Thursday, December 24, 2009

::be it pink, purple or heliotrope::

This little short film by the geniuses at Pixar, makes me so happy every time I watch it. Hope you enjoy it too.

(if you can't see the whole screen, click on it and it will open in a new window.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

::drunken santas::

Last year my mom and I took a brief mother-daughter trip to NYC. We had SO much fun; we saw the Rockettes Christmas Super Duper Uber Extraveganza (no, really, it was amazing), we took a tour of the city including riding the ferry out to see the Statue of Liberty, we posed for pictures at the ice-rink at Rockefeller plaza, we asked a secret service guy for directions, we saw gorgeous cathedrals and the Empire State Building and so many fun things. Being two hicks from Idaho, NYC often left us awestruck, slack-jawed and/or laughing hysterically. One of my favorite images, though, was from when I went for a walk by myself while my mom rested; I was just so high on the energy of the city that I just had to keep walking and walking and walking. At one point, as I walked up one of the avenues toward Central Park, I passed by a tavern. As I passed, the door swung open and out came Santa! Then another....and another....and another... All in all, I counted EIGHT Santas and let me tell you, they had been enjoying the nog. They were stumbling a little bit and, I shit you not, singing. God, I wish I'd had a camera!!

I wonder, though, how traumatic that scene would have been if a child had witnessed not one drunken Santa, but eight. How would his mother have explained that one??

Anyway, happy holidays to you and yours. Ho Ho Ho!!! Meeeeerry Christmas!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

::moving on::

A visit to is always a good way to start the week. Let's review some of my recent favorites.

Why are there so many people in Walmart who seem to have forgotten an important article of clothing??
Attention Walmart shoppers! Today we are having a sale on PANTS! Buy one get one free!

Oh honey, I agree. Those tights are far too fabulous to cover up.
Many Walmart shoppers can not be bothered to get out of their pajamas. I actually think this is my sister. Hi Jod! I like your slippers.
And what is UP with the cross-dressing, people??

I love this one:
Flowing locks? Check. Sassy tights? Yeah, baby. Camo skirt? HELL yes.

Dude, I LOVE your sandals. They really accentuate your long legs. And again, you can never go wrong as long as you're wearing Camo.
This poor bastard can't decide if he's Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy. And really, why should he have to choose?

Oh, Walmart. You almost make me love you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

::eighteen minutes::

That's how long our conversation lasted.

It started with me offering up common ground. "It seems we got off on the wrong foot, and I'd like to try to fix that. We actually have a lot in common: we both knit and sew and read the same kinds of books. We have the same political leanings, have the same values and interests and I think we could be friends."

...she stares at me with her usual pinched look, saying nothing. So I continue.

"I know that our....tenuous relationship causes Eric stress, and he feels caught in the middle. It's not fair for him to be in that situation, and it's not productive to the relationship that you have with Anna, either."

Again, she stares at me, silent.

I go on to say that I think she has so much to offer Anna (ok, I was being generous there), saying "You are a smart, strong woman, passionate about what you do and you could be a really positive role model for Anna."

Her first words of the night: "Well, first of all, I disagree with many of the things you just said."

I swallow and regroup; this is not off to a good start. I try another angle and I ask her what her concerns are.

She said that Anna doesn't respect her a parent, and I said "Ok, well, I think that right now you are outside the loop, by choice. Eric and David and I present a united-front; we have created this really healthy and positive model of parenting-after-divorce, and you have avoided participating in that. Therefore Anna sees you as an outsider."

She said "I don't want to be a part of what you've created. That's not the only choice here."


I said "Of course it's not the only choice, but Eric and I brought a child into the world, and it's our life-time responsibility to raise her in the way that works best for all of us. We communicate about everything, we make big decisions together and most importantly, Anna knows she is being raised by people working together for her benefit. We will always parent this way, because it works and because when Eric and I divorced, we agreed that this is what we wanted it to look like."

"But not every divorce looks like that."

"Well, it's what every divorce should look like when there are children involved," I say.

"That's YOUR opinion."


At this point I think there might have been steam coming out of my ears, but I remained completely calm and said "But J., it's working for everyone else but you. And it's not going to change, because it is working and we are all very proud of the situation we have created. I'm not going anywhere and Anna isn't going anywhere. You happen to be dating a man with an ex-wife and a child, and really, you should be thrilled that he is the kind of man that he is, who adores his daughter and maintains a healthy, cooperative co-parenting relationship with his ex-wife. "

"Well then, maybe I have a choice to make".

"Yes," I said, looking her right in the eye, "Perhaps you do."

"Well," she huffed, scooting her chair back to leave, "It's obvious you didn't come here to accommodate me."

Oh yes. She did.

So, I tried.

And the thing is, you know how when you have these big, important conversations with people and later you think of a million things you wish you had said? Well, amazingly enough, I said every single thing I wanted and needed to say, and better yet, I didn't say a single thing I regret. I stayed completely (and uncharacteristically) calm and level-headed and gracious the entire time, even when she was completely unreasonable.

Now. Does anyone know where I can find a voodoo doll?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

::send band-aids::

Ok, so if you've been reading this blog for long, or if you know me in person, you're familiar with the, um, tenuous relationship I have with my ex-husband's girlfriend. In short, she is not supportive of the on-going friendship E. and I have, and the way we continue to co-parent our daughter. Because hello? We are (and will always be) Anna's parents. Anyway, I'll spare you the details, but there was another uncomfortable situation this past weekend and it's time to take the bull by the horns.

