We’re Not Finished Yet…

Except we just fucking finished it!

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It’s been a week and I still can’t even handle it. Back in June, July… I was ready for the season to be over. Like, let’s just unplug the season and plug it back in a few months later to prepare for January/pre-season.

But then suddenly we got a new player and others were finally healthy and oh yeah, we dropped Sigi and let Brian take the wheel. I think the best case scenario that we all thought was that we wouldn’t end the season scraping the bottom of the barrel. But then we kept winning and playing better and when we went to the locker room at the half, down a point, we came back out and didn’t give up.

And the next thing I know, I’m scrambling to get a rental car and a flight home from Toronto at midnight the night before I fly out to DC.

How did this even happen?

I am so beyond thrilled for my team, my city, my soccer fam. For Zach Scott, ending his 15 year career with the Sounders by hoisting the cup. Unbelievable.

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It was brutally cold on Saturday in Toronto. I believe the game time temp was somewhere around 24F – which is cold, but considering we were what felt like 8 miles up, the wind was  biting and I have no idea what the windchill factor was. I had two hand warmers in each glove, one against my palm and the other on the back of my hand, but I could still hardly feel my fingers. I had two larger heat packs (the kind for cramps or muscle aches) stuck to my back. I had three hoods as well as a hat, and of course my scarf which covered my mouth and nose for most of the time. But the worst was my legs and feet. I wore boots with my thick sounder socks, but by the time I got back to my hotel at 1am I couldn’t feel my toes much at all and I couldn’t bend them.

With a 4:40am wake up, I decided against a shower (horrible mistake). It took forever to fall asleep (I think I got about 2 hours of sleep) and I woke up still shivering. The worst. But that said, TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Because we’re champions now.

Four US Open Cups, a Supporter’s Shield and finally the MLS Cup.

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Brian Schmetzer’s Rave Green Army

What a night, right? The Cubs won the world series after a really long time.   The Sounders front office got one right!

 

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I had 1200 words worth of Sounders verbal diarrhea to post about last nights announcement making Brian Schmetzer the permanent head coach. But none of it seems to be enough, so have some photos.

 

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From the first time I met Schmetzer and he invited me to practice to meet the team

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“If you have a heartbeat, there’s still time for your dreams.” – Sean Stephenson

 

After 27 years, he’s still got it! It’s only been in the last 6-7 years that I’ve finally been able to see him live (twice at Snoqualmie, once in Bremerton, once in Kingston and once in Tacoma). In previous years I was either in Denmark or too young to attend concerts in casinos.

Anyway, just a few of my favorite pics to remember the night. Until next time!

“Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…”

It’s been a busy, hot and sweaty few days in Oklahoma, but it sure has been a blast. Every year I meet and get to know more and more people who attend Mark Harmon’s event. FullSizeRender 4They event felt much more low-key this year. There were a few people who were a little too pushy and in his face, including one who pushed in on my photo and chit-chat time. I opted not to get anything signed, because after my photo there was a bit of conversation time and I didn’t want to be like some of the other people shoving a shit ton of memorabilia in his face. I mentioned wanting the bike in the silent auction (I was sitting on it at $240 until some asshole bid $400), and he asked if I was going to bike back to Seattle. I thanked him for another great season of NCIS and he thanked me for my time and money in supporting his event. What I like about him is that he’s so sincere – it’s not just a quick thanks, but he takes the time to look you in the eye, touch your shoulder and let you know that he really appreciates the support.

In the end, the NCIS set tour went for $15,000. My dream is to win the lotto and let the bidding go back and forth until someone thinks they’ve won it. And then stand up and double tIMG_8849he price. Bitch, please. That set tour is mine. Sadly, I’m not there yet. And I don’t play the lotto, so… but some day!
I wasn’t in bed until 1, but managed to roll back out at 8:00. I got ready for the day and then made the drive (40 min) back up north to Guthrie, OK. This little historic town is just the cutest! The houses are adorable, the people are friendly and the old brick buildings are beautiful! I stopped by the Oklahoma Territorial Museum first. It was two stories and had one floor about the land grab and the second floor about Oklahoma Statehood. It was good,  but small and the gift shop left much to be desired. From there I headed to Stacy’s Place for lunch. The food was great (fried green tomatoes are my favorite) and then walked up and down the street, popping into a few antique stIMG_8850ores. While it was cooler than the 103 on Wednesday when I came through, 98 wasn’t much better and there was only so long before I needed some AC. I drove back to OKC and hit a few little boutique shops along the way. OKC has so many little gems, but without a car, they’d be hard to hit for a tourist staying in/near Bricktown where you are pretty closed in.

