Archive for March, 2010

“Love & Foreclosure”
March 30, 2010

Our story airs today on “The Story with Dick Gordon” produced by American Public Media.

Click here to listen online.

I hope you enjoy our story. And if you do, I hope you’ll share.


P.S. I love Dick Gordon and his smooth radio voice.

P.P.S. I love Bob and his sexy radio voice even more. (do not tell me to ‘get a room.’)

P.P.P.S I’ve probably gone too far and embarrassed Bob. The only way to know is to ask him. Bob, did I just embarrass you?

P.P.P.P.S. (just kidding. Not about Bob’s voice. About another postscript. I really should get back to work now.)

On the radio…
March 29, 2010

Just before last Thanksgiving, Bob and I went to Seattle to record an interview with Dick Gordon of American Public Media’s “The Story with Dick Gordon.” A wonderful show. Do you know it?

Anyway, it aired the week of Thanksgiving. The segment was called “Love and Foreclosure.” I think you can guess what we talked about.

Well, I got word from the producers of that they are re-airing our segment as it is one of their favorites.When? TOMORROW.

Tuesday, March 30th

You can listen live or online. I’ll have the online link for you tomorrow.

To see if your local NPR station carries “The Story with Dick Gordon,” click here.

Weather on the island today: 49 degrees and rainy.

hide, heal or die
March 21, 2010

My friend Steffi told me that when she first moved to this island a drunk lady said to her,

“Everyone that moves here comes to either hide, heal or die. Which is it for you?”

Hide, heal or die. Are those seriously the only choices? I’ve thought about that a lot since she shared that with me. For starters it’s just plain funny. I can see the moment. But, if those are the only choices, which is it for us?

Perhaps at first we were here to hide. Perhaps. Hide from our past. From L.A. and the pain of no longer living that life.

And then for sure we were here to heal. To heal from that pain of loss. To heal from the pain of just a really hard couple of years. To heal from the stress and anxiety.

But we certainly aren’t here to die. I mean, there are people that move here and plan to live out the rest of their lives on this island, but that’s not us.

So are we still healing? Maybe. I think it’s possible to always be in the space of healing to some extent. But that doesn’t fully describe our present state of being here.

We’ve moved through so many emotional spaces since we first arrived.

After 21 days living on the island, I was LOVING it. I declared that I was adjusting brilliantly and wrote this post about how much we loved being here.

Not one month later I was struggling with HATING being here. Yes, I used the word hate.  I hated it. And wasn’t afraid to say it out loud… well, at least to Bob and a few family members and friends. I wrote this on Dec. 9th about our struggle to be happy here.

Here we are now several months later. And how do I feel?

Like this is where we are supposed to be right now.

It’s not perfect. It’s not paradise. At least not to me. I don’t think that any place is paradise as long as I’m there. Unless I’m there on vacation. Otherwise I bring all my ‘crap’ to it and taint paradise. So, perhaps his place is paradise when I’m not here. Or to someone else. Can anyone relate to what I’m trying to say here?

My point is that it’s not perfection for me. But it’s also not hell for me anymore either. I no longer hate it. I’m no longer desperate to leave. I’m actually happy being here. (I am aware that to many people, this place is their paradise. And I can completely get that. I’m only speaking for my own experience and it’s not at all an assessment of the island. This is, in all objectivity a wonderful place. But whether a place is wonderful or not doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for a particular individual.)

So, I’m happy being here now. I’m happy that I get to have our baby here. That it’s calm and peaceful. That people here care so much about their surroundings and neighbors. That it’s beautiful. That the air is so clean. That there’s water all around (can’t wait to get out on it.) Yes, I miss things. There are challenges. But I can’t help but embrace this idea that we are truly here for a reason.

I’ve always felt that it’s your community that really makes a difference. When we first arrived here, I pretty much got pregnant right away. Then I was dealing with the idea of having a baby so far away from friends and family as well as all the symptoms which included depression. I locked myself away and turned into a hermit. I didn’t want to meet new people. I didn’t want to be outgoing. I wanted to hide and escape this island. I felt like meeting new people would turn into putting down roots and I wasn’t ready to do that.

So what changed? Well, the sun reappeared. That helped. I entered my second trimester. That REALLY HELPED. And I suddenly began involving myself in life here. Bob too.

Bob joined a bowling league– every Monday night he was bowling in league. And we began to go to the bowling alley more often so that he could practice. He met new people at league.

I volunteered at the San Juan Community Theatre as House Manager– it felt good to be a contribution to the community and I’ve met some really wonderful people volunteering at the theatre.

We joined the gym– we’d been putting this off because of money. But we realized we had to put our mental and physical health first. We began going to classes regularly and getting to know the members and the employees. One week when we hadn’t been to the gym because I had been sick, one of the employees (Ali) called us at home to make sure we were okay and to find out whether or not we’d be at class. Ali is a neighbor too and now a friend. We actually ended up hosting her surprise birthday party and meeting yet more people that way.

