Friday, January 26, 2018

Have a fabulous weekend.

This weekend is a long weekend and I'm looking forward to doing a bit of organizing, clearing out and relaxing. We are also finally having Coco's birthday party on Sunday. More about that later...I'm also very excited to attend this event for my talented brother-in-law, Tod. It should be fun to get out for an evening, listen to some poetry, and a enjoy a libation or two afterward. Yes! 

I hope your weekend is fabulous! And here are a few links for you:

Coco's favorite song. She loves belting this one out in the car, or in the playroom, or the living room. Basically anywhere! I can't even tell you how cute it is. :)

My childhood classmate is going to space. No joke. 

Some (very welcome) toilet training wisdom

This French album never gets old.

The difference between wanting and being.

My new all-time favorite lipstick. (I got the raspberry:)

An inspired Helsinki home.

I was incandescent with envy.

Make that decision!

Spokane is making it onto some fancy lists...!

I hope your weekend is 100%! And I'll see you back here Monday. Thanks for reading, and please, please, please tell your friends about Swiss Lark if you like what you've been finding here. It would absolutely make my day! So much love to you, my dears. xoxoxo

(Photo via tentree/Instagram)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Garderobe wherever you go.

Last week I took Theo for a check-up at the pediatrician. We got through the front door and got all checked in with insurance and I signed a bunch of forms and then we made our way to the waiting room. I took off my coat and hat and scarf and then Theo's coat and hat and looked around for somewhere to hang them up, but I didn't see anything to hang our coats. So I walked back toward the front desk and peeked around the corner into an adjoining room, and still nothing. No coat rack, no hooks, no hangers.

In Switzerland, everywhere you go there is always a Garderobe, or cloakroom, as pictured above so you don't have to schlep your coat and deal with the bulk of it during your visit. Restaurants, doctor's offices, anywhere you're going to stay for a while and need to be unencumbered, there will be a Garderobe. It's such a nice touch and so practical and makes everything more comfortable. The practice is so common that when I called to set up our insurance, the woman gave the example of having your coat (!!!) taken from a Garderobe as the example for itemizing something. ;) And it was actually really hard to find a photo of a Garderobe to use for this post because it's a given, not a special feature.

So at the pediatrician last week, I was sure I was just missing it and I asked the receptionist where we should hang our coats. She looked at me like I was from Mars and then laughed and shook her head and said there was no coat check. So I just ended up piling everything onto a chair next to me. Once we were in the exam room, I thought surely there would be hooks on the back of the door, but still nothing! So, in the end, our huge puffy coats just got shuffled from chair to chair and kept falling on the ground until it was time to go. How ridiculous!

Spokane has long, cold, snowy winters every year without fail, so I'm surprised this hasn't caught on yet! Do you have (or need) cloakrooms where you live? Would you use one?

(Photo via Zahnarztpraxis Dr. Freichel. Psst...Garderobe are also very much a thing in Germany;)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thinking Back on The Cranberries

As I mentioned last week, I was really upset to hear the news of Dolores O'Riordan's passing. I hope that her family and loved ones were able to properly say goodbye during her services and that they will find slices of peace somehow amid this tragedy. Because what a tragedy. She was so young. 

I found myself, among many others I would imagine, listening to The Cranberries a lot after hearing the news last week. I found it amazing that I remembered and could sing along with almost all of the lyrics. What was also amazing was that, despite knowing them, I had never had fully paid attention to the lyrics. Not properly anyway. Many of The Cranberries' lyrics are so sad. So complicated. So grievous. Dolores O'Riordan clearly had a great capacity for vulnerability and experienced life's highs and lows with a great intensity. 

I didn't appreciate it at the time, but Dolores' lyrics and The Cranberries' music really buoyed me through my teenage angst years. I owe them so much gratitude. 

For example: 

Something has left my life, 
And I don't know where it went to
Somebody caused me strife, 
And it's not what I was seeking. 

Didn't you see me, didn't you hear me? 
Didn't you see me standing there? 
Why did you turn out the lights, 
Did you know that I was sleeping? 

