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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“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.

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll

(This is a horrible jumbled mess as I can’t seem to really pull my thoughts together).

I am absolutely heartbroken over the terrorist attacks in Paris. I was just there, and I met some wonderful people who are no-doubt living in fear after what happened as they try to go about their daily lives.

give-me-your-tired-your-poor-your-huddled-masses-yearning-to-breathe-freeBut I’m also so very heartbroken on the response I have seen. The bitterness of people who feel certain attacks haven’t received enough attention (they haven’t, but it doesn’t mean that Paris deserves less). Heartbroken over the knee-jerk reaction that Muslims = Terrorists. And I’m heartbroken that some people seem to think that we should close our borders and not let anyone in, despite what this country is supposed to represent.

 

Paris. And those other places.

It’s all over the media that Beirut feels forgotten, but they aren’t the only one. How about the bombing targeting Shiites in Baghdad (ISIS claims that one too)? Or the 14 year old GIRL suicide bomber in Cameroon? Suicide bombers in Chad a few days before that? There were TWENTY (20) events considered terrorist attacks between the 1st and the 13th of November. I’ve seen so many posts blaming the media, but really… based on the comments I’ve seen on various news articles, even if the news did report the other attacks, would you really care?

When did we stop caring? And why? These are real people dying all over the world. Moms and babies. Teens and grandpas. I recently shared an article about Washington State receiving refugees from Syria and as I scrolled down the comments, almost every. single. one was cruel and hateful and basically stuff I refuse to copy to my blog. I get that so many people are keyboard warriors and likely wouldn’t really voice these horrible opinions in real life, but until I find a way to revoke internet/facebook licenses, I will weep internally at the truly disgusting comments I have seen.

I spent much of the day wondering why it bothered me so much, but other people seem to want to fence them out. Then I got to thinking. I lived with these people during my stay at Kalø. Iraqi, Kurdish, Afghani. Sudanese. They are my friends, people I have shared meals with. I’ve seen the physical scars, I’ve heard the mental ones. They aren’t scary. Or mean. They didn’t try to convert me or push their beliefs or traditions on me. With all this horrible backlash, I think of my friends and the good times we had together. They aren’t any different than my friends from Roskilde or from Juanita.

Are there bad people in Syria? Yes. Are there bad people who are muslim? Absolutely. But we have bad people here too. How many people have been shot on our streets? How many are locked up for life for horrible crimes? Keeping the refugees out won’t make you any more safe. It won’t secure your warm bubble. The only reason that I can find for this horrible backlash is fear. And that is what the terrorists are after. Fear.

Let’s just try to remember that hate only spreads hate.

 

Dear Santa, I’ve been good for the last week or so. Let’s just focus on that.

November and December are probably my most favorite part of the year. Yes, the actual holidays are nice, but there is something about the coziness of this time of year. Yes it gets dark early, yes it’s cold and dreary.

But the dark evenings make candles glow brighter.

The cold nights make hot cider taste sweeter.

The dreary days made better by the endless supply of Hallmark Christmas movies.

4b8a9cf0bdd81e5ebd3aeaba2a29363631c156c88b37f065c35e1eebbdab62eeHonestly, I don’t know what I’d do without two months of the most predictable holiday movies that cycle through the same actors and storylines. But it’s like I can’t look away. Will Lacey Chabert live happily ever after in the small town she happens to get stuck in just before Christmas? Will a Christmas card bring together two miserable people in time for some Christmas cheer?** Obviously we all know the answer, but I find myself watching anyway because you never know, right?

Aside from the Hallmark Channel, what are some of your go-to holiday films? The Grinch (the original cartoon, for me please)? The Santa Claus? It’s a Wonderful Life?

Even just thinking of these movies gives me a warm and happy feeling in my heart. I know what I’m doing this weekend.

** Probably the worst Christmas film I’ve ever seen. The acting so painful, I hope the magic of Christmas passes them by and they end the movie miserable and alone. 

“Soccer isn’t the same as Bach or Buddhism. But it is often more deeply felt than religion, and just as much a part of the community’s fabric, a repository of traditions” – Franklin Foer

Sounder love.

The Sounders have been part of my life since 1994. Twenty-one years spent laughing, crying, cheering, angry, elated, frustrated, thrilled, disappointed, overjoyed and well, fucking pissed (I mean, losing to Portland in the playoffs? For the love of…).

