Today at lunch I was walking in the rain downtown, earbuds in, umbrella up. A guy probably in his late 20’s, early 30’s was walking the opposite way…towards me, but not at me. He smiled, I smiled…then he said “you’re really beautiful” and continued walking. My response? I smiled wider and chuckled. He probably thought I didn’t hear him, ear buds in and all.

I immediately started trying to figure it out. Was he a kook! There are a lot of mentally off folks who wander downtown who say stuff like this
to anyone. But I not so sure. He walked and spoke normally enough. Clothes were clean. On his way to catch a bus, likely to work or something because he had a messenger bag (aka man purse).

So was he a hippy kid trying to “change the world” by telling people they were beautiful because everyone is beautiful? Doesn’t seem to fit that profile. Neither a hipster nor a hippy look. Black jeans, winter jacked zipped up, ball cap, the messenger bag was just black fabric…not antiqued leather or ironically made from recycled pop cans. Looked more like a techie guy. Also didn’t try to slow me down to engage me in conversation.

And for that reason I have to also say, not creepy perv guy.

I stopped dead as I entered a shopping center, nearly blocking people going to and from the escalators (sorry…). Why did I assume first that he was anything other than genuine? Am I not beautiful and deserving of a random compliment from a random stranger? Ick.

Not the comment, but the immediate ick feeling in my stomach as I entertained the idea that I’m so pretty that people are compelled to say something. Ick…I just felt it again.

Hot tears rolled down my cheek…quick wipe…keep walking…

But why can’t I take a compliment? Hell , I couldn’t even squeek out a “Thank You.” Just a chuckle…a chuckle to be polite to an obvious kook…a chuckle of disbelief. A chuckle that probably made me sound like a dismissive jerk.

And is it more unbelievable that I’m considered beautiful to a stranger, or that a perfectly healthy and balanced human would go and genuinely compliment a stranger on the street?

And when did I get so jaded? I think I should make an effort to feel beautiful tomorrow. Maybe everyone should.


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Lost in the confusion of loss

I have been consistent at least in my inability to keep a consistent direction with this blog. But frankly, it’s been a challenging year. I think it’s fair too that if something off topic comes up that rocks my world a bit that doesn’t fit in a tweet or Facebook status, it’s welcome in this space. So…

Found out earlier this week that a former co-worker of mine passed away. He was my age with a wife and 2 toddler girls. I will admit that this was one of those work friends where you don’t hang out outside of the office, but we had friendly hallway conversations, laughed a lot at co-worker style events, and I honestly really liked the guy a lot. I was in CLE about a week or so ago and ran into him. Had a fun & lively conversation about Seattle, his wife, his kids…I’ve had friends who have died. Young. Some closer than others. It is painful.

But this time…this time it was a suicide.

I can’t say I know him well enough to question it. To say “he had so much going for him! What the hell!?” because I was distant enough that I had no sense of what was going on beyond the veneer of casual friendly socializing. I have lost sleep over this and just can’t wrap my head around it. Sickened when I think of his wife (who I also worked with…with whom I also merely had a hallway-chat relationship with) and his little girls.

//huff & heavy sigh//

I have nothing profound to say…no philosophical insight gained, no lessons learned. I just had to say something “out loud”. Shouting into the void. Feeling a little helpless, angry, confused, concerned…

Feeling a lot sad.


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Adventures in Seattle

I am shifting gears with this blog. More specifically, I’m going to try to employ some focus, and hopefully some consistency. Welcome to Adventures in Seattle: My Discoveries as a Newbie.

As you may know, I moved to Seattle May 10, 2012. It was a jarring change. For 36 years I had lived within a 16 mile radius of where I was born. It genuinely took me a year to shake off the shell shock and really start exploring. I’m not able to claim any truly new finds yet, but they’re new to me, and hopefully I can make them intriguing to aspiring visitors, but also to “townies” who have grown too accustomed to their awesome surroundings. Hopefully as I am here longer, I will stumble upon things that are even new to them ūüôā

Reporting to you contently from The Yard,


P.S. Come here after 10 p.m. for some incredibly good late night happy hour dishes! Some of the only high quality late night food on the strip. Greenwood Ave. near N. 83rd St.

