weaving, woven



I woke up this morning in Edmonds, opened the blind over the huge picture window at the head of the bed and on the side I was sleeping appeared a dangling spider. I looked more closely as clearly it was swaying from side to side and not attached to the window, to see it was situated firmly in the center of about a 24 inch perfectly woven web.

My husband who reads animal cards every single day sat right down, pulled and read the spider card for me and the words that stuck out were “create, create, create”.


Before noticing the spider – who remains right there, right over my pillow 10 hours later – my mind was filled with ideas as I woke up early to the sounds of train whistles, ferry horns and my husband’s sweet rhythmic breath of slumber.

I was thinking about this great life we’ve found ourselves smack dab in the middle of, seemingly out of nowhere. Yet just like that spider, we’ve been weaving it for years, decades even. Every time we held on to a wish, a feeling of deservingness against all odds, we were weaving.


Yesterday we had one of those days that while you’re in the middle of it, you know you will reflect on it for years to come as one of your best days ever.


It started out on the train–the Amtrak Empire Builder that we hopped on on it’s very last leg from Chicago to Seattle. It was just a 30 minute ride but truly spectacular. We sat in the upper level and felt like we glided on air along the Puget Sound coastline in our reclining comfortable leather seats side by side.


My husband is a total train nut so seeing him in his element was also a thrill for me. He has studied every aspect of trains all his life and is filled with minute details about the cars, engines, the rails themselves. He was like a kid in a candy store.


We landed in Seattle in to the most gorgeous train station I’ve ever seen, not that I’ve seen that many, but I had no idea a station existed as a living art form like this. We oohed and ahhed at the carved walls and ceilings and certainly noticed that we’d both landed on Track 5 to debark and were welcomed in to Door 5. Our 5’s just keep showing up over and over again. Like magical stepping stones.

image image image image

We embarked out on our day of exploring in Seattle with very little planned other than tickets to see the movie The Martian at the famous Cinerama movie theatre at 3:15. And our return trip on the train at 6:50.


We simply started walking, found a hat to replace the one my bald husband lost the day before on our way and meandered our way to Pike Place Market by 10:30. We decided to get a bite to eat at the well known Lowell’s cafe with it’s gorgeous 3 story views and landed at, you guessed it, a waterfront table. As we finished our breakfast the crowd kind of thinned and out came our travel chess set. John’s been teaching me chess this trip so we’ve been playing it on the go from the airplane to happy hour to coffee shops. Of course I lose every single time but that’s to be expected. At least I give him a run for his money and staved him off my King for over an hour one time. Psych vics he calls my psychological victories which are increasing my confidence.


We wound our way through the market then huffed up a STEEP hill to my favorite tiny coffee shop in Seattle, Moore’s. It’s my favorite because a. it’s out of the way b. I love this Cafe Madrid they serve there and c. they are famous for putting designs in the foam. I got the Madrid, John got hot chocolate and we sat on the tiny patio on the street, you guessed it, playing chess. I got my very first “Check!” during that game…SCORE!



From there we found our way to Cinerama, careful to be on time as last time we went we deedawdled drinking champagne in a nearby lounge and were half an hour late. The movie was really good and we had great seats where we could prop our feet on the railing in front of us. We sure love our movies. And the half regular half chocolate popcorn they uniquely offer there.


We had just about enough time afterward to quickly hoof it the mile and a half back to the Amtrak Station and got there just minutes before they started boarding the Cascade train back to Edmonds. Another fantastic ride but this time we got the sunset–spectacular seems too small a word for it. Gliding along like that taking in the scenery with our legs stretched out on one another’s laps like lazy dogs–heaven.


image image image image

It was just one of those days–one you will never forget. Only to be capped with one of our favorite dinners–the “nack paddler” (snack platter) of Washington cheeses, crackers, almonds, fruit and a delicious bottle of white wine from our Finger Lakes wine weekend he’d hauled all the way from PA. Everything with us is a celebration filled with fun and love and humor.



And we don’t seem to be slowing down at all–the opposite–we’re accelerating. And gliding on air.

I went from the most unlucky person in love I really knew to the luckiest.


All I can say right now about that is when your dream is standing before you, grab it and don’t look back or even sideways. Just grab it and leap.


Then you can look out and see the web that’s been woven all along, just waiting for you to take your rightful place at it’s very center, safe, supported and vibrantly alive.

Oh, and PS? We went and looked at a home here in Edmonds today that is very likely our dream home and on the way in saw two dangling spiders. Wish us luck on that lottery ticket we bought using the numbers from a card left behind for me in a fortune telling machine at the Market yesterday.

image image

seattle bound (again)



Sorry I’ve been a bit absent lately.  I’ve been doing this 10 day cleanse which has been kicking my ass challenging and making me kind of go more inside than I usually do.  But I’m glad I did it.  I do believe it is making big changes and will have a profound impact on my health.  It’s just not been an easy one for me. I feel better today, on Day 9 than I have through the entire deal though.


I had a great last weekend in Sedona–went to a dance class with one of my oldest and dearest friends Wendy in Flagstaff.  Some combination of the cleanse and high altitude had me stepping out frequently to catch my breath.  I could definitely tell my body was going through something.   I travel tomorrow which is Day 10 so I’m not exactly sure right now how I’m gonna handle that.  I may do a kind of half day.

