Thursday, August 26, 2010

Silver Linings.

Today as I was going about my daily rituals around reading the various blogs I follow, one in particular slapped me across the face based on its ironic appropriateness.

I’m going to write this with the utmost emphasis on my attempts to not be dramatic. Though I realize such content is dramatic by nature, for some reason the actual experience lacked in any of the typical anxiety or tension.

You see my ex is leaving Seattle and moving across the country to NYC, and this morning we met for a quick coffee to say ‘goodbye’ to each other. My ex, meaning my ex-husband. Considering I never really talk to him, do not make time in my life for him, rarely think about him and in the nicest way I can say this I will not miss him per say – its still just all a bit odd. More than his presence was felt here in Seattle, his absence will be noticeable. Even though we are so not a part of each others’ lives anymore, here in teeny Seattle inevitably we ran into each other on an annual basis. I would see him on the street, see him go by on his scooter, or run into him while out some place. We’d catch up. We’d chat. And over the last few years I haven't had to make any conscious effort to be, or NOT to be, friends with him. Because he was just there. Somewhere off in Seattle and just as the year before I was bound to run into him, catch up quick, and then move on with my life. It was all very organic and it was what it was. So now that he is moving, and there is the very fact that I will likely never see him again, I admittedly feel a bit strange about it. Not sad. Well maybe a little sad. But mostly just weird. Strange. Odd. We came here together five years ago. I moved here to Seattle because of him and though we will leave different – at different times but also as different people – I am grateful I did in fact come here.

This brings me to my point. Thank goodness, right?

The blog.

Here's how it starts:

"Let me start by saying that I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life.
BUT the thing is, I am grateful for those mistakes. Because if I hadn’t made them, I wouldn’t be where I am today… "

So often I think about this notion. I have talked about it with many of my friends and and I think its partly why I feel like I don’t have any real regrets in my life. I do not regret moving to Seattle and marrying my ex. Had I not, I would have never met all of the people I call friends here in Seattle. I would never have learned to snowboard, backpack or climbed Mt Adams. I would have never worked with Lisa B at my first agency, decided to visit her in Aspen on a whirlwind girls’ vacation, and then subsequently met Tyson. And I would certainly never have written this blog, and learned that I love to write in general. My life and everything in it is a result of all of my life’s experiences piled on top of one another. Not one of them could have happened without the things that happened before it. So with that, I say good luck to Mr. Z. Our past was a sad and very difficult mistake in my life, but I am grateful for it. I am who I am because of it. So much so that I have a hard time even calling it a 'mistake'. And I’m grateful he is happy and moving and adding to the experiences of his life. I wish him goodness and I wish him well. And maybe, just maybe, we'll run into each other again sometime, somewhere.

And for the mistakes I’m certain to make in the future, let's be honest it will still be irritating. But I’ll be just fine. Something good, or at least interesting, will come of them!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Road Trip.

As my parents gear up for their 40th wedding anniversary Road Trip, I can't help but get so excited for them. My dad's been tweaking and tightening up their 1970s camper - Matilda - while my mom has been reupholstering the furniture inside and sewing new curtains. I must say, the authentic wall paper and wood grain finishes are absolutely adorable and true to the era of the camper, along with some solid upgrades like real wood flooring instead of shag carpet.

Their tentative route starts with a rumble down Strehler's dirt road heading southwest to San Francisco. From there they will drive up the CA coast through Oregon to Washington and eventually to Seattle, before heading back home through Montana and the northern states.

I wish them so much goodness, laughter and patience on their journey. After forty years together they deserve nothing but the best in this experience. I'm so proud of you Mama and Poppy for jumping off this cliff and making this trip happen! Here's some inspiration for what I hope is the best trip of your lives! Simple goodness.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

" night of my life."

Grab a cauldron and toss in:

+ Eight women who met in college nearly thirteen years ago

+ NYC and a three-bedroom apartment in the Upper West Side to stay in for free.

