Photo Essay of 2012

Since 2013 is nearly over, I thought it was fitting that I post my unfinished year end photo essay from 2012. It was a really great idea that I spent one evening working on, but apparently taking TWO evenings to work on it was asking too much.

I hated that it was sitting unappreciated in my drafts folder, so in the spirit of “perfect is the enemy of done,” here is a five month photo essay from 2012:







Riding the Mothership to Dungeness Spit


Yesterday we rented a Mini from Zipcar and went on a day trip across the water to Sequim. Zipcar names all their vehicles, and it just so happens we rode The Mothership, which added a bit more kick to the adventure.


I love vacations in bite sized chunks or in extended stay stretches, like day trips and long weekends, or 3-4 week stints. Anything in the middle feels like a cruel joke, because just as I begin to unwind it’s time to pack up and leave.

The only thing that makes me feel even remotely connected to the idea of homeschooling is the ability to travel whenever we want for as long as we want. Like the time we went to California for three weeks and was later scolded by the school district for not asking permission.20130324-143601.jpg

We decided to explore the Dungeness Spit, which is a peninsula of land created by sediment from the nearby eroding bluffs. There are trails to walk above the beach on the bluff, a view point of the entire spit, and beach access ($3 cash for your entire group).

You can also hike out to the lighthouse, which is eleven miles round trip and takes about 4-6 hours. But since some members of my family experienced the gorgeous ocean views like the Griswolds at the Grand Canyon, we did not bother with the hike.

But I did get to experience this…


…which is all I really wanted anyway.

Our full Flickr set is here. All photos were taken with my iPhone.

This Kid.


At LAX for our return flight to Seattle we were herded into a queue that took us to an escalator that led to the security screening on the second floor.

As Thomas boarded the escalator, he didn’t make the turn wide enough for his wheely bag to clear the end, and it got stuck. As he ascended the bag finally cleared, but he didn’t quite have himself situated.

Also, he wasn’t paying attention.

I’m not sure how it happened exactly, but he ended up rolling down the escalator steps like he’d just rolled down a grassy slope a few days before.

A quick-witted attendant stopped the escalator, I comforted him and kissed his scrapes, and we headed for the elevator.

Fast forward to our Seattle arrival.

On our way toward baggage claim, we obviously take the elevator this time. As Thomas is getting on the elevator, he turns around to say something to me as he continues to walk backwards.

And I swear I’m not making this up.

He says, “I’m sure glad we’re not taking the escalator this time because I got kinda scared.”

Then he tripped over Ruthie’s bag and flipped over backwards into the elevator.



I’ve spent the better part of the last three days at the pool in my brother’s neighborhood.

Ruthie’s finally tall enough to stand in the shallow end, and Thomas won’t leave the steps, which means I get an easy afternoon to watch the clouds float by.

Oh wait – California doesn’t have any clouds.

Haha! Yes, that was especially for you, Seattle.

I’d like to thank The Academy…

Ignite Seattle - April 29, 2009
Photo by Randy Stewart –

I had a great time doing The Sanity Hacks of a Stay at Home Mom at Ignite, and was so thrilled by the experience I could do it over and over again.

Thanks to Bryan for believing in me, and for convincing me that what I had to say mattered. Also? For laughing victoriously from the gut when I finally said, “You’re right, I’ll do it your way. Bullet points, it is!”

Thanks to Amanda, Katherine, and Julie for reading the first draft and giving me awesome feedback, because striking the proper tone was hugely important to me; to my IRL peeps for encouraging me, to my friend Alecia for taking my sick kid, and to the super duper fabulous Beth and Beth (yes, two friends named Beth – I actually have 3 total) for cheering me on at the event.

For the record, I do not recommend chaperoning a kindergarten class to the zoo at 8:30 the next morning, followed closely by obedience training for your dog in the late afternoon, followed by the arrival of your mother from out of town the next day.

It makes for some serious insanity that’s not so easy to hack.

A video is forthcoming. Despite the fact I sleep with the editor, I could not get him to do mine first.

This is why I don’t homeschool.

Me: So Ruthie, your homework tonight is to write three words in the “air” family.

Ruthie: CHAIR!

Me: Awesome. What’s another one?

Ruthie: STAIR!

Me: Yup. One more!

Ruthie: PAIR!

Me: Close! I know it sounds the same, but that’s actually spelled P-E-A-R.