We got out of the house– the more you get out, the more you run into familiar faces and the more you feel like a regular part of the community. There are people we know just by going to the dog park, the bakery, etc.

I got a job– this is new. I’d been looking without much success. Until just last week. My friend Steffi- the one who told me about the drunk lady- called to see if I was still looking for work. How I know Steffi is from our stay at the local motel- Earthbox. We stayed there when our pipes were frozen in December and got to know Steffi pretty well. She and I kept in touch and took our dogs for a soggy hike one day. To make a long story short, I now work at Earthbox Motel in Friday Harbor. Today was day 2 of my training. I’ll write more about this in a separate post. But having a job is not only going to help our checking account, but also how I feel about being here. Already, after only two days, I feel more grounded.

So what is it now?

Hide, heal or die?

Well, none of the above. If I had to pick one word, it would be grow.

Like the grass on these four acres (really can’t wait to get our lawnmower back from the repair shop) and my belly, we are growing. Visibly. Every day.

a tale of two boobs
March 15, 2010

WARNING: This post is about breasts. And NOT in a sexy way.

I was prepared for this. I knew my breasts would grow to grotesque proportions. I’m pregnant after all. And I began this journey already well-endowed. We’re talking 34DD. A number that took me a long time to embrace.

For years I suffered under the false notion that I wore a nice C cup. Until one day in my twenties when I went bra shopping with my mom. She was my gopher as I stood in the evil fluorescent light and 3-way mirror trying to wrangle my mammaries. Watching this freak show, Mom just looked at me and shook her head.

“Oh, hon,” she said. “You’re not a C-cup anymore. Let me get you some D-cups to try.”

I was mortified. D? D?! But Mom was right. I wasn’t a C-cup anymore. It wasn’t until a friend opened a lingerie store in Chicago (Trousseau) and actually measured me that I learned I was actually a Double D. And life got a lot more comfortable after that. At least, my breasts did.

That was about 11 years ago.

For the last 11 years I’ve remained a 34DD or 36D as bra insiders know. They’re pretty much the same. Anyway… what I used to be is not the point of this post. It’s what I’ve become. I thought it was hard finding 34DD bras. Ha. Ha. Ha. Joke is now on me.

For the last couple of weeks I have been squeezing into my bras… the couple that have stretched enough to accommodate my new pregnant boobs. And at the end of the day, I’m in such pain from being stuffed into a too-small bra. I have lines around my cleavage and rib cage. Like chalk outlines on a crime scene. Pain.

SO… yesterday Bob and I went off-island so that I could finally buy new bras. So that I could stop complaining. And actually breathe again. We boarded the 8:05 ferry (which was no small challenge considering Daylight Savings) and drove to the nearest store that would have reasonably priced bras for my size.

I wandered the many rows of bras in the JC Penney lingerie section a bit dazed while Bob went off to find reinforcements. He returned with a bra specialist who recommended that I not buy nursing bras yet as I would only grow out of them once I start producing milk. (I did warn you.)

I explained how I needed something stat. No underwire.

Underwire + massively massive pregnancy breasts = pain.

The bra specialist measures me and though I have only gone up one cup size, it sounds so much worse. Triple D. DDD. Three Ds.


When I was a kid I was afraid of my mom’s giant bras. Their sheer size frightened me. They seemed alien. Like they lived their own  life in the top dresser drawer. My brother Tommy was even more afraid of these bras than I was. And I loved nothing more than freaking Tommy out. (I was not the nicest big sister.)

So, to freak out Tommy I would put my mom’s giant bras on over my clothes and chase him around the house.

“Ooooooooooh…. giant scary bra is coming to get you!!”

Looking back I can see that there was something wrong with this. And I can see how I might have damaged Tommy for life. Sorry, Tommy. (And sorry, Mom, for outing your scary bras. But you’ll get your pay back in just a minute. I promise.)

Back to my story. After scouring the lingerie section for the mythical DDD bra, my bra specialist had to call in her own reinforcements. Not enough DDD bras to be found. Especially not 34DDD. Between the three of us (Bob had smartly opted out at this point… he was hanging out in the corner with his iPhone) we found only about four bras for me to try. I ended up buying two.

Rather than attempt to describe these bras. I will allow the very sight of them to do the work. Again, warning. The sight of these bras might cause loss of appetite, fear of breasts in general and uncontrollable fits of laughter…

I did warn you.

It should be noted that both of these bras give me torpedo boobs. Can you see that? The cups that come to a point more appropriate for the set of Mad Men than a small town on an island.

And I’m only 5 months along. It’s only going to get worse.

Or way more awesome. Depends on your perspective. The senior bra specialist told me that I surely will not be able to find my nursing bras in the store and will therefore have to order them online. Given that nobody stocks my size.

