Walking for Make-A-Wish

With 6 weeks until the fundraising walk I am reblogging this post in hopes of gathering a few more donations! Thanks again to everyone who’s donated or walking with us!

Random & Rhyme


The little boy in the picture is my good buddy Logan. He was diagnosed with Leigh’s disease about two years ago after years of diagnostic testing. Leigh’s is a Mitochondrial disease. You can read more about Leigh’s disease here and here. But the short explanation is:

“Leigh’s disease, genetic mutations in mitochondrial DNA interfere with the energy sources that run cells in an area of the brain that plays a role in motor movements. The primary function of mitochondria is to convert the energy in glucose and fatty acids into a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The energy in ATP drives virtually all of a cell’s metabolic functions. Genetic mutations in mitochondrial DNA, therefore, result in a chronic lack of energy in these cells, which in turn affects the central nervous system and causes progressive degeneration of motor functions.”       There is no cure.

Logan is the sweetest…

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I have been thinking about the death of fashion designer L’wren Scott since her suicide was reported several months ago.  We were about the same age, she was beautiful, in what seemed to be a happy relationship with a business that seemed to be growing and successful. I have been trying to understand what drives someone to take their own life, to be so depressed that death seems the only option for release.  And is there anything I could do to help people in my life that might be in that much despair. And with yesterday’s announcement of the death by apparent suicide of Robin Williams it brought all the questions flooding back again: Why? How could I have helped? Is there anyone I see or in my daily life that is struggling? What could I do? What should I do?

I know and love people with addictions and thankfully they have figured out ways to get clean or stay sober and I am in awe of their commitment and the work that they put in every day to get this far and live a sober life. I try to understand the addiction part, but I don’t know that I will ever truly understand. I just hope if they ever need help or are feeling themselves slipping that they will reach out and ask for my help or the help of someone who loves and cares for them.

I have a couple of friends that have taken antidepressants at different times in their lives, after a divorce and after a terrible breakup and job loss. They describe the despair, lethargy, sadness, loneliness and the difficulty doing even the simplest tasks. I just can’t imagine how hard that was for them, but I am so thankful that they were strong enough to seek help and that it actually worked for them. Both are now no longer taking drugs and are happy, back into life and feeling better.

I have been looking a few different sites about suicide prevention and I found the step-by-step advice on www.Suicideispreventable.org easy to use with helpful information – Know the signs, Find the Words and Reach Out.  Find resources and have them on hand so that you are prepared, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255. They also say if you think the situation is critical take the person to the nearest emergency room or call 9-1-1.  They have a lot more information to help you approach a conversation with someone you care about and love. If you need help they also have a link at the top of the page “GET HELP” that will link you to resources, help and someone to talk to about how your feeling and what you need. Please call.

I hope everyone has at least one person in their lives that they know loves and cares about them and wants them here with them and to help them find a reason to live.

Take care of yourself and take care of each other.

Mindful Living

Eating better, a coffee addiction, stress, lack of exercise and “living to work, rather than working to live” have all been on my mind lately. With probably one of the most stressful stretches of work in the last few months contributing to my sleepless nights, poor eating habits and coffee addiction, I am trying to make changes in my life to break the cycle. But man it is hard! Habits you are in are hard to break and habits you want to get into are hard to form.

On the eating better front, I try to buy healthy food and snacks; but when I get home exhausted and stressed out I don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up and end up eating something unhealthy or ordering in food that is also less than healthy and expensive. And then the healthy food I did buy on the weekend with good intentions ends up going to waste adding to my guilt over wasting money and food. It’s a vicious, vicious circle.

My coffee addiction, at least one or two “skinny vanilla lattes” every morning is needed or my day doesn’t really get started. My husband bought me a really nice Pasquiani espresso maker a few years ago for my birthday and I love it. I love it for many reasons, first I don’t have to get my clothes on and run to the local coffee place for my latte in the morning, second it’s much cheaper to make the latte at home with my own ingredients. But I still sometimes end up going to Starbucks or wherever to get another one because I just can wake up. And according to a recent New York Times article by Anna North the coffee addiction is just another fast food problem in America, here’s an excerpt;

“But the notion that lattes are a sign of privilege may be off-base. Kyla Wazana Tompkins, a professor of English and gender and women’s studies who’s a former food journalist and the author of “Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century,” told Op-Talk that “the latte, while it may be attached on a certain level to too much upper-class food knowledge and pretension, it really is no longer an upper-class drink.” She explained: “No matter how many kale salads Starbucks puts in their case, Starbucks is a fast-food purveyor.” The latte, she argued, “is a high-calorie food that’s being pushed in an industrialized way largely to working-class people.” And, she added, “it’s important to think about the explosion of all of these industrialized lattes, all these frozen lattes, all the Frappuccinos, as links to a larger problem of creating cheap, high-calorie, low-nutrition food for working-class people.”