I’m so psyched about heading up to Seattle again tomorrow..yay!  That place has some kind of magical draw for me.  I remember all the wonderful things I did last year and all the great people I met along the way and just smile. I have plans to meet up with at least two of them.  I’m gonna try to hit that Grande Dame again but at NIGHT…spooky!  Pushin the envelope. 😉


I’ve spent this week doing some planning–got a ticket to a play, made Sat. dinner plans with a friend up there, found this literary theatre company I’m going to do my best to get to, gonna take a road trip up to Whidbey Island going on THREE ferries, landing in Port Townsend where I will spend the night in a haunted hotel that used to be a brothel.  I hope to kayak over there too–the weather claims to be rain free and cool!  Perfect even if it is cloudy. I just love that cloudy mystique up there.


I’m packing light as I’m staying in an airbnb guest cottage that has it’s own laundry…score!  I want to do most of my Christmas shopping while I’m there as I’ll be in all kinds of cute shopping locales.

Wish me luck on the writing contest I entered–I’ll find out Sat. morning at the conference if I placed.  😉  It would be a little feather in my cap yet I’m glad I just went through the process of entering at all.  I learned a lot about editing my wordy self!


my room has a view of the Sound

I intend to embrace every single second of this trip in every possible way as it will be one of two of my last solo free-wandering trips before I get “tied down” with my puppy!  Which has me so excited I think about it daily, all day long basically. 😉 I’m so ready for my wonderful life to get even more wonderful with this little addition.

I have so much support and energy around this which is also telling me I’m making a very correct decision–3 friends have offered to throw me a “puppy shower”, FIVE friends (and my Dad) have offered to drive with me to CA to pick him up in Jan. and so many people are just expressing so much excitement for me.  I don’t tend to get this kind of “can I help you?” energy around me as I tend to sort of manage things on my own so this is a very very good sign that my life is changing in a good way.  And I’m soaking it all up!


Finally, I’m aware that the Jodi Arias sentencing retrial started this week and I won’t be attending this time around.  I feel like I offered a great deal of myself the during the five month main trial, my presence isn’t necessary and where I’m really needed is in my own life–taking care of myself, my own family and trippin the light fantastic living a life that would make my sister happy for me.  I know where I belong and am stepping right in to it.  I wish the Alexanders the very best in getting through this and hopefully this phase will move swiftly and they can start to move on past this lengthy court battle soon.

Phoenix Metropolitan Men's Chorus

Oh and one last thing!  Alfonse has attended two rehearsals now and is doing well I think!  I don’t know if I mentioned that, miraculously, my friend Linda knows the person that is the head of the Baritone section which he will be singing in (meaning his direct leader) and he is a Special Education teacher.  Could it be any more perfect?  Someone who is already sensitive to people with special needs.  I’m still pinching myself that he even got in.  He’s doing well, seeing a Psychiatric Naturopath now who will be another great support person on his team and allows me to step back and relax a bit.  I think it’s been over a year now that he’s been hospitalized which is a big big deal in our world.  So, all is well there.  🙂


I will probably pop in with some photos from my trip so stay tuned but my writing is gonna be more by hand in my journal.  I want to drop in to the world of experiencing and I guarantee will love every minute of it.







proud (part five, the finale)



can you spot the rainbow?

Ok, I’ve got the day off, the carpet cleaner is downstairs, I’m sequestered in my bedroom with my kale smoothie so it’s time to wrap this baby up.

I think maybe I’ve been stalling writing this last installment of my Seattle trip because I really don’t want to finish it.  I’m still basking in the glow of all that unfolded and burst forth on that magical mystery tour so I want to keep my buzz alive.  That’s always the challenge isn’t it?  After peak experiences?

We left off with my last night in Edmonds, wandering the downtown streets, alone being chased by demons (in my head) and surviving the trip back to the Best Western. That’s right.

I was so wired on adrenaline and fueled with the thought I really could sleep in, enhanced by the free HBO in the hotel, I ended up staying up until about 2am before falling in to a deep stretched out sleep in that comfy King sized bed.

The next morning I had one thought on my mind.  Well, two.  Checking out of there by 11 and taking my car on the ferry across the Sound.  I kept going back and forth on the ferry business.  Why was it so important to take my car?  I could just walk on and basically get the same experience but a little less complicated.  But I just couldn’t shake the notion of driving that red Chevy Cruze on the ferry so I landed on “you’re going to drive your car on the ferry just because you want to do it”.  Simple as that.  That’s kind of how I rolled through the whole trip so why stop now?

I repacked my suitcase and carry on, loaded it up in the car and drove over to the ferry station which was basically a ghost town.  The next ride out was about 45 minutes away.


I really couldn’t figure out the system over there with all of these lanes but blocked off with cones.  No one was in the little station (lunch hour) so I roamed around, both the “drive your car on the ferry” area and the walk-on area.

It’s all so neat, clean, friendly there.  Inside, where the pedestrians go, I saw a sign that said “Remember!  This is your last chance for:  newspapers, restrooms, water, snacks”.   Something like that right at the entry to the long jetwayish thing that takes you down to the ferry dock.

I bookmarked that thinking “oh they must not have plumbing on the ferry, no restrooms or water”.  More on that later.

It was a drizzly, perfect day with bouts of sun peeking out from time to time but I was enjoying the cloudiness and the soft rain on my face.  Someone told me real Washingtonians don’t really do umbrellas so I was joining in, glad that I had a hood on my cute new tie dyed turquoise yoga sweatshirt. 🙂


I just walked around, sat on a bench overlooking the sound then lo and behold there was the ferry arriving.

