Truth: We bought the sidewalks and the house came with them. Heather was going to enter high school, and special needs children’s education goes until they are 21 years old. So Heather would be in high school for 7 years.
When we looked back on our wonderful experience at Greenlake Elementary school, one of the components that made Heather’s day was the half-mile stroll to school. Once I got over being the mother with the kid in the wheel chair, a peaceful part of our day was the walk to and from school.
The idea was born: Find the program that will fit Heather best, then move to the area and walk to school. Shorewood High School came highly recommended, but they are also notorious for no sidewalks, so we were slow to even check the program out. One day we decided to meet the highly recommended classroom, and lo and behold: a cul-de-sac was being built right across the street! And every new contruction in Shoreline has to be built with sidewalks!!
This was our house being built in 2004
That day we got to buy into a 10 house cul-de-sac development. We could finish the house out the way we would like it on the inside, making it a hair more wheelchair friendly. If you know me, housing developments kind of crack me up, yet I am so very thankful for ours, and I usually say with a twinkle in my eyes, “We bought the sidewalks and the house came with them.”
Today, Heather is 12 days away from graduation. Those were the fastest 7 years of my life. All I can say is still love the sidewalks. What’s next for Heather? Stay tuned.
Somehow I’m blown away by other peoples’ skills and talents. I have many friends who have careers that are quite amazing. I know airplane designers who have been with Boeing for 30 years, lawyers, photographers, teachers, a member of the Seattle Police Department, librarians, counselors, hair stylists, and graphic artists. I am always wowed by what they do. Oh, and I met most of them at one place. The place I call home away from home: Weight Watchers. I am a leader in the greater Seattle area.
Photo by Crystal Hynek
Photo by Crystal Hynek
I am an odd Weight Watchers leader in that I am a little sarcastic, but I try to keep it down. I’m there because Colin and I lost 127 lbs together 10 years ago and staying working for the company keeps our head in the game.
I also found out about eight years back that Weight Watchers was a great place to pass on my “Finish Line Empowerment” philosophy. There is something about being able to cross a finish line and saying, “I did it.” Many of us start with a 5K run/walk of some kind and get hooked. This year Weight Watchers had a Walk It Day Challenge. Weight Watchers all over the U.S. showed up for events in Weight Watcher t-shirts. Two other local leaders, Suzanne Winters and Nicole Nazzaro, gathered members from their meetings to participate in the West Seattle 5K.
Photo by David Rosen, SlickPix Photography 2011
My goal for this race was to gently recruit as many WW as possible to the starting line. For many on our team, this was their first race. We celebrated this moment on several levels. This was Janet’s first race; it was a risk for her to sign-up, show-up, and keep going. She wanted to do it really badly. I got to know some of Janet’s story on our walk along Alki beach that morning. I think that’s what I love the most about these events: you get to know someone’s story.
For our latest meeting of the Wise Women, I made a vegan curry soup to share. (Full disclosure: I’m vegan at home, but I’ll eat anything someone cooks for me with love.) I was tickled that all the omnivores enjoyed this recipe. How could we go wrong with Linda’s side of pita and hummus and Phoebe’s delicious blueberry crumble for dessert?
Vegan curry soup (serves 6+)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp ground coriander
4 cardamom pods
8 dried cloves
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped fine
2 sweet potatoes, skinned and cubed
3 small yukon gold potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 cups petite crimson lentils (any lentils will do, but I love the color of these!)
1/4 cup dried split peas
6-10 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onions and garlic. When the onions get translucent, push aside and add the spices to the hot pan. Your house will smell like an Indian restaurant!
Stir. Add the sweet potatoes, potatoes, and carrots. The nice thing about this recipe is all your cutting can be really rough, since we’re going to puree before we add the lentils… Then add about 4-6 cups of water (enough to cover everything) and bring your pot to a boil.
Simmer until all the veggies break apart with a fork. (This took about 30 minutes from the time I added the water in my massive pan.)
Let the soup cool slightly. Then use an immersion blender to blend until mostly smooth. (A few chunks are OK.)