I am not sure I totally agree with the “high-calorie” bit, while it is true you can get an 800 calorie frappuchino at any coffee outlet, just like you can get a 1,500 calorie meal at McDonalds, it is still about choices. My choice rings in at a reasonable 120 calories. But that gets back to what are the choices we are making in our lives. Do we consume 1,500 at lunch and then go back to our homes and sit on our butts watching TV or playing video games and then consuming our 1,5000 calorie dinner and going to bed. Or are we ordering a reasonable meal, getting some exercise and only occasionally indulging in a high calorie treat? We all have choices and make them everyday, either mindfully with intention or mindlessly to compensate for things that are missing in our lives or just plain out of a bad habit.

I also wrote recently about my attempt to “Learn Something New” and my new SUP boarding fun. But this also comes down to making time for exercise and doing something that is good for your mind and body. With 50+ hour work weeks, stress and the demands of family, pets, kids etc it can be very hard to fit in those things that are fun and good for you, but I am trying to make time for them because when I think about their importance to a healthy life I know that they are as critical as going to the dentist regularly and healthy eating.

Stress, work/life balance and taking better care of myself all seem problems I can’t seem to get control of and it’s my fault because I make my choices; consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes it feels like I take one step forward and two steps backwards in my conscience living attempts. But, I know it’s for my own good to keep trying, keep learning and keep improving and I will get there some day.

Do you have any tips for mindful living and making better life choices?


Myanmar in Pictures

Seth, a friend of mine that I mentioned in a previous post, I’m Afflicted with Wanderlust, who travels all the time and fills me with so much envy; traveled to Myanmar, the former country of Burma, last December. He took some amazing photo’s and had a couple of fundraisers/art shows sharing the beautiful pictures and tales of his travels. He offered one of his friends and me a tour on a recent visit to his office. (he’s a lawyer in his day job, I try not to hold that against him)

Seth proudly showing his photo’s

He also wrote a piece in the Daily Journal of Commerce about his trip where he shared some of the history of the country and a few interesting stories and misadventures. Here is an excerpt about a portion of his trip where he decided to rent a moped to head up to a hot spring outside a city he was visiting;

After a little reflection, I realized that weaving in and out of traffic (semis, buses, other mopeds), armed with a meek little horn and a broken blinker, was proof positive that I don’t value my own life quite enough. When I arrived, thankful to be counted among the living, I planted the kickstand, and that’s when I realized something else, a bit less important than the value of life. I had forgotten a towel.”

And yet he made the best of it when he decided to have a beer instead; a taxi driver found him interesting and wanted to know why he isn’t in the hot springs. Seth tells him that he forgot his towel, and the man hurries off and comes back with a longyi (According to Seth, a traditional cloth wrap worn by everyone other than tourists, replacing pants and similar to a sarong) for him to use to visit the pool.

For some reason this seems to be a typical Seth story, he forgets his towel and a man provides one, he smiles and a lady crosses the street to give him a flower(see below). No wonder he has survived months of travel and had really very little bad things happen to him.


Flower Woman

The lovely woman in the picture above is the one from his story that offered him a flower.

“I noticed someone dodging traffic, walking towards me, with purpose. The woman stopped and handed me a bright crimson flower with a short stem. I thanked her as best I could. She didn’t speak any English, and Burmese, the mother tongue, was way beyond my pay grade.

The woman cupped one hand and motioned towards her nose. “Smell it,” she implied, without saying anything. So I did. And I’m glad I listened. The smell was incredible: rich and fragrant, anise and clover.

I carried the flower with me that day and the next, all the way to the airport, where I finally left it, wilting on a window ledge.”

Seth is full of stories from his adventure; including trying some weird goopy “peyote” like substance from a stand and enjoying it, eating mostly street cart food and never getting ill, moped rides, crazy train rides and more. You can see more of Seth’s pictures on his website.


