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I was that girl that searched for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I was the girl that was sure if I wrote notes for God and left them by the shrubs that grew near my house he could pick them up. I believed I could travel to Space and I would discover where those aliens had been hiding. I was that girl that was always on a quest for more. I’m still that girl.

More has followed me, or rather, I have been in pursuit of more all my life. The idea of more is what has kept me going. When I was sick of high school I reassured myself with, life really begins after high school. When I was at a job I didn’t care for I knew it wasn’t everything, there is more. When my life abruptly changed and my world turned in on itself I hung on to the hope of more.

These last couple of years I thought I should settle down. To wash my hands of more. I’m getting older. It was time to put childish things behind me and move forward. Isn’t that what grownups do? I was never able to articulate what more was. I couldn’t hold it my hands. It just was and because I couldn’t define it, bring shape to it I thought it was best to put it to rest. I decided to get caught up in my routine, have a proper job, and do what grownups do. To believe that there’s more to my life than this week, more to my life than just now was something I held fast to. But it was getting me into trouble. All of this wanting and yearning hurt because it never seemed to go anywhere. I kept reaching dead end after dead end. So, I stopped.

I got tired as you know. I’ve been writing about it here, digging deeply, getting honest and having monster headaches. (I’m sad to say I have been cutting out sugar which really pisses me off. But when you think your head will split in two it’s time to pay attention.) Within the honesty ‘more’ has resurfaced, this nebulous thing I can’t touch but want. More.

I was unloading the dishwasher the other day, having an epiphany as the words meaning and more rolled around in my head….meaning, more, meaning, more…spinning until I couldn’t separate them. More is meaning and meaning is more. Dishes in hand I stood up straight and snapped to the conclusion that I don’t need to wait for anyone or anything to give me meaning, to tell me what is meaningful. I have the privilege, the will to make it so. If a certain part of my life holds meaning for me then it is meaningful. Because I deem it to be. What holds meaning for me brings me more.

I am an artist in my life, in my story. What I mean is that I can bring shape to my life and give it worth. I’ll feed it, chip away, create, and accept. I can place purpose and emphasis on whatever I’d like. There is a thread of more which began as a girl that continues to weave its way through my life and I anticipate that I will be tangled up in it for years to come and I’m better for it. I thought that if I ignored it, left it alone it would curb that restlessness I couldn’t shake. I was wrong. And I couldn’t be happier.

honestly

This is what I’ve discovered over trying to get to the bottom of my ongoing tiredness… (I’ve talked about it here and here.) When you want answers and they’re not right in front of you sometimes it requires a bit of digging. Sometimes it requires honesty. I’ve learned this comes after crying at crappy songs on the radio and feeling like I used to when I had a baby and I was in that newborn stupor, that will I ever feel normal again how can a baby have that much power over me kind of fog. It comes after simultaneously talking and crying to a friend who is nice enough to respond when you can barely make sense of what you’re saying through strange animal like sounds coming out of your mouth. It comes after talking to a few friends who aim their words carefully which make me feel found and I didn’t know I needed finding. Honesty. Who knew?

For those of you that know me well you’ll understand it when I say that I like reasons. I like rationale for how I’m feeling. I can feel just about anything and I’m okay with my many feelings as long as there is a reason. What has been killing me is that I couldn’t find the root of my problem. Tears keep leaking from my eyes and I don’t know why. Maybe I’ve gone the way of mental illness. Maybe I’m depressed. I’m not saying that too lightly. I know depression is serious and real. I have a few loved ones in my life that battle clinical depression and disorders beyond that. I get it. But, I had seen a therapist who said I wasn’t depressed. Remember how he said I should see a life coach? Remember the disdain from me that went along with that? A little bit of come on and a lot of puh-leeze. I’m not really against life coaches as much as I think it’s become the fallback career for many people like washed up celebrities suddenly find their gift for making handbags. I know there are good life coaches out there and, really, who am I to judge? I’ve been a motivational speaker and you know how irritating and full of themselves they can be with their ‘you can do anything’ ways. I digress. I thought if I explore enough I can determine what the hell is going on with me. And if not. Holy hell. I’m in trouble.

So.

