If that’s your flashlight, you can’t have it back.

Remember when you were nine and flashlights were a commodity to be hoarded and you never lent anyone your flashlight because what if it didn’t come back?

Today on our walk to school, my son found an emergency flashlight (one of those big yellow jobbies with a handle) in the ditch. This is the same ditch which last week offered us a semi-bent scooter (gone by the time we got home) and currently holds a wheel-less skateboard. My son loves this ditch. Strangely, so does the dog.

Out of the corner of my eye I watched him walk past and dip down quickly to pick it up. Of course I saw it, the thing is bright yellow! But he kept quiet about it because he was expecting me to yell at him for picking up junk out of the ditch-like a mother is supposed to-only what he didn’t know was that the 9 year old kid inside of me was thinking OMG FREE FLASHLIGHT and I wasn’t about to tell him to put it down. So I kept quiet too.

Cut to bedtime this evening and I notice that my son is sleeping with the ditch flashlight. That’s…okay that’s kinda gross but whatever. I’m sure by now it’s been all over school and probably licked a few times so what the hell. He licks the car on a regular basis and he hasn’t gotten ill yet so what exactly should I worry about?

I did tell him not to sleep with it on so the batteries don’t wear out. At which point his eyes got huge and he smiled all crazy-like.


And that’s when I realized that he didn’t find an emergency flashlight in the ditch today; he found an industrial lantern. The damn thing has a 6V battery in it.

One of these bad boys.

This. This is the 6V battery my son now owns.

Can you imagine finding one of these as a kid? And not a dead and yucky one either – this bad boy looks brand new. I’m pretty sure that if you’re nine and you find one of these you automatically get knighted or kinged or wizarded or something.

Winner of the 2014 Flashlight Lottery

Winner of the 2014 Flashlight Lottery

God help me, I am never going to be able to get him out of that ditch now.


Posted in Current Events | 1 Comment

Cassoulet is friggen’ awesome.

So I’m trying this thing out where I actually keep up with this blog. And you can tell I’m serious because I used the word ‘blog’ and I absolutely hate that word. Also the words ‘panties’ and ‘beefcake’. I have no idea why, but I do.

However, two weeks into the new year and BLAMMO! Things are getting all viral up in this house. And by ‘viral’ I do not mean ‘everyone forwarding this blog (ugh) on to their mom’s and grannies’.

I dearly wish I meant that, but I do not.

I mean the kind of viral where you buy all the cough and cold medicine you can and hope to hell the kids sleep for another hour because if you have to get up from the couch, something is going to get yelled at. Usually, it’s the cat. But that’s only because she drools.

I don’t have much in the way of coherency these days (see: cough and cold medicine). In fact, I’m not sure what it is I’ve been writing for the last week. It might be a recipe for cassoulet. I really like cassoulet. It’s tasty. I have been told I’m rather humorous when I’m hopped up on the cold meds though and I am taking that as a compliment.



But I want to keep up with this…(ugh, really? it’s like fingernails on chalkboards)…blog. And today, I was alive enough to do some editing even though I’m sure I will have to go edit out all the parts I edited in later.

In case you don’t know (which, you may not because I’m horrible at self-promotion) I wrote a book. It’s called Double Blind and it will be available in print just as soon as we can get it there.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on the second book of the series. It’s called Wizzy Wig. I’ve posted a piece from it before which I edited out. Earlier today I came across a small bit which I can’t remember writing but I love anyway.

I think you’ll get a kick out of it so here it is for my (ferchrissake, can somebody please come up with a different word for this?) blog:

Ahead of him on the sidewalk, Jake spotted a vaguely woman-shaped person struggling to anchor herself against some sort of rocket-powered dog. It pulled her along, oblivious to the rain, the mud, the puddles and the occasional scream of “I said leave it!

As he neared the poor woman, he recognized the folds of her hood as his neighbor from across the street. She looked up at him as he walked past and he nodded. She relaxed her stance for long enough to smile.