It’s my last night in Oklahoma, and while I’m sad to leave the comfort of my swanky hotel room and a city I’ve become rather familiar with over the years, I will not miss this heavy and humid heat.

 

“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” Woody Guthrie

Hot.

When I have previously driven to OKC, I’ve able to slowly adjust to the heat – usually as I make my way through Wyoming, Colorado and into New Mexico. By the time I make it to Oklahoma City, I’m relatively adjust to the blistering heat of the summer. But when I fly in, there is always a huge shock when I step out from the climate controlled airport and into the furnace otherwise known as Oklahoma.

It’s like a level of hell, or walking into an oven or just… Of course I’m here just in time for an excessive heat warning. In Seattle we have ‘heat advisories’ for the low-90s, telling people to stay indoors, drink water, etc. Through Saturday we’re under an ‘Excessive Heat Warning’ with a heat index (temp/humidity) up to 115. Gross.

IMG_8769But since I didn’t drive down, I rented a car for my stay. The Colcord Hotel (home away from home) does have a shuttle for Downtown/Bricktown, but with a few days to explore, I’d rather have a car at my disposal.

I arrived around dinner time on Tuesday. I found a liquor store to buy a bottle of wine (because you can’t get wine in a grocery store – nor can you buy a wine opener where they sell wine, had to find one elsewhere), ordered room service and crashed out early. I was up and out the door by 9:30 yesterday. Since I didn’t get to road trip down, and I have unlimited miles on my rental, I decided to try and put a few miles on. From OKC I drove 110 miles up to Tulsa to visit the Woody Guthrie Center. It’s not a big place to explore, but it holds several interesting pieces from his collection as well as a ton of history surrounding his songs and art work.

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Lyrics to “This Land is Your Land”

From Tulsa I headed 115 miles west to Enid, OK for an ‘old time museum’ that was supposed to be open. Except it wasn’t and I wasted 2.5 hours driving there and then back toward I-35S. Oh well, it was a pretty drive. From Enid it was another 100 miles back toward OKC. I made a stop in Guthrie, OK to visit the Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum – wow, they had a ton of stuff on display. And I love how pretty much everything was cured with morphine and alcohol. Established in 1887, Guthrie was the original capital of Oklahoma and it’s beautiful downtown is considered a National Historic Landmark. I wanted to spent more time exploring the city, but at 105F, it just wasn’t worth the misery of strolling the old streets. I might try and head back up on Saturday, but we’ll see.

Once I got back to the hotel, I met up with some friends who arrived from various corners of the US (and one from England). We walked down to the pub for a bite to eat and ended up playing Trivia. We were doing great, but fumbled in the last minute to come in 4th (I think?) out of six. For the majority of the game we were in second place. Boo.

This morning I was up and out the door around 9am (already 85F). I headed south to Moore, OK where a massive Tornado hit in 2013 just prior to my visit/tornado dance. Cait and I had explored one of the neighborhoods and I returned in 2014 to the same block for progress photos. This year it was almost unrecognizable. There was still one empty lot, but otherwise life goes on, right?

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Life not quite back to normal.

From there I drove down some backroads (only other traffic I saw was a tractor) to El Reno where the tornado that put me in a shelter, touched down. There is a memorial for the three members of the TWISTEX team that died. I have to say, it was a little nerve-wracking being out in those fields, so far from anything. There weren’t any storm clouds in the distance or anything (I would’ve chickened out), but still… It didn’t help that the radio had played an ad for storm shelters on the drive out.

Tomorrow a few more friend arrive in the morning, Harmon’s charity event tomorrow evening. Since I opted out of the Saturday golf event, I hope to spend the day exploring a bit more. Sunday will be lazy until it’s time to say goodbye for another year and head home. In an airplane. Zoom Zoom.

“Never run after a man or a bus, there’s always another one in five minutes.” ― Cherry Adair, Kiss and Tell

Wow, what an incredible weekend. One that has left me near brain dead, but also full of inspiration, drive and this sparkling shred of hope that maybe I really can do this.

I was lucky enough to spend the past Wednesday – Monday with five other (ah-mazing) women as we slaved our way through plots for our next (first, in my case) fully polished novels. Brought together by Cherry Adair‘s Master Class Writing retreat, the idea was that Cherry would teach us the tricks of plotting by color and then we’d do some writing (at least, that’s how I understood it). Oh no, we spent close to 9 hours a day over Fri/Sat/Sun as we worked through each person’s plot. Some pretty much know what they wanted and already had their stories mapped out extremely well. Some of us (read: me) had this vague idea of some characters and what might happen, but zero clue on how to get from point A to point B.