Say a prayer for me, 
Help me to feel the strength, I did. 
My identity, has it been taken? 
Is my heart breaking? 

On me, all my plans fell through my hands, 
They fell through my hands.
On me, all my dreams,
It suddenly seems, it suddenly seems, 

I had never noticed that she was singing the word EMPTY in that song, which is of course the title of the track. That is at once embarrassing and somehow sweet and innocent. And it's also understandable because as a teenager, I listened to this album on a CD, so I didn't see the track title on the screen in my car or on the screen of my phone. It just said "05" on my Sony boombox. But as an adult, I'm surprised that Dolores O'Riordan could write those lyrics in her early 20s. I find myself in awe and appreciative of their poignancy. 

And then there's the Ireland factor. When we moved to Dublin when I was 7 years old, it was the first time I'd ever been on a plane. It was a year and a half after my dad died when my mom decided to move the family to Ireland! And as it turned out, all it took to be completely whole again was getting on a plane, flying up into the air and landing somewhere else. In Ireland, I was invincible. No one knew my dad had died of cancer a few years before. No one thought of me as that poor child who lost her father. There was no pity anywhere. And on top of it, I was the American girl. I had an accent (for a while anyway) and I was novel and exciting. It was heaven for a bereaved child. 

So when we left Ireland, following my First Holy Communion with my classmates from the Dominican Convent School in Dún Laoghaire; and riding the Dublin City bus home from school each day; and my best friend Sinead from school; and my First Holy Confession; and Christmas the Irish way (lots of nuts and mandarins); and pneumonia and house calls from the doctor; and watching I Dream of Jeannie after school; and going to the chipper; and hanging the laundry to dry on the radiators; and sleeping by the fire in the living room when the boiler was out; and watching my mom desperately try to light a coal fire with rings of newspaper like the neighbors; and playdates with Karen and Emma, neighbors down the street who were Catholics from The North and had moved to Dublin after their grandfather was shot point blank upon opening his front door one evening when the bell rang; and standing on an old coffee tin to watch the tinkers beyond the back garden wall; and sneaking past the bus driver to save my 25p to spend instead on candies at the little shop across the road from our house; and the brilliant, dazzling rays of sunlight streaming through the clouds when they parted long enough for the sun to break through; and the wonderfully heady smell of peat smoke; and the wet, grey almost-rain-drizzle that hung low over everything and made it all so green. When we left all of that and that life we had established, I was devastated. 

I remember sitting in the upstairs hallway of our house waiting for the taxi to come take us to the ferry and feeling a pain that could only be described as "a tiger inside my stomach." I remember so clearly saying "It feels like a tiger is in my stomach." If that pain could have made a noise, it would have been a primal, screeching, destructive roar. And it was inside me. I was 8 years old.

Less than a decade later, as a high schooler in Oregon listening to The Cranberries, Ireland seemed so far away as to not even be real. Ireland had been this huge, significant, shaping force in my childhood and yet it didn't feel like something I could claim as my own. Once I had regained my American accent and way of life, Ireland receded into the realm of distant memories and dreams and seemed as if it didn't exist at all. I clung to those dreamlike memories and I longed for that time and in some small way, Ireland always felt alive through The Cranberries' music and Dolores O'Riordan's lilting Celtic vocals. It was a quiet savoring. Like a link to something I had lost. All of this came rushing back to me while I was listening and singing along to The Cranberries last week. Music is mystical like that.

So I wish Dolores O'Riordan's children and family and mother great courage and strength as they navigate their grief. And I send so much love to them and to all of Ireland as they mourn the loss of a great.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Photos of Cats and Dogs Dressed Like People

Boom! File this under Bizarre treasure only the internet could give us. Today, in lieu of our regularly scheduled programming, I present you with these century old photos of cats and dogs dressed up as people.

I sat down multiple times yesterday and today to write a Montessori post I had come up with about nudging the child at times when following actually doesn't work, and might even do more harm than good. (What message do we send when we follow a child's reticence? "You can't," or "You're not capable?" Problematic!) But I couldn't make that post come together because for the first time in my blogging career, I felt very strongly that as a mother I was wading into not-my-story-to-tell territory. So after trying two days in a row, I decided to scrap it.

