What the heck are those things for?


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,


It’s my guy’s birthday. Friends will be here soon and I’m in the process of making coleslaw. My laptop sits open on the kitchen island displaying a five-star recipe with 250 good reviews.

The cutting board lies in wait with its faithful companion, the sharp knife, draped across it. Half a green cabbage and half a purple one laze on their sides, gutted, their outer leaves splayed limply around them. My plan? To meticulously slice them into thin little ribbons. Painstaking and time consuming, but it works.

While standing there getting ready to do some slicing, my computer called me over. “Hey dummy,” it said, “why don’t you look up how to use your food processor to shred the cabbage?” My fingers were already typing away on the keyboard before I could even get the words, “What a novel idea!” out of my mouth.  (Okay, so that’s not exactly how the scenario played out but I’m pretty sure it’s a close depiction of what really went down.)

Even though it might not sound like it, I have used my food processor before.  I’ve chopped nuts and other things. I’ve made pesto and other things. I just can’t remember right now what any of those other things were. But I do know that I used the same blade. Every. Time. It was familiar, easy. I knew how to use it. It generally did the trick, it sufficed.

I drag a chair over from the kitchen table so I can reach that one big cupboard above the fridge.  You know, the one where all the awkward kitchen items hide out, the ones that take up too much counter space or don’t get put to use very often.  After a little banging, clanging, grunting, and shuffling, I pull out the food processor and its bag of accessories. Dumping the contents on the counter, I spy an unopened instructional DVD, a stem-like plastic piece, and a few blades still prominently displaying their caution tape. If you’re thinking that I’ve never looked in the bag before, you’re wrong. I have. And each time I did I would just wonder what the heck those things were for, but instead of trying to learn about them I just kept them tucked away.

According to some article on Google, that little stem thing from the accessories bag? That just slides right into the back of those blades that were in the bag with it. You pick which blade you want, slide the stem into the back of it, put the long stem onto the short one inside the food processor, and then feed your veggie pieces, or whatever you’re shredding, through the feeder.  A M A Z I N G. In less than a minute I had a bowl full of ribbons of cabbage. Why, oh why didn’t I try this before?

It works with carrots too! Normally I would have used a handheld grater, gingerly holding the tip of the carrot in an attempt to avoid shredding a fingertip or knuckle in the process. But this time I just stuffed the carrots into the shoot and watched them instantly get pulverized into beautiful little pieces.

I was giddy with my newfound knowledge while simultaneously kicking myself for not having made an effort to learn about this feature sooner.

This phenomenal discovery got me to thinking about people. Myself included. How many tools do we have tucked away, rarely or barely used, their full potential yet to be realized? For example, I enjoy photography. I’m not bad at it but do I know the verbiage, do I know how to use all the tools available to me on my fancy camera? No. Would I be a better photographer if I did? Would photography be easier for me? Well, duh! Of course!

Gifts, skills, interests. You know these things are there, denied, dormant, tucked out of sight. For me, birding, gardening, and spirituality are just a few things I’m interested in and wanting to learn more about. Have I? No. But I am paying more attention now and expect I’ll gradually bring them out to work on them. I find I do better working on one thing at a time. I’m working on writing right now.

Do you have tools sitting right there front and center, waving at you, calling ME, ME, PICK ME? Each time you go to look for something, do you reach right around those waving frantically at you and grab the same old ones you use time and time again?

Do yourself a favor and spend a little bit of time rummaging through those dark, cluttered, hard to reach spaces inside you. Do some poking around in there, do some rearranging. As with all storage spots, there may be junk left over in there just taking up space. Do some culling. Take inventory. Get curious. Examine your tools, all of them. Take a look at the obvious, pay attention to those things that are calling your name, but make sure to shine a light back in the farthest corners for any pieces that may have gotten lost in the clutter.

If something there intrigues you, bring it out into the light of day. Clean it up if it needs cleaning and give it a whirl. Focus on it. Read an instruction guide. Ask a close friend to help you with it. Save yourself some shredded knuckles, or worse. Open up those packages you’ve tucked away and learn to use everything inside. You may just make your own phenomenal discovery!




Plywood, Tumbleweeds, and Cartoon Animals


, , , , , , , , ,

In response to today’s daily prompt.