Because she and E. have been together for 3 years and she has not warmed up to me (or Anna) in the slightest, I guess I feel the need to make one last-ditch attempt. Because I can not handle it when someone doesn't like me. Because our dislike for each other puts E. in an uncomfortable position of having to defend each of us to the other. Because it would just feel so much better if she and I had some sort of friendship. Because I'm a nice person, damn it.

And so I reached out and made the phone call yesterday. We are going to meet for coffee tomorrow night to discuss "things". I'm hoping to clear the air, to explain some misunderstandings. I want her to know that I will always be part of E's life, because we have a child together, and I want nothing more than for E. to be happy. I want her to understand that she is welcome, if she is willing, to be part of the family that E. and David and I have have worked so hard to create around Anna. (see post below). I want her to know that I am no threat whatsoever; I could not possibly be more happily re-married.

So wish me luck. And if I'm not back in two hours, call 911.

PS. Advice on how to handle the situation is more than welcome!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

::group hug::

When Anna was little, my ex-husband Eric and I used to do something with Anna called "group hug", which was basically just Eric and I hugging with Anna in the middle. She adored it because, well, she was in the middle of her two favorite people in the world, feeling safe and loved.

After we divorced, she'd still occasionally request a "group hug", and Eric and I would laugh and then humor her with a brief, if not somewhat awkward, "group hug". The ritual continued with me and David though, and there are few things Anna loves more than to get in the middle when David and I are trying to hug or kiss.

Last night, David came home from the grocery store and had a big smile on his face. He said he'd run into Anna and Eric at the grocery store. He and Eric stood and chatted for a few minutes, and then, as they parted, Anna said "Group hug!"

I would have given anything to see these two 6'5" men, my ex-husband and my current husband, hugging in the produce isle, with a little blond girl in the middle, grinning from ear to ear.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hot flashes and night sweats and mood swings, oh my!

So I've suffered from night-sweats off and on for several years. I go through phases where, a couple of times a week I'll wake up sweating my proverbial balls off. And then I'll go weeks or months without it happening. I've managed to be grateful that I hadn't started having hot-flashes yet because hot-flashes, in my mind, meant you were officially an "old woman". And since night-sweats happen, well, at night, they can be my little secret.

But now? Now I ask anybody who within earshot: "Are you hot? Is it hot in here? Am I the only one who's HOT right now??" David and Anna informed me this morning that no, not only is it not hot, it was, in fact, borderline cold.

Which can mean only one thing: I am in full-on perimenopause. Woohoo!!!

Just thought I'd share that with you. If you'd like to complain about the freaky things your body is doing without your permission, feel free, in the comments. Or not. I don't give a shit. (ha! A little mood-swing humor.)

Anyway! Tomorrow we are driving down to Boise to spend the weekend with my family. Which means David will get his carnivore fix. And I get kiss my brother's butt to see if he'll UN-disown me. Fun! But I am looking forward to spending time with my mom, and my sister, and nieces and nephews, and hiking in the foothills, and I get to hold the world's cutest baby for the next 4 days.

If you're driving, travel safely. Love your family. Kiss babies. Make amends.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Grab some kleenex and a cup of tea, and listen to this edition of StoryCorps, about a young boy who seemd to know he was on his way to something better. It's almost enough to make an old, black-hearted, non-believer like me think there might be something to the idea of "premonition."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


That is one of Anna's new favorite words and really? I think it perfectly describes me and my blogging lately. There are a few reasons for this, mainly because I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Hauling my carcass to and from work is all the energy I can muster. Then it's pajamas and a good book by the fire. It's time to hibernate, no?

I am plotting on my next sewing project....a bag made from some vintage velvet found at an estate sale last summer....mmmm...I'm quite excited to get started on it.

I promise I'll work up a good rant or something of interest in the next day or two. In the meantime, drink your Echinacea tea and stay warm and cozy.


Friday, November 13, 2009


That poor snail never had a chance.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

let's get together and feel alright

Playing For Change Song Around The World "One Love" from Playing For Change on Vimeo.

This is so beautiful. Bob Marley certainly had the right idea.

(Thanks, Cole, for sharing this with me!)

Friday, November 6, 2009

pity my husband

Poor David. You have no idea how this man suffers because of me and my daughter. The poor bastard made exactly ONE spontaneous decision in his life (seriously? This man will spend weeks or months researching gravel); that one spontaneous decision was marry me. And now he's going to spend the rest of his life paying for it. (Literally! Hi honey! I love you!)

As if that weren't bad enough, he also has to put up with my crazy (crazy!) friends coming and staying in our house. This weekend, for example, there will be 9 females in our house, and exactly one male. Guess who! And the strange thing is, he's remarkably good natured about it. For example, he lets the little girls climb all over him (I think he secretly likes it), he often gets talked into being a "horsie", and AND he mixes drinks for the mamas. I know! How did I get so lucky?

This weekend Christina and her girls are coming over, as well as Nichole and Syringa and Kathy and Delaney. We are literally going to have bodies sleeping in every room downstairs, including David's "man room".

If estrogen were flammable, our house would spontaneously combust sometime tomorrow evening, as the moon rises and we begin to howl.

Add David to your prayer list. And send vodka.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


As a comment to my last post titled "It sure would be nice to believe in God right now", my sister asked "what is the harm in believing"?