I’ve been talking and crying and thinking and talking and crying. I’ve been having coffee with Scott in the mornings words pouring out while getting the kids ready for school wiping my eyes. I’ve been laying it all bare, laying down my feelings, my thoughts, the deep down. The deep down stuff you don’t get to look at too often. The stuff we put a lid on and say no way to. I am doing just fine in my blissful ignorance. I am willfully burying my feelings. The equivalent of putting my fingers in my ears and shouting lalalalalalala so I can shut out the sound around me.

I’ve been uncovering, wading through to get to the bottom. I’m getting honest and in that I’m refueling. It doesn’t matter if what emerges is right or wrong, bad or good they are my feelings, my raw, you’ve got to be kidding me, mixed up nerve endings. Even if I don’t know what happens next, even if I don’t have a master plan or even a plan b I have honesty. I have a place to start from.

swept up


In the movie Young Victoria
I watched this a few days ago and I was completely inspired by Queen Victoria’s story. I fell in love with it actually…with all of it…the movie, the story, Emily Blunt, all of it.

i haven’t entirely dropped off the face of the earth

Okay, I know I haven’t been here in, like, forever. That’s a month in blog time. And here come the excuses. Not that I need any because most of you will come to my aid and say, this is YOUR blog and YOU do whatever YOU want. YOU are right, but I’m making the excuses anyway.

Is getting into the Olympics a good excuse? Because I did. We live about an hour outside of Vancouver, so this was pretty exciting for us. When we went to see the cauldron Ben couldn’t get over how it was ‘just like on TV’. His exact words were and these words were shouted while jumping up and down, “It’s just like on TV! It’s for real! It’s in real life!”

I’m working more now so this cuts into blogging time and, really, more than anything else I feel tired. Like I’m good for about three hours in the morning and then I hit a wall of fatigue I’m barely functioning tired. Is this a working mom thing or am I depressed but don’t know it or do I need to take a trip to the new Nature’s Fare Market where it smells healthy which means bad to discover I need approximately 12 different vitamins and I must cut out all of my sugar and replace steak with tofu in order to be a healthy whole person again? I hope no one ever tells me to cut out all of my sugar. One of my biggest fears is that I’ll be diabetic and I’ll feel screwed for the rest of my life. You can take away my legs, but not my sugar.

I’ve made a doctor’s appointment. Maybe she can tell me what’s wrong with me or point me in the right direction. She’ll probably say something like you should eat lunch at lunch and here are some pamphlets on a variety of counselors. And then I’ll pick a counselor based on the best qualifications (best looking pamphlet) and after a couple of sessions where he now knows everything about my sexual history (don’t ask) he’ll say, “Hmmm, you’re alright. You need to see a life coach. Here’s her card.” That’s paraphrased from real life, folks. I took the card like I meant it and then promptly lost it. I liked my therapist in the two hours I got to know him, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Hopefully I’ll be sent to get blood work done this time, told I’m anemic or something and I’ll be happily, yet sluggishly on my way. I love my doctor by the way. She’s one of the good ones and even though her hours are now cut in half and it’s weeks before I can get an appointment she will never be rid of me. I’m clinging to her like a needy teenage girl dating the popular boy in high school.

I’ll be back writing more of the story. I’ve been putting it off and leaving it behind for a while. Maybe I needed the break, but I also need to get back into sitting at my computer and writing something every once in a while. Thank you to all of you that stop here and read. It means the world to me.

(This has nothing to do with anything, but I really need to change that photo of me. I don’t have bangs anymore, I’ve acquired more wrinkles and my arm must be numb holding up that mug of coffee…)

fancy feet

I’m going to say something I hate.

Here it is.

Change is in the air.

There are many reasons for why I loathe that statement, but I won’t bore you with that. Just know that I hate it and I’m waving the statement around regardless. I’m wild like that.

I have plans. I’m wild like that too.

I’m going to take the motivational out of the header, and, for now, out of my life. I’m not in a rut or crossing over to the dark side. It isn’t anything like that. I’m liberating my head and my heart, especially my heart.