Now I’d read that cars line up 20 min. prior to departure but there wasn’t a car in sight.  It was odd.  So I watched the parade of what seemed like 100 cars and trucks exit the ferry.  It was never ending!  Then once it was finished I drove down to inquire.  The only vehicle in the loading area was a handicapped van.  A very nice, very cute young man came over to my car and I opened my window smiling and said “clearly I have no idea what I’m doing here”.

He cheerfully replied “that’s ok Hun, the cars line up on the street back there” and  pointed way past where I’d been waiting in the parking lot.  He gave me exact directions how to get over there peppering it with a few more “huns” and “dolls” which I absolutely love, and off I went.  You pay the toll there and get in line.  There were already probably 75 cars lined up and here I was, there so early like a dope waiting over in the totally wrong place.  Now I was kind of in the back.  Which was all ok because really, what hurry was I in?  None.

I was just in this thing for the pure experience.  Isn’t that fun to do sometimes?  Just do something because it sounds cool with absolutely no need to do it?

I have to say I felt like a kid in line for a Disneyland ride waiting to board that ferry.


We were led on line by line in a very orderly fashion.  I passed my little ferry boyfriend as I boarded, opened my window and shouted “hey, thanks for the help!” and he yipped back “no worries doll, have fun!”.  I had a huge smile on my face.

20131017-123456.jpg 20131017-123446.jpg

What was funny though and makes me laugh right now, is that I had an almost identical reaction boarding the ferry as I did the Grande Dame.  “OMG I have no water!  I should have purchased water!  And now of course I have to pee!”.  Neurosis meets the physiologic effects of mild anxiety.  😉


I kind of followed the leader, parked my car, got out and followed the signs upstairs.  Imagine my surprise when I saw signs for both “restrooms” and “cafeteria”.  haha!  Joke’s on me and my neurosis!

20131017-123543.jpg 20131017-123523.jpg

They even have a full freaking BAR on that huge ferry!  It was like a cruise ship!

I wandered all over that Love Boat until I found the upstairs outside deck where I parked myself.

I have to say I was in absolute heaven on that ferry.  I can’t explain it.  I felt so much joy and a sense of belonging on that ferry.  I loved having my car on there, I loved roaming around, people watching, scenery watching.  I could go back and forth all day.  I just loved it!

20131017-123619.jpg 20131017-123557.jpg

people even brought their dogs on

I was so happy!

While I was there I did have a small aha moment.  I instantly started writing a story in my head about a relationship that runs it’s entire life cycle on a ferry, back and forth over a number of years.  I thought to myself that I really needed to experience all the stages of driving on the ferry to know the details of it so I could write about it some day.  Now shhhhh, let’s hope no one else steals my inspiration.  😉

A lady announced over the loud speaker around the 25 min. mark that we’d be docking soon and for drivers to return to their cars which I did.  I don’t know why it’s so cool but it is.  Just lining up there waiting to drive your car OFF A BOAT.

Once I landed over in Kingston I thought “ok, what now?”.  I figured I had my car for a reason so I should drive it!

As I’d lingered kind of longer than I’d planned in my room that morning, my time was a little limited.  I figured I had two hours to play over there before I needed to head back.  My plane was leaving that night at 7:15 and I had to allow travel time.


I just started driving.  What beautiful territory it is over there.  I think quite of bit of it is Indian land.  Some signs for casinos and long unpronouncable names.  I loved it.  It was drizzling, I had classical music on in the car and I was just aimlessly cruising in my Cruze.

After a bit I decided to turn around and head back to the charming little Port town of Kingston.  I’d done some reading about “don’t miss” places so just wanted to check it out.

20131017-123647.jpg 20131017-123720.jpg

First I stopped for lunch at a restaurant I’d read about called the Oak Table.  How cozy with it’s fireplace on that cool drizzly day!  I had, what I would describe as, the perfect waitress.  I enjoyed a little mimosa action, a delicious breakfast and the view of a large dog just lazy on a front porch, dry, on that rainy day.  I was in total communion with that doggie, can you see him?


After breakfast, brunch really, I roamed over to downtown Kingston.


What a tiny beautiful homey little street that area is.  I parked my car and wandered in the drizzle popping in and out of places to just see what they were including this amazing looking tiny crepe place that makes a gazillion flavors and styles of crepes.


I landed in this small bakery with a gorgeous front porch in an old restored home, got a coffee and a wheat free cookie and just sat enjoying the view.  Including watching the ferry before mine load and take off.  I think I’m a bit obsessed with ferries now.


They were playing jazz, it smelled of baking cookies, I had a good cup of coffee and I just couldn’t stop smiling I was in such a state of bliss over there!

I kept reflecting on just how perfect this trip had been, how I’d been absolutely bombarded with experiences including this one, how lucky I feel.

That I had set that intention to keep all my senses open and I accomplished it and I think because of that intention, I had so many more experiences than I would have otherwise.  People like to interact with a person who is open and I was wide eyed and smiling the entire time, even when my stomach felt like a hot poker was piercing it.

When it was time, I zipped back to my car and got in line again for the ferry.  I kept watching the culture of people who do this regularly.  They park their cars and get out and mingle while they wait.  It’s kind of a mini tailgate in a way.  I continued writing my little story in my head, taking it all in.


This time, as I boarded, I was directed to the left instead of the right as I was on the way over.   I pulled my car on, excited again for my ride,  looked up and saw it.


Shining, glimmering, just for me I thought.  I was sitting in a pot of gold right there in that Chevy bucket seat.


The ride back was cooler and drizzlier but that didn’t stop me from heading up to the upper deck again.  I sat in the protected seats and took everything in.  I even saw this one seagull who was just coasting with the breeze in his wings, tracking right along us.