But back to the cat and dog photos. Are they weird or completely fabulous? I'm kind of in love with them and yet find them entirely deranged. You decide. I just can’t.

Regularly scheduled programming shall resume tomorrow! The rest of the bizarre treasure only the internet could give us pics can be seen right here. You're in for a treat because there are fifteen of them. I find "Weighing the Baby" is particularly good. 

(Photos via The Atlantic)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Have an amazing weekend.

Do you have anything exciting (not boring;) going on this weekend? I'm afraid that I don't, but this David Bowie quote still made me smile a little smile. I frequently worry that posts I write will be too whiney, or negative, or depressing. But then I get all of your incredible comments and I am so happy to have pushed through the fear and hit the "publish" button anyway. Thank you so much to each and every one of you for being part of this little corner of the internet with me. Whether you comment or not, it is such an honor to write words you take the time to read.

And here are some links for your weekend:

A new way to prepare the boring vegetable I never tire of.

If money is no object, this is the face spray you want.

How gorgeous is this Berlin apartment? (Oh, those floors!)

Must make this warming winter soup ASAP!

Small space design lessons from an unlikely source.

OMG. The best sticky notes!

In Praise of an Aggressively Unfashionable Shoe. (And the cuter updated model I'm currently wearing;)

A countertop dishwasher! Incredible.

The easy way to keep those resolutions.

Gigantic waves on the Oregon coast.

The Butter Chicken lady. (Do you have one?)

Europe's next destination hot spot.

Finally, I cannot fathom the sad news about Dolores O'Riordan. Full post coming next week. It's just too big. I'm starting to cry listening to this song.

From the archives:
Dublin summer.
Davos winter.
Spokane summer.

I hope your weekend is amazing! See you back here Monday. xo

(Photo via Pinterest)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Where are you from?

I have realized over the past few years that I am "fromless." There is actually no place that I feel like I am from. On my Facebook profile it says Portland. I think that's partly because I lived in Portland when I joined Facebook and partly because where else? I had gone to high school in Portland, learned to drive in Portland and come of age in Portland. It's where J and I moved and had our first apartment together after we were married. It made sense. On my birth certificate, it says Spokane. Living in Spokane again for the first time since I was 13 years old, I can definitely say I am not from here. Yes, I was born here, but I had lived in three countries by the time I was ten-years-old and then the summer after 7th grade, we moved to Portland. I stayed in Oregon for the next 11 years with the exception of studying abroad. But once my brother had graduated from high school, my mom sold our house in Portland and moved away. In fact, when I returned from my adventures studying abroad, mere weeks before I met J, I had just a padlock key and the address of a random storage unit to go home to. My brother was at college, my mom was already gone and the house had new occupants. I got all of my things out of storage and went back to Eugene to finish college. I never even bothered to drive by the house. 

So it's ironic that for the longest time, I wanted one of these family origin map art pieces. Then today, I took Theo to the pediatrician for a check-up and when they asked what hospital he was born in and I had to say he was born in Minnesota, it kind of changed my mind. Sigh. Would I really want a family map depicting Spokane, Illinois, Minnesota and Zurich? 

Well, maybe the Zurich part. Actually, I guess it's not ironic at all that I would want one of those family origin maps. All of my adult life, I have been longing and searching for a place to call home. Do you suppose the woman in this photo realizes that she's wearing a Zurich manicure? Probably not. But that's all I see when I look at it. I suppose in the absence of fromness, not being homeless is the next best thing. But it's strange and unfair and too bad that it took leaving for me to realize that out of everywhere I've lived in my adult life, I have never felt more at home than I did in Zurich. Somehow that city got under my skin and stole a piece of my heart and I don't know what to make of it. It's very possible that I'll never be able to return there to live. And yet, while I am fromless, at least I know that I am not entirely homeless.

Tell me where you're from in the comments below. I would love to hear.