I used to love hideouts. Just between you and I, I still do. Always the social one, I’m feeling the need more often than not these days to have my own space, a get-away, to be left alone with my thoughts, a book, pen and paper.

Not counting all the blanket forts draped between the couch and coffee table, dining table and chairs, or both,  my first hideout was a little shack I threw together in a small wooded area behind my childhood home in Portland. I was in the 4th grade, maybe 5th, and would play out there pretty much every day. A tomboy at heart, I loved the dirt and playing outside. I’d climb trees, splash through puddles, and run through the woods with my friends while we pretended Bigfoot was chasing us.

When a construction site of new homes cropped up on the other side of this tiny forest, we started scavenging the site, looking for leftover soda cans and bottles that we could trade in at the itty bitty convenience store down the road. We’d get a five cent refund for each one and then turn around and buy candy with it. Back then there were all kinds of small candies that were only  five cents each.

As construction on the homes progressed, the workers tossed out pieces of plywood and carpet remnants. I would drag off each piece to a spot not far from our backyard fence. There I created walls by propping up the pieces of plywood around the base of a tree. I put one big piece across the top as a roof. It resembled a house of cards and was full of just as many awkward angles and cracks but it was pretty darn cozy. I made a little bench to sit on and draped a piece of carpet over it. Another piece of carpet covered the damp ground like a tiny little rug.

I remember sitting inside my hideout, daydreaming and writing. I’m not sure what I wrote about back then other than a play that I put on at my elementary school. It wasn’t a play that I wrote but one I put together from the book, A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I also used to draw a little.  I was never very good at it, rendering drawings of cartoon-like cats and dogs. cartoon-dogThe next and only other hideout I created was made from tumbleweeds, actually from clearing out some space in a field of tumbleweeds. We had moved to Eastern Oregon and for some reason I found it fun to crawl around through that stuff. There was no cozy setup like my previous hideout and this one wasn’t the least bit weatherproof. I also had company in there with me quite often, the unwelcome company of big yellow and gray spiders. Although they kept to themselves, they were a little unsettling.

Hideouts continue to intrigue me. While house hunting we found a house with a narrow, low-ceilinged little space hidden behind a bookshelf in a spare room. It was a tiny, carpeted space with a small window at the far end. I couldn’t begin to stand up in it but I was enthralled, envisioning myself laying in this little hidden room… and writing. We didn’t end up buying that house but I still think about it often.

I’m writing this now in the house we did end up buying. It doesn’t have a secret hideout but it’s pretty darn sweet just the same. I am upstairs in one of our guest rooms, it’s part guest room, part office – an adult “hideout” where I can sit (mostly) uninterrupted. The door has to be open a crack for the cats and dogs. A shut door is an invitation. As with children who inevitably stick their fingers underneath a closed door when a parent is on the opposite side, a closed door in my house sends a signal to all the animals that they must come immediately and scratch at the door. Again, and again, and again. With 5 house pets, that adds up to a lot of door scratching and disruption.

When it comes to me and my wanting a hideout, not much has changed over the years yet everything is different. The days of daydreaming are gone. I’m more likely to ponder, to mull things over, to process, to muse, to remember, to contemplate. Instead of carpet remnants on the ground I now have cork. There are no cracks, no sagebrush walls, and my house doesn’t exactly sit in the middle of the woods or out in the desert but I do have a window that looks out on a hillside full of pines, along with miles and miles of mountain forests and high desert nearby. Nowadays I take photos of my pets instead of drawing them. And, much to my dismay, when I do try to draw, my animal drawings still look like cartoons.




The Taste of Regret


, ,

What does regret taste like? That was our writing prompt in class this morning. When discussing regrets, I tend to say I don’t have any, that everything – good or bad – has brought me to where I am today, to the life I have today and made me the person that I am today. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t experienced regret or haven’t tasted it. I’ve had some big ole bites of that nasty stuff. From our pen to paper, no editing (which I unintentionally fudged just a bit by crossing out a sentence) stream of consciousness writing this morning, this is how regret tasted to me:

Regret. It tastes of salty crocodile tears that flash flood down my cheeks and against my lips, like the monsoons, unpredictable and violent. Sometimes a flash of lightning preempts the storm, at other times it rolls in silently, catching me unprepared. Sometimes a light shower, at other times a raging flood.

