These Are a Few of My Favorite Things 5

It has been nearly eight months since I last checked in to this space. Every time I felt inspired to write, the world seemed too desperate, too stressful, too all-over shitty to write about frivolity. So I didn’t.

Besides the reign of pure fuckery that Tr*mp has brought upon the world, Larry and I have had a rough six months out here in the PNW, from work stuff to family stuff to adult crap that no one ever wants to deal with, but we’re hanging in there. Thanks champagne wine! And for all her adoring fans: Tippy is fine!!!

Anyway. I want to write again, but this is a muscle I haven’t flexed in a long time, so let’s start with something easy. Here are some things I’ve been enjoying through these dark days.

Two Bossy Dames: their weekly e-newsletter is the highlight of my Fridays (second only to a new Entertainment Weekly in my mailbox, but those sometimes arrive on Thursdays or Saturdays and I value consistency, SO). Written by two fantastic librarians, Dame Sophie and Dame Margaret, with links to everything you never knew you needed to know, it’s my favorite way of staying up on the fight against the goddamn patriarchy. Plus, books, podcasts, music, and often entire issues dedicated to one Harry Styles. Subscribe here and let your coven draft begin!

This article: speaking of great things I found via Two Bossy Dames: This! This! This! I was running with two friends yesterday, and we were discussing how we often feel like nags with our significant others. My solution? “Just do what I say!!” I yelled as we looped around Green Lake. “Don’t make me nag!” Probably not the healthiest solution, but what to do? This article, “Women Aren’t Nags – We’re Just Fed Up,” explained so much about this feeling. Yes yes yes.

Dirty John podcast: eeeek, this is creepy! I haven’t written about my #1 podcast, My Favorite Murder, here, but it feels like it’s too old and everyone knows about that now (and if you don’t, then subscribe!!). I read about Dear John in the EW with Idris Elba on the cover (meoooow) and binged the first three episodes immediately. I’m dying to start my commute home so I can keep going. Here’s a preview from MashableLove. Family. Betrayal. The L.A. Times and Wondery‘s Dirty John has it all, pieced together in a riveting six-part podcast series. It’s the twisted story of Debra Newell Stewart, a divorceé in Los Angeles who meets the too-good-to-be-true John Meehan on a dating site. They hit it off and things move at warp speed, but something is amiss from the start.

Old friends: I flew to Chicago a few weekends ago to see four of my dear high school friends, one of whom, E, I’ve known for more than 30 years; she’s my bud from way back in kindergarten. Most of the weekend was spent watching football, eating junk food, bitching about Tr*mp, and obsessing about pineapples (like, should we have gotten the tiny pineapple tattoos? I think so). All five of us getting togther is rare and this weekend was special; there is nothing quite like being in a room with people you’ve known forever and one very gassy dog. I stayed an extra day and walked the city with E. We drank wine by the river and I fell in love with Chicago all over again. It really is the best in the fall.  I suggest you call your old friends soon and plan a day or weekend together. It’s good for your soul.

Little Fires Everywhere: I finished this book in one day. Highly recommend! Support your local library and get it there, or if the waiting list is too long, go ahead and buy, then gift it to another friend who could use a good book.

Donate: Everyone needs help right now, from Puerto Rico to Las Vegas to Northern California to your local Planned Parenthood (Jesus Christ, are we seriously still fighting for this?). Even the smallest donations make a difference. Instead of birthday gifts, consider donating in someone’s name. Find a cause that matters to you and give your time, talent, and/or treasure. Just give. And then call your Congresspeople because it’s beyond time to #ITMFA.

That’s it for now. Maybe I’ll see you again soon. But right now, I have to finish Dirty John. Byeeeee.

Advertisements

Dancing On My Own

This morning, I did something really strange. I went to a club and danced before work. By myself.

It’s called Daybreaker and it’s an interesting concept: yoga followed by a DJ-led rave/dance party before work. You can buy admission to just yoga, just the dance party, or both. I’d heard about it from a friend and wanted to try it out, so we bought tickets for the February dance party (yoga sold out fast!) and planned to meet there.

