Monthly Archives: December 2015

Sad news with lots of love…


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2015 is closing out in the saddest way possible for me and my family. My daughter Sheridan gave birth to my third grand-child two weeks ago. She’d been battling horrendously high blood pressure and had to have an operation to remove a tumor in her adrenal gland. The operation went well, but the blood pressure didn’t stabilize.

The folks at UW Medical were amazing. They decided that the best thing for mother and baby was to deliver him early by C-section. Our family had our first grandson, Nolan Luther. Floods of positive thoughts, love, prayers and donations to help defray travel and living costs came their way. Little Nolan was transferred to Children’s Hospital a couple miles away in Seattle. Their staff was incredible, but my family was struck by a stomach flu bug.

Christmas Day we went to Children’s hoping to see the little guy. He was not doing well. I got to go see him with his retinue of doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists and more. After my daughter’s husband got there I took her back to UW Medical because we worried that she had the stomach flu while her husband Cameron stayed with Nolan.

Two days later her husband showed signs of the stomach flu, so I went down to stay with Nolan and read to him. I read to him from two of my favorite children’s books: Ferdinand and The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures. He was stable with only one nurse coming in and out. I went to get my daughter and bring her back as one of the best presents ever.

With her there, I headed back north, confident that everything was going to be fine. But yesterday morning my phone rang, my daughter’s mom. No way it was anything but bad news. Shock and pain. Nolan’s organs were not getting oxygen. They were going to pull him off the machines and let his parents hold him.

I took turns driving and crying on my way to Bellingham. I needed to figure out how to tell my youngest daughter. I called my mom and choked out enough words to let her know, at a loss for how to tell my 12 year old that the nephew she never got to meet was dying. When the moment came. I couldn’t say anything and didn’t need to. She voiced aloud all the words I was thinking as I held her and we both cried.

Now, I sit a day later trying to make sense. I can’t. There is none. Instead, at the suggestion of my partner, Elena, I’m making food for the family, home-made casseroles and soups to deliver to their empty new apartment, something to try to fill there stomach because I can’t fill the holes in all our hearts.

Please keep my daughter, her husband and their two year old daughter in your thoughts and prayers. The rest of the family can use them, too. And hug your own people. Tell them you love them. Life is fleeting…

Nolan Luther, you were here a too short time, but you touched many and will never be forgotten. You are loved.

Drive South


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When I drive I like to maximize my gas mileage and minimize my time on the road. I speed a little, never more than nine miles over and that’s in a 60-70 m.p.h. zones.  I like cruise control because it keeps the inertia going and minimizes the need for acceleration. Splitting my time between Bellingham and Mount Vernon, means that either my partner and or I have a 35 minute minimum commute. It used to be closer to 30 minutes, but an increase in traffic on I-5 and on the train tracks running alongside has made it 40-45 minutes on many days. Last week I had a fifteen minute wait for a coal train and the trip took an hour!

So, there are times that I dream of the roads being as clear as they are in my Deserted Lands universe. My biggest frustration is the inattentive drivers who cruise along, plod along in the fast lane doing a couple m.p.h. under the speed limit. Nah, that’s not true. My biggest frustration are their counterparts who drive the same way on purpose only to speed up if I pull into the slow lane to pass them. And let’s not even start [yet*] on the single person in the giant WHITE SUV with the chrome wheels talking on their cell-phone.

Sigh. Breathe.

So, I have a solution. I call it CARma points. At this point it is a philosophical game I play with myself that seems to increase my parking Karma. If someone lets me in a long line or stops to let the pedestrian cross, I give them a BING, a thumbs up gesture headed their way. Now, if the aforementioned SUV driver cuts me off because their phone conversation took a turn and they didn’t. They get a DING [or more in this case FIVE!*] signified by a tap on the dashboard or a thumbs down in their general direction.

Now what if there were an electronic tally system where these Bings and Dings helped or hindered folks’ insurance rates. Computer systems could make certain that a certain driver does not constantly DING/BING the same person over and over again. If we wanted to curb the negativity, each driver could get 3-5 DINGS and an unlimited supply of BINGS.

My counselor has suggested that I send the people who are being angrily passive aggressive or clueless little LOVE bombs of positivity for my own good health. I’m considering his advice. For the moment, being able to CARmically DING or BING folks keeps me calmer on the road. And yes, if I do something stupid, aggressive or clueless, I DING myself and I try to earn would-be BINGS from other drivers by letting them in and trying to guess in advance when I am going to be causing someone else stress so I can avoid being “that guy” in the car.

*Here is the breakdown on those FIVE DINGS

  • DING 1: Driving gigantic SUV as only a status symbol
  • DING 2: Driving said gigantic SUV alone
  • DING 3: Getting horrible gas mileage in gigantic SUV
  • DING 4: Driving gigantic SUV as only a status symbol
  • DING 5: wheels talking on their cell-phone.