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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ways to completely destroy self esteem

When you need to check your ego to any of the following things (individually or collectively):

-Eat s’mores and ice cream for a weekend. This also simultaneously destroys your stomach.
-Jump rope in front of a mirror. Regular, high knees, side to side, your choice.
-Squeeze into a pair of riding shorts.
-Swim next to a tri-athlete
-Try to be clever and funny but come off sounding neither.

Did I say jump rope in front of a mirror? Gross.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I generally want to stay away from blogging about the workplace but today was one of those days that didn’t go quite right but it was totally awesome at the same time. There has been a lot going on because when busy season ends, our real busy season picks up. I’ve been more tired, working at a higher awareness, intensity and engagement that is energizing and draining at the same time (particularly more some days than others).

Bossman was in the middle of closing a deal which was suppose to close yesterday but lawyers were involved and making the process as painful as possible so it was delayed a day. The client is a great client but at the same time going 100 mph and a bit scattered when it comes to this financial business. The deal finally closed today. A-men.

In the midst of this transaction Bossman and I needed to eat so we left with no specific destination, like we usually do. He’s really good at taking me places that are quintessentially Seattle and places that I’ve never been either. Today we did Matt’s in The Market. The restaurant and meal deserve a post in itself (perfect atmosphere, delicious ginger-carrot-cream soup with roasted peppers sandwich, excellent service, etc.)

But the heart of this day came on the walk to lunch. Bossman says to me, “What’s happened to you? You’re like a whole new person, you’ve been doing amazing, really engaged…(blahblahblah). I responded with some answer about opportunities presenting themselves that have allowed be to grow and take responsibility for things, to try things, screw them up, try them again, etc. Something along those lines. But then I paused, thought, looked him in the eye and matter of factly said, “I’m fearless.”

A few months ago my best friend challenged me to be brave. At the time I wasn’t quite ready but since then I’ve made the conscious effort to be braver, stronger. But the reality is that I watched other people act fearless. My best friend quit her job in NYC and left the city to start an organic farm in Central Massachusettes. My sister left the comforts of home to live with her husband in Japan who is now deployed and she lives there alone. My mom conquered her fear of water, taught herself to swim at the age of 55 and gets up at 4:00 am every day to go swimming and has been for 2 years no matter how tired or how much she is hurting. I watched this group of 8 women chose life for their children and against all odds are going to make the best they absolutely can of everything inspite of everything. So while I watched these people over the last couple months I didn’t consciously think about what they were doing as acts of fearlessness/courage/bravery but I found that when I did surround myself with these people, my story relative to theirs needed more acts of bravery, more acts of kindness, more acts of courage, more acts of something else besides what I was doing.

Granted, a lot has happened in the past couple months that I believe were quintessential to who I will be for the rest of my life. Personally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. A lot of it I can’t even articulate it but when I got back from The Farm I knew life would be different. I was on the path with an energy that was crescendoing to something bigger. Not sure what that is yet, but here I am….fearless.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Laughed Until I Cried

This totally made my day.

Be sure to check out the side bar with more categories, particularly "Literal LOL". That's when the tears really started.

Thanks Cait.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Beginning of a Very Beautiful Relationship

I meant to post this last Friday but never got around to it. I’m only posting it because I think it is the beginning of a very beautiful relationship.

In honor of “Bike to Work Day” I post this about last weekend.

My first ride on my new bike was a total of 28 beautiful miles from Gasworks Park to Alki Bakery. The day could not have been more perfect. However, I could have. I could have been far more perfect on this whole “riding” business but alas, it was my first ride and I was trying to 1.) enjoy the experience and 2.) keep up with everyone. Of which, I feel like I did a pretty decent at both.

I bought as much gear as I thought necessary for the first time out.
Bike, check.
Helmet, check.

Then I bought the things that seemed more necessary than the other things:
Riding shorts (worth the weight in gold)
Riding Jersey
Water bottle

Standing next to my bike I look like a professional. Riding the bike, definitely amateur. I had a hard time with the gears (pedaling fast and going no where, pedaling really hard and going no where). I was very cautious on the downhills and probably broke every written and unwritten rule of the road. But I survived, which is a miracle all in itself. Not only did I survive but I really enjoyed it. The fresh air, the wind, the sun, the views, the false sense of athleticism, the people watching…all of it.

Last night I hit the Sammamish River Trail at sunset. The trail winds along the river, through some farmland and eventually ends up at Marymoore Park. It was refreshingly sunny, cool and serene. No better way to end an evening.

I think I’m hooked.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Feeling Like Dwight

This is the most strange day. Not good or bad, just...uncomfortable. Here’s why:

Why I feel like Dwight Schrute today:

1.) Because I sit on an exercise ball at work which comes off as elitist and all self-righteous like “I’m exercising all day while you’re just sitting in a chair.” Which really isn’t like exercising all day because I just find ways to cheat and over compensate for my poor excuse for muscles. But I do enjoy bouncing around.
2.) I’m wearing a long sleeved collared shirt that is driving my nuts. I don’t like collared shirts and I don’t know why I even own them, but I do. Then every few months I get an idea that they look good on me and they really don’t. They make me look like a man. Collared shirts are made for men and therefore only men should wear them. Kind of like heels for women. I might shred all my collared shirts when I get home tonight.