Then the Seattle crud claimed my friend and she bailed at 6:45 this morning. I had a choice: forfeit my $15 admission or suck it up and roll solo. Trying to ignore that junior high-level insecurity in my belly, I got on the bus and headed to the club. To dance by myself. At 7am. There would be coffee, at least, so even if I just stood in the corner like Joan Cusack in Sixteen Candles, at least I’d have something to clutch. Or maybe I’d find a friend! Even Joan found a friend.

dancing 80s movies nerds boho geeks

I got off the bus and walked to Sole Repair, a former cobbler shop-turned-event space. I could hear the DJ from a few blocks away; this part of Capitol Hill was surprisingly quiet in the morning and the bump-bump of techo music announced itself loud and proud.

I opened the door and WHOOSH the humidity of sweat and movement took me in, along with a very tall, beautiful woman who yelled “Welcome!” over the DJ and gave me a big hug. “We’re so glad you’re here!” She stamped the inside of my wrist and pointed me toward the back wall, where everyone had dropped their coats, purses, and extra clothing.


The room was packed with mostly women wearing their best and brightest Lulus and Athletas. There was one gentleman in a Ghostbusters jumpsuit. A few ladies had stripped down to their sports bras and were glistening with sweat; I dropped my bags and headed straight for the coffee, then to the back of the crowd to people watch and send sneaky SnapChats. (Except there was no need to be sneaky because almost everyone was snapping and selfie-ing with abandon.)


And before long, I was dancing. By myself, but also with everyone. It was too crowded for cliques and too loud for conversation, so a lone wolf didn’t look too out of place. My spot on the periphery eventually closed around me and soon, I was in the crowd. I started with some head nodding and hip swaying, but then a remix of Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” came on. I slammed the rest of my coffee, put down my cup, and danced.

And then: Hall and Oates “Can’t Go for That” accompanied by brass and drums. What!!

The rest of my hour consisted of more dancing, more coffee, bubble machines, giveaways, happy birthday to the gorgeous woman who hugged me at the door, and free samples of all kinds of bars, juices, and even canned iced coffee. And a random woman just painting away in the corner.


As I was checking the time and feeling kind of sad that I had to leave for work soon, I heard a group of women next to me say, “This is [blergh blergh]. She came her by herself!! Isn’t she so brave and amazing?!” And the group embraced her into their dancing circle.

HEY! I wanted to say at first. I came alone, too! I also deserve your hugs and validation. Pick me, choose me, accept me, I am worthy of your attention even though I don’t know you and will never see you again!

I let that feeling pass and instead, smiled and did a sweet spin move* (being very careful not to spill my coffee or bump into the woman dancing next to me who wore elf ears) and realized: I am just fine dancing on my own.

*the spin move was probably not all that sweet

Franklin Falls / 8 Years

It was our eighth wedding anniversary yesterday and we had a choice: eat all day (our usual plan) or rent a car and go have an adventure. We chose adventure! 

In a trusty Subaru ZipCar, we drove about an hour east on 90 to visit Franklin Falls. The area got a lot of attention after a Seattle Times article and the parking situation was dire, so we took the advice of a kind British lady on snowshoes and parked about a mile and a half from the trailhead. Excellent decision. Also an excellent decision: wearing Yaktrax, a gift from my mom a few years ago. They were so handy on the packed icy trail!

The whole hike was magical. 


It ended up being about seven total miles of hiking, so we were good and hungry by the end. Twede’s Cafe, aka The Double R Diner from Twin Peaks, just happened to be on the way home. A few hot sammies and fries later, we were golden. 

After cleaning up (I wore my finest black turtleneck) and caffeinating, we continued the celebration with fireside drinks at Hotel Sorrento -we tried our first Boulevardiers, Negronis made with bourbon – and an insanely decadent dinner at L’Oursin. Oh my lord, the bacon terrine!! 

It was a pretty perfect day. It’s been a pretty perfect eight years. Cheers to that. 

It Wasn’t All Garbage, Was It?

