Greeting Cards from Grandma

I’m a fan of greeting cards.

I save them, and hang them on a string on the wall in my apartment.

I enjoy sending them, even more so than receiving them.

I suppose I inherited this facet of my personality from my Grandmother.

Tonight, I pulled the collection of cards down from the wall.  I sat on my living room floor and sifted through the sea of colorful paper.

I reached for one; the cover, deep green.  It featured three peanut cartoon characters with word bubbles over their heads.  The inscription inside: “Thought you might want some complimentary nuts to go with your birthday celebration!”  I laughed.

I shifted my gaze to the cursive scribbles at the bottom of the page.  My eyes welled as I began to read:

“I’m the biggest nut.  I’ve thought about you and the good times we’ve had together.  I treasure those memories.  You are special – I’m just slow.  Love you, Grandma”

I remember the day perfectly.  It was about two weeks past my twenty-fifth birthday.  The card was late.  That didn’t matter to me.  I was sitting in my office in Maui, after just hanging up the phone with a disgruntled mother-of-the-bride, when Simone walked in with the envelope.  The note made me laugh, first.  The smile grew as I remembered the summers in her backyard growing up, and the long conversations in her living room during my college years.  At the conclusion of sixty seconds, a tear had crept out of the corner of my eye, as yet again, she hadn’t failed to remind me how “amazing” and “special” I am.

A year and a half later, the card has the same effect.

I pressed onward through the pile, reliving the memories; recalling exactly where I was, and how I felt.

Finally, the carpet was visible again.  I’d seen them all.

That’s when it hit me.  I had received my last card from Grandma.

I thought about how I might experience an emptiness come every birthday, and every Christmas; or maybe even each time I passed the Hallmark aisle in Target.

Instead, I quickly realized that the reason I love greeting cards, is because they remind me of Grandma.  And I realized that instead of symbolizing what I’ve lost, they should allow me to appreciate all that I was given.


People and Places: Part Two

About two and a half months ago I made a big decision. I chose to leave behind all that I had come to know and love on the beautiful island of Maui, for a blank canvas in a cold, rainy city.

Six weeks a Seattle resident, I continue to experience the occasional “OH SHIT” moment, where I ask myself, “what did I just do?”image

Until the minute I parted ways with that little rock in the middle of the Pacific, my mental, emotional and physical capacities were largely reserved for empathizing with brides, securing signed contracts, and creating event orders.

So much so, it was not until three weeks post bidding aloha, as I sat on the floor of my empty lower Queen Anne apartment, that I allowed myself to fully process the events of the preceding nineteen months.

A moment was all it took for me to burst into tears as I thought of the amazing friends I had left behind.

Each day, I was inspired by Simone’s zest for life, Cherene’s free spirit, Jaz’s work ethic, Trista’s ability to listen, Shelly’s giving heart; among many others folks and traits.

I learned and grew on countless levels during my brief time on Maui. And just when I had deemed myself comfortable, I uprooted, a wiser, stronger version of the girl who’d arrived in October of 2013.

Seattle makes the fifth city I’ve called home in six years time.

Over the course of these experiences, I’ve found the challenges and excitement that accompany constant change somehow soothe me. I quite enjoy uncovering new facets of my personality, being immersed in different cultures, utilizing foreign modes of transportation, acquiring a taste for varying delicacies, nurturing new relationships while being tasked with maintaining the existing ones, expanding my mind, and continually searching for ways to better myself as an individual.

As I close one chapter and embark upon the next, I remind myself to be grateful. Grateful to have loved, to have lived firsthand, and to forever keep the memories and friends close to my heart; no matter how far I may geographically stray.

I suppose someday, one place, or one person, may influence me to throw down the anchor and make “home” something more permanent. Until then, I quite enjoy writing the chapters, accumulating the characters and seeking inspiration from the storylines, in this novel that is my life.

The Difference A Year Makes


I ditched my caramel highlights for charcoal brunette, and a sassy sea of layers. I acquired a taste for things like raw fish, and fruits I previously failed to know existed. I began referring to my “flip flops” as “slippahs,” and I wore them – every, single, day. I spent many a weekend playing golf with men old enough to be my father (or grandfather for that matter). I even found myself speaking a tiny bit of pidgin and flashing the shaka in passerby.

I threw myself into my work and traded plenty late nights at the bar with friends, to burn the midnight oil in the office with a cup of coffee. Two-fold; I fervently chased my dreams of career success, while simultaneously learning the importance of not missing the moments in life.

I witnessed characters come and go to the point of numbness, realizing the important ones would remain a part of my life regardless of how near or far they may reside.

