It has been my experience that kids hit certain milestones at different times. It’s tempting to think life is like school with its chronological march from Kindergarten to the senior year, as if time were the only determinant. The fact is that most of what happens in a child’s life is based on a whole… Continue reading You know, when you know.
Our daughter was a fighter from the first breath, maybe even before the first one. I swear she tried to kick her way into this world. She was willful and wily, and it was wonderful. There was a time, even before she could walk, when I could see her flex her tiny muscles as if to… Continue reading Worth the Fight
Our book club recently read the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Less by Andrew Sean Greer. It was a strange and beautiful story. Toward the end, the main character is reflecting on giving up a younger lover as he grapples with the disdain he has for his aging body. One of his friends points out that this lover did… Continue reading Seeing Through the Memories of Your Heart
I started my day in kindergarten yesterday. Every day that I get to be in a kindergarten is a great day. First of all, they are adorable. Right there, you are guaranteed to start your day with a smile. They bounce and bop down the halls, happy as clams that it is Friday morning and… Continue reading Kindergarten- Where we all belong.
If you are reading this, there is a good possibility you are an adult. I know you have responsibilities and obligations. Maybe, when you hear that forecast for snow on the evening news, you get a sinking feeling. You imagine slogging to work at 25 miles an hour praying you won’t slide into the ditch… Continue reading Snow Days: Sometimes the warmest memories are made on the coldest days!
We don’t give much thought to our brain. I don’t anyway. I take it for granted most of the time. If you think about it, that 3 pounds of fat, protein and water (according to National Geographic ) is a truly miraculous organ. It spawned the Sistene Chapel, the International Space Station, the Gamma Knife,… Continue reading The Fear Brain and Reigniting the Curious Mind
This morning I PR’ed (Personal Record) on the Erg, or as I like to call it the “Magical Sliding Instrument of Pain”. I rowed 5881 meters in 30 minutes and my split broke the dreaded 2:30 by just seconds. Now, for all you flat-abbed, bicep-bulging, custom-calved whippersnappers out there chuckling at my sub-sub-sub-lightning speed, keep… Continue reading The downfalls of multi-tasking – or, as my Daddy would say, “Half-assing”
It’s 4:15 AM and my REM-induced travels are abruptly ended by my clock radio blaring Miranda Lambert. In silence, I get up, get dressed, and brush my teeth. In the workout room, I turn on the fan and put my bike shoes on. I spend 30 minutes on the bike, change shoes and put in… Continue reading Make a Habit of It
I do not like endings. I do not like finales. It is probably why I don’t watch the Oscars or stay awake until the last votes are counted on election night. I much prefer those hours and days before the endings, days that are thick with anticipation and ripening possibilities. Even as a kid, I… Continue reading Endings and Beginnings
I get a little nostalgic at Christmastime. I suppose I am not alone in that. Christmas is such a magical season. It brings back bright and twinkling memories of people and places long gone. I miss my Father-in-law most at Christmastime. My father-in-law loved having Christmas morning with his granddaughter. We would travel to his… Continue reading Father (-in-Law) Christmas
I was staring out the dusty screen door of our canary-yellow, cookie-cutter rambler when I first realized he had superpowers. My bangs glanced off the cheap metal door as I followed his deliberate movements back and forth across the patio. My mother hooked me around the waist, dragging me back as she slammed the glass slider closed, “Come away… Continue reading The House That Built Me
Beliefs are an amazing thing. Though intangible, they have a weight and power all their own. They can propel us to great heights or they can keep us chained to the ground. What is a belief after all- it is just a thought you have over and over until you take it to be the… Continue reading I’ll see it when I believe it.
I was listening to a series of lectures by Pema Chödrön the other day. She is a Buddhist nun and teacher who I find very insightful and inspirational. In her lecture, she said something to the effect that we should never underestimate the human drive to avoid discomfort. I was taken aback by the sheer… Continue reading Growing Pains (There’s a reason why they’re not called Growing Joys.)
