Happy birthday momma. It’s a party.

Today is my momma’s birthday.

She would have been 70.

The last time I visited her, in February of 2018, I asked her, “what do you want to do for your 70th? Maybe we could do something as a family – like go on a trip together or organize a big party?”

I remember she was flossing her teeth – something she took very seriously. She paused before looking straight at me.

“If I even make it that long,” she laughed half-heartedly.

Her comment left me upended – as though I had just missed a step at the bottom of a staircase.

I had somehow kept believing that – despite the stage four metastasized breast cancer – she would live forever.

It was the first time I heard her acknowledging the opposite. Her words were like a knife to my heart.

“Of course you will make it!” I blurted out, wanting desperately to erase this subtle, yet momentous shift that had just occurred.

She shrugged and went back to flossing her teeth.

I went to bed dreaming of a birthday party abroad.

When I talk about my mum, which I do all the time, it’s always to marvel at and impress upon just how well, and how often she lived.

It’s why I had such a hard time imagining her dying – and why I have such a hard time remembering that she is dead – because no matter how sick she got, she never stopped.

She never stopped working, and she never stopped working out; doing yoga and volunteering; helping with her grandkids and with her daughters’ professional and personal pursuits.

She hosted the most brilliant and boisterous dinner parties, marched in solidarity with other women, challenged herself to know more about reconciliation and how to be a better ally. Debated her friends who held competing views. Loved and nurtured and believed in the incredibly unique and beautiful community that she built and that she held close in her heart.

It is these people who have consistently reached out to myself and my sisters over the past year. On Mother’s Day, Christmas, the day of her death. To tell me: I see you. I am hurting too. I miss her. I miss and think of her every day.

I get so angry sometimes, thinking of others who have remained silent and conspicuously so. I feel like I have been cut off, like a gangrenous limb. Severed from a family who no longer thinks or feels about her, or her daughters, or what it’s like to live every day without your North Star. And the painful journey of reorientation that reminds me every day: she died.

Especially on days like today.

But then I hear a gentle voice at the back of my head: a voice that pipes up, mid-floss, reminding me to hold close the community that she held in her heart. Because those are the people who held her.

And to celebrate today.

So happy birthday, momma. I know you’re somewhere beautiful.

And that’s it’s a party.

Love, love me do – you know I love you


This week has been absolutely bonkers.

And I am knackered.


Some big news:

Today is my last day at my current job. My new position starts July 22nd.

This means I have three weeks of relaxation time (with that fab chap of a husband of mine!), before starting what is, for all intents and purposes, my dream job.


Also, speaking of Marc, five years ago today this happened:

Official Wedding 271

It was a very good day.

That morning he wrote to me:

I am waiting to see you for the first time again. (It will always be for the first time, every time I see you.)

I love you, until the end of the world.

And I wrote to him:



I love you with so much of my heart, that none is left to protest.

Tonight we are flying away to New York for my sister Kate’s wedding to her brilliant fiance. I already refer to my soon-to-be sister in-law Mel as my sister (and have so for years!), so I couldn’t be more excited for this marriage if I tried.

What can I say?

I really love love.

I do.

So let me end by reiterating how much I adore all of you beautiful bloggers. Your words, your passions, your love – it makes the world sparkle.

And remember:

We love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. – Nietzsche

Official Wedding 268

Once more unto the beach, dear friends

Hi loves.

Yesterday I returned from our road trip down the Oregon Coast and Ashland Shakespeare extravaganza.

We left late Thursday afternoon and chronicled much of our journey our brand-spanking new “adventure log” about which we were most excited.

Check it!

Day 1

“His name was Visser. He is an Animorph killer.” This was Marc’s conclusion as we pulled away from our unblinking boarder guard and entered the United States.

Even with the gods spitting on our windshield, our spirits soared, along to the sweet, sweet tunes of Spoon (and other musical greats), recently turned into a travelling CD.

With one hundred miles to Seattle we would be comfortably ensconced in the Sheraton by 6:30. Then whiskey and bitters (definitely), would be enjoyed, but first, and most imminent: McDonalds.

Upon our arrival, Marc got us upgraded to a superior room, however we will have to re-mortgage our home to pay off the blasted valet parking.

For forty-four dollars I half expected them to wash and detail the car, or at the very least gift us with a free bottle of eight dollar gummi bears.

After settling in, it was time to don our fancy duds and head to the hills for dinner.

Mental note: bringing up rum running with a rather clueless concierge will not make your question regarding speakeasys come across any clearer. However, we are now equipped with the knowledge that it is illegal in the state of Washington to operate an establishment that serves only alcohol in the absence of food stuffs.

The more you know kids.

In the end delicious food and drink were enjoyed at the Zig Zag Cafe and Sushi Cucina.

To protect ourselves from the fat raindrops littering the downtown core we purchased a small umbrella before traipsing about like two love sick teenagers in our spit-shined finery, stopping at every street light to clasp hands and kiss.