(Family Origin Map photo via Terror Dome/Etsy. Manicure photo via Pinterest)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Best Netflix Show

J and I just finished watching the most exceptional series on Netflix. It's a French show called La Mante. The basic premise is murders by a serial killer - happening for a second time, 25 years later.

I'll admit that initially I was in it for a few very silly reasons. Number one: Le Français. La Mante is a French production, so you'll need to turn on your subtitles. It was so nice to listen to French again! It is absolute music to my ears. Never mind if I still need the subtitles. Reason two: The clothes. I'm sorry, but those Frenchies really know how to dress men. French men's style is much different from American men's fashion. It's so chic and form fitting and way sexier! Finally: The sights and sounds of Europe. I'm completely obsessed with the sound of European police and ambulance sirens. Hearing one always takes me back to that very first jet-lagged day in Paris when I studied abroad in Angers in 2002. Oh, to think of it now. That time. That place. The decision to go to France and study abroad was such a good move. It hugely informed who I am today. But I digress.

Suffice it to say that I found La Mante a bit slow, if not très prévisible at first. However, I was soon completely sucked in and hooked on the compelling narrative. Sure, there is plenty of blood and gore in La Mante, but it is made tolerable by the tension and intrigue from the interpersonal relationships. La Mante goes in-depth examining the emotional forces that lie behind all of our desires and motivation. By the end, I was absolutely floored, as I'm sure you will be.

Have you seen La Mante? (No spoilers, please! Email me if you must.) And any shows you recommend? Also, are you counting down to the Homeland premiere, too?! I actually cannot wait.

(Photo via Le Journal Des Sorties)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Happy, Wish, Want, Love

Have you seen Mel Robbins' TED Talk "How to Stop Screwing Yourself"? I watched it last week and I can't stop smiling because of it. Her premise is that having whatever you want in life is simple. But not easy! She lays out very clearly in the space of a mere 21 minutes how to have the life you want, or more bluntly put, stop screwing yourself. One fact that she brings up which really stuck with me is that each of us had a 1 in 400 trillion chance of coming to exist on this earth. Isn't that incredible?! We've won the lottery, everyone! Don't squander your winnings. ;) And if TED talks aren't your thing (?!) she also has a book and a Twitter.

Right now, at the very top of my wish list is this chic yet practical Patagonia down coat. I have been wearing the same sporty, hip-length Mountain Hardwear Puffer for seven years now. It's so warm and toasty, but I want something more grown up, sophisticated and that covers my behind! I think I need to get this beauty for next winter! Time to start saving up...

You know when your makeup isn't quite settling into your skin right, or you just want to look extra dewy, or you need a quick refresh during the day? Well, you can use MAC Fix Plus for all of those moments and more! It comes in four different scents: Original, Rose, Coconut and Lavender. And right now, you can get this set of three minis for just $15. They all smell wonderful, but I'm a sucker for anything rose scented. Mmmmm, want!

I finished this book last week and it was absolutely beautiful. Murakami is a Japanese writer with a cult following for his ethereal, almost fantasy novels. He blends reality with the realm of dream and imagination to create a truly magical world into which you are swept up and come to quite literally inhabit as the reader. Translated by Phillip Gabriel from the Japanese, the original linguistic spirit is maintained with short, simple sentences which somehow weave an intricate, poignant tapestry of human nature. I thoroughly loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone, but particularly to anyone going through a hard time.

One passage in particular made me stop to re-read it several times: "Tsukuru had never lacked for anything in his life," Murakami writes, "or wanted something and suffered because he had been unable to obtain it." He goes on: "Because of this, he’d never experienced the joy of really wanting something and struggling to get it."

For me, that turned the idea of what struggle is directly on its head. Or maybe, it turned me completely upside down and I saw struggle from an angle which I'd never seen it from before. Suddenly, it felt as if Murakami were speaking directly to me, whispering in my ear not to despair, but to recognize that if we choose to see it that way, to struggle can be a joy because it means that we want something truly wonderful with all our heart.

And then, in an absolutely surreal moment, I turned the page and someone had left a four-leaf clover pressed within the pages of the library book. It blew my mind and I felt changed somehow. Rather magical if you ask me.