I get it, I thought Mr. Seagull.  I totally get it.

I disembarked on the other side and immediately started my trek back to the airport.  I had about 3 1/2 hours but I didn’t know about traffic and wanted to be safe.  Plus I had to fill up my tank.  On this entire weekend I used just about 1/4 of a tank.  Wild!

That all went smoothly, I got back to Seatac, hungry.  I realized the one and only thing I’d wanted to do, but didn’t, was get some good clam chowder.  There was a recommended place in Edmonds called Ivar’s but there just wasn’t time.

So imagine my delight when I stepped out of security, put my Uggs back on, looked up and there he was:  Ivar!  Greeting me at the airport!

I got my bowl of clam chowder, went to the huge floor to ceiling windows facing the runway, sat in this giant wooden rocking chair and ate my chowder watching the sunset.  That’s pretty much the definition of happy as a clam!


Now since my First Class upgrade was unavailable this time, I looked sometime the prior evening about switching seats.  I didn’t have a bad seat mind you but Alaska Air does something I think no airlines do anymore.  They reserve those front, roomier seats for a fee or the special passengers who have some kind of status with them, until that 24 hour period when it’s a free for all.  Anyone can move in to them, no fee.

When I saw 6C available, the aisle seat in the front row of coach, I snagged it.

I boarded the plane a little bit on the later side as I was milking my clam chowder 😉 so my row was filled.

A nice gentleman in the middle seat greeted me with a smile and said “what do they say?  A rose between two thorns?” to which I quickly replied “I think it’s a possum between two blossoms”.

He really laughed out loud and that’s when it began.

We started chatting immediately.  And we never stopped.  The entire flight, we never took a pause in chatting.

Right out of the gate he asked if I was going home or leaving home, a typical airplane question.  I replied that I was headed home but that Edmonds had really felt like home to me.  That I was there for a writing conference and was plotting a way to get back there for a month to work on writing a book.

His jaw just dropped and he said “what did you say?”.

I repeated myself to the same shocked face.

He shared with me that he was up in Edmonds himself that weekend, having a fireplace installed in his new condo, that he’d purchased to go up there and write his book.  And he lives in AZ too.


That flight went so fast as we jumped from topic to topic.  He told me he describes Edmonds to his friends as “Cabot Cove” and I’m not kidding you, as I was walking around downtown that day I was picturing Angela Lansbury  on her little bicycle riding around there in my mind. And I never even watched that show!  And I’m pretty sure it’s set in the Northeast, not Northwest.  But I had that exact same thought.

As J (as I’ll call him), described the things he loves to do–wander around downtown, get a coffee, his favorite movie theatre in the world is there downtown, the ferry, etc. my jaw kept dropping as he was basically describing all the things I did on my trip.

It really was like a kindred spirit connection and we talked the entire flight about writing (neither of us are writers mind you, we live in totally different worlds but have a longing to write a book and are actively pursuing it, in the same town of all things), about philosophy, about our families, I don’t even remember.  That 3 hour flight went by in an instant.

Now don’t get all excited here.  He’s a married man and that’s not the nature of things between us, you know.  He also spoke very positively and respectfully of his wife.  Which always impresses me when a married man is connecting with an unmarried woman and he brings his wife in to the conversation.  That’s classy.

At one point he pulled out his card and said “now Kathy, I know your dreams now, I know that this place is calling you back and so I want to stay in touch and I’m going to be a person who holds you accountable to following this dream” or something to that effect.

This man is a very positive, uplifting person to be around.  I’m telling you, the Universe sent me experience after experience right up to, literally, the moment I got off that plane.

I sent an email to J a few days later and he has an office and condo in Phoenix (he doesn’t live here full time) and was headed back to Edmonds a few days later, just over a week after our meeting, and invited me to dinner the night before his flight.

Last Monday night I went and met him again for dinner and it was the same thing.  A long winding conversation covering so many things:  travel, writing of course, basically living your dreams.  The restaurant literally closed around us.

It’s always kinda tricky making this kind of connection when one is married and the other not and you’re both heterosexual, you know what I mean.  So that discussion was also had and laid to rest.

We will be friends. 

I had emailed him the two places in Edmonds I’d found to rent for a month and some of the plans I was thinking about.  As he is planning on being there for several weeks this trip, he offered to cruise by them for me to just check out the neighborhoods.  Nice!


We talked about being there at the same time, writing during the day, then meeting up with samples in the evening over the sunset happy hour and kind of holding each other accountable.  In a way the blind leading the blind but also the dreamers lifting the dreamers.

Oh and he also has a friend there who’s in to writing as well.  Who, actually also attended the writing conference himself.

It was just overall a very simpatico situation and one that landed, nearly literally in my lap.

At one point J asked me “now how did you exactly get that seat 6C?  That’s always MY seat”.  I wondered why a business man who travels back and forth often on the same airline to this area was in a middle seat.  It was simply because when he checked in, hoping to get his automatic upgrade to First which also didn’t happen, his usual choice was already taken.

By me.  🙂

It was all just so, by design, for lack of a better word.  Had that middle seat been the one available, to me, I’d just have stayed with my window seat 3 rows back.  See what I mean?  There was just some divine choreography going on here for sure and we both could see it.

So, now I have a new friend and writing buddy which was the cherry on top of the whole cake.

He sent me a pic of the Amtrak ride on his way up there this week.  He was seeing cranes and seals!  He knows the area very very well and had so many cool tips for me once I get back. What a connection to have!


