In case you’ve wondered what’s been going on, I’ve moved all my blogging to Broadsheet360. It’s become too tricky to manage two blogs, a magazine and work on the new mystery series. Thanks for spending all these years with me. I hope you’ll check out Broadsheet360.
It’s been a busy few months with a slew of writing projects. From working on the new mystery, to launching Broadsheet360, diving in at Caregiver Village, and finally the re-release of Underneath the Ash my fingers and keyboard have had a hearty workout. As I’m sure is evident by lack of posts here, I’ve been brainstorming how to streamline my blogging. In 2012 I’ll be moving things around and consolidating my writing efforts. Not to worry, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, here’s wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season. If you’re in the market for a new read or gift consider purchasing an updated version of Underneath the Ash. I’m thrilled that this copy is being launched into the world and would love your feedback and reviews. Happy holidays!
Last spring I first told you about a new online community that was being developed for caregivers. I’m thrilled to be able to invite you all to join me at Caregiver Village.
Caregiver Village is a virtual world and game where caregivers can connect, play, share their story, and find resources. When I was in the throes of helping to care for my mom, I felt so isolated. I had no idea there were millions of caregivers around the world in similar situations. Looking back, I wonder how different my experience would have been if I had a space to share my stress, vent my frustration, and find support from other caregivers. Now, caregivers can do that very thing at Caregiver Village. I’m so happy to be able to help foster new friendships, connections, and create an online support system for caregivers everywhere.
For a limited time the first year of membership is free (a $50 value) and Caregiver Village will donate $1 to the Alzheimer’s Association for every new member that joins through this link. Join me today in this innovative endeavor to reach out and improve the lives of caregivers all over the country.
Since words are usually my gig, I thought I’d shake it up a little and offer you this glimpse into the summer of seven. Seven’s been a sweet spot, as Luke has danced between early and middle childhood. His burgeoning independence led to creative summer activities like potion making in the backyard, homemade Harry Potter costume designs, digging up gold in Alaska, collaborating on a book project, and a multitude of sprinkler and slip-n-slide wars. Thanks in part to the fact that he still has a pinky toe holding on to early childhood, we indulged in plenty of summer reading (Harry Potter, The Great Brain, and The Chronicles of Narnia to name a few) and snuggled up with cousins and some of our favorite kiddos.
Last night, as Gordy tucked him in bed he said, “Dad, it’s the night before back to school, what if I can’t fall asleep? You know like the night before Christmas?” His excitement for the first day of school was contagious. To me, it seems like a clear sign that the summer of seven was a success.
Having recently returned from three weeks in the last frontier (aka Alaska) the Dixie Chicks now famous song Wide Open Spaces keeps running through my head. It’s not as if we don’t have an abundance of open land here in the Pacific Northwest. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Hiking and biking trails are just minutes from downtown Portland/Vancouver, not to mention the plethora of rivers, lakes, and fresh water creeks. Plus, we only need to hop in the car and drive an hour or two in any direction to land on the coast, the gorge, the mountain, or desert.
Still, there’s something so wild and untouched about Alaska that leaves me longing for more every time we visit. It could be the moose that graze in the front grass of our friends’ home. It could be the bear black bear that meandered his way up their drive. It could be the midnight sun, the forests packed tightly next to town, or the severe mountains with ice-blue glaciers that meet frozen seas.
But, Alaska for me is a state of mind. It’s traveling back in time. Sure, that could be due to the fact that the state boasts a meager 700,000 residents which means there’s over a square mile of land for every man, woman and child. I suppose hiking around a corner and running into a mama moose and her calf, or attaching bear bells to my backpack help to establish the idea that Alaska at its core doesn’t quite belong to us. In Alaska, whether on a remote trail or next to a big box store life remains untamed. Tapping into this untamed land (even for a short chunk of time) reminds me to embrace our wild open spaces and get out and explore.
Seriously, I know you’re all sitting at home biting your fingernails this summer with anticipation of what’s to come at Broadsheet360. No? You’re actually out and about enjoying iced lemonade and roasted corn on the cob hot off the grill? Well, I’ll let you back to your summer fun in just a moment, but here’s the big news this week: we have a tag line…
“Broadsheet360 is an online magazine where we dive into topics and points of view designed to provoke connections, conversations, and change your perspective.”
Your thoughts and feedback are welcome, now back to summer.