“Oh, hey!” she said, clearly about to say more but just then, her dog had detected something nefarious in the neighbor’s lawn. The leash jerked sideways causing the woman to stumble into Jake who in turn, fell sideways into a rhododendron.

“Oh shit, sorry!” said the woman. She followed that statement closely with a slightly angrier “Oh Shit!” as the leash flew from her hands and the dog, free at least, tore across the lawn and into a laurel hedge on the far side. She shouted apologies one more time and dove after her rocket-dog.

Jake picked his grocery bag out of the rhododendron where it fell. He stuck his hand in the bag and felt around. Everything seemed to be in one piece.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said to no one and smiled. Although he felt sorry for the lady chasing down her dog, it made him feel slightly better to know that he wasn’t the only one having a crappy night.

Posted in Current Events | 4 Comments

What I know about fashion.

I am not typically known for what I wear. This is because clothing, to me, serves a purpose. That purpose is to keep me warm and reasonably dry.

My wardrobe comes in five colors: grey, blue, black brown and green and three textures: soft, kinda-wooly and waterproof. My sister considers it an abomination that my idea of fashion is generally along the lines of not wearing a short-sleeved shirt under the grey sweater that has a hole in the armpit. To be honest, anything more complicated than ‘a couple of pockets’ and I’m pretty much uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

But there is one thing I do know: socks.

I am very particular about my socks. This is because I regulate my body heat through my ankles. And as a writer, I tend to sit a lot. And then I get cold feet. And if my ankles are cold, I will not be warm all day. Of course, if my ankles are hot, the house is probably on fire.

I’ve been studying socks intently for several winters now and I feel like I’ve reached a higher level of sock understanding, a certain sock-fu if you will. I can tell you all you need to know about a pair of socks just by looking at them. Are they itchy? (Poly blends can itch.) Will they fit over your calf? (Not if they’re made by a company called “Chinese Laundry” which, I hasten to add, is about the most racist name for a sock company I’ve ever heard.) How long will they last before getting holes in them? (FOREVER if you never wear them.) Will they slip down your heel while you are wearing boots? (They make you wear those in the seventh level of hell.)

Socks are expensive. They should at least fit right. We all know that certain type of heartbreak that comes from buying a new pair of socks that don’t even fit right. With my background of cold feet and my dedication to sock-related OCD, I feel qualified enough to tell you that I have found the perfect pair of socks. These:

Ninja socks.

Ninja socks.

Sock it To Me socks was started by Carrie Atkinson-a woman who probably started out seeming like just another Portland hipster but upon further inspection, turned out to really knows her shit in the sock department. That’s why the company is still in business and growing. They make awesome socks. I mean, check this shit out:



Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Whatever. Socks that awesome must have something wrong with them. They will probably never fit right.”

Ah, but they will! I know it for a fact.

You see, I have really fat calf-muscles. I always have. That’s how my legs are built. I used to hate them because I couldn’t wear mini-skirts without looking like a goblin but then I graduated high-school. And then I started hiking – which is how I realized that even though I my legs look goofy in a mini-skirt, they can walk me up the side of a mountain like a fucking goat. If there is ever a tsunami/zombie apocalypse, I definitely got the better end of the deal.

Sock It To Me socks are well made and comfortable. But they are not indestructible. I have had to retire several pairs of ninja socks because the toes and heels wear through. This is because I wear them a LOT. Socks are transient things, put on this earth to bring us comfort for only a little while. Eventually, like teddy bears and safety blankets, they fade and get holes. And like teddy bears and security blankets, these holes are a sign of well-loved sock. Good socks go to bed every night hoping they will eventually meet this fate.

One thing to note here is that if you have large calf-muscles as I do, stay away from those with fancy designs (read: lots of different colors) near the top – they tend to have less stretchiness in the calf which is important when you consider things like blood flow to your feet. I bought the giraffe socks a few years ago and found they were a little narrower than the ninja socks. I think this is because of the increase in color changes but I am not a sock-savant and I have not actually confirmed this.

Anyway, try these socks out. Buy yourself some Derby socks. They’re wicked comfortable. Or try the ninja socks. You literally cannot go wrong with ninja socks.