On Monday, the day a few of us were reeling from the news of C.'s latest diagnosis, my friend Laura sent, to everyone BUT me, an interview with Anne Lamott, wherein she talks about God. Laura mentioned the video clip in conversation, and I said I wanted to see it, as Anne Lamott is one of my all-time favorite authors. Laura expressed shock, because the last several books of Anne's have been about faith and said "You want to see it, even though it's all about God stuff?"

Here is my response to both of those questions. My atheism came gradually; it wasn't a lightening-bolt reaction to something I read or an experience I had. I considered myself "spiritual" up until probably 4-5 ago. If someone had asked me if I believed in God, I would have said yes. True, I didn't believe in "the God up in the sky, sitting on a cloud, watching and judging us all." Nor did I believe that s/he heard and answered every prayer. But at the time I found comfort in believing that something, someone was "in charge". It was reassuring to "know" that there was a higher-power, someone I could (and did) turn to when something scary happened and I felt out of control. I'd never felt the need for my "faith" to make sense to anyone other than myself; I certainly didn't need it to fit into the box of any organized religion.

I never, however, believed that the bible was anything other than a folk-tale of sorts, written by regular, mortal men. I was also leery of organized religion, how many of its followers used the bible as justification for hatred and intolerance. Many people who call themselves "Christians" are horribly hypocritical; watching the nightly news will confirm that. I also always wondered how and why each religion had a different god, that, for them, was "the one", and anyone putting faith in another god was wrong and would suffer whatever horrible fate their particular religion believed in.

I can't pinpoint exactly when or why I started putting less and less faith into "God". I know that I certainly questioned "Him" when those planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11th. How could a loving, benevolent god bring me a baby or help someone win a football game but allow thousands and thousands of innocent people to die in such a horrific way? The prayers must have been literally deafening that day.

Ironically, the other important event that played a roll in my letting go of my "faith": the same sister mentioned above was diagnosed with breast cancer. While she and my mom became more faithful, prayer, to me, felt especially empty at that time. I was not about to sit back and pray to some god who may or my not feel like answering my prayers that day. It felt way too passive. I began to read everything I could get my hands on to educate myself about breast cancer and what we, as women (and men), needed to do to cure it and, in my case, to try to avoid it in the future. I began to feel stronger, more confident in my own knowledge and ability; that we, as individuals, are in control of our bodies, our lives, our future. True, we can't control whether or not we get cancer, but we sure as hell control what we do about it. We choose to have surgery and chemotherapy or we choose to visit a shaman in Mongolia or we put our faith in a Chinese herbalist, or whatever. It is up to us, regular, mortal, terrified, powerful, strong, faithful, flawed individuals to control our own destiny. I can't tell you how incredibly empowering it is to know that.

Around this same time I did read some things that further allowed me to feel ok about being a non-believer. Julia Sweeny's "Letting Go of God" felt like an epiphany; she was questioning and feeling all the exact same things I felt. And it did feel like a "letting go", like throwing away the crutches. Or rather, the crutch. As time wore on, and I didn't need to convince myself that there is a "higher power", I allowed myself to believe what I'd always really known in my heart: I can not and do not believe in god, no more than I can or do believe in Santa Clause. So in answer to my sister's quesiton: there is no "harm" in believing; I just don't. Sure, sometimes I wish I did; occassionally, like when someone I love is facing something terrifying, I wish I could believe that some higher power will just step in and save the day. But I can't.

The thing I want to make clear, though, is that I do not judge others who do believe. I don't shun people who do, nor do I avoid reading books about faith. I actually find it all incredibly fascinating, learning what others believe. True, I probably wouldn't choose to hang out with a fundamentalist Christian, simply because we wouldn't have much to talk about after awhile. But the people I know who believe in God are reasonable enough to admit that there are inconsistencies in the bible, and that believing does require a certain amount of blind faith, so to speak. But for them, the comfort of believing in a higher power outweighs the questions, and I can certainly understand and relate to that, and them.

What matters is that we each find the story that makes the most sense to us, whether it is God, or Buddha, or The Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the belief that we are in control; we each need to find the thing that brings us the most comfort and hold on to it for dear life. We must honor and respect each other for our differences and to use our own belief system, whatever it is, to make the world a better place. I saw a quote the other day, in my doctor's office. It was from Bill Gates and it said "At the end of your life, it doesn't matter how you lived. What matters is how others lived because of you." That is what I believe in.

Monday, November 2, 2009

It sure would be nice to believe in god right about now

Last year my never-smoked-in-her-life, clean-living, yoga-practicing, organic-food eating friend and coworker, C., was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. Cancer, however, didn't know who he was messing with, and C. kicked his butt. She is strong: a beautiful, tall, Indian warrior-woman in a Super-Girl cape with a smile that knocks you over and a fierce, loving heart. The doctors said they'd never seen such an amazing recovery from stage-4. Life slowly got back to normal, she came back to work and we could breathe again.

And then couple of weeks ago, C. was eating dinner while watching television, and suddenly the TV tilted in one direction and her right arm wasn't working as it should. For fear of being a hypochondriac, she didn't think much of it and didn't mention it to anyone other than her husband for a week or so, until she casually mentioned it to her general practitioner during a routine visit. He suggested setting up an MRI appointment, just to be safe. The appointment still several days away, C. had another "incident" yesterday; she felt, she said, like her brain wasn't communicating with her body as it should, and her right arm began to spasm. Her husband said "That's it. We are not waiting for your appointment," put her in the car and drove her to town.

At the emergency room the doctor performed some tests and based on her delayed responses and disorientation, called for a CAT scan. The results showed swelling in the brain, which, they informed her was "not good" considering her status as a lung-cancer patient. An MRI was performed and it came back showing two tumors. Her lung cancer has spread to her brain.

