Monday, January 2, 2017

Hello 43, Let's Roll

Being born 72 hours in the New Year means that when the world celebrates the New Year, so do I.  Hurrah to having the worst birthday ever. 

I rarely make resolutions, but this year things are different. 

So here we go.

1.       Use the phrase coup de gras (grace) more often

2.       Eat more salsa, but less cheese; understand this is going to mean no more nachos

3.       Run/trot a 5k every month

4.       Do my signature “jack in the box” more often; you are welcome work pals, you are welcome

5.       Find out how to become a cinematographer

6.       Update resume to reflect cinematography skills

7.       More Brian Williams

8.       Go on a Bigfoot Hunt (that doesn’t involve the couch)

9.       More dog pics

10.   Less dick pics

11.   Take down the Christmas tree

12.   Summer trip to Chicago

13.   Dust

14.   Vacuum

15.   Change the oil in the car in a timely manner

16.   Make a list of things to do tomorrow:

a.       Dust

b.       Vacuum

c.       Get an oil change

d.       Find a biography on Brian Williams

17.   Loudly declare my angst of fruit in places it should NOT EVER be:  cake, salsa, salad

18.   Put away the schnauzer nativity

19.   Text less (easy since I rarely do this)

20.   Call more (note:  convince people it’s okay to talk into that thing they’re staring at)

21.   Ignore the trolls

22.   More tennis

23.   More fireball

24.   Expand my vocabulary

25.   Less beer

26.   More hometown tourist events

27.   Finish my coaching class

28.   Stop rolling my eyes at insurance commercials.  How are they all the worst? 

29.   Finish my website for  I think that’s it

30.   Find out why my consulting website address is

31.   More dogs sleeping pictures

32.   Teach my nephews what “I’ll bail you out of jail” really means

33.   Write more

34.   Move homes less

35.   Move my legs more

36.   Ignore celebrities.  Even the dead/dying ones

37.   Find out how to get a job with Joe Biden 2020

38.   Wonder if I should change my password now that we have a new president

39.   Give the new President the respect he deserves (which is none; he deserves none) while continuing to stock pile canned goods, booze, dog food, water, and cigarettes.  My ass is going to be ready for the apocalypse.

40.   Pack my lunch and workout gear for the next day at night

41.   Put away the laundry

42.   Quit rolling my eyes at celebrities in insurance commercials.  The worst, squared.

43.   Never again make a list of resolutions.  Just be happy with what it is (but keep stock piling).

Monday, December 19, 2016

Roll Dawgs

Peach Bowl - Just Peachy
For 30 of my 42 years, I’ve lived in either Seattle or Alabama. With their differing cultures, both are key to who I am. I’ve done a good job of seamlessly living in and loving each. But in less than two weeks, the Peach Bowl brings my homes together, against each other. As such I find myself in a peculiar spot. You see, I am madly in love with my Roll Tide and Go Dawgs family. As game day approaches I find my loyalties not being tested, but being strengthened.

My older brother graduated from University of Washington. I spent many years in Alabama, where college football is life. At a young age, you pick a team, stick with that team – and buy sweaters, earrings, car tags and more to show loyalty. When I first moved south, my Alabama family wasn’t really into college football. Then the cousins started to go to that one school with the one team. Back in Seattle, my younger brother married in to a UW family. I never pledged a loyalty to either team.

Seattle - Big City Life
Now I’m back in Seattle and soon I’ll find myself watching an epic match up of two teams from the places that shaped me into who I am.

I am a proud Alabamingtonian. Seventeen years in the land of Dixie and 13 as a tree-hugging Seattle girl.  People here and there scoff at the other. They’re so different, they tell themselves. What I love about one, I dislike about the other:  politics, inclusion, pot, chivalry, beaches, mountains, big hugs, tall buildings, a sense of pride in place, a firm hold on history. Each state has a different position on all the above. I love them for that.

Gulf Shores - Ah!
I miss Alabama something fierce. It wraps you in warmth and love and feeds you and makes a place for you at the table. You do you and everyone knows. The taxes are low, the weather is warm, the traffic is manageable. It’s an easy life and you’re special and loved. My heart comes alive on Alabama’s sugar white sands. Hills roll for miles. Sundays are for the Lord. My memory is filled with laughter, frustration, and compromise – which led me back to Seattle.

Sundays = Seahawks
Seattle is fast and dirty. You do you and no one cares. The streets are hurried and crowded – a mix that brings me alive, awakens raw emotion. Life is hard, but the possibilities are endless. Summer nights are long and warm. Deadly mountains steal your breath. Sundays are for the Seahawks. Family is love, laughter, tolerance and acceptance. Friends who became family continue to be. 

