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Showing posts from 2015

I can't thank you enough

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Like most people today, I’m a touch reflective – thinking about the path of my life and how I arrived here. Like some people, I am continually amazed that this here is where I am: I’m alive, healthy, loved, employed, and ambitious.  Above all, I am thankful. I have two stories I want to tell you, but today it seems appropriate to share with you they how, what, and why of my thankfulness.
Above all, I am thankful for my family and friends that are my family.  My framily.  I am loved, housed, fed, and entertained beyond measure. My dogs are the loves of my life. I am thankful that they’re mostly healthy, loved, housed, and provide us with much entertainment.
This year, I am beyond thankful for my body and how it allows me to push it, run it, stretch it, and nurture it.  It is not the body I had three years ago and it won’t be the one I have next year.  It’s an amazing thing.  Today I took it for a run.  Just three little miles – 1.5 with the wind and 1.5 into it.  My body gave a resoundi…

I don't mean to be. But I am.

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It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m not working today.Well.I am working – from my cellphone and eventually my laptop.But I’m also driving a few hours south to spend the holiday at my mom’s house.      As a result of good planning, I was on the road by 8:30 a.m. and missed traffic.  But about halfway to Vancouver (Wash.), my nasal passages are so clogged that I need meds – I’m not going to make it the rest of the way.       Siri, my trusty Siri, helps me get to the closest Walgreens, just off I-5, exit 79.  This is semi-rural Washington.  I’m about 90 miles outside of Seattle and just as many from Portland.  It’s a lovely day – the sun is so bright but the air is too cold.  I pull into the parking lot, hustle into the store, pick up my goods and a few treats for the boys (all four), and decide I need coffee.  Fortunately I see a Starbucks across the intersection.  I head to the counter and there’s a situation brewing.  Buy two get one free isn’t registering on the register.  A …

On Being Harassed

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This is what I looked like yesterday – not attractive in the least.  My pants are too short, my “badge of honor” sweatshirt isn’t fitted at all.  But it was enough to have me harassed at a level I’ve never experienced. And I’m at the point where enough is enough.
Let me paint the picture for you:  it was about 11:32 a.m., there was a break in the rain, so I took the dogs out – left the house and started walking on the sidewalk (in front of an elementary school) of a four-lane road.  I’m walking at a quick pace because my 14-pounder likes to walk the edge of the sidewalk – and this makes me very anxious as cars go about 40 miles per hour down the road.  
A car pulls into the median and the driver, a young man starts yelling at me. 

Immediately I felt uncomfortable.  I can’t remember his exact words – but he was saying sexually explicit things at me.  I pointed to my ear and shrugged, “I can’t hear.”  My lie didn’t stop him.  He persisted.  I repeated myself.
He pulled off and I was reliev…

Continuing the List: Chivalry

The thing I miss the most about the South is chivalry. When I see it and benefit from it here in the PNW, I am quickly reminded that it's more rare than an I-don't-do-coffee Washingtonian.
     This morning, with my Tully's in hand (because Starbucks is still closed for remodeling), the elevator door opened to me - on the ground floor.  Inside were two colleagues.  When they didn't get off, I boarded the elevator and asked with a smile, "What are you two doing? Taking joy rides?"
     "She wouldn't get off before me ...," the guy said.  Apparently she refused his chivalry - thus the elevator closed and came down to get me.
     "Ahh, chivalry... we need to take appreciate it when it's offered, and guy here is exceptional at showing chivalry," I said.
     For the last 15 months, I have thoroughly enjoyed guy's manners - always holding the door, being polite, treating me like a lady.  Oh I do miss some good old Southern gentlem…

The List

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I've come to see a few things recently.  One is that columns have turned into lists - rather than stringing paragraphs together with thoughtful prose, we separate things out and slap a number in front of the idea.  This is how readers read and writers write. 

Here's my list of things I'm grateful for today:


1.  The Pope's visit to America.  The second best thing about his visit is that Brian Williams was back on TV.  I love, admire, adore Brian Williams.  A story got exaggerated - not my concern.  As the child of a story exaggerator, I see how it happens.  I have no judgement, just pure love for B-DUB and am thrilled he's back on TV.  And if you read this story, you'll see I'm not alone in my pure happiness about his return.