I started another 3-4 cups of water boiling in a separate pan to boil up my lentils and split peas, but you could probably add some more water to your puree and boil them right in the main soup. But I like to boil my legumes into a mush, then add them to the soup.
Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as more curry spices if desired.
This is the kind of soup that I think gets even better after sitting in the fridge overnight and reheating.
We made three phone calls, then we were on our way out of town. Colin got time off work, I called a sub, and Toni said yes to caring for Heather. It all happened on a Tuesday night when we saw the weather forcast. We decided Highway 101 going south would be perfect to just see how far we could get before we decided to turn for home. We had two and a half days to spend.
I tried taking pictures while riding on the back of the motorcycle. So you see what I was seeing. This is Lake Crescent on my right.
We stopped for lunch at Klalock. So incredibly beautiful we spent a hour there.
One last soaking view of the ocean and we were off again.
Then we found a cabin just our size off the beaten trail, and decided to relax, go for a swim, and watch what ever we could get on TV that night on the 4 channels they recieved. Let’s just say this experience reinforces why we don’t watch much TV.
Next day more highway. Lots of twists and turns, shade from trees and bright spots from direct sunlight, and usually water not far away. This is the road where I fell in love with motorcycles almost three years ago, where I just don’t get to see beauty, I feel it too. Thank you Highway 101.
This week I got an intriguing invitation: the publicist for the art book La Figa: Visions of Food and Form invited me to be one of the models for Tibero Simone, Seattle’s “Sensual Chef,” at the launch event for the book. The venue? The Seattle Erotic Art Festival. (Don’t worry, these links are safe for work! Even if they’re not the kind of thing you’d expect us to be linking to.)
La Figa: Food and Form by Chef Tiberio Simone Photographed by Matt Freedman
I have seen images from the book– beautiful pictures celebrating diverse bodies and food together in tasteful, gorgeous photographs. I was assured that nudity was not required. But still, I couldn’t do it. The convenient reason I said no to being nude with food in a public place (or just offering up my body as a palate at the Erotic Art Festival) is that I have schedule conflicts. The more complicated reason: I sometimes swear like a sailor and can spit out double entendres with the best of them, but I don’t like being on display, I don’t like strangers touching me or scrutinizing my body, and despite having what I believe is a healthy self image, there are many parts of me that I’d rather only my mirror, my husband, and my RN see.
So I won’t be the one covered in chocolate leopard spots or wearing the arm cuff of sliced strawberries this weekend. Those who do, more power to you! Cheers to those who celebrate what Tibero calls “foodity not nudity.” I have to admit, I was kind of tickled by the possibility– and very relieved to say no. I guess there are some brave things I’m just not ready to do, and that’s OK.
Today is Heather’s first official day at the zoo. When we pick up our name badges, it is certified: We are Ambassadors at Woodland Park Zoo, the Heather Team. Toni and I went to the 16 hours in classroom training where the total download of WPZ conservation philosophy and orientation took place. Then our whole team, Heather included, did another 9 hours of training with a wonderful mentor on the zoo grounds going over every exhibit. Now it’s time to do our job!
Heather has her greeting switch with the welcoming words, “Are you enjoying the zoo?” prerecorded. When she hits her switch a voice from a box speaks for her. She is an ambassador for the zoo and for children with disabilities. Little people who have curious minds wonder, “What is going on here? This person is small, she is the size of a 7-year-old, and she is in a wheel chair. What’s up with that?” Their curiosity is usually easily satisfied with a reply from me or Toni, “This is Heather and she was born this way. This is how she talks.”
The zoo is a great place for Heather to be. She loves outside! Anything outside is wonderful in her book. It is a natural bridge for young under-5 kiddos to see and get used to Heather at the zoo. And it’s a rain or shine place to go, since several exhibits have coverings. And when the sun is out the world comes to WPZ, it seems.
So if you are a Woodland Park Zoo patron: Look for Heather at the zoo! Either Toni or I will be with her. We will be part of the Zoo Ambassadors who try to help you have a good time, oh and help you find your way if you’re lost.
