Finding Dad, Part 2

In my last post, I started telling the story of a hiker discovering a skull in the desert near Canyonlands National Park in Utah, and how my family quickly became sure that it was part of the mystery of my father’s disappearance five years ago.  This is the continuation…

The hat is reunited with its brim for a photo opp.

After getting my moment to hold the skull, Jason T. took it back and placed it where the hiker had found it, for photographs. Then we started up the little canyon and right away Braden and I found new bones just lying on the surface amongst the scrub brush, which were then photographed and placed in evidence bags. The deputies had marked many spots where they had previously identified bones and artifacts, including pieces of shirt fabric, a baseball cap with a Marine Corps patch from the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Okinawa (Dad had made the trip to Okinawa with my brother Loren in 1995 for that event), and a watch with a metal stretch band, the same style he had worn all his life. After taking pictures, they patiently showed us each spot and answered our questions. The watch was what really got to me; of course it was an amazing privilege to hold the skull of my father after all those years of not knowing what had happened to him, but it was hard to really take in that the skull was him. But the watch was instantly recognizable as part of him, and the thought of how his time had run out was little too much for me. Continue reading

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Finding Dad, part 1

Church Rock

Church Rock marks the turn off from the main highway...

What does closure feel like? After 5 ½ years, I’m getting a good dose of it on a mystery that has been part tragic, part poetic, and completely surreal. I’ve written before about my father’s disappearance into the Utah desert near Canyonlands National Park—it was the most beautiful place on earth according to him. On his self-proclaimed last road trip he left a note stating he was going for help after his car got stuck on a washed-out road.

I had really come to believe we would never know what happened to him. Then, over a week ago, around 9pm, my son alerted me to Auntie Mari’s Facebook post: “They’ve found Dad.” Phone calls had been flying around for the past few hours, but my phone had been in silent mode in my purse, and no one called the landline (I guess if you aren’t on FB or tethered to your mobile device you just can’t expect to know what’s going on anymore). Anyway, by midnight Jason had helped me get tickets to Salt Lake City for the two of us and Braden, and less than eight hours later we were on our way to the airport. Continue reading

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Do you LIVE to eat brownies?


What's life without dessert!

Yesterday I made brownies for my son, and yes, I had a small one when they first came out of the oven. But that night, as he was having his second one after homework, I didn’t want to be left out and neither could I justify eating two in a day (when I’m NOT trying to lose weight, at my basal metabolic rate, my calorie ‘spend’ without exercise is only 1393 calories a day).

The Medifast foods are a great tool of the Take Shape For Life program because they are high protein, low glycemic, and portion controlled. I lean on them even in my ‘new normal’ maintenance mode, as easy meals and on-the-go healthy snacks that won’t jack up my blood sugar. Continue reading

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Why would you want to eat space food?

Lenora Edwards is an amazing business development consultant for entrepreneurs, and she is helping Jason and me start a coworking business on Bainbridge Island called OfficeXpats. Her partner, the primary cook of the family, is vegetarian, and despite multiple intense workouts with a trainer each week, Lenora had gained a few pounds from the carb-intensive vegetarian food and the crazy work schedule. Her trainer told her how to eat to lose the pounds, but she said “It’s not realistic for me to eat like that most of the time… I can’t carry a piece of salmon around in my pocket.” Then she heard about my Take Shape For Life (TSFL) coaching and decided that she needed a simple plan with easy grab-and-go food that could keep up with her dash from one meeting to another all over town. My coach became a client. Continue reading

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Transform thoughts about food with a powerful vision

desired outcom

Creating a little tension can be a good thing!

One of the best things I think I can do for someone as their health coach is listen for what they want in their life and then, from time to time, hold it out to them like a mirror so that they don’t lose sight of it. We refer to it structural tension, a concept from Robert Fritz, to know–and better yet, feel–your desired outcome, and at the same time be very clear and honest about your current reality. The tension is the discrepancy between the two states, and our brains want to resolve that tension. Quoting Fritz, “During the creative process, you have an eye on where you want to go, and you also have an eye on where you currently are.”

