steve when he told her the three bedroom suite with a den was about the same size as our house, but it really was. It was really nice too. So we trotted back to the office to look at numbers. At this time I am so bored and thought about texting the kids but I stayed respectful and polite. Karen told us the price and Steve was very polite. We eventually had a moment to ourselves when I blurted out, “Are you insane?” He was actually interested. We bought. It does sound like a great deal and I know we will travel more if we do this. So, we will be travelling.
It rained on our last day there and on the drive back to Phoenix, but all in all it was a great trip.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The thing that matters is not what you bear, but how you bear it.

The oven worked fine for Thanksgiving. Hallelujah, it cooked the 18.25# turkey in no time flat. I may use the convection feature more often. But today when I turned it on, the fan started to make a rattling noise. I'm just not going to use it for a little over a week and then I will get it checked. I don't have time right now.

Plumber Steve is working on the bathroom sink. Robin pointed out this weekend that it wasn't working. Hmmm. Steve has taken it apart and accidentally broke part, so after he turned off the main water valve and cleaned up all the water, he took it apart again and we went to get the part that was broken. He has been working on getting it not to leak for a while, but plastic parts are kind of a pain. We'll see how that goes.

I had to put the newsletter for our church together last week. Our pastor was really sick, but I didn't know that so I just used what info I had and shortened it from eight pages to six. Good enough. The printer at the church didn't have any cartridges, so I couldn't print it on Sunday. Plan foiled. I checked the price to have it printed at Kinko's and it was going to be over $70. Next plan foiled. It wasn't going to happen. Then Pastor Abby needed to add something that had to be in the newsletter and since I hadn't printed it yet, we got it in. She also got the cartridge so I walked her through merging the newsletter with the data base. I guess I really learned how to use this function in Publisher well enough to walk her through it. I was going to be irritated that it didn't work out the way I had planned, but I learned something and that is a good thing.

Dinner is cooking and the wine is breathing. All is good.

Be Free,

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've been tagged!

I remember when I first saw someone tagged and I thought it looked cool. Now I'm wondering. But thank you Michelle, you are forcing me to think.

Here are the rules:

* Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
* Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
* Tag 3 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I love to sew, but gave up my sewing room 10 years ago to do massage. I have made swim wear, lingerie, tailored a wool coat in high school and a blazer for Steve, designed clothing pieces, made drapes. I am starting it back up, I've missed it.
2. I love trivia, my son calls me the queen of useless knowledge.
3. I am quite insecure around people I don't know but I'm not sure it translates that way. I have been told people are afraid of me. I don't get it.
4. I love to do anything that is creative. I love paint and color and decorating.
5. I am basically lazy.

I tag Shari, Darcy, and Craig.

Have fun and be free,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Good vs. Bad

I am not a baker. I love to cook because I can make things up. You really can't do this when baking, you must measure things. I made apple bread on Thursday. It turned out ok, but I didn't put enough apples in it (because I didn't measure them)and if I had it would have been three loaves instead of two. Then it would have cooked in the amount of time it was supposed to have cooked and wouldn't have gotten so dark on the top. It tastes great, but it is a little dark on top. Yesterday I made pumpkin bread using fresh pumpkin. Did I mention that you have to measure everything when you bake. I eyeballed the pumpkin and I should have measured out 3 1/2 cups. It didn't bake right and when I tried to put it back in the oven to try to cook the inside some more (knowing that it probably wouldn't work, but what the heck, it was ruined anyway) my oven made a hum and then a pop and it smelled like burnt plastic.

Oh joy, we thought an element had burnt out, but they both got red when we turned them on, so today I get to test the oven. I will turn it on and preheat it to 350 degrees. If there is no problem, I will turn it off and then make more pumpkin bread and apple bread to bake. Did I mention that I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and if my oven doesn't work (breathe) I will survive, I have alternatives.

Ok, I have ranted for the day and enough is enough. Life is grand.

I just finished up my second quarter as a Pilates instructor for Pierce College Continuing Education. I got excellent evaluations. It makes me feel like I have done what I set out to do when I am told that they enjoyed the exercise and feel stronger and it didn't hurt. I really don't want it to hurt. I also feel that it should strengthen a body in the position that we use it in.

One thing that a lot of people mentioned were hand-outs. Right now I hand out a list of the exercises that we do. They have made it clear that while this is nice, they don't get a lot of use out of it because they don't connect the name to the exercise. So I have asked what the protocol is around my making a booklet of the exercises for students to use at home. Of course, I would have to charge enough to print them, but this idea excites me. Students wouldn't have to buy the book, but it could be an option. Then my mind spins off to all the details and I have a project.

"Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?"


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Home Alone or Not

Ok, I thought I was going to get a couple days alone. Just me, Puck and the computer. I was looking forward to catching up on this blog and reading those of my freinds, because since Steve is home he is training and is on the computer a lot. It is good that he is training so he can get a consulting job, but it has changed my routine.

Well, Steve left pulling the trailer to go camp with his dad for a couple days. He was gone about an hour and a half. He called to let me know something was seriously wrong with the Yeti, but he was going to put oil in it to see what that would do and he would get back to me. He did and we had to get it, and the trailer, towed to the dealer in Sumner. We will find out tomorrow what the diagnostic tests tell us.

Here us a picture of the Yeti on a flatbed truck which was pulling the trailer.

Lessons learned: How to ask for help? Patience? We really aren't in control of anything? Gratitude that such a thing can happen at a not so bad time.

Oh, and instead of getting a couple of days to myself Steve is here and his dad just came up here instead of camping. So I get the two of them together. What can I learn from this?