 

What a dumpster fire of a year 2016 has been. So many amazing people gone except for the one person who should explode in a mass of Cheetos and straw hair (and pls take your shitty racist women-hating followers with you THANKS!). But in the spirit of positive vibes and glass-half-fullism, I will now try to remember the good things that happened this year. Because it wasn’t all garbage, right?

January

My dad turned 60 and we surprised him with a phenomenal party! We played outside and Larry ended his hipster bartending career.

jan1

jan2

February

Some cold-weather running featuring beautiful sunrises and a trip to Florida to visit Lar’s dad.

feb1

March

Jay Blistan visited! We ran up hills and went to the Sounders home opener. Cherry blossoms came out, daylight lasted longer, and we celebrated Easter with friends. march1

march2

April

My grandparents visited!!! So did friends from back east, and it was the best birthday ever with my whole fam in Denver.

april2 april3

May

More visitors: college bestie, our most famous friend David Crabb, and I met the U.S. Poet Laureate at our big work fundraiser. We camped with friends for Memorial Day.

may2 may3

June

We ran the Bend Beer Chase for the second year in a row. I made boozy cherries with good friends, we celebrated Lar’s birthday at the Seattle Rock Orchestra’s Beach Boys show, and we took Tippy on her first camping trip – also our first unsupervised camping trip. We made fire!!

june1

june2 june3 june4

July

I made beautiful American jello shots. Shenanigans at the Dixie Chicks concert and camp out involving biblical rain, Gentleman Jack, and pitchers of wine. We gained a new family member, Fippy. East Coast Wendy visited!!! I learned that I am really good at shucking oysters and we climbed a mountain with Tippy.july1 july2 july3 july4 july5 july6

August

Month of excessive vacations! We traveled to Mexico with old friends AND Croatia with new friends. Also: helmet nachos!

aug1 aug3 aug4 aug5 aug6 aug7

September

Still Croatiaing. I did not run a sub-2 half but did PR at 2:05 and haven’t run more than a mile since. My parents visited!!! And I got to be a witch for Harry Potter trivia at work.

sept1 sept2 sept3 sept4 sept5 sept6

October

I rowed in the rain and visited my sis in Charlotte with our mama. Football games, soccer games, and Tippy’s 12th birthday party. We sold our Prius and became car-less city folk.

oct2 oct3 oct4 oct1 oct5

November

I was depressed. We escaped reality by binging The Crown and with a long weekend in Astoria. And we spent a week back in Philly with family and friends. That was like balm for the soul. ❤

nov1 nov2 nov3

December 

I went home to Ohio for the annual girls weekend and met Josie! We celebrated the holidays by seeing The Nutcracker, a White Christmas sing-along (this was THE BEST!!!), and lots of movies. We’ll celebrate eight years of wedded bliss on Friday and are hosting another NYE party on Saturday.

dec1 dec2 dec3 dec4

And then it will be 2017. We’re heading to Grand Cayman with my family in January (and will be very drunk there on inauguration day) and will come home to a new president. Not my president. And then impeachments shall begin, Russia will get involved, China will be pissed, the nukes will come out, and the world will end.

So here’s to 2016. And a very merry 2017 to us all!

Thank you, Hillary

Thank you to everyone who has given hugs, sent texts, called, and emailed to spread love. There are rays of sunshine in this dark time. I’m still eating my feelings (send more Jeni’s, mom and dad! NO WAIT DON’T, my pants don’t fit) but I’m taking action by increasing my monthly donations to Planned Parenthood, joining the ACLU, and donating to Black Lives Matter. If I could stay off Twitter to avoid the reports of hate crimes and injustices, I’d be almost ok.

I wrote a thank you to Hillary. It’s not even close to anything she deserves but if we all take the time to send her a short note, perhaps she’ll feel buoyed and encouraged, which is all anyone can ask for right now.


Ugh I screwed up my Sincerely by trying to write while petting this monkey. Worth it.

How Did This Happen?

