28 Feb

Summoning Summer

This one is especially for my friends who are in much colder places than Seattle right now.

I love snow, but I’ll be the first to admit that winter is not my season. If I were a superhero, my weakness would be the cold. I can sit in a 60º room with a sweater on and start shivering. I look at the beginning of December like an overloaded hiker staring up at an enormous, ice-capped mountain: ugh, how the hell am I going to get over that?

Over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies to survive the chilly months. Much to my husband’s dismay, I begin wearing a minimum of eight pieces of clothing at all times. I spend the first ten minutes of every shower convincing my body that yes, it is possible to be warm again. I turn the heat in my office up past 70 on both the thermostat and the space heater that sits directly behind my chair. And when breathing outside feels like inhaling knives, when I lose feeling in my toes in the first five minutes of my run, when my shoulder muscles have braided themselves into permanent knots and my hands are too stiff from the cold to type, I like to take a few minutes and summon summer.

Sunny Surf Read More

26 Feb

Monsters, Part I: Finding the Right Monster

I set out this morning to write a post about monsters. I make up weird creatures all the time as part of my writing, and I thought it would be fun to turn some of them loose here on my blog. Then a friend pointed me to this post, where Lauren Fleshman, a professional runner, tells the story of how she published unflattering photos of herself to give context to her “fantasy” pictures from a NY Fashion Week runway show. Her story made me think about fear and courage. It also made me think about how the real monsters in our lives aren’t always easy to spot.

Creepy devil? Sure. But not necessarily the demon I’m after.

There can be any number of villains in a story, but most good stories have one real monster. This monster is the primary entity that keeps the hero from getting to her goal. For me, one of the hardest parts about writing a story is figuring out whether I’m focusing on the correct monster. I’ll start detailing a man’s terrible hobby of encasing live frogs in melted glass only to realize that I’ve blamed the wrong bad guy; my protagonist is actually fighting against the ghost of her father. Read More

24 Feb

The Last Slice

Safely contained? Ha.

Oh, last slice of baklava. Tonight, I am being good. I finish devouring your sister and fold up my napkin. That’s it; no more. But as I reach out to close your plastic shell, you whisper, “See how the light gleams in the pooled honey next to my wrapper.”

It’s true. The honey does gleam, lying there in sweet half-globes. It seems dark against the black plastic, but I know that if I should happen to get some on my finger and hold it up to the light, it would be yellow. Yellow, sticky, and so sweet. I still have the sweetness on my tongue from the slice I ate.

But I am done for the night. I want to sleep soon, and if I have more sugar it will keep me up. I shut your container and push it to the edge of my desk, turn away and begin closing tabs in my Internet browser. I reach for my water, next to you, and happen to look down. Read More

19 Feb

Goodbye, My Friends

Sheet moss festooning a vine maple. Totally not a many-tentacled swamp monster… okay, okay, maybe it’s both.

Sheet moss festooning a vine maple. Totally not a many-tentacled swamp monster… okay, okay, maybe it’s both.

Seattle is a fertile environment. Plants will grow on anything that stays still for too long. I’ve cleaned sprouts out from the crevices around the trunk of my car, and I have a friend who found a small carpet of moss growing under his windshield wipers.

The upsides of this include the lush greenery everywhere and the vegetable garden that delivers buckets of yummy tomatoes despite my black thumb. The downsides include things like mold, which is a real issue in many buildings. Today, I learned it is a problem in my home. Read More

18 Feb

Puppy Meets Puget Sound

Golden Gardens in Winter

I hope you all had a nice long weekend! I spent some quality time on Presidents Day trying to figure out which of the electronics in my apartment was creating that lovely “I’m about to catch on fire!” smell. Turns out it was my computer, which led to even more quality time frantically backing up files in case the power supply was about to blow. My (fantastic, wonderful, and perfect in every way, and I’m totally not saying this just because he might be reading this right now) husband was nice enough to clean the dust out of the innards of my computer and test everything out for me. He thinks it will be fine, but if this blog post ends with a sudden fiery bang, well, you’ll know why.

The rest of my weekend was less exciting, but I did make it out to a local beach called Golden Gardens. With volleyball nets, fire pits, plenty of sand, and a gorgeous view of the Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound, Golden Gardens is mobbed in the warmer months. This time of the year, though, it’s a different story. Read More

08 Feb

A Picture for My Mother

When my husband and I first began dating, we went camping in Massachusetts in the beginning of October. The leaves were beginning to pop with color, but it was still warm enough during the day that we could hike in shorts. After I returned from this trip, I gushed to my mother about this wonderful guy and the gorgeous hike we’d taken.

It should not have surprised me, then, that my mother requested a picture of my new boyfriend and me for Christmas. She loves pictures, and since she lives across the country from me, she rarely has an opportunity to take them in person. Read More