So tell me, what is making you happy right now? Anything on your wish list? Tell me about something you're loving these days. I'm all ears! xo

(Mel Robbins photo via Twitter)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Have a gorgeous holiday weekend.

Do you have big plans this weekend? It is Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend here in the States. That means three days off of school and work for J and the kids and we are planning to take it easy. Here's hoping the kids sleep in every day! Have a great weekend, and now a few links to keep you busy should you be looking for something to listen to, watch or read.

A good song for the nostalgic repat.

How to Approach a Rage-Cleaning Mother. (LOL!)

A quick and easy, delicious weeknight meal.

Anyone else's kids obsessed with these?

On not dreaming.

The best decluttering advice.

Seriously swooning over these. (Insert heart-eyes emoji face here)

This is my kind of gym class! ;)


Calling all Berliners!

Like co-washing, but better.

And from the archives:

Infinite cuteness.
You either love it or hate it!
Feeling peckish?

As always, thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful and kind comments. I am so happy you're here. May your weekend is blissful and enjoyable in every way! See you back here Tuesday. xo

(Photo via Ryan Sheppeck/Instagram, h/t Bridget)

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Have you gotten botox? Would you consider it? Now that I'm getting older and friends who are ten years younger are getting botox, I've started to wonder if maybe it's time to give it a try. It was easy when I was 27, and had no wrinkles or fine lines to speak of, to say I would never do botox! But now I have some pretty clear forehead lines. And crow's feet. And smile lines. Ugh. It's all part of aging, of course! And those of us who are lucky enough to grow old and get wrinkles must never take that for granted.

But still. Those lines! I would love to have a perfectly smooth forehead instead.

Sigh. I will not be getting botox. Reason number one is that I do not have $400 to put towards it every 3-6 months. So that settles that. But, even if I did, I'm not sure I would do it. I have a very expressive face (hence all the lines in the first place;) and I worry that my children wouldn't even recognize my different moods or conveyed messages if I did botox! Seriously. And then there is the slippery slope factor. At some point, something else would need to keep pace with the smooth skin and it would be so easy to justify a little eyelid lift, and who knows what else?

So, no. At this point it looks like botox is not for me. Instead I'm going to keep following my daily skin routine and get really serious about sun protectionstaying well-hydrated and getting plenty of beauty sleep.

But honestly, I'm starting to think the most important piece is finding role models and imagining how we might like to age as we become older. I remember seeing an older woman walking by the lakeside one afternoon in Zurich and deciding I wanted to emulate her completely as I grew older. She had silver hair, a cute black and white striped top, dark jeans and red flats. Her posture was great and she carried herself with such gaiety and confidence. I said to my friend as we pushed our toddlers on the swings, "That is what I want to look like when I'm older!" and she said, "Oooh, yes! I can totally see that being you someday." Bingo.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Delicious Sun-dried Tomato Cream Cheese

Nothing is quite so satisfying now and then as an everything bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese. It has everything to comfort and delight on a freezing winter's day: chewy hot bagel; creamy decadent cheese; bright, delicious, sweet tomato tang, garlicky yumminess. Add a cup of coffee and it is a little moment of heaven.

Read on to learn my quick and easy recipe for the best cream cheese ever, with a secret tasty ingredient to take it to the next level.

You can buy ready made flavored cream cheeses, of course, but I like to have full control of the intensity of the flavor. When you make it yourself, it's just better. I used ingredients from Trader Joe's, of course. The best results I've gotten are with the full-fat cream cheese (duh), genoa pesto (although fresh basil leaves would work just as well, but would discolor if not used right away) and julienne sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil. The olive oil is important. The batch I made with the sun-dried tomatoes which come loose in a zip-top bag didn't work nearly as well. Finally, the pesto is what really gives it that kick! So don't skip the pesto. :)

Put the cream cheese in a food processor, add 1/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, being sure to get a decent amount of oil along with them and 1 to 2 Tablespoons of pesto. Then pulse to blend.

