hump day nuggets: 2015 will be awesome

hump day nuggets: bits of the season in photos and words

Q: If Nuggets are started on a hump day but finished days later can they still be considered Hump Day Nuggets?

A: Yes.

My 20 year high school reunion is next year. It feels unbelievable to me. That I have now spent more of my life after school than the 18 years before it. Those 18 years were broken up by school years so long that I grew feet taller, summer breaks so long we had time to get grounded forever and still have lots of time left. What happened to that wagon-train time? When did it evolve to light-rail time?

Time is what I think about when I turn the calendar to a new page. This time last year. This time five years ago. Or was that seven years ago? Time is naturally very organized and predictable, except it isn’t at all in my brain.

This quote:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ― Maya Angelou

I really love those words and it is what I am thinking on a lot right now in my life – both in those I choose to interact with and listen to and in the impact I hope to have during my lifetime.  It’s simple enough – like the golden rule with wings.


:: Thank you so very much for your love and support always, but especially this last month since Alice died. I listened to your wisdom and felt your care. You all are the very best. Thank you.

:: Two little reindeer waited for our family to arrive on Christmas Eve.

:: We have a new puppy. I was certain we would get another adult dog. I never in a million years thought we’d get a puppy. But that is exactly what happened. Even when we went to look at the puppies I didn’t think we’d get a puppy. Andy was the most skeptical but then the ENTIRE litter crawled on him and only him. It worked! We fostered her (from the Humane Society) for two weeks – to make sure our brood of pets and people were a good fit for her and she for us. We finalized adoption last week. We named her Mabel.

:: Andy and I try to take two weeks off together every December-early January. We take it without pay so it requires some commitment, budgeting and planning. And every year we are so grateful we do it. After a few high-intensity months with both of our work lives, we settle into a staycation. I always think I will catch up…on laundry, photo organization, repotting plants, cleaning the spilled coffee grounds out of the tupperware drawer. But I never do get much of that done.

:: Ruby skied her first black diamond run at our ski hill. It was one of those moments – like buckling her own carseat, not needing a nap anymore or swimming without sinking – where Andy and I exchange a mental high five at this next phase of mobility and ability.

:: All I wanted for Christmas was snow, mostly so I could sled with my niece who was visiting from Portland. Christmas Eve delivered two tiny inches. Just enough to pull our snow pants over our pjs and head out in the morning. And then it continued to snow.

:: There was something especially wonderful about our holiday this year. Twenty two people came here, from near and far. Our home was overstuffed and loud. I didn’t take many photos. I did take it all in.

:: Margot made a prediction for you all this year. Let’s make it true. xo

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white space

I didn’t really get into tree skiing until I was 20 and my fear was firmly in tact. All I saw was trees. Lots of begging my quad muscles to stop my body to avoid the giant trees that were committed to my eventual concussion. I was arhythmic and awkward. And I wanted it. I watched my husband and our friends glide through woods, one hundred percent aware of their body width, speed, ability; giving in to pitch, sailing with the precision and confidence and grace of a low-flying bird.

I’m still not a great tree skier but the trees are a favorite place to be. It’s always quiet, with the occasional bright blur to the left or right – a vibrant, alive low-flying bird doing its thing. I like the challenge. The immobility of the trees, the invitation of the inconsistent, alluring space between them. The altitude, the puzzle, the dare. The commitment, the euphoria when turns match breath, the frustration when nothing aligns. The fun of it alone, the fun of it with friends shrieking a few trees away. Laughter echoing among trunks and roots and canopies older than we are.

There’s this philosophy about tree skiing: that if one focuses on the space between the trees, the body will go there; if one focuses on the trees, the body will go there. So the SECRET to smooth, confident, fluid tree skiing is peripherally, barely noticing what you don’t want (tree collision) and focusing your entire self on what you DO want (floating through wintery portals).

I want my daughters to ski trees. I want my daughters to see the white space between the trees. Continue reading

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Feel it. Love what you love. Trust. Be devoted. Give in.

Last Monday at noon I went to my first yoga class in several years. For whatever reason my yoga practice vaporized from my agenda when I had my second kid. It went from daily to nada. I’ve missed it and blabbed about missing it but didn’t do anything about it.

And then Alice died. I haven’t hiked or ran since. Well, I did once and felt like an anvil sat on my heart the entire time, pushing buckets of tears out of my body. I am not ready to be up in these hills without her.