I haven’t been doing much speaking and I haven’t missed it. It surprised me when I realized it. I’m always please-floor-swallow-me-whole-I’m-so-nervous before I speak and one minute and 30 seconds in I’m fine. I’m at ease and enjoying it. I like the energy of the room, but I hadn’t thought about the energy for a while. I don’t care about it the way I used to.

I do some speaking at my job. I facilitate workshops. It’s good and I think any desire to speak is fulfilled there. It doesn’t mean I won’t do it again. I’m not making grand statements like I will never.

I’m going to take a stab at writing my story instead. It won’t be self-help-esque. It will be without agenda. It won’t be speech-y. I’m just going to tell the story. I feel compelled. Is that the right word for this? It’s the only word I could think of that fits. I feel compelled to write it. This is where it gets liberating for me. When I write a speech there should be a point. I’m headed in a direction. It is with purpose and I’ll do what I can to take you there. I don’t want to do that this time. It’s not that the book (yeah, I’m attempting to write a book just like every other blogger out there. I’m a blogging cliché, but, whatever) will be aimless. It’s that I don’t have to make you feel good in the process. I don’t need to say this was awful, but. Even though this was awful, but.

That leads me to this space. My blog. I’m changing it. My plan is to post what I’m working on here and there. It might be raw and unrevised. It could be tweaked within an inch of its life. I won’t be consistent. I haven’t been for a while now anyway. Who knows? Maybe there will be a zillion posts. I might not post anything. I’m in the land of unsure. I’m in the in-between. I’m going to try though.

I have kind loyal readers. Some who have commented and many of you who haven’t. Who are all of you? And where do you come from? To each of you, thank you. You’ve given me a lot of life here and I’m grateful. Really grateful.

I’ll still be coming on over to your blogs and reading and commenting. Man, you people can write and photograph and I am over the moon thrilled to have found your carved out spaces. I can’t keep this blog up the way I would like to. Believe it or not, I’m running out of topics to go on about. I’m not flipping you off, deleting my blog with a big FU. It’s not my style.

So, it’s not goodbye exactly. It’s a see you later and an until then.

Swept Up


In Disneyland!
We’re going to Disneyland!! For five nights and six days. Just a few more days to go and I’ll be spinning in a teacup! Woot!

heads will roll

“Off, off, off with your head! Dance, dance, dance ‘til you’re dead…” It’s pounding in my head. I turn up the volume another notch. It’s just me, my car, and a driving beat. It’s fun. It’s loud. I’m listening to track two of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz and anything with meaning is lost in the song.

I was always in my head. As a teenager being in my head didn’t always translate. I didn’t speak girl very well. I was the good friend to the guys that were dating my best girl friends. I was the one you could talk to. I wasn’t the one that got noticed. I was a good girl. I followed the rules. It kept me safe. I was waiting to live my life and knew, without a doubt, that high school was never going to be where my life began. I didn’t have any serious plans after high school, but I was serious.

After high school things changed, I changed. My head was no longer the place to escape to. It was something to escape. I wanted to live apart from my head. I tried on different words. Fun, light, carefree canceled analytical, sensitive, intense. I was tired of being safe. I dropped good and fine. My new words fit well, but I was compromising. It was more than running from my head. I buried the girl that felt deeply and found refuge in her thoughts. There might have been too many thoughts to keep track of, but they were hers. Hers to sort and ponder.

Somewhere between high school and after I picked up all of the pieces and sides to me. I let them fall wherever they fell. I could be serious and light. It wasn’t about balance. I wasn’t going after yin and yang. It’s just…I could be anything I wanted to be. No boxes. No labels. Just me.

Here, in this space, I’m far more serious than light. I’m not completely sure why that is. Lightening up is something I could try on (and I have), but I have a lot of light in my life. I have breezy and fun. This place holds the fifty billion thoughts – the thoughts I can barely keep track of – and what emerges is the girl that feels deeply. I don’t have to keep everything in check. I don’t need to put on a brave face or change the subject with a laugh. I can sort and ponder. And when I can’t take the oh so serious anymore I have the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song Heads Will Roll. It’s fitting, isn’t it?