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Sorry for all of the downer posts, but I’m kind of at a crossroads and trying to figure out how to navigate.

Have you ever spent a good chunk of time thinking that you are good at something…awesome at something…only to find out that people were





This is something that keeps on happening to me in my life. I get all sorts of positive feedback to find that people were either trying to build my confidence and therefore my skill, OR they were trying to avoid the backlash that could result…the blubbering, aimless fury of a soul-broken ennie. Way unpleasant and non-constructive ennie.

So now I’m in the mode of trying to rise above or at least be equal to the others on the team.

Kind of makes me wish people would have been gently, tastefully, kindly honest with me along the road. Kind of makes me wish that when people WERE  gently, tastefully, kindly honest with me along the road in the past (and I know it has happened) that I responded in an open, positive way instead of being hurt and shutting down.

Because the more time passes, it doesn’t just hurt…I don’t have the words, really, to say how it feels. It feels like lies. Lies that I perpetuated by not being able to properly react, but lies people shouldn’t have ever told in the first place either. But can I blame them?

How am I reacting now? Well, trying not to cry. Trying not to shut down. Searching around to educate myself…are there classes? Searching for what steps I was taking that were wrong so I can correct them, and move onward and upward. But with that disapproval/rejection/disappointment having been revealed, how do I get back out on the field, with them there in the stands? Will they even let me go up to bat? How do I work myself up from the bottom of the lineup?

I think that the foundation of my skill HAS to be OK or else I wouldn’t have gotten positive feedback at all. Right?


What sucks is being the novice now, when previously I thought I was a black belt. I was lead to believe I was a black belt. And now I have to catch up and be competitive.

I have to check my ego at the door, and try to build self-confidence from there. How does one build self confidence without an ego? And how do I know if anything I’m doing is right with all these nice people around?

Too many questions, not enough answers. Ugh.


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Works in Progress

I’m sitting in Hugo House¬†in Capitol Hill, Seattle. Tonight is the bi-monthly “Works in Progress” night where a mike is opened for authors to read pieces they are working on. At 6:30 all are invited to put their names in a jar. At 7 they pull the first name. That person has 5 minutes to read, no more. Then they pull the next name, and so on till about 9p.m.

For regulars, the 5 minute limit can be interesting. Take for example the novelist who read a short story over a span of two months. I was there for the last installment. The collective gasp from the audience when he looked up and essentially said “that’s it” was, well, pretty durn amusing.

Then there is me. In the corner, making myself small, sometimes ending up at a shared table enjoying some light conversation, but not yet having read. Don’t really have anything to read. A lot of these folks are published writers. Others have stacks of well-worn journals, or blogs they update daily. I don’t think I measure up.

Maybe I’ll take some writing classes here so I can get a REAL indication of how good or bad my work is…and how to fix it. Maybe I can get to the point where I’ll have the cojones to do more than sip beer and get lost in their work. I’m working on it…I’m still a work in progress.



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Urban Craft Uprising? Sure!

I am sitting on the ground outside the Seattle Exhibition hall waiting for the annual Urban Craft Uprising show to begin. I’ve been here for an hour, and have 45 minutes to go before doors open. Why am I here so early? Ask the other 69 men and women who have been here hours longer. They reportedly give away a pretty sick swag bag to the first 100 people in line. So sick, in fact, that they actually have a notice on their web site suggesting 8 a.m. as a good time to arrive if you want to beat the rush. Doors open at 11.

I got here around 9:30 because I delayed my planned departure in anticipation of a breakfast invite that I decided would probably be too forced time wise, the bus came later than I had expected, and I took time to help a lost business traveller out of the maze of Seattle Center.

But here I am. Sitting on the concrete. Hungry, but caffeinated.






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Strange how I often lament of feeling or being alone, but when my heart is heavy, I seek solitude.


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Sharing is…caring?