They match with everything!

Posted in Current Events | 5 Comments

Cheap Thrills.

This is my dog, Thor Michaelson:

Picture credit: Fuzzy Buddys Doggy Day Care, the Best doggy day care in Shoreline.

Picture credit: Fuzzy Buddys Doggy Day Care, the Best doggy day care in Shoreline.

He is completely awesome. He has a majestic tail, a handsome profile and devil-may-care attitude. PLUS, a floppy ear. Everybody knows that some of the best dogs have floppy ears. He is an all around, good looking dog.

This is my grandmother’s dog, Suri:

This is the best picture I could get - everything else was shaking.

This is the best picture I could get – everything else was shaking.

She’s pretty sweet, I guess. But she’s not MY dog who, as we discussed earlier, is incredibly awesome. While my grandmother is in a skilled nursing facility for physical therapy, her dog is staying with us.

I’m not going to lie to you. I think my grandmother has abused this poor little doggy since the day she got her. Not physically or even verbally, but my gram never bothered to train her and because of that, Suri has no idea what the rules are. And because of that, she has no real idea of how to be a dog. She doesn’t know how to walk on a leash. She doesn’t understand going poo outside. Ferchrissake, there was a squirrel in the park yesterday and she walked around it.

I know it’s not Suri’s fault but I can’t have a dog here that doesn’t know how to be a dog. I won’t put up with begging at the table or snapping at fingers because she doesn’t want to move or eating all the cat food or putting her stinky butt all over my pillow.


So yesterday, Thor Michaelson went to day care and I spent some time teaching Suri what we expect of her when she stays here.

It went…ok. She is completely baffled by the potty training but all kinds of enthusiastic about leash training. She was delighted to accompany me in the afternoon when I walked down to pick the kids up from school. This is usually Thor’s job but like I said, he was at day care.

Because dogs are not allowed on school property, we usually wait on the lawn across the parking lot from school – about 100 feet away from where everyone gathers to pick up their kids. I stood on the lawn trying to calm Suri down from all the excitement and also because she’s terrified of large open spaces.

Across the parking lot, I saw the familiar blue-green coat of my friend Candy. I hadn’t seen Candy for a while and it occurred to me that she had no idea we were fostering my grandmother’s dog. I mean, she’s used to this handsome guy:

This is what an awesome dog looks like.

‘Sup Ladies?

And there I was with 75% less dog, in the wrong color. How confusing would that be?

The more I thought about this, the more it made me laugh. The more I laughed, the more I wanted to see her reaction – but she wouldn’t turn around!

So I texted her.

And for five magical seconds, the world was hilarious.



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Soooo…This happened.

We still have a land line. I don’t know why. Our only phone is a retro-style rotary phone with a great big clunky receiver near which I constantly have to yell DO NOT PLAY WITH THAT, THAT IS OUR ACTUAL PHONE.

In the past year and a half, the only calls I have received on that phone line have been regarding Becky. I learned how to hear it over all the noise and answer it fast.

I was upstairs today and that phone rang. I flew down the stairs thinking…I don’t know what I was thinking. I was pretty flustered because I could not imagine who I needed to talk to regarding Becky.

I reached it in the third ring.

“This is Tiffany.”
“Mom? Is that you?”
“Yes Honey! Oh Goodness, are you okay?”
“Um, Mom?”
“What happened Sweetie?!? Why are you calling me from school?!”
“Well, um…You said you’d put a cookie in my lunch. But there are only graham crackers.”
“I looked and I can’t find the cookie.”
“Son? What are you supposed to be doing right now?”
“Um, Math class”

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Keep it secret! Keep it safe!

Last year, I bought some of these:

Don't you just want to know what's inside?

Don’t you just want to know what’s inside?

I got them at Pier 1 Imports. Or maybe it was Cost Plus. I don’t honestly remember. All I remember is seeing it and thinking:


So I bought them for like, I don’t know, a dollar? I thought it was really cheap for what I was getting. I mean, sure they smell like Nag Champa’s dirty feet but whatevs. They were cool. I bought a pack of three and squirreled them away for The Perfect Time! 