It's done when all of the colors have blended and the sun-dried tomatoes have been chopped into little bits. Put it all in a container with a lid and keep in the refrigerator for one week. Because of the oil and pesto, it's soft and easy to spread straight out of the fridge. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Repatriating? Don't talk about that.

A funny thing happens when you repatriate: Very quickly, you learn not to talk about your expat life.


No one is interested because it's over and that part of your life is history, so why would you keep on talking about it? And more often than not, they're also offended because they can't help but feel that you're bragging about a several-years-long vacation you just took. Of course, everyone goes on vacation sometimes. You weren't on vacation as an expat, except when you actually were, but it was normal everyday life, just somewhere else! No one wants to hear about it. 

Because you feel like you can't talk about it, and because nothing around you resembles anything you had during your expat life, it's almost like it's gone. Poof. It never happened. All those memories have nowhere to reside. Talking about it is the only way to keep it alive, but when you do, even in the most innocent and genuine of ways, people are turned off, as if you're putting on airs or being pretentious. So you don't and it's the most disorienting thing to have several years of your life erased, and along with them a huge piece of your identity. It hurts like hell.

I can remember so clearly the first time I stopped myself mid-sentence from saying something completely reasonable and in-context about my expat life. We had only been back in the States for a few weeks when J and I were on a dinner cruise on Lake Superior. As we set sail, I looked at him and started to say, "The last time we were on a boat was --" But I stopped myself before I said "in Venice!" and instead said, "before Theo was born!" I just knew saying the former wouldn't go over well. Still, it felt weird to have to edit out the truth in order to avoid awkwardness.

It has definitely made repatriation a lot harder for me not being able to talk about it. It's made it a sad, lonely and isolating experience. Of course, no one is to blame. People don't get together and coordinate reactions to expat stories and conspire to force repats into silence by being so disinterested and offended by their stories. It's just a natural, seemingly universal reaction. But I can't help but wonder if I might have had an easier time settling in and envisioning my future here if that hadn't been the case? I guess we'll never know.

Are you a repat or an expat? How does it go over for you when talking with friends and family about your experiences abroad?

Monday, January 8, 2018

My New Favorite Perfume

Perfume is, as Coco Chanel so famously said, the invisible accessory. So when we lived in Switzerland, I especially loved wearing perfume because of the dreaded kisses. I didn't have to wear too much and yet everyone I greeted would smell it. I really felt it added something to my outfit and made an impression. I've always liked perfume, but I wasn't disciplined about it or anything. In Europe, it became a total necessity because I wasn't about to risk getting that close to that many people smelling bad!

On my first birthday in Switzerland, J gave me a bottle of this fabulous Prada perfume for my birthday. I loved it so much, I used every last drop and I even bought it again! I have a bottle of it on my vanity right now. There is nothing else like its woodsy, incense-y, bright and vibrant smell. But, as much as I adore it, sometimes I want something a little more floral and feminine. Something pink!

Enter Miss Dior.

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum is far from new, but it's new to me and I can't believe it took me so long to find it. I love the sweetness, the rosy fullness, and after it's been on for a few hours, it is delicate and powdery and warm. I don't think I could find a better winter scent. I've been wearing it almost daily for a few weeks and J has asked and remarked a few times, "Is that your new Dior perfume? I like it." Win, win! This one is a keeper.

These days, I've become a total perfume junkie. I have 7 different bottles going right now and three on my wish list. That seems a bit excessive. ;) What are your favorite perfumes? Do you switch it up with the different seasons? How many do you keep in rotation at a time?

Friday, January 5, 2018

Have a lovely weekend.

Did you have a good first week of the year? I spent a lot of time reflecting and thinking and writing and then today I went crazy doing a bit of financial planning and it all feels so good. Tonight we're having dinner with my cousin and her family and I can't wait to sip a hot toddy by the fire to soothe the sore throat that decided to pay me a visit. Ugh. The colds and flu this winter just won't quit. Coco and J are skiing tomorrow and Coco gets to be part of the Mighty Mites (Mights?;) class for the next six weeks. She is so excited! Theo and I intend to lie low and maybe go for a walk or two.