If you are a believer, the praying type, please send up a message for my friend. She's going to need all the love and support and prayers she can get.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Over lunch I was reading an issue of Oprah magazine, an article about change. In it, the writer talks about how "your sweet baby becomes a toddler, and before you know it she is celebrating her sweet 16, her acne clears up, she no longer talks to you, she falls in love with someone you wouldn't even allow into your house if you had a choice, she moves away and you hardly get to see your grandchildren."

It took every ounce of strength I had not to lay my head down on my desk and sob. Literally.

How do mothers survive it? Sure, it's slightly more gradual than that. When they are born you are EVERYTHING to them: comfort, food, safety, security, warmth, love. They develop and learn new skills, and soon they able to feed themselves and get themselves to sleep and for this you are grateful. But they still need your help in the bath, and when they fall or are sick you are all they want. And you are grateful for that, too. Before you know it, they are off at school, with friends you don't know, and you can feel it happening, her having a life that doesn't include you.

In the morning, when she is still sleepy, we snuggle in the big green chair, me stroking her hair as she relaxes and breathes deeply against my chest like when she was little, only now her legs are so long they dangle over the side. I know enough to be so grateful for these moments. I know that when I take her to school later in the morning, she won't hold my hand as we walk to her room, and I already know better than to try to kiss or hug her in front of her friends. I know that tonight when I come to sit next to her, she will pull away when I reach out for a hug. But if I sit quietly enough, not expecting anything, she will eventually stretch out her legs like a cat, her warm bare feet in my lap.

At the moment she still thinks that I am pretty, have good taste in music and that I am hilarious, most of the time. She still can't wait to tell me about her day at school, and the funny thing this one boy did at recess, most of the time.

Even as I can feel it happening, I am terrified of the disconnect. We are intertwined on such a deep, intimate, natural level that I can't wrap my brain around letting go of her. It would literally feel like an amputation. How do mothers do it?

And then I wonder: is this the reason teenage girls are so monstrous, so moody, so downright awful? So that mothers can, just a little bit, start to imagine life without the black rain cloud moving sullenly through the house? So that we let ourselves fantasize, every now and then, about what it might feel like to live without the eye-rolling, back-talk, slamming doors? So that a slight smile might actually form at the corner of our mouths as we envision the day they pack up and move away to college?

That is a genius bit of evolution, if you look at it that way.

Suddenly, I feel much better.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A few more Greenbluff photos

Look at this face! How could you ever say no to this face? Ice Cream for dinner? Sounds good! You need your own car? Sure! You want a pony? Why not two?!
I used the "cross process" editing tool on this photo and I love how it adds to the vintage feel of the image.

While Christina and I were at Home Depot, the girls formed a band named The Halloween Cats. It involved drumming and cowbells and singing earnestly about cats named "Blood" and "Thud".
And finally...
Piper, immediately after she informed me, "My mommy says we're getting rid of AAAALLL THE JUNK FOOD in our lives!" Notice the brownie mix all over her face. That will teach her mommy to leave Auntie Kate in charge. Bwwaaahhahhaaaa!!

I am so glad that Christina and her girls are part of our lives.
She might not feel the same about me.

Monday, October 26, 2009


This is my friend Christina.

She is the mother of two beautiful and charming little girls, Skylar and Piper. She is an artist and painter and gardener and handy-woman extra-ordinaire. On Saturday she and her girls came over for the weekend and we went out to Greenbluff to get pumpkins. This is our yearly tradition. Well, ok, we've only done it two years in a row, but it's our tradition now.

So we hunted, we gathered, and we carved. Then Sunday morning we woke up and had a brief conversation about my bathroom, specificly how the tiles are falling off the vanity because the dork who "remodeled" our house before we bought it ATTACHED THE TILES WITH A HOT GLUE GUN. And also? The vanity itself is butt-ugly, white with black trim and I honestly believe the guy found it at the dump, painted it and called it good. But not before he did some handy work with the hot glue gun, of course. Now, David has had A LOT of work done to make our house beautiful, and we love it. But the bathroom has been ignored because while ugly, it is functional. And we had other priorities, like getting rid of the approximately 40 tons of volcanic rock that was embeded in the living room wall in the form of a fireplace, for example. And room after room of shag carpet. And an upstairs to remodel. And walls to be painted. And a large yard to landscape. You get the picture. We agree that the bathroom will get a major over-haul one day, but probably not for a couple of years.

My point (and I do have one) is that Christina said "We can do something about your bathroom that will make it more tolerable until you can really remodel it, you know." This sounded like she actually meant WE and I was having none of that. I whined, and claimed to be helpless and might have suggested that anything involving power tools was man's work. But Christina rolled her terrible eyes and gnashed her terrible teeth. And then she took measurements, drew some diagrams, and plotted and planned. As soon as David walked in the door from the grocery store, we threw 3 children at him and said "We're going to the hardware store! See you later!"

So Christina and I went and bought supplies and she went to work on our bathroom. She hammered, she drilled, she painted and those fugly falling-off tiles are no more! She even installed a hand-towel rack. I'm officially a grown up with a real hand-towel rack! And all it took was a pencil and a little drill and about .05 seconds! It was quite impressive. The vanity still needs to be painted, and we got the supplies to do so, but it is extremely smelly paint and we had people coming over later that night, so we decided to hold off on that project. But I can't tell you how impressed I am with her carpentry skills and her ability to ignore a whining 44 year old. I guess she's had practice, what with her 3 and 5 year olds. She is a serious stud and I love her. Now we can tolerate our bathroom for another couple of years. Woohoo!