As soon as I shut the door, I knew. I heard the click of the lock and my stomach sank to my feet. I collapsed forward. My forehead hit the top of the window giving me an unobstructed view of my purse and both sets of my car keys sitting prominently on the passenger seat… Continue reading Empathy Gap – Don’t Fall In
She was three and a half when I spied her heading for the front door out of the corner of my eye. She shuffled down the hall in a pair of my black heels intently watching her feet. On one side, her tiny fingers were outstretched to the wall for balance. On the other, she… Continue reading Heading for the Door
Last weekend, my best friend and I recruited a few enthusiastic volunteers (our husbands and one of our dear friends) and we pressed 400 pounds of grape must. I have been making wine from kits for about 20 years with pretty solid success. In addition to getting about 30 bottles of delicious vino for my… Continue reading Of Grapes and Friendship
For the last couple of weekends, I have been shooting my daughter’s senior portraits. It was so special to me that I was able to do this for her- that she wanted me to do this for her. Though I have shot a number of senior portraits and I always feel honored to do it,… Continue reading Adventure Days!
I remember when we picked him up. After months of looking, we found him at a breeder in Omak. My husband has a knack for tracking down the best pups. Dog-less for a year or more, we finally decided it was time for our daughter to have her own dog. After much negotiations on breed,… Continue reading A Girl’s Best Friend
The summer before 5th grade, my father took me on a week-long backpacking trip in Glacier National Park. We planned the trip over the spring on our every-other-weekend visits. My dad pinned a map to the wall in the living room of his one-bedroom apartment. Back then, the map shifted from grey to a deep… Continue reading Making Memories Under the Big Sky
I have a confession to make. I have a box in my garage that I take out every time I am wondering about whether I am making a difference in this world. It’s not full of trophies. There are no framed awards in the box. Nothing is engraved or embossed. It is a box of… Continue reading Have You Thanked a Teacher Lately?
One of the challenges of parenting is knowing how much information to give your child. I remember my daughter once asked me where rain comes from. In retrospect, the correct answer at the time was “It falls from clouds in the sky.” But I was a science teacher, so I was a full paragraph into… Continue reading Just the Facts, Mom.
In a couple of weeks, my daughter will begin her senior year. Stamped in my mind and on my heart is a picture of her decked out in pink from head to toe; smiling from ear to ear; proudly carrying her backpack filled to the brim with fresh school supplies on her first day of… Continue reading I Got This, Mama!
I’ve had so many friends over the years who describe gardening as a zen-like experience. I, myself, have had zen-like experiences but never while gardening. I don’t doubt my plant-loving friends. I find that zen feeling while cycling or painting or staring through my lens or doing yoga. I want to love gardening. I want… Continue reading Elusive Zen of Gardening
When I was a little kid, I felt strangely like two different people. In retrospect, I imagine that other children of divorce felt the same way. But it was the 70’s and divorce was rare in our Catholic community, so I didn’t have anyone to compare my experience with. You see my parents were diametrically… Continue reading Two Sides of the Same Girl
It was a spring, Saturday morning in Georgia. My father must have been away on business because, had he been home, I would never have realized my own true power. It was just my stepmom and me. Our blended family was new and more like a salad than soup. Still getting to know each other… Continue reading Stronger Than I Thought
I’m starting with the really big questions this week, which always seems to coincide with the end of a vacation in which I get a little breathing room to think big thoughts. This particular vacation was riddled with laughter and that, too, breaks up the log jams that clog my thinking. I read a beautiful… Continue reading Finding the Purpose of (My) Life
Next week, my husband and I will be celebrating 29 years of marriage. As our anniversary rolls around, I find myself thinking back to the year of our wedding. He proposed to me the weekend I graduated from college. We were supposed to be apart for the next school year as I moved to Seattle… Continue reading Wedded Bliss (and the not so blissful parts that make it truly a blessing….)