Swept Up


In the Band of Horses concert
Scott and I and a few friends went to the Band of Horses show at the Commodore on Friday night. They are a group out of Seattle and we fell in love with them a couple of years ago. They’re indie rock with a smidge of country. They put on a great, great show. Check them out here.

getting ready

It’s hard to be clear. I can’t seem to string my thoughts together to form complete sentences. I can’t get my point across. I’m thinking it’s because I don’t have one. A point. A focus. I don’t have that right now. I think that is summer’s purpose. To do away with destinations further than the beach and having points. The fall is being ushered in early by back to school shopping and Halloween costumes dangling in stores’ windows. I’m being dragged from summer to fall and for the first time in a long time I’m not ready to see summer go.

I love the fall and its beautiful colors. I look forward to BC apples and pumpkin pies. It’s my favorite season. You know that. I’ve said it here before. I’ve given my head a break this season. I’ve let things go until the fall comes. I’ve said that out loud. When the fall comes I will… With fall comes renewed energy and vision. That’s what I hope for.

When I took that writing course I felt as though it was the right time to take that course. Not just because I had time. Not only because my kids were a little older. It was the right time for me. There were pieces in my life that needed to come together. I could let my guard down. I could stop disqualifying myself long enough to give the course a chance, therefore giving myself a chance. I could put stock into the feeling that followed me around urging me to listen, listen. You know that feeling. You can’t shake it. You try to outrun it or drown it in distraction, but it’s always there beating in your chest or sneaking up on you in your sleep as you drift from dream to dream. It was the right time for me.

When I took that course our instructor told us to find the story that gave us the most energy. I tried my hand at a few subjects, but I found myself drawn to the story that holds great significance for me. The one with weight. There are many stories that lead to that story and many stories after, but it’s that story, the story that has enough energy for me to pursue it. I started experimenting with it in class and at home. Summer took over and I told myself and anyone that asked I would write that story, the story in the fall. I would give it attention then. I meant it. It might take years to write, but I still mean it.

The days are getting shorter. I’ve noticed crispness to the night air that wasn’t there a week ago. While summer is clearing the path for fall my feeling is gathering strength. Stores and schools in their too soon-ness are demanding we be prepared. Get ready. Summer is slipping from my grip and my feeling is urging me to listen, listen. It won’t let go of me or is it that I can’t let go of it? Whichever it is, it’s time to get ready.

Swept Up


In True Blood – Season Two
Now I know this isn’t everyone’s kind of show, but, I love this show. This season, especially, has been great. The summer doesn’t offer much in the way of good television, so True Blood has become a staple. Every Sunday Scott and I are glued to that TV waiting to see what unfolds next. What will happen to the people of Bon Temps? Will Maryann die or whatever it is that’s supposed to happen to make her go away? Will anything happen between Sookie and Eric? (If anyone else is watching, are you loving Eric as much as I am?) Two more episodes left…can’t wait!

turning four

I had a dream I had a baby boy named Benjamin before Annie, before I imagined babies in my arms. When I discovered I was pregnant eighteen months after Annie I knew this baby was going to be a boy. I knew that Ben was meant to be.

Many nights I was willing myself to sleep massaging the part of my pregnant belly that Ben liked to prop his foot against. I would push it down and his heel would always return to its resting place. I could mark it with an x, he was so predictable. On one of those many nights a few words found their way to me, that strung together brought me peace. This baby will be God’s grace to me. The heavens didn’t open and trumpets didn’t blast, but I heard it from deep within my belly to settle in my heart. Grace. God’s grace.

The morning after I had Ben I turned to the bassinet I had placed him in just two hours before both of us had finally succumbed to sleep. After a restless night of breastfeeding, doors banging open and diligent nurses we locked eyes. Green and blue, calm and steady, mine and his. We belonged to each other. My dream come true. He was here to stay.

Ben is gentle. Ben is often lost in a world I want to climb inside. Ben has many imaginary friends, but he and True are the closest. Ben squeals when he’s excited. I mean, high-pitched, like a little girl, people cover their mouths to hold in laughter squeals. When he is tired or unsure his thumb is immediately planted in his mouth. Ben is funny. Ben is my reminder to live. He gets life. He used to skip down the sidewalk, arms in the air, reaching for the sky and I remember thinking, don’t forget this. This is how it should be. This is how life should be. Fun and funny and reaching for the skies.