This conversation:
Randy: Hey, how’s it goin?
Me: Hey, Its good, how are you? (with a peppy intonation)
Randy: Wow, you’re in a good mood.
Me: Why does everyone say that so surprised?!?

My general cantankerous look really is just a look. I really do have a generally pleasant disposition. I think.

Also, I have an awesome new bike that I can’t ride because its spring in Seattle. However, Gregg’s Bicycles might just be the best place for eye candy in recent memory so on rainy days I might be tempted to go “shopping” and admire the “merchandise.” That sounds much less creepier and shallow in my head.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"I Don't Understand Much of Anything"

Preface: I’m teaching a short course on writing to a group of women who live in a home in Bellevue. The women are all single moms with a child (or children) under the age of two. The house is run by a not-for-profit agency whose focus is to get them back on their feet, into housing on their own and re-entered into the working world. Last night was the second of three lessons.

Last night I taught my second lesson at the home in Bellevue. The writing exercise was predicated on Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise.” I based the lesson on her use of word repletion as a tool to emphasize a point and to add strength to her voice. I wanted to incorporate this concept into the lesson as a way for the women to recognize strength in their voices. To do that we did a writing exercise of what I call the “10 for 10.” This is an exercise that takes 10 “I ____” statements and the writer completes the sentence of 10 different prompting topics. For example, “I want a bowl of ice cream. I want world peace. I want a puppy. I want to travel to Greece. Etc.” Repeat 10 times. The first 5 that we did were “I want,” “I need,” “I believe,” “I understand,” and “I hope.” They could also add “do not” in there if that seemed more fitting. Once they each wrote the 10 sentence for each “I ____”, if they wanted to share they could, of which most of them did.

There is one woman there who really doesn’t like to write. She really struggles with it. She has a learning disability and I believe just hasn’t been given the right encouragement. With the previous lesson she’s found other reason to occupy her time. A baby crying, needing a glass of water, going to the bathroom, etc. At the end of the previous session she had just started on the exercise nearing the end once she saw that the other girls were working on. She at least started something. Yesterday’s lesson it was very cool because she started to participate, while holding one of the babies in her arms, almost like her security blanket. The first round she didn’t list 10, maybe four or five. The second round she wrote maybe 5. The third round I couldn’t verify but there were definitely more. At the end she was writing at least 10 if not more. With every new topic she wrote more and more. That was very powerful to witness. It was very powerful to witness progression, even if in the slightest way.

Now, these women are no ordinary women (whatever ordinary means). These women are single mother, homeless, trying to support themselves and their kid(s). These are women who deal with personal addictions, family members with addictions, learning disabilities, completing their high school diplomas, mending relationships, trying to be good mothers and good people. I usually feel instrusive on their lives knowing they have bigger issues to contend with than my little touchy-feely exercise. So when they started to make their lists and share their lists, I realize how very much alike and how very different my reality is to theirs. But, I became very aware that my wants and needs and hopes and understandings are very much grounded in the some basic ideas and yet the positions I am in and the position and the path they are on to achieve and fulfill their wants and desires are very different. Many of their wants and needs were around having a job, having a car, having place of their own, having a place to dye their hair, having healthy children, wanting to be good moms, wanting to fix things that were broken. They don’t understand math, relationships, racism, animal abuse and taxes. They believe in doing right in the world, God, love, learning from their mistakes, and tomorrow is a new day.

When I left last night I thought that my life is so different from them. I thought I was in such a place a privilege and that I have been given so much. I thought I have been so blessed to be dealt that hand I was dealt. Now, I see, I am no different. At the root of it all, I want what they want, I need what they need, I believe what they believe. Sure, we’re different, we’ve made different choices but I am certainly no better or no worse.

If there was a moment that I will never forget last night is was this. The youngest (in every sense of the word) one there, breast feeding her son, all her business hanging out, she begins her list of “I understand.” She says, “I don’t understand much of anything.” If there were ever a moment I could on to forever it was that moment, to which I thought, “I don’t understand much of anything either.” Amen, Sister. A-men.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Question and Answer

Let’s play a quick game of question and answer.

Q: What did you do to your hand this morning?
A: Burnt it on the curling iron
Thoughts: Mother effer.

Q: What time did you leave for work today?
A: 7:30 am
Thoughts: Not bad, could be worse.

Q: How many gas stations did you go to get gas?
A: 2
Thoughts: Thanks for a diesel engine. Real convenient.

Q: How long into the drive until you needed to use the ladies room?
A: 30 minutes
Thoughts: Awesome. This could be a disaster.

Q: What time did you get to work today?
A: 9:30 am
Thoughts: Thanks Seattle.

Q: If you were to describe your outfit today, what would you say?
A: Think Brooks Brothers at a Sunday brunch meets the tasteful corporate whore.
Thoughts: Barf.

Q: What did you do last night?
A: Fell asleep in front of the fire listening to the rhythm of the pounding rain
Thoughts: How did I get so lucky?