One of the great things about having a teenager is that I feel like I am cool-adjacent which is almost as good as being cool at my age. (I’m suspicious of 50-year-olds who are too cool.) I have learned all kinds of things that I would be hopelessly ignorant of without her - like the… Continue reading Everybody Needs A Walk -up Song
I thought this post would be easier to write. I realize that no matter how carefully chosen, my words will likely be inadequate. It is ironic since I have entitled this “Nothing Left Unsaid”, and yet, surely, there will be something left unsaid. I went to a celebration of life this week for a truly… Continue reading Nothing Left Unsaid
Being a mom is a humbling experience. I have learned more from my daughter in the last 18 years than I learned in any classroom. And I have spent 28 years of my life in a classroom learning, just saying. But I don’t think I ever felt more ignorant, incompetent or unprepared as I did… Continue reading The Magic of Motherhood – Part One
I am not a gambler. In fact, the betting window would be closed and the race long over before I even identified all of the variables or made my first graph. The horses would have died of old age before I analyzed all of the data. It’s not that I can’t make a decision quickly.… Continue reading The Gamble
Despite sitting at one of those back-bending cafeteria tables, I found myself completed enthralled listening to a coach talk about his athletes this week. He spoke with such heart about the journey the team took together to win the state championship. He talked about each athlete’s strengths and contributions to the team. He talked about… Continue reading What the Best Coaches Know
If you visit our house, you will get a warm welcome from the four-legged creatures and, of course, the two-legged ones. Buttercup, our two-year-old Boxer (or The Toddler as we affectionately call her), monitors the door vigilantly. One must be prepared, after all, as friends can appear without notice. As soon as she hears someone… Continue reading A Warm Welcome and A Wiggling Butt
On a hot day in July in 1984 in Fairbanks, Alaska, I met the man, for the second time, who would become my husband. I had been baling hay on a Thoroughbred farm just northeast of Fairbanks that day. Fairbanks in the summer is beautiful. It is sunny and light all day. The landscape is… Continue reading Don’t Mistake a Flower for a Weed
I have been reminiscing a lot lately. I am not sure if it is the passing of my father, my daughter's impending senior year or just the end of the school year. Whatever it is, I find myself smiling - a lot. I have such great memories. Rebuilding our fire pit reminds me of all… Continue reading Just Beneath the Surface
Sometimes things just happen, good and bad, that you just can’t predict. Despite my propensity for planning and my natural tendency toward being a hunter, I have learned that sometimes you have to roll with the punches and trust there is a lesson you need to learn. I didn’t always feel this way. No, this… Continue reading Change is hard but not changing is harder…
I was having coffee with some friends recently when, inevitably, the subject of our dogs came up. Three of us have medium to large dogs and one has a smaller, hypoallergenic one (which is brilliant since I think EVERYONE needs a dog). I mentioned that I grew up with Basset Hounds, but that these have… Continue reading If you believe you are a Labrador Retriever….