2.  Podiatrists.  I had my first visit to this line of medical business.  And I left with one less toenail.  It's been janky for a year now - falling off, trying to regrow, falling off.  Today, the doctor pulled the thing out so we can…

And Now We Fight

Rent went up $250.  Yep.  I knew it would go up when it came time to renew, but I figured it wouldn't be that much. I love my place, but paying more than $1600 for 800 square feet is isn't in my budget and is ridiculous.       I got the news about 48 hours ago.  Fortunately Mom was already on her way to town.  As my life has navigated the roller coaster of these last 12 months, she's become my sounding board. This rent increase was going to require a lot of sounding and boarding.      In the midst of my shock, I loaded the boys up in the car and drove to other nearby places to imagine if I could live there. After trolling a few parking lots with junked out cars and seeing unkempt buildings, I decided that no, I couldn't live there.     When life hands you lemons, there are a few things you should do.  Here's my list for surviving a lemon season:      1.  Do not jump to any conclusions:  Just because they offered to increase my rent doesn't really mean they me…

Not all hookers look like Julia Roberts

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“You want some business?” the lady inquired across the darkened plaza. I walked closer, my dogs coming into her view line. “Oh, nevermind, just thought you were looking for some business.”
     “What kind of business?” My request went unanswered as she wandered off into the night. I continued my walk, thinking I’d quickly staved off getting wrapped into a pyramid scheme situation that would include me going to meetings and pushing products on Facebook. Upon further reflection, it came to me that the business being offered was the oldest profession. Giggles filled my body, “She sure didn’t look like a hooker!”
    When you move from mid-sized-town Alabama to Seattle, you’re bound to learn a few things. For example, my frame of reference for hooker looks comes from Pretty Woman – but in reality, most hookers don’t look like Julia Roberts. The Hookers’ Beauty Not Equal to Julia Roberts’ Beauty was my first lesson.  My second lesson was that life here is harder and more expensive than …

Mr. Wilson and Me: The Journey Toward Greater

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My life hit its lowest point in September 2014.A relationship that moved me 2,600 miles ended. My career brought me into a new line of business, leaving me struggling to learn a new way of life. At 40-years old, I lived out of suitcases and off the grace of my brother and his wife. I needed something to believe in – my confidence was shaken and my insides were raw. Back in my once hometown, I was poor, lost and desperate. My brother’s wife’s family graciously included me in their weekly ritual of watching the Seahawks. This, it turned out, would be my saving grace. Not the game, not the wins - but the loss of the Super Bowl and a guy called Russell Wilson.How could a devastating loss save someone? Because in life, we lose and break. That doesn’t make us losers or broken. Makes us human.

The details of my relationship failed mirror the Super Bowl loss in such a way that I can write one phrase and it applies to both. It has taken months to gather the courage to write about this.
A risk ta…

IKEA + Pinterest = Allison Fail

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For weeks I’ve wanted to convert the spare room into a study.  Like most social media savvy teens, I took to Pinterest for ideas.  The one that jumped out was taking a countertop from IKEA and marrying it to shelves from Target. It was as if my two favorite stars were hooking up and creating a Super Child that would cure cancer and win The Voice. Along came Friday night. With the weekend ahead of me, this would be the perfect time to create my new office, which would help me launch my writing career.First stop:IKEA.Or is it Ikea?Let’s go with IKEA as I feel the all caps adds an excitement factor. If you had asked me to list off the reasons I moved back to the PNW, IKEA was on my top 15 list.It’s heaven for people like me – poor, ambitious and blind to our own (in)abilities.Upon arriving at IKEA, I circled the 10,000 acre parking lot only to see that I’d be relegated to the farthest parking stalls.The closest available spots were for family parking.While I am my family, this totally …