One late night last week I got out of bed to look up yoga schedules in Missoula. I found a class time that worked for me and promised myself I’d go. And then I saw the teacher. Marina. She’s my old teacher. In fact, the last time I went to this particular studio I was eight months pregnant with a breech Margot. Marina helped me through giant-bellied handstands and headstands until my bug swam herself 180. Marina!

People say dogs don’t live long enough. This statement is true in human brains. For dogs, I think they feel just right. Because they always do feel just right. Always.

Alice died on a Thursday night, November 20. It was a shock. We had just – two days prior – ruled out the kidney failure diagnosis we had mourned. We have a new vet we loved. We release ourselves into an ocean of relief and optimism.

She falls over in the living room. She recovers. My kids think she slipped on their paper snowflake scraps. A short while later, her back legs stop functioning. I am on and off the phone withe vets, neighbors, my husband. She wants to drink endless water, she wants to lay in the snow. She is scared. She looks into me for answers. All I have is love.

The day before – the day of the glorious blood and urine work news – we ran together. She gained four pounds back in two weeks. Moments before the episode I took a picture of my new boots to send to a friend. She pushed her wet nose into my hand. I called her into the kitchen for a treat and she bounced into me to be sure I remembered.

Four bucks stand 15 feet away, staring at us. One is impossibly noble. I see his breath in the cold air. Alice lays in the snow and can’t get up.

Fuck. Is this happening?

I carry her back into the house. I felt calm and alert. My kids are playful and hungry. I manage it all and feel emotionless. Alice vomits everything she ate that day, undigested. I clean it up with a dust pan. I make dinner.

Andy walks in and says hey, girlie like he always does. Every day for 11 years. She softens. She wags her tail. Continue reading

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nuggets: how bout we do some seasonal bits

I keep coming here trying to decide what to publish. I’ve been writing. About the confusion and truth of life and death — the dance of a life ending the day before a fifth birthday. About grieving with my husband and kids and without our dog. A friend pointed this out to me: the most unfair and painful part is that I want my dog’s love, cuddles and walks to get over her own death.

I will share more here about Alice last day the the next day. Today I share seasonal bits that make me happy. It’s complicated because the joy of cutting a tree is sad without our girl running up the hillside and the fun in the advent scavenger hunt is unbelievably quieter without our girl wagging and hopping beside the kids as they hunt. I’ve noticed that with every painful moment there is something beautiful to witness, that even the pain can be beautiful in its authenticity. And I’ve notice laughter. Man I love to laugh.

It snowed a few days ago. The big, meandering quiet kind. Margot said:

Wow. I like, FEEL Alice. It’s like she is in the snow or something. Is that what you mean by her spirit? I really think her spirit is in that falling snow.

Yes, that.

:: I do so enjoy decorating and arranging our home this time of year. It’s a solid shot of brightness and levity. Plus we will have a huge houseful this year, making the jolliness extra amplified.

:: My favorite new addition is the tiny, sparkly peacock that I attached to our bird feeder. I wondered if it would detract the droves of finches, nuthatches et al that feed here but on the contrary, they are unaffected. I like to think they enjoy their new always-gazing-over-shoulder pal.

:: We always cut our tree on our friend’s property the weekend after Ruby’s birthday. This year we went on Thanksgiving day because we had our big feast with friends on Wednesday. Honestly, it was a hard day: the big exhale after birthday party, company, Thanksgiving. We settled into the distraction-free realization that Alice wasn’t there. We all kept seeing her, looking for her, hearing her. On the drive home the strap that held the tree to the car whipped in the wind against the window. Margot pointed out that it sounded exactly like Alice’s wagging tail against the inside of the car when she heard us approaching. It did. We drove under a giant full rainbow set against graphite sky. We saw mountain lion tracks and bushes that looked like dogs. Continue reading

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Rainbow Friday > giving away and giving back

Last year we inaugurated Rainbow Friday, a way to bring color and connection to the spirited days of shopping after Thanksgiving. This year is even better with every small, sustainable business not only offering a giveaway and great deal but also giving to a non-profit organization of their choosing.

I am blown away by the talent and big-heartedness of every business participating. This is your opportunity to shop; to vote for your neighbors with the purchase of unique, handmade gifts; to use your purchase power to lean in and give back.

I hope you will support their efforts and do some shopping this weekend!

* Each business is giving away an item. Leave a comment for a chance to win. Comments close on Monday, December 1 at 11:59pm. There will be 12 winners, announced here on Tuesday, December 2.

* Rainbow Friday deals run from Friday, November 28 – Monday, December 1.

* I will post the amount each business is donating to their chosen organizations on instagram and facebook next week. Let’s make it impressive! Continue reading

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