Hello! Its been a while since I've updated the blog and there have been some exciting changes since the last entry (which really was back in 2009!)
Part of this was due to the embarrrasing fact that I am not a website designer. Any change previously made to this site took hours of painstaking HTML headaches and as much as I loved the challenge.... this whole "drop and drag" method of website design is so much more my speed. Hopefully you'll see more exciting changes this year!
So, here we go with the speed version of catch-up!
In December 2009 I moved into a new home following the deaths of both "old people" (my beloved landlords Joan and Bob.) The new home is nestled in a pie-shaped block smack between the 5 Freeway, Northgate, Roosevelt and Greenlake. Its a 1925 Craftsman and I live in the basement mother-in-law. I have closets! I have an oven! The best yet is that I have a bathtub! As much as I adored living beneath the old people, their caregivers made me crazy and the house was aesthetically challenged. The new home had been updated about 2 years prior with amazing nickel fixtures, honey oak cabinets and a rainfall showerhead.
Fast forward to last month. We had torrential rains and being that Seattle sits on several watertables.... well you get the drift. Two to three inches of water graced my floor at 6am one Sunday morning. I called McLeod Construction, the most phenomenal contractors ever, who were at the house within 2 hours and moving furniture/boxes! They took amazing care of me during the 2 week dryout process, ordered new cabinets, carpet, fixed drywall and wha-la.... 6 weeks later I have an entirely new home! Needless to say, I love it more now than ever!
Okay, so onto a new topic... work. Last you heard I was part of the lay-offs implemented by my former employer. Good news!! Last April I was picked up by one of their primary competitors and put onsite to manage a 1 building (instead of 30) for more money! How much more amazing could that have been? I have a great boss, phenomenal coworker and decent minion... less stress and more cash. A hearty "thank you" to the unappreciative and crappy employer for kicking me out of the nest... and creating a situation where I am no longer partaking in a daily dose of xanax! YAY!
The last little bit of news is that I started dating again. Frankly, I am getting old and Dennis has been gone for over 8 years. He hasn't been able to come home and no one will give proof-of-life, let alone merely confirm or deny if he's fine. I know he'd be here if he could, so I've grieved the loss and can only assume he's in a better place.
Its an interesting time to be single and since the dating stories have been so "interesting", friends encouraged me to blog the experience. The feedback has been really interesting!
Well, I'm headed to a meeting, but just am glad to have an easy forum to communicate again! Hope all is well with each of you!
Rest, Reflection, Rejuvenation
Things change. Personal worlds evolve. People and pets come and go, leaving their footprints in our worlds. This has been my lesson for the past month.
This has been a summer of evolution. I'm no longer working with SUHRCO and have joined the masses of unemployed, following company restructuring and lay-offs. The time-off is giving me the opportunity to rejuvenate after a long period being at a full run.
I've learned that everything occurs with purpose. Timing may initially seem extremely inconvenient or even catastrophic; however, the universe always has the ability to see ahead and create opportunities for us to see the blessings in what might have been initially perceived as a negative situation.
Most of you know that my dear companion and feline friend, Chaucer, passed on about a week and a half ago. He was by my side for the last 12 years of his 20 on this planet. He was a champion Persian with the disposition of a faithful Labrador. If I'd still been employed, I would have missed the chance to be with him as he passed away, let alone spend those last few precious weeks with my friend.
Life is a phenomenal thing. Not merely because it provides a basis for our existence, but because it gives and takes away, ebbs and flows, always leaving a footprint of everything and everyone we encounter.
Without this unanticipated hiatus, I'd have most likely grieved and grieved again, instead of immersing myself in the memories and stories of both Bob and Chaucer. It's afforded the opportunity to clean and sweep away unneeded items, giving as many to charity as possible. This makes me wonder what others are doing with their respites from the corporate lifestyle.
In the interim, while I look forward to rejoining the work force, I'm taking every day to capitalize on the rejuvenation and what life has in store next. Its situations such as job loss, and the passing of 2 dear friends, that reinforce how life should be a celebration of reverent gratitude.
EPILOGUE: On October 6th, 2009, several weeks after her husband, Joan passed away at home. She was born on the Blackfoot Reservation in Montana, during 1927 and continued her connection to the native people for the remainder of her life. Joan was one of the first three women to graduate University WA's medical school in 1950 and served our community for many years as a psychologist with a tender heart and true compassion. When I moved into her basement, she was still practicing. Joan and I would have long talks over the history, native american culture, wildlife and plants. She gave me a true appreciation for the endangered "Trillium" plant, which I continue to tend in pots on my deck. She had a love for all of God's creatures, even the family of rats that ate nightly from the multitude of birdfeeders. I miss my dear friend, but take solace in knowing that she's with Bob, laughing at my daily adventures just as she did when physically present.