Well no, that’s a little bit of a lie. Let’s bring that back a bit. It’s scary shit to share something that comes from your inner creative… being. You can bake a cake and everyone can tell if you’ve put too much salt or not enough sugar in, but with something like a story, it’s up to interpretation. It’s hard enough to share ideas with fellow retreat authors (we at least had two nights to get to know each other better, play CAD, and drink enough wine to really relax), but the idea of sharing in front of an author who has sold a bajillion books is SCARY. So when she asked about my idea, I approached it with the vaguest idea of what I had, rather than “this is my imagined start, middle and end…” I couldn’t put it all out there because:

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What if I just have to ‘make the first move’ and just fucking write this shit. 

What if I suck?

What if my ideas blow?

What if she tells me that writing isn’t my jam and I should just go home?

I mean, logically, I didn’t think she’d actually say these things (and she didn’t) but these are the things that ran on a loop through my head as she’s sitting across from me saying, “okay, what’s your story?”

Six hours later, I’ve got a pretty story board with some pretty legit ideas for book two in the series I’ve dreamed up. I’ve got new characters, new drama and now I need to go home and rework book one.

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What if I just have to ‘make the first move’ and just fucking write this shit.

And then I drank wine and put myself to bed early (11:30 while some stayed up until 2am) because my brain was two sizes too big for my skull with all the new information. Ouch.

In the end, this was probably one of the most reaffirming moments in my ‘career vs hobby’ writing habit.

Not only do you have to want it, you have to do it.

You have to write it.

You have to share it.


Two of the women I was with have blogs/websites. Check them out at:

Åsa Maria Bradley

Eliana West

 

 

“Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.” E. B. White

Yo. I just bought a car.

Like a real grown-up car.

One that I had to finance because I don’t have nearly twenty grand in cash lying around.

Let me start that, while I knew this day was coming, I’m not sure I was ready for it. But I jumped in with both feet and had a pretty good time. While full of great memories and

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Old friend.

amazing adventure, my old 1994 Camry with nearly 240,000 miles is at the end
of her long career. While not junk yard material yet (c’mon it’s a camry, with a little work she’s got another 100K miles left in her), it’s just not a car that I would trust on a road trip across the US, which is something I’d like to do again.

So this past weekend, knowing mostly what I was looking for, I grabbed my check book, my loan pre-approval, and headed down to Burien Toyota to look at a bright blue (sounder blue, I might add) 2014 Camry LE. Unfortunately, the person who traded it in, had driven with some sort of motorbike on top of it and there were a ton of scratches. A ton. I understand that buying a used car means that it’s not perfect, but it looked awful when you got close – obviously why it was priced so competitively. So then I found a 2014 Camry LE with only 14,000 miles on it. Super low miles and priced to sell at only $17,999. I drove it, my mom drove it and it was a great car.

$17,999 was a bit more than I wanted to pay, but for a great car… it wasn’t a bad price. We got it down to $17,499, but the big boss came over and was so pushy and in a rush to sell. It just wasn’t a comfortable experience. I said that I was looking closer to $17k and waffled a bit, but then I had to get to an appointment. I left and came back, and they said they just couldn’t budge from $17,499. If he had left it at that, I probably would have gone back after a visit to Renton, but rather than just say that $17,499 was their best price, I got this whole talk about how they need to make money for this new building they are building.

Um, what? Last I checked I came to buy a car, not a building. And we’re $500 apart, that’s not even half a fridge for the employee break room.

So I left. The original guy followed me out to my car, offered to look at some older cars, and then offered to call me if the boss changed his mind. Whatever.

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We are going to have so much fun together!

I went to Renton and test drove a car, but upon closer inspection, there was a crack around the headlight. There was no carfax info on it, so it looked like someone had fixed it and repainted it themselves. No thanks.

Sunday morning I headed up to Rodland Toyota in Everett. It’s where my dad bought his highlander in 2014 and if the same guy had been working there still, I would’ve gone there first.

What a difference between Rodland and Burien. I mean, night and day. I enjoyed the time I spent at Rodland. I never felt pressured, there was no rush and when I wanted a minute to talk to my parents to get their view on the deal we had semi-settled on, he was happy to walk away and give us some quiet time.

I ended up paying a little more than what I wanted, but for the car I got, I’m not concerned. It was a great experience and other than the fact that I’m not broke AF and committed to a legit loan, I have zero negative comments about the deal.

That said, while I was waiting to sign the finance papers, the guy from Burien called to ‘chat’. “Too bad buddy, I’m already signing papers up north.” He hung up.

So if you need a car, go see Russell Pyles and tell him Hanne sent you. Unless you’re interested in a 1994 Camry needing a little work, let me know.