Be Free,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happines is a Conscious Choice

Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.
-Mildred Barthel

This speaks volumes to me. Life at our house has gone through many changes in the last month. Steve being laid off brought up an amazing set of questions. He has the opportunity to really look at what he wants to do going forward. With my trust in God and the universe, I am sure he will get what he asks for. It is all about the wording and the energy.

Robin is settling in at Western. He came home two weekends ago for a play his friend was in. It was great to see him and it gave him the opportunity to have his list of all the things he didn’t know he would need taken care of. We power shopped. It was pretty amazing and very fruitful for him. He is coming home this weekend for Homecoming. I imagine that his trips home will become further apart as he finds more things to keep him busy in Bellingham and makes even more friends than he already has. From what he has told me, he is keeping up with his classes and has called his sister a number of times for help with his math homework.

Sydnee seems to be settling in also for her senior year of college. She is working at a few different jobs and seems to be keeping her schedule under control. She also has a social life that is tied to her church. I hope that she can expand the social part while keeping her beliefs intact, it can be quite the balancing act. She has sent her application to UPS for the Masters in the Art of Teaching, and has a few pieces to follow up on including three tests. I know she will do grand and will be receiving her Master in 2009. YEAH Sydnee!!

I am taking this time to look at my own opportunities and choices.

Be Free,

Thursday, September 27, 2007


If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have even more peace. So wherever you are attached, let go of that and come back to the center. Learn to see all movement of life with balance and openness.


Ok, I haven’t felt well since I got home from Boston. We all seem to have gotten some sort of stomach bug, but we will be fine.

But, what I have noticed since we moved Robin to Bellingham is that with the house quiet, I am fealing mellower. I know that some of this is due to the energy of our house. It is a great house and the energy has always been loving and comforting, but now it is something else too. I guess maybe it is serenity, a feeling that all is good in this space. I think the dog even feels it, he has been sleeping really well at night, and so have I.

It is a shift to think that if something needs to be cleaned or picked up, it is because Steve or I got it out or made the mess. It is just different.

I think that Steve got laid off for a couple different reasons that have nothing to do with his companies budget changes. I think he needed a change and he wasn’t moving fast enough, so God/the universe gave him a little push. I also think that I needed him home to help with this transition. And he has helped. I figure about the time I get used to having him home, he will get a new job.

My mom told me once that she married my dad “for better or worse, but not for lunch”. I totally understand what she meant, but since Steve takes on the chore of cleaning up whatever mess I make when I cook, I don’t mind cooking more in a day. It is really good for us to eat at home and eat the good organic produce we get from Terry’s Berries in our farm share. My new favorite way to cook a lot of veggies is to roast them. Simple and so flavorful.

I start new Pilates classes for Pierce College this week. My Tuesday morning class has six participants and it is so exciting to be able to really teach the proper technique to them all. We stop and feel what each move is and why we want to do it. I make sure they are doing it properly and even though we didn’t make it too far though the list of exercises, they could all feel what they were supposed to be feeling and felt as though they had worked. This is the way teaching this should feel. It is too bad that the YMCA has the open door policy on their Pilates classes and I have so many different levels in each class. I remember Anne would take people upstairs to give them an individual help session with some of the moves. I never did that, but I wish I had been asked. I may have to figure out how to include that for the class participants.

I also need to do some thinking and experimenting with the collection of exercises that I do in the class. I tend to go much slower than Anne did, but I like the mind/body connection that that affords. But I feel I need to have more variety, so I guess I will be working for my money.

Life is great.

Be Free,

Saturday, September 22, 2007

He's Grown Up

Ok, we got him to Bellingham and into his dorm. I wanted to stay until he was ready for me to go. I was really good about asking him what he wanted me to do and not just doing what I thought needed to be done. He has discovered a few things he forgot already.

The first, as he was trying to get comfortable in the yeti to take a nap, her realized that he forgot his pillow. We discussed the merits of buying a new one vs. a folded sweatshirt. He didn't want to buy a new one. When his stuff was in the room, he realized he forgot the lock for his laptop. Then he couldn't find the keys to his bike lock. And the remote to his stereo. Apparently you can't set it to the sleep mode, and a few other features, with out the remote. He received a message from a friend who is moving up to Western on Sunday and he called her to ask if she would mind bringing the few items he forgot, she said yes and she just stopped by the house to pick them up. I feel relieved.

What I am feeling guilty about is he has a cold. Now, I know I didn't give it to him and there is really nothing that I can do, but my baby can't breathe through his nose. He used the nasal spray in the car on the way and he emailed me last night, around midnight, that he couldn't find it. His roommate, Lucas pictured on the right with Robin, is going to go buy him some today. The second save of the day.

The house is very quiet. Steve has been home, and I have been trying to find him projects to do. Well, he now gets to clean and detail Robin's car so we can sell it. Do you know anyone who is interested in a '98 Ford Contour?

Be Free,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Big Day Friday

Steve and I will be driving to Bellingham this Friday to take Robin to college. It hits me every once in a while that he will be there and not here. Although I don't see him very much when he is here.

I am feeling very worn out after the trip so I am wondering if I am a little more sensitive to change and "stuff" than I would normally be. Probably not, but it is a valid excuse for being what feels crazy to me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Boston was fabulous!