Ruthie: [blank stair stare]

Me: Um, yeah. Actually, PAIR is right. Good job.

weekend in pictures

Thanks to some Christmas money we still had and friends who loaned us their house in a beach town, we still had a wonderful getaway weekend alone. As in, without kids. It was kind of nice getting jostled out of our regular Portland routine (and out of our regular ocean routine, as well). We explored and did things we’d never seen or done before, which made for a spontaneous and adventurous time.

So, we may not have stayed at the hip Kennedy School, and we may not have received our spa massages, but we still relaxed, we still connected, and we still had fun.

Thanks to all who helped make it happen by loving and caring for our kids.

Whistling to the tune of Andrew Bird


It occurred to me this year that Sufjan Stevens may never release another album EVER AGAIN. It sure seems like that, anyway, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. But listening to Andrew Bird play live at Zoo Tunes tonight, I decided I just might be able to live with that.

Andrew Bird is brilliant.

I am in awe of his whistle. And his clap. And his ability to create layers upon layers of beautiful melody right there in front of us using a loop machine. I can’t even read and stay awake at the same time, so this kind of multitasking was inconceivable to me. It was amazing. I have a new crush, so move over Scott Berkun and Hugh MacLeod – Andrew Bird is In The House.


Regular, non-BlogHer posting to resume…soon. I promise.

I know you’re wildly anticipating the video of my BlogHer Community Keynote reading, but I would first like to torture you with a few more pictures of my trip to San Francisco. (yawn).

I friend I’ve known forever and ever drove up from San Jose to spend the day with me on Sunday, and we walked ALL OVER THE UNIVERSE. We both kept commenting on how this will satisfy our need to exercise for many cheeseburgers to come.

We walked to Chinatown from the Ferry Building, and shopped, and ate Dim Sum. I had to be rolled down hill after eating a giant Hum Bao. The middle picture is me in front of the gate to Chinatown, and the one on the right is a church steeple with a plaque that says, “Son, observe the time and fly from evil.”

ChinatownGate into Chinatownwise words

From Chinatown we walked up to North Beach, the Italian neighborhood. I loved this area. There was a cafe for every taste – white linens and china, or cafe tables and mugs – and most had outdoor seating along the sidewalk. We picked a casual one and sat, cups of coffee in hand, talking and people watching. The perfect pit stop to rest our feet.

Italian Coffee

From North Beach we walked up hill toward Coit Tower to get a panoramic view of the city. That little tuft of trees to the left is Washington Square in the North Beach neighborhood, and it’s at the bottom of this very very steep hill. We didn’t even walk the rest of the way up to the Coit Tower, because I was all, I THINK I’M OKAY WITH THE VIEW FROM HERE, to which my friend was quite relieved.


I was geeking out a little over the interesting architecture and the collision of lines and shapes in the financial district.

pyramid towerarchiteturecircles, lines, triangles

On Monday I ventured out solo, and took the bus to the Haight-Ashbury district. Maybe I was tired of window shopping and ready to go home, but my impressions of the neighborhood did not match my anticipation of it. It didn’t feel any different than walking The Ave in Seattle’s U-District – lots of hemp, lots of white boys with dreads, lots of 20-somethings who need to get a job. But I did stop in to one cafe for lunch that had this really cool bathroom. It was my favorite thing of the day.

bathroom1 - haight-ashburybathroom2 - haight-ashburybathroom3 - haight-ashbury

BlogHer was held at the Westin St. Francis near Union Square – that large, rather ominous building that looks like something straight out of Gotham City. I’m sure someone has something to complain about regarding the hotel, but frankly any room with blackout curtains, a bed that soft, and the absence of children waking me in the night is a winner in my book. Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention the double shower heads. Rocks In My Dryer took some lovely pictures inside the hotel.

The Westin St. Francis @ Union Square

Big shout out to Jen/Jenna/Jennifer of The Word Cellar, my BlogHer room mate for the weekend. We were set up on a blind date through Twitter, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect match! I hope to be sleeping with you again. Uh, wait…

Jenna and Jen

Amber Flower

Tell me, just tell me HOW I could have resisted buying this beautiful amber ring in San Francisco’s Chinatown, especially – ESPECIALLY – when my very savvy shopper friend says to the woman, "would you take FIFTEEN for this?" NEVER underestimate the power of a good bartering friend.

Amber Flower