The Bucket List
Everyone has one, even if they won't admit it. What it is? It's the list of things they'd like to personally accomplish before "kicking the bucket." Mine is constantly evolving, and slowly (in my true fashion) I am able to "check off" an item or two. So, here it is... check back to see if things have been added or completed.
Learn to Spearfish - Done - Summer of 1994
Spend a summer in an English Cottage
Write a book
Learn to kayak
Swim with Dolphins - Done - Every morning from 1993-1995
Skate in a Roller Derby Bout
See Old Faithful - Done - June of 1992
Live in a lighthouse
Ride in a hot air balloon
Kiss a whale and swim with Orcas - Done - thanks Riedarson!
Go white water rafting
Take a sabbatical - Done 2015 - Immersed myself in Nature, Hiking and Mushroom Hunting
Visit the Galapagos and study the giant tortoises
Study and Swim with Sharks - Done w/ CA Fish and Game
De-Sting Stingrays (Humanely) - Done w/ CA Fish and Game 1994
Learn to knit - Done 2013
See the Northern Lights
Experience the Amazon rainforest
Head a fullscale paleontological dig - Done - Crystal Cove State Park July 94 Intertidal Scombrid
Try snowshoeing - Done - Mt Rainier 2012
Visit all 50 states and their most haunted places
Participate in Mardi Gras
Learn enough to have tortoises in Seattle's humidity - Done - Russian Tortoises in 2015
Completely master all of my musical instruments (cello, violin, flute)
Learn to ID 10 constellations
Rainforest Zip Line
Learn to Truly Live Simply
Meet my sister Tracy - Done April 2009
Get Dennis stateside... and home where he belongs.
Post-Traumatic Pie Disorder
Most people love pie. Pie can lead to the opening of conversations. Pie can bring people together. Pie can be everything wholesome and good. Pie was my crutch -- for many years.
As a child pie was a wonderful thing; it marked each of the fruit seasons. Strawberry season meant strawberry pie, peach season meant peach pie and so on. It was an indulgence given by nature and consequently a blessing. Pie was a social event, or something over which to share my day with mom. Pie was a sign that all was right with the world... Pie brought me solace and comfort during questionable times. Pie was the teddybear of food.
After moving to Northeastern Nevada in order to spend time with Dad and the siblings, pie took on a different connotation. "Going for pie" was ominous... it was the invitation to bad news or some seriousness that would invariably change the course of things. Pie equated to conflict... and in my head, it still does.
The first time I was invited to pie with my father, we discussed how I needed to settle down and be less Southern California-like, in my new environment. I was told that the women of the town were quiet, demure, good Mormons, and I might want to try to blend in a little better. The second time I was invited to pie, we discussed how my stepmother was having a hard time adjusting to having me in the family. Dad assured me that everything would be fine and that she just needed time to adjust. Pie became a regular thing between my father and me and each time the topic became a little more intense and frustrating.
My siblings, all of whom are much younger, also associate pie with drama laden chats with Dad. They were taken to pie when I moved to the big town of Elko to work for the Police Department. They were taken for pie when they were in trouble, and pie was present during the announcement of Dad and their mother's divorce.
Many years later, after I'd fled to Washington, Mom flew up for a week to help me pack, move and get settled into a new apartment. After being horrified that we couldn't purchase martini fixings at the local grocery store (its the state operated liquor store or nothing)...¦and how at 6pm the local spa was pretty much closed for the nightâ€¦ she innocently suggested PIE. My head whipped around like that of a raptor and without thinking very loudly said, "NO PIE! No chats over pie ever. I will not go OUT for pie!"
Mom stood amidst boxes confused and curious. She lowered her tone and curiously asked, "What is wrong with pie? You used to love pie as a kid." I took a step back and thought for a moment. It was then that I realized, that I had Post-Traumatic Pie Disorder.
We had a very long conversation over how my perception of pie had changed from the carefree days when it was a treat. She understood why my reaction to pie was so vehement and in the years since hasn't even mentioned the word.