A Few of My Favorite Pictures


I now have another location on my bucket list of places to visit. Do you have a favorite place that you think I should see?


A New Favorite – Cooper Point Public House


A new pub opened up just down the road from my home about 6 or 7 months ago, the Cooper Point Public House. We have been driving by it almost everyday and finally decided to stop in and give it a try as part of my quest for “discovering home.”

We were met with a cheery hello and sit anywhere by the afternoon waitress, Hanna and promptly given menu’s and water. She asked if we would like her to get started on any drinks while we looked over the menu; I asked if she had a recommendation. She recommended a “Kentucky Mule” (Bourbon and Ginger beer with lime juice). Yummy and so refreshing on a hot day.

We had rolled in right at happy hour, so we decided to sample a few goodies off that menu. Fried Chicken Sliders, Crabcake Sliders and hand-cut french fries. We loved them all! The Fried Chicken Sliders come with a side of rich coleslaw and bar-b-q sauce – we slapped a little of both on the sliders, so good.  The Crabcake sliders came with some greens that had a honey mustard dressing on them – added some of the mustardy greens to the slider; also fantastic. And who doesn’t love a good basket of hand cut french fries and these are perfect.

Sam the owner stopped by to check on our meal and offer a few other suggestions for our next visit. With three visits under our belt we are working our way through their menu. Visit number two included fish and chips for my husband; I had to steal a piece of the fish it looked so good. The batter was super light and crispy so you could taste the high quality fish. I had their happy hour Grilled Chicken Caesar, which is a great deal, it’s the same size as the regular but 4 bucks cheaper during happy hour. The salad had lightly grilled chicken, crisp romaine with just the right amount of dressing. Hanna saw me picking out the croutons and said next time to request it without and they would be happy to make it the way I liked it.

If you live in the Olympia area or are passing through, we definitely recommend a stop at the Cooper Point Public House. Oh and they serve breakfast until 4pm.



Learning Something New and Getting Off My Ass

Paddle Boarding or more specifically SUP (Stand-up Paddle) Boarding has become my new addiction, even though I am only on day four I am pretty sure I’m in for the long haul. I have been wanting to try this sport for some time now and had plans to do it on our last California road-trip instead of surfing(which I also really want to try, but am freaked out by the whole shark aspect of the sport). I had scouted out a couple of companies down around Santa Cruz where we were supposed to be headed this year and was already to go try it for the first time, but if you have read my previous post you know that our trip was canceled.

So, in an attempt to salvage my now “staycation” I went in search of a local rental/lesson board shop here around the Olympia area. Lucky me I found West Bay Paddleboards and Owner Chris Fry. I called Monday morning to see if I could get in for a lesson, “yes” he had an opening at 2pm.


I was pretty nervous, afraid I was going to make a fool out of myself, drown or I don’t know, run into a boat. Chris gave me a demo of the basics, how to get on, how to stand up, how to turn, paddle, stop and emergency brake. He then walked me through getting on the board and paddling around on my knees a little bit to get used to the paddling strokes and the feel of the board. Then it was step by step on how to stand up, the next thing I knew I was standing, with my heart pounding and my paddle in the water heading out in the open water. Oh my goodness, even through my fears, I knew I was going to love this.

My second day I went out by myself and paddled around in relative silence watching the seals sun themselves on the log piles and seeing a few of them bob their heads up to take a look at me.  It was a great day on the water taking in the view of my city with the capital shining in the distance, the marina full of boats softly bobbing in the light waves and the huge rock in the harbor with 3 herons looking for their next meal. It was a lovely feeling of freedom and pride and happiness all rolled into one.

Capital from Budd Inlet

Capital from Budd Inlet

Day three was another perfect day and I decided to test my comfort zone a bit and headed out the furthest from shore and my dock that I had been so far. I got a bit concerned when a big black sail boat was heading right in my direction, but I busted it into high gear and got the heck out of the way. Then some out of towner who clearly wasn’t paying attention to the “no wake zone” came flying through the bay so I got to make my way through a couple of good-sized (well for a beginner on her own they were good sized) waves. I was definitely feeling more confident by the end of my third ride.

The time alone on the water seems to help me clear my head, begin to set some priorities and help me start thinking more directly about the things I want in my life. Yes, it was that good, plus it got me off my ass!

Have you been waiting to try something you have always thought would be fun?