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Join Me In Making Magic

I grew up in a home where, when it came to entertaining and the Holidays, the hostess (IE my Mother) did all the work. Aside from cleaning the garage just before the party, my father did little to help.

The guests never lifted a finger. Their every need was anticipated. Their glasses were always full as they enjoyed an elaborate, multi-course, James Beard award-worthy dinner. My mother was effortless and elegant in her entertaining. And for the most part, the Holidays were pretty magical.

Recently I had the realization that for a few years now, I have not been into the Holidays. I’ve just not been “feeling it”. I noticed, I seldom enjoy the magic I create for everyone else. Often, I don’t even fully taste the meal I’ve cooked. While reflecting on why this is, I realized that the Holidays are magical largely in part to the matriarch of the family making it so. Such as the Holiday home decor, the Christmas tree, outside decorations, Holiday baking, gift buying, gift wrapping, meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, fun family events, in-home entertaining and on and on and on. I’m not saying men don’t do anything. Of course there are exceptions, to varying degrees. But if that’s what you are hearing, then you are not getting my point and you should just stop now and move on.

I am a product of the environment I grew up in. Although, through personal growth, I am slowly peeling away many unwanted layers of that onion. However, watching my mother work her magic, combined with my artistic and perfectionist tendencies, I am left with pretty high entertaining standards. All of which, I usually prefer to do myself. Because A. no one will do it like I do and B. I was shamed time and again as a child when I asked for help, so . . . I have a natural resistance to asking for help.

After speaking with a few trusted loved ones about this conundrum, I am feeling my way through a solution. Don’t get me wrong, I want to make magic for folks. It’s a love language of sorts. I just want to figure out a scenario where I too enjoy the magic I create.

Not to mention, I’m also good at it. The planning and organization that is required when entertaining is how my mind works naturally (to a fault sometimes). I can multi-task like no-one’s business. Decor, candles, music, menu planning, grocery shopping, food prep, cooking, and all the little things that go into hosting and entertaining are just a few plates I have spinning in the air at any given time. I am creative, efficient and forward thinking. But it’s not necessary to go through the motions while feeling numb about it all.

A goal I’ve come up with is – I’d like to be hostess 50% of the time and a guest 50% of the time, while entertaining. This game plan is still being worked out. But a few strategies that should be helpful are: choose simple, yet tasty dishes. Ask for folks to bring something. Ask folks for help (doing this helps to get the guests involved). Set up a station(s) where folks can help themselves. Coffee station if it’s a morning thing. A drink / cocktail station if it’s an evening thing. Put the snacks or hors d’oeuvres out on the counter with cocktail napkins & small plates for folks to also help themselves. Put out the decor that feels right, and stop when I’ve had enough. Instead of striving for perfection, lean more toward approximation. And above all, apply the Ina Garten Entertaining 101 Rule – make things ahead when you can!

While brainstorming, I stumbled upon a simple story that would hopefully encourage others want to join me. “Instead of watching me make the magic, I’d like you to join me in creating it.” For me, the Holidays are about spending time together, connection, joy, laughter, magic and creating memories with those you love. Figuring out what was important to me, and communicating that in a loving way, encourages others to join and take part in the magic.

Disclaimer: This is my issue to work through. I am not pointing the finger. The Holidays are a “what is”. I can either accept it, and be numb or I can change how I think about it and or what I do about it.

Thank you for listening to my Ted Talk.

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The Day Of My Hysterectomy

I was scheduled for a 6:45 am check in at the hospital, and a 8:45 am surgery.  Michael and I arrived and got checked in.  We were shown to my pre-op room.  I was told to strip down to “nothing but what God gave you” and wipe my whole body down with some special wipes.  I noticed the packages of wipes had been warmed (nice touch).  I put my clothes and shoes in the plastic bag provided.  Instead of the faded and often threadbare hospital gown, there was a long, light purple gown, smock type garment.  It had some sort of clear liner and the outer layer was an odd paper, material.  The paper gown also had what looked like two ports on either side.  As instructed I put it on, open in the back.  Michael and I couldn’t figure out how to secure the ties. 

There were also deep purple hospital socks.  The ones with the white grip strips on both top and bottom, with no noticeable place for your heel.  Trying not to moon anyone I was about to sit on the inclined bed.  I was told to sit with my bum on the pad to avoid choking myself with the gown.  For the next two hours I was given pain meds, an antibiotic, an IV was inserted and fluids were started.  My whole health history was discussed, and I was called “medically boring”.  A nurse from the anesthesia team spoke with me about the process and possible side effects of general anesthesia.  I was asked the same questions by multiple hospital staff.  There was also a blood draw (from which they would take a pregnancy test) and a COVID test during this time.  Sitting up in the bed, I was a tad uncomfortable because the wipes they gave me, made my skin feel stickie.

I was apprehensive of the unknowns I faced.  This would be my first time under general anesthesia and being intubated.  As well as my first catheter and my first overnight hospital stay.  The fact that I chose to be here and go have this done, made the situation no less nerve-racking.

My surgeon came to see me.  She answered my remaining questions and did her best to reassure me.  A bit later, Michael and I were told I wasn’t pregnant, nor did I have COVID.  Neither was a surprise.  Although you’d think the COVID test would have been the first thing they did.  I already had an IV in my arm by the time the results came in.

Since Michael would need to wait in the waiting room or leave the hospital while I was in surgery, he left around 8:30 am to go home to give our cat his AM insulin shot.  He would be called by the surgeon directly after the surgery, to let him know how it went.  Then he’d be called again by a nurse when I was out of recovery and he could come back to see me. 

As I sat in the bed (feeling apprehensive and sticky) while the 8:45 am surgery time came and went.  Around 9:20 am several folks came to take me to the OR.  I was reclining in the bed, being wheeled down the hall by my surgical team.  The last thing I remember was seeing the bed of another women being wheeled in the opposite direction down the hall.  We looked at each other with wide eyed apprehension and that was it.  The next thing I knew, I woke up post-surgery in PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit).  

The whole sensation was very bizarre.  My eye lids felt like they weighed 100 pounds, I could barely keep them open.  My voice was just a squeaky whisper.  I was so tired.  For the most part, I kept my eyes closed, but could hear most everything.  The nurse would ask me questions and I’d do my best to answer.  I heard her make a call to Michael saying that my blood pressure was quite low (something like 70/30) and I’d be in recovery for at least another hour.  My body felt incredibly heavy.  My mouth was so dry and had an unappetizing taste to it.  I was given a few ice chips.  

Once my blood pressure stabilized and they were comfortable moving me, I was taken to the private hospital room I’d be staying in.  Michael was called and told he could see me.  For the next several hours, I drifted in and out of very disjointed sleep.  Even with anti-nausea medication as well as an anti-nausea sticker behind my left ear, I still battled nausea.  To the point that several times my mouth salivated, that metallic pre-sick warning.  Through mediation, I did my best to will it away.  My day nurse, Nicole was in and out of my room every 20 minutes to an hour.  She would ask for my pain and nausea levels and would give me various drugs as needed.  She’d write on a white board on the wall across from my bed, what medication was next and what time it could be administered.  Before giving me any medication, I was asked my birthdate and the barcode on one of my hospital wrist bands was scanned.  At one point, she put a cool damp wash cloth on my forehead as I breathed through nausea.  I began to notice that when I moved my head, I’d also experience vertigo.  