Regret tastes of a broken heart, despair and desperation. Barely able to breathe, barely wanting to breathe.

Regret tastes like a hangover in the works, strong alcoholic beverages burning a trail down my throat, creating more salty, stormy tears. If I drink enough, maybe it will reach my broken heart and numb the aching or fuse it back together. Maybe it will burn all the way down to my lungs and I won’t have to worry about breathing any more.

A Negative Thought Times a Negative Thought Does Not a Positive Attitude Make


, , , , ,

Last week I met up with a coterie of captivating ladies for a full moon celebration. One of them brought her mother along. As we all sat in a group discussing various topics, the mother mentioned a little mind game she’d learned. Instead of saying or thinking I don’t like this or I don’t like that, she would say or think something positive.

I am generally a positive person, or so I thought, but since that conversation I have been catching myself more often than I like with those little negative thoughts. Typically it would be for the silliest of things, like the way the tongue on my shoe rolls under when I put it on, a type of food that I detest, or a smelly odor – nothing catastrophic yet negative thoughts just the same.

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to this and now when I catch myself with those negative sentiments, I immediately discard them and think something positive instead, e.g., I love the way these shoes feel! It’s great that we don’t all like the same food, then it would be harder to get and expensive too. Good thing I left my windows open, I would never have known that skunk was out there! 

Try it for yourself. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mister In-Between.

Show the F— Up!


, , , , ,

Where to start. I guess at the beginning. But seriously, where is the beginning? I think this may be a new beginning, so perhaps I’ll start here.

I haven’t written much lately, maybe you’ve noticed. Maybe you haven’t. No matter. The times, they are a changin’. Why now? What’s different? Something happened. I feel I’ve been given a reboot. I’m starting over in a few different areas. Maybe one restart generated the next.

So why now? What has changed?


The fire within is burning brighter. What started as an ember is being fanned into a flame and will hopefully ignite into a full blown, raging sea of fire.

But what has changed?

At age 49, I am finally realizing that it’s not enough to want to do something, to want something. To make it happen, you have to take action. I’m not dense, I’ve known this and even acted on this in the past. Just not recently. I heard a podcast a few weeks ago about planning. I’ve never been a planner, much to the dismay of my sweetheart who is a total planner. I’ve pretty much always flown by the seat of my pants and for the most part that has worked for me. But this planning thing, I think they could be on to something with this.

I’ve been so wishy-washy the past couple of years since I left my job in Las Vegas and moved to Bend. Relishing the complete freedom I suddenly had, I found it hard to commit to almost anything. Not that I didn’t or haven’t been doing anything, I’ve been busy for sure. But I opted to do things based on how I felt at that moment versus planning and showing up regardless. I’ve had a loose schedule, basically no schedule, for the past couple of years with a few small random commitments here and there.

Muse Camp helped or is helping. There was a lot of talk about setting intentions. There was a lot of talk about showing up. Set your intention and show up. Then take even just 1 small step toward your intention and appreciate yourself for that. Just showing up is a step in itself toward a goal. Who knew?!

Show up. This resonated with me, maybe because it was said over and over again. But it sunk in. You want to progress? You want to make some changes? Show the fuck up in your life.

So, that’s my plan. And I’m taking steps toward what I want by doing so.

I want to write more SO I joined a writing Meetup. I not only joined it but I showed up! That was the first step. Guess where I started writing this from? You’ve got it! And to continue with the showing up theme, I’ve decided to start posting on my blog again although I’m not sure what I’m going to be writing about. Of course, I never am sure of that initially but the words won’t show up if I don’t show up.

I want to create and perhaps even make some moolah SO I started to draw up some ideas I have. I followed instructions from the podcast I mentioned on planning and made a list of challenges I might face, then I turned those challenges into a to-do list. Those were more steps toward this goal. I took another step by looking at class schedules and I found a class that could get me closer to my goal. Look at all these steps I was able to take so easily!

I want to lose weight and/or tone up this 49-year-old body SO I started taking the dogs on longer walks and instead of driving to go do things around town I’ve been walking more. I made a point of actually showing up to my yoga class, I even walked to it, and I found a 2nd yoga class I’d like to take.  I also started running again.