We flew US Air into Philly and found out our flight to Boston was canceled. They bumped us to a flight 30 minutes later. No problem, our luggage will get on that flight, right? They said yes. Wrong. It didn’t come in on that flight and the next two flights were canceled. I called at 1:30 in the morning to see if it had come in on the last flight and was told that it didn’t and that I should call in the morning. I called and they told me it had arrived and would be delivered. I, of course, asked when. They said by 10:30. There was a message on the hotel phone that I hadn’t seen and when I called they told me our luggage was in the lobby. They brought it up after I asked them to. Yeah, we were set to vacation.

We took a trolley tour that was ok, but not great. We got to see all of the sights, but they wanted everyone to be quiet so you could hear about the history. It was kinda strange to be told to be quiet, but we also did want to hear the history. The problem was we thought the first driver wasn’t too funny but when we got back on after checking our Fenway Park, the driver was worse. But we had a good idea of where everything was and what we wanted to go back to see.

Mom and I wanted to shop. We wanted to go to Filene’s Basement, Macy’s, and DSW (a huge shoe store). We made it to DSW the first day and I got a pair of cute shoes, but then went back to the hotel to get ready to have dinner. We found out later in the week that Filene’s was closed and wouldn’t open for a couple of years (boohoo) and we did get to Macy’s, but we weren’t too impressed. We did end up getting Mom a pair of flip flops at Payless Shoe Source.

On Thursday we walked part of the Freedom Trail. Boston proper is not very big and we stayed in the Financial District which was very central. It was a 10-15 minute walk to the North End, aka Little Italy to those not from Boston, and a 10-15 minute walk to Beacon Hill. We saw graveyards, Paul Revere’s house, the famous “one if by land, two if by sea” church steeple, the Boston Commons and the Public Gardens. It was a very relaxed vacation and it was great to spend the time with my mom and my sister.

We listened in at one graveyard to a tour leader talk about Sam Adams. She told us to look at the picture of Sam on the beer label. It isn’t him. I guess he was “butt ugly” (her words, not mine) and that the picture is actually Paul Revere. Compare these photos.

Paul Revere by Copley

Samuel Adams

We got to see the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, had lunch at the Museum of Fine Arts, and went to Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Peabody. We took a very short harbor tour and saw the USS Constitution and the beautiful buildings of Boston from the harbor.

I am glad to be home and now I get to help Robin finish getting ready to move to Bellingham. We take him this Friday. I’ll let you know how I hold up.

Be Free,

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

We camped last weekend at Mayfield Lake. We were with a group of dogs who were kind enough to bring all of their owners. The dogs run and play. We had a couple puppies there and all sizes. Here are a few pictures.

This is Puck showing Nico who is boss.

Here are Biggles and Nico.

Sandy, Nico and Biggles.

Puck and Sophie. There were more dogs there, but these were the ones who we played with.

This was the most challenging cork screw that I have ever encountered. Kudos to Ron and Dave for getting the bottle open, notice I didn’t say figuring it out. We definitely achieved corkage. We also ate really well. We had biscuits and gravy with a hashbrown casserole, fajitas & margaritas, a sausage hash with eggs, tri-tip roast with coleslaw and corn on the cob and then breakfast sandwiches on Monday. We ate well and it was all greatly appreciated. It is really a neat system with this group. Everyone is in charge of a meal, you choose what you want to make and then you are done cooking for the rest of the weekend. It is so much fun and the variety is fantastic.

I know Steve and I had a great time and look forward to the next time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Timing is Everything

Or not. We had decided that we didn't need a new car. We needed to pay for our children's education. That is our choice and we feel strongly about it. That said, we had told my parents when they were ready to get a new car let us know and we would buy their Honda. We thought this would happen in a couple years.

I got a call from my Dad bright and early Monday morning. He told me Mom had found a car that she really wanted, would we be interested in the Honda. I couldn't answer with anything other than I would talk to Steve and call him back. I talked with Steve and we decided that it wasn't a good time to get a car loan. My Dad understood completely. (When I talked to Mom she was surprised that dad thought she wanted it so bad, she told me she said she really liked it, yes, but didn't need a new car.)

Steve called me Tuesday morning within three minutes of leaving the house because he missed me so much and he had thought about the Honda. He asked how I felt. I could go either way, I could see the great deal we would get, but I could live with what we have. Well, we are getting a 2004 Honda Accord 4 door sedan. It has less than 20,000 miles on it and my Dad is great at taking care of cars, so we know it is in great shape. We will probably pick it up this weekend.

My parents would have driven their new 2007 Ford 500 home yesterday right after they test drove it, but Mom forgot to put the checkbook in her purse. Oops, but they probably are home with it this afternoon.

I'll post pictures later. (Oh, Steve informed me that this is his car, just for the record.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Great Day, Except

All in all yesterday was a great day. I got ready to go to the YMCA to teach my Pilates class and before I leave, every other Wednesday, Ruth comes to clean my house. YEAH!!! It makes me happy when she comes. This is partly because she cleans, and partly because I pick up to make it easier for her to clean. I know this is when Steve says, why do you clean so she can clean? Well, if all of our “stuff” is picked up and put away, she doesn’t have to move it to clean under it and it takes her less time and she can get more done in the time she is here. Steve really likes it when our “stuff” is put away sothis isn’t a complaint from him, just a comment.

I had a great class. After working with Michelle a couple weeks ago, I got some ideas of ways to keep my classes from being, I hope, too boring. I try to mix it up a little. Sydnee was there so we did Swan Dive, a more advanced move, just for her. My stretching class had about 11 people in it and I always love stretching for 30 minutes and relaxing.