Most of my siblings have since reached adulthood. We've had conversations over their feelings of pie. My brother, Erick, simply said, "mmmmmmmmmm pie!" The girls took my perspective; pie was the menacing music before the virgin was sacrificed in a bad horror flick. So, just as fair warning... never ask if I want to go out for pie. Pie has its place only on major holidays and as a breakfast item served with coffee. Pie is not a social occasion.. and for all intents and purposes should be referred to as strawberry quiche or oversized peach tart."
Deathwish by Rollerskate
Those of you who are close to me, really quite close, know I've always loved roller skating. At one point as a child, I'd decided to become a roller derby girl. Those of you who know my mother can probably envision the scene which played out after that announcement, and each time Roller Derby was on television affirming my career plans.
Fast forward 23 years.past the cool memories of the early 80's with Robert Scherer and the Holiday Roller Rink; the old high-boot bicentennial skates, figure skating in the driveway (complete with jumps and mid air turns); the "tennis shoe skates" and speed skating with the girls, disco balls and the tune "Rock Lobster" swirling in my head. (Whew! That was a bunch!)
Originally from Southern California, I now live in Seattle. The roller skating obsession had simmered below the surface and was left unchecked, untouched for all this time. Then I found the Rat City Rollergirls website. That's all it took, at 38 I wanted to SKATE, I wanted to BRAWL, I wanted to ROCK! I could do it after all; it's got to be like riding a bike! Skates, bike...sports equipment its all the same.
My friends and I rallied, this was exciting! It was our equivalent to cool and hip; for us it brought back righteous memories! Tabi, the tiniest, perkiest of the "Tribe" even went to try out! ( For entertainment value, I made the call home to Mom with a veiled threat of skating. Again, you can imagine the conversation. Teeheehee )
A year later; Mom was still listening to me yammer about wanting to skate, and the Girls (the skating buddies)Â and I had devised the brilliant plan of skating partially around Lake Washington on this paved multipurpose trail. The views are great: eagles, trees, water, wildlife for me, single hunky men for the rest of the group. After the skate, we'd come back for wine and a little R & R on my front lawn, since its right in front of the trail, and about 50 yards from the water. Great plan, right?
The catch was that I needed outdoor skates. Quads, not blades; I mean, heck.. I was Queen of my Rink, Dammit.
For my 39th birthday, Mom succumbed to the realization that I wasn't giving up what she perceived to be my midlife deathwish. Tabi, my friend who knows all things Skating, helped me pick out a decent roller skate and find a website that had a customizable package with options. Mom reluctantly ordered the skates (then suggested the inflatable sumo suit, thus ensuring full coverage protection and that 2 people would have to be available at all times to help right me.) The celebratory get together was then immediately organized.
It was two days after my 39th birthday; just enough time for the martinis to wear off â€“ not enough time for the "wisdom" everyone speaks of to set in. Pretty much everyone who said they were going to participate, either ended up sick or had to work; others, simply cheese-weenied out.
There we were at Bellevue's Skate King - one of the few rinks in the area. The rink smelled the same, the little round mushroom benches were the same, the light fixtures and the pattern in which they were affixed, all the same, the carpet, the colors... all the same! (The only major difference was that we did NOT have the large skate in the corner of the rink.)
I was wobbly, like a fawn standing for the first time, then realized... its okay; its like riding a bike, get your balance and go! We entered the traffic of the rink, Tabi and Nate behind me, (just incase) while it all very slowly it came back... one lap. Two laps... three laps...four and I felt comfortable enough that just as they started to pass me... WHOOSH!
(Now, knowing my build, one would assume it would be a front first fall. Um, no. Backward.) Tabi and Nate were right there. The DJ was right there at the corner of his booth. In the center of the three, there I was, propped up on my elbows, first stunned, then with a huge grin laughing hysterically. They kept asking if I was alright¦ "Of course, I've lots of padding back there! Though I'm sure I'll be feeling it later!" (Secretly, I was thinking.... SUMO SUIT, NOW!!!)
We skated some more and by the end of the night I was starting to remember how to cross-over skate, even catching up with Tabi and Nate on a lap. There are muscles I hadn't used in 23 years and NO, it isn't like riding a bike. It's going to take a little more practice before I'm ready for a road trip, and even more before I'd be ready to brawl on wheels with the Rat City Rollergirls (even though I still can hold my own on solid ground.)
In the interim, I've ordered Bone Shields (protective gear) AND asked Mom to check into a Sumo Set including Mat. This way, they'd serve as additional protective gear and as wine drinking post-skating entertainment
Thank you again to EVERYONE who made that birthday so special. You all rock!