I had a heating pad on my lower belly, an oxygen tube in my nose and I wore an ugly green, cloth hospital gown.  I also had a blood pressure cuff on my right biceps and compression sleeves on both lower legs.  The blood pressure cuff would run every 15 minutes or so and chime when it was finished.  The compression sleeves on my legs were constantly inflating and deflating. I found it felt quite nice, kind of like a massage.

I can’t stress enough how dry my mouth was and the unappealing taste that went with it.  Sips of water did nothing to alleviate it.  I was thankful I didn’t have a sore throat, which is very common after being intubated under general anesthesia.  I had no appetite, but I knew that with even a little food in my stomach, the nausea would get better.  The last food and drink I had were about 24 hours ago.  I started with a Graham cracker.  Bad idea!  This only intensified the dryness in my mouth.  I switched to Jello and applesauce after that.  

I was in room 418, on the 4th floor, the women’s unit.  For the most part it was pretty quiet.  I remember hearing someone moaning in pain, down the hall.  They let out a long and slow “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck”.  Through closed eyes, I whispered, “Did someone just drop the f-bomb?”  Sitting beside me Michael said, “Yup.”  

Michael told me, when the surgeon called him, she said everything went extremely well.  The surgery typically takes around an hour or so, depending on what is found.  Mine took a bit over 30 minutes and seemed to be fairly typical, with no surprises.  I am now down three internal organs.  My uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes are gone. My ovaries stayed.  I will no longer have periods (yippee).  At some point my surgeon came in to my room, but I was battling a wave of nausea so I didn’t really pay attention.  As the hours passed, my pain level decreased.   Thank goodness I had the sense to pack a small container of mints with me.  They brought a small sliver of short lived relief to the dryness in my mouth.  I also brought a small bag of candied ginger, which can help with nausea.  At one point Michael and I each had  a piece.  After realizing the pieces were a bit too big, we looked at each other quizzically as we slowly chewed the pungently strong, stickie, fibrous pieces. 

Michael left just after 8 pm to go home and give our cat his evening shot.  Since we live about 15 minutes away, I wanted him to sleep in his own bed, even though he could have stayed the night with me had he wanted.  I was able to sleep more soundly once it was night time and my room was dark.  My evening nurse would come in every two hours or so.  At 1:00 am more meds were given, my vitals were checked and the IV fluids were stopped.  At some point I was taken off oxygen, but I can’t remember when.  At 4 am she took my vitals again.  I was given Tylenol because my pain level was low.  The compression sleeves on my legs and blood pressure cuff on my arm were removed.  I got up and stood for the first time since 9:20 am the previous morning.  My nurse helped me to the bathroom and she removed the catheter (not as bad as I was anticipating).  After standing for a short while I got back into bed.  My nurse said my big goal was to urinate on my own, into a measured collector.  Which I did, twice (after she left) with little discomfort.  At 5:45 am a different nurse came in to do a draw blood.  After one of my bathroom trips I brushed my teeth, thinking it would fix the dry mouth, gross taste issue.  It didn’t.  At 7 am my evening nurse came in one last time to check on me, before her shift ended.  She said I could change into my own clothes and even take a shower if I wanted.  I changed into my clothes but I wanted shower at home.

I still hadn’t eaten much, so despite having no appetite, I ordered French Toast and OJ to have for breakfast.  I was told both by my surgeon and one of my nurses that the food at the hospital was decent.  

I’m not sure what I was expecting, nor am I sure what they consider “decent”.  Clearly what I consider “decent” and what they consider decent are two very different things.  Two weeks before, I had been to one of the best restaurants in Seattle (Canlis), so I guess I experienced both extremes of the culinary spectrum.  At one end you have, James Beard award winning, Canlis . . . and at the other end, hospital food.  It all keeps me relatively humble I suppose. 

My surgeon visited me during her morning rounds.  We discussed my pain medication prescription, a deadline for a bowel movement, and stool softeners.  She wanted me to call her if I experienced excessive bleeding, a fever or other specific symptoms indicating something could be wrong.  She suggested Advil and Tylenol every six hours.  I asked if it would be a good idea to take a Probiotic and she said yes.  At about 9:30 am I was being wheeled out to the car.

I was anxious to get home!  While my overnight hospital stay was as comfortable as it could be, under the circumstances, noting beats being home.  Surrounded by familiar trappings, your own clothes, your own bed, (your own underwear) and the love of your people (and pets).

At home, the dry mouth and odd taste continued.  My voice was hoarse.  My pain level was still low.  After getting out of the shower, I noticed how much my lower abdomen was swollen.  Sneezing, laughing, coughing or even blowing my nose was a bad idea.  I’ve been taking it easy, but when I’m up and about, I sometimes feel little twinges of discomfort.  I also notice how weary I get.  I still have slight vertigo from time to time and my balance is off.  The morning after my first night back in my own bed, I asked Michael if hallucinations were a side effect from general anesthesia.  He said yes.  Particularly bizarre dreams.  I was shocked by his answer, but that certainly explains the night sky I saw swirling around on my ceiling my first night home.  And yes, I was fully awake.  Bleeding has been minimal, even though I’m still advised to use a feminine pad.  I now understand why the hysterectomy website recommended the “larger than you need” cotton undies.  Because your lower abdomen is swollen. 

Michael has really been great!  Very attentive and supportive!  Titian our cat has also been helpful.  Lying with me and purring healing purrs.   (No seriously, it’s a thing.  Cat’s purrs are at a healing frequency.)  My appetite is not back, but we’ll see if a can choke down a Momofuku pork bun.  You know, take one for the team.

 – Later Addition – 

The fatty pork bun was not the best idea as my first full meal.

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The Decision

For as long as I can remember, my cycles have been really bad.  When I was young, I was diagnosed with severe dysmenorrhea.  Which is basically the medical term for period from hell.  Years of being on birth control helped to level out the pain.  Around eight years ago, I took myself off birth control, because I wanted a break from putting synthetic hormones in my body.  And as one might guess, my painful cycles returned with vengeance.  All this time, I’ve thought painful periods, amongst other issues, were my lot in life.  I just took a boatload of Advil, tried to schedule life around 5 days out of every month and not really chat about it to anyone. 

I’m not sure how I got the gumption to finally start asking questions.  Not long ago, it occurred to me, to wonder if I could possibly have endometriosis.  I asked my female PCP how one might get diagnosed.  She said we’d start with a pelvic ultra sound.  I got one and it came back “normal”.  After consulting a female Osteopathic OB/GYN in my extended family, she said it was worth pursuing further.  She also said pelvic ultrasounds only detect large masses, and smaller tissue can go undetected.  So I booked an appointment with a local female OB/GYN.  

My sister-in-law had a hysterectomy and will shout from the roof tops, that it was the best thing for her.  Most women I’ve heard say, it was the best decision for them.  I’ve been very resistant to the idea of surgery, returning to the pill, or an IUD (my options).  However, to get properly diagnosed with endometriosis, I’d need to have a Laparoscopy (a form of exploratory surgery).  Why not just cut to the chase?  A hysterectomy would end my cycles for good, and possibly solve other issues.   Maybe I should have considered it sooner?

