2016 – A year of heart exercise

Well, it serves me right for complaining that my 2015 felt uneventful during last year’s post. This year has had just as many highs as there has been lows for me. It certainly has been the biggest roller coaster that I am still on and I can’t see the end in sight anytime soon.

2016 immediately started off rough, with the news of a former teacher passing away. He wasn’t just any teacher though, Mr. Kelly was someone who changed my life forever and I will always thank him for that. I even dedicated this web site to him when I first put it together four years ago. I wrote an open letter to him earlier this year to help me through the grieving process, but life just doesn’t feel the same without him the world. I still think about him often, especially as I reflect upon all the events that happened this year.

I made my first ocean transit with Hawaiian Chieftain in February of this year, which was amazing to say the least. I was seasick for the first time, which made for a miserable transit, but still wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else. Letting all inhibitions into the wind, and enjoying a reunion with old crew made my heart and soul oh so happy.

I found some inspiration to pick up my camera again, and I was finally able to start a photo series of women that inspire me. Starting with Sara Luchi, an amazing brewer at Black Raven. That was really fun for me, unfortunately, I haven’t added to the series since then. I just haven’t made the time to keep this project up, but perhaps I should pick it up again in 2017.

And then the big doozie came. My dad ended up in the hospital around April earlier after a heart block and experiencing septic shock. The next few months after that was probably some of the most challenging moments of my life. We went from learning my dad was basically brain dead to that he was making a dramatic recovery. All the while I had to take over all of the family financial affairs because my dad normally took care of that and my mom didn’t know how. From property taxes, to federal taxes, insurance drama, unemployment, filing for disability, financial aid applications. I think I experienced enough bureaucratic systems in the first month to last me the next 10 years. And on top of all that I had to keep from punching my dad’s mistress in the face and figuring out how to deal with my mom’s emotional state (upon the news of a mistress and dealing with this woman). It’s amazing to me how calm I can be in the most distressing situations (because I am NOT a patient person). Looking back, I feel like maybe my body gets so emotionally overwhelmed it just shuts off the emotional part. Like it can’t afford to spend the energy to be in distress because I know I have so many other practical things to take care of. Long story short, my dad has been able to make an almost full recovery. Which is pretty miraculous really. My dad, whom I have never really had a real relationship with, has changed through all of this, but I haven’t really taken the time to deal with that. As soon as the crisis was over, I went back to living my own life as much as possible. I simply didn’t want to deal with any more family drama and wanted to make sure I was focusing my energy towards my own life. Trying to repair what relationship we had left was not a priority for me. I just didn’t want to deal with it. I’m hoping the new year will bring some peace to that situation…but we’ll see.

I found small ways to take care of myself during those couple of months of chaos, include getting lost in the magic of Moisture Festival, Pike Place Market, or camping at Banks Lake, but it seemed no matter what the happy was, it couldn’t quite bring myself out of the emotional low I was in. Getaways would be like a temporary band aid, but eventually reality bled right through as soon as I stepped back into cell service.

By early summer, my dad was making a miraculous recovery and I was able to enjoy some summer adventures.

Jamie and I celebrated solstice this year by hula hooping in the parade and dressing up as cute clowns. As always, super fun amazing awesomeness.

I went on my first kayak camp trip. Which I may or may not be addicted to. It’s certainly awesome not to have to carry all my camping weight on my back like normal, but at the same time, it takes quite a bit of planning and needing the right gear. Either way, it was an amazing experience.

I also made it to my first Whidbey Island Raceweek! Even though I was only there for half of it, it was still an amazing time and I loved being with Elusive!

I was having so much fun, by the time my birthday month rolled around, I knew I needed a serious change. I was uninspired by the work I was doing, and even though I loved the company, who were amazing and understanding through all my family drama and letting me take time off of work and working remotely, I knew it wasn’t a place I could grow in the way I wanted to. So without much of a plan, I quit my job. I couldn’t stand being inside for another 8 hour day in the summer staring at a computer screen. I also felt that I deserved to enjoy my summer. Which I did, just in time for my 30th birthday.