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the AMAZING dinner we made yesterday and the brilliant plan behind it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

hurts so good

From my new favorite website, Akward Family Photos.

Soulmates? Somebody isn't so sure.

I had to look at this one for awhile before I saw it:

The photographer didn't dare ask them to look at the camera.


"Even against a grey wall, Gerry refused to blend in."

The archives of this site will keep me entertained for awhile.

Friday, October 9, 2009

pictures from portland

The first time I saw my family, about mile 1, which explains why I look so fresh and happy. And poor little Anna looks half asleep.

An unexpected visit with my support group; David pulled a banana and a bagel out of his pocket.

This was about mile 18; those hugs kept me going...

The home stretch! Still on two legs!

I did it!! Every finisher gets a t-shirt, a medal, a rose (Portland is the "rose city") and a tree seedling. Anna named ours "Mary", for mary-thon, of course, and we're going to plant it in the yard this weekend. It will be fun to remember that this little tree joined our family on her 9th birthday.

Aaaahhh. Post marathon, after a cold bath and warm shower and on our way to get food and BEER!!

What an unforgettable experience. Thank you Rod and Julie for the photos and for being part of my awesome support team!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I DID IT!!!!!

I ran a marathon, people! A year ago I remember telling someone "I literally can not wrap my brain around how you could run 26 miles." And then, one night over dinner and drinks with friends, I made an announcement that shocked even myself: "I want to run a marathon." The next day, before I came to my senses, I signed up (and paid $90 to register for) the Portland Marathon. I really had no idea if I could (or would) actually do it. At the time I hadn't been running for a couple of years. But I wanted to start again and I needed a goal. A big goal. So I chose the Portland marathon.

My mom wants the blow-by-blow, so here it is.

I was so anxious and grouchy the few days leading up to the marathon. Poor David and Anna got their heads bitten off several times as we packed and got ready for the trip to Portland. Our wonderful friends Rod and Julie joined us there, and we had a great Italian dinner the night before to celebrate Anna's birthday. I was so nervous that I allowed myself one glass of wine with dinner, which was probably not the best idea. I got to bed a couple of hours later than I'd meant to, and when the alarm went off at 5:30 it felt like I hadn't slept at all. I got ready, ate something, drank lots of water and we headed for the starting line. David and Anna and Julie wished me luck and I was off, on my own in a sea of thousands and thousands of marathon participants.

I stood around eves-dropping on people, trying to focus on others instead of my own anxiety. There was one woman near me, she must have been in her late 70 or early 80s, with a sign on her back that said "This is my 42nd marathon! How about you?" Many people were having their photos taken with her and she obviously was in her element. Me? I was terrified.

Finally the race began and we were off. I honestly didn't expect to see my family and friends until the finish line; they were all tired and I fully expected them to go back to bed. I wouldn't have blamed them a bit. But within the first mile or so, I heard my name and there they were, David, Anna, Julie, and somehow, in the 20 minutes or so since they'd dropped me off, they raced back to the condo and got Rod out of bed. It made me feel so loved and supported that I ran the next couple of miles with a grin on my face. I saw them again as we ran back by the same spot; I could see David (thank god I married a very tall man with a propensity for goofy hats; it makes him easy to spot in a crowd); Julie and Anna were so busy looking for me that they didn't notice me until I grabbed Anna and gave her a big hug and a kiss. A few miles later, in an industrial district, they appeared out of nowhere, David offering me a banana and water and a bagel. Again, I had no idea they would be anywhere along the route, but somehow, despite my being "in the zone" I got the feeling that they were there, and they were. Each time it was a wonderful surprise to see them.

All along the route there were people cheering, playing instruments, waving signs, banging cowbells. It's amazing how all that energy really does carry you along. There was a woman dressed, inexplicably, like a blueberry, and she was just cheering everyone on, yelling "You are my heroes!" "You're doing great!" and "You're looking good!" There was another guy, all by himself, standing on the side of the road saying "Good job Kim!" "Looking good Steve!" "Way to go, Jennifer!" "You can do it, Meagan!" I wondered "How does he know all these people??" Then it occurred to me he was reading our names off our bibs. I loved that! Just to know that these people got up at 6:00 in the morning for the sole purpose of cheering on complete strangers as we attempted something we weren't sure we were capable of doing. Also along the way, there were bands playing, so you didn't run more than a mile or two without coming across a group of people playing everything from pan-flutes to punk to jazz and even hand-bells. There was one woman sitting in an otherwise empty parking lot, playing a harp. I was so busy watching the crowds and enjoying the entertainment that it didn't even occur to me to use my IPod until about mile 13. At that point we (I was running alone, but it's a steady stream of people running so it feels like you're part of a group) were headed into a long, boring straight stretch on a fairly busy road with no room for supporters, along-side big old ugly industrial buildings. It was the only part of the entire route without supporters, and it was by far the least interesting to look at. Also? At the end of that stretch was a big-ass hill that we had to climb. So I started listening to podcasts to keep my mind occupied. Thank you, Terry Gross, for getting me through that stretch. I walked up that killer hill (mile 17) as I'd been told to do by many Portland marathon veterans. At the top was the long St. John's bridge across the Willamette river; the view was amazing and I almost cried as I ran across it because at that point, I knew I was going to do it.