Oh The Places I Went

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Original publish date:  May 9, 2013
Oh The Places We Went Along the hall in my home the words, “Oh the Places You’ll Go” hang above art and posters representing the places I’ve gone. From the Great Barrier Reef to the edge of America’s West Coast, the places I’ve traveled are memorialized on my walls. It is, of course, a nod to the Dr. Seuss book about life and its many adventures. When it came time to return to Huntsville from my 18-month stay in Gulf Shores, I began the desperate search only a perfectionist/procrastinator can make. The perfect piece of art to join my hallway collection had to be found. Visits to off-the-beaten-path galleries were made. I flipped through pictures and marveled at paintings. Nothing struck my fancy. Nothing that could encompass angry people, grateful athletes, fresh seafood, musical events, lonely weekends on the beach, sand in everything, tennis, and the great fight was found. The wholeness of my beach life was too complicated to be put in a frame. As s…

On Being a Dog Mom

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It’s just after 7 on Saturday morning. The sun’s light brightens the room, signaling that it’s time to rise. I turn over and without pause, Jake Ryan grunts. In hopes of throwing him off, I freeze. It’s too early to get up. Dogs know no difference between today and yesterday. They know they have to pee and would like to eat or be petted. They know I’m the ticket to getting all three of those needs met. He grunts again. I sigh in response and throw off the covers and place my bare feet on the cream carpet. Poncho is motionless. I rise and dress. We’re out the door within minutes.    The boys, now 8 and almost 9, tear down the hall toward the elevator. Five dings later and we’re in the lobby. Out they go – pulling and whining with excitement. I no longer discipline them. The years ahead of us are less than the years behind us, as such my forgiveness is greater. My duo waters the plants, sniffs the shrubs, and barks at the birds. We continue on our morning ritual, touring the streets o…

I'm a Street Walker

Today I had a dentist appointment, it’s a half a mile up 4th Ave from work.  I walked – because I’m a city girl now.  As I trekked under the overpass, past the park, and up the slow grade that is 4th Avenue, with its busy cross streets and hodgepodge of people, I realized that yes, in fact am a City Girl.  A year ago, my ass would have driven a half a block for tacos.  Now, I’m a City Girl.  And when you’re a City Girl, you’ve got to adapt to the city streets.  Here is how to survive:      1. Earbuds.  Play your music loud enough to drown out passerby’s conversations, but not so loud you can’t hear a roaring fire engine tearing down the street.  Play tunes that transport you, because even when you love the city, it’s not always pretty.  My favorite is “Come with Me Now” by KONGOS or the basassery that is“All I do is Win” by DJ Khaled. You should see my hand gestures to the line “My hands go up and down like stripper’s booties go”.  It’s precious. Truth be told, Eminem’s “One Shot” gets…

My Mother Wears Combat Boots

Originally written:  November 3, 2005             Not many 30-year-old women are on the receiving end of panicked phone calls with bombs blowing up in the background as their mom yells, “Don’t worry, I didn’t get hit! Call Nanny and tell her I’m fine. Talk to you later.” While countless mothers across the country watch their young children fight for freedom, I am among a small group of adult daughters who watched their mother head to war. But it wasn’t always this way.             For nearly two decades she was a good wife and a wonderful mom. During the earliest years of our family’s life, mom stayed home and raised three children who would grow into people she “not only loves, but truly likes.” Fast forward to the late 90s and you have a single woman in her early 50s; her three kids nearly done with college. Inside she believes that there’s something more. She could have put in a few more years at her unchallenging job and sailed to retirement. Instead she bought a map, nailed it u…

Unpacked

The last of my things from Alabama made their way to the Pacific Northwest by way of my mother’s shipment of her goods.  After a quick trip to Portland, they sit in their “for-now” destination: my 836 sq. ft., fifth-floor apartment overlooking Mount Rainier.  The view is delightful and the building is brand new, unlike my last long-term residence.  As I tore open the boxes, excitement tore through me.  I wondered what hid inside and anticipated the memories that would flood me.  I couldn’t have been more let down. 
Inside the first of two boxes, four towels revealed themselves.  White and light green, the colors of my old bathroom in my old house during my old life.  They wouldn’t match my new color scheme of grey and turquoise.  After I pulled them to my face and inhaled the scent of my old life, I chucked them into the laundry to quickly wash out the musty smell. They hadn’t seen the light of day in 10 months, a fact made apparent by their smell.
Below the towels sat three power stri…