At a conference last year, an author spoke about revising her manuscripts with a look of rapture usually reserved for the sacred or the sensual. My first thought? Are you kidding me?! What about revising and editing could possibly evoke this level of euphoria? Personally, my goal is to write THE END on the last… Read More Revising: A part of life
Before I began writing seriously, I saw it as a singular pursuit. I imagined a disheveled person at a desk in a windowless room with a half-drunk cup of cold coffee and maybe a sleeping dog. I don’t know why the writer in my mind was unkempt, perhaps because I imagined them to be so… Read More Critique Partners: For Writing and Living
A wise friend made a point with me last week. My friend sent me a photograph of a snow shovel ( a tool with which I am all too familiar). The caption said, ‘This is a great tool. Unless you’re holding the red end. Then you’re going to be frustrated.’ I love it when someone… Read More You can’t shovel snow with the handle.
When we were on Guemes Island a few weeks ago, we watched a large sailboat come up from the south. Even without binoculars, I could see the sail straining as the wind filled it. The boat tilted slightly and then glided across the water. As it came around the tip of Samish Island, it stopped.… Read More Headwinds, Tailwinds, No Winds: In sailing and cycling, as in life
I have two routes to work. My preferred route is a winding country road cut into the base of a hill. It meanders through farmlands that abut the Snohomish River. When the temperatures drop below freezing or the river threatens to jump its banks, I am forced onto the freeway. The I-5 route is not… Read More 10 Reasons to Navigate Your Life Like Google Maps
I was a big baby the last week of August. I didn’t realize it until Tuesday morning when I was putting on my gear to go for a ride at 4:45 AM. After a week of riding in the high 40’s in tights and long sleeves (Did I mention it was AUGUST?!), I declared it… Read More One word can change your world.
It’s quite extraordinary if you think about what the human body can adapt to. More profound is the ability of the human spirit to adapt to survive. But what should we adapt to? Let’s adapt to social emotional wellbeing!… Read More We adapt…. but should we?
After more than a year of constant virtual meetings, my eyes are shot—bloodshot. For fear I was doing permanent damage, I made an appointment with my ophthalmologist. As part of the exam, he placed some dye in my eyes and shined a bright light directly at them. Suddenly, I could see every blood vessel in… Read More How a trip to the eye doctor helped me see the world less clearly
When we were at the beach, I noticed a stack of rocks on an old log. I have seen towers like these before, but I never really thought about them beyond noticing the inexplicably calming sense that I get from staring at them. I find rock formations, natural or manmade, relaxing. I must not be… Read More How a Box of Rocks Made Me Smarter—and Calmer
It has been my experience that Boxers are particularly sensitive dogs. Every time my husband sneezes, for example, Buttercup rushes to his aid. When my daughter is sad, Delta refuses to leave her side. The mere sight of a suitcase throws them into malaise. So, you can imagine how mortified I was when, after just… Read More Boxers, Banjos and Bravery
Last week, one of my former students asked on Facebook, “What is your signature dish?” I was tempted to write Take Out. It would be funny if it weren’t true. I am going to admit something very vulnerable here. These are my pancakes: This morning, I stood pondering why my husband’s pancakes are always fluffy… Read More You can learn a lot from pancakes.
I find that sometimes I hold onto things far too long because, even if they are clunky or difficult, I know how they work, and I know how to fix them when they don’t. As long as what I am doing is working for me, I am not likely to change. But there is this tipping point between comfortable but always difficult and uncomfortable but eventually easy. I know when I am desperately reaching over the fulcrum trying to tip the balance toward comfortable.… Read More As Easy as Learning to Ride a Bike
About 20 years ago, my sister called me and asked if her daughter could job shadow me to fulfill a graduation requirement. Hopefully, I hid my surprise. After all, I was a high school principal. I could not imagine that any high school student, ever, in the history of mankind, dreamed of being the principal. … Read More Give It a Try
Our daughter was a fighter from the first breath, maybe even before the first one. I swear she tried to kick her way into this world. She was willful and wily, and it was wonderful. There was a time, even before she could walk, when I could see her flex her tiny muscles as if to… Read More Worth the Fight
We don’t give much thought to our brain. I don’t anyway. I take it for granted most of the time. If you think about it, that 3 pounds of fat, protein and water (according to National Geographic ) is a truly miraculous organ. It spawned the Sistene Chapel, the International Space Station, the Gamma Knife,… Read More The Fear Brain and Reigniting the Curious Mind
I was staring out the dusty screen door of our canary-yellow, cookie-cutter rambler when I first realized he had superpowers. My bangs glanced off the cheap metal door as I followed his deliberate movements back and forth across the patio. My mother hooked me around the waist, dragging me back as she slammed the glass slider closed, “Come away… Read More The House That Built Me
Beliefs are an amazing thing. Though intangible, they have a weight and power all their own. They can propel us to great heights or they can keep us chained to the ground. What is a belief after all- it is just a thought you have over and over until you take it to be the… Read More I’ll see it when I believe it.
I was listening to a series of lectures by Pema Chödrön the other day. She is a Buddhist nun and teacher who I find very insightful and inspirational. In her lecture, she said something to the effect that we should never underestimate the human drive to avoid discomfort. I was taken aback by the sheer… Read More Growing Pains (There’s a reason why they’re not called Growing Joys.)
I’ve had so many friends over the years who describe gardening as a zen-like experience. I, myself, have had zen-like experiences but never while gardening. I don’t doubt my plant-loving friends. I find that zen feeling while cycling or painting or staring through my lens or doing yoga. I want to love gardening. I want… Read More Elusive Zen of Gardening
When I was a little kid, I felt strangely like two different people. In retrospect, I imagine that other children of divorce felt the same way. But it was the 70’s and divorce was rare in our Catholic community, so I didn’t have anyone to compare my experience with. You see my parents were diametrically… Read More Two Sides of the Same Girl
It was a spring, Saturday morning in Georgia. My father must have been away on business because, had he been home, I would never have realized my own true power. It was just my stepmom and me. Our blended family was new and more like a salad than soup. Still getting to know each other… Read More Stronger Than I Thought
One of the great things about having a teenager is that I feel like I am cool-adjacent which is almost as good as being cool at my age. (I’m suspicious of 50-year-olds who are too cool.) I have learned all kinds of things that I would be hopelessly ignorant of without her – like the… Read More Everybody Needs A Walk -up Song
Sometimes things just happen, good and bad, that you just can’t predict. Despite my propensity for planning and my natural tendency toward being a hunter, I have learned that sometimes you have to roll with the punches and trust there is a lesson you need to learn. I didn’t always feel this way. No, this… Read More Change is hard but not changing is harder…
I was having coffee with some friends recently when, inevitably, the subject of our dogs came up. Three of us have medium to large dogs and one has a smaller, hypoallergenic one (which is brilliant since I think EVERYONE needs a dog). I mentioned that I grew up with Basset Hounds, but that these have… Read More If you believe you are a Labrador Retriever….
I am going to preface this post with “No children were harmed in the making of the story” (well not permanently anyway). If you were a child of the 1970s or before, you will appreciate this story. If you are a Gen Xer or a Millennial, there is a chance you might be horrified- at… Read More There’s Something About Sticking with It