I want to get back into running more and running longer distances, which means running consistently, SO I signed up for next years TransRockies run, a 6-day run through the mountains in Colorado. I showed up for a series of adventure runs at my favorite running store. I even signed on as a running coach for an upcoming training program.

I want to feel better during and after running SO I decided to be proactive health-wise, a novel idea, right?  I have been doing what my awesome physical therapist told me to do since March but I didn’t feel any better so I decided to try a different type of doctor. (So far so good. Wish me luck!) I also started using the foam roller for recovery after working out and, as I said earlier, I showed up to my yoga class and decided to do even more yoga.

SHOW THE FUCK UP. That’s what I’m doing. It’s a powerful thing and it is now rolling over into all aspects of my life. I am already seeing the results and am excited to see what else I can make happen.

Show up.

Be curious.

Try new things.

I looked for dance lessons, that’s on my list of things I want to do. I didn’t yet find anything but it’s there on my radar. I also want to check out the climbing gym and I found a couple of friends who would like to join me. Also on my list, piano lessons. Gotta find me an instructor. I want to get into meditating. I enjoy it and I need it. I’m looking forward to a book club and also a writing class I signed up for, they will be starting soon. Always so much to do!

I get caught up in staying active, fearing that if I’m not busy doing a bunch of things then people will think I’m lazy. But I’ve come to realize this past year that I really need down time. I need the quiet time to allow thoughts, ideas, and creativity in. Not only to allow them in but I need that time to muse with them, to be quiet and sit with them for a spell.

That being said, saying yes to anything and everything that comes at you isn’t the same as showing up for the things that you are curious about or that mean something to you. So when you show the fuck up, which I hope you eventually do, make sure you are showing up for all the right reasons – most importantly, for yourself.






The Dragonflies of Muse


, , , , ,

Muse Camp: A three-day women’s retreat devoted to inspiring positive change in our personal lives, in our communities, and in our world. http://theworldmuse.org/muse-camp-by-world-muse/


A large dragonfly thumped against the window, buzzing loudly in its desire to break through to the world on the other side. I tried to guide it toward the open door but it was stubborn, insistent on returning to the window where it would merely continue to buzz and bump the glass again and again.

I gave up on trying to guide the dragonfly and instead scooped it lovingly into my cupped hand where it grasped on tightly to my finger and let me lead it out the door to a life beyond.

I somehow knew that finding this dragonfly upon my arrival to Muse Camp was significant and throughout the weekend dragonflies attended our many activities. They would buzz loudly and aggressively, demanding to be noticed when we were silently meditating. While discussing our intentions, they’d dance overhead and flit amongst us as if spreading intentions of their own.


Intention Tree

Intrigued by their presence I decided to read up a little on them and the symbolism behind their appearance. Did you know that dragonflies start to grow in water and then move into the air and fly? When they show up in your life you may be called to transform and evolve. The dragonfly inspires you to bring about the changes needed in your life in order to go on to reach your full potential. It’s an indication that it’s time for change. Just like the dragonfly changes colors as it matures, you may be called to live and experience yourself differently. No wonder they are all over Muse Camp!

We all showed up to camp hoping for something. I’m pretty sure not one of us was there with a wish to walk away exactly the same as when we arrived. Loaded with life experiences, some still trying to understand their journeys, the past and the future, each of us showed up with lessons to share – whether we realized that or not.


I came to Muse Camp seeking inspiration, hoping for a nudge to get me to move onward. I’d been mentally standing in the same place for too long, desiring a new path but waiting to see it first rather than seeking it out.

I can see myself as the dragonfly in the window, guided toward an opening but always pulling back, returning repeatedly to bump against invisible restrictions in an attempt to find my way into the magnificent world I view ahead of me.

Muse Camp provided not just a nudge for me but an all out shove. A place of openness, acceptance, and encouragement. Stories were shared, souls were bared. The extraordinary women there, sensing my need, perhaps recognizing it in themselves, lovingly scooped me up in their welcoming arms. I grasped their fingers in mine and with laughter and tears they led me out from behind the restrictions I’d imposed and freed me into the world beyond.