When I came home, I went to my office and started to get things ready for Brenda to arrive. Brenda is my massage practitioner and I am her massage practitioner. We are also friends, so we both really look forward to every other Wednesday. Well, everything had not been put away after the floors were installed, so I was getting the room straightened up and ready. Steve had moved my stereo onto the top shelf of my bookshelf that is on the wall, and he had unplugged it. Well, I got it down, got the cord and was looking at the wires to the speakers and wondering why they were in front of the shelves…Oh well, I’ll move them later. I needed to move the dresser away from the wall to plug in the stereo and when I stepped to the side of said dresser I ran right into the shelf. Smacked my forehead but good. This stopped me in my tracks for two reasons. First, the shelf has been there for almost 19 years and I have never ran into it and secondly, it hurt really, really bad. My first thought was “That is going to leave a mark”, and it did leave a little knot that is sore. But, I have to laugh at myself, because I did worry about the floor guys running into the shelf but not me.

The day progressed wonderfully from there. The only problem I had during my massage was that it hurt my head to have my face in the face cradle, but I adjusted my position and was able to suck it up and enjoy my massage. Sydnee was here and we had a great dinner of roasted veggies; potatoes, carrots, radishes, garlic, cauliflower, green beans and corn on the cob with some grilled chicken on the side. Yummy. And our Bible study was rewarding as always. We are reading Anne Lamott’s “Traveling Mercies”. I like it and I like her style.

So, yesterday was a great day, except when I hit my head. Today I get to put away more “stuff” that Steve brought in from the garage. He wants to park in there again, so bags and boxes crowd around a few pieces of furniture. Oh well.

Be Free,

Monday, August 20, 2007

Floors Only, Please

Please look only at the floors, the counters and table tops are full of things that need to be put away. Thanks, I knew you all would understand.

Be Free,


Ok, the floors are in and most of the furniture and “stuff” is in place. It will still be a couple of days before all the dust settles back into a nice homey feel. But, the floors are beautiful, and I look forward to seeing them darken over the next six months.

The reason all the furniture is not in place is Robin is working at a camp in Stanwood and we picked him up Saturday morning to go to Bellingham to Summerstart. The campus is beautiful, Steve and Robin noticed that there were not only more girls to guys, but most of the girls were pretty. We picked up our respective packets and Robin got his picture taken for his Western ID card. He started chatting with a cutey in line. He is going to be fine.

He had a little trouble registering. He had to get an over-ride code for his accelerated Calculus class; he didn’t apply for the Honors Chemistry because he thought he could just register for it. You can’t. He will apply, but in the meantime he registered for an ancient civilization class and an anthropology class. He had 15 credits from Running Start at Pierce College, 10 of which satisfy GUR’s and he scored a 5 on the AP calculus test which explains the accelerated calculus class he will take this year.

We took him to the camp he is working at so he could show us and then we went to dinner with the couple that he is staying with. Joe is going to introduce him to the person who runs the challenge course at Western.

I will add pictures of the floors later today.

Be Free,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Day Two

They are done for today. They will return tomorrow morning and finish the floors, put the baseboard back up and finish anything else that needs to be touched up. YEAH!

Day Two

Here are pictures from the morning of day two, I'll add more later today.
Be Free,

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Floors In Progress

Here are some before pictures and in progress.

The guys: Jeremy, Mike, Jason, and Tyler are so nice and they are very careful about doing a good job. It is refreshing to have a craftsman doing the floors. The cool thing about the Brazilian Cherry is that it will darken for about six months, so the color it is now is not the color it will be. COOL!

I’ll keep you posted. (Megabitch is on the way out)


I am so nervous. The floors are going to be started today. I am stressed from all the moving. I need to clear some things up. I have not moved EVERYTHING. There are a lot of big pieces that Steve moved and some he had help from Robin with. There are even a few things that the floor guys are going to have to move. While I stress about it Steve has been so patient with me. I become the “Megabitch” when I get stressed and let me tell you she hasn’t left the building yet.

I admit to having a hard time with change and excitement. I tend to deal well until it is gone and then I crash. I survived Bob being here, but dropped after he left, only to get cranked up to move the house into the garage. I expect after it is all done and moved back, I may crash. BREATHE.

Update on Bob: He had surgery on his knee to repair a ruptured quadriceps tendon. He is in a soft cast and using crutches for two weeks until he goes back to the doctor. He is taking Tylenol with codeine, so I imagine he can rest with the meds on board. He said when they wear off, he hurts. He also thought he might need a personal trainer and a therapist.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Ok, we aren’t moving, it just feels that way. The time draws close for Jeremy and his guys from Barker Homes to come to the house and install the hardwood floors. Even though I knew this, the realization that I have to remove EVERYTHING that is on the floor in the kitchen, dining room, living room, office and hall is totally overwhelming. I have dug in my heels and I am resisting big time. Why? Because we (I) have a lot of stuff, most of which is in the garage right now. I have a couple more days to move the rest of it.

I admit it, I tend to make piles of papers/stuff. I recognize this and have worked on decreasing the size and number of said piles around the house. I still have work to do. As I was moving something from the office my first inclination was to put it in the dining room, and then it dawned on me I would have to move it from there too. So instead of moving it twice, I found a place to put it with its friends from the office. It is safely stacked or piled or in a bag in the garage.

My biggest concern about this process is my computer. In addition to being tied to my email I am the editor of our church’s newsletter and it will need to be printed this coming Sunday or Monday. Usually I don’t have all the information until Friday and put the finishing touches on it on Saturday. My office will be packed in the garage until the floors are done and (a big and) we make the time to put everything back into the house. We will be busy on Saturday with Robin doing college prep stuff, so…

Ok, let it go….breathe…. relax your shoulders….it will all work out. This is my mantra for the week. As they say, “resistance is futile”.