So, that’s the, hate to say end, but pause to the story right now.

It truly was an experience of a lifetime.  I embraced every single moment and the Universe just kept giving back.

When I shared it all with my shrink this week, she said “I feel like I should be charging you for that story“.  That’s the thing about inspiring tales, they just are infectious.  Which is why I took so long to tell this one in segments.

I made a deal with myself to be open and I was.  It’s not always the easiest thing to do.  And I was beyond amply rewarded.

And for that, I’m smiling proud right now.


proud (part two)


First off, I want to explain that these posts about Seattle will come out in a series simply because there is too much detail to cram in any other way and I don’t want to disremember anything (just made up that word).  I just want to give this magical red carpet trip the respect that it deserves.

Plus, I kid you not when I say I literally developed a stomach ache that lasted for over 24 hours on my second day there which I decided was my body’s inability to adequately digest all the WOW that was being fed to me minute by minute.  And I surely don’t want any of us going through that (again).  So please bear with me.

Where did we leave off?

Oh, yes, I was at the Market, at Lowell’s just having finished my first foodtail crawl snack.


I packed up half those croquettes to go, untouched, and gave them to a homeless fella on the sidewalk

I also had a nice little chat there with the British bartender about Washington wines which I really did not partake enough of while I was there.  Another reason to go back.

I walked back downstairs from my Lowell’s perch and just decided to roam the market aimlessly to walk off a few calories and get my juices flowing before my next food/drink stop.  I also wanted to check out a few places I thought about going later, like this tucked away speakeasy called ZigZag which is known for amazing cocktails.  After going up and down several flights of stairs (huff puff), I found it, closed.  So I bookmarked it for later and climbed back up to the market.


I saw so many things and heard some truly amazing music by street musicians as I roamed around.  I have to say though my absolute favorite was this gal:


She stands like a bronze statue for minutes until someone puts money in her urn then she moves so slowly and distinctly, like Abraham Lincoln at the Hall of Presidents in Disneyland.  I put a dollar in and she batted her wiry eyelashes at me and blew me a slow motion staccato kiss.  I was completely mesmerized by this gal.  What discipline!  I think I could hold a pose like that for about 3 seconds tops.  She does it all day long.  Impressive!

I stopped and got a fortune from one of those machines like in the movie Big and this is what the urban turbaned fortune teller served me up:


Indeed, but who’s the Sagittarian?

I saw and smelled and listened to so many things that are jumbled in my mind like a kaleidoscope right now until I strolled in to another stop on my intended crawl:  Maximilien’s french restaurant.  Another place with a fantastic view.


What a cozy but casual yet fancy kind of place!  I saw an older gentleman at the bar eating a huge platter of oysters and sat a few seats down from him saying hello.  He greeted me back.  I have to say I really wish I loved oysters.  I so wish it.  Oysters seem so me.  I’m surprised that I really can’t get on the oyster train.  One beautiful oddity I once found out about my past though had to do with oyster stuffing.

My father used to make this oyster stuffing for every Thanksgiving.  My Dad makes the most amazing stuffing ever.  He would basically pull out some of his already made Peppridge Farm stuffing then put oysters in it and require us to “just have a taste” every year.  We always turned up our noses because, well really, oysters and turkey and you’re a kid?  No.

I finally confessed sometime in my 20’s to my Dad that I actually liked his oyster stuffing but I just liked the flavor if I picked out the oysters themselves.

I’ll never forget the shocked dropped jaw look on his face when I said that.

“Your mother used to love oyster stew but she would pick out the oysters” he semi gasped back in that amazed kind of way when the unexplained lands before his eyes.

It’s one of a short list of things I know I have in common with my mother- oysterless oyster foods.

But I digress (it was a good digression though, right?).

The oyster eating older gentleman finishes up paying his check a few bar stools down and says to me “when I get up, you have to move over in to this seat, it’s the best view in the house”.

See what I mean?  Sit at the bar.  People are super friendly there.

So scoot over I did, and he was right.  But you know who appeared, yes of course you do.  My Lady Grande Dame, looming, slowly circling like a hand waving me over.  Hypnotizing me.


What was also in my field of vision was this:


Yes please, I said.

Then I ordered the French cheese plate to go with it.  Just a perfect afternoon snack.  This is my favorite kind of eating.

The bartender was french and cute and formal yet friendly at the same time.

I just sat there, relaxing, enjoying every bite and every moment of this warm and welcoming atmosphere.


Sometime during my second pour, the white, a couple joined me at the bar.  They had some kind of midwestern sounding accent.  Which is kind of funny for me to say seeing I’m from the Midwest (but I don’t have an accent, I’m sure! 😉 ).

I was entertained listening to them peruse the menu “well they don’t have anything on here I’m interested in” the husband scoffed.

The wife asked the french bartender “do you have any White Zinfandel?“.  I think I was probably cringing too hard to hear his response.

He finally settled on the French onion soup and she on a salad of some sort.  I have to give them props for even coming in there in the first place.  Everyone starts somewhere right? << Snob alert!>>


not sure what that dollar is doing under my hand but it adds to the snob appeal 🙂

As I sat there drifting in to the Sound, the sky, the Grand Dame, the wine, the flavors I started dreaming about what I wanted to do that evening.  A totally free evening in Seattle.  What does a person do?

Jazz.  That’s what a person does.  You go out and listen to jazz.

So, thank God for the creation of Iphones because I then went a googlin.