My dad had a second story apartment in the Casa Del Rey overlooking Broadway. I would visit him on the weekends and we would walk up the street to the corner QFC to buy food for dinner. He was on the road every week it seemed, so he didn’t keep much on hand. It was… Continue reading The Truth About Lying
This morning I awoke before my alarm. I rolled onto my right shoulder and felt that familiar ache from the base of my clavicle to my shoulder joint. I knew once I got moving, it would loosen up. I’m at that age where I swear I can pull a muscle while asleep. It’s disconcerting. Of… Continue reading Evidence of a Well Spent Youth
I was invited to a birthday party yesterday. I never pass up a birthday party. I would not have missed this one for the world. The grandmother of the little Sweet Pea, who was turning one, is an old friend of mine. Although I have to say that she and I might have different time… Continue reading Never Pass Up A Birthday Party
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to hear Manny Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers, speak. If you ever have the chance, don’t miss it. He is an extraordinary individual who really embodies the power and resilience of the human spirit. At the end of his speech, he said something that was both… Continue reading You Can Lead a Horse to Water
I found myself sifting through old Easter pictures this week. It’s not surprising really. I often find myself looking back when holidays roll around. This is one of my favorite Easter pictures. I keep a copy on my desk. My daughter was three in this picture and the youngest of a herd of kids at… Continue reading You’re Never Too Old for a Little Joy
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things was spending the night at my grandparents’ house. They lived in a small house on Queen Anne Hill. Though back then, from my tiny eyes, it was an enormous mansion. It was so different from our cookie-cutter suburban rambler in north Seattle. When we… Continue reading Grandpa’s House
My daughter is a junior this year. She is our only child. The good Lord blessed us with only one child but, in so doing, He blessed us every single day after. In just over a year, she will leave us to go off to college and start this new adventure. The part of her… Continue reading My Heart
Let me just say at the outset, I know that this story is going to reveal with lights and sirens the unhealthy relationship I have (or had) with my Jeep, Angus. Yes, I named it. Don’t judge. We were together for 10 years. A couple of weeks ago, I wrecked Angus. It was the one… Continue reading Rub Some Dirt On It
I was two months into my first year in a new school when I found myself hunched over a lunch table in the staff room praying for an earthquake. Not a big earthquake. Loss of life and limb was not necessary. I didn’t even want property damage. I just wanted everyone to get stuck in… Continue reading The Truth Will Set You Free
When I was a new teacher, I applied for a job in a small town in northwest Washington. I remember driving into town wearing my most professional skirt suit, firmly ensconced in my big old pickup truck. It was a beautiful drive from my house 52 miles away on country roads they brazenly labeled highways.… Continue reading Making Things Right
In the fall of 1988, I started my teacher training at Seattle University. Armed with a newly printed Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alaska, I enthusiastically set off to change the world – one sophomore at a time. Every morning I drove my 1984 Dodge Ram pickup in rush hour traffic… Continue reading A Life That Fits
As I was driving home from work tonight, Corey Hart’s Never Surrender came on. You probably will only know this song if you were embroiled in teenage angst or young adult drama in the mid-1980s. It was the theme song for that. I remember it because I recorded it on cassette tape and sent it… Continue reading Do It For A Friend
My daughter missed her dentist appointment this week. In general, she is a very responsible teenager. I only bring it up because every time I hear the word dentist, I can’t help but run my tongue over the edge of my top right front tooth. You see, I have a chip in my top right… Continue reading Don’t Cry Over a Chipped Tooth
My first was Charlie. You always have a soft spot in your heart for your first. He was a blonde who had the subtlest hints of caramel. I loved running my fingers through his hair. He was short, a bit overweight and not at all athletic but he made up for that in enthusiasm. He… Continue reading First Love
I had a very rocky start to my Tuesday morning. Keep in mind, I am a morning person. I jump out of bed no matter how early it is and greet my dogs (I even named one of my dogs Buttercup just so I could say “What’s up Buttercup?” every morning- that’s how happy I… Continue reading Get Some Perspective
I am going to preface this post with “No children were harmed in the making of the story” (well not permanently anyway). If you were a child of the 1970s or before, you will appreciate this story. If you are a Gen Xer or a Millennial, there is a chance you might be horrified- at… Continue reading There’s Something About Sticking with It
I was sitting at Finaghty’s Irish Pub the night before we were to celebrate the life of my father. I was with my husband and daughter and surrounded by my sisters, most of their families and my stepmom. Family had been arriving from out of town and were still trickling in. We are not a… Continue reading Don’t Miss the Joy in Grief
Over the course of this week, as we prepare to celebrate my dad’s life, we have all been poring over pictures. And I remember so much of what I forgot. And I see things I didn’t know but they are so obvious to me now. We know our family members because we have these long… Continue reading Looking at Life Through the Keyhole