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Evan ‘checking the engine’ for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I learned all about life with a ball at my feet.” ~ Ronaldinho

It’s that time of year again.danny

I like to think I keep fairly busy: work, extra baby-sitting gigs, writing group, GSRWA and of course the basics like sleeping, eating and doing laundry. But from March through October, a full eight months out of the year soccer seems to squeeze out an extraordinary amount of time. 

Soccer (or football for my annoying European friends who will point out that it’s what the cool kids call it – you know who you are). 

For eight months there are home games, away game. Injury reports, interviews. New socks, old USL era shirts. MLS live, FS1. Western Conference, Eastern Conference. CONCACAF, Open Cup. Cascadia Cup.Supporter’s shield. MLS Cup. ECS. 

Although MLS is still rather new in Seattle (this is our 8th season), this Sounder schedule is nothing new for me. Since 1994 my schedule has revolved around this team. Clipping news paper articles (I only stopped a few years ago), road trips to Vancouver and collecting autographs like trophies of my dedication to the team. 

Now, on the morning of our season opener, I think of all the things I wanted to get done over the off-season – 90% didn’t happen, oops. But hey, there is always next off season, right?

Oh, and if you need me? You can find me at the stadium. Or call me in November.

C’mon boys, take ’em all!

“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.” – Walt Disney

Two words encompass Disney World: Mickey. Magic.

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It has been twenty years since my last visit to Disney World. I had been to Disneyland a few times (three between 2002 and 2010, I think), but the comparison between the two is non-existant. When I was offered the chance to go along with the family I work with, I jumped at the chance. I was excited, of course, but I think I had really forgotten the magic that goes into a Disney trip. Until I got there.

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The doors to our building at the hotel.

We stayed at the Art of Animation, one of the Disney resorts. And from the moment I stepped off the Magical Express shuttle, I felt the Disney magic. Granted, I didn’t get a room for several hours after a red-eye, but they did all they could to make up for the room confusion (balloons for the kiddos, extra fast-passes and a $150 credit to the room).

We spent a whole week at the parks (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom), but there is SO much to see and do, I need another week (or two) to really take it all in.

The weather was perfect. A little chilly on one day, up around 80 and humid another day, but otherwise the low 70’s most the time which is perfect for my fair-weather skin (I wore a sweatshirt half the time which ruined some fun disney-inspired outfits, but whatever).

I was also pleasantly surprised with the quality of food. While they have your standard theme park snacks: popcorn, pretzels, etc. Each of the sit down dinners we had offered a wide selection (both for those with adventurous palates and those who preferred a more basic choice). Chicken with goat cheese polenta, Norwegian meatballs with lingonberry – I never felt like I was getting the same thing at every restaurant.

It’s funny though, stepping into the park, I felt instantly like a kid again. I wanted mickeyeverything – all the fun toys, the over-priced clothes. I wanted to get my hair done like a princess (legit though, you had to be under twelve or I would have had it done). I had my picture taken with all the characters and I think I was in awe of the castle lit up at night, just like the boys.

I’ve been home for 6 weeks and I find myself thinking back to the trip frequently. Reflecting back on my favorite rides (space mountain was far less jerk-y on my neck than I remember), goofing around with Buzz Lightyear and Woody and cruising gift-shops like it’s my job. As well as the things we didn’t have time for, like the rest of Animal Kingdom.

The staff cast members are 100% on point. From the ride attendants to the restaurant hosts to the the street cleaners, everyone was *on* at all times. Friendly, helpful each person I encountered didn’t hesitate to help with whatever was needed, or start up a friendly conversation about my disney manicure, the family reunion pins we wore, or just about the magic of Disney.

Can go back yet?

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“The legs are the wheels of creativity.” – Einstein

When the writing gets personal…

I was given the writing prompt to ‘write about something you’ve yet to finish’, in hopes of sparking some inspiration to get it done.

I have a long list of works-in-progress, but one of my favorite things is likely something I will never truly finish or aim to publish. From Aug-December 2003, fresh out of high school, I spent probably the best worst time of my life at a small school, located in the middle of nowhere, Denmark. In fact to get to any store, restaurant (I use the term ‘restaurant’ lightly here), any place with other people, it was a 3.3km (2mile) walk through the woods. The bus came once an hour during the day and you had to cab back or walk the woods at night if it got too late.

Those months at Kalø were probably *the* most formative years of my life. In a previous post I mentioned being painfully shy as a child, but moving halfway around the world meant I had to move past that and advocate for myself without anyone familiar around to help me out. I do have family in Denmark, but at a few hours away, I only saw them once on a school trip to CPH. Hey, I was busy.

But back to the point, I think there are some things that are so personal and close to the heart, they don’t need to be shared. The life experiences I went through, the people I met. I think this was one experience that is for me and the people I shared this time with and that’s okay.

Because sometimes you dress like sporty barbie and that just needs to stay in the past.