“Just wait,” she said smirking, “They’re gonna get sooo much bigger.”


What will ‘so much bigger’ mean? E? F? G? LMNOP?

Here’s the thing, though. It’s impossible to shop for bras online. Impossible. How do you know if they fit right? If they feel right? What will I do?

(If anyone out there has any suggestions for maternity/nursing bras for a gal like me, please please please share your tips in the comments below.)

looking back: “between a marriage and a house”
March 12, 2010

Lately I’ve been comparing where we are today to where we were one year ago.

March of 2009 was an unbelievably challenging month for us. We were desperately trying to sell the house and figure a way out of our financial mess. We were stressed, scared, worried and lost. Charting a new path for our lives in the midst of utter chaos.

March of 2009 also happened to be, not surprisingly, one of the more active and emotionally-charged months on my blog Love in the Time of Foreclosure. Going back and reading what I wrote during this period in our lives is like discovering someone’s secret diary and reading their deepest, darkest, most private moments.

By the way, when I was a kid I was never very good about keeping a diary. I remember when I received my first diary as a gift. I was more excited about the lock and the understood secrecy (it CAME with a lock and key! Secrecy was EXPECTED!) than the opportunity to confide my deepest desires to an anonymous page. But let me be clear, I was more intrigued by the idea of expected secrecy than actually embracing it. Simply put: I missed the entire point.

After my first entry in my diary, I was so excited I ran downstairs and announced to my dad and stepmom that I wanted to read to them what I had written.

“Listen to what I wrote,” I began, so thrilled to have an audience.

“Dear Diary,” I continued… still totally missing the irony of the moment.

I don’t remember what I wrote exactly. But I do remember that I explained everything to my diary.

Such as who people were…

Darchelle is my friend who sells pretzel sticks at lunch.


Tommy is my little brother who never does what I tell him to do.

After I read my surely boring and mundane diary entry about the minutia of my day, Dad responded,

“You know you don’t have to explain everything to your diary. Your diary already knows all about your life.”

That hadn’t occurred to me. Not at all. After that, I have no memories of a diary. I was more of a letter writer. Always needing an audience for my writing. *Cough* Cough*

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right…. Love in the Time of Foreclosure. I guess my diary tangent offers explanation for why I was so willing to write about our darkest moments in such a public forum. It’s who I am.

And as I was saying… looking back does feel like I’m visiting someone else’s life. I think that’s a good thing. I think it means that I’ve moved beyond it. Let it go. I mean, the thrill I get in reading about those times is to think,

“I can’t believe we went through that! We’re in such a better place now.”

Between a Marriage and a House

One year ago this week I wrote the post “Between a Marriage and a House.” Here are some excerpts from that post:

“The single most powerful reason we’ve been able to keep this whole mess in perspective is because a year and a half ago we came very close to losing something much more valuable than a house: our marriage.”

“I will never forget the day it began. I’ll never forget the moment our marriage disappeared from beneath my feet and I was left without a place to stand. I’ll never forget what it felt like to look into my husband’s eyes and feel like I might actually lose my home. Our marriage was my home.”

“We were carried through this time by the support and love from our family, friends and community. Three days a week in counseling soon became two… then one… then once every other week. We worked through a lifetime of ‘junk.’ We discovered so much about each other and ourselves. We were there for ourselves as much as each other. We knew that if we really dug in and were vulnerable and peeled back every single possible layer that we would have the marriage we always wanted. What began as the darkest moment in my life turned into a huge possibility. An opportunity to create the marriage of our dreams.

The marriage of our dreams.

That’s what we have. We have never ever in our 11 years of being together gotten along so well. Been so happy and complete. So ‘on the same page.’ So grounded. So willing to talk about, confront and share truly anything.

I look back on that post. I remember writing it. I know we went through all of that. And we made it to the other side. Not only unscathed, but improved. Ready to be parents. Becoming parents.

On an island.

On March 10, 2009 when I was writing that post… had my future self come to visit me to tell me,

“Hey, it’s all going to work out. You’re not going to be able to keep the house or stay in L.A. But it’s okay. Because you’re living rent-free on a beautiful island, you and Bob have the marriage of your dreams and you’re five-months pregnant,”

I never would have believed it.

To read the entire post “Between a Marriage and a House” on Love in the Time of Foreclosure, click here.

20 weeks pregnant
March 11, 2010

So I am 20-Weeks pregnant. Yay! Half-way there!

Yesterday I had my monthly appointment with my midwife. Normally she comes to Friday Harbor once a month. But this month she wasn’t able to make the trip which meant a trip to Orcas Island.

I lined up at 1:45 PM for the 2:05 inter-island ferry to Orcas for a 3:30 PM appointment. Lucky for me it was a beautiful day. When the weather cooperates, the ferry can take the ‘shortcut’ which only takes 30  minutes.

