Things & Other Things

Life continues to ramble on as I wait for the onslaught of doctor’s appointments scheduled in early September. I find myself crying at odd times- the day after I have my first session with a new therapist specializing in grief and infertility or in the office of my acupuncturist that I hadn’t visited since the week I found I out I was pregnant. And not so odd times- when a favorite song plays and my voice catches as I sing along, hugging old friends that I miss terribly, watching moms with their babies, thinking about how far along I’d be if. . .

We took a quick trip to California for a cousin’s wedding where I got to see, hug, and laugh with extended family, visit the ocean, drive across the Bay Bridge eight times, and see some of my oldest & dearest friends (albeit too briefly). It was a nice distraction.

My August is busy, busy, busy. First the California trip then this weekend, Portland to celebrate Jenny Two Times’ 40th birthday, then back to Seattle to ready our house for Mr. Darcy’s 40th birthday gathering on the 24th, then to the Washington coast for some, hopefully, quiet and disconnection from all the busy. I’ve decided I will rest in September though I’m sure the Universe hears that and laughs, readying a plan to thwart my best intentions.

So many of you have asked about the karaoke terrorists and I have been meaning to update you but part of me worried I would jinx it. We had sent a second letter to their landlord with some strong wording that basically hinted at forthcoming legal action if we didn’t hear from her and she finally called. She seemed reasonable and took our complaints seriously. She told us she intended to speak to them directly and that if they didn’t knock it off, she would not renew their lease in November. We also learned she has six people on the lease over there. SIX! Uh lady, that’s your first problem. All of them are under 30 too. And, when she spoke to them after our first letter they told her we were complaining because we hate Vietnamese people. No, but we do hate your raucous parties, blaring music, and complete disregard for your neighbors.

After our phone chat, we noticed a decline in gatherings and noise. There has been zero karaoke that we can hear and when they do have people over, it’s a lot smaller and less rowdy. Sometimes on Fridays and Saturdays it appears that no one is even home! Guess they found somewhere else to party which is fine by us. After months of enduring their nonsense, the peace and quiet is welcomed. Hallelujah!

Sunshine Celebrating

I spent the weekend in California, soaking up the sun and the company of old friends. There’s nothing like spending time with people who have known you for years, who you fall easily into conversation with as if no time has passed, who you can fight and make up with like siblings, who you can be completely yourself around. What better way to kick off my birthday week celebration than that?

It was great to see RaeRae and RunRun who graciously hosted me in their lovely Oakland apartment, to finally get to dine at my friend’s very popular and deliciously successful restaurant, State Bird Provisions, to meet up with Supple in Napa, and to enjoy a sunny brunch with James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Bird.

I could have tacked on a bunch of meet ups with other friends but I made the hard choice to keep this trip simple instead of shoving people into slots of time, running from cafe to bar to restaurant in an attempt to make everyone feel included. I always end up exhausted and I hate rushed visits with people I care about. I will be back in August for a family wedding and reunion so hopefully I can fit in get togethers with folks I didn’t get to see this time around.

Two days until I turn 40. . . I think I’m feeling okay about it.

Weekend Wonderful

I have just returned from a laughter-filled weekend spent with dearest girlfriends in a magical place. So yes, my weekend was great. How was yours?

We arrived at Doe Bay Resort & Retreat on Orcas Island in the dark of Friday night so it wasn’t until Saturday morning’s sunrise when I fully realized what a place of beauty we had arrived at. This was the view from our cabin.

db sunrise1

Yes, this will do.

After an unusual yoga class (the teacher’s style was unlike any we had ever experienced and we’ve all taken our share of yoga over the years), I made us breakfast and then we embarked on an exploration hike of the grounds.

Doe Bay from the other side watersedge looking goofy

The whole reason we even decided to come to Doe Bay was because Jeni Angel invited me. She stayed in the retreat house with 19 of her closest friends and we stayed across the way at a smaller cabin. We were glad to get to see her and spend whatever time with her we could.

lovelies

This is what a Jeni Angel Love Sandwich looks like.

Besides it being a great chance to reconnect with these lovelies and with nature, The Local Strangers were going to be playing an intimate show- bonus! So after our wanderings and a very early, prolonged happy hour (that started at 3pm), and an impromptu dance party (thanks Macklemore music), we spent our evening enjoying live music in the very yoga studio where we started the day.