I was sitting on a plastic couch in a hospital waiting room sobbing in that heart wrenching way you do when you are racked with grief. I had just finished the making those difficult phone calls to friends and family, when one of my sisters sat down beside me. She put her arm around me… Continue reading Lean In
I think at the end of a life, it is the little things you remember most. The seemingly inconsequential moments become indelibly written on our minds and hearts. Oh sure, every relationship has big moments. There are marriages and births, graduations and new homes. And every relationship has good times and challenging ones – even… Continue reading It’s the Little Things
I have never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. I think it might be my very well-hidden but absolutely well-developed rebellious side. Oh, I keep it in check for the most part but a rule with no meaningful basis, even if self-imposed, brings it out in me. (Don’t get me started on the Don’t walk… Continue reading Old Year’s Reflection
A couple of years ago, all of my sisters descended upon the eldest’s home in the sweltering heat of mid-July in Arizona. We came to sort through boxes of pictures my mother had kept. Though I offered to collect and digitize them for all of us, I am grateful for my eldest sister’s wisdom in… Continue reading Like Looking in the Mirror
Before the digital age of photography, we printed our pictures and mounted them in albums. We had wedding albums, graduation albums, christening albums and vacation albums. We made scrapbooks chronicling every detail of our child’s life (I only got to age three and it took nine albums, so I entered a 12-step scrapbook recovery program… Continue reading Picture Books
I think people fall into one of two categories naturally. Oh sure, people can change. People can even change back and forth. But we all have a fall back type we are most comfortable with. I think people are either hunters or gatherers. I’m not talking about actually hunting (although I am not opposed if… Continue reading Seeing the River for the Rocks
Last night I went to my favorite Christmas party. I have been attending this party for 26 years, though it has been going on for much longer than that. In those years, I have missed it twice: once when my daughter was only three weeks old and once when that same daughter got sick (on… Continue reading Growing A Family
I am a very competitive person. Now, I know what you are thinking. You’ve heard that before usually from someone who is really nice and says it with a slightly self-deprecating laugh as if they are trying to warn you that Mr. Hyde’s appearance is imminent. So, no. I am competitive like one of those… Continue reading Redefining the Win
I have lived in the shadow of the Cascades for most of my life. Slogging through traffic on a clear day, I am struck by the deep blues of the sky framing Mount Baker in the distance. Shadows across the white peak shimmering in glacial blue. Snow dusting the foothills and highlighting the rocky crags.… Continue reading Living in the Shadow of the Mountain
I love school. I love it so much in fact I have spent 42 years of my life in school and another 6 supporting schools so far. Basically, I was 4 the last time a whole year went by and I was not in school. When I was a babysitter, I even used to hold… Continue reading So Much to Learn, So Little Time
On the walls in my office hang three signed limited edition Judi Rideout prints, one signed limited edition Jon Van Zyle print and an original watercolor by an artist who shares my last name. Guess which one I love the most. If you guessed the water color on construction paper, double matted in peach and… Continue reading A Gift
Last weekend, I found myself once again standing in the middle of a bridge at dawn. My youngest sister was in town for the Thanksgiving holiday and I took her up to see the Eagles on the Skagit river. There was a brief misunderstanding wherein she thought we were going to see Joe Walsh at… Continue reading Standing in the Middle of a Bridge
When I was a little girl, my father gave me a copy of Marguerite Henry’s All About Horses. He worked for a publishing company and loved books so it wasn’t unusual for me to get one for my birthday or Christmas. I loved this book. In fact, it is sitting on my own daughter’s bookshelf… Continue reading It Really is the Thought That Counts
Twenty-nine years ago, I was a student teacher in my home town. As you can imagine, I was so enthusiastic. I vibrated with idealism. I waltzed into my first Biology class ready to dazzle them with my knowledge, certain that I would hold their attention easily for 55 minutes. It was science after all. Who… Continue reading Gratitude: It’s not just for Thanksgiving
I think this is my very favorite picture and that is saying a lot given the sheer volume of my collection. I didn't take this picture but when I look at it I truly wish I had met the man who did. When I look at it, I wish I could give him one of… Continue reading Love in Black and White
I think in just about every situation we can learn something. It has been my experience that it's usually something we need to learn right when it is time to learn it. It is not always something we want to learn. It has also been my experience unfortunately that the universe is ready when it's… Continue reading Live Your Passion
When I was a kid, my dad gave me Masterpiece for my birthday. It was a board game in the mid 1970's much like Monopoly except that players bought and sold artwork in an auction. I don't remember playing the game even one time. But I remember the game. I remember the cards. Each had… Continue reading The Eye of the Beholder
I’ve always wished that I could be one of those women who goes through life with nothing more than their cell phone in their back pocket ensconced in one of those really cute Kate Spade cases with a sleeve for their drivers license and debit card. A quick swipe of mascara and lip gloss, hair… Continue reading Lighten Up!
