Showing posts from 2016

Roll Dawgs

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.
Now I’m back in Seattle and soon I’ll fi…

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 w…

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, hum…

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 …

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 hi…
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.

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 sorr…

Rocket Man

I was either 35 or 32. I should know exactly, but I don’t. I know I was the youngest in our Leadership class (Class 21). It was opening retreat on the obstacle course. There was a wooden pole – about 25-400 feet high; the exact height has left me, but it was about that tall. The objective was to climb the pole, get on top, jump off and ring the bell before safely returning to the ground. 
I looked it up and down and wasn’t sure I could do it. “I’m going to let the astronaut go first and see how it’s done.” Up he went. Steady and confident. Up. Jump. Ding. I followed suit.
Over the next 10 months, the astronaut and I spent time together in class. Our circles were different. I sat in the back of the bus. He was up front, poised, honorable. We were bus buddies once and I relished in having his attention. As our program came to a close, we had the performers at a piano bar play Elton John’s Rocket Man for him. He was our astronaut. 
Graduation sent the astronaut and me on different paths. …

You Aren’t in Alabama Anymore, Honey Child

Two years ago I pulled out of Huntsville and headed to Seattle for a life I never imagined I’d have – it was to be filled with love and a family of my own.  That “never imagined life” turned into a hot shit mess – and I got out of there as quickly as I could.  Since then I have grown leaps and bounds from a big fish in a little, southern pond to a very little fish in a huge frickin’ ocean.  Becoming a big city girl has been a hoot – some days I’m running through crosswalks with a set of blue prints in my hand other days I’m running from catcallers blessing my own pea-picking heart.  Everything is faster, dirtier and smellier.    To say I’ve learned a lot – or that I’ve changed – is an understatement.  I am floored at how much I’ve adapted to this new lifestyle .  I commute downtown on a heavy rail train (think Amtrak), carry a backpack – that’s loaded with a day’s supplies including gym clothes, food, an umbrella, beverages, underwear, toiletries, an iPad, an iPad Mini, an iPhone, a Sa…

Jake Ryan Turns 10

It’s just past 6 p.m. I stare out the back window, keeping an eye on Jake Ryan. He needs no eye kept on him. The wooden fence assures me he can't leave the yard. Regardless of this, my maternal instinct positions me here, watching. He chews on grass, sauntering between grazing sites. Peace fills the tree-lined, lush green yard. I wish I could tell him how special this day is. He is at a place not all dogs get to. He can’t understand. I know this. But I don’t accept it.
     On May 29, 2006, Jake Ryan Gregg came to be. Nine weeks later he came to me. For 10 years he’s hiked, ran, played and fetched with the heart of a champion. He’s seen me through countless heartbreaks, endured many moves and never judged my nakedness. 
     Yes, today is a special day – and he’ll never understand.  This causes a break in my heart. Will our beloved animals every know how much they mean to us? No. I’m not even going to ask it again in a different format. No, they will never know. They know …

Red Nails and What Ifs

On a typical Saturday, at a typical nail salon, I looked at nail color offerings. My eyes searched for the palest pale options.  I grabbed three bottles to determine the palest. These man hands of mine – these hands that can palm a basketball, open tight jars, and snap a varmint – were accustomed to the palest of pale when they had polish, which wasn’t that often anyhow.  I’m large.  My hands are large. My personality is large.  The less I can do to draw attention, the better. 
     My friend continued her selection process, forcing me to wait, but leading me down an interesting path.  I grabbed the reddest of reds thought, “What if I painted my nails red rather than pale? Okay, let’s give it a shot!” A bit later, as the nail technician applied the reddest of reds, I was taken aback.  “Wow,” I thought. “Look at that.  I’m fancy now.  It looks great.  Why was I so scared of this?”  I made a mental note to edit my hand-talking use while wearing the red.  Surely I’d clean it off in …

Everything but Nothing at the Same Time

I’m more than 90 minutes early for my flight back to Seattle.  You’ll notice I don’t call it home.  Although it’s where I live, where I work, where I play, where my dogs are.  It’s just Seattle.  Nothing against the city itself, it’s not home.  It’s just where I live.  Where the dogs are.  The majority of my life’s possessions are shoved into two storage containers, which are stored somewhere in the Seattle vicinity.  I haven’t seen them for six months.  It’ll probably be just as long until I see it again, until I decide what I’m supposed to be doing with this life of mine.
                I’m at the tail end of a trip – a mini-reunion with my Alabama family in Montana.  Emotions poured through me during my time with them.  But the realization I leave with, while sitting here at the Bozeman airport waiting for another 87 minutes to pass, is that I’m more lost than I was before I came here five days ago. 
                I’m whittling down my life to find its purpose.  I…

Tell Me, Mr. Rowe

A handful of things strike my soul deeply. When two of them collide, I take it as the Universe giving me a shout out that things are just as they’re supposed to be.  This happened last night; these are the words I’ve woven together in honor of it.
I don’t remember the first time I heard “Drops of Jupiter” by Train.  It was in 1998, before I experienced Australia and before terrorism changed the world. I was a news producer in Birmingham and survived my first paralyzing heartbreak. Things had to change. I traded in a job for three months Down Under, leaving everything but nothing. I went looking for something - sure that it was hidden in the markets of Tasmania or the waters of Great Barrier Reef or the ruins of Port Arthur.  I danced along the light of day, only to be lonely looking for myself. 
Line for line the song speaks to my soul like nothing ever before and ever since.  It’s my song, its words woven in the fiber of my soul.  When that first cord is played, memories swirl, emotio…

I forgot how to BigCity

The flu took more than a week to make its way through my system.  For six days I camped out at the house, watching TV, working, playing games, blowing my nose and coughing up a lung.  Along came Friday (Day 7) and I had a 9:30 a.m. meeting at work. 
Leaving the comfort of the house was exciting, but required caution.  Taking it easy is not a strength.  But this time would be different. 
However, after just five hours out of the house and through a series of mundane events, I realized I forgot how to BigCity. 
First, the news was a constant companion during my lock-down.  I knew Justice Antonin Scalia passed.  But seeing the town flag at half-staff caught me off guard.  “What?  What is that about? … Oh yeah.  That’s what it’s about.”  I fancy myself a flag at half-staff observer.  Why it was so weird to see it that time was because after being locked up for so long reality didn’t feel real.  Or at least the news didn’t feel real.  Nothing felt real.  The days of sequester were a fluid …