Make It Better

The music of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was consummate. I mean that, no matter whether I was wrong or wronged, there was a Heartbreakers song that spoke to me. I once mentioned to my niece Johanna that I was a big Tom Petty fan.

“Yeah, I know,” she said in the “duh” tone of a teenager.

“You do?” I didn’t remember ever talking to her about it.

“We have your old desk in my house,” she explained. That desk was one of a pair of really sturdy, probably now-antique school desks we had growing up. I remembered graffiti-ing it with the names of my crushes.

At the time I used that desk, my bedroom was decorated rainbow window shades. My closet alternated Cyndi Lauper neon and unicorn iron-ons and you’d never mistake my stuff for yours because all mine was personalized. With puffy letters.

I’m saying the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers took this girl, who thought the Official Preppy Handbook was a how-to guide:

Unicorn? Check. Hearts? Check, check. Wearing my own name? Check, check, and check. #SoEighties.

… and compelled her, between Algebra and Latin assignments, to grab one of those high-octane silver shadow markers and do this to her desk:

On the upside, those markers really hold up.

I didn’t see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert until 2008. I justified spending hundreds of dollars on floor seats at The Gorge by telling myself it was probably the only time I’d see them live and I’d be damned if I needed binoculars to see the band.

It was an amazing show, of course. I took bad video and photos that do not do justice to sound and experience of being in the middle of that performance.

My Tom and me, with Tom Petty in the background. Really, that’s him!

When the news of his death came out, I called my husband at work. We laughed about the show at The Gorge, how he thought our fourth row seats belonged to someone else. How he was more of a TPHB appreciator than he was a fan — a fact that prompted me to quiz him before I agreed to give him the other ticket. And how at the end of the show he said, “Wow, I can’t believe Tom Petty got Benmont Tench to play with him!”

The little preppy nerd girl who defaced an antique school desk would have traded her entire sticker collection for that show.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers weren’t just musicians, they scored so much of my life: leaving home, falling in love, heart-dragging break-ups, unfair bosses, and better-off-without-you phases. For each of these, there’s a graveled chorus uncoiling from my chest. A bone-born melody to which I know all the words. If I was wrecked, he got me. Having his music with me made it better.

ice cream, personal

National Ice Cream Month, Day 4

Day 4: Cupcake Royale, which has ice cream in the summer! We stopped into the Capitol Hill location.

Tom had Triple Vanilla and I had Pride Sorbet. The sorbet was berry tangy (delicious). The vanilla was good, too. I sampled two other flavors while we were there:

  1. Mint Fudge + Chocolate Ribbon, a good take on mint chocolate chip, especially if you like a smooth not crunchy texture.
  2. Washington Hazelnut Brittle with Salted Ganache, which was so insanely delicious I can’t even describe it. I’ll come back when I can make it a meal.
ice cream, personal

National Ice Cream Month, Day 2

Full Tilt Ice Cream in the University District, with my husband, Tom.

Full Tilt has a wonderful origin story. They create fun neighborhood spaces and serve of masterfully unusual flavors. The U-District location is a tiny funky spot with seating for one person. I’ll have to visit one of the bigger spots to get the total experience. But we sampled a few flavors and strolled around The Ave with our Marshmallow Lemon (me) and Salted Caramel (Tom).

After I posted, I got another recommendation (“try Fainting Goat!”) and both my mom and step-mom chimed in with wanting ice cream. You’re welcome, Ice Cream Lobby.

ice cream, personal

National Ice Cream Month, Day 1

Day 1: Vashon Island with Anne and her kids. I went to visit with them during the camp “open house.” Throughout the day, several people recommended we get “Vashon Ice Cream.” What they meant, apparently, was the Glass Bottle Creamery. I didn’t sample, just got some tasty vanilla.

With my young friends outside Blue Bottle Creamery in Vashon.

I wish I could tell you this was all intentional, the shirt, the necklace, the precious kids. It’s not. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods, so I made the shirt just because. And the necklace is my homage to Wonder Woman.

When I posted “National Ice Cream Month, Day 1: Bring it.” on Facebook, my friends brought it! Right away, I received recommendations for places to try and even other people’s photos of their ice cream outings.

My cousin’s kid recommends the cones at Snow Goose Produce Market where they serve up Lopez Island Creamery.

Looking forward to trying more flavors this month!

craft, personal

The Making of an Outlaw

The finished product! Photo by and courtesy of Eric Frommer Photography.
The finished product! Photo courtesy of Eric Frommer Photography.
Last weekend, we welcomed a new outlaw to the family. Wait, what? Don’t I mean in-law? Heck no!

I started dating T the same time his cousin started dating her now-husband. T and I married 7 years later, his cousin another 3 years after us. Once we’d officially become in-laws, cousin’s husband and I bonded together at family events – and we quickly went from “in-laws” to “OUTLAWS, BABY!”

So when cousin’s little sister got hitched last weekend, her groom was welcomed with open…flasks. Continue reading “The Making of an Outlaw”

communications, personal

Because I like a-fishing.

Sometimes, my camera is so impressed with nature that it auto-focuses on backgrounds when I try to take pictures of people. Fortunately, I took plenty of landscape pictures and can supplement them with my photorealistic art skills:

photos and drawings of nature
The beauty of the lower Deschutes River in Oregon.

T and I joined a local fly fishing club, and we jumped right in. In April, we volunteered with the club for a conservation project with the Cedar River Watershed, and the following week we headed to Oregon for a club outing on the Deschutes River. It’s been fun getting to know our fellow fly fishers, who are all passionate about fishing and sharing that excitement with others.

I’m impressed with the sign-up process. The forms make it clear that everyone in the club plays a role in its working, and you have to sign up for a volunteer task with your membership. I like that the expectation is made clear at the beginning. They give very clear options about what they need, and how to participate. Within the first week of signing up, I was contacted by a committee chair for my first assignment. All tolled, it’s a very well-organized introduction to a new group, and shows how much they value they place on community, engagement, and leadership.


That we all might be so loved.

Lindy & Londy, c. 1940. From family archives.

In time, I’m sure I will have more to say. But for now, it’s been two days since my grandmother died at age 93. She was many things, but I’m thinking most of her loyalty these days. It’s a touchstone of my memories of her. When I was still a teenager, my grandfather took ill. He was sick that last four years of his life, the final two bedridden in a care facility. Grammy, who’s only regret in life was that she never learned to drive, still managed to be with him, augmenting his daily care in his nursing home.

She spent some of her first retirement years working harder than when employed, and in the most hopeless of settings. She brought him clean clothes. Did his physical therapy with him. Was his advocate when he could not speak for himself. Bathed him, sat with him, and was with him in his final hours. In the 22 years that passed, her love for him continued on.

That we all might be so loved. That we all might love so strongly.