+ A weekend away from kids, family, husbands, jobs, boyfriends, workout routines and any other obligations

+ Curled hair and a dab of lipstick

+ A fabulous shared dinner at the Stanton Social in the Lower East Side

+ Gimlets and cocktails of the like

+ Conversations about what we want to accomplish in the next year

+ College card games at a teeny bar in the Village where a guy named Helvis bought eight shots plus one for himself

+ NYU boys with strange glasses looking to impress "older" women

+ A crazy DJ who also buys shots for eight women

+ Hours and hours of dancing and laughing and free-flowing Happy being tossed around like a football

Once you've added all of the above ingredients, lightly blend together, but be careful. Such a list is likely to incite craziness and will eventually produce Haley proclaiming with uncontained JOY, "This is the best night of my life!"

When some of the college gals started tossing around the idea of going to New York City for a girls' weekend, I thought it sounded like a great idea. Who wouldn't agree that such an idea is great? I simply didn't think it was a viable option. A dream is what I thought it was. Without sounding negative, I guess I just assumed that though it was a splendid notion, life is a little nutty right now with young kids, new jobs, layoffs and bi-coastal living all happening at once.

But when one person booked, more followed and pretty soon every single person was on a 7am flight out of Minneapolis for the weekend.

Saying its rare to have all eight of us together is beyond an understatement. And to have us all together in a place far from distraction can only be described as the first time ever since college graduation. Friday night was designated the evening to go out and hit the town. As described by the above cauldron, it was clearly a recipe for success. At one point someone made a rule not to talk about kids. I think this simple rule subconsciously transferred over and onto all things having to do with the daily rituals of life. Instead of talking about our jobs or our partners we started describing the things we all would like to do in our lives before the next girls' weekend. It was so special and so important.

Saturday we milled about the city. Grabbed lunch at a wonderful vegan cafe. Checked out the new Highline Park. Rested our feet just in time for some happy hour sangria. And pretty soon we were curled up in the apt. in our sweatpants ordering take-out and setting up the outdoor terrace for a cozy dinner in. Again the conversation turned to the things that we never seem to talk about when discussing What's Happening This Week over email. Each taking a turn, we went around the group and learned each person's High and Low over the past year. I must admit, when this little exercise was announced I thought to myself, Are We In Therapy? But again, more than the subtleties of life, such topics were more poignant and real than I think we've shared in years and years.

I am certain we all agree the weekend was a total success. It was a perfect potion of crazy and fun and laughter, but also remarkably connecting and soulful. As I made my way to the airport a flurry of texts was constant. Each of us felt compelled to write and express our gratitude for the weekend and for each other. Its Thursday now and I am still seeing reflective sentiments over email and text from all of us as we think back on what will forever be an EPIC weekend.

Cheers to you seven. Amazing women and friends.
I love you gals. I appreciate you all in my life!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The weeks leading up to my semi-annual trips to MN are productive to say the least. I begin packing a week before departure and a week or more before that I begin making a list of items to pack. I send emails and work my little nubs sending texts and making phone calls. I make plans for BBQs, family time, friend time, quick coffee chats, dinners, lunches, brunches, breakfasts and pop-bys. My mind weighs heavy with the calendar of information and slotting allocation, but also with a large dumbbell of expectation. This is not to say that I am popular but rather, I am a freak of nature. There is an endless and impossible list of things I always want to do and people I want to see. With all of the anticipation and build-up, I am usually overcome with a mix of emotions. But, I am never disappointed upon arrival and this trip was no different. Anxiety, guilt, stress, and contemplation turns to love, joy, appreciation, laughter, happiness, delight and well…I guess a hefty second dose of contemplation. But in a good way. A nostalgic gratitude for my friendships and for my family.

