Keyboard Shortcutting Your Life

My apologies if this one is a bit obscure. but those of us who use Photoshop and other software applications may be able to relate to “keyboard shortcuts.” One morning I was walking around our house wondering where in the world I could find my battery tender. A battery tender, when hooked up to your car’s battery, provides a trickle charge, to keep cars ready to roll. They’re great for old cars like mine, (1976 BMW 2002) that sometimes goes undriven for a week or more. During cold weather, it isn’t surprising to find the battery is kaput.
Where is the battery tender? I wished I could hit Command-f (⌘-f) to “FIND,” which works pretty well on our computers. (Or “search” on our phones?) I know it’s somewhere around our house. How do I know? One reason — we don’t throw away things that are still working. The battery tender has never been used.
Our son and his wife @queenhorsfall came home for the holidays! He has been storing his BMW Z4 here. He is a U.S. Army Major, a former West Point grad…

12 years in remission

Its funny how memories work.

Six blocks away from me is the flagship Glassybabystore and hot shop, where glass blowers are busy creating art and beauty for a cause. About a month ago I shared a photo of a glassblower at work there.

Visiting the store this week reminded me of an adventure a number of years ago when my husband, David, and his friend Laurie, and I wandered from breakfast to Donna Karen's Urban Zen center in the West Village of NYC. Laurie invited us because she thought we would enjoy meeting Deepak Chopra and Ariana Huffington. We were in New York on vacation, and thought, "Why not?"

On the way there, we came upon a Glassybaby store! It wasn't open, so we didn't stop, but Glassybaby In NYC!? What was it doing here?!

Apparently New Yorkers had the same question. I just read acase studyabout the store location which has been closed.

The failure was attributed in part to customers' lack of understanding about the story behind the brand. To New Yorkers, …

Bicycles Have Taken Over Seattle

You might think from reading the headline that Seattle has a lot of bicycles. According to a blog I have not heard of, Seattle is, in fact, NUMBER ONE in the U.S.! Bike lanes are everywhere now. Streets have been retooled to accommodate bicycles, complete with dedicated lanes, islands and other measures to help ensure the safety of bicyclists. Parking spaces in downtown Seattle and elsewhere have been eliminated and replaced with bike racks. The removal of car parking spaces is a drag for motorists since there is not a lot of parking in the first place. The funny thing is, except in areas around the University of Washington and Burke Gilman Trail (where traditionally there has always been a high volume of bicyclists), often I will see absolutely no bicycles in the bike lanes.
And all of the bike parking that has been created while displacing car parking? Often it's the same case where they are under utilized.

I hope you don't have the impression that I'm "anti-bike,…

When A Parent Must Leave Home

Charming family home, built in 1908
We have a long-time neighbor and friend named Lad. He tutored our oldest son in math. Our families exchanged baked goods, shared meals, and enjoyed conversations on our front porches. We’ve watched as our neighborhood evolved from “unsafe,” to one where even the dicey streets have been gentrified, and houses are now selling in excess of $1 million.

A couple months ago, Lad called to let me know he was planning to move. I wasn’t too surprised—there hasn’t been a better time to sell here. Seattle has zero inventory available. Houses sell in one day. There are bidding wars. Many friends have downsized from their huge Seattle homes to lofts, condos and simpler “country life” on some of the islands surrounding the city. As they sold their family homes, they amassed enough funds to buy another, smaller house, with plenty left over to see them through their retirements

But for Lad, it wasn’t just about cashing out. He and his dog have been on their own …

How We Conquered Christmas

Last month on my Wordpress blog I wrote about a somewhat zany idea I had about reverse gift-buying, and how I talked our family into trying it this Christmas shopping season.

After some initial skepticism, I think many of my family members were surprised at how well it worked.

At first it seemed weird, though, to shop for ourselves. A few of us bought things we needed. My husband bought a replacement grill for our Weber, and designated it a gift from my brother and sister-in-law.

One of our sons bought a gift certificate to have his car detailed, and made it from me and my husband.

My sister bought a pressure cooker as a gift from several family members.

I bought a GoPro camera, and made it a single gift from everyone in my family. Others chose things they wanted and needed that no one would’ve thought of, or in some cases, would have exceeded the budget limits we set up for individual presents.

But this year, no returns, no duplicates, no exchanges — all purchases were made a…

A Hummel figurine that belonged to my mother

A Hummel figurine that belonged to my mother
A friend, Annegret, and I were talking on Twitter about memories and our belongings, and it reminded me of a story.

Thirty years ago I had a friend named Kathy. She was such a happy person. She had two rambunctious nephews. One day they came over to visit while she was unpacking some very old and precious Christmas ornaments that belonged to her grandmother. Kathy and her grandmother had a special bond. I had the pleasure of meeting her one summer when I visited her family in Atwater, Minnesota.