I know how the Peach Bowl will go down. I pray each side doesn’t embarrass themselves – both in effort and victory.  Please put up a good fight.  Please be gracious winners. Please enjoy the experience. Please act like you’ve been here before.  

I am an Alabamingtonian.  I am madly and ridiculously in love each place.

Come game day, I’ll be with family – wearing a specially made shirt that fully represents my loyalty of each place. Because I am so in love with my places and people, I am unable to cheer for or against either.

As a proud Alabamingtonian, I’ll personify the best of what each state has taught me: grace and tenacity.

In the end, that is the mark of a winner.

Roll Dawgs, my loved ones.  Roll Dawgs.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Don’t Worry, She Said.

                After tennis I hurried into the grocery store to pick up fixin’s for dinner – a surprise dinner for my dearest friend. Despite it being barely 50 degrees outside, I was stinky! I wanted to get in and out and home quickly. Alas it was not meant to be. With a Hawks’ game tomorrow and Thanksgiving a few days ahead, the store was packed. Since I can’t do anything in a linear fashion, I was all over the store. I was nearly done when I got stuck behind an elderly lady pushing a big, mostly empty cart. I wheeled around her and she caught my eye. “I can’t find the cookies,” she declared.
                I looked at the signs and said, “They are two more aisles down.” Her eyes remained fixed on me.  “They are just two more down, I’ll take you there.”
                We made it to the cookies and she began to talk, “You know, I’m 93-years old. I have 50 grand kids.”
                “Wow, that’s an amazing life.”
                “The secret is to not worry. You will always get what you need and things will work out. Just don’t worry.” We chatted for a few minutes about life and worry and why we shouldn’t and what cures it.  Eight kids, 23 great grand kids – a legacy she proudly described.
                “I’m not sure if I was supposed to populate the world so much, but it’s what I did.”
                Ninety-three-years old.  Double my life and add 11 more years. Few of us can only be so lucky. 
                As I checked out, I could hear her in the aisle next to me, telling the same story.
                Worry isn’t my greatest fault. I’ve discovered its antidote: planning and faith. I read somewhere that you can’t have both worry and faith, it confuses God. So, I chose faith.
                In its own way and in the right time, God will provide you everything you need. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for – say cookies for example – a step toward the solution will come. When I look back on my life, I see the path that landed me right here. Many moments of doubt, anger and angst sit behind me. They also sit ahead of me, I’m no fool to think otherwise. But when I take a deep breath and declare I am lost, it’s not worry that fills me. It’s faith.
                This week professionally was very difficult. Since I can’t tell you the details, I’ll share this with you. I found myself having to lead four difficult conversations. I am a people pleaser; I don’t have difficult conversations. But I decided no more. It was time to face issues head-on. Leading up to the interactions, I reminded myself that I have prepared and am prepared to navigate the opposition. God did not bring me this far to leave me.
                He did not bring me two aisles from the cookies only to leave me empty handed. When you allow worry to consume you, you’re unable to clearly see the solutions. You can’t ask for help. You confuse those around you and yourself.
                “Don’t worry,” said the 93-year-old stranger, completely unprovoked. “Don’t worry,” she said with a kind smile. 

Don’t worry. Be kind. Smile. If you’re lost, don’t worry. If someone is lost, help them. Because as it turns out, helping others find their cookies is a sweet reward.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Legendary Air Drop

Picture it: Monday, mid-afternoon. Carefree worker on her way from one office to another. She takes the train. She passes the time playing Candy Crush Soda Saga; and doesn't apologize for it. As she alternates between staring out the window and playing, the Seattle scenery passes quickly. 

While in the midst of her game, something pops up on her phone. A picture. A woman staring out the window. The words:  I always feel better after I poop. Our heroine looks at the text above the picture:  "Mickey wants to share this with you through Air Drop" (or something like that).

She lowers the phone and looks around. The girls ahead of her had been giggling, so our beautiful heroine leans in and asks, "Are one of you Mikey?"

They're not.

Snickering is heard from behind.

Our beautiful, intelligent heroine says, "Are you Mikey?"

"Mickey," the slight Hispanic man replies, "it's Mickey."

"Did you send this?", our stunningly kind, humble heroine asks to Mickey.

He nodded.

"Well, that's not really appropriate; I'm going to delete this."

She then turns off all her Wi-Fi capabilities and wonders, "Is this how the kids are hooking up these days? Is this how they're meeting and falling in love?"