I didn’t make the choice to have major surgery, lightly.  Of course my husband was part of the conversation, but in the end, it came down to me.  I made the choice to have a hysterectomy during the final week of September 2022.  It requires an overnight hospital stay (my first).  It will be under general anesthesia and I will most likely have a catheter.  Two more first for me.  Fingers crossed, with no complications, it’s a 6 week recovery.  I figure I couldn’t walk for 6 weeks after ankle surgery, 6 weeks of hysterectomy recovery should be a walk in the park (no pun intended).  As a side note, I guess it’s important to mention that I’m cool with not having kids.  Truth be told, I’m one of those rare female anomalies who has never wanted children (largely in part, due my childhood, I’d imagine).  

NOTE: I made this decision only weeks before Roe v Wade was overturned.  Make no mistake, this country has started down a dangerously slippery path.  Could they eventually take away our “right” to a hysterectomy?  I sincerely hope not, but I’m sure they’ve thought about it. 

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My Shield

Before I begin, I feel the need to address an elephant that is often in the room when I cosplay or when I talk about my cosplay.  I am well aware that I am judged for being a grown adult playing dress-up.  I do not need to defend or explain what I do.  However . . .  I donate my time to various charities and community events, as Wonder Woman.  Believe it or not, I can tell when people judge me, because it’s written on their faces.  Because female superheroes have been overtly sexualized for most of their existence, most men can’t help but view me through a sexual lens.  And it’s NOT the gaze I wish to be receiving!  Most men can’t see a strong woman who could kick their ass without seeing a woman they’d like to bed.  From women, I get a disdainful look.  They think I’m selfishly bringing attention to myself.  They misunderstand (in their own insecurity) my look as self-important and self-absorbed.  The Double Hitter is when I experience both of these judgements from a couple.  

I donate my time to bring smiles and joy to anyone who is a fan of the character I am representing (children and adults alike).  I give back to my community and to organizations where I can make a difference.  No matter how small.  So before you look at me as a sexual object or judge me because of your insecurities, try visiting a children’s hospital or a homeless shelter out of the goodness of your heart.  Then we can talk.

Now, on to the point . . .

I grew up in an alcoholic home where I was not protected.  My childhood was spent in a home where I was frequently under attack.  On numerous occasions I also watched as those in my home attacked each other.  I had no voice.  I was often, invisible.  I developed defense mechanisms to survive and protect myself the best I could.  I built armor around myself and stood behind a silent shield of anger.

In grade school, I was bullied (let’s be honest, most of us were).  For the most part, I told the bullies to piss off.  I also stood up for others that were bullied and made fun of.  Yet, no one stood up for me.  

The ballet studio quickly became my refuge, it was something I held on to for many years.  I took my anger and channeled it into a tireless work ethic.  With minimal natural ability, I became a decent dancer through sheer will and drive.  I continued to dance in college, because I had little desire for anything else.  After college, I taught dance and continued to thrive in my safe place.  

Jump ahead many years.  I began my cosplay journey, choosing to represent Wonder Woman from the record-breaking 2017 film.  This was the first time I saw a solo female driven film that was given all the ingredients to be a success.  Ingredients that are usually only reserved for male stories.  I deeply resonated with this movie.  The film was in her voice, and from her perspective.  I saw a female character stand up to sexism.  She was not victimized, or sexualized.  I saw a female character not only fight and defend herself, but defend others as well.  She didn’t take shit from anyone.  She lifted up the women around her.  Even though she was on her heroes journey, still figuring out her own powers, she was confident, and strong.  She was compassionate, kind and understanding.  She helped others, especially those who had less or who needed help. 

Through cosplay, I have found a fun and enriching “hobby” I can enjoy with my husband and friends.  In addition, I give back to charities and my community.  

Not long ago, I decided to add another character to my cosplay repertoire.  She too is a strong, female Superhero.  Captain Carter is not as well known as Wonder Woman, but they share many similarities.  I mention her, because both characters are often shown carrying a shield.

Recently, I was working in a personal growth session.  We were focusing on getting rid of past pain and anger, particularly regarding my late father.  I was asked to close my eyes, clear my mind and visualize being in an empty room with him.  Immediately, my eyes began to well up.  I was asked, what do you feel?  

Anger, I said.  

Is there anything in the space between you and your father?  

Yes, I said.  I’m behind a wall of anger.  I’m shielding myself.  

What does the shield look like?  

It looks . . . . not that different from what I carry as Wonder Woman, I said.  But perhaps a little bigger.

That moment was an epiphany for me.  From years and years of feeling unprotected, defenseless and under attack as a child, it makes perfect sense that as an adult I would choose to represent the most iconic female Superhero of all time.  Every time I suit up, I subconsciously vow that no one will ever be unprotected while I am around. 

As an adult, I usually feel pretty strong, confident and fearless.  But in costume, it’s like those feelings are magnified.  Even though my sword is resin and my shield is foam (however, I do have an 8 lb. metal shield) the power of this character surges through me.  Being in full costume feels so natural, so at home, it’s almost like something within me, something that’s always been there, is reawakening.  

This all may seem obvious to those reading this now or even to those who know the environment I grew up in, but this discovery was extremely powerful and meaningful to me.  From the painful chaos I experienced as a child, this realization has helped me to see with more clarity that the tapestry of who I am is continuing to evolve.

I realize the experiences of my childhood, helped shape me into who I am (for better or worse).  However, now I have the power to choose what I hold onto and what I let go of.    

I choose to hold on to

My strength – of mind, of body, of will

My voice

My determination 


The core values I hold dear

The strong woman I am.  

I choose to let go of

The fear

The pain and anger (my armor and shield) 

The fearful little girl I was.

We are never too old, or too adult to grow.  We should strive to continue to better ourselves.  To evolve past our old pain and traumas.  To emerge like a butterfly or a phoenix, reborn, and anew.  If resonating with a Superhero or playing dress up helps me get there, then I’m all for it.  

Try not to judge others.  You have no idea what dragons they’ve had to fight to get here.  And we are all fighting our own battles! 

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Middle Age

According to Wikipedia – middle age is between 45-65 years old.

On August 5th, 2021, I will turn 47.

Several months ago, I noticed an ugly little voice inside my head. Whispering, I am no longer at my peak, and that 47 is old. “You don’t have it, anymore.” This voice would say. And while I’m not entirely sure what I specifically don’t have any longer, as a (according to Wikipedia) middle-aged woman, I guess I kind of DO know. It’s my youth. The voice was telling me I no longer have the allure, vigor, and desirableness of my youth.

However, I beg to differ. But it took playing dress-up to figure it out.

While chatting with this voice, I remembered, rather out of the blue, that I’ve always thought a woman in a tux was a pretty edgy and provocative look. That’s when the idea of a birthday photoshoot came to me. I ordered black tux pants, a black tux jacket, and a white wing collar tux shirt (with French/barrel cuffs and the option for studs & cuff links), all from a website specializing in tuxedos for women – Little Black Tux. Embossed (leather) snake-skin heels fell into place and would complete the look. The ensemble arrived, and I tried it on. If I had any doubts in the moments leading up to showing my husband, they all vanished when I saw the expression on his face. Granted, I opted for just a black push-up bra, under the buttoned jacket when I showed him. But seeing his look, and knowing what it meant, banished the voice inside my head right then and there.