At mile 18 or so, I saw my sweet family again; Anna said "Guess what! Your mom is tracking you on-line and she and Davie are talking on the phone about how you are doing. Grandma says you're keeping your pace up!" That made me feel great, to know that my mom, in Boise, was rooting for me too.

Throughout my long training runs, my right knee, foot and hip would begin to really bother me at about mile 14. Every time. So I fully expected to be in serious pain the last 12 miles of the marathon and frankly, I didn't know if I would be able to go that long in the kind of pain I was expecting. Luckily, I didn't notice the pain until about mile 19 or 20. I stopped and did some stretching. By mile 21 or so, I was in pretty much constant pain, but I was mostly able to ignore it. I saw my family one more time, unexpectedly, at about mile 22. I didn't even stop to hug them that time for fear I might not start running again. I smiled weakly and said "I'm fading..." to David. But just then we rounded a corner and it was all downhill, literally, from there. Mile 23 and 24 were brutal; my entire right leg was throbbing and my pelvis felt like it had been stomped on by a rampaging elephant. It became impossible to ignore and I briefly considered walking the last couple of miles, but at that point I just wanted to get the damn thing over with. Also, oddly enough, it hurt less to run than to walk.

The route was a bit weird at the end; you couldn't see the finish line. I knew was was within a mile or so, but didn't know exactly how close. So I just kept my pace until I was fairly certain I was within half a mile or so and then I finished strong. There were people at the end who were in bad shape, barely walking; one teenager had his shoes off and his father was supporting him as he limped across the line.

David, Anna, Rod and Julie were of course there at the finish line, giving me big hugs. I can't even begin to explain the sense of accomplishment I felt when I finished. People who know me know that setting goals and completing tasks is not a strong point of mine. I'm full of brilliant ideas, almost always meant for other people to carry out. So for me to set this goal (back when I literally could not run a mile without having to stop and walk) and to stick with it? I have to say, I am quite proud of myself.

I now know that I am capable of running a marathon. In fact, I'm already planning to run another one in the spring. Despite running off and on most of my life, I've never felt that elusive "runners' high" that they talk about. But now that I've finished my first marathon? I think I understand that the high doesn't come as you're running, but after. Now that's the kind of high I can spend a lifetime chasing.

Monday, September 28, 2009

marathon count down

SIX DAYS until my first (and quite possibly last) marathon. I haven't written much about my training because, well, "I went out and ran for 3 hours on Saturday morning" just isn't very interesting. But here we are, at the end of the road. It's been an interesting journey. Let's recap, shall we? Some highlights of Marathon Training With Kate:

*Falling off a moving treadmill in front of all the "popular boys" at the gym. I got stuck laying on my side, laughing so hard that I could not get up, the rubber stripping off the top 12 layers of skin on my leg, until the machine decided to spit me off the back. Seven months later, there are still people who were at the gym that day who avoid eye-contact.

*More um, "pit stops" than I care to remember during long runs, including one, out sheer desperation, on the grounds of a church.

*Running into a parked car, in broad daylight, and chipping my front tooth. The good news was that it was just a week prior to my family's "Hillbilly" party, so I held off getting it repaired until after the party. I definately deserved a prize for "most authentic teeth".

*Learning that at about mile 14, my body decides it has had enough of this stupid, monotonous running activity and it rebels in the form of searing knee and hip pain. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to the last 12.2 miles of the marathon.

But despite being the world's biggest quitter (except when it comes to wine and ice-cream consumption), I have stuck with my training and I am going to run a marathon, people! Friends from the coast are coming to Portland to celebrate/act as pall-bearers. There will be a pre-race dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant (aka the Last Meal) and cupcakes for Anna's birthday. There will be pain and suffering and ice-baths. There might be crying. But there will also be pride and accomplishment.

And there will be Guinness. Lots and lots of Guinness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

4 minutes. Watch it.

It is un-acceptable that the insurance companies take our money, every single month, and then if god-forbid we actually get hurt or sick, they get to decide if they will use our money to pay our medical bills. It is not ok that if we lose our employer-provided health-care and we have, say, arthritis or have been examined for domestic violence, we can be denied insurance (insurance which WE will pay for) based on a "pre-existing condition."

There current system is terribly flawed. American people are suffering and dying, while the insurance executives are buying private islands on our dime. Our President is trying to fix something that is broken. What, exactly, are people protesting against, other than the fact that Obama is for it?

Monday, September 21, 2009

OOooh what a beautiful moooorning, Oooh what a beautiful daaaaay

Last week we woke up to the most amazing sunrise. The entire sky was this incredible warm, glowy peach color and it had been raining so all the streets and rooftops were shiny. Anna and I went out into the yard in our pajamas and just stared at the sky; it was magical.

Friday, September 18, 2009

coastal living

I was just having a conversation on Facebook with a friend from Boise, someone I went to high school with. We were talking about the importance of finding like-minded people, no matter where you live. I mentioned our time on the Oregon coast, to which he replied "I would love to live on the Oregon coast. What is the name of the town you lived in, and how may I apply to live there?"

Here is my response:

We lived in Pacific City for 10 years. Charming little drinking village with a fishing problem.

It's easy to live there! Here's how:

*Be independently wealthy, via lottery, trust fund or retirement (or of course you could be a dot.commer who got out in time) and therefore have no need to make a living.
*Work in the service industry which means a) you sell your soul to the devil (ie tourists) and b) you will be so busy that you won't have the time or energy to enjoy that "quality of life" you moved there to enjoy. Might as well sell that surf-board, kayak and camping gear. You won't be using that stuff anymore!
*Oh! And let's not forget: DEVELOPER, which, of course, means you must be independently wealthy AND sell your soul to the devil, but hey, some body's got to get rich building cheesy "beach" houses all over every hillside. Might as well be you, right?

