Wednesday, February 13, 2019


When we share, with another human, our vulnerable spots, our anxieties, our worries, our heartbreak about the world-- we create shelter. For a moment, a tiny little place exists in this vast universe where, even if just for a breath, another human can feel less alone knowing that she has a sister who speaks her truth, shares her fears, and carries the same great weight of the world on her own shoulders. This is refuge. We can create it for each other, and it is a gift when we do.

Only when we are finally able to access our own inner hiding places can we begin to share them with others.  Empathy is born out of our ability to access our own vulnerability, our own mistakes, our own fears, our own humanity in all of its messy imperfection and awkwardness. It is those people who have granted themselves access to their own inner refuges-- who know that the doors to those secret places in their own hearts can open and close-- who I most want to have in my life. Without this depth of refuge in one other, we simply stay on the surface. On the surface, our lives can only ever be transactional.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Goodbye 2018

Hello, Goodbye! 2018 was a mixed year, not unlike most years. My crown jewel of the past 365 days is my horse Abbey, AKA "The Abbinator." She made her debut in the United States Eventing Association recognized horse trials in Area VII this year, and did spectacularly well, qualifying for year-end championships for both 2018, and 2019.  I am so proud of her, and so grateful for my coach and trainer Kelsey Horn of Pinnacle Equine Training in Philomath Oregon.

I sold my house in Portland, and with that decision, relieved myself of the responsibility of being a landlord.  I was also lucky enough to pull enough equity from the sale of that property to pay off all of my student loan debt from graduate school.  Hell fucking yes.

After some major deliberation, and a come to Jesus moment, I realized that I wanted to take my career in a different direction.  I took a faculty position at OHSU,  and have been teaching undergraduate nursing since September 2018.  So far I haven't made anyone cry.

My dog Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer. She is still living, thanks to the wonders of Prednisone.  Modern medicine is sometimes fair and just. 

In late autumn, I bought a house in Salem, OR.  I love it here.  I am tired of people telling me that Salem is a 'shit hole' because frankly, it just isn't true.  My neighborhood is full of beautiful craftsman houses, heritage trees, lush gardens, coffee roasteries, crêperies, Thai food, organic grocers, NYC style pizza, parks, independent movie theaters, microbreweries, kind people, and locally owned businesses.  My home was affordable, and I can walk to crêpes for breakfast, 4 blocks away.  Hard to find fault in any of that.

Since 2018 was full of changes, but basically awesome, I think that I would like to let the coming year know that I have a plan.  I don't want bullshit from last year to follow along into this new year.  So, I have decided to let 2019 know that there are a few things that aren't invited back.  Here is my list:

Not Invited Back in 2019

1) Aggressive Driving:  enough already with your tailgating, riding people's asses, being impatient in your car, and acting like your destination is more important than mine.  Unless you are racing to the hospital to perform surgery or deliver a baby, drive like an adult.  Remember your manners?

2) Denial: Just stop it.  You aren't kidding anyone else.  You're barely fooling yourself.  We can tell that you are depressed, or addicted, or overweight, or underweight.  Most of us can see that you need therapy, or that you are spending money beyond your means.  It is clear to most of us that you haven't faced your mortality; your marriage is falling apart; your job is making you miserable; your children are in need of some boot camp for their shitty attitudes; and your drinking is just a bit out of control. Denial is stopping you from being yourself.  Denial is a wall between you and the people you want to connect with.  Be honest with yourself.  Learn humility. Every minute you live in denial is a minute of real life lost in a vaccum of falsehood. Time for some real talk-- with yourself.

3) Orthorexia:  Call it what it is.  This is body dysmorphia.  You aren't gluten intolerant-- you simply realized that when you restricted your intake of bread, you got skinnier. You aren't allergic to dairy-- you just don't want to eat the fat found in butter, cheese and ice cream (poor you!). You don't have a thyroid problem-- you're overweight because you eat too much.  But wouldn't you just love it if an endocrinologist would prescribe levothyroxine or Armour thyroid to 'speed up' your metabolism? Stop ruining parties and potlucks with your make-believe dietary restrictions. Just eat the damn food.

4) Weddings: Why do they have to be so awful? Why must they all follow the same outdated prescription? Why does the wedding industry get to tell you how much taffeta to pile onto your bridesmaids, or even that you have to have bridesmaids in the first place?  Why are you spending the equivalent of the cost of a small yacht? You should be spending that money on a down payment for your first house, or paying off your student loans.  If you're rich enough that you don't have to worry about those things, then take the money and donate it to the Nature Conservancy or Meals on Wheels.  Please don't buy a big, dumb dress that you'll only wear once.  Please don't make your friends buy you shit from Target or Pottery Barn or Macy's.  Please, please, please.  Just run off into the woods and seal it with a kiss.  You know you're in love.  The rest of us don't need to be burdened with the ravages of consumerism and waste in order to validate your commitment to each other. Also diamonds are silly and cost humans their lives.  I am sure you can use your imagination and choose one of thousands of other stones or precious earth metals as a symbol of your love.

5) Sexism: I hope someone writes a version of the Nutcracker Ballet where the Sugar Plum Fairies are all men, and the romances taking place involve same-sex couples.  I wish someone would re-interpret the Holy Bible so that it wasn't a tool for subjugating women.   I wish I hadn't heard that my friend, a woman, found out last year that her annual salary as a physician's assistant paid her $20K less per year than her male counterpart in the exact same role, with the exact same amount of seniority.  Really people?  It isn't 1895 anymore.  Really.

6) Anti-Vaccinators:  Measles, anybody?  Seriously people. This is the 21st century. Stop subjecting your children to infectious diseases because some silly website, or naturopathic hippie told you that vaccines cause Autism.  They don't.  You're smart, right?  You've heard of science?  Check it out: Vaccines are harmless and they save lives.  Done and done.

That's it.  Everything else is invited back in 2019.  I could say things about the President, or the Central American refugee crisis.  I could say things about global warming and sea level rise.  But those things feel to big for the scope of this tiny little blog.  I am sure you can guess where I stand.

Enjoy 2019! Get out there with your real selves, admit your flaws, drive gently, have manners, eat whatever the hell you want, and if you fall in love-- don't make it expensive.


Monday, January 8, 2018

the heart does whatever the fuck it wants

"I'm attracted to [anyone] because he's such a mess.  I mean, the people I have loved in my life have never been easy to love.  I'm not used to normal.  I'm used to disaster.... I'm accustomed to working for love."

"He's like this incredibly beautiful Van Gogh painting with slashes all through it.  It's a Van Gogh. But look at those slashes."

"This is so pathetic.  I can't believe I need to ask someone with a doctorate in psychology whether or not my attraction to this man is unhealthy."

"I can see the person he could be, the person he almost is.  And I want that person.  I want to love that person.  I want that to be the person who tells me I'm hogging all the covers. "

"And suddenly I can see it all very clearly.  The insanity. The parallel universe of it.  How it mimics normal life enough to fool you while you're in it...  "

"Yet instead of rage, I feel sorry for him. "

~ Augusten Burroughs, eloquently describing what it is like to fall in love with the wrong person.

Excerpts from his memoir, "Dry."