I got to work on organizing a “Woman in a Tux” photoshoot with an all-female team (photographer and assistant). In the meantime, a good friend reached out to me and we decided to do a quick little James Bond-themed shoot (also in the tux). I’ve always been a Bond fan. I grew up watching up watching the films. I greatly appreciate the direction the franchise has taken with Daniel Craig! Namely less sexist, less campy, and cheesy with a bit more darkness and grit.

It also happens, that I have access to the specific make and model pistol, James Bond is known for. I gifted my husband, Michael a Walther PPK some time ago. I purchased it from my late father, who sold guns as a hobby for many years. Michael who served in the Military and is also a Bond fan was interested in owning this particular piece.

I made it a priority to familiarize myself with our Walther before the Bond photoshoot. When Matt and I were ready to begin our photo shoot, I made a point of showing him the weapon was unloaded. No round in the chamber, no bullets in the magazine. This too showed my comfort and proficiency with the pistol. I was more nervous about not having a shirt on in some of the photos than I was about having an unloaded firearm in my hand.

I was surprised with how good the photos from the Bond shoot turned out. It was empowering. Having a firearm in my hand didn’t hurt either. Although, I’ve never been fully comfortable with one in my hand until that photoshoot. Because I had done the due diligence of familiarizing myself with it, the cold metal and the compact weight in my hand was no longer something to be afraid of. The persona I was embodying, needed to be confident in heels, a masculine outfit, and packing heat. A look, I think I pulled off nicely. When actors or actresses say a costume helps them get into character, I completely know what they mean. It’s the same when I suit up as Wonder Woman. However, the two characters are worlds apart . . . or are they?

To be honest, I didn’t set out to gender-bend James Bond. It just kind of happened. However, I’ve discovered a new facet of myself in doing so. It’s a different feeling entirely from cosplaying Wonder Woman. Although both characters share many similar qualities. I love that a female version of Bond is edgy as well as unexpected, and yet it works.

Hollywood and the entertainment industry have portrayed both sexes in certain stereotypes for so long. We all know men can save the day. For years (and counting) the hero’s journey has been reserved primarily for men. “Look at us save the day, hear our story, from our point of view and look at all the awesome things we can do (and blow up)” themed movies have been shoved down our throats. I love the slowly growing list of movies and TV series that show just how kick-ass and formidable women can be. This is my homage to that. Taking a beloved, iconic male character and making them female.

Finally, I’ve always been a somewhat conservative person. Especially in the way I present myself and the way I dress. Provocative is not a word one would usually associate with me. There is nothing wrong with being provocative, it’s just not a choice I’ve made. However, as 47 approaches, I’m having fun with the tux, and with that, I’m learning to care less and less about what others think of me. I don’t think wearing nothing under a tux jacket in a few photos is going to have too many people clutching their pearls. Nor should it bring into question my morals and values. And if you think it does, then perhaps you ought to get yourself a sexy little get-up and live a little. I know who I am. Life is too short to live by a self-assigned set of rules.

My “Woman in a Tux” shoot isn’t until mid-August. In the meantime, enjoy some of the Bond-themed photos.

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In Memory – Bourdain

Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 3.16.35 PMOne year ago today, I woke up and sauntered into the kitchen for breakfast.  Within a minute or two my husband entered, just before heading off to work.  He asked me, Have you heard the news?  As he was asking this question, he pulled me into a hug.  No, I said.  There was no way I could have known how I’d react to what he told me next.  Ask yourself right now, besides your loved ones and friends, who’s death would impact you the greatest?  It’s probably someone you can’t even think of off-hand.  Someone who’s presence in your life and possibly the world is, by and large so commonplace you can’t fathom them being gone.  

That’s why when my husband said, Anthony Bourdain has committed suicide. – my reaction was to first push my husband away from me at arms length, shout a horrified NOOO!, and then immediately hug him and begin to cry.  My first thoughts were of Bourdain’s young daughter.    

I am still not “over it”.  I am still not “okay” with him being gone.  I still haven’t let him go or taken the loss.  My husband and I watched the final Parts Unknown episodes that aired after his passing (like we did every Sunday).  It’s painful to hear his voice and to see his joyous smile.  I could pick his voice out over a crowded room, I seem to know it so well.  My husband and I have been Bourdain fans since the beginning.  A Cooks Tour, No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown.  We’ve read many of his books, including the catalyst of it all Kitchen Confidential.  We’ve seen him speak live, numerous times and even have a photo or two with him.  I have his last cookbook Appetites.  I’ve given my husband several of his fiction books and his graphic novel series Get Jiro.  

No, I didn’t know him . . . but it sure feels like I do.

We’ve traveled with him to the far corners and remote places of the world.  We’ve shared countless meals with him.  We drank with him.  We’ve laughed with him.  We’ve been transported with him.  We’ve listened to music with him.  Together, we’ve eaten noodles with a President on plastic stools in Hanoi, Vietnam.  We’ve seen oceans, deserts, mountains, canyons, rivers and vast planes.  We’ve swam, skied, drove, flew, ridden horses, and walked countless miles together.  We’ve traveled by train, car, motorcycle, airplane, scooter, boat, horse, and everything in-between.

He was one of the greatest story tellers of our time.  Through his unfiltered lens, his shows strove to transport the viewer to exotic locations, complete with local cuisine.  He wanted you to feel and experience as he did, and while you can’t taste, touch or smell, through the award winning cinematography, he and his team got you damn close.

His shows were mini-lessons in travel, culture, food, cuisine, cooking, diplomacy, music, art, government, geography, places off the beaten path, and the roads less traveled.  He was an ambassador, a diplomat, a chef, and a poet.  He was a worker of magic, a weaver of tales, and a stunning visual artist.  His voice was so important and this world is in desperate need of his insight, humor, candor, and honesty.  He used his platform for good.  We learned to open our eyes and to not only see the world around us, but to go out into it.  We learned to have an open mind regarding new foods and experiences.  We learned to be gracious guests.  We learned to be humble and thankful.  To be curious and ask questions.  We learned that despite what angle the news chooses to show us, most people around the world are friendly and welcoming, including the Middle East, and especially Iran.  This very fact, even surprised him from time to time.

The lessons continue.  Explore the world around you.  Let go of your preconceived notions, you may be surprised and more importantly, you may learn something.  Take a few steps in someone else’s shoes, in someone else’s life – perhaps you’ll judge less harshly in the future.  

One thing that I learned and loved about his show as he would sit on the ground, in a hut, in a third world country, eating the absolute best the host had to offer, perhaps dried crickets.  Or he’d be eating the finest uber-fresh sushi with Master sushi Chef Masayoshi Takayama (chef and owner of 3 Michelin star restaurant Masa in NYC).  While the settings of both the scenarios are different, on many levels, they are very similar.  The lesson being, you are receiving hospitality, you are connecting to someone through a shared meal, you are consuming food presented with love and an open heart.  The setting of a shared meal is a wonderful and magical place, full with openness and endless possibility.  Understanding, acceptance, kindness, love, and compassion are forged at the meeting place of a shared meal.