She imagined the scenario of Mickey and the girl it worked with telling her family how they met:  There I was, just sitting on the train.  No, I said SITTING.  And this picture pops up on my phone and it was about pooping and since I love pooping, I turned to him and our eyes met and we fell in love right there.  Meant. TO! BE!!! I WAS SITTING ON THE TRAIN. SITTING.

Our heroine (I confess, it's me), is not the kind of girl who can be wooed this way. She'll never be dropping her panties for a stranger who air drops her an awkward meme. She will call you out. Because as much as she feels it's not appropriate to talk about shit, she is not going to put up with your shit.

Footnote:  Apparently, this is a thing!  Read more here

Want to keep your self safe:  here is how

Be safe out there.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

And so, I ran

I had a coaching session today. After the session, the client/classmate was checking her texts only to find out her daughter's classmate took his life. At the age of 17.

We sat in silence. Because what else can you do? No words can fill the space that news creates. Tears. Tissue. Silence. Emptiness.

I was not a good coach during that session. My insecurities took over, creating an uncomfortable session. We both knew it and declared it.

The clock read 3:00 when I arrived at home. I started my backwards counting:  dinner at 6:30, leave at 6:10, start getting ready at 5:30. That left 2.5 hours. The weather was beautiful.

"What do you want to do with this time?"

"I want to run."

And so, I ran. I ran for 30 minutes. It was the first time I'd run since spring, when the days were longer and warmer.

I thought about the untimely deaths that have happened this week. I thought about young people who have taken their lives. I thought how lucky I am to run. I tried to remember why I ever quit. I didn't count time. I just ran. I prayed for those we lost this week. I prayed for our nation as we hit the final stretch of this election cycle. I pray that we'll be able to move forward together.

With my music set on shuffle, I was delighted as every new song started.  Then came "I Lived" by OneRepublic.  It brought me to my knees. It's every word I want said to me and I want to say.

Over the last three years, I've come to see how incredibly precious life is. Perhaps it was leaving the beach, turning 40, or too many heartbreaks. As I ran with those words pumping through me, I wanted so desperately to declare that I lived my life to the fullest. I haven't. I've done a lot, but I haven't done it all.

At some point in my life I decided I didn't deserve all my heart desired. I became scared to fully go after it, scared to be honest with myself. The further I get into my coaching training, the more I see I'm not alone in this.

A wise man once told me I was going to change the world. I've decided it's time to prove him right. If I apply the counting time mentality to my life, it'd go something like this:  I'm 42. I plan to live until I'm in my 90s. That means I've got 48 years. I've got to write a book, that will take a few years. I want to become a certified coach. That will take a few more years, or I could do it at the same time. I want to get married and share my life with someone. I want to own my own business. I want to live at the beach again. I have 48 years.

"What do you want to do with this time?"

"I want to live."

And so, I live.

I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places 
Things that I did 
With every broken bone, I swear I lived

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Not Permanence. But Flux.

                The nature of life is not permanence, but flux.
                The butler on Downton Abby said these words.  I watch TV like most Americans do – it’s on, I’m on the couch, but my attention is split between the program and whatever I’m scrolling through on my iPhone.  It was by chance that I caught these words.  Or was it?  I don’t think chance had anything to do with it.  Many things have happened in this month that have strengthened my faith in the unseen.
                The nature of life is not permanence, but flux.
Let’s go.
                Earlier this month, I was back in Huntsville chatting with a friend about life and my three careers:  social media, coaching, and public relations.  Her wise words:  You need to talk to Paul.  He’d just been re-elected (after a term away) as Mayor, but also owns a consulting/marketing firm.  She was right.  I filed that tidbit of to-do away.  Fast forward 360 miles and a few days – I’m in Gulf Shores, meeting a friend and his new wife for dinner.  I’m seated and early.  I glance to my right – and what do my wandering eyes see?  Paul.  Yes – the same Paul.  We were both stunned and said our hellos, agreeing to meet for a meal the next day.  This chance was not a chance encounter.  You see, Paul was having dinner (follow along closely) with my friends’ wife’s parents.  Of all the gin joints in all the world.  Oh and Paul:  his ex-wife is married to my cousin’s father-in-law.  Welcome to Alabama.
                During my time in Alabama – on each side of the state, I found myself peaceful.  Perhaps it was because I was on vacation.  Or that I was seeing friends I hadn’t seen in years.  More than anything, I think it is because my home is in Alabama.  I left there two years ago, on my way to a life that didn’t turn out as intended.  “Thank God you got out of that situation.  Dodged a bullet there…”  Yes, I know.   And since I know, I’ve made a go at it here in Seattle.  Seattle.  It’s a harder life – much harder than I anticipated, more crowded than I remember, more expensive than I fathomed.  I made a choice to come here.  But what does staying say about me?  That’s what I’m exploring now.
                I’m not saying I’m putting the condo on the market tomorrow and running back home to my life as it was.  I’m saying I’m exploring it.  Exploring what I want my future to be – where I want my future to be.  I’ve wasted many years denying myself happiness.  At some point these last few months, I’ve realized I actually deserve to 1. Stop being so hard on myself and 2. To be happy.   What does that look like?
                It looks like being more gentle with myself – no more bashing my weight, choices and broadcasting failures.  Stop medicating with the booze and food.  It looks like closing my eyes and fully envisioning what brings me happiness.  And then deciding to go for it.  And I mean seriously fucking go for it.  And it means it’s not going to be easy.  And it means giving up a ho-hum life to take a chance at something else – something I once had, but didn’t realize how amazing it was.  I had to go North to fully land in the South.  Not that I’m landing there tomorrow.
                The nature of life is not permanence, but flux.
                Here’s to the flux.  Here’s learning to be patient with a purpose.  Here’s to the journey! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Don’t Worry, Be ... August 5, 2007