We managed to wake up and catch Sunday’s sunrise despite the partying that went on the day before.

sunrise more

We had planned on eating at the cafe which everyone raves but about 5 minutes into sitting down in the booth, the power went out. No breakfast for us! Instead we scrambled to pack up and make the 11:30 ferry. Next time, I’m definitely trying the cafe. And yes, for certain, there will be a next time. Maybe for my 40th birthday celebration? We’ll see. . .

Snow Lesson

Snowshoeing has long been on my list of things to try. If I ever actually got off my bum and finished my Life List I would have put it on there. In fact if I ever finish it, I might just add it so I can cross it off because Saturday my sister, a couple of girlfriends and I drove about an hour East and went snowshoeing.

Not pictured: high winds!

It was a blast. Of course, I had absolutely no snow gear. I borrowed snow pants from one friend, socks from another and boots and gloves from yet another. I never learned how to ski so I’ve not invested in any of the gear. I’m not what you would call “outdoorsy.”

Bring it, snow.

I should back up to the beginning. When my friend Carly invited us I immediately said yes. I left the planning to her and Carah who were more seasoned snowshoe-ers. I’m trying to be less of the planner all the time. I am not a spontaneous person who is comfortable going with the flow so this is challenging for me but necessary for personal growth. Plus, I feel like a lot of my relationships continue to exist because I take the initiative to make the plans or send the invite. I’ve been trying to let people reach out to me or even see who bothers to. Because of this I’ve been re-evaluating a lot of my friendships because I’m seeing which relationships I was carrying.

I digress. Sort of.

Shoeing on snow

It’s important to note that I wasn’t “in charge” because as I walked up to Carly’s at 8:45am on Saturday at the same time as my sis, I saw that she carried snowshoes in hand. I did not have snowshoes. Out of all the things I thought to borrow, I had assumed that we were going to a place where snowshoes could be rented. I never asked about this specifically because as I said, I assumed, and thus made an ass out of myself.  Because yes, I was supposed to have snowshoes.

Snow picnic where we ate chips and string cheese while freezing our hands off.

Needless to say, I panicked and as my sister was ringing Carly’s buzzer to let us in I was already bowing out, feeling totally embarrassed that I hadn’t understood I was supposed to get the snowshoes BEFORE we left. I felt like a total idiot, very ashamed of my error. My sister insisted that I was coming and that we’d figure it out. Carly was equally encouraging. When we got to Carah’s car she went so far as to call a friend and drive us over to borrow hers. A friend who was in the middle of making pancakes with her young son and husband while they were still lounging in their pajamas.

Happy and snow-drenched: Carly, me, my sis, Carah.

I was and am humbled by their flexibility and support. They never let me wallow in my feelings of inadequacy and I appreciate it so much. I’m so glad I went with them. It was just a really fun day full of good conversation, laughter and beauty. I’m so lucky to have great girlfriends and to live in such a gorgeous place. Every day I am learning to loosen up, take risks, forgive myself, and be open to what comes.

The fact that these two landscapes can exist less than an hour away from each other is kind of wild to me.

I can’t wait to go snowshoeing again.

A Little Get Away

Mr. Darcy and I left town for a night to meet up with one of his best friends and his girlfriend in Port Townsend. They were coming from Philly by way of Portland by way of Victoria, BC to Port Townsend. We had a much easier trip.

Leaving Seattle

We took the ferry to Bainbridge Island then drove about an hour and a half to Port Townsend. We stopped off in Chimacum to grab a drink at a gas station mini-mart which is where a woman asked us to help her find Arizona tea in apple flavor. It had to be apple because her son specifically requested it. Her son that was at home drinking tequila. She kept reminding us of that. Apparently apple is the only flavor that goes with tequila. She was not that old though time had not been kind to her. Probably having a son at home drinking tequila at 1:30pm on a Saturday didn’t help. Stay klassy, Chimacum.

Port Townsend is a quaint little town. No, really- it is small. We checked into a motel (definitely not a hotel) by the harbor then went into town for a bite. We were at that odd hour right before dinner where restaurants weren’t really open so after wandering around and getting hungrier and hungrier, I finally was like WE ARE EATING HERE when we came upon a restaurant that was actually open. I was about to rip off Mr. Darcy’s face and eat it. The food was totally overpriced but good. The potato & corn chowder was delicious. And I think that would be true still even if I wasn’t famished.

The views were pretty spectacular.