Last Sunday morning at 0530, I found myself next to an empty field on the outskirts of Concrete, Washington. No, I was not deposited there after an alien abduction. Also I am too old to pull an all-nighter (debauchery-filled or otherwise) so I was not in the clothes I wore the day before, if you… Continue reading A Different Light
I like really old stuff. I have so much antique glassware my husband recently told me he thought we might have to fortify the foundation of our house. Hyperbole not withstanding, I have a lot. I like drinking out of glasses my grandparents drank out of. I like eating off of plates that were used… Continue reading Picture Meaningful
Confession time. I was a science major. There, I said it. It’s out. What a relief! Does that mean I am not also an artist? Well frankly, I sure thought so. In fact, I could make you a chart quantifying my non-artistic characteristics. (My friends are shaking their collective heads right now both in exasperation… Continue reading Confessions of a Closet Artist
I am a morning person. I love the stillness of the morning. I love the way the groggy silence envelops me. Everything slows down. Without the noise that fills every other space in the rest of my day, I can see so much more clearly. I can hear my own voice so much more loudly.… Continue reading Seeing in Silence
When my daughter started rowing four years ago, I had a lot to learn. And of course, the ink wasn’t even dry on the check for rowing camp before I was grabbing my camera and heading for the shore. Needless to say that even shooting wildlife, I was used to a much slower subjects. Everything is… Continue reading Learn… to Let Go
I’d like to tell you that I’m one of those photographers who gets a brilliant idea for a shoot and then instinctively knows all of the right camera settings, the perfect location, and just the right camera angle to pull it off in one shot. I imagine this hypothetical artist getting up before the crack… Continue reading Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
One Sunday morning - ok practically the middle of the night- I convinced my husband to accompany me on a quest to shoot the sunrise over the Port of Everett. I knew the exact spot. I had glimpsed in passing these abandoned pilings of piers unused for decades. They had an almost romantic quality. I… Continue reading Open to the Unexpected
If you’re old as I am, you probably remember buying film. Film was a relationship. Film was like giving up the lease on your apartment and moving in with your boyfriend. You committed. You committed to black-and-white or color. You committed to speed. You committed to brand. You loaded it into your camera and unless… Continue reading The Digital Experiment
We are bombarded with images. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook deliver cute, scary, heartwarming, devastating, lush, and stark to our mental doorsteps every day. Don't get me wrong, I love a photographic documentary of a puppy raised with a lion cub who become lifelong friends as much as the next person. I just think that we… Continue reading Ordinary Magic
I suppose like all photographers I began very young. My first memory was of my dad lying on the ground in Volunteer Park in Seattle shooting up and to an awkward angle as brilliantly colored cyclist raced wildly around the corner on the knife-blade edges of racing slicks. I was fascinated and I was hooked.… Continue reading Connecting Through Images