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

Be Free,

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Hearing vs. Listening

Steve and I have talked about this many times. We hear differently. I think the filters we all have from the experiences in our lives are very different for Steve and I. I know I go into an automatic mode when we talk sometimes, so I hear what I expect to or I interpret it as if it we speak different languages. I usually hear things as a negative about or towards me. I’m not sure if Steve hears things in a consistent way or not.

Last night the doctor’s office called regarding the results of Bob’s MRI. They asked that he come into the office today to talk about them. The nurse told him to stay off his leg and they could have a wheelchair available when he arrives. I interpreted that and stated “there must be something that needs to be fixed”. Steve heard me say “there must be something really wrong”. I suspect he was concerned something is wrong with his dad’s knee, but I didn’t speak those words.

I guess since we are humans, we won’t listen. I am focusing on thinking about what I am hearing to determine if I am really listening. I am listening from “hear” on out.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Spreading the Joy

OK, I admit it. It was fun to work the aid station at the PCT 50miler/50 K run. I think that in part it was because of the great people crewing with me. Michelle and I were the coco”NUTS” babes, Steve and Eric were there helping for the morning and then swept out of site to sweep the trail. We also shared our duties with Craig, our fearless leader, his wife Lori, Megan and her husband and Brian (I think) All together there were three massage practitioners (well two were therapist because that is what they call us in Oregon) and I think I was the only non-runner.

We were a Hawaiian themed aid station, so that explains the coconut bras and grass skirts. Most everyone else wore Hawaiian shirts and leis. The other Lori is half Hawaiian and she had beautiful music that we swayed our hips to. She could hula, we pretended. We also had to make a few runs into town to get some supplies. We spread the joy of the coco”NUTS” there.

I normally am pretty reserved (scared to look foolish), so I was quite proud of Michelle and myself that we went into town in our outfits. At first I was muttering to myself “I don’t know these people, I will never see them again”, but with Michelle by my side I soon was laughing at the responses and then forgetting that we actually looked different. It’s all about growth. We also talked the entire day and “bonded” like the YaYa Sisters.

We had a great weekend. We got to see my folks for a few minutes when we dropped Puck off, and have lunch with them when we picked Puck up. And we got spent the weekend with two fabulous people. We laughed a lot. Steve can be very silly when he is around Eric and Michelle tells me that is the way he always is out on runs. Who knew, no wonder he likes to be out there, it is very freeing to be silly.

It is amazing to see the different personalities of the runners. I didn’t know anyone so I had no history of who they were, how many runs they had done, how good they were. They were all just people and it was great.

Be Free,

Monday, July 23, 2007

Elder Care?

How do you care for people who want to be independent and take care of themselves? My father-in-law is here and because he hurt his leg on a run, he can’t drive well enough to be safe. So, he is stuck here with me. I know he is an independent and perfectly capable person, but when you are using crutches to get around, you may need a little help every once in a while.

He has been very good about accepting the help that is offered, and I have worked on not offering too quickly or too often and we are getting along fine.

It makes me wonder, how do you parent your parents? I think it is a slow transition, but it is a shock when you realize that is what you are doing. But to what extent are we parenting and where will it lead? Will we care for them in our home or will they go into nursing homes? Then it brings to mind the big question of what will Steve and I do as we age, will we expect our kids to parent us? Will we have a choice? I heard you should be nice to your kids, they pick out your nursing home.

So, no answers, just the questions for now. I am living in the joy that our families bring to us and focusing on doing what needs to be done with grace and love. And wine, or is that whine?

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Very First Race Report

It really wasn’t a race, it was a walk. It really was more of a stroll. My friend, Danette, asked me to walk the Toyota Tacoma Narrows Bridge Run/Walk with her. I agreed, even though I am nervous about heights. The walk was yesterday, so here is my official report.

Since Danette and I are both nervous about being late, we were to meet up at Pepper’s salon, where Danette works, at 6 AM, and of course we were both early, so after we got gas and coffee we were on the road by 6 AM. We parked at Tacoma Community College and rode the shuttle to the Living War Memorial Park and picked up our packets. We didn’t have anything else to do so we walked down to the start and looked around. We were there for just over an hour before the start. By 8 AM, when the race started, the area was packed. I have never seen so many people in my life. There were over 10,000 participating in this event.

It took us 10 minutes to cross the start line and we really could only stroll for probably the first mile. The race crossed the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma to Gig Harbor and up almost to the new toll booths where it turned around and we went back. I even looked over the edge and took this picture. I know it is hard to believe, but it is true. Although, I think am going to have to get a notarized affidavit from Danette to show my mother.

We finished up and walked up to the park and retrieved our jackets and got in the huge line for the shuttle back to TCC. The best part of the day was when we left TCC we went to Trader Joe’s and I stocked up on wine. If you want to come have a glass with us, I’ve got wine.

Be Free.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Family Planning?

I came across a DailyOM from on Family Planning. Now, I know what you are thinking. Steve and I are old and we can’t be planning on more kids. You are right, we are not planning on adding to our family (until grandkids in the future, at least five years please). This was about planning the qualities you want to foster in your family's growth.

Since I am not in a position to mold my children much, if at all anymore, I was thinking about what I did do. I know for a fact that I wanted my kids to love learning. I stated it many times as they were growing, I modeled it and we lived it. Well, Sydnee will be going for her Masters in the Art of Teaching so she can be a high school math teacher. Robin is thinking about teaching science. I think I accomplished that goal.