And that’s when the Universe stopped me dead in my tracks again.  The clouds parted and the angels started singing Halleluiah all their trumpets pointed in my direction.  I’m pretty sure the bronze statue lady stopped her posing and did a little jig.  The Grand Dame may have ceased  her spinning over it.

First, let me back up a minute (sorry but to quote Willy Wonka quoting Oscar Wilde “The suspense is terrible, I hope it will last” so enjoy it!).

About a decade ago I purchased a CD called Brazilian Romance.  I think I likely picked it up at Target at one of those kiosks that’s famous for “Quiet Moods” and “Seaside Fantasy” types of compilations.

brazilian romance

I think this is probably my favorite CD of all time (close second to Annie Lenox DIVA).  In particular I’ve been obsessed with one song on there called Faltando Um Pedaco.

Guess what?  You can listen to it right here:

In fact, I’m listening to it right now as I’m writing this.

You know how a certain song just strums your heart strings no matter how many times you listen to it?

Yes, it’s that song for me.

It often makes me cry simply with it’s beauty and poignancy.  In some odd way, I would consider this song my theme song.

Interestingly the title translates to “Missing a Piece”.  I guess there isn’t any wonder, huh?  Oh damn now I’m making myself cry with this heart melting song in the background thinking about that.

I hope you listen to it and let me know what you think.

So I took this CD with me to Rancho La Puerta last July which I do every time I go.  Since there are no TV’s or technology there (aka a breath of fresh air), I listen to music a lot in my room on the small CD player they have for guests.

I must have listened to this one song about 5 times a day during my last stay.  I just kept hitting repeat.  Don’t get me wrong, the entire CD is AMAZING but this song……it’s just…..well, that.

So when I got home this time I decided to research this song a bit seeing we’ve been having a love affair for a decade or so.  Funny how I always imagined it was the Brazilian lady on the front of the CD singing to me.  You can imagine my surprise when I found out the vocalist is a blond haired blue eyed gal from Kansas.

Karrin Allyson


So I started diving in to researching her.  Where she lives, what else she records, does she tour, etc.  I thought it might be a fun trip sometime to go to Kansas just to see her in person perform.

Can you guess where I might be going here right now?  Try it, just try and guess.


Picture me, dreamy, french wine filled on a bar stool overlooking the ocean, googling jazz clubs and landing on one called Jazz Alley.

And there she is fresh as a Brazilian breeze wafting right out of my iphone and in to my soul.

Karrin Allyson is playing there, all weekend.  Just this weekend.


Tears sprung to my eyes as I pulled out my credit card and purchased my ticket.  Just $24.50 for a dream come true.  And here I was prepared to buy a plane ticket to go see her.  And she’s landed in Seattle the same day I did.

See what I mean about digesting?  Just take a moment because I know I just blew you away there.


Golden gleaming serendipity, my friends, streaming in to my life like liquid honey joy.

I took another sip of my wine, smiling to myself and wanting to share my good fortune, turned to the couple next to me.

I pulled out my Bitch’s broom and swept out the forming cobwebs of snooty judgment from my mind and said “can I tell you something amazing that just happened to me?” and shared my story in some sort of jerky way as I was still shaking from the infusion of this miracle.  Sometimes they land so hard and fast they leave an impact ripple.

That’s the thing about this kind of transmission, it magnifies when shared.  And again, sitting at a bar, leaves you open opportunities for doing just that if a ball of light like this lands in your lap.

The wife was a bit confused but completely touched by my story.  Then shared about how they were visiting their daughter who’d recently moved to Seattle.  Then she extended an invitation that would have surprised me if I wasn’t beyond surprising at that moment.

She invited me to go on the Wheel with her.  The Grande Dame.

“My husband refuses to go with me and I really want to go”.

Now they had finished their soups and salads and I was still very leisurely enjoying my wine and cheese and was about halfway through so we were leaving at different times.


As much as I totally appreciated her invitation, I knew I wasn’t going down there to meet her as she casually suggested.

Two reasons:  I had a concert to get ready for and if I was going to introduce myself to the Grande Dame, I was going alone.  It was just that kind of respect we both deserved I figured.

Anyway, sometimes an invitation is more about the invitation itself than the event.  This was one of those times.

I finished my french snack, packed myself up and headed out of the market stopping to pick up two bouquets of flowers.


My walk back up the hill to the hotel was decidedly more springy than I’d anticipated while walking down because I was infused with something greater than my own cardiovascular stamina right now.

I got back to my room, changed clothes, grabbed the notepad and pen from the hotel and one of the bouquets and hailed a cab to Jazz Alley.  I wanted to make sure I got there plenty early to get a good seat.

And a good seat it was, right up in front.

This place was not about the food at all I’ll just say so let’s skip that.  I had a coffee and a Campari and a couple of nibbles of some chewy calamari and sat there and wrote Karrin Allyson my love note.


The show was small and intimate with a quartet–guitar player, stand up bass and drummer.  She knows these fellas well.  Karrin played piano herself off and on throughout.


no pictures were allowed during the show and I respect that

She is younger and spunkier than I’d imagined her although had seen many photos by then.

She sang in Portuguese, English and French.

At one point she said “can I get something more substantial up here to drink?  Champagne?  Anyone out there get me a glass of champagne?”.  It was just so cute and you know champagne IS my drink!

I loved every minute of that show.  Every single minute.  She has such a perfect voice.  I held back tears during one of her songs.