In the last two weeks, my husband and I have been out of town for pre-wedding celebrations for two wonderful couples. All the couples’ trivia games and champagne toasts to impending unions have me mulling over the power of partnership.
One of the things that marriage means to me is that I am part of a dynamic duo. Sometimes I feel like the superhero, sometimes the sidekick. But whatever I’m up against, whether it’s a stressful week, illness, housework, paying the bills, or long-term planning, I have support. Then when the good times come, they seem doubled or squared because our happiness bounces back, like light reflected between mirrors.
Writing with Linda, I understand that having a work partner has many of the same benefits. When we’re facing a task we aren’t especially enthusiastic about, I plow through because I know that Linda is doing it, too. With two of us working on a difficult project, it not only goes faster, it goes easier. Alone, I might be tempted to give up or get frustrated, but writing with Linda provides accountability and incentive to do my best. It also stops me from procrastinating.
One day, I had a laundry epiphany. I just finished folding the whites. As the Spring Breeze freshness spread through the house, my husband looked up from his work, smiled, and said sincerely, “Thank you you for doing the laundry.” I usually do the laundry. My husband usually thanks me. But for some reason, this particular interaction made me realize: When I lived by myself and did my own laundry, I just cleaned my clothes as a chore; it was never a reason for gratitude. I never stopped and thanked myself for doing it. I sure berated myself when I didn’t do it (“What a pigsty! How can I not have any clean socks?”). But now that I toss my hubby’s socks in with mine, suddenly a basic modern human function becomes cause for praise.
That gratitude works in my writing partnership, too. If I change a paragraph in my own writing, I’ve done what a writer should do. But when I change a paragraph in our book, Linda writes comments like, “Way to go, Mouse!” or “Perfect!” in the margins, then thanks me for adding to our labor of love. Her appreciation makes every accomplishment feel like a cause for celebration Linda is so great at jubilation, I think I’ll have to save that gush for another post!
Do you have someone who shows you the power of partnership?
My comrade of hope is moving away. Our friendship was formed during trying times in both our lives–trust me, 2010 was a rough year for many of us. We had a time once a week where we would meet and share the week’s stories. We would just listen and watch for what God might be doing in our lives. She was the one who kept the book alive. When stopping writing seemed like a good option, she said, “Could you just try to keep going? People like me need to know that just one foot in front of the other is all that is required some days. Just go and sit and tell Tegan your hard hospital story.”
It became very clear that a move to be closer to her extended family was coming, but then Bam! We are packing the moving van. Even though we knew it felt inevitable, it also felt so sudden.
My Sunday evening chat time will be empty. The time zone difference will be a pain. I can already see the wisdom of the move and the release of stress on her family, yet I just plain miss her already. I’ve learned that if you call things the right name they heal faster or surer. So I say it: I will miss Beth a ton. Grief is like that.
Beth, this will be the first time the Wise Women, our readers’ circle, will gather without you, and you will be missed. Yet in every breath we wish you well, and we can’t wait for news that your family is settling in…
I didn’t really get twitter. How can 140 characters or less convey anything true or meaningful?
I am still a bit dubious, but I am beginning to enjoy this tweeting/twittering little way of connecting to people. Through hashtags (“#”) and retweets (“RT”), I am discovering a wider world of clever, strong, inspiring, and funny people. And delightfully, they’re finding Linda and me, too. The wonders of technology.
Imagine my surprise when a tweet I sent out wound up digitally immortalized on BJ in Catonsville’s blog! BJ is a “Runner, writer, student, Dad and husband, all rolled into one.” His posts about getting lost, his dog, and Easter (among many) made me laugh out loud at the computer. By compiling tweets using his hashtag #youknowyourearunnerif in a blog post, BJ did the online equivalent of introducing a group of runners to one another over the digital punch bowl. Social media genius! I may be starting to understand this twitter thing now.
In the big cocktail party of the internet, twitter may be small talk, but sometimes small talk really can lead to new friends. Thanks, BJ. If you’re ever out in Seattle, the round of electrolyte drinks is on us!
BJ in Catonsville from bjincatsonville.blogspot.com (with his daughter)