We owned an organic-espresso shop/bookstore overlooking the Pacific, so all the intellectual liberals (all 3 of them!) gathered at our place for coffee and conversation.

If I sound bitter, well, 154 inches of rain annually will do that to a person. When people ask me if I miss it, I burst into hysterical, uncontrollable laughter.

I know, I know, there are people who manage to live and thrive on the coast (Hi Bob! Hi Rod! Hi Greg!) but it takes a special breed of person. A resilient person. A resourceful person. A mentally unstable person. Much like people who can live in Alaska.

Today, as I sit under the eves of our sweet charming house, looking out the skylights at the towering 140 year old Ponderosa pines, the sun is shining, it's in the mid-seventies and you can feel autumn in the air.

I miss my old coastal friends, but they come visit; they come here to dry out and warm up and they marvel at how warm and lovely it is at 10 o'clock at night as we dine outside. They always leave fantasizing about moving here. The grass IS always greener, I guess. Me? I'm perfectly, blissfully happy on THIS side of the fence.

Monday, September 14, 2009

why I love cats

Since not everyone is as obsessed with Cute Overload the way Anna and I are, here are our two favorite recent videos:


Personally, I'm not going to get tired of watching these anytime soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jerry's dead, man.

Alarming post in today's Police scanner report:

3:56pm: 2 large deadheads spotted of North Idaho College beach.

My only question is, was it the scent of patchouli that gave them away, or were they sharing a pint of Cherry Garcia?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

cosmic blunder

Is 9 too early for adolescence to start? Because I swear I have a teenage girl on my hands. SHE WANTS TO SHAVE HER LEGS, PEOPLE. She has ATTITUDE. More so than usual. I swear she rolled her eyes at me this morning as we both faught for mirror space in the bathroom.

Thanks to the great "cosmic blunder" brought about by my waiting until the age of 36 to give birth, I figure Anna's puberty and my menopause will converge with all the spectacular spark-throwing, sulfer-stench of two planets colliding.

Poor, poor David. Dude is going to be in the midst of a shit-storm of hormones here in about 3 years, and it's not going to be pretty.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Last weekend, as Christina and the girls and I sat on the front porch, this...this....BOAT drove by. We all had the exact same reaction "There goes a a boat". And then "WTF??!!" And Christina and I literally shrieked with laughter. I so badly wanted him to come back by and give us all a ride. And of course I'd wished I'd had my camera, although it happened so fast we all wondered if we'd hallucinated it. Then today I saw this picture on our local news website:

Here's the story of the boat called "LaBoata". The creater/skipper is the father of 6 kids. He wants to use his boat to ferry (har har) them to the prom. And I thought it was embarrassing when my dad wore slippers in public...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

::dumb ass of the year award::

goes to: the couple who decided to ignore evacuation orders issued to escape the out-of-control wildfire raging toward their home north of Los Angeles. They thought they could "ride it out" IN THEIR HOT TUB.

I wonder if they remembered to throw in some diced potatoes and herbs.

Monday, August 31, 2009

::first day of school 3rd grade::

Ok, so I didn't die running 20 miles, BUT I WANTED TO.

Anna started school last Thursday, but because I am lame I forgot to take a picture of her on her first day. So this is actually the 3rd day of school. Whatever. Here she is, in all her almost-9-year-old glory. I decided that our new tradition will be to take her first-day photo standing next to our baby crab-apple tree. That way we can see how she and the tree both change and grow. Right now both are kind of puny.

Please ignore our lack of landscaping. By this time next year, it will be a different story.

Our daughter has big feet, have I mentioned this? Actually, those are David's "bunny boots". I don't know why they are called that but apparently if you live in Alaska you need these or your feet will fall off. Anna thinks they are awesome. Next year they will fit her, I am certain of it. Right now she is wearing a women's size seven and a half shoe.

Anna, Skylar and Piper. My three favorite girls in the world.

In other news, my husband is finally home after being in Boston for a week. He brought me a box of pastries, carrying them across the country. I think he likes me. And I know I like him. Cannoli or no cannoli.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I just want you all to know that I love you

I am so going to get my ass kicked this weekend. I have to run 20 miles. TWENTY MILES people. That's like, from one town to another. And I am not prepared. My week-day runs have been nearly non-existant because, well, in the morning it's too noon it's too hot...after work I'm too tired/hungry/lazy. You see where I'm going with this...I'm going to DIIIIEEEEE!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

::how I know I'm getting old::

* I make my child go to bed at 8:00 so that I can too. Yes, even in summer.

* I recently stepped into an Abercrombie & Fitch store while looking for school clothes for Anna; I didn't make it 20 feet into the store before I had to turn around and leave due to the overwhelming stench of perfume (WTF, A & F??) that they are pumping into their store. Also? Even I am sort of appalled by the near-naked men wallpapering that entire store. And it's almost impossible to embarrass me.

And the big one? When did trying on jeans become as mortifying and ego-deflating as trying on swimming suits? Really...when did that happen?? I feel like every pair of jeans I try on make me look like I'm trying to pass for an 18 year old, or they look hopelessly like mom-jeans. Aren't there jeans that look age-appropriate and yet still hip for women in their 40s and up? Perhaps my problem is that I refuse to pay $180 for jeans. Hell, even Levis make a $238 jean. For $238, those pants better lift my butt 5 inches, make my legs look 10 miles long and disguise any evidence that I ever carried a 9 pound child. And maybe that's exactly what $238 Levis do. Hmmmm.....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I don't know if I've mentioned it lately, but my kid is adorable. I was going through some of the old pictures on my computer, and thought I'd share some of my favorite Anna photos.