It’s been 8 days since Muse Camp ended. In that time I’ve started writing again, hence this post. I found, joined, and attended a writing Meetup. I searched for and found some classes to take that will help me work toward an idea I’ve had for a few years now.  I even sat down and worked out the challenges involved and the steps to overcome them. Also, I’ve been wanting to get back to running consistently but I am one who doesn’t want to be pinned down to a schedule. I decided it was time to SHOW UP (read more about “showing up” in a future post) and I am now signed up to be a running coach. Training starts in 2 days. Thank you Muse Camp. And dragonflies. 

Information about dragonfly symbolism was found here: http://www.spiritanimal.info/dragonfly-spirit-animal/

Abracadabra! Where did the Time Go?


, , , , , , ,

While growing up I would often hear people mention how time flies. Generally stated by those much older, it’s a concept not fully grasped until you become the person it happens to be flying by. I must be one of those much older people now, I’m beginning to see it happening to me.

Time is flying. It’s like I’m standing in the shower but it is time that’s washing over me instead of water.  It runs into my eyes, I can see but it’s blurry. It trickles into my ears, randomly muting out sounds. Each drop is a minute rushing away, never to be experienced again. I reach out, trying to hold on, but it has already slipped between my fingers and is long gone –  followed by another and another and another, so fast that they all move together in a steady flow.


I’m pretty sure I had the same amount of minutes not that long ago. I was a wife, mother, employee and student all at the same time. So busy you’d think those minutes would have quickly evaporated while I was in the midst of them. But back then those 1440 minutes a day seemed to last and last. Little did I know that they were silently, gradually winding up and would eventually send me catapulting through my life.

My kids are grown now and no longer at home. I’m not a wife by law although I live and love as one. I no longer work a 40-hour a week job. I dabble with community college and miscellaneous classes on occasion. Although it would seem that I am less busy these days, my hours are occupied and moments spin wildly away.

I know about being present, being here, enjoying the now – and I do.  But nowadays the nows seem fleeting. A magician’s trick. Abracadabra. NOW you see me, NOW you don’t. I’ve tried to slow down, to languish, to enjoy, to coax the moments to linger with me. Yet when I look at the clock, it’s always later than I expected. When I think I have several hours before I need to be somewhere, I blink and suddenly it’s time to go. I live in the moment but the moments are flying away. I want to grab a net, nab them, and bring them back.

Last year I went backpacking for several days. Each day in the wilderness felt long, drawn out and fabulously slow. We’d walk for hours and hours, then set up camp, filter water, make dinner, etc., all before dark. Once the darkness set in, we’d retreat to the tent to read and write. Awakened by the sun, I’d crawl from the tent seeking her warmth. And, of course, coffee. Breakfast and packing up followed at a leisurely pace. And then we’d do it all again. Aside from the hard work and heavy packs, the days were slow and luxurious. Time didn’t quite stand still but it felt as if it slowed its pace. I wanted to bring these longer days home with me, I had just enough room in my pack. Try as I might I wasn’t able to entice them along or persuade them to reveal their secrets.

Back home, time once again sped up to a ridiculous pace. It is hard to keep up with. How do you reign it in? I want to throw it off its game and make it SLOW down. Would it help if I tossed out or disabled my clocks? What if I spent my life outside walking all day every day? If I didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything, would those endless days feel welcome to come join me here?

Honestly, I don’t have time to wait around and find out. There’s always something happening, something to do, pets to care for, friendships to nourish, family to call and visit and love on. I want to do all of this now, vigorously and passionately, before those moments too wash over me and slip away beyond my grasp, long gone.


Every Mile is a Gift


, , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 3.55.20 PM

I have a love/hate relationship with running. More so when it comes to racing. I get excited when I sign up for events but start to dread them as they approach. For my most recent race, which was this morning, the same held true. I didn’t feel that great yesterday, nor this morning. My stomach had decided to rebel, which in turn caused my brain to shout even louder than normal, “LET’S STAY HOME TODAY!” It was ever so tempting to bail out, to crawl back into bed and to tell myself I’ll make it to the next one. But as I was drinking my coffee and perusing Facebook, I was reminded of how grateful I should be to be able to run.

