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Why I Love My Seahawks

Why I Love My Seahawks

DSCN0271This year, 2014, the Seattle Seahawks are IN the Super Bowl. The mother of all football games. I am beyond excited. I’ve been a Seahawks fan since the days of the Kingdome in Seattle, when my parents held season tickets, and now I hold the season tickets. I’ve always loved football but started really paying attention to football in the days of quarterback Matt Hasslebeck  and head coach Mike Holmgren. Now we have quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll. I remember a few years ago, when they first hired Pete Carroll to be the Seahawks new head coach, my mother asked me whether we should renew the tickets. I encouraged her to give the team another year and see what happened. She died in June, 2012, before this wonderful season began but attended games at Century Link (previously Qwest) stadium until she was 90 years old.

But I digress…

Sports – all sports -  exemplify the quest for superiority, for greatness, for perfection, and mastery of the physical body. Watch any football player go flying through the air at maximum velocity, catch the football, and then land with both tiptoes in the corner of an end zone and tell me that’s not artistry in motion. It’s seems almost implausible that a lumbering, six-foot-plus man could be so much like a ballerina at times.

It’s human nature to strive for excellence, to be the best we can be. The commercials and movies that capture our attention often include stories of the underdog coming out on top, of the struggles within ourselves and our circumstances, and the lengths to which we will go to overcome them. We persist. We try. We fall. We get back up. We try again. We always, always have hope.

We cheer and salute the Nelson Mandela’s and  Steve Jobs’ of the world, the child who survives a heart transplant, the woman who kicks breast cancer and the person who doesn’t allow circumstances (poor health, bad family, dangerous neighborhood, violence, captivity, or loss of any kind) to define them. We cry at these stories. We feel empowered by these stories because they tell us that we are only limited by our own minds. If we think we can’t, we can’t. Conversely, if we think we can, we CAN. In the words of the Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, “Why not me?” and “Why not us?”

Why not us? Why not the Seahawks? This is a team that since its inception has been the butt of jokes, has been called disparaging nick-names, has been laughed at and rarely taken seriously by other fans and the National Football League, in general. In our one other visit to the Super Bowl, we were definitely the underdogs, and even the refs didn’t take us seriously at times.

Did that stop us? Did that stop the Seahawks fans from believing? Not at all. In fact, I believe that this adversity caused us to be stronger, more loyal, and more vehement in our support of our team. #LOUDER, in fact.

SuperBowlXLVIIIToday, we play the Denver Broncos who have a two-time Super Bowl winner in Peyton Manning. He clearly is a great quarterback, and, by comparison, our quarterback, Russell Wilson, is only in his second year in the NFL with his first trip to the Super Bowl. The odds are against us, some would say. The Broncos may be favored but don’t count us out. We have some things on our side that are unseen to many, I believe, and not overly mentioned in the media. We have a quarterback who believes in God and doesn’t hide that fact. We have a team that exemplifies the definition of teamwork – they LIKE each other. They play TOGETHER. No one man is a star without the others and they all willingly acknowledge that. They play together as if each game is a championship game. They play at their very best without focusing on the outcome.

I have a saying in my life that has helped me along my journey: Do the footwork and leave the results up to God. I believe, in some way, the Seahawks follow that same philosophy. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch says, “I’m just about that action, Boss.” Actions speak louder than words, and he personifies this.

I love the Seahawks because of all this, and more that I find hard to articulate. We have passion, camaraderie, spirit, volume, energy, and FAITH. This is our time. We believe. We believe we can prevail and succeed – heck, we’ve succeeded just getting this far. We have every chance to win this game. Why not us? And if when we win, I’m sure the volume of the 12s (fans) will be heard all the way from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to Century Link Field in Seattle.

Let’s get fired up!

God Laughed At My Plans

You know the saying…”If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.”

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Here I was, getting all settled in – well, starting to settle in – to my new place and seems that God and the universe had different plans for me.