I arrive at Orcas at 2:35. It’s about a 15 minute drive to Eastsound. Since I’m early, I kill a little time by driving around Eastsound. It’s such a cute town and so inviting on a sunny day.

I arrive at my appointment at 3:07. My midwife is able to see me early. Good news. I leave the appointment at 3:30 and catch the 4:15 ferry with plenty of time to spare. The ferry departs a few minutes late and I eventually arrive in Friday Harbor at 5:00.

All in all for a 25 minute appointment, it takes 3 hours and 15 minutes. That’s actually not too bad. If you don’t time the ferries right, it can take much longer.

The cost for the trip is $17.95 for a round-trip ticket. Which is pretty pricey as far as I’m concerned. But we can save some money by buying the 10-ride when we need to start going to Orcas more often for appointments.

The report from my midwife? All is well.

Here are the details for those interested:

–The top of my uterus is at my belly button

–My weight gain is right on track (I’ve gained 9 lbs total)

–The baby’s heart beat is strong (he was moving around A LOT)

–My blood pressure is low- but this is normal for mid-pregnancy.

So, there it is. I’m half-way there.

By the way, this is what I look like at 20 weeks:

spring has landed on the island
March 3, 2010

So far everyone here has been very truthful about the weather.

When we first arrived in October all we heard was, “Get ready for the rain!” And “Get ready for the darkness!”

It was suggested that we purchase UV lights to stare into like they do in Alaska. We were warned about Seasonal Affective Disorder. We heard tales of storms from winters past that trapped people in their homes for days on end. Why? Because they don’t plow here. Not outside of town.

Last year they were hit with so much unexpected snow that people who lived outside of town had to walk into town for groceries. Walk… hike. Through snow. One friend said she hiked seven miles in after running out of groceries.

So, yes. We were sufficiently prepared. We lost our power twice. Once for seven hours and another time for just a couple. Both were related to high winds. Our pipes froze. We were out of the house for several days living in a local motel waiting for the pipes to thaw.

That was our low point. We were cold. The furnace wasn’t working properly. We were about ready to throw up our arms. And I started to suspect that I had SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder.) I was sad. And hated, hated, hated the darkness.

“The Spring and Summer make it all worthwhile.”

That’s what we heard when we would complain about the weather.

I never realized how spoiled I got from Southern California weather. L.A. turned me into a baby. In L.A. I actually used to complain about too much sun. I thought it was so boring. Nothing but sun and cloudless skies all the time. Boring.

I longed for thunderstorms and cloudy days. Something interesting. But as soon as things became ‘interesting’ weather-wise here, I wasn’t having it. It depressed me. I wanted out. I began to ache for the Los Angeles sun and heat. I know. I’m never happy, right? Well…

“Just hang in there. You’ll be so glad you did.”

And then came the sun. And the temperatures rose. And the thought of frozen pipes is now almost an ancient memory.

It’s felt like Spring for several weeks now. Temperatures have been in the 50s and even the 60s on some days. The sun has been shining. The rain and winds have settled.

I mean, we have daffodils blooming in our yard! Daffodils! Trees are flowering and crickets are chirping at night. At least they sound like crickets. Whatever they are.

“This is a mild winter. Mild, mild, mild!”

We now feel lucky. Lucky for this early Spring. This mild winter.

As snow continues to blanket so many other parts of our country, we’re experiencing a mild winter. And I almost didn’t make it through. How is that? Well, it’s certainly something I’ve been examining.

No experience is perfect. In fact, if it were ‘perfect’ I’d probably be bored. Like a cloudless sky.

Nobody said life was easy. Nobody said living on an island would be easy. But easy isn’t what we’re looking for. Is it? One part of me is screaming YES, YES! I WANT THINGS TO BE EASY! PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! And the other part is saying, You know better.

the green machine
March 1, 2010

Dear Volvo Wagon,

Oh, how we’re happy you’re running again. Our mechanic thinks you should be good to go now. We replaced hoses and seals and other parts I know nothing about. Whipping you into tip top shape.

We do hope you’ll be happy with us here in Friday Harbor. We promise to treat you well and we hope in return you will last us for a good two years.

We love how spacious you are on the inside. Lots of room to load up thrift store furniture finds. I love the tinny sound of your radio. It takes me back to simpler times. Bob loves how your seats warm his buns (okay, I love that too) and how comfortable a ride you are.

You were a steal, you know, at only $1975. Well, $2300 after taxes and fees. Yes, yes… you do have a whopping 195,000 miles on you. Yes. But you’re solid. And we have a good feeling about you. We think you might even be a diamond in the rough. Please don’t let us down.


Steph & Bob (and Pablo)

P.S. Bob has a new name for you: The Green Machine. We hope you like it.