I was a shy kid growing up. Like, painfully shy. So when I saw kids getting autographs from my favorite players, the ones I wrote about in my 3rd grade journal in Mrs. Rivas’ class, I wanted autographs too. Only I wasn’t brave enough to ask. I remember my parents sending me over, but I would hang back and as things started to feel too chaotic, I would turn back and shrug. I could get an autograph the next time. Or the next time.

In 1997, I started saving everything Sounders. Programs, ticket stubs, newspaper articles. I would search every page of the sports section until I found the tiny article, usually on the back page and cut them out. I remember going to Denmark that summer and asking the petsitter to save the sports page every day so that I didn’t miss anything. A few articles with pictures went on my wall, the way other girls has posters of JTT (Jonathan Taylor Thomas – the other JT wasn’t famous yet). My favorite was an action shot of Wade Webber and his bleach blonde hair.

meandcraigIn 2002 my dad and I saw Coach Schmetzer at Quest during the very first game at the new stadium. My dad suggested we say hello. I was too nervous, but my dad marched up and said hello and told him all about my scrapbook full of old Sounders stuff. The whole thing was a blur to me, but ended with an invite to the team practice at Memorial Stadium to have it signed by the guys. Thinking back on it, I can still feel the excitement radiating through my body. Coach Schmetzer waved us over and said I could go right out onto the field. I took half a step onto the turf and froze. I was terrified. I remember he eventually walked me around to the different groups of guys, starting the conversation for me and the players took it from there. They asked about me, about being a fan of the sport/team, they looked through my stuff and were really kind to me.

I hugged my scrapbook to my chest the entire ride home.

I arrived early before the next game, waiting by the entrance with a carnation forzs1each of the guys, thanking them for signing my stuff. When they approached, they remembered my name, would chat for a minute, take a picture with me and suddenly I didn’t feel so invisible anymore.

After the game I would wait with the rest of the fans wanting an autograph and I remember Scott Jenkins taking the time to talk instead of signing my program and moving on to the next. Viet once ran to the locker room and grabbed a game worn jersey and an autographed ball. And Craig always had the biggest smile and a hug for me (and still does today, 13 years later).

zs2This is why I support not only this team, but these guys (playing or not) so many years later. None of this was required by the team, the coach. This was never about being a publicity stunt or trying to gain more fans. This was about being nice. They did something nice for someone just because. And it taught me that you never know how much your kindness can effect another person. Today. Tomorrow. Or 13 years from now.

Sports fans come and go, but when you’re ‘Sounders Til I Die’, there is no end. Not the end of the game. Not the end of the season. And certainly not the end of any one players career. #EBFG

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“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Wyland

Two weeks ago we took an extended weekend down to Newport, Oregon. Newport and the surrounding area has long been a happy place for the family. Camping, Mo’s, salt water taffy, Beverly Beach State Park, kites, whales, Depot Bay, barking sea lions, salty sea air, Oregon Coast Aquarium, crabbing, gift shops, the beach.

IMG_6755Oh, and the smell of campfire.

While it’s been a long time since we’ve camped, instead moving to the dog friendly Best Western at Agate Beach.  That said, it doesn’t mean we’ve given up on the campground 100%.

We had a combination of credits and gift cards for 3 free nights, so we headed down IMG_6747 Thursday afternoon to stay through mid-day Sunday. Because the hotel is dog friendly, the Boo got to come along and be a ‘beach dog’ – she was thrilled. We played in the tide pool, chased the waves (well, she did), searched for shells and played with seaweed (and then passed out later on).

IMG_6741Friday we spent most the day in Downtown Newport. We ate at Mo’s, wandered the shops and watched the Sea Lions fight for space on their designated dock.

Saturday had a slow start, but we spent the afternoon on the beach and then headed to our camping site for a fire. We roasted hotdogs for dinner and made s’mores for dessert. The campground was full, and we felt slightly guilty about holding a campsite from someone who would’ve spent the night, but for $28 bucks, it was worth the campfire and cheap (but delicious) dinner.

In all, it was a great, albeit short weekend away.


 

Best Western Agate Beach Inn review: 3.5/5 stars.

I love this hotel. We’ve stayed here numerous times over the years and for the most part, it’s fantastic.

The beach: You walk out the back door, and down a little hill and you are on the beach. If you’re lucky enough to have a beach view, there is nothing in your way.