Celebrating my 30th was perfect. It was all about the people in my life and I just wanted to enjoy some quality time with them. Marcela came to surprise me with a visit, Chris surprised with a trip to Nanaimo, Canada…Jamie and I took a backpacking trip to Rialto Beach and ended the week by sailing with Shiny and Josefine in Friday Harbor.



I took advantage of my time off and made my first trip to Glacier National Park with Chris for a wedding. I wanted to spend weeks there, but that wasn’t the case. I definitely hope to get back there for another backpacking adventure.

Backpacking, sailing, all good things. I even did another wedding and my first boudoir shoot! Sarah was dynamite!

And then everything took an amazing wonderful turn. I had the opportunity to help Dan Bugge with his new culinary program at Bumbershoot and it was the most fun I’ve ever had working EVER. Remember the time I met Dan for the very first time? My giggly star-struck 23 year old self knew working with him would be amazing. Who knew I would actually get the opportunity to do it years down the line? I’ve never had so many 12 or 14+ hour days that flew by without so much as a thought to anything else in the world and loving and laughing every minute of it. Plus watching Death Cab for Cutie side stage was AWESOME. Compared to the last time I saw them at Bumbershoot in 2008 (an awful experience with moshing 15 year olds), I was floored. I cried when Ben sang “I will follow you into the dark”…and was even more elated when I got to meet him after the show. Apparently he shares Mariners tickets with Dan (which also doesn’t surprise me), so they’re good friends (hence why we got to go side stage).

Shortly there after, Dan offered me a job as the events manager at his latest venture: The White Swan Public House, Along with that came the responsibilities of working front of house during lunch, marketing and social media for Matt’s in the Market, Radiaor Whiskey, The White Swan, and The 100 Pound Clam, and as I learned on the fly, whatever else shit needs to be done that nobody has time to deal with. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to change careers and a more promising outcome of my career crisis.

It hasn’t been easy, and definitely frustrating at times to work in an entirely new environment/culture/industry. Everyone I work with has entirely different ways of doing things and learning to adapt and work with them has been a process. But I am loving that I can spend so much time and energy towards something I love and believe in so much. The chefs and bartenders make my life so easy by making amazing food and drinks and I couldn’t ask for a better crew to work with. It really has been an amazing shift in my life and the best light to carry me through the end of the year. I really can’t say quite enough about how much I enjoy working there. Bouncing between restaurants, going from the waterfront to the market…I really can’t complain.

I mean, root beer float tasting? YES PLEASE. I get to eat, drink, take pictures, and share about my favorite restaurants in Seattle for a living. It’s AMAZING. and I LOVE IT.

I brewed my first homebrew thanks to my friend Matt (he basically brewed while I stirred) using the hops from my garden! I finally had enough to harvest to create one batch of Jasmine IPA. We tapped the keg during my holiday party it was actually really good! So cheers to that!

I also miraculously completed another half marathon. I did not find the time to train and both Lauren and I decided to just rally and do it since we signed up so long ago. But we did it! By some miraculous feat I did it in less than 3 hours with zero training and in the worst shape of my life. haha. But yay for us!

Work as pretty much consumed most of my life since I started working for the Bugge family restaurants. I found myself prioritizing work above all else. I didn’t want to do anything else. I realized my life needed a change when I couldn’t bring myself to even want to take time off to celebrate my anniversary with Chris. I couldn’t even go celebrate Marcela’s bachelorette party in San Diego because I started my new job. But I knew something needed to change with my relationship because I knew I wasn’t making time for my relationship.