I had been in my new-to-me condo for almost exactly one month when I noticed water under a floorboard in the half-bath on the main level of my home. (My home is three levels – top level is guest suite, main level is living areas, and lower level is the master bedroom and master bath.) The water was in close proximity to the hot water tank, but the area around the hot water tank was dry, so I assumed the issue was within the pipes inside the walls. I immediately scheduled a plumber and then called the HOA (homeowners association) property manager to let him know what I noticed and ask for guidance. (In a condo, pipes inside a wall are the responsibility of the association, anything inside the unit from the wall surfaces and personal belongings is the responsibility of the owner.) At this point, I wasn’t too alarmed because it didn’t look like much water but the floor was a bit squishy when I stepped on it. Still… water is nothing to mess with.

The next morning, I noticed some puckers in the ceiling of the master bath directly below the bath where I spotted the water the day before. When I touched the ceiling, it was soft and I could easily press up on the ceiling, leaving a dent. Now I was alarmed. It had to be a great deal of water to do that to the ceiling.

So, after several emails and attempts later to reach people in authority, I finally got guidance to get someone out right away. It was still the next morning before the plumber arrived. It took him no time at all to determine that there was “a lot of water” in the floor between the two bathrooms. However, we didn’t know the source of the leak. We had to call in a second company who tore off drywall and opened walls and floors to reveal a lot of water and… MOLD. Eeww, God.

The following picture is from behind a cabinet that was in my master bath. I had been breathing this for a month. I smelled it, I knew the downstairs had humidity issues (was wet somehow) but I didn’t know how. I have a bionic sniffer, for sure. Not to mention that this was causing me dizziness and fatigue. I even went to the doctor to figure out why I was dizzy and chalked it up to extreme exhaustion from the stress of the last year or so.

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After a few hours of opening walls, removing water, shutting off water (not all in that order, of course), we determined that the cause of the leak was a nail that pierced a copper pipe. This happened, evidently, last November when the prior owner had the half bath remodeled. The nail was the incorrect length to use and went straight through the metal protector piece and into the pipe. The leak started then, continued slowly, was not evident through the pre-closing inspection, and finally gave way one month into my living there.

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So, here I am in construction zone again… again! The first two days of this journey, I was so stoic, moving straight into my normal get-er-done mode that I didn’t stop to really digest what had just happened. When I woke up in my hotel room on Monday morning, I broke down. This was NOT WHAT I HAD PLANNED. I had chosen a home that I figured would be move-in ready, which I could upgrade with my own choices of paint and flooring as I went along, but essentially I’d be done with all the heavy homeownership requirements. I’d be free to work, play, knit, travel, ride my bike, and just relax for a while and live my life.

In hindsight, now 12 days into this adventure, what happened is exactly as it should be and a blessing in disguise. It’s a blessing because the source of the musty smell and humidity has been solved and will be eliminated. The house will be dry and I’ll be able to have zero mold and clean paint, and even toss in some of my own money to put my own touch in the master bathroom.

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After a couple days, I started laughing and understanding the humor in all this. I – the overachiever, the go-100mph-nonstop woman, the caretaker – needed a rest. The universe knew that the only way I would stop and rest would be if I was stuck in a hotel room with my puppy and not much else to do.

Once again, God knew better than I what I needed. And thank you for that.

It’s going to be another week or so before I’m back in my home. By that time I will have been out of my home  for nearly as long as I was in it. I have days I cry inside because I’m so tired and exhausted, and moments where I’m energized and eager to continue picking out paint for my walls and flowers for my outdoor pots. But mostly I’m just grateful. Grateful that the problem was found and I’m not going bankrupt because of it. It’s just a pothole on the road of life and I’m maneuvering around it just fine, with help from my friends, family, and of course, my higher power.

And blessed. Really blessed. This is the view from my hotel room.

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Dreaming Big

Dreaming Big

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I love Laila’s dreamy expression as she poses on a pile of dirt bags from the big box hardware store. I have the dreamy look going on these days. I was taught a long time ago not to make any major changes within a year following a traumatic or life-altering event in your life. I see why. Emotions have to be processed. Things need to settle down. The cloud of grief needs to lift, at least somewhat, so that things can be seen clearly. Decisions can then be made based on reality, rational thought, and objectivity.