I can’t stop crying. I feel sick, my chest hurts, and I cannot believe this is the country we live in. How did this happen? How did a man who espouses hate, bigotry, sexism, intolerance, and everything this country does not should not stand for become its president?

Larry told me as I shuffled out the door this morning that it was going to be OK. And I’m usually a glass is half full kind of gal, but this time, I don’t think so. Because we now have a president who has very explicitly stated for the past several months that it is not going to be OK for a lot of people, namely women who deserve control over their bodies, people of color, people who want to marry whomever their heart chooses, people who aren’t from this country, people who need access to healthcare, and so many others.

How did this happen? How did we get here? How do we reconcile this as a nation when the cracks are so deep we don’t even know where to begin? And not only as a nation, but with our own friends and family? I keep thinking about someone I know with young daughters who voted for that man. His daughters will grow up knowing that a man who has multiple assault accusers can still be elected president. A man can brag about forcing himself on women and no one will punish him. A man can say the most hateful words about Mexicans, Muslims, really anyone who isn’t white man, and he is rewarded with the highest office in the country. Our country will be led by a man and his even scarier vice president who believe it is their right to punish women for having agency over our own bodies. I don’t want young women to grow up with a president who will perpetuate our lack of self worth, and I can’t make sense of how people I know, people with daughters, could possibly have supported him. I thought they were better than this. I thought America was better than this.

The only thing giving me hope, other than sweet Tippy, who loves to lick the tears off my face, is the kindness of a stranger I encountered this morning. I was crying at a Starbucks on campus before meeting a colleague for a meeting, trying to get myself together. As I dabbed my eyes with disintegrating compostable napkins, a young man approached me tentatively and said: “You and I didn’t have the right to vote for 120 years. We’re going to get through this.” And then he gave me a hug and told me to watch this on Colbert.

This, of course, made me cry harder, but my tears were of gratefulness.

So. What now? Today I am choosing to cry, question, and give in to my crushed spirit. But tomorrow I fight.* And I hope those young women I’m thinking about heard Hillary’s incredible speech today, especially this part:

“And to all the little girls who are watching this: Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

P.S. Please go read Kate’s post, which sums up my feelings better than I can. And then read this one and this one and please consider donating to and volunteering for these places. Send Hillary a thank-you note for taking women further. And finally, pray for the Notorious RBG to stay alive…forever.

*HT Wendy, who is having the worst birthday ever.

Retired Rower

I’m just a big ol’ retiree these days.

I graduated from Learn to Row class at Lake Union Crew on Saturday after 12 sessions in the month of October. It was an awesome, really hard, and really humbling experience. It made me remember how much I hate to suck at things, and some nights, I sucked hard at rowing. I could probably stay in the Learn to Row level for the rest of my life and still not be great at it.

Most of my classmates are moving on to the next level – Sweep & Scull, doesn’t that sound bad ass? – but I can’t make the class times work with my schedule. Classes almost always run long and being late for anything ever makes me hyperventilate. I’m bummed, but it’s fine. I’m glad I did it, and if they change up the times by even 15 minutes in the mornings, I could maybe make it work. Maybe maybe maybe.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is some ESPN-caliber action of us rowing through the Montlake Cut – hallowed ground if you’ve read The Boys in the Boat or are any kind of a rowing nerd. I’m in the 7 seat, light blue jacket/white hat.

So much history there! My favorite painted sign was on the opposite wall: Bust a Nut in the Cut. #klassy

Here we are doing the traditional last-day-of-class Trust Exercise, for which we were reassured that NO ONE has EVER fallen in, in all of our coach’s years of experience. WELL GUESS WHAT. Our 1 seat? He fell in.

trust_1

trust_2

trust_3_oops

Teamwork makes the dream work. Our bad, bro.

So what’s next in the land of fitness? I’m still on running hiatus until 2017, per my own stubborn Rx, and I have come to the conclusion that I need something in addition to yoga to regain strength, and the apartment gym isn’t doing it for me. So I’m trying out a CrossFit spot tomorrow. (eeeeek scared face emoji big time)

Someone hold me. It’s really going to hurt.