I think the best thing we can do is to remember all the lessons we learned courtesy of Bourdain and do our damnedest to uphold and honor them. 

  • Host friends, family and new friends to your home.  Offer your very best with love and openness.
  • When traveling, view the world with fresh eyes.  Be willing to learn.
  • Be gracious, always.
  • Smile.  Appreciate.  Thank.  
  • Eat, drink, laugh and remember these moments as some of the best in your life.
  • Don’t judge other cultures too harshly. Chances are they’ve had a rough history, possibly worse than yours.
  • Ask questions.
  • Try it.  Even if you are afraid.  Try it anyway.
  • Walk in someone else’s shoes and look from someone else’s perspective. 
  • Don’t judge the surroundings, lack of a while linen table cloth or presence of plastic lawn chairs too harshly.  One of the best meals of your life could be waiting inside.  To be made by a dear, dear old woman who’s been making the same amazing stuff from before you were born.  It could quite possibly be, a life changing meal.


Dearest Tony, you are so missed and loved.  You left behind a great many people who are inspired by you and your message.  We cook in honor of you.  We entertain in honor of you.  We drink and eat in honor of you.  We travel in honor of you.  You, your voice and your lessons will be remembered.  I hope you are in a place free from pain and suffering, enjoying your next adventure.  You are missed and loved more than you could ever know!

We all – Cook Free or Die!


A Note on Suicide

I am no expert.  I have had a few encounters with different folks on the other end of the phone talk suicide with me.  But that’s another story.  

All we can do is love the people in our life.  Show compassion, understanding, acceptance, and kindness.  Be a good listener.  Be supportive, to the best of your ability.  It is my firm belief that if someone is hell bent, committed, determined on committing suicide there is nothing we can do.  No outside force is going to reason or rationalize with them, when they are in that unreachable state.  They do not want “help” for whatever limited or prolonged time they are in that unreachable state.

It’s important that you hear my message.  I’m saying we have no control over the actions of others.  We do not know their pain or suffering and to say “it’s going to be okay” is, in a way ignoring their struggle.  We cannot pretend to know someone else’s pain.  Some pain is simply unbearable.  And to some, death is the only answer.  Just love the people in your life.  Love them well, unconditionally, and the best you can.  That is all any of us can really do.

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Your Worst Day


When was your last bad day? I mean really bad, full of despair, ugly-cry bad day? Mine was February 5, 2018. Nine days before (January 27) I had surgery to fix a recently broken ankle and a torn ligament. I was spending six weeks of non weight-bearing recovery in Seattle (to be closer to the surgeon and my weekly post-op appts.). My primary home is about 70 miles South of Seattle.

The morning of the 5th, I woke up and for some reason the condo I was staying in felt smaller than usual. My husband had left the day before after spending several days with me directly after the surgery.

My ankle was sore, and my body was angry from the imbalance of not being able to walk. I was stiff and everything seemed to hurt. I got up to make breakfast. Balancing on one foot with my right knee on a scooter is harder than you might think. In the kitchen I became exhausted cutting half an apple and making toast. I had no energy, nor much of an appetite. I decided to get on my yoga mat and foam roller to see if I could coax my body into releasing.

My body wasn’t having it. Nothing was letting go, in fact, I think everything tightened up even more. I was sore, tired, in pain, frustrated and extremely lonely. I missed my home, my husband, my cats, my active way of life, my freedom and mobility. Laying on my back in the middle of the floor, I realized I was confined to 800 square feet for six weeks and this was the beginning of week 2. I was unable to go anywhere, unable to do much of anything. Unable to walk, or shower, even day-to-day tasks needed more negotiating and maneuvering than seemed necessary. I began to cry.

But even in the light of this painful moment, I was in a nice condo in downtown Seattle, out of the winter weather, with heat, food, hot water, soft blankets, clean clothes, a fantastic door man, and a great many comforts.

Now think of the homeless and the less fortunate. Endlessly wondering not only where their next meal is going to come from, but how to stay warm and dry and out of the weather. As well as how to keep clean (self and clothes), where’s the nearest restroom they can use, where to sleep, where to find water to drink, and where is a safe place to be (especially for women). I would assume they don’t even bother with the trivial things like SPF, lip balm, nutrition, what song they’d like to listen to next, how to charge their cell phone, or who has liked their last Facebook post.

Over the last two years, I have made up two different sets of (5) blessing bags and have given them out personally to folks in Olympia and Seattle. I am about to make up another set of 5 for the winter season of 2018. I now carry several spare five dollar bills in my wallet and especially when walking downtown Seattle, will give a bill to women on the street. I look each person in eyes, often put my hand on their shoulder and say God Bless You or I will pray for you. I smile and walk away. As I walk away, each time I am filled with great compassion as well as deep sadness.

I know not everyone can afford to do this. But treating someone with compassion costs nothing and I’m guessing your bad day, doesn’t equal their daily struggle to survive. If everyone could experience connecting even for a few seconds with someone less fortunate than themselves, this world would be a different place. Someone once said, “Your life should be evaluated by what you did for those who had less than you.” There is something to be said for this. Because what if YOU were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want someone to be compassionate towards you? No one typically thinks of this. No one wants to think of this. No one plans to be homeless or on the street. We can’t assume we know everyone’s story. It’s a pretty righteous frame of mind to think that if others had just worked harder, they would be in a better situation. Bad things happen to good people. Not all homeless are drug users or alcoholics. And it’s dangerous to think so. Some are mentally ill and can’t afford or don’t have the resources for help. Some don’t want to better their lives, but some do . . . many do. No one chooses to be homeless.

Remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
And live by it.

I try to.

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Have you ever lost a friend but didn’t know why?  You just wake up one day and realize they are no longer in your life.  From a decision not of your making.  For no reason, from no incident, or misunderstanding, or fight; nothing you can recall.  

Some time ago, two female friends vanished from my life (around the same time).  With no explanation, no incident (that I’m aware of) or reasoning.  They didn’t pass away or move away (that I’m aware of).  All three of us were friends and then all of a sudden we weren’t.  Clearly, this still hurts me.  I have wracked my brain over and over for whatever offensive, hurtful or upsetting thing I could have done or could have said to result in our friendship ending.  Was there a misunderstanding?  Did I inadvertently offend someone?  Whatever it was, I am completely and honestly unaware of it.  And therefore unable to apologize, or even explain myself.  Which, I feel is enormously unfair.  Based on their actions (to end the friendship) it’s obvious to me, that our bond wasn’t worth that much to them.  Which is unfortunate.  And again hurtful.

As I rummage through my memories of our friendship trio, my thoughts turn to how I treated them or certainly how I treated them from my perspective.  I feel I was a generous friend.  I was often the first one to reach out and connect everyone. I often organized our time together.  On a girls weekend trip in Seattle, I hosted them overnight as well as footed the bill for our dining and activities.  I gave years of Birthday and Christmas gifts.  I’ve hosted them multiple times at my house (something neither one did, (with one exception)).  I cooked for them many a time, their favorite dishes no less.  I don’t want to keep going on about how amazing I was (tongue and cheek) but I am not a crap person and whatever unintentional sin I may have committed, doesn’t the good out-weigh the bad here?!?  