Once our friends arrived we already had a lay of the land and had scoped out places we could go. We spent the evening catching up and having some drinks in a cozy little bar and I crashed out at 11pm. I did go off my diet a bit and had some wine. I was regretting that around 3am when I woke up with a beast of a dehydration headache. It’s hard to travel and be on such a strict eating regime. Sigh.

Obligatory trip self-portrait.

The next day we were up early, so early that we had to wander the empty streets to kill time until the breakfast placed open at 10:30. Even most of the shops were closed still! We took some local’s advice and checked out Fort Worden.

We walked along the beach and admired the view.

We headed back towards Bainbridge and somehow managed to get on an earlier ferry. I was all set for a 50 minute wait when the line kept moving and there we were, on the ferry. We parked and a second later the boat was moving. Woo hoo! No long wait.

Oh Seattle, I love you so.

We decided to throw an impromptu dinner party for our visiting friends so I whipped up some beef chili and sour cream cheddar biscuits.

This recipe is delicious. Thanks Smitten Kitchen!

We all hung out until after 10 which means I am one tired girl today.

It was worth it though.

Doubles, Love

I played tennis on Sunday and then afterwards, I brunched.

The brunching part is a lot easier to believe than the tennis part. I know.

These three lovelies can vouch for me.

One of the fun things about tennis is all the ball jokes you can make. BooyahGirl and I had this text exchange the night before our tennis date:

Me: Do we need to get balls? (Typing that made me giggle.)

Her: Reading it made me giggle. I have 4 balls. (and I am giggling again)

Me: T & I are coming together (dirty!)

Her: I cannot stop laughing.

Then on the court you can say things like, “I am tucking my balls” when putting extra tennis balls in the waistband of your pants so you can have them handy when it’s your turn to serve.

It helps if the people you are playing with don’t take the game too seriously if you don’t really know what you are doing. And, bonus, you get to grunt when you hit the ball. Hitting the ball is extremely satisfying.

Tennis, anyone?

There Was No Laboring

About 12 years ago, Supple and I came to Seattle on our first-ever visit wherein we fell in love with this city. We stayed with a friend of mine on Whidbey Island (Hi Jordahl!) and among other things we witnessed a lightning storm, went kayaking for the first time, explored downtown and one night ended up at a show of a Portland band we’d never heard of. It was an amazing show and we were instant fans. Fast-forward 12 years (because it certainly feels like time is on fast forward) and now we both are residents of the Emerald City and here we are at the show of this band, the one and only Pink Martini, that we saw so many years ago together. A lot has changed in those years but I’m grateful that my friendship with Supple has endured. She is a sister to me and I love her.

Bonus, Supple got us VIP tickets to the show thanks to her wine-related job. Free appetizers, desserts and wine plus roped off seating. VIP is the way to go. Thanks for taking me along for the star treatment, Supp!

Mr. Darcy and I went kayaking. It was his first time and he did a great job even when I was yelling at him, “WE NEED TO GO LEFT!” and he would yell back, “I AM TRYING!” He was in back which means he was in charge of the rudder (aka steering). I told him next time we could go in single kayaks instead of a double but he said no. He wants me in back so he can get a little payback. I don’t blame him.

We managed to arrive early enough to beat the rush. When we got back from our hour plus on the water the line to kayak was loooooong. We celebrated our victory (We didn’t get run over a boat! We managed to work as a team!) over cold beers in the hot sun with a side of tacos. If you’re a local, kayaking at Agua Verde is a lot of fun plus there are tacos after. Keep that in mind.

Gasworks Park is a pretty famous Seattle park. If you’ve seen the movie Singles then this view might be familiar to you. It’s popular to kite fliers (I wish we had my kite with us!) and picnickers. The view is amazing.

This photo is too dark to do it justice but the water was sparkling and the buildings across the way shimmered in the bright sunlight. We stopped there on our way home from kayaking to take in the vista. As we were sitting there, Mr. Darcy and I heard a little girl who was about 3 years old tell her Mom as she was rolling up the kite string, “I’ve got it!” over and over. Mr. Darcy laughed to himself and when I asked what was funny he said something like, “I hope we have a little girl and she’s just like you so I can watch you two go at it.” That little headstrong girl winding the kite string was a bit like me, I will admit it. But I don’t know if having a mini me will do anyone any good, especially Mr. Darcy.

Careful what you wish for, Mr. Darcy.

(And no, internet, we are not pregnant.)

Pictorial

On Saturday my sister and I finally got to practice yoga together- outside in the glorious sunshine and for a good cause. All proceeds benefited City of Hope, an independent biomedical research, treatment and education institution that is working to conquer cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening illnesses.