The rooms: Clean, but dated. For the price, I’d expect it to be a little more updated. On one hand, maybe because we’ve always stayed in a dog-friendly room (certain ones are designated for the pooches), perhaps they just aren’t updated..? Spruce it up, and this would be a top place on the coast to stay.

Restaurant: Decent for breakfast. The Banana fosters french toast was a little soggy and overly sweet when it arrived. Then I realized they made it with banana bread. Stick to regular french toast for this dish, Best Western. You’d win an award.

The cost: CHECK YOUR CREDIT CARD ACTIVITY AFTERWARD. Ok, so they made things right immediately when I called, but I was frustrated to see that they double charged me for the pet fee ($40, instead of $20 per stay) despite the fact that they shouldn’t have charged it at all – we paid it in cash when checking out.

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“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” —Philip Roth

I have commitment issues.

I guess admitting it is the first step, right? I can hear you already, “oh, Hanne is going to talk about relationships…” except I’m not.

I’m here to talk about my ‘work-in-progress’ folder on my computer. I have three pieces that I have started, have a decent amount – both plotted out and written – and I just can’t commit to one and finish the fucker.

I have two huge writing conferences coming up, and while I don’t need to show up with a finish manuscript, I should be able to say that I’ve got a finished novel – here are the details and my contact information, let’s connect.

Part of my problem is my schedule. Summer has been all over the place. Vacation. Time off from work. Extra hours at work. You name it. You’d think the extra time off would be helpful, but I end up sleeping more and getting more done outside of my writing life. Granted I have a million other things that I’m working on as well, but I guess I just need to sit down and focus.

And it’s not always that I can’t focus, but I get bored. Oh this is shit, start something fresh or Meh, this is boring. No one wants to read this. And sometimes I just get a spark of an idea and want to play with that instead.

Do any of my fellow writers have any tips for sitting down to focus? Do you schedule specific writing time or just go with the flow? And is scrivener really worth the money? I mean, I’ve seen the basics, but it also looks complicated. But Lord knows I need to keep focused.

“Oh salted sea, how much of your salt are Portuguese tears?” – Fernando Pessoa

Getting to Portugal was a bit of a shit-show. Originally we were going to arrive in Lisbon in the morning on Sunday and then renting a car (or taking the train) down to Faro. But unfortunately my dad booked his ticket to arrive at 11pm instead of 11am. So we were forced to spend a night in Lisbon. Not horrible, except my mom and I had a 7am flight and so we were catching a cab at 4am leaving the rest of the day pretty shot with only a few hours of sleep. We arrived to a towering skyscraper of a hotel (we were on the 17th floor) and promptly crashed. Because it was Sunday and most everything is closed Sundays, we pretty much spent the day reading, napping and watching TV. Dad arrived closer to midnight and we were up bright and early to get a rental car. I had suggested multiple times to order a car ahead of time, but no one seemed overly concerned about it. That meant that getting a car was a bit more difficult, but we were on the road just before lunch time. IMG_7492 It was a three hour drive south to Faro and eventually to Moncarapacho where my dad’s friend lives (where we were staying). It was a bit of an adventure to find her house. Actually, we didn’t find it. We found close and then she came to meet us and we followed her up the hill to her house.IMG_7500 IMG_7514 What an amazing place, though a bit out in the middle of nowhere and too isolated for me to live all the time. Great for a get-away though. It was warm, but not too bad when in the shade. We spent one day in Faro, downtown and then to the coast for a walk on the beach and to dip our toes in the water. Portugal is a bit sad in a way. Very poor from what I saw in the south, with many old buildings abandoned and falling apart. Graffiti covers most everything, but with a little imagination, you can imagine the town in all it’s glory. IMG_7540 IMG_7537 Our second full day in Faro was a Portuguese holiday which meant much of the city was closed down. So we took a little drive across a river and into Spain. It was like night and day compared to Faro. Clean, bright and pretty well maintained. It seemed to be more of a vacation town as there were many properties listed for sale, many were condos near the water and most posts were in English despite everyone we encountered speaking very limited English (unlike Portugal where most people had a pretty good command of the language). IMG_6226 Portugal is very high on my list of places to return to. I would love to go and spend some time relaxing and maybe touring a few more historical places in Lisbon. The fresh seafood was delicious and the sangria was on par with my own sangria recipe. The orange juice was to die for (seriously, I don’t even really like orange juice but I drank so much in three days). Oranges grow all over the place and it was so sad to see oranges rotting on the ground in the orchards. IMG_7535