What to Do When You Crash and Burn



On New’s Year Eve, I crashed and burned so hard that I am still recovering here at the end of January.

It all started out so well.

My son and I were at First Night in Tacoma. December 31st was the kind of cold that made everything hurt from the tips of my nose to the 4th chamber of my heart even when wearing a fluffy coat, gloves, and a hat. It was clear, it was crisp, and the frigid air made Quinton and me want to race to the next indoor place.

So we did.

We ran from the Tacoma Art Museum (which has very little for 5 year olds to do), hoping to get to the Washington State History Museum before we iced up like Anna in that climactic scene of Frozen. We held hands smiling and laughing as we zipped along toward a group of boring people walking calmly up ahead. It was one of the high points of 2015, and I knew I would remember the moment long after Quinton grew into a young man.

Then the tree root under the pavement happened. 


Scene of the crash along with the guilty tree

Before we made it to Union Station, Quinton tripped and swung around in front of me. It was all I could do not to squash him flat onto the concrete.

We lay there stunned until Quinton began to sob.

“It’s a bad one, Mom,” he said holding his eye.

I felt like I’d done the splits without warming up after about 15 years since my last successful attempt.

I knelt on the icy pavement, holding him as the boring but uninjured people walked by while asking if we were okay.

I nodded. Quinton sobbed a little louder.

The night slowed down after that. We hobbled to the history museum, only to find it was not ‘participating’ in First Night.

Then we made it to Harmon’s Restaurant and drowned our sorrows in a big plate of fries.

Quinton’s eye healed in a few days. I’m still doing physical therapy for my hip and it’s slowly getting better.

But you know what?

It was worth it. 

That moment running down the sidewalk when 2016 was right out in front of us while my son raced with me to meet it will stick in my mind.

Maybe that initial joy will stand out more because of the freezing cold, the crash, and the burn of the pain.

I would do it all again.

(Okay, maybe next time I would avoid the tree root.)

In fact, the writing projects I’m in right now have great potential for pain and loss. Still, I plan to keep running down the creative pavement because I feel as alive as a five year old on a cold clear night when I do. 

May you all know great highs and console one another over french fries when it all falls apart like it sometimes does-

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Pics and Poem for the New Year


The blog revise is still in progress (maybe I’ll make it in time for the Lunar New Year).

In the meantime, I’m feeling brave on this first day of the year, so here are a few of my favorite Instagram moments from the past month along with a poem I worked with just because the cats needed some sort of ode for all the trouble they cause.

The inspiration came from Ogden Nash and an exercise in Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine.

“The Dog” by Ogden Nash

The truth I do not stretch or shove

When I state that the dog is full of love

I’ve also found, by actual test,

A wet dog is the lovingest.


Black Cats” by kzm

Black cats may well be best

I’m sure because of this one test

A lap full of their love

Lays my shredded yarn woes to rest.




And then my favorite shots from the last week of December.

Happy New Year!!



Creative Beginnings Part Two: The Family Artist Date


In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron insists that we need weekly artist dates alone to court our inner artist. I have done these, and they are marvelous for boosting creativity. But I have also taken my family and friends along on dates and gotten oodles of inspiration that way, too.

At the beginning of this year, I completed two New Year’s rituals together with my family and one alone. My inner artist loved them all.

First, we all went to the Nisqually Nature Preserve, a place I written about before but have never visited in the winter. If you haven’t been there in the cold, you may have missed a few birds. They apparently come out to be seen when the temperature drops.

We saw herons, a bald eagle, a woodpecker along with the usual crows, seagulls and ducks.

Later, I took my youngest son to see the trains at the Washington History Museum. I fell down on the blogging job and didn’t take pictures but I was impressed by how much my four year old loved the whole place from the trains to the other exhibits. A museum full of things you can do with children playing and learning is always a grand place to start a new year. Inner artists love this kind of play.

Finally, I went to Starbucks in Sumner and spent an hour with my headphones on (it’s loud there!) mapping out my goals for 2015. It may not sound like a thrilling date, but alone time with a notebook, music, and a cup of tea is my kind of fun.

Overall, I’m happy with the creative beginnings I chose. My  inner artist must be, too, because the word output has been good so far this year and my joy level is up.