I hope your weekend is lovely and here are some links for you:

Kind of wish I had gotten a flu shot now.

How Switzerland made international headlines in 2017.

I can't wait to make this delicious winter salad!

Talking to toddlers.

Me rn. (Go away, cold!)

How flying seriously messes with your mind.


Try something new for 30 days.

If Jupiter were as close as the moon.

When spring comes, I'll be wearing all black and these daily.

Frozen Niagara Falls is so otherworldly!

Stay healthy and warm wherever you are! See you back here Monday. xo

(Photo of balloons by Geronimo via Instagram/Olivia East H/T Design Sponge)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why is approaching 40 so scary?

A few months ago, I turned 38. Ever since, I have felt 40's unrelenting approach. In my mind, 40 feels like some deadline or end point. I can't tell if now is a time to make grand changes and get in before the cut off, or to hunker down and stay safe because it's too late. I've been trying to figure out when life started to feel so limited and finite? When did the possibilities seem to dwindle and narrow?

The last six months have been pretty wretched for me. Ever since our plans to move back to Switzerland fell through, my spirit seemed to bottom out right with them. I've spent many a night lying awake running back over everything in my mind. Regrets large and small; pondering my life at the present. Connecting the dots that led me here. Is this all there is? I ask myself in the darkness, willing myself to go back to sleep. Finally, after some time, sleep comes. I rarely dream. And then morning comes. For a brief moment before waking, I feel calm, warm, safe. And then wham! It's as if I'm smacked in the head with a 2x4, every day. There is nothing actually wrong with my life. It's quite beautiful and comfortable in so many ways. But it is also quite a ways off of the track I thought it would be on at this point. Or maybe it's just where I thought I'd be but for whatever reason doesn't feel the way I thought it would feel. Either way, time is running out. 40 somehow became the finish line and it's almost here.

I have been feeling so alone. Alone in worrying. Alone in feeling so much pressure to have everything squared away by now. Alone in feeling like I am dropping the ball more often than not.

Then last week I read Ada Calhoun's article The New Midlife Crisis for Women. Calhoun writes about the major stressors plaguing women in their late thirties to mid-fifties today. Money is a major one. Relationships. Career and competitiveness in the workforce. Children or the inability to have them. The general pressure to have it all.

A few of my favorite passages:

Possibilities. We still have them in midlife, but they can start to seem so abstract. Yes, I could go get a doctorate, but where would I find the graduate school tuition? I could switch careers—therapist? Zamboni driver?—but at this stage of life, do I really want to start from the bottom, surrounded by 20-year-olds? If I went on an Eat, Pray, Love walkabout, who would pick up the kid from school?
"Having kids was the thing I wanted my whole life," says Karen, 42, a psychotherapist in Arizona. She pauses. "I had to turn off the Facebook feature with 'Six years ago…whatever.' I was torturing myself with it: If only I'd done things differently then, I'd have a baby now.
You come to this place, midlife," writes novelist Hilary Mantel. "You don't know how you got here, but suddenly you're staring 50 in the face. When you turn and look back down the years, you glimpse the ghosts of other lives you might have led. All your houses are haunted by the person you might have been."

Reading Calhoun's take on everything, I definitely don't feel alone anymore. I highly recommend reading the whole essay.

Maybe a high school librarian I know was right. Last fall, I was weighing a couple different job options and running through the pros and cons with her. She just shrugged and told me they both sounded good and I really couldn't choose the wrong thing. "My grandma used to say," she smiled, "'You can have it all, just not at the same time.'" Well, that certainly takes the pressure off, doesn't it?

How are you feeling at your current stage of life? Do you feel like you're where you're supposed to be, or thought you would be right now? Do you relate to Calhoun's words at all?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Family Ski Day

Today we all went skiing all together for the first time this season. J has been up with the kids many a time, but I have been wimping out since ski season began. This is embarrassing, but I kind of had a hard time falling asleep last night knowing that I was going skiing this morning. I really was nervous about it and was sure that I would fall a million times and not have fun at all and determine that skiing was not for me.