That was the easy one, what else was there. “No name calling”. I always believed that you believe what your hear, even if you don't want to or know better, whether it is positive or negative but the negative carries more weight. I have worked hard to overcome some of the things my siblings said to me, so I was adamant that my kids not do that to each other. I’m not sure if this one worked, you would have to ask my kids, but I believe that they are very sensitive in many ways(and would have been anyway) and they are affected by what others say to and about them, like us all. They are also aware of the effect their words have on others. But other than the occasional “poopyhead”, I would say they spoke well to each other. Did I contribute to their sensitivity, I don’t know. Do they have or did they have problems because of it. Yeah, maybe. But they may have had those issues anyway. We will never know.

Steve believes that travel is important. He talked a lot about his backpacking trip to Europe as a 21 year old. We traveled with the kids, taking them to Mexico, California, on a couple of cruises (including this cruise to Alaska with both of our parents)and camping a lot. They love to travel and I see that being an important factor in their lives. I don’t know if Sydnee would have chosen to go to the University of Wales for a semester if this hadn’t been an important belief in our lives. Robin also plans to study abroad.

These are what I remember "planning" for our family. I wonder what I would have changed if I had seen this DailyOM before I had kids. Oh, well, I’ll never know.

Be Free.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


We tend to be really good about maintenance on our cars. We try to change the oil every 5,000 miles or so and get the checks and tune-ups when scheduled. We know that they run better when we do this and since we don’t buy new cars very often it is important to keep the ones we own running well.

We also do this with our bodies. We eat healthy foods in appropriate portions, we exercise, we have a spiritual life, and we try to talk when things are bothering us. This has worked rather well for us, we have been dating almost 29 years and have been married for almost 23.

Where we have slacked off on this is our house. We do the minimum when it is necessary. Neither of us are real lovers of yard work and while Steve is very handy, he is also a perfectionist. So he does things really well, but they take time. He feels he would rather pay for someone to do a job, because his time is precious (there are too many summits to be conquered or golf courses in the past). This has worked for us but now we are both beginning to think about the state of affairs. Our house is 19 years old. Some of the weeds are 19 years old. The carpet is 19 years old. I wanted to replace it a few years ago, but the dog was old and the boy was in high school. I didn’t want new carpet to get ruined. But now the boy is college bound and the new puppy is housetrained. It is time. But it was the beginning of summer and the grass grew.

There is a snowball effect in place. I think it may actually be an avalanche. First, we hired someone to come clean up the yard (we have an acre and a quarter with not even half landscaped) and since we paid more than it was worth and he wanted to charge too much to come back for maintenance, be decided that we could do slightly more than the minimum (the minimum being nothing) and keep it up ourselves. The problem is the moles and the back yard. We have a problem and have had for years. The back has never been seeded with yard grass, it is just field grass. This was great when the kids were little because they thought they were hiding in the grass, but now I can’t push the lawn mower that I received as a birthday gift about 10 years ago through the hills and valleys back there. So we bit the big one and for my birthday this week, I got a new Craftsman riding lawnmower. Now everyone wants to mow the lawn.

To get rid of the field grass we need to borrow or rent a rototiller to dig up the grass and blackberries and re-seed both the front and back yards. This is a beginning of fall type job, so it makes sense to wait a bit for that. We also need to look at what types of plants could line the perimeter of the yard and would be low to no maintenance (see a theme here?) and native to this part of the world. Salal and rhododendrons are all I have thought about so far. Planning, one of my favorite activities.

While the house is 19 years old, we designed and built it and we love the location in the woods. But a lot of things in the house are 19 yers old. The carpet is 19 years old. I wanted to replace it a few years ago, but the dog was old and the boy was still in school. I didn’t want new carpet to get ruined. But now the boy is college bound and the new puppy is housetrained. It is time.

I have chosen Brazillian Cherry hardwood floors for the kitchen, dining room, living room, office and hall. Steve didn’t want to put it in the kitchen and dining room, because about six or eight years ago we had Pergo put in there. But the Pergo next to the hardwood would look really bad and then in a few years when the i would need to be replaced, we wouldn't be able to connect it with the hardwood, so it is being replaced now. It just makes the most sense. The new carpet for our bedroom is a neutral green and it has been ordered. So my job today is to start the painting of the bathroom and closets, since I can’t move the furniture and my moving man is out conquering summits. I have to paint before the new carpet is put in, I just have to.

We won’t be putting new carpet in the kid’s rooms because all those years of clothing on the floors protected the carpet for the most part and it doesn’t look near as old as it is. Who knew the kids were saving us money all these years.

So this is my avalanche. I’ve heard horror stories about this and I'm sure there will be more posts about this adventure.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Balancing Expectations

Change your thoughts, and you change your world. Norman Vincent Peale

I'm a planner while Steve is more spontaneous. There is a balance between us. I'm thinking about this summer and camping. Steve would like to go to Leavenworth. That works for me, when? Also throw two adult kid's schedules into the mix and the dates are even more unpredictable. Here is what I am thinking about today: If I have a set expectation or plan, can I still be open to whatever happens? I would like to say "no problem", but in reality when something doesn't go as planned I hesitate and then can go with it.

There are other times when I can easily let things work themselves out. If I don't have a certain outcome that I expect, then anything that happens is ok. And most of the time this is where I sit, but when reservations need to be made for a campsite or a hotel room I get a little wiggy. I like to know where I am going to sleep at night.