Day 2

The day broke as so many previous – Marc up ages before myself, passing the time lost in the familiar and comforting pages of a book on magic (or is it of magic?). Let’s say both.

Once my lazy bones jones arose from my bed of rest, we ventured out in search of sustenance and a map of Oregon.

We found both.

After a brief tour of a number of different Seattle neighbourhoods, we reconnected with the I-5 and learned the increasingly obvious lesson that in this part of the world it doesn’t matter where you are headed, or what time of day it is, you will probably encounter massive highway congestion.

Do not try to fight this, or understand why it happens – just embrace it as a fact of life and move on.

To pass the time we tried to name as many states as possible. We got to 47.

At the I-5 exit to get to highway 30 (our route to meet up with the Oregon coast), it started to become clear that I had not really thought through just how far the two of us would be driving to get to our intended destination – South Beach Provincial Park.

Marc, frustrated by the slow pace of his fellow drivers, super speedwayed his way to a one hundred and sixty dollar fine.

It was all going so well until the state trooper (who may just be the nicest law enforcement official to exist ever) saw my bruised body and immediately began to ask questions.

I quickly assured that I was one tough mudder (copyright) and that we were actually celebrating our four year wedding anniversary (in hopes that she might write off the ticket).

She didn’t.

And then it started to rain. A LOT.

By the time we arrived at our campground, the mosquitoes were out in force, sucking the life force right out of us (and through two layers of pants at that!) However, it was nothing that some five dollar wine and marshmallows couldn’t fix.

The ocean there was beautiful and brilliant in its majesty, but also frightening in its ferocity.

We respect but fear the waves.

And that night you could hear Poseidon’s song.

Day 3

This day must be changed in the way that it is described from ordinary language into one of superlatives. It was epic on many extraordinary levels.

First, followed by swarms of Jurassic-sized mosquitoes, we managed to break camp in the most expedited of fashions and be on our merry.

However, this meant we skipped the usual “morning prepper” for Sergeant Ethel, namely a cup of joe, so we then had to attempt to locate an “Espresso Shack” that accepted plastic or non-specific currency; this all happened on our way to the aptly named and hugely disappointing Little Switzerland – big on pastoral beauty, low on amenities.

Anyway, following a quick pit stop just off of Seal Rock, the Sargeant settled down to do some hardcore driving (approximately 500 clicks – metric wise) whilst we jabbered about politics, upbringings, and the identity of our missing states – Missouri, New Hampshire and Colorado, natch.

Much, much later we managed to out-drive the monsoon conditions and found ourselves at the hospitable Emigrant Lake, where we victualed and had a bathe in preparation for our evening out with the Bard.

Day 4

An azure blue has replaced the downtrodden grey that marked the worst of yesterday’s weather.

We woke to dry skies – I made tea and Marc quickly set about drying our thoroughly soaked camping chairs.

More java was procured in town (and with a smoothie – Marc’s summer drink of choice) and we joined up with an actor’s Q & A session, where he spoke about his time with the festival and answered our question’s on a myriad of topics.

I wanted to know more about the tricky balance of delivering a show that pleases the audience, but also breathes new life into much love, and much interpreted productions.

(What I really wanted to ask was why, in Henry V, was the French envoy dresses as an extra in a Paula Abdul music video.)

After our walk about town, we returned to the campsite and swan, sunned, and shimmied to our heart’s content.

Day 5

I can pick apart the rotten red rock with my fingertips; if I sat here long enough maybe I could erode it down to the level of the sand.

Looking Northwest, I see that the peninsula is falling back into the sea in such a way that a humped needle eye of this same rock is looking back at me.

As soon as I  characterize or anthropomorphize the earth in this way I can’t help thinking how there have always been people here, probably longer than the needle’s eye.

I wonder, how many of them, sitting here facing the endless gray lullabye that kills and feeds, washes and deforms, endures – how many thought simply – “okay” – and didn’t build higher or travel further, or settle deeper.

They just crumbled the rock and imagined a face in the sea.

Day 6

Laughs. Love. Happiness.


On a wedding anniversary

This is what he remembers of his first year in love.

Sticky summer evenings on leftover bicycles

Green grass cuttings and the heather scent of your hair

One legged races and falling down together

And getting up together, everytime.

Knitting words so true that they became laws into themselves

What we writ on paper was our sinews and our bones

Magic promises, and you pulled me into a love of myself

Along with my love of you.

I’d never bought a pair of pants for a girl before

Never walked home at midnight carrying her laundry

Trying to scare her, and myself, with remembrances of

Low mists and Japanese ghost children, and all those things that terrify.

Realising that we were not scared together.

I hiked an island while you wrote and waited

On tables and coffee consumers, and I wrote

And lay in bed, in the warmth, with my phone cards

that were always running out

And my emails, and your emails, and we started a story together

That will never be finished, that we’ll always be writing

Until the end of the world.