I know you’ve all been waiting on the edge of your seats for news of the collaborative project I’m working on. Okay, maybe like me you’re enjoying a summer filled with rat hunting, potion making, and hours of fun on the slip-n-slide. In between these adventures, I’m squeezing in time to focus on Broadsheet360 an online magazine due to launch this fall. I’d like to personally invite you to join our mailing list. In doing so, you’ll be the first to know about details and more importantly get your name on the guest list for the coveted launch party!
More to come, but in the meantime here’s a teaser that sums up where we’re going: Broadsheet360 always more than 140 characters.
For the past four months I’ve been training for Vancouver’s inaugural marathon which is set to take place this Sunday, June 19. My training partner and I have woken before the sun, logging over 250 miles in the pounding wind and tireless rain. We’ve trudged on through blisters, bronchitis, and achy knees. Some days we hit our stride and knocked off miles with ease. Many days we cheered each other on. And, then there were the days we both were happy just to be upright.
Last week we hit the taper, the time in our training program where mileage decreases and rest increases. I found myself feeling restless and almost wistful for 15 or 20 miles. Of course, not thinking about the fact that the granddaddy of mileage, 26.2, was looming ahead. If you had asked me in February if I thought I could bust out 26.2 miles I would have grimaced and shrugged. 26.2 sounded so daunting, nearly impossible. The thing is something shifted during all those miles of training. I realized I could indeed complete the marathon, and most likely in decent time. For all you seasoned runners/walkers, I’m sure this is exactly what a regimented training program is designed to do. But, for me this realization came as a welcome surprise.
And, that dear readers is where the Flip-Flops come in. Summer has been slow to arrive in the Pacific Northwest this year. In fact the marathon has been forced to change route, as the mighty Columbia River has hovered at or above flood stage for the past month, spilling over the waterfront trail. Last weekend summer finally ushered its way in with brilliant sun, a light breeze and seventy degree days. My feet found their way into Flip-Flops and my Flip-Flops found their way into a huge rock.
Yep, exactly eight days prior to my first marathon, I broke my toe. For the love of Flip-Flops, my toe!
It’s too soon to know whether I’ll be able to amble my way through this weekend’s event or not. Regardless of that outcome, I’m quite thankful to have had the experience of training and the understanding that my body can do so much more than I give it credit for. If I’m sidelined this weekend, I’ll be there rooting my partner on. Not to worry, I won’t be sidelined for long. I’m already signed-up for the Portland Marathon later this fall. My Flip-Flops however will be permanently on the bench.
As you’ve likely noticed my blog has sat neglected for the past few months. While I apologize for the brief hiatus, I promise there are new and interesting projects brewing.
In June, I’ll be leaving my position at the Alzheimer’s Association to pursue a full time career in writing. Working for the Association not only led to professional growth, but also served as a catalyst for my own healing. I learned more about the disease than sometimes I ever wanted. I made lifelong connections with colleagues and volunteers throughout the nation. And, I was able to lend my voice in a way that I couldn’t while my mom was living with Alzheimer’s. This alone has profoundly altered me, and I’m forever grateful for the experience.
There were so many times I could feel my mom’s energy and spirit cheering me on. Just as I can imagine her nudging me forward now, reminding me that it’s okay to let go and carve out whatever comes next.
Speaking of what’s next, my plan is to write what I love which has manifested in two ways. First, my not-so-secret vice is mystery novels, so I’ve decided to try penning a sleuth series. Outlining, plotting, and character mapping have begun, but I’m eager to dig in to actually writing the book soon. Second, as a magazine and news enthusiast I’ll continue my freelancing gigs, and will soon be announcing the launch of a new collaborative project. Saving the best news for last, Underneath the Ash is due to be re-released. As you can see, I’ll have plenty to blog about in the coming months so stay tuned for details.
There’s a new site about to launch that’s aimed at connecting and supporting family caregivers. I so wish this concept had been around while I was helping to care for my mom, but I’m thrilled to be able to spread the word for those of you who may be in the throes of caregiving now.
I want to invite you to become a beta tester for Caregiver Village, an online experience designed exclusively for those who provide care for anyone with special needs: an elderly parent, a disabled child, a sick friend or family member. What’s in it for you? Fun, mystery, adventure ( and a little romance) and, even more importantly, the opportunity to gain skills in managing the tasks, stresses and challenges caregivers face. Oh, and a $50 gift card for your time.
Click here to be among the first in the world to see, play and experience a one-of-a-kind just for family caregivers.