I pulled out my journal and wrote these lyrics down:

“…follow the footsteps we left and I’ll find you there…”


After the 90 minute show, she exited the stage right past me and I tucked my love note in the flowers and handed them to her.  She said, still mic’d “See? That’s how it’s done”. 🙂

She was selling CD’s there so I purchased one where she sings in both Portuguese and French and she signed it for me. Of course I got to hug her and tell her my story.  Not only did she love it but a couple standing nearby did as well and the wife told me her own miracle story of getting to the concert having won the tickets through the radio (but was planning on coming anyway).  Her last name is Jingling.  Seriously, it is.  And she used to be a clown when she met her husband.


sorry dark and fuzzy but that’s me with Karrin Allyson

See, traveling alone you get in conversations you never might if you were engaged with your travel partner(s).  There’s a beauty in having open space around you (key word: open).

I walked out of the venue and lo and behold, in front of me was this sign.


We used to have one of those in Phoenix called the Cine Capri. In fact I was pretty active in the “Save the Cine Capri” project (failed).  There are very few Cinerama theatres left in the country and this is one.

I walked over (just across the street) and saw the movie Gravity was beginning in 45 minutes.  Just enough time to grab a cocktail at the Palace Kitchen next door and make it to the movie.  Normally I wouldn’t try and cram so many events in to one day/evening but a limited time makes a person feel a sense of urgency to take in as much as possible.

I walked in to the theatre and got an immediate blast of CHOCOLATE.  It was like brownies were baking!

They said “oh you don’t know about our chocolate popcorn?”.

This place makes regular AND chocolate popcorn…crazy!  My stomach was already starting to talk to me in unpleasant voices at that point so I graciously accepted the sample they offered me in a paper cone and took my seat in the grand theatre.

Oh how it made me miss the Cine Capri.  But glad I was able to be in this setting again.


I put on my 3d glasses and proceeded to get inundated with motion sickness for the next hour and a half.  I’m not saying it was a bad movie, it was good for what it was but it literally made me sick.

Which bummed me out as I really didn’t get dinner that evening and my plan was to head back to the Palace for a late night snack as they’d still be open, in fact I’d promised the bartender I was coming back.  But it was all I could do to pour myself in to the nearest cab, get back to the room and in to my jammies, spread out across that cushy king size bed, open the window and deeply exhale in to that shimmering Seattle air.


(to be continued)

proud (part one)


I don’t know the exact moment I laid eyes on her.

Probably as I rounded one of those bends on the I 5.  Trying to keep my focus ahead and look but not look.

I do remember my first impression of her; so tall, statuesque, confident, shimmering in her own splendor.

That bitch.

I arrived in Seattle at 10am.  Way before check in time at the Fairmont.  I was fully prepared to leave my car at the hotel and spend the rest of the morning/early afternoon roaming the city.  I had plenty to explore.  It was a bright, crisp partly sunny day so made easy for me.  Just like upgrading to first class for the flight up.  $50 upgrade with no bag fee, to me means a $30 upgrade. Yes please, I’ll take it.


view from my first class window seat

Winding in to the circle drive the valet greets me, tells me where to go park, offers to hold my suitcase until check in and then suggests I try to check in early.

“Never know, they might have your room ready” he suggests with a wink.


I easily find the parking garage one block over but man it’s packed.  Every single floor I’m corkscrewing up in to is filled with cars:  A, B, C, D, E, F “are they gonna go through the entire alphabet before I find a space on floor Z?” I wonder, getting dizzier by the moment.

On Level L, a man in a uniform appears out of nowhere and flags me down “you’re having trouble finding a space aren’t you?”.

How has he seen me? I wonder hoping I’ve not been picking my nose or shouting obscenities at the overstuffed garage.

I’d already suffered one embarrassing incident that day on the parking lot shuttle en route to the airport at 5am where a lady, deboarding, leans down and says “I don’t think anyone else will tell you but your shirt is inside out”.  I whipped it off and changed it right there between Terminal 4 and Terminal 2 on the bus.  In front of two strangers.  Hey, I announced it first reassuring them I had a camisole on underneath which I did.  “I got dressed in the dark” I said as they responded with a courteous nod.


The parking lot attendant directs me to one of two of the most convenient handicapped spots near the elevator “just use this one, we’re kind of full right now.  I’ll make a note of it”.  Nice. 🙂

I grab my purse, lock up the car and head over to the hotel, following the Valet’s suggestion, just out of curiosity.


The check in area is quaint, gold and elegant “I know I’m here super early but I’m checking in today….”

“Let me see if we have something available now” the young pretty brunette replies.

I guess all the First Class status I’d been enjoying all morning infused me with the nerve to say “I like as high as you can get.  I like rooms way up there”.

She smiles and says “I have room 1109 ready right now. We can go ahead and check you in”.


11 is the top floor of the hotel.


“Do you have any bags?” she inquires.

I tell her I’ve left it with the Valet and hand her the slip.  She assures me they will send it right up.


Wide eyed, I silk my way through the opulent great hall of the lobby area to the elevator and ride up swiftly to the 11th floor.  The top floor.

This hotel smells good.  Like gold, like honey, like rich people.  I’m pretty sure Oprah’s house smells like this.

I arrive in room 1109 and realize immediately I’m not in steerage anymore.  I’m still in First class. This is a freaking SUITE!  Two rooms, two TV’s a couch, arm chair, coffee table!

20131008-153216.jpg 20131008-153025.jpg20131008-155122.jpg

Moments later the bellman arrives with my bag, fetches me a bucket of ice and tells me “you can drink the water right out of the tap here, we have some of the best drinking water in the country”.