My dad’s drama tested my relationship with Chris, and it was clear to me that despite his best intentions, he did not know how to deal my emotions and stress (which I recognize, is a really difficult task). I was so emotionally done, I couldn’t deal with having to communicate how I felt and how I needed him to support me. Which probably wasn’t fair to him, but I just couldn’t bare how much more hand-holding I could do. So instead, I found other ways to find fulfillment, and I suppose that since that time I just started to emotionally drift away. I didn’t make him a priority in my life, and the last couple months of our relationship didn’t feel as inspiring and authentic as I needed it to be. Our relationship was feeling like a chore and I didn’t know how to deal with it. On top of the fact I generally am a difficult person to be in a relationship with (short tempered, stubborn, unrealistic expectations – oh hey turns out I’m just like my dad! 🙁 ) Choosing to not be together was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but it also wasn’t that difficult. He deserved to be with someone who loved him as much as he loved them, and that just wasn’t me. It wasn’t fair to either of us. But learning to let go of someone who makes you feel like you are the most awesome person in the world, someone who always puts your first above all else, someone who does everything with you in mind and in their heart, is a very difficult process. One I’m still dealing with.

So after I moved out, I also had to say good bye to my dear partner, Lily. Lily was my 16th birthday present and she’s been deteriorating the last couple of years after her stroke and miraculous recovery. While it was really hard to let her go, it also brought a lot of peace to me. I knew she wasn’t happy and enjoying life anymore, and when it was time for her to go, she didn’t fight it. She just calmly layed in her bed and let the vet do her thing. (which by the way if you ever need to consider hospice care or such for your pet, please look into Laps of Love. They were INCREDIBLE to say the least). It was hard to come home to an empty house or realize I didn’t have Lily to eat the scraps off the kitchen floor when I spilled…but I actually feel good about letting her move on. She lived a great life and the last two years have just been bonus years with her.

Rest in peace Lily. I love you!

Another awesome thing that has come out of this year, is that for the first time, my brother and I have started hanging out. We’re 7 years apart and we’ve NEVER spent time or even talked to each other really outside of family functions. I suppose with all my dad’s drama that we just started being real and I could finally see him as an adult now. So that’s been really awesome.

One thing I’ve been able to come to terms with is that personal growth is an ongoing process and I’m trying to be more patient with myself and making sure I am present with everything I do. I finally decided to agree to go to a Landmark forum, something Kevin and Jamie have been urging me to do for a long time. At this point, I don’t feel like I have much to lose and that I will only be able to grow and learn from my experience there. If the people I love and respect the most think it’s something I would find a lot of reward in, then it probably can’t be that bad. My forum is mid January so I am looking forward to learning and seeing things in a new perspective. I’m terrified at the same time, as I am sure it will open up a lot of things I won’t want to deal with (aka my dad), but it’s probably about time I grow up. Without Mr. Kelly or Jim Hartle to guide me…I’m going to need something else to help me. And this sounded much better than seeing a therapist and lying on a couch.

A lot of people have negative things to say about 2016. It did seem pretty harsh (all the celebrity deaths…Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder, David Bowie, etc)…the election of Trump.. (don’t even get me started on that)…but there is one positive thing I think I’ve learned this year. I want to spend more time appreciating and celebrating people. Even if it’s people I don’t know. But especially if they are people I know. Life can be crazy, outstanding, and outright dumbfounding. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand how certain events came to be (again the election of Trump for example) and I’ve learned that I need to come out of my bubble more. Shit happens in this world and even though sometimes I feel overwhelmed and powerless, you can always take action by holding yourself accountable and to a certain standard we all want to be. We are all human and hate and anger is not going to get us anywhere. Opening yourself and others to dialogue is the best way to bring peace to your life and the world.

As I look towards 2017…I can already feel the waves of change coming.

  • I’ll be racing more with a new boat, Joy ride (a BEAUTIFUL amazing boat I don’t even deserve to be racing on, but somehow I’ve snagged a few spots?).
  • I’m heading back to La Distesa for Musica Distesa. I can’t wait to be back with my Italian family! This will be a big deal for me. I have not been back since I came home from my long travels and CANNOT WAIT.
  • My Motza is getting married!

That’s pretty much all I have on my docket so far…but I just have a feeling 2017 will only be bigger and better for me professionally and personally. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way! You know who you are and how much you mean to me. 🙂



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