When that would be, I didn’t know, but I knew I would know it when I knew it.

You got me?

Anyway, I realized yesterday that right time is right now. Shit is hitting fans everywhere and what this family needs, hell, what we ALL need right now, are a few more secret quests!

So I wrote this:

secret quest

Plus, I have been hungry for pancakes.

Then I hid it in the bathroom.

I’ll keep you updated.


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Tonight we have POETRY NIGHT.

Instead of iPad time while her brother was in the bath, the littlest one asked me to write a poem with her. And really, when a little girl asks you sweetly if you would “please write a poem with me?” What are you going to do, walk away?

Nope. You sharpen a pencil and grab a notebook.

You would say No? You really are a heartless bastard, aren't you?

College ruled.

We had fun writing it. I am pretty sure that’s because I’ve been gone for most of the weekend and, while her brother was preoccupied, she had my entire attention for twenty minutes in a row. But, she’s also been talking about poetry a lot lately and why the hell not?

I got a verbal ok to reprint it as long as I told you all that “my daughter wrote it.”  Here is her poem:

I wished upon a shooting star
So graceful and neat, you made me cry.
They glitter upon the sky.
Whenever I leave you it makes me cry.
You make me ish you
whenever I look at you.
If I leave,
I will believe,
in a shooting star.
You glitter my eyes wherever you go.
Nighttime goes.
Nighttime passes.
If you leave I will never forget you
Winter and goes.


And then Catfish got out of the bathtub. I gave him a choice: he could have reading time by himself or he could write a poem with me. He was…less than thrilled.

To be fair, I honestly thought he would choose reading time. I guess this just goes to show you how much I know about eight-year-old boys.

You have GOT to be kidding me. It's Sunday night. You expect me to rhyme?

I don’t usually rhyme on Sundays.

I kinda feel like he didn’t really take the assignment as seriously as his sister but what do I know? Maybe this is an eight-year-old boy masterpiece.

I will let you be the judge.

A Squirrel
I am a squirrel.
I eat nuts.
I make cuts.
With my nuts.
I am a squirrel.
I am not a girl.
I sometimes hurl,
my nuts at mutts.
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Snoopers be snoopin’

You know what Geocaching is?

What am I thinking? Of course you do. You’re not an idiot.

Well, a few years ago, we did lots and lots of geocaching. Of course, that was before either kid learned an impressive amount of vocabulary dedicated to the art of complaining about how much their feet/legs/arms/shoulder/back/neck and stomach hurt from having to hike up a damn hill.


I still have a few old geocaches rolling around here, all bored and lonely, waiting for some nice kid to hike out into the wilderness and hide them. Take this one, for instance:

If you're wondering where the door knob went, you aren't the only one.

All it’s hiding now is tetanus.

That is the back plate for the door knob on the door to our storage area. If you are wondering where the actual door knob went, I can’t help you. We removed it to keep certain little kiddos from shopping through the Christmas decorations and of course, it was lost thirty-seven seconds later.

Anyway, that bolt on the bottom is actually a geocache. I think it’s a pretty cleaver hiding spot. If you stick it on the pole of a street sign, no one realizes it’s not an actual bolt. Here’s how it works:

In the wilds of a city, this little bastard is almost impossible to spot.

In the wilds of a city, this little bastard is almost impossible to spot.

Because I think it’s such a cool idea, I showed my kids.

“Hey kids! You want to see something really cool?”

This was one of the stupidest things I’ve done in a while because now, every time they’re up in my room, SOMEONE has to start playing with it. Then, SOMEONE ELSE has to start whining because the first someone won’t share. So I laid the smack-down and told them both to stop playing with it or trouble will ensue.

Now they only play with it if they think I’m not looking.

Last night, as I walked past this door, my sleeve caught on the bolt and pulled it off the door. As I picked it up from the floor I got to thinking. Why is it so important to me that the kids not play with this thing? Yes, I would be sad if it got lost but wouldn’t it be worse if all this little geocache ever did was stick to the door and make my kids crazy with temptation? Shouldn’t someone be using it?