I plug in my iphone that’s drained nearly entirely in the plane, make a cup of coffee, a glass of ice water, open the window and sit in my Executive Suite living room breathing in the fresh Seattle air.  It’s not even 11:00 am and I’m in heaven.


Now I got this room on Hotwire for less than 50% the going rate.  I know because I obsess over these things.  I was supposed to get a generic king bed room in the hotel (not saying anything in this hotel is generic mind you).  I know about all the levels of rooms because, well, you know, I obsess.  So I KNOW I’m in a big upgrade right now.  I’m in a freaking Executive Suite!  Two rooms, a sitting area and cozy but large bedroom with glass french doors between.  A large “getting ready” area outside the bathroom and a large marble tiled bathroom.  And a view!

20131008-155058.jpg 20131008-153150.jpg

I love robes in a hotel

And I’m actually not even supposed to be in any room for 4 more hours.

The Gods of Seattle are most definitely smiling down on me.

I get a good charge on the phone, hang up some of my clothes, freshen up myself, make sure I’m not sporting any more wardrobe malfunctions, change my shoes to comfy walking booties, finish my liquids and head out in to the cool, fresh, humid downtown Seattle air.


yeah, I’m bundled up, I’m a wimp- layers people, layers!

That’s when I see her again.  Yeah, she’s still there.

Proud and tall against that partly cloudy but clearing by the minute sky.  How does she manage to gleam like that even under the clouds?

I look then look away.  I will deal with her later.

For now, I’ve got a market to explore.


Pike Place Market, another place I’ve researched to death.  I have a list of all the places I want to make sure and see as this place is huge, remembering the first stop I want to make is the famous Lowell’s for breakfast.

I find it easily after my senses being blasted out of the stratosphere with the flowers…all those flowers! Color! Everywhere!


Lowell’s is packed but the one secret about solo traveling or at least the first one I’m about to impart is this:  always, if there is this option, eat at the bar.

There are so many reasons for this, not the least of which, you can nearly always get a seat quickly.  And it’s more social there.  You typically meet interesting people sitting at the bar.  People, including you, are more approachable.  And bartenders are often very cool.


some kind of delicious salmon croquettes I got

In the case of Lowell’s though, in addition to those things, I also got a view.  Right out the top floor of the market in this quaint restaurant was the Sound.  The beautiful waterfront.

And also, standing there, taunting me, haunting me, teasing me, fascinating me right in my eye line she stands.

My nemesis, the object of my enthrallment and aversion was right there, antagonizing with her steady yet fluid grace, terrifying me.  Magnetizing me.


The Grand Dame.

“What a great view” I remark to the couple sitting next to me as I sip on my mimosa made from homemade Washington berry syrup.


It’s just stunning actually.  I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this place before.  It’s not the ocean exactly but it feels like the ocean.  It’s not like rowdy Asbury Park in NJ where we went as kids but it has a ferris wheel.

It’s clean, it’s sophisticated, spacious, colorful, diverse; this place feels like a place I belong.

(to be continued)

coffee dreams



Oh, Oh, Oh!  I’ve spent the last three hours or so planning my trip to the Seattle area for a writing conference where one of my favorite authors Erica Bauermeister will be presenting about writing memoir.

She’s also reading at a charity event the night before at the swanky Fairmont Olympic Hotel which yours truly just booked for at least half price for two nights.  :::happydance:::


I’m the Queen of traveling like a Queen with the budget of a pauper.

Thanks to Priceline and Hotwire and the conference discount, I got my whole 5 day trip, flight/hotels/car/workshop for around $1200 including two nights at the 5 star Fairmont Olympic!  I’m so psyched.  I just hope the charity event doesn’t cost the same amount per plate as the entire tirp because I really really really want to go to it.

Doesn’t this just look so fantastic?

Bedtime Stories

I just hope I don’t need some sort of ball gown for it.  : /

I’m also totally psyched about the main conference but….I just can’t believe Erica’s talk is sold out already!!!  NOOOO!

I just wrote them an email basically begging to get on a wait list as I’m flying in for it specifically for her!  I mean I have to get in, right?  Please send good vibes!


Right after I launched this post I went back to my email and found this:

Hi Katie,

We had someone cancel their registration last night, so you are in luck! I transferred you into Erica’s workshop. She is fabulous! We look forward to having you join us for this year’s conference.

Thank you for the fairy dust whoever sprinkled it!  😀

I also found an incredible Happy Hour at the hotel where I’m staying.  Check this out:


I do think I will be sampling that glacier blue martini for half off, whatever it is, I want it

Yes I will be eating and drinking and coffeeing and walking my way around Seattle and Edmonds.  Any suggestions welcomed.  What do I absolutely need to see?  I think I’m in walking distance to Pike Place.  Coffee!  Seafood!  City walking!  Ocean!  Do I need to go up in the Needle?  Take some kind of ferry somewhere?

I love planning an adventure almost as much as going on it.  This Fall will be filled with a few for me now that I’m freeing up some time and focusing on things that I love to refuel along the way.  I think it’s important to have things to look forward to.

Oh and part of the reason I’m feeling so elated this morning is I got a very optimistic phone message from Alfonse yesterday, saying he was “amazed” at how well his new medication seems to be working.  I’ll go see him tonite and see for myself.  We could really use a miracle.  He really did sound so much better.

Steve’s on the road today headed back to CA for some medical testing…please think a good thought for my dear Stevie.

Now I’m headed back to waking up and smelling the Seattle coffee from afar….ahhhhh


Walnut Street Coffee, I’ve got my eye on you!