It’s nearing the one-year anniversary of when I lost my mom–my only remaining parent. Since her death, I’ve still been taking care of her estate and everything that was left behind. I’ve been selling the properties, closing accounts, dealing with taxes, and so forth. All this is winding down and likely will be finished by the end of the summer, if not sooner. There are only a couple more things to close out, and I’ll be done.

The universe is now conspiring to make me live my life for me. How cool is that? I don’t have a job that ties me down or limits me to any location or schedule. My future is currently determined by how much effort I’m willing to put forth into creating it. The canvas is blank. I can use any medium, color palette, or texture I want to create my future. And it’s not lost on me just how rare an opportunity, a gift, this is for me, or for anyone, really.

Even a month ago, maybe two, this prospect scared the bejeebs out of me. I’ve wanted to stay hidden under my shell, protecting myself from further hurt and pain. Scared of living a life. However, I’ve gradually come to terms with losing mom, and come to terms with the fragility of my own life, and that it’s not waiting for me to catch up. So many things I dream of doing and the time is now.

Starting with an epic road trip this summer. Coast to coast. I will visit places that are on my “leap” list. For realz, friends. And yes, I’ll blog it (and journal it for my future book).

This is just the start. I am energized yet pragmatic, scared but confident. I am more me now than I have ever been and it feels fantastic.

What Flavor is Your Home?

What Flavor is Your Home?

Pumpkin2_LauraAshleyHave you noticed how paint colors are often labeled with a food name? Yeah, me too. It makes me hungry sometimes just thinking about it. My most recent favorite paint color is Laura Ashley Pumpkin 2 (from Lowes, but now discontinued) but I call it a Creamsicles® color, or Dreamy Dreamsicles, as I coined the term a few years ago in my now-guest bedroom. You can read about when I repainted that room here.

Recently, I ordered new bedroom furniture for myself and had to paint my bedroom. I did my usual sticking up of swatches all over the wall but the colors I liked–blues, blue-grays, gray-greens, which many of my blog friends rave over, and they are pretty for sure–were too dark or drab in this Northwest climate. When it is gray and cool here three-quarters of the year, the inside of my home needs to feel sunny and warm.

So I started painting and decorating. Self-care to the max.

IMG_4570Cutting in. You can see how gray the “sand” color was that I chose before. (No wonder I was depressed and not sleeping.)  What I particularly love about this new color – and it will be apparent in the photos – is that it changes color depending on what light is shining on it. It changes from pale yellow, almost white to a pretty peach-tangerine.

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The photos above show opposite sides of the room. They look like completely different colors. One is with flash, and one without. The color really isn’t as yellow as the photo on the right suggests.

Furniture!

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I absolutely LOVE the tall dresser. The surface is rib height and great for putting on jewelry, or whatever.

And the best part is accessorizing a room.

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And the best accessory? The cat.

Before and After–Condo 1

Before and After–Condo 1

I promised you a little before and after of the renovation I just completed on the first of my mom’s two condos: the two bedroom unit. I talked a bit about the backstory of these condos here. We have sold this condo and it sold for $5,000 less than what I originally expected to sell it for with a newly remodeled kitchen, and yet, we didn’t have to remodel the kitchen. Go me. Good fortune comes if you wait for it.

As a little aside, negotiating that sale was a load of fun and stress. It amazes me how everyone wants a deal. Recent sales in that building were distress sales and the buyers kept insinuating that I had overpriced the unit. I knew better. I’d done my research and being the analytical sort that I am, I knew that my price wasn’t just an emotional attachment to the condo. They also wanted me to “discount” the price because I was saving by not having a realtor sell it for me. Um, no. Tell me how that works. I save money but I give you that savings? I don’t think so. Savings by not using a realtor does not mean I lower my price. As it turned out, the appraisal validated me and my sales price.

On to the before and after…

Here’s a shot of the architect’s drawings and the floor plan.

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This is before the framing went up to separate the two units, but after the drywall started coming down. We needed to pull off the drywall to expose electrical so we could see just what needed to be moved and where. Once we figured that out, we were able to get the necessary permits and start work.

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The view above is looking from the two bedroom condo into  the future one bedroom condo.

Here’s the framing going up dividing the two units. This picture is taken from the one bedroom side.