I had already laid the smack-down. And, as you all know, a parent is only as good as their word. I cannot go back and tell them now that they are allowed to play with this tiny little thing that I have so consistently yelled at them to leave alone.

But I never said that I couldn’t use it.

So that’s what I did.

Written on 1" x 2" slip of register paper.

Written on 1″ x 2″ slip of register paper.





Now, we wait...

Now, we wait…

I’ve been trying to imagine what my kids will do when they find this. Will they work together? Will the finder keep the secret all to themselves? I doubt that highly. Will they tell me they found it or simply do what the note says? Will they pretend they didn’t find it at all? I have no idea.

How about you? What if YOU found this when you were a kid?

What would you do?

Posted in Current Events, Found things, Letters, My Kids are so awesome, Shit got real, This really happened, TTYFAtH | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: The Eatery & Ice Cream shop at Edmonds Marina

The Eatery & Ice Cream shop at Edmonds Marina is a small restaurant on the first floor of the Arnie’s Restaurant building south of Brakett’s Landing in Edmonds. If there is another name for it besides “Eatery & Ice Cream” they do not advertise.

You will find the place easily if you head out to the Edmonds public fishing pier, just south of the ferry dock. Once there, walk halfway out to the pier then turn around and ask any small child if they know where an ice cream shop is. Children are born with extra-special ‘ice cream sensors’ in their noses and can find it anywhere. My children especially.

found it

Here it is. It’s right here.

This evening, after an unsuccessful attempt at fishing (this time with actual fish-hooks!) we stopped by the Eatery & Ice Cream. They have a short breakfast menu which probably ends at some appointed hour of the morning, but most likely “when the breakfast rush is over”. They also serve hamburgers, sandwiches (Reuben, BLT, grilled cheese, tuna) and fancy hot dogs during the afternoon and evening hours. They also have espresso and ice cream. (Two seconds after he ordered, my son also discovered a small shop in the back that sells lures and jigs.)

Both children had the hamburger basket ($5.95/$6.95 w/cheese) – plain burgers with ketchup and potato chips. They also got Gatorade ($2) because it was a celebration meal. Both parents had hamburger baskets (fries, not potato chips) and fountain sodas (also $2). The entire meal was about $40 (add in kids’ ice cream it was $48).

FYI: they carry Pepsi products.

So kids, on a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate this restaurant?

S: Five.

W: Ten.

S: Nuh-uh, the scale only goes up to five.

W: I know.

What would you say is your favorite part of the meal (and by meal I mean specifically the hamburger basket part):

S: The hamburger.

W: The nuts.* They’re like decorations for the bun. Like the Decorations of Independence.

*sesame seeds

Okaaay? How about the drinks? What would you say your favorite part of the drinks is?

W: Eleven.

S: I got blue. I don’t even know what flavor this is.

After dinner, both children got ice cream cones ($4 each for wafer or sugar cones/$6 for waffle cones).

eatery and ice cream

“I want to change my answer to twelve.”

Sadly, ten minutes after this picture, the boy learned a very harsh lesson involving physics, gravity and the tensile strength of soggy wafer cone. Because we were at the beach, the cone was un-salvageable (it was covered with sand). When the tears finally dried up, we did an exit interview:

What did you guys think of the ice cream cones?

W: You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit but Sagan is throwing a fit because he got what he got.

S (in very sad voice): It was pretty good…while it lasted.

The Eatery & Ice Cream is usually open at times that you would be on the pier. That said, the Edmonds pier is open to the public 365 days of the year.

Parent Point-of-View: For $6 you get a pretty decent burger. The fries weren’t that great but they were freshly made. If you make the Edmonds pier into an evening’s entertainment (highly recommended), you can get some awesome family time for less than $60. And that’s including ice cream.

The ice cream is expensive but, to be fair, the cones are really big. For a little less than $20 you can get 4 ice cream cones to munch on while you stroll down the dock and check out all the sea-life behind the breakwater. Starfish, crabs, perch, smelt, twisty sea shells, those big googly-looking sea-star thingies, they got all sorts of stuff! 3 hour parking on the street, and free parking near the beach access. And, because this is Edmonds, you also get trains!