I’m in the dreadfully uncomfortable position of fully understanding that there is one hell of a tricky fine line between over-sharing and under-sharing. In some of my one-on-one relationships, I have stumbled into over-sharing to the point of overburdening someone who should not be expected have the tools to process it all. On the other hand, I’ve let this poor blog collect dust…only posting in fits and starts, with a “draft” box filled with discarded, incomplete ideas.

I often get flooded with emotion that I’ve held back for too long. Then the river crests. The dam breaks, leveling everything, slamming debris along its path. And oh the mess afterward…no time taken for cleanup. Just a lot of self-blame and back pedaling. So the debris remains to make each flood to follow more damaging than the first.

So, where is the line? The damn thing is faint and it moves depending on circumstance, time of day, the weather, who else is around…I don’t know. I’ve considered sharing a little bit often, but I can only imagine that this could make me uncomfortable to be around.



The silence vs. flood scenario has created an atmosphere of complete unpredictability.¬†“Should I say hello? Will this be a happy ennie conversation or a sad ennie conversation?” ¬†What other choice is there but to maintain a safe distance. But distance reeks of distain and resentment, which leads to sad, and on into flooding.

The Middle Path.






With a pleading eye firmly directed towards growth, healing, and emotional intimacy that seems about a zillion miles away right now.



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Dear Seattle May Day Protesters…

To the so-called “Anarchists”

  • You are doing NOTHING to support your cause (whatever the hell it is) by making business owners, employees, tourists and other shoppers afraid to come down to the business district today. Shattering windows of Wells Fargo last year probably made you feel all big and tough, but all you did was close that business for a couple of days, causing the hourly workers there to lose money out of their paychecks that month. Your antics also closed down lots of other independent businesses trying to bring good things to the community, the mom & pop shops run by people who came to America hoping for a better life, the folks playing instruments or shining shoes so they can scrape by…STFU and go home to your mothers’ basements. You are not anyone’s heroes. Certainly not that of “the working man.” You are making it harder and more dangerous for all of us today. You are thugs. You suck.

To the SPD

  • OK. So you have a bad reputation for being too rough, so last year you decided to “stand down.” Yeah, that didn’t really work so well (you got your butts handed to you and the protesters made the place look like a war zone), and the unconstitutional arrests you made kind of made things worse. I’m not saying bust heads, but come on. Let’s find that happy medium and please keep us safe from these asshats. Be careful…don’t get hurt, and don’t lose your heads. I know that’s a tall order, but we’re all professionals here, right? This is Seattle. It’s not your first rodeo.¬†

To Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superheroes

  • Keep your heads down and your eyes open. Don’t get yourselves arrested, and thank you for being just crazy enough to put your money where your mouth is. I laughed when I first read about you, but now I kind of want a T-Shirt.

To the “99%”

  • I’ll grant you that there is a “1%” of corrupt, or just simply downright heartless wealthy people/business owners who have more power than they deserve who are stomping all over the hard-working public for their own profit.
  • The national unemployment rate is currently 7.6%. I’m going to be completely unscientific here and say that maybe about 2% of those folks are also corrupt and heartless and are using the tax dollars of the hard-working public for their own profit. Then maybe another 3.6% are working really, really hard to find something, and are taking steps like doing free work to build up resumes, or taking classes to build up a new skill set, or continually sending out application after application, keeping themselves relevant. Those people will be working soon. Little by little my friends and I found work at a point where we were about to lose all hope. It will happen. Maybe not the way you had planned, but it will. That leaves us with the 2% who are sitting in tents banging drums, whining¬†unintelligibly through megaphones and fighting with the police. Great use of time and resources. Yep.
  • I found that as of the last census in 2010, approximately 7.2% of the population are considered “Working Poor” (Persons who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force, but whose incomes fell below the official poverty level – Bureau of Labor¬†Statistics). That sucks. Give me a sign that proposes a solution for this problem and I’ll gladly spend my lunch break in a park holding the sign. Or I’ll do one better, and vote for legislation that helps bring us closer to a smaller percentage. What am I doing right this second? Spending my hard-earned money in independently owned shops so they can afford to hire some of these folks and give them a living wage & benefits. Oh…and dodging ¬†the Wal-marts of the world at all costs, using my wallet to declare I don’t support their predatory business practices. Also, making a career change that pulled me away from supporting a Chinese¬†conglomerate¬†that is part of a system that abuses the human rights of its employees, and pulls jobs out of the U.S.
  • Thank you for caring enough for everyone that you will take time out of your lives to speak loudly for the voiceless and the quiet. That’s cool. That’s American. If we didn’t protest and shout from the rooftops on a regular basis, our country likely not be anyplace I would want to be living. BUT Pro-tip: If you want me to take you seriously, a) come up with a cohesive statement of action and call it out or write it on a sign that I can ACTUALLY understand, and possibly enthusiastically act on, and b) don’t make it hard for me to get to work. I’m sorry if you can’t find a job. I think sending out resumes rather than sitting in the park would help, but to each their own, I suppose. But don’t make me late and pitch me back into the 7.6%. I didn’t like being there.

