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MEET THE FACE BEHIND THE POSTS

There’s some debate as to whether or not I’m a freelance writer or an unemployed dilettante. Since I don’t like to argue, I’ll concede that I’m probably a little of both. How did I get this way?

I grew up just outside of Pittsburgh, PA, but have lived most of my life on the Pacific Coast — first in Los Angeles, and now in Washington state. I spent 30 years working in some aspect of the entertainment industry — development, production, post production, then screenwriting.

I married the handsome and brilliant boy I loved in college, who also became a screenwriter. By the time I realized his depression was a wound that would never heal, only grow deeper, I was too far gone. I had chosen my life’s role — to love him and support him and give him something to live for. It wasn’t always easy, but it was clear, and even safe. I was riding the tide. Then I hit the sand — hard.

When Michael took his own life, I lost my cognitive abilities for a couple of years. My mind was a marble in a washing machine, swirling and never settling. I couldn’t stop moving, so I didn’t. I played the widow card. I decided I wasn’t going to do anything I didn’t passionately want to do.

I quit my job as a creative executive, realizing with a gut punch that I was helping everyone but myself to achieve their dreams. I traveled, a lot. I ate, a lot. I took pictures (a lot). I did things I never would have done in my old life, and it was amazing to have no control and no excuses. I fell in love again, with a man who inspires me every day to appreciate life and the great infinite. I started to live — not again, but perhaps for the first time fully.

It’s never too late to find your bliss. Fear is mostly what stops us. Fear is a healthy thing to pay attention to. Some of the time, it keeps us alive. Much of the time, though, it keeps us from living. I started this blog because the need to share my journeys — large, small, within, without — finally outweighed my fears at revealing my self.

My little bit of bliss is sucking up as much as I can about the lives of my fellow beings on this ball of earth, wind, fire and water. My journeys have given me the best gift a writer could ask for — stories. These are mine, and I hope you choose to share yours, whatever form they might take.

ABOUT THE NAME

Why would you go without an umbrella? As a resident of the Pacific North Wet, I’ve learned that umbrellas are fairly useless in our windy rain. They do, however, come in handy on occasion, as my parents learned while on a fishing trip to Canada in the ’70’s.

Their first morning at Lake Simcoe, which had water so clear you could see the fish below, they jumped into their friends’ boat and set to baiting their hooks. Seven minutes later, my mother noticed a dark shadow pass above their heads. That of the bridge spanning the neck of the lake, hundreds of feet from the safety of shore. It went something like this:

“Hank, we’re moving.”
“Oh, shit.”

They had drifted into a swift current leading them into unknown and possibly dangerous territory. Were there rapids beyond? A waterfall? They searched for oars and found only — an umbrella. Between that and one (?) water ski, they managed to guide themselves back to shore, returning with only a story to tell.

My parents always returned with a story to tell. And while their means were modest, they lived fully, and were my first inspiration to embrace nourishment of the mind, body and soul with travel and food.

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ABOUT THE BLOG

Travel doesn’t have to involve a passport. The real adventure is stepping into the lives and experiences of others, whether it’s in India, Ashland or Oysterville. And food is the connection that brings us together wherever we find ourselves, from the tea parlors of Istanbul to the tap rooms in Portland. Everyone I meet on my journey to live more fully teaches me something new — even if it’s how not to do something.

I want to share the places I’ve seen and been, my first times, my last times, things I’ve done that I think you should – or shouldn’t – do. I hope to inspire the urge to try one or two or twenty new things, to light a (safe) fire, to nap under a tree, to serve food you’ve prepared and possibly even killed to friends and hopefully strangers, to dance naked, to dive through fire coral, to chase a peacock across a temple wall, to ride an elephant in the jungle, to climb a crumbling fortress staircase, to eat something unrecognizable, to travel together, to travel alone. And if you ever find yourself up a creek without a paddle — or even an umbrella — that’s the story you’ll tell. Don’t be afraid to get wet….

 

P.S. I fully encourage you to spend a week reading all my dang posts — but I’ll understand if you don’t. In that case, at least read THIS ONE (my “relaunch” of September 2015.) Thanks for joining me!

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