I do find it slightly coincidental that one of the friends got married shortly before our friendship fell apart. Both the other friend and I were at the ceremony.  The bride and groom received a rather nice wedding gift from my husband and I.  So what gives?

I have never had a plethora of friends.  Because I’m rather choosy about the people I surround myself with.  But when thinking of one’s friends, your heart should fill with love and joy.  It deeply saddened me when these two exited my life.  Not even a broken ankle, torn ligament, emergency surgery, two surgical screws and a six-week stint recovering in Seattle could re-light our friendship apparently.  No text or even a reach out on social media – which nowadays is like the least you can do.  Which left me even more disheartened.  

CC8DDEEA-4718-463F-ADC1-0B3449584AE6What’s that one saying about doors opening and closing?  Half-way through my six-weeks of non-weight bearing recovery in Seattle, I was surprised by two completely different friends.  Two glorious human beings that double as Superheroes.  No seriously, they are Superheroes!  (Members of the Justice League to be specific.)  

I met Batman in Seattle a year ago at the 2017 Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) in Seattle.  Through social media he introduced me to Houston Wonder Woman.  We all share the bond of cosplay (I also cosplay Wonder Woman).  I was unable to attend the 2018 ECCC due to my injury.  Batman would message me from time to time to check in while I was recovering in Seattle.  Houston Wonder Woman would write uplifting and inspiring comments on social media.  To lift my spirits, Batman offered to come and visit me before heading off to his day at ECCC this last March.  “If Wonder Woman can’t come to Comicon, we’ll bring Comicon to her.” He wrote.  “Hell yes!” I said.

I was all ready for Batman to visit.  I was wearing a WW tee and my black air cast boot (pants too of course).  In walked Houston Wonder Woman AND Batman!!!  What!?!  OMG!!  OMG!!  OMG!!  I nearly cried!!  She flew all the way from Houston to surprise me and Batman was in on it!!  You guys are THE BEST!!

IMG_9727That day ranks in my Top 5 best days ever!  Their generosity, selflessness, care for others, and compassion is an exemplary example of friendship.  I am truly blessed and honored to have them in my life and to call them my friends.  

We are planning to join forces for 2019 ECCC.  So if you feel the earth tilt or a sudden breeze whip up mid-March next year, that would be us.  Showering everyone in our radius with joy, good vibes, happiness, and friendship!

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

– Alexander Graham Bell


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Confessions of a Bionic Wonder Woman In Two Parts


August of last year, I assigned myself 12 Labors to be completed by March 1, 2018 for Emerald City Comicon in Seattle. A voluntary, seven-month journey of growth, self-exploration, and development. (For more information and a list of the Labors, please visit previous blog posts.) The idea came about my Freshman year of cosplaying Wonder Woman. In the comics, Wonder Woman assigned herself 12 Labors, as a testament to the Justice League (and herself) that she was indeed ready for Superhero duty after losing her powers. I wanted to take my cosplay journey one step further and accomplish a few things worthy of representing Wonder Woman. In my mind, I wanted to be different from those who just suit up and portray a Superhero for a day at an event or Comicon. I wanted to be worthy of the suit (in my own eyes) as well as put my powers to good use and grow as a person.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working hard on finishing up my 12 Labors. The hardest Labors for me, were the physical challenges, due to the progressive nature of changing your body through working out and diet. To be honest I’ve been doing my “Wonder Woman inspired” workouts and diet evolution for over a year now. I’ve gradually lost weight and fat, gained muscle and improved my overall fitness.

I recently had several events on the horizon I was looking forward to. I was gearing up to walk in the Seattle Women’s March as Wonder Woman on January 20. I was looking forward to debuting a new WW costume at Emerald City Comicon. I was set to appear as WW at a local children’s museum, suit up for Seattle Children’s Hospital (my 2nd time) in addition to other such events.

On January 17, life threw me a final Labor. One I didn’t plan, nor did I see it coming. In a fraction of an instant, my life would be drastically different for the next 3 months. This Labor would challenge my mind, body, will, determination, and spirit.


Wednesday, January 17th started off a great day. I had my deep water training session in the pool and I also had a massage. The day turned when I slipped and fell down a small ramp in our garage. I ended up on the concrete floor. Did I just hear a pop?!? Pain flooded my right ankle and expletives flew out of my mouth. I had been gearing up to march in the Seattle Women’s March, just two days away.

I hobbled back into the house and tested walking. I knew you couldn’t put weight on a broken bone and I could walk with a bit of a limp, so I figured it was a bad sprain.

IMG_9193The following day (Thursday) I made an appointment with my family physician to learn my lower fibula was indeed broken. I took a photo of the X-ray. Friday, I just happened to send the photo to a good friend and Seattle’s best podiatrist (specializing in dancers) Dr. Alan Woodle. Within a few hours, he called me from Seattle. “You need an MRI!” he said. “This is a very specific type of fracture and if you have ligament or tendon damage, you are one bump away from a complete dislocation or a compound fracture.”

To be completely nerdy and medical, I had a Danis-Weber type B fracture (acute angle) of my lower right fibula. I had an MRI on Saturday. The MRI revealed my anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament was completely detached and the peroneal tendon was frayed. Sunday, Dr. Woodle called and informed me I’d be having surgery the following Saturday (January 27).  He would secure the bone with surgical screws as well as reattach the ligament and clean up the fryaed tendon.  From fall to surgery = ten days.

In May 1995 (23 years ago) I had a dance related surgery on the same ankle (between my ankle bone and Achilles tendon. I was in college, dancing seven hours a day. I had the surgery at the end of my sophomore year. I rehabbed during the three months of summer vacation and was back dancing for my junior year.

Dr. Woodle also performed that surgery. People come from all over the United States, even internationally to be seen and treated by him. Dr. Woodle is one of the nicest, most caring people. He is detailed in his approach, his bedside manner is exceptional and he goes above and beyond for his patients. I would trust my feet to no one else, I just adore him.

In preparation for my most recent surgery, I kept telling myself and my husband that this was not my first rodeo. I’ve been through this, I’ve done this before. Even though the technicalities of the surgeries were different from each other, some of the process was already familiar to me (namely ice, compression and elevation). I’d come to find out, that was about all the two had in common. A major difference however, I walked into my first surgery. (It was a procedure unique to dancers and not an injury.) This most recent surgery I hobbled in on crutches unable to walk, with a broken bone. I had already had a week and a half of rest, ice, compression, elevation with little to no weight bearing.

26992314_10215544473951344_9156964518900821515_nJanuary 27 – Day of surgery
Getting ready for surgery is the easiest thing ever! Out of the shower (washing with antibacterial, anti-microbial Hibiclens), no make-up, no lotion, no deodorant, no perfume, no hair products, no jewelry, no nothing, but loose clothing. I did however, sneak just a bit of face cream and lip balm. Not even any breakfast or food or liquids of any kind (no water even) from midnight of the previous night. I was ready in 5 minutes!