I watched my baby sister relocate to Spain to teach English to small children (or keikis as I’ve come to call them). I supported my brother as he made his way to Louisville and the Men’s NCAA DII Soccer Final Four (and found him to have grown head and shoulders above all three of us girls). I celebrated with my sister Natalie as she secured her dream job, and took her coaching to a whole new level.

As I reflect upon the ways in which my life has developed over the course of twelve months; I also cherish those charming constants.

I’ll continue to lean on my parents for their expert insight in making important decisions, and look to them when the occasional ass-kicking is in need.

I’ll always be “that one” who spills coffee in her lap daily, and trips over her trash can on the reg.

I will likely never sacrifice my role as family “peace keeper” and my tremendous preoccupation with the well-being of those close to me.

A small part of me will forever remain that brown-eyed little girl who skipped around the cul-de-sac with a microphone, forming all of the neighborhood kids into teams and commanding them to participate in games, athletic events, plays, and a variety of other activities. Truthfully, I am not sure why they obeyed. Some call it bitchy bossy, I call it “a leader in the making”.

So what difference does a year make?

As for me, I choose to believe it brings newfound experience and intelligence; and I welcome it with open arms.

It is my mother who sums it up most wholly in explaining, “the older we grow, the wiser we become”.

To my friends: a happy, healthy and prosperous New

Piece of Mind

What puts you at ease?

For me, it’s Van Morrison.

It’s tapping my foot to the beat of Brown-Eyed Girl as daddy drums the steering wheel of his old-school Beamer, barreling northbound on El Camino Real.

This is my song.

The warm breeze wrestles whispy strands of hair, obstructing my big brown eyes from sight.  A smile creeps across my face as I smooth the wrinkles from my khaki skort, all the while clicking my white Sketchers against the floor.

Of course, we are headed to Olympic Driving Range, where we will proceed to hit a couple hundred golf balls before dusk invades the blue summer sky.

I stand corrected.  Rather,  I will hit a couple hundred golf balls.  Dad will not hit one.  He will, however, grab that damn seven-iron and swing it about fifty-five times, standing behind me, observing.

At some point, Dad will lean in and yank the bill of my black Cobra hat, stating, as if, for the first time,

“Em, you hit the guy in the cart picking up range balls, I’ll take you for a slurpee on the way home.”

I giggle, well-aware that regardless of whether I manage to make my target: that slurpee is mine.

Daylight is now rapidly escaping us, and my hands are growing raw.  Dad proclaims that I must end the night with a good shot.  A few attempts go awry before I succeed.

At last, I turn to daddy and shrug my shoulders.  He says nothing, but smiles, and motions me toward the parking lot.

Here we are, again, cruising.  I clutch my Coca-Cola flavored slurpee tightly between my tiny, tired hands, inevitably suffering a brain freeze.  My eyes begin to grow heavy as the sounds of sweet rock ‘n roll lull me to sleep, sinking deeper into the seat with each breath.

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more at peace, as in this moment.

On the surface, uneventful, I somehow experience utmost contentedness.

In an effort to make sense of it all, the wise words of honest Abe himself are all that come to mind,

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be”.

I’ll take it.


Eight Truths About Living In Paradise

1. The roads are consistently terrorized by tourists in Mustang convertibles who drive slower on inside lanes of the highway, and neglect to pull over for ambulance and fire trucks.

2. Most of us do not sit in offices equipped with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean  Contrarily, I spend my days staring at four white walls, attempting to tune out the sound of the toilet flushing each time someone exits the restroom.

3. Forget about remaining up-to-speed with what is new and hot on the radio.  It seems this island has mastered the art of morphing every single song into a surprisingly fitting reggae version of it’s original.

4. The majority of Hawaiian business practices have been deemed archaic, if not obsolete in “Mainland United States”.  Do not seek this as an opportunity to implement immediate change.  To say these folks are partial to their routine is an understatement of the highest degree.

5.  Crossfit is essentially a religion in this town, and those who practice are somewhat equivalent to Mormon missionaries, attempting to convert each new person they encounter to this way of life.

6. If you are vegetarian, or better yet, vegan, it might behoove you to reevaluate your dietary preferences before calling this place home.  Meals without beef, pork and/or fish are far and few between.

7.  If you possess any desire to fit in, you best be quick to adapt to the local dialect, referred to as “Pidgin”.  Raised by a journalist and a copywriter, I suppose you could say I’ve struggled to embrace email responses simply stating “if can” or “no need“.  I’m trying – yah?

8.  Lastly and most importantly, it truly is this beautiful – all the time.