My sister is very bendy and lithe. She can backbend and handstand and I’m in awe of her yogi-prowess. I, on the other hand, amble through well enough but often have to modify poses due to my bum knees and ample chest. There were these volunteer helpers wandering around during the 90 minute class offering adjustments to poses for attendees. I was down in child’s pose when a lady with a very decorative hat (covered in pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness) leaned down and asked, “Can I help you go deeper into the stretch?” to which I answered something like, “I have a lot of stuff (gesturing to my belly and breasts) here so unless you can make it go away, I don’t think so.” Because seriously, I can only go so deep into certain poses because my body is not a typical yogi’s body and there is STUFF that blocks my twists and bends. Sigh.

Dokey the bendy babe

Nothing but blue skies do I see

The day was so beautiful that Mr. Darcy and I decided to amble over to a park near our place to watch some Shakespeare. Sadly, we could not hear many of the actors (hello! projection!) and so I ended up people watching and he read his book.

Shakespearean picnic-style self-portraiture

We want a dog so much! This one stole my heart, especially when s/he barked while the audience clapped for the performers.

We wandered around our neighborhood grabbing dinner and checking out the bookstore.

Mr. Darcy browsing books

It was, all in all, a really lovely day.

And the next day I got to cross off Neko Case from my list of Performers I Must See Live. She is, hand’s down, one of my all time favorite musicians. Get her and Glen Hansard together in a show and I would probably lose my ever-loving mind. She sang all of my favorites (except all her songs are my favorite). I loved every second of it.

Two of my favorites on one marquee (Adele & Neko, to clarify, in case you thought I was a fan of The Wiggles)

Here’s one of my favorites of hers, “I Wish I Was the Moon”, a song about her father. Before she sang it on stage, she joked that the song will be used in some vampire show/movie during a sex scene. True story.

Crossing the Water

Mr. Darcy is going to take his first ferry ride tomorrow when we embark on our trip to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. (Remind me to tell you the story of when I first said the word “ferry” to Mr. Darcy and the conversation that followed it. In fact, he and I should just do a vlog and share it with you first-hand.)

We decided last year, in the middle of the night after being woken up by the sounds of drunk revelers from Gay Pride and the endless throbbing techno versions of songs from the likes of Madonna, Cher and Xtina, that there was no way we would stick around for that torture again. We live in the heart of the “gay neighborhood” and on a day-to-day basis I enjoy it but the weekend Pride hits it’s too loud, too crowded, too TOO. And so I will celebrate Pride from across the waters at a quiet little hotel in a big bed with no cats to bother me (bonus!).

I’m excited to stay at the Earthbox Motel and take them up on the use of free beach cruisers. Mr. Darcy has agreed to ride bikes with me! Maybe we’ll pedal out to a winery for a little tasting or just coast along checking out the town and the water. It’s a change of scenery either way and I am desperate for it. I’m sure to return with tales of our travels and photos to make you jealous.

Name It

**UPDATE** We have decided on a name- The Ulterior Motive Mob. If you’re local and want to join, we have a few spaces left. We’ll be beautifying the South Park Skate Park. Email me!

Last night at a Tweet Up for non-profit types, my friend Frank & I got roped into volunteered to co-captain a team for the annual Seattle Works Day on May 21st. (Ok, I volunteered him but that’s what you get for being my friend.) Seattle Works is a great local non-profit organization that connects volunteers with volunteer gigs. Seattle Works Day is when throngs of people spread out across Seattle to tackle volunteer projects from gardening to feeding the homeless and then after we all gather at the Seattle Center to grub on delicious food, toast with tasty beers, and enjoy a whirlwind of activity that is the after-party. It’s a really good time (Mr. Darcy and I were on a team last year). It costs $30 to sign up but that gets you into a cool volunteer project, a commemorative t-shirt, plus food and drink and fun post-doing good.

We’re kind of coming into this team captain gig a bit late in the game so we have to do 2 things quick.

1) Name our team!

2) Recruit friends to join our bad ass do good-ing team of misfits

I know many of you aren’t local BUT! if you are and want to join our team, let me know and I will email you the information. For the rest of you, can you help us out by suggesting fun, tongue-in-cheek team names? We need to have it picked out by tonight (eek!) and I know you are all a bunch of creative masterminds. That’s why I thought I’d ask. Also, you look really good today. Did you do something different with your hair?

<wink>

Suggest away!