7:00 am we arrived at NW Hospital in Seattle. After checking in and chatting with Dr. Woodle, I was taken back to the first stage of surgery prep. “Please put your belongings in these bags, put the gown and hair cap on and remove your underwear.” WHAT?!? You mean I can’t even have on my own skivvies? As I was about to learn, I left my dignity at the door. For surgery 23 years ago I had my own undies on. What’s changed? I’m not sure about you, but there is some comfort in your own undies, you know. Without them, without anything familiar on, you feel not yourself. Plus I went to the bathroom a few times before surgery. I was accompanied by a nurse wheeling my IV behind me and the hospital gown is indeed open in the back (besides the two flimsy ties) my bum certainly felt exposed as I crutched to the loo.

Sitting up in the hospital bed, with my new super flattering hospital garment on, an awesome sheer blue head covering, and a white (less than 2 thread count) hospital blanket over me, my husband was allowed back to be with me. In goes the IV with “Gatorade” like fluids. More chatting with various nurses checking information, stories and laughter with Dr. Woodle and my husband. Then came the anesthesiologist. She was a little brisk at first (being German) and tried taking me into general anesthesia. I was pretty firm, I didn’t want a general. I looked to my husband for support, and he was just nodding and encouraging me to go with the recommendation. After discussing all the options, which were basically a general or a spinal block with moderate IV sedation. The anesthesiologist said if it were her, she’d do the spinal block – which is what I wanted the whole time. I’m glad we saw eye to eye in the end.

I kissed my husband goodbye and I’m wheeled into the OR. It was freezing and my paper thin nightie wasn’t cutting it. I begin to shiver uncontrollably. One of the lovely nurses brings me a wonderfully heated blanket. My whole OR team, with the exception of Dr. Woodle was female. I tell them all how cool a nearly all female team is and thank each of them before I’m administered the spinal. I remember the time was 10:16 am.

I was comfortable. I was laying on my left side and was quite sleepy. Before being in the OR I remember Dr. Woodle and the nurses saying they were going to use some sort of inflatable bean bag to keep me in position during surgery. But I have no memory of experiencing it. While in the OR, I could hear voices behind me. After what seemed like about 20 minutes, I was wondering when they are going to get started. Then I saw Dr. Woodle’s face pop up in front of me and he said, “We’re all done.” For the next two or so hours, I was in the most wonderfully comfortable state I’ve ever been in. Thank goodness for that amazing German anesthesiologist and her magical cocktail mixture of drugs! God Bless Her! Truly!

Spinals take the longest to wear off, even longer than generals. So the draw-back is you have to stay longer in recovery until you have full feeling and function of yourself. Dr. Woodle and Michael were with me. We chatted, Dr. Woodle wrote up his notes and Michael showed me the outpouring of love from social media. A light pressure in my lower abdomen began to creep up. As time went on, it increased. I learned it was pressure from my bladder. The anesthesiologist kept me well hydrated and I need to pee. So I got up and tried to use the bathroom. Funny thing, I still couldn’t feel that entire area (which was very odd) so my visit was unsuccessful. The pressure increased. I was told that if I couldn’t go on my own, they’d scan my bladder and then drain me. I did not want that! So I waited for another 20 minutes and gave it another go. It took a great deal of pushing, and a combination of intense concentration and relaxation but I was successful in the end. Phew!

IMG_9287The first day after surgery, I was pretty uncomfortable until I got myself on a proper pain med. schedule. I was sleepy and tried to sleep as much as I could. Around recovery day 4 I was able to take myself off my primary pain pill and use the secondary as needed. I had been using the Cryo-cuff (ice & compression) since before the surgery and still continue to do so, elevated to reduce the swelling and pain.

On my fourth day of recovery, I was introduced to a new machine. A CPM (continuous passive movement machine). About the size of a large breadbox, the CPM would stay in our condo. I was to start off with a small range of motion for 20 minutes. Each day I would increase the time, working up to an hour and see if I could increase my range of motion (ROM). Some days my ROM would increase, some days it would stay the same. My days now consisted of bouncing between the bed with the elevated Cryo-cuff and the sofa with the CPM. They both required me to be either seated or on my back. This got old very quickly.

Then there is sleeping. Ever tried sleeping with one leg resting on an elevation pillow and your foot in a moon boot inflated with cold water? It’s no easy feat, let me tell you! With great care, I began to get creative with my sleeping positions. I just had to shift to my side from time to time. I finally got sleeping down, but I’d wake up stiff as hell! My right hip flexor was beyond pissed from even before the surgery. My bum was so tired of sitting and lying down. Various aches and pains crept into my body from all the compensation and imbalance. I implored my husband to get me a foam roller. With a yoga mat on the floor, I began a personal ritual of stretching, foam rolling and upper body band work just to stay sane in the head (and body).

Needless to say, Dr. W didn’t (and doesn’t still) want me going anywhere or doing anything that may result (with even the slightest possibility) in anyone (the public at large) stepping, bumping, knocking, tapping, kicking, falling, tripping, stumbling, sneezing or breathing on me. ANYTHING that could result in setting back my recovery. So that means NO social life, no restaurants, no public outings, no performances, no driving, no movies, no concerts, no shopping malls, no gyms, and on and on and on. NO Emerald City Comicon. I was beyond devastated!

87DEC586-FB2E-4621-A5BC-27F23BF8CD7ESo, I’ve been under house arrest, confined to an 800 sq. ft. condo in downtown Seattle for 6 weeks. The condo is nice, don’t get me wrong, but day after day after day. Seven days was my longest stretch of not leaving the condo. Since I can’t walk (for a full 6 weeks) and my husband is working in Olympia during the week, there isn’t much for me to do but Cryo-cuff, CMP and hang out.

A few simple things I have come to enjoy during this time:
* Wonderfully crisp apples and juicing oranges my husband brings me from Pike Place Market.
* An afternoon cup of Green Ginger tea (possibly with a cookie or two).
* Listening to the audiobook of A Handmaid’s Tale read by Claire Danes
* Binge watching Mozart in the Jungle
* What yummy mischief I can get into on food delivery apps.
* Petit workouts I give myself.

A few things this recent journey has taught me:

* Don’t take ANYTHING for granted.
Your health, your mobility, your strength (mental and physical), the ability to take a shower and that wonderful clean feeling, the luxury of freshly washed hair, self sufficiency, the joys of cooking, the joys of driving, general freedom, sweating from a gloriously difficult work out, walking without assistance, not needing to ice a part of your body several times a day, fur babies (if you have them), friends, your primary relationship . . .
NOTHING, take nothing for granted!

* I am not my injury.
This simple statement may seem obvious, but from the moment it happened, this injury has ruled my life. It has dictated what I can do, where I can go, how I get around, how people see (and treat) me, as well as how and where I spend my time. For a little over three months, my life will be beholden to this injury.
However, it is not who I am!

* I am more motivated to do my exercises, stretch and foam roll if I change my clothes from the jammies I’ve been in all day to semi work out clothes.
* Putting music on when doing said exercises, helps immensely!
* Don’t beat myself up or criticize myself over not being as diligent (obsessive) as I “should” be with said exercises.
* Take “should” out of my vocabulary.
* To heal, is to accept this journey. Accept the day to day process. Accept the choices I make. Accept myself injury included! Nurture myself with food, books, music, movies, audiobooks, tea, and whatever else I find comforting during this journey.
* Reaching out to someone who is having a challenging time, allows me to feel effective, helpful and purposeful.