Benjamin is grace. He’s a resting place.

My kids rode their bikes, heading home, while I walked today from swimming lessons. I was lagging behind tired, hot, and drowning in wet towels and bathing suits. Ben parked his bike at the house, helmet still fastened to his head and walked down the street toward me. He held out his hand and I grabbed it. He pressed his warm, red cheek to our hands, sighed contentedly, and led me home.

Swept Up


In Benjamin
Who turns four, tomorrow, August 19th.

On a side note: I’m sorry I haven’t been around much. I blame the summer with its sun and how it begs me to drink slushy, fruity drinks with alcohol in them. I’ve been out a lot with my kids (not drinking), so that means less time here. Fall, school and routine are just around the corner, so I won’t be far behind.

in eighteen minutes

My house is full. My head is full. I get in my car and drive. I need space, and in the blue sky and white cloud I find it. I turn up the music and steer my car to calm, to peace. I search the sky until I get lost in its vastness. I only need a few seconds to get swallowed up in its big, blue belly.

I think about nothing and everything, thoughts spilling out willy nilly. I give them free reign in my head. Go, go!

****

I love the end of sticky sweet summer days when my kids come in from outside. They hurl themselves at me; their bodies warm from play and sun. There is dirt on their hands and ice cream rings around their mouths.

Yesterday they were in a race. Who’s going to tell me first? “Mommy! Look at what we found!” They thrust hydrangeas and black-eyed-susans under my nose shouting, “Smell them! Smell them!” I bury my face in them and gasp at how good they smell. They giggle and I find a vase to put them in. They whine when I slide the glass door closed and tell them to get ready for bed.

After they’re tucked in, after they’ve surrendered to sleep this is when I know I’m a mother. I check on them every night before it’s my turn to go to bed. I walk softly into their rooms to make sure they’re covered, to kiss their faces. I lean over and breathe deeply hoping to catch what’s left of their baby selves. If I squeeze my eyes shut I can still see my daughter’s newborn head turned to the side, her lips folded in half under the weight of her chubby cheek. There isn’t a trace of baby in my six year old now. My cartwheeling, wide-eyed, sassing six year old. Thumb firmly in mouth and blankets pulled to his chin my three year old has slept like this since he was an infant. It lingers with him not ready to leave just yet. As I stand there, careful not to pull them from sleep, motherhood settles on my shoulders. Will they know how much I love them? Will they see through my bad days and mistakes to my heart and know there isn’t a force great enough to separate them from me? Will they know? Will they see? Will they know? Will they see?

****

I drive until I remember that it’s a wide world we live in. I find a spot in the sky that I make my own. I fit here, I think. My responsibilities fly out the open window one at a time. Mother, wife, friend, worker, cleaner, schedule keeper… I open my hands and let my questions go. They buzz and flit, finding their own spot in the vastness. My thoughts slow. I float in blue sky and white cloud until my titles and badges return to me, an honor, landing safely, before I park my car in the driveway and go home.

Swept Up

In Hydrangeas
They’re in my yard in deep purples, whites and creams. I just love them.

clearing the air

Not everything is a lesson to be learned. Some things just are. They stand alone. Like the post I wrote a week and a half ago. I was writing honestly, but I wasn’t weeping as I wrote it. I’m not in recovery. I wasn’t looking for a happy ending. It was…is how I felt.

We take many experiences from life and purposefully place the word ‘learn’ in front of it. We choose to grow and change. I love that about life. We can mold it and shape it, make what we want of it. There are some things, however, that we simply survive. We get through. And that’s okay. That’s enough. It is the best we can do.

Sometimes it’s not about bettering ourselves. Maybe that contradicts what I have said here in this space, in the past. But, I stand by it. I stand by both – the bettering and the not – because I think it’s both. Always both. It’s being and doing. It’s living in the muck and standing at the edge marveling at how dirty your clothes are. It’s shedding those clothes, knowing where you’ve come from, and walking in a different direction.

When I write about the car crash I’m not in the aftermath. Not anymore. Not for a long time, now. I’m not reeling from the fire and the damage done to my body. It is not the first thing I think of when I wake up. It doesn’t even make an appearance in the nightly ritual of going over my day as I drift off to sleep. It has impacted me. It has left its mark, but it isn’t everything. It isn’t my center. Sometimes I’m just telling the story.