So, I continue to work on changing my thoughts to those of someone who is more spontaneous and I will be more spontaneous. I also look for the joy and wonder of everything around me. Life is fabulous!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Beauty of Food

Last night was one of the very few times I turned down going out to dinner with Steve. He called and asked if I wanted to go get something light for dinner. We have a share at Terry's Berries and Tuesday is my pick up day. I have some veggies left from last week that I haven't been able to eat, so we ate at home and had fresh sauteed spinach, fresh spring beets roasted in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a pork chop. It was topped off with a Blue Moon Belgiun White beer. It was better than any date just knowing how fresh and healthy the food is. And since Steve helps with the dishes we get to spend extra time together.

We have had a CSA (community share in agriculture) for three or four years. It is great to go to the farm and leave with a basket of incredible, fresh, organic produce that was picked that morning. I highly recommend this to everyone who is interested in eating well for their health and their community. Check out IdealBite as a resource for going "green".

Yesterday I picked up asparagus, peas, spinach, lettuce, salad mix, greens, spring onions, beets and summer squash. Terry's has full share and sample share options. We have always gotten a full share, but this year we only have two people eating at home regularly, so we may have too much food. I am going to give it my best shot to have at least two veggies at dinner and more if I make a stir-fry or soup. I love cooking this way, I get the food and then only have to choose the meats or other sides that we want. Eating seasonally is interesting and we have tried and liked a lot of things that we wouldn't have tried on our own.

This picture is of artichokes at the farm a couple of years ago. Robin took this photo and it is one of my favorites. The sunflowers are also from the farm. There are many different photo opportunities there. If you have an opportunity to visit a farm near where you live, I say go for it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Really Alone

I am home alone. Puck is with me, but I'm not sure he really counts. Steve is with Eric, Michelle, and Rob in California for the Western States Endurance Run. (I haven't learned how to make this a link, but you can find it on the web at Steve is going to run the last 40 miles as Eric's pacer. He left yesterday morning with Rob and they will come back Monday. Steve and I aren't apart very often so it is really strange to have him gone.

Robin just left for Lazy F. He is meeting Sydnee and the rest of the site staff to raft on the River. He originally was to go over tomorrow to learn how to facilitate the ropes course. He is hoping to spend time at camp this summer both volunteering as a small group leader and a facilitator of the ropes course and as a camper. So far he has four weeks scheduled there, but I am sure there will be more. The first year he volunteered he went as a camper and then was there the next two weeks as a small group leader to fill in for empty spaces. The camp is a special place in my kids hearts, it fills their spirits.

My plan for today is to clean the house. Boring, but necessary. My housekeeper had surgery and can't come to work until the end of July. She only comes every two weeks, but if it isn't cleaned before she comes it will be pretty bad. I talked with Robin about where he wanted me to put the things he needs to sort through. There is a lot that I think he can trash or recycle. Which reminds me, his friend, James, came to the house last night for Robin's fire pit party. He brought a huge stack of school work to burn in the pit. We probably should have made it more of a ceremony, but he felt better after it was burned. Some of his stress was relieved. I hope some of Robin's friends will still come to visit us after he moves away, it is going to be awfully quiet here if they don't. Some have told me they already plan to visit and I really hope they do.

Back to my plan. Clean house. I love having a clean house, but I think I have ADD when it comes to cleaning. I get so distracted that I am all over the place as one thing triggers me to move to something else and I have to work hard to get everything finished. Ok, I'm going... really I am.

Ciao, ciao.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


We have four adults in our family. Our youngest, Robin, turned 18 in March but graduated last Saturday. Now that he is done with high school it seems he is really an adult.

I have been shifting in my own thoughts about who I am. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 21 years. I quit working as a nurse in a doctor's office when I was pregnant with Sydnee. I have worked part-time off and on since, but my main concern for all these years has been to take care of my family. Now I get to look at who I want to be when I grow up.

I am an RN, but I haven't worked in that capacity for many, many years. I would have to do some training to feel competent since medicine has changed some in the last 20 years. I am a licensed massage practitioner, but physically my wrists and hands can't do deep work and a lot of people want that. I would try to accommodate them and might end up hurting myself. This would not be good. I taught childbirth classes and while I loved it, I am not sure I would want to get back into that. I am teaching Pilates and stretching right now at the YMCA and as continuing education for the local community college. This is a great fit for right now since it keeps me exercising (Pilates has helped my back pain tremendously) and involved with people. I definitely need to be around people.

I also need to have a creative outlet. I used to sew. I sewed for years and have made everything from lingerie to tailored suit jackets to swim suits. I have a strong desire to make retro aprons. I would love to make them for moms and daughters or sons and help kids get into the kitchen. Maybe this could be a web-based business. I also make unique wine glass stemlets, so there could be a few items available. I don't know. Right now, I have a couple projects for churches that I need to complete and then I can get started with something else.

I know I will be fine, life always works out. I don't know what it will look like, but since I raised my kids to not keep looking at a closed door waiting for it to open while there may be windows opening behind them, I will keep an open mind to all the possibilities.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Big Night

Robin graduates tonight. We celebrate with family, not a big deal. He, on the other hand, had a party last night. His affairs are very low key. I found out about this one on Thursday, I believe. We have a fire pit in our backyard that Robin made a couple years ago. Very simple, bricks layed out in a 2 1/5-3 foot circle, stacked 3-4 high. It works. We had some work done on our yard this week and got all the blackberries cleared, the lawn mowed, and some trees cut down. It looks great and makes it easy to get to the fire pit.