IMG_9571A Lesson in Balance
I must take full advantage of this time to heal. I must let go of looking too far in the future, lamenting over events I cannot attend or spending time wishing my days were different. I must look at this time as an extraordinary gift and not a curse.
Going through the prescribed therapeutic motions (Cryo-cuff, CPM machine, exercise sheet from the doc) is not enough. I must learn to be present in each day and focus my energy on nurturing and healing myself.
On the other hand, this still kinda sucks.

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Wonder Woman at Seattle Children’s Hospital

267A1983-EditAfter attending last years Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, for the first time in costume (as Wonder Woman), it occurred to me that I should reach out to Seattle Children’s Hospital and see if I could set up a time to visit.

It took several back and forth emails, but a date and time were set and my visit was scheduled. As the date grew closer, I became nervous. I had never done something like this before and I was a bit apprehensive about how the whole event would go. I had no idea what to expect. It didn’t help that my wing-man (my husband) was planning on being with me and had to bow out due to an unforeseen work thing. But I certainly could handle it. As long as I could “borrow” a female hospital staff member to help lace me into the corset-style back of the bodice, all would be well.

I received a PDF file as well as a lengthy email about the details surrounding my visit. Details included where to park, getting security clearance, everything I was bringing in had to be clean, no photographs of the children, they need to approach me, they can touch me but not vice versa, bring about 100 of whatever I’m bringing (WW stickers, my trading card, WW coloring sheet), keep everything positive, lots of smiles, be upbeat, etc.

Due to security reasons, I would be unable to arrive in costume. Which was both a blessing and a curse. Driving or even riding in a car in costume is not comfortable. However, “suiting up” takes some doing, as well as time and assistance, so it’s most convenient to get dressed in a comfortable and familiar environment (preferably with a full-length mirror). After emailing my contact that I’d need a female staff member for 5 minutes to lace me into the bodice, I was confident I could handle this journey solo.

Day Of
With my make-up and hair ready, sword & shield in the back seat, and multiple elements to the costume in a suitcase in my trunk, I headed out. The staff was so welcoming and kind. I was shown to the playroom and introduced to the two ladies that would be my handlers and escorting me around – Toni and Kathy. I was given a private office to change into. Toni helped lace me into the bodice, and she also put my sword in the scabbard on my back. I grabbed my shield and I was ready. In walked a little gal with her mother. Her eyes were big with amazement, but she was pretty shy. She was clearly interested and wanted to see what I was about. I knelt down on one knee and handed her a trading card and a WW sticker. This was Oma. A beautiful Hispanic girl with a bandaged up right arm. She didn’t say much but it warmed my heart when she leaned in close to me during our photo together (I was still on one knee). Toni would take a Polaroid photo of myself and the patient, then give it to the child or parent to keep. The only photos I could take (with my phone) were with staff, with their permission and an overturned ID badge.

IMG_8324 2The original plan was to stay in the playroom and let the kids come to me, but Kathy and Toni had other plans. Kathy grabbed my folder of goodies for the kids, Toni grabbed the camera and film packets, and we headed out. I said good-bye to Oma.

I learned that when most of the cool visitors come (Russel Wilson, Chris Evens, and such) they mainly see the cancer patients in the two cancer units (one for children and one for teens). Seattle Children’s Hospital is a huge facility with many different units, floors, and wards. Many patients don’t get to see any special visitors besides their parents, so Toni and Kathy decided today was their day!

Our routine would go like this: Kathy would walk ahead of Toni and I into the patient’s room and say, “I brought my best friend with me to work today and it’s Wonder Woman, would you like to see her?” All but once, the response was yes! Toni and I would quickly sanitize our hands (via wall mount) and walk into the room. Entering with a full smile, giving eye contact to the child, I’d begin to chat with them. Sometimes there would be a conversation, sometimes there was small talk and sometimes there was no verbal communication from the patient at all. I kept chatting anyway. I would comment on different things of theirs in the room, or what they were wearing, or pictures of theirs on the wall, etc. If I saw they were looking at a particular part of my costume, I’d chat about that. I’d talk about my shield, the sword on my back, my indestructible bracelets, or even the lasso of truth. Once they knew what the lasso did, I often got looks of astonishment. During my chatting, Kathy would hand me my trading card and a sticker for me to give the patient. I also gave them a WW coloring sheet and a small box of crayons (supplied by the hospital). We’d pose for a photo and often I’d sign it. Then just like that, our time would be up and I’d say good-bye. We’d walk out of the room and sanitize our hands again.

IMG_8317If we were walking in the hall and I was seen, we’d gauge the interest (usually excitement) and walk into the room and repeat the process all over again. I got pretty good at picking out things to chat with the kids about, as many were shy. One little fella, who had just had surgery the day before, didn’t say anything during my visit. I saw Spiderman on his fleece blanket, so I said I knew Spiderman. I said that he and I would often fight the baddies together and then go to Starbucks afterward. It didn’t matter that Spiderman is Marvel and WW is DC Comics. I said I quite enjoyed fighting crime with Spiderman cause he’s so cool, acrobatic and flies around with his webbing. Of course, I can fly too, but that’s why we make such a good team! I enjoyed improvising stories about WW’s adventures.

In the hallways, we’d pass administrative staff, clergy, nurses, doctors, catering staff, and cleaning staff. The response from everyone was so positive. A few staff wanted photos, which was so awesome! Mostly, the doctors were a little “too cool for school” but I caught them giving me the side-eye as we passed. One nurse showed me a WW pin on her ID badge as we were posing for a photo together. I told her she is a Wonder Woman!

We went from unit to unit, floor to floor. Toni had the great idea to enter the dialysis ward with the WW movie theme playing. I cued the music up on my phone and handed it to Toni. We got the ok from Kathy to enter the room, Toni pressed play and in I walked. Oh, you should have seen the look on their faces! Gal Gadot herself couldn’t have done it better. It was such a special moment to see the pure joy and excitement coming from the kids. One overjoyed little gal eagerly pulled out a small Wonder Woman figure to show me. A true fan. A fellow Amazon. This little warrior princess was amazing, they all were! Strong, fearless, and insanely brave. All the kids were just phenomenal and so inspiring to me.

IMG_8315We were making our rounds in the rehab unit and a little gal heard I was coming and darn near ran out of her room. She had blonde hair and a sparkly pink top on. I knelt down for a photo and it was clear she wanted to hug me. I looked to my handlers for the ok and they nodded. We hugged. Then mom wanted to get a photo of the hug so we needed to hug again. This time she didn’t let go. My heart just melted!

Two hours doesn’t seem like a long time, but after seeing over 40 children, I was both sad my time was ending and partly relieved because I was exhausted. We headed back to the playroom. I went back to the office to change back into a mortal. I seriously can’t tell you how tired I was. After getting back to our condo in downtown Seattle I had the good sense to spend 20 or so minutes in the hot tub. Later that evening, Michael and I went to one of our favorite restaurants (Palace Kitchen) for our very favorite burger and a much-deserved cocktail. I ate the whole burger, with lots of fries, and half a piece of White Chocolate Coconut cream pie – and after all that I was not stuffed, but simply satisfied and perfectly content. I was in bed by 8:30 pm.


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