To the 84.2%.

  • We’re working. Some of us are doing better than others. A lot of us share our wealth, whether it’s money, knowledge, or helpful hands. If we’re not, we really need to. And let’s listen to the protests. Maybe there are some good nuggets in there we can grasp onto. We have more power than we’re willing to admit. Tremendous power. Let’s try harder to use it.
  • VOTE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!¬†The presidential election isn’t the only election every year. More often than not, the itty-bitty mid-term small-town legislation on your ballots are more important than you think. Consider if every town in the U.S. had a referendum on the ballot that would allow zoning changes to plant neighborhood Rain Gardens?¬†¬†So one little rain garden at your school will do little or nothing. But if every town votes in a garden, EVERY TOWN IN THE U.S. WILL HAVE RAIN GARDENS. There will be acres and acres of them across the nation. Small action, big result. There was a 50.2%* turnout this year. That’s¬†embarrassing, and an affront to every Revolutionary war soldier who died for the creation of our nation, to every slave or former slave who died fighting for freedoms that include right to vote, to every woman who was injured or killed fighting for the right of women to vote…vote. Vote. VOTE.¬†VOTE.


*50.2% of registered voters

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we’re all books.

When we’re born, our story begins. When we die, it ends.

When you have read the last page and close a book, you assume life rolls on after that story is over. You can’t dismiss that the rest of the characters continue, unavoidably effected in some way by that person who is no longer there.

But when the reader closes the book they can¬†only¬†assume….only¬†guess how, where, when and to whom that effect will play out.

Will it be so strong that there’s a viable, marketable sequel? Or is it subtle, and only one small, barely detectable bit of the character in another story for which an editor would find it unnecessary to include a back story?

And what of those who died young? When they were 2 instead of 93? Is theirs considered an unfinished work? Abandoned by an author who found another project? Ran out of ideas? Ran out of pages of his own story?

Or is theirs simply a short story to be enjoyed as part of an anthology, or in LIT101?

Or has their story never been their own? Not large enough to be independently published, but essential¬† to the completion of someone else’s tale? After all, their stories, cut short at 2…25…27…they informed and sometimes created the lead characters of the various books still being written, or resting now on the shelves.

Like one…93 chapters in…now complete.

And if we’re too conscious of this…that ours is a story still being written…or more specifically that theirs has ended…in good time or too soon…can we compromise the composition of our own by being¬†too¬†closely focused on theirs? We’re essentially effected by the presence of those whose volumes were written before. But do we sometimes allow their stories to eclipse our own? Making us mere minor characters with risk of being edited out rather than having their stories¬†enhance our own?

I think so.

But we (no, I) feel so strongly that we should never forget, never minimalize these books. I want to keep them on my shelves, and share them with friends and family, caring for the little bound treasures.

Not always huddled in a room, obsessively reading, re-reading, sobbing, regretting…but rather occasionally on the couch on a rainy night by the fire place…Reading. Re-reading. With a smile and watering eyes.

Then handing it to my niece & nephew. “Here….you guys HAVE to read this.”


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