So, yesterday afternoon, while I was sewing curtains in my new studio, he was cutting wood to build benches around the pit. He was working for a while and I asked him when people were coming. He told me between 6 and 7. I let him know it was 6:30. Five minutes later a couple girls drove up. He took a quick shower and as more kids arrived they played on the swing in the front yard. This is a rope swing that he built on our huge old maple tree in the front. Our driveway slopes down so when you swing around the tree you get some good air. You just need to be aware when you come around not to run into the tree.

They eventually landed in the backyard and Robin started the fire. I heard a commotion and looked out to see Robin about 15 feet away from the fire and laughing somewhat hysterically. My mom radar went up and I went onto the deck to observe what whas happening. I found out he used gasoline to start the fire. He jumped that far from the fire when it flared. Why he thought this was a good idea, I don't know. I had a little talk with him and he immediatly realized how lucky he was that he only singed the hair on his arm and didn't seriously hurt himself or someone else. (I could be all indignant and appalled at his actions, but it won't change what he did, I hope he learned a lesson and I thank God that he didn't hurt himself or anyone else.I certainly hope the other kids there also learned that this is not a good way to start a fire.)

I try to keep this philosophy in life. It is done and you can't change it, let it go. Learn from your mistakes and maybe the mistakes of others, apologize when needed and move on. I need to work on my feelings getting hurt, but I have really imporved in this area also.

The whole point I started with is he is 18 and a responsible adult, with a new lesson under his belt this morning. I can only hope that most of the lessons he will learn will only singe the hairs on his arm and he learns them well before he really gets burned.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Life has gotten a little quieter around here. Sydnee is off to camp to work as a site staff member for the summer. She will get one day off a week, and I hope to get to visit with her at the half-way point. We got everything accomplished that she needed to do before she was gone for two months. There are still a few things that I wanted her to accomplish, but I would be pushing too hard if I insisted. There will be time when she gets back. I get to use her old room as my studio, but it will take a while to get it set up the way I would really like it to be.

Robin is graduating from high school Saturday. I really find it hard to believe that we are done with the K-12 public school system. I know that I learned so much and gained so much from all the people that I met over the last 16 years, and I look forward to seeing some of those people at the ceremony. But this paragraph isn't about me. Robin doesn't spend a lot of time at home. He comes and goes pretty much like the wind. I learned when they were young that by the time they turn 18 they need to be responsible for all their decisions. I think we have accomplished that quite well. I always ask Robin when he will be home, but it is just so we know when to worry. There is no threat of punishment at this point. If he ever screws up big time, then the car is our Ace of Spades and he could lose that. He is a really responsible young man, so we don't really worry about that threat. Next week, I will start pushing for him to finish his thank-you cards to the people who have sent him gifts for his graduation.

I am starting a new class this evening. It will be a beginning Pilates class and I am looking forward to being able to really focus on teaching the basics and techniques at the start. In the fall, I will add a continuing Pilates class and will be able to build the participants skills there. The class is full with 15 people. I am nervous and excited. After class, I will go to Starbuck's to meet up with Steve and the Y Run group for coffee.

Friday, June 8, 2007


Ok, I admit it. I am pushing. I try not to, but I do. Since I know this I try to push in a nice way and not as hard as I could. I know that if my daughter doesn't move her stuff before she leaves for camp, she won't be moving it. I will clean off the desk and put everything in a box if she doesn't make time to do it herself, but then she has no say in it. I think that is what she wants. She did say that it probably would have been better to get an apartment after she got home from camp instead of moving her things out of her childhood bedroom less than 24 hours after returning home from being in Wales for 4 1/2 months. But this was her choice.

I admit that once I started living with the idea that they would be gone and I would have the house to keep as Steve and I want it, I started to like it. Once I wrap my mind around an idea, I tend to be like a dog with a bone. There are things in a 19 year old house that need changing and I am going to make this house the way we want it. After all, we are the ones who will be living here.

I have also been asked if I would consider teaching Pilates during the day for the local community college. I am starting an evening class next week, and already they want to add more. I wondered what I would do when the kids were gone and I had less commitments with them. Be careful what you wish for.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Empty Nest

emp·ty [ √©mptee, √©mtee ]1. containing nothing: not containing or holding anything, 2. unfed: hungry or lacking food, 3. unoccupied: unoccupied or uninhabited, 4. with no passengers or load: without passengers, a load, or cargo, 5. meaningless: without value, meaning, or purpose, 6. dull: devoid of vitality.

nest [ nest ] 1. bird or animal home: a structure that birds and other animals such as mice build to shelter themselves and their young, using available natural materials such as grass, twigs, and mud, 2. community of animals: the community of animals living in a nest, 3. cozy place: a cozy, protected, or secluded place.

They don't have "empty nest" in the dictionary. These are the definitions that I found for empty and nest. There are many possible combinations that work as an explanation of what I expect in the coming years. Years? Yes, I believe that this is a process that takes years.

My example, our daughter moved out of the house into a dorm three years ago this coming August. She moved things home the next May and back out again a month later. She was in that house with other students for 18 months and she moved home for two months before she packed her bags and went to Wales to study for four and a half months. I thought it was very funny that she came home this last Sunday evening and moved back out on Monday afternoon. She has been here for her meals since and I expect this to continue for the rest of the week and we get all the supplies and "things" stocked up for her. I'm not sure she will ever move home again. Although I did tell her that if she needed to she could. My dad told my sister that he wouldn't break her plate. Funny, he never told me that.

Our son is a busy senior and comes in to eat periodically and to sleep every night, so I don't see him very much now. I guess the experience of an empty nest is coming at me in bits. He will be moving to his first dorm room in September of this year. I expect that there will be a few moves back and forth for him also. His adventure is just beginning.

For Steve and I the adventure is in the journey.