The summer she was 2 1/2, one of our favorite books was called "Pete's a Pizza", about a little boy is is bored because it's raining and he can't go outside to play. So his dad pretends to make him into a pizza, elaborately spreading on the sauce, sprinkling on the cheese (lots of sound effects are required), adding toppings and finally, scooping him up to put him in the "oven" (the couch) to cook. Anna loooved to recreate that book; here she is a "tomato and banana" pizza.

This was shortly after we moved to Spokane, so she was 3 or 4. She'd finally (after waiting her WHOLE LIFE) gotten her own kitty. This was Maple's "sleeping bag". I love that she has a tattoo on her little arm. Look at that face, would you??

She and her dad were having a water fight. I love the light and shadow on this one. Also, it's probably the only time in my adult life I've actually had lovely green grass. It didn't last long.

Swinging. Pure joy...

A couple of summers ago my sister got married on the Oregon coast and someone had a kite. I just think this one is so pretty.

I have a whole series of these, somewhere. We'd found this old horse outside a grocery store; it doesn't even accept a quarter, you just push the button and it goes. And goes. She started doing all these hilarious "riding tricks", turning around in the saddle, riding backwards, sideways, on the tail....I was laughing so hard. I wish I had a video of it. Some sweet old man stopped to watch and said to me "That just made my day."

I just don't even know what to say about this, other than it makes me laugh every time I see it.

I love this series; it so shows her personality. She was showing off her new "cowgirl pants" and cowboy boots. This was right before she entered first grade, the summer of "Lice-a-Palooza", of which we shall not speak. However, it did result in the cutest haircut she's ever had, which I did myself one evening after a couple of glasses of wine and approximately 38 hours with the nit-comb. Anyway, cute, huh??

This was taken on the first day of school last year, 2nd grade. The look on her face is her "I want something and you're going to give it to me" look. What?! Could YOU say no to this face?

And this, my favorite picture ever. Look at those eyes....and that little smirk/half smile? Straight from her daddy.

I hope you've enjoyed my stroll down memory lane. I sure can't imagine my life without this kiddo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

:: mama bear::

We haven't had a good rant around here for awhile now. It's been at least a week or two since anyone has pissed me off, and that just won't do, now will it?

First off, let me say that I am a hiker. I looove to be out in the forest, up in the trees, communing with nature. So I'm not bashing hikers, just dumb ones who report "problem bears" in remote, wild areas.

This morning on the local public radio, I heard a story about how the rangers at Glacier National Park are "going to have to shoot and kill" a 17 year old grizzly sow. Has she eaten anyone? No. Has she been going into campgrounds and tearing apart camp sites? No. Has she been terrorizing a neighborhood and getting into trash cans? Nope.

Her only offense is that she is not afraid of people. People who hike far into the back-country of one of the most wild places in the world. People who set up their tents in the midst of a gigantic huckleberry patch. What do wild bears eat this time of year, as they prepare to go into hibernation? That's right, huckleberries. So because hikers go into this bear's "kitchen" so to speak, and she doesn't run in fear, she is going to be shot. The interactions have never resulted in any confrontations, let alone injury. The "incidents" have ALL taken place 7-10 miles from the nearest campground or paved road.

This infuriates me. I'm all for people being able to go into the back-country and have their experience, but if there is a problem with a WILD ANIMAL in that animal's habitat, shouldn't the people be controlled, and not the animal? After all, the people have a choice about going into the back-country. The bear does not.

I feel the same way about people who build their dream homes "out in the country" and then, when a mountain lion or a wolf eats little FiFi, they want the Fish & Game to come trap the "offender" and remove it or worse, kill it. If you don't want interactions with wildlife, don't build your house outside the city! Because that's where the animals live, people!

Where is the common sense here? Why do we believe that we are entitled to haul our sleeping bags, food and trash into these wild places, that it is ALL our domain? That we should be able to have our wilderness experience, but without all those pesky wild animals?

It's all about risk. If you are willing to take the risk of going into those remote, wild places, then you must accept the consequences WITHOUT COMPLAINT. It's called "survival of the fittest", and if you get mauled or eaten by a bear, well then, you were someplace you weren't supposed to be, now weren't you?


What do you think about this? Should people take precedence over wild animals? Do we have a "right" to wander safely through the wildnerness without any risk?

**UPDATE: The grizzly sow was shot and killed today, about an hour or so ago, as she approached a back-country campground.

She had two cubs with her. One of the cubs died after being shot by a tranquilzer gun; the other is being sent to the Bronx Zoo. They should have just shot him too.


Monday, August 17, 2009


It's beginning to feel like fall in these parts, and I like it. We had a nice, quiet weekend.

We tortured poor Rootbeer:

"I disapprove of this!"

....I sewed some new pillows for our couch in the TV room...David does not share my love of kitsch, but I figured with the deer on here, he'd be ok with them. I can tell he prefers the old, fugly, brown ones, but what does he know? The only thing he has good taste in in dogs and women.

...envelope back...

...we went for a lovely bike-ride on Sunday...

...oh, and I ran 18 miles and lived to tell about it!

Hope you are enjoying the last few weekends of summer. I can not believe school starts in a week and a half.