Fishing on the pier as a family activity: If you are under 15 years of age, you do not need a permit to fish public waters of Washington state. Here are the basic state rules. If you would like a permit, you can purchase one on-line here or in person at any of these stores in King, Snohomish, and Island counties. (You can look up additional counties through one of those links). Here is some information on the Edmonds Pier. And here is a short blurb about dock fishing etiquette

Please note: Dogs are NOT ALLOWED ON THE PIER and you may be ticketed for an infraction.

Eatery & Ice Cream at the Edmonds Pier

Address: 300 Admiral Way  Edmonds, WA 98020

Hours: 7am – (about) 8pm most days. (Probably shorter in winter)

Posted in Current Events, Food, Food Glorious Food!, Glorious Food!, higlights and important links, My Kids are so awesome, This really happened, Travelling | Leave a comment

I’m not sure really.

So I have this thing where I like to stash stuff away to find at later times. I couldn’t tell you when I started doing this but I know it’s been at least since my high school career because one time, I found an entire box of spoons – individually labeled with restaurant of origin and location – and one of those restaurants, was the place I ate at on prom night, so I guess it was a thing.

Like a butterfly collection, but for stolen flatware.

Now that I think about it, I have no idea where that box went so if you ever come across a bunch of labeled spoons at a Goodwill you’ll at least know what the hell that was about.

Anyway, I also do this with ideas.

Ideas are a bit harder to corral but I have a few traps that seem to work. I have a little notey-book upstairs which works very nicely. In the kitchen, I have my recipe box.

A while back, my mom was getting rid of her old recipe box – the one that I grew up with. The one that always says to me “Here is where important things are.” I have clear memories of it being a useful thing in my life so you can understand why, when she asked if I wanted it, I said “HELL YES.”

Did I have a use for it? No. To be honest, it sat around for about a year and a half, looking all empty and judgmental.

And then, one day, we had to have a note card for something school related. I don’t know what it was, maybe the science fair? Whatever, we only needed one card.

But you can’t just buy one note card, can you?

No, you cannot.

They make you buy that shit in packs of five million even though we only needed one. We had note cards all over the damn kitchen.

They drove me to distraction. I had no idea what to do with them. I didn’t have any recipes to write down because they’re all on-line now. And who the hell uses note cards anyway?

I moved them from the window sill to the basket above the microwave, back to the windowsill. They were in the way. I didn’t want to get rid of them, because you never know, but I hated them for even existing in my house because what the hell do you do with a note card?

And then one day, I had this perfect sentence in my head. It was hilarious. I didn’t want to lose it. I loved that sentence and somehow, that evening, I was smart enough to know that I’m dumb enough to forget shit. So I grabbed a friggen’ note card and friggen’ wrote it down.

And for one shining second, the depthless world of note taking opened up to me. I saw the universal truth of the three by five and its glorious role in fragmented thoughts that you don’t want to forget but don’t want to hold on to any more. There may have been tiny cherubs and angles and shit. It was an epiphany that glorious.

And twenty seconds after that, I had a note-card crisis. Because WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO WITH A NOTE CARD? They aren’t useful – they’re too tiny. They always get stuffed in that damn basket above the microwave and then I gotta fish them out one by one. I hate that basket.

[Right up until I need stamps. And then I love that basket because I know exactly where the stamps are.]

As I searched the room, the OCD part of my brain noticed that my mom’s old recipe box was perfectly note card shaped.

And then it realized that the lid didn’t shut all the way so if one were to have, say, just one little note, one could slide it into the box without even opening it up.

Thus, my idea cache was born!

The difference between this cache and all my other ones is that, I know where this one is I just don’t know what’s in it.

how is this even a little bit of a surprise to you

I don’t know, Past-Me. I just don’t know.

I am eagerly awaiting my new career in the Magic 8-Ball and Fortune Cookie Fields.


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