Last year at this time I was newly off crutches and finally out of an orthopedic boot that I’d had to wear first for 8 weeks and then again for 6 more weeks due to a stress fracture in my foot that just didn’t want to heal. It eventually did get better but my concern over re-injuring it led me to be super cautious. I was slow to get back into running and haven’t put in a lot of miles since then. I only recently started working on getting my mileage back up — hence today’s EVENT.

Back to this morning. I ran across the picture above on Facebook and it stopped me mid-scroll. Run grateful. Every mile is a gift. Indeed. And grateful I am. This little reminder was all I needed to get out the door to the race start. I ran the whole way being grateful, silently sending a million thanks out into the universe.

What gets you out the door?  

Do you ever give thanks as you run?  I find it especially helpful when I am having a tough time.

Here’s the link to the article by Amy Pike that accompanied the above picture: https://ilovetorun.org/run-grateful-b-1802.html


What I Would Really Like to Do is Chain You to My Body


, , ,

Black and white photo of lake with mountains in the background and sun shining bright. Poem by Hafiz - The Sun Never Says

Wow, just wow – there is some fantastic poetry by Hafiz!

Never having heard of him before, this book basically fell into my lap last week when I ended up taking a 4-hour bus ride. A cute, very young, outdoorsy-looking guy boarded the bus and sat down behind me. He pulled out a pillow and blanket, ready to nap for the long ride, but we ended up chatting a bit first. Before he settled in to sleep, he handed me this book and said it was easy reading for the bus ride. I had my own book I had wanted to read along with a handful of magazines, writing material, and my iPad, but I was appreciative of his thoughtfulness so I took the book to look it over.

Now this is the kind of book that would have enticed me to pick it up had I seen it sitting ANYWHERE and I spent the better part of the bus ride enjoying not only the poems but the feel of the book in general. Where had this book been? The pages were soft and well worn, many of them dog-eared, some stained by food, others filled with underlined sentences. Graffiti-like drawings in both pencil and pen were scattered throughout its entirety. And penned onto one of the front pages of the book was a note addressed to the young traveler from someone who wanted him chained to their body, saying they would sing for days. I felt like I had happened upon an incredibly personal note and was reading something I shouldn’t. How unusual a thing for someone to write, I thought, but how cool, intense, and very sweet. As I continued to make my way through the book, I found the original someone that wrote those very words.

“All these words are just a front. What I would really like to do is chain you to my body, then sing for days and days and days.” – Hafiz

IMG_4579I thoroughly enjoyed the time I got to spend with Hafiz on that day and ended up writing down a few of his poems to take with me. At some point I’m going to have to find a copy of this book for myself so I can linger even longer over each page and add my own drawings, underlines, and dog ears. Maybe I’ll inscribe a note in the front, borrowing one of my favorite pieces from Hafiz himself. Then perhaps I’ll loan it to a stranger so they too can linger – and wonder.

Durango to Moab Hut-to-Hut Mountain Bike Trip: Day 7


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Day 7 stats as listed on the hut-to-hut site:

35.6 miles, 2142′ ascent, 7473′ descent, max. elevation 10,552′

Today was a long one, a tough one for me. We added in an extra 4 miles or so by having to go down to pick up our bikes where we’d dumped them in the trees because of the muddy slog. Before we could even take them back up to the hut to begin today’s actual ride, we had to clean them. This entailed chipping and scraping off dried mud to even get the wheels to roll. And the dried mud was everywhere. Once the wheels could spin, we pushed them the 2 miles back up to the hut and finished cleaning them off there. Following breakfast and hut cleaning we hit the trail, eager to get in to Moab.










Somehow, instead of going straight down into Moab, we ended up riding up above and doing several more miles. I think there was some miscommunication about our route and, like the cattle we soon ran into, we followed along without thinking.















This ‘other’ route took us to the Kokopelli trail and added several extra miles to an already long day.  We rode on with what little energy we had left and watched another thunderstorm rapidly building nearby.














IMG_3378 2


Chillin’ in the beer cooler of a  convenience store upon our arrival in Moab… and pretty damn happy about it.



I don’t have much to say about this day and didn’t even write anything down that night after we got in. We were busy eating, drinking, and enjoying the storm from a safe location. I will say that it was a LONG day and it got pretty toasty warm. I tried to enjoy the scenery as we cruised down through the beautiful slick rock areas outside of Moab but I was spent.