I wrote this after Poncho came home nine years ago.  I'm reposting it because so much of it still rings true. ... Stop worrying and BE.  BE AMAZING.  

We were headed back from Chattanooga, my mom, brother, and his significant other. I occupied the back seat as we wound our way through the Alabama countryside. On my lap, reeking of vomit and urine, sat an eight pound ball of fur that was the purpose of the trip. His black/blue eyes peered up at me, filled with concern. I stroked the beach towel he was wrapped in and said, “It’ll be okay. I promise.” His eyes closed and his head slumped on my vomit and urine soaked pants. “I promise.” I propped my head on the cool window, and closed my eyes.

You've come a long way, baby!
All the way home I worried if I was doing the right thing – bringing another dog into my home, my family. Would my other dog, Jake Ryan, resent me? Would he eat the stinker on my lap (who would soon be called Poncho)? What if Poncho ran away? He looked like a sorry sack of shit when the breeder handed him over to me. He’d been traveling since Pigeon Forge, confined in a crate. The ride wasn’t easy as was evident in the odor that permeated. My mother looked at me with eyes that said, “Dear Allison, what have you gotten yourself into now?” She forced a smile. “Oh, he’s cute.” I could hear right through her.

We arrived home shortly after 3 p.m. where big brother, Jake Ryan, anxiously greeted me, but was none too thrilled to see stinky. Poncho was anything but joyous.

The two sized each other up and big brother decided he was the boss. Poncho played along. My worries about their interactions were put to rest. But what I never worried about soon took center stage.

Don't worry.
Poncho came home with worms and Jake Ryan caught an eye infection. I’ve shelled out more than $700 in the last four weeks for the two. Their health and wellness is now the top priority in my life. I chose this, being a pet parent. Jake Ryan gets pills with his meals and eye potion three times a day. The little one needs more love and attention than I thought I had. I can not imagine how parents do it. Just yesterday a friend called, canceling plans due to a sick child. Frustration was apparent in her voice.

Women worry, a lot; it turns out, there’s a reason. According to an article presented in Psychiatric Genetics, women have less of a brain chemical that influences anxiety. This chemical, an enzyme called COMT, may just make people more anxious.

Scientists combined DNA analysis, recordings of brain activity and psychological tests. They found that women with the same gene variant had similarly high scores in tests that measure anxiety. But men having the same genetic make-up did not appear to be extra anxious.

Well trained boys.
Despite what scientists and smart people uncover, I’ve concluded that worry is a waste because the energy that you use worrying could have a more beneficial use. When you release yourself from the permission to worry, you allow yourself to be more.

Bobby McFerran sang that catchy little tune years ago: Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Forget happiness, it’s a transient state. Be more. Be confident that no matter what the universe doles out, you will be able to manage it. Be understanding that what you do choose to worry about will be the thing that won’t happen. Be patient for the answers always come, as does the grace. Be aware that you have the wisdom, talent, and capability to endure.

The Best of Friends
Nearly a month later, my two boys lay nestled beside me as I type. Jake doesn’t resent me, and he hasn’t eaten Poncho. Jake is a good big brother and Poncho is as laid back as they come, happy to be passed around to strangers. I did the right thing, bringing Poncho into our family. And I’ll never worry about being a good pet parent, by looking at their faces, peaceful as they sleep, I already know the answer.