See the Snow

We’re in the midst of our first Seattle snow of the year. My five-year-old son’s near-constant prayer since before Christmas has been a request for snow. When the first flakes fell, he was pulling on his shoes “Just to lick it.” He had his dream come true: He bundled up, went out to our cul-de-sac and threw snow with the neighbor kids, made snow angels, rolled…

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Grace Note

This year has sparkled with good things--I don't say this flippantly. I truly sleep without interruption most nights. My children are 75% potty-trained, as a whole. Our house projects are minor and not choking us every weekend. Homeschooling is good--full of challenges, discoveries, walls and breakthroughs. James and I are close--we laugh together, plan our strategies, share our fears, encourage each other. My 2018 New Year's…

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Song of Belfair

I sing the song of Belfair Of village-towns with foreign names. Curve them on your tongue, hold them in your throat. Kfarhata, Beirut, Seattle   Belfair with its salty channels Crab pots, oyster shells that glisten Yellow-twine rope swing dangles from the balcony Grandaughter's Christmas tree stands in the basement Sturdy treehouse of round-branch walls Gazes on the wildflower bed You made them for me.  …

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This Just Happened!

It was late April 2018. James and I were hiking Little Si, a small mountain near North Bend, WA. We navigated wet dripping branches and slick tree roots as we tried to rouse our minds and spirits from a season of mental fog that had engulfed us while my husband studied fervently for his Structural Engineer licensing exam. He'd taken the test a few weeks before…

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The School Years

As I lay down my pen at the end of a new short story draft, I again have to acknowledge my strong affinity for mother-son themes. This makes me think of my own son, my eldest, who seems to hunger near-constantly for time one-on-one with me. He lost a great quantity of mommy-and-me time after his sister was born. Now they both fight for me. It's…

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Summer Churning

Elise, what have you been up to? Where shall I start? It's officially summer, so my garden and I have been racing each other to see who can weed/grow weeds the fastest. Ha. It's no contest. I lose. But the flowers are gorgeous and I keep picking these bouquets that knock my socks off! Seattle friends--I'll make you a pretty posy is you want to stop…

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Anything but Plain (WA)

As the capstone to my participation in the Cascadia Residency this year, I and four other artists stayed in a beautiful riverside retreat center in Eastern Washington called the Grunewald Guild. We experienced warm, mild weather, created art, took restorative breaks in hammocks, and gathered around fresh meals that were prepared for us. We worked hard, really! It was a true residency—we didn’t have to worry about…

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Good Stuff

Today I have good news to share! A glimpse at the day-to-day first: I'm at the tail-end of a very challenging season in which I've had to hold down the proverbial fort with home and children for three months while my husband studies for a big engineering test. (The test is April 13th! Wish him luck!) I have been faced repeatedly with depression, exhaustion, and feelings…

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Swim

"Put your face in the water. Blow bubbles. See? Like me!" I immerse the lower half of my face and push air through my nostrils. I raise my face from the pool in an expression of excitement. My son copies me once, then refuses to repeat the action. He needs to learn to swim. Sure, it’ll take years before he’s close to mastery, but the process…

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Pushing On/Pushing Back

In my twenties, running as fast and hard as I could seemed like the best way to ensure I was climbing my ambition in the right direction. But now, more than ten years past my college graduation...I'm seriously assessing the cost of such behavior and asking myself, What do I pay for in mental fragility, depletion of emotional reserves, temper with my kids, and closeness with…

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