Kathy's nephews, who were maybe 8 and 10 years old at the time, were admiring the ornaments, and she said, “Here, why don’t you choose some to keep?!”

I remember feeling shocked. Giving some very old and irreplaceable heirlooms to two little boys? How insane!

I'm sentimental and like to keep things that are dear, nearby. The idea of giving such special things to children who, God forbid, could destroy them, seemed crazy. Annegret and I agre…


"INVU4URAQT" used to be an autograph saying kids would write in yearbooks at the end of the school year.

A wealthy friend travels the world but spends most of her time alone. Another is successful but waited too long to have a baby. Another has everything except her life mate who died too young. And another goes on a dozen cruises a year to every corner of the world—sometimes taking the same exact cruise twice—for what reason? It seems like he is searching for something he'll never find.

It so happens my husband and I are surrounded by people who have made a ton of money throughout their careers. Many people believe "if only I were wealthy—it would solve all of life's problems." But wealth and resources are not panaceas. Despite the resources a person has, it doesn't guarantee life will be wonderful. Once critical issues like having food, clothing and shelter are answered, everything beyond that speaks to enhanced quality of life. But it doesn&#…

LA Story

Fern tree across from the hotel
Okay so some of you guys know I went to Los Angeles last week. There are more details about the gathering I attended on my other blog

American Express made it easy to get my flight using miles, but booking a hotel was an adventure. I looked and looked, using many of the usual sites and didn't feel like there was a significant difference between them. It's not as simple as it should be.

Basically, I know nothing about LA, so didn't feel like I could find a place on AirBNB and confidently know it would be convenient in terms of getting to the W Hotel in Westwood—the venue of the #140confLA event. So I tried to find a reasonably priced room in the W Hotel, which is across from the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden at UCLA. (BTW, there wasn't a reasonably priced room, but I bit the bullet and booked it anyway since the event was taking place there.)

Being a little bit nervous traveling by myself because I usually have my trusty Sherpa a.…

Resilience. Self reliance. Resourcefulness.

Me, hugging my first dog, 1972.
A baby boomer looks back.
I think kids born in the 1950s and 1960s had the opportunity to try and fail, and their experiences engendered real, contextual learning that prepared them to succeed. Sometimes our parents would say, “good job,” but a pat on the back wasn’t the driving force propelling baby boomers to achieve.

When I was in high school, I ran track. No one came to watch me at a track meet, but it didn't make me feel bad because no one else's parents were there, either. Participation in team sports was driven by the individual child and not by parents who herded or guided kids to take certain paths.

Parents weren’t hyper-vigilant. I believe it's because it wasn't needed. For example, choosing to be part of a team meant there was an intrinsic desire to work cooperatively to achieve a goal. Improvements were based on learning from mistakes, and healthy competition provided important lessons.

These days I think it’s difficult…

How to Deal with Disappointment

It’s weird how you can be merrily be rolling along when something you don’t want to happen, happens.

I was in the eighth grade when my family moved from Seattle to Arizona. Middle school is an awkward time, and I was just hitting my stride socially and emotionally. Suddenly I found myself leaving my friends and life for a place with virtually no racial diversity—very different from Seattle. I was initially regarded as somewhat of a freak.

Even so, I managed to adjust to Arizona, and after two years, my dad’s Boeing assignment was done, so we were able to return to Seattle. When we got home, everything was different. Our house had been rented, and the yard, which had always been meticulously maintained, had been completely neglected. In fact, as we drove up to the house, Caesar, a neighborhood kid, was playing with friends and popped his head up from the tall grass that, much to the chagrin of our neighbors, used to be our lawn.

The worst disappointment was learning my parents were g…

Enjoy free books, movies, music, digital media & the Internet

Through The Seattle Public Library

The Sally Goldmark Library in Madrona is our local branch.
Sometimes I think my husband, David, and I are the only people in Seattle who don’t subscribe to Netflix or Hulu.

I guess one reason why is, we aren’t huge consumers of video content and we'd regard it as wasteful to pay for something we won’t use.

We like watching films and television series, but since we opened Alki Surf Shop, we have even less discretionary time, including TV time. We spend an average of about an hour each evening watching films or programs.

Truth be told, we’d dearly love to "cut the Comcast cord," but there are certain channels that would be a bummer to lose, like Bloomberg News, and any channel that airs "Law and Order" episodes :)

The concept of getting rid of cable became more of a possibility when David discovered a treasure trove of content available through The Seattle Public Library (SPL). He regularly visits the SPL web site, and when…

i'm a graphic designer who loves words. - terri nakamura