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Looking the other way into the living area of the two bedroom unit.

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This is the master bath. It consumed the original bath area plus the original hallway area and my mom installed a large, three-quarter whirlpool tub. She really did a lovely job when she remodeled. Now we had to remove the tub, all that tile, and then recreate the hallway and two bedrooms, plus install a hot water tank closet. The only thing that stayed was the vanity, medicine cabinet, light, and toilet.

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This is the view from her bedroom into the bathroom once we started taking off doors and with the bathtub removed. We had to move that closet from that side of the room to the other as well.

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The doorway that was blocked by drywall and said tub.

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Said tub.

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This floor shot gives you an idea of where we had to rebuild the entry.

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The bathtub is in, and we raised the plumbing for the shower head to accommodate tall people.

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Drywall going up on the dividing walls.

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Drywall in and a hallway created.

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Creating the dividing wall between the two bedrooms. We added a hall closet here.

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The angled wall gave a feeling of more space and contains the hot water tank. We also expanded this space slightly to accommodate a stacking washer/dryer unit.

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Looking in the closet from the other angle. You’ll notice the flooring starting to be laid here too.

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Here’s the flooring going in. I chose a porcelain tile in-stock from Lowes. It’s light and bright and a good choice for a small area and avoids a dark, closed in look. Plus, in the wet climate that we have in the Pacific Northwest, plus being over the water, I wanted to give this more of a beachy feel. The tile does that. But boy did this tile give us fits. We had issues with the leveling of the floor (which we corrected) and a two-day install took nearly a week.

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Here’s the bathroom wall tile, which coordinates with the floor tile, installed. I chose an oversized subway-style tile, 9×13 rectangles. It’s porcelain tile but up close it looks like marble. Sleek, shiny, spa-like.

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And finally, some after photos of the finished unit. Phew.

Living area

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View from the living area into the hallway.

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Finished bathroom.

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Bathroom showing the flooring as well. I chose to use the same floor tile from the entry through to the living area.

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Bedroom one into the hall.

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Hall closet and bedroom 2.

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View out the window of the living area.

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Living area into the kitchen. Still a nice kitchen, even if I didn’t remodel it. Corian countertops, tile floor, just overall nice.

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The water heater and washer/dryer closet. A definite improvement and value added. (Other units in the condo, unless later remodeled, do not have in-unit washer/dryers.)

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Hall linen or coat closet.

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Looking from the hallway into the living area.

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The final doorway.

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Say goodbye to 201. Lots of memories there. Now ready for a new life with new owners. The memories of my mom at that condo are still in my heart, not there in the material world.

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Now, where were we?

Now, where were we?

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Spring is coming. Spring means new life starting out of the ground. Starts from seeds, from bulbs, from roots that hibernated through the long cold, dead winter. Roots that never died, just slept. Bulbs that are ready to burst forth with bright colors and fresh scents.

This seems to describe me now. The last decade of my life has been littered with chronic health issues in my family, and the last couple years have been intense. I’ve described them ad nauseam here on my blog, and I’m pretty much done with that. I’m ready to bloom again. New, fresh, more vibrant, grafted into a new me that embodies all the pain, loss, joy, and stress of the years that have passed. I’m ready to move forward in new directions, full of a life yet to live.

Yes, I lost my mother. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. It’s been nine months and I’m starting to come out on the other side of my grief. I believe that both my parents would want me to live my life full of joy, service to others, and living the best and greatest life that my higher power has planned for me.

There’s been a lot happening so far this year. 2013 is a year of rebirth for me. At the end of January, my job of five years ended. Since then, I’ve been working on building my own business while closing my mother’s estate. I’ve been catching up on my sleep. I’ve been focused on clearing out the clutter that has accumulated and getting rid of things that I really just don’t need or want any more. It’s all fun, even if it is exhausting. I’ve been letting ideas germinate in my soul and opening myself up to all sorts of possibilities for future employment and life experiences.

I’ve been taking a much needed and long overdue break. And I’m not done resting yet, but I’m starting to feel renewed and rejuvenated. Ready to join the ranks of the living again.

Stay tuned as there’s so much to tell you!