MN showed up, the punctual gal that she is, in classic form. Humid and Sticky. Sunny. Wet with lakes. Gritty with sand. Funny. Sweet. Sentimental. Honest. A heartbeat of constant movement, but also stolen peace in the sharing of stories and life banter in small meetings with darling loved ones. Marked by a perfectly placed period at the end of the MN sentence, I spent my final evening with sparkling conversation over dinner with Grandma P. And when I shut my eyes to sleep knowing morning would abruptly put my on a plane to NYC en route to girls’ weekend, I felt light as a falling feather and fuzzy with cherished memories.

I was able to see my most special friend of twenty-two years in her wedding dress. She looked amazing and she will be even more amazing on their special day = New Years Eve. ● My brother and his wife invited me to play on their sand volleyball league which granted me the first time back to the sport since I broke my ankle playing two years ago. It was an intense and well-matched game and I found myself competitive and totally enraged when things didn’t go our way. Just the way I like to play sports J. ● I was thrice lucky enough to float around smiling with my parents on their boat. And when my Poppy finally flopped down into a chair after an afternoon cruise on my last day, his words, “There really is something truly relaxing about being on water.” I thought to myself: Indeed. Amen. ● My mama and I had a girls’ night out in a townie bar complete with fresh Miller Light on tap. She is awesome. ● Poppy and I had a daddy/daughter breakfast. We solved the worlds’ problems. ● I was able to see a good friends’ new-ish house and her new-to-me baby! ● Tyson and I finally saw my brother’s new house and gained insider info on his new-ish girl crush. ● We threw a BBQ in which every attendee subsequently became sick! Including us. Many, many trips to the bathroom and two days of abstaining from eating left me down, but not out. And now a curious media flurry around a MN Salmonella outbreak! Sheesh. ● I was trusted to watch my deliriously adorable niece and equally spectacular nephew. Both of these little people spark a love in my soul to which I cannot assign words. I know that when I drove out of the driveway I sobbed knowing I won’t see them again until the winter. Boy do they add a specialness to life. ● Coffee with Beth. Coffee with Tim. ● Lunch with Ann. Lunch with Jora and her Mama and sister. ● MM. ● Lunch with pals in Northeast Mpls and a dip in Lake Minnetonka. ● And really, just goodness. A whole lot of goodness.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I haven’t really felt like blogging. I’m not really sure why. Maybe something to do with my shortened evenings and pressure to fit it all in before going to bed. That, or the lack of sporadic free time during the day the world of advertising afforded me in the past. In any case, I have not been blogging. Then again, there is no need to state the obvious. Look at the date on the last post for crying out loud.

I uploaded the photos from my camera last night in an effort to click through the memories of my ten-day vacation in both Minnesota and New York City that culminated on Sunday. Low and behold there were photos from Beer Olympics and Doreen’s visit and a number of other things still living inside the walls of my memory card. THIS, a first. Usually I skip over to my computer immediately after any event – small or large –giddy to see what the camera scooped up.

As I paged through the images I began to realize that I’ve had a pretty good summer indeed. And reflecting back on my trip I am becoming more inspired to write and share. Those lakes, family and friends in Minnesota and the crazy, incessant laughter in NYC seemed to be food for the soul in a big way.

On the plane I flipped through a several-weeks-old Time Magazine and began reading the 10 Questions page that lives near the front of every issue. This time the questions were directed at Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. I found it ironic that in my current state of euphoria sparked by my recent travels, his final two questions were the following:

What bands influenced you?
A lot of Minneapolis bands like Husker Du and the Replacements. After that, the Ramones, then the local punk rock scene that we came from in Berkley, CA.

Why do you never seem to age?
[Laughs.] I definitely age. It’s about trying to mentally keep yourself in a place where you’re never resting on your laurels. That’s the fountain of youth. It has nothing to do with the wrinkles on your face, how fat you get or if you get gray hair. It’s your zest for life.

Minnesota definitely influenced me, and New York City provided me with a toe dip into the fountain of youth. My zest for life is pretty zesty at the moment. Stay tuned. Stories and reflection to come.