It turns out I had nothing to fear! Not only did I remember a lot from last year, but Coco was such an amazing teacher. I told her to go first and take it slow and then I followed in her tracks. She is a ridiculously good skier (more than a few people stopped us to say so!) and following her and seeing how easy she made it look made it easy for me, too.

Coco is so comfortable up at the mountain and Mt Spokane is such a family place where everyone knows her by name, that we can just let her lap us on the bunny hill as she wishes. She is responsible riding the chair by herself and never gets tired of riding over "the bumps" at the side of the bunny hill, a little jump course made into the side of the hill. J got me my very own skis and boots at the ski swap this year and they are AWESOME. If you're learning to ski, I highly recommend shorter skis to start out. They make everything easier.

In the morning, there was a lot of fog. But by noon it had begun to burn off. And for the remainder of the afternoon, we got a beautiful sunny day.

The sky was a brilliant blue and it felt like we were in a different world looking down on the fog lake below. It was breathtaking!

We took a couple different breaks for hot chocolate and beers and french fries. It was so much fun and I really can't wait to go again. Just before sunset, my phone died and then we stayed on for a few more hours of night skiing. I even went on the run that I fell at least 8 times and cried on last year - and had a blast! I really was surprised, but turns out I'm a skier! I feel rejuvenated and refreshed after a day outside in the sun. It was the absolute dreamiest day.

Do you do any winter sports? How do you combat cabin fever? Do you know how to ski - if not, would you be willing to learn?

PS - More (including Coco on the bumps!) in my Instagram stories if you're into it. ;)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Are you feeling hopeful with the ushering in of a new year? Have you written resolutions? I've spent the better part of the past two days making unedited lists of things I'd like to do this year.

Knit a sweater for Coco. Exercise more. Write every day. Stop looking backward so much and start looking forward much more. Be present with my kids. Improve my wardrobe. Konmari the entire house. Be good to myself. Move overseas again. Read at least two books per month. Drink more tea. Plan meals and budget. Drink less alcohol. Paint my nails and burn candles and take baths and do face masks more. Keep the house clean. Re-write the negative train of thought chugging through my head. Go for walks. Take the kids to the library.

Once I started writing out lists, the ideas kept flowing on and on. It all seems entirely impossible and yet completely doable.

As any smart coach or goal-setting guru will tell you, it's best to keep the really juicy resolutions to oneself, but I'm genuinely surprised at how New Years-ey I feel this year. I don't think you can be much more New Years-ey than buying a brand new pair of running shoes on January 1st, and that's exactly what I did yesterday. I had been toying with the idea of joining the YMCA (yet again) and it dawned on me as I stood there, scanning the red tag clearance shoes at the Rack: It's never going to happen! I will never join the YMCA again because I will never feel comfortable at the YMCA. Sure, it has all the trappings of a nice place to go. Sauna, treadmills and ellipticals, locker rooms with showers. But no, never. It is 2018 and I am finally done thinking that some day I will love the Y. So instead, I bought a pair of Nike running shoes and I am going to get out there (just as soon as all the ice melts;) and run three times per week. I also resolve to get out all of my old Pilates and Yoga DVDs and give them a whirl right here in my living room. What else could possibly be the point of living in a house this big?!

So there you have it. Resolutions are funny. Resolutions seem inherently foolish. And yet, I can't help but want to make them. To make resolutions is to be hopeful and affirm the idea that it's never too late and that we can always start again. I have to say, it does make me disproportionately happy to see my painted fingernails skipping across the keys of my keyboard right now. And the longer I live in car-based America and continue to pack on the pounds well beyond my comfort zone, I realize (for the nth time!) that this is it. We have only the present, my dears. No better time than now to write out lists and declarations of what might make our current moment on this planet a bit better, and then do all the things.

So happy new year to you! May you find the fortitude to follow through on all of your resolutions this year. And may you also have an easy time letting go of mistakes and picking up and starting again should you falter. That's the real resolution, after all. Here's to doing all the things (Not to be confused with doing it all;) and always getting back up if we fall! Welcome, 2018. xoxoxo
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