Swept Up

In Playland
The kids and I went on Thursday and had a great time. And by ‘great time’ I mean I had my absolute favorite fair food…mini donuts. The sugar, the fat, the warmth as it’s served fresh from the giant vat of oil…does it get any better than that? We really did have a great time. The kids went on every ride twice. They were so well behaved that I thought, what the hell, let’s stay for another hour. In mom and kid time that’s, like, seven hours. Gone are the days where I am yelling, “Stop!” at Ben at the top of my lungs as he runs away from me in some race I didn’t know we were in while people stop to watch. I didn’t get any snark from Annie and both the kids didn’t get any snark from me. It was a good day.

This is just a photo off of the Playland website. There was a photo of Annie and Ben taken on this ride, the Kettle Creek Mine Coaster. It shows up at the booth at the end of the ride. If it wasn’t a ridiculous amount of money I would have bought it. Their faces were hysterical, especially Ben’s. If you know Ben you can imagine what he would have looked like…the windblown hair, the I-might-pee-my-pants-I’m-kinda-freaked-out-but-I-think-I-like-this look in his eyes…

summer

I’m always excited about the first days of summer when sunsets linger and the night becomes an extension of the day. But, the heat, when it is at its hottest, is relentless and exhausting. It sinks beneath my skin and into my bones reminding me of what was.

The slap-slapping of flip-flops, toes curling into the sand, cool water over sun drenched skin…the sounds and sighs of summer. I miss them.

When the summer unleashes its full force on us it takes my breath away with its memories. After all this time I’m still sucker-punched-in-the gut-I-can’t-believe-I’ll-never-know-this-again, the scars too great to see too much sunlight, my legs always encased in silicone, plastic and metal. The sun has become more of an enemy than something I couldn’t wait to bathe in. Summer was my favorite season filled with hours at the lake, reading until the words blurred together, adjusting my bathing suit straps for minimal tan lines. My year began in the fall, not in January. Summer was my chance to shed the worries and mistakes of the past year and live carefree for a few months until I got to start over.

In the wake of June 12, 1998 the summer was cruel to me, a joke. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I couldn’t wear what I wanted to wear. It was unbearable to see girls my age toes wiggling, skin exposed, flipping their hair, and complaining about the heat. God, I wanted what they had. I ached to have a toenail painted, to know smooth skin again. If I could just feel the stones under my feet as I waded through the lake one more time…

Today, you couldn’t pick me out in a crowd. I might be more covered up than some. I would look as though I was sun-conscious worried about overexposure. Everybody’s concerned about the sun’s harmful rays now. You might notice my arms are scarred or that I have a small scar on my chin, but you wouldn’t think I was too out of the ordinary. My shoulders aren’t hunched, wallowing. There is little sign of loss. I’m at the park or the beach herding my kids like every other parent out there, telling them to stop that or shouting good job as they swing from wrung to wrung on the monkey bars. I’m dressed for work, in line at Starbucks, picking up my coffee. I’m having a raspberry margarita with friends or shopping, gasping at some cute top.

I want to rush through the summer. I want to sprint ahead and get it over with. To get to my beloved fall, my favorite season by default. But, I need to give summer its due. It was the season of my rebirth. One beautiful summer evening my life ended as I knew it and another began. I was not stripped of my will. Nobody claimed my soul. It was still my life to do with as I wished. I fought for what was mine. The summer may be bittersweet, but I’m here. I’m rich in choices and family, alive with the knowledge of many summers ahead of me. I can take the heat, relentless in strength and memories, if I’ve got that.

Swept Up

In Fairhaven
My friends and I went shopping at the outlets in the States and stopped in Fairhaven, Washington for dinner. I used to come here a lot and have found it hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s even cuter than I remember it. Unfortunately, there is not one good photo to be found to do this sweet, quaint village justice. I scoured their website and found this: Every Saturday evening June 20 through the end of August, Fairhaven offers live music and entertainment followed by a feature-length movie on the Village Green screen. Isn’t that adorable?