I’ve heard some beautiful visions from people, and when I get an OK, I will share some of them. In the meantime, another coach just sent around a very powerful example of creating structural tension in these amazing descriptions from a client. Continue reading

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It’s a very small world

Walls and walls of sticky notes

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Have you pursued something for years only to have an unlikely opportunity fall in your lap? In 1992 I read a copy of In Context magazine (now YES! Magazine) cover-to-cover and discovered the concept of sustainability. It introduced me to big ideas like car sharing and vertical gardens. With shivers up my spine, I knew then that someday, somehow I would build a career developing sustainable living. I’ve had some spectacular failures along the way, but it’s a good road to be on. Last Thursday I received an invitation to participate in a mysterious 2-day workshop starting Friday. Yes, the next day. My vision statement stuck to the mirror starts off with “I know that wonderful changes in my life can happen suddenly and are always within reach.” This might be one of those. Continue reading

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Painting My Way Out of Anger

OK, I’m back to talking about Andrzej again.  He has been doing body work for both Jason and me for over a month now. He called us last week to invite us to a last-minute demonstration of a super-fast watercolors exercise, a technique he developed to get at the subconscious and develop relationships with color that can break the cycle of depression. I’m certainly not depressed now, but I remember a time when I’m pretty sure I was.  One vivid memory is of looking at a gorgeous sunset and noticing that I felt emotionally flat. I remember thinking, “hmmm… I ‘know’ this sunset is stunning, and yet I don’t have any feelings about it.”

a very fast painting

A very fast painting, 1/6th of one night's productivity.

Since we saw the demo, Jason and I have decided to paint for about five minutes each night, six or nine small images on a single sheet of paper. Cheap watercolors, cheap paper. I spend about twice or three times as long as Jason—he seems to be done in two minutes or less. I keep adding to mine. Sometimes I’m happy with my exploration, sometimes with the output.  Sometimes neither. But it does seem to put my brain into a different mode. Continue reading

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Have a good day

I had a great chat with my sister. She was bursting to tell me about a recent breakthrough. She had been feeling overwhelmed coping with a surge of new clients in her part time bookkeeping/accounting business. Then her spirituality kicked in, as it always does after a while, and her realizations felt important to me too (and I’m hoping, to you).

Seen near Pike Place Market. Watch where you step!

“My inclination when life gets hairy is to buckle down and work hard,” she said (oh, yeah, I understand THAT). “But if the experience of doing that is a continued sense of overwhelm, then what would be the downside of doing it a different way?” Then she went over some of the phrases of wisdom variously harvested from AA, Landmark Education, and a non-denominational church she loves. “Surrender. Don’t just do something, sit there. Let [possibility/my inner wise woman/a higher power] take care of it.” Continue reading

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Another scary parental journey has begun

My ex learned something important about my son before I did, and I’m a bit jealous, but he was looking in the right place and I wasn’t. I knew something was up, that my middle-schooler’s social life had shifted from being mostly a loner, to having a couple friends, to that grand feeling of being a part of a group. I knew he was starting to chat with friends on Facebook, and that at least one of them was a girl. And I knew that he was finally connecting with other family members on Facebook that I had suggested for him, because I got the notices. But I missed his change of status. I missed his announcement to the world that he was “in a relationship.” I’m not hurt that he didn’t tell me. He wanted me to know, he just didn’t want to bring it up. I just didn’t expect that Facebook would be his ‘outing’ of choice. Silly me.

There are two talks a parent needs to have with their kid and yet really dreads blowing it, right? There’s the one about the facts, and then later there’s the one about the impacts. The first talk — about hypothetical birds and bees — is simple mechanics, but the second talk springs from the parent’s uneasiness that at any time it could be too late, and yet to bring it up too early is just terrifyingly awkward.  Apparently, many kids never even get the second talk, based on my anecdotal research amongst friends.  Maybe the triggering situations were missed by the parent, and then it was just too late, water under the bridge. Continue reading

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Sure, that’s a likely story

A couple months ago, my neck and shoulder muscles burned every day, and my right shoulder joint hurt when I moved it, even carefully. My doctor said it sounded like a rotator cuff injury, which would likely require surgery. That not being an option at this time, the pain had me looking for a massage therapist who might do short chair massages more often to give me lasting results—at least to cure the burning muscles even if the rotator cuff was beyond help. I found Andrzej (Americanized to ‘Andre’) through the natural health products store.

When Andrzej started ‘listening to my body’ and asking about something that might have happened to me when I was 14–likely related to my father–I was tipped off that this therapy was not going down a traditional path. I complied and mentioned something my father said that had stuck with me as a grudge over the years. Andrzej began telling me how it has affected my body and self image. Emotional patterns explained my physical distress to him better than how I confronted my keyboard and mouse. I didn’t run for the door; I liked his massages and was willing to go with the ‘woo woo’ stuff for a while. Continue reading

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