Author Archives: louise_inbtween

About louise_inbtween

Live and play in PNW

My bus commute

I love living in Seattle but I despise driving in traffic. And Seattle has traffic. Lots of traffic.

Luckily, I seldom join the ranks of daily commuters who drive to work. My current work arrangement brings me into an office two or three days each week. I drive to one site but it’s a reverse commute against the main flow of traffic. The other work site I report to weekly sends me into downtown Seattle, then north. I use transit for this trip.

I enjoy using transit. Instead of stressing out in traffic, I can read a book, catch up on emails, people watch or engage in small talk with other commuters. I’ve had some interesting conversations with other bus riders over the years. Conversations have ranged from sharing local knowledge with visitors and swapping injury stories with another rider using crutches to learning about the craft of wood carving from a Native American.

img_1941Sadly, those kinds of conversations happen less frequently. Today, most transit riders prefer to interact with their personal devices rather than with other passengers. I snapped this candid shot of a fellow passenger on a bus commute. She was absorbed by whatever was on her screen.

As I looked around, I observed that nearly everyone else was doing the same thing. With a wistful sigh, I turned on my phone and scrolled through my social media accounts.


Work is where my laptop is

I’m employed as a communications specialist by a large human services organization. Each week, I spend a day or two working in a field office with program staff and a day at our administrative office. At both locations, I share desk space with other staff and I’m not actually in an office (imagine a cubicle in a hallway or open area).

img_2571My employer provides me with a laptop and a cell phone allowance, so I work remotely the balance of my time. That means I usually work at home, but I also spend time working at program sites and coffee shops.

I think of myself as a work nomad, an in-between who is routinely exposed to different organizational cultures within the agency but not embedded in them. I often miss office politics (fine by me) but I also miss office rituals like birthday and anniversary celebrations.

My work routine isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. Spending a couple of days in offices gives me needed face time with staff. Working remotely gives me more flexibility with my schedule and reduces interruptions, but it requires me to manage my projects and work closely.

Another advantage to working at home is that I can locate my work space to suit me. I tend to work in the kitchen at a tall table. This allows me to stand or sit. I also have a nice view into my yard.

Now it’s your turn. What is your work space like?

The Liebster Award

liebsterI received a great nod of approval last weekend. A blogger that I have followed for almost two years, Mrs. N in Japan, nominated me for the the Liebster Award. I enjoy her writing, so I hope you’ll visit her site.

What is the Liebster Award you ask? It’s an award given by a blogger to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, with an aim to help others discover and spot new bloggers.

The rules are simple. Pay it forward by writing a post that:

  • Acknowledges the blog that nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers.
  • Ask them 11 questions.
  • Let them know you have nominated them.

Here are my answers to the questions from Mrs. N:

1) Why did you start blogging?

I enjoy writing and photography. Blogging makes use of both of these skills.

2) How did you decide on your blog name?

It’s an acknowledgment that, since birth, my feet have been planted in two cultures: Japanese and American. I also balance my life between living in a city and spending time in the outdoors.

3) What is your favorite post that you have written (link please) ?

Hiking is Sensual

4) If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

I think I’d like to be Oprah Winfrey for a day. She’s smart, thoughtful and so articulate.

5) If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I have always been curious about Iceland. A cousin recently married an Icelandic man and lives there now so I feel extra motivation to make the journey.

6) What is the most difficult situation you have found yourself in?

Caring for my father in his final days was challenging but rewarding. I felt privileged to have been able to do it for him. It was hard emotionally to handle all of his final affairs after he died.

7) Would you say that you are an introvert or an extrovert?


8) Where do you prefer to live-city, country or someplace in-between?

I like living in a walkable community–a place where I can easily walk to markets, coffee shops, parks, transit and other services. That puts me in an urban environment.

9) If you went to Japan what is the one thing that you would want most to do?

I have relatives in Japan and have visited the country several times, but I have never been to Hokkaido. I would like to go skiing there someday and soak in hotsprings!

10) What is your favorite book?

There are so many books that I like! I guess I would pick The Stand by Stephen King.

11) What is your biggest challenge?

These days, my biggest challenge is carving out time for personal pursuits, but I’m working on it!

My nominations for the Liebster Award

I nominate these fine folks and share their blogs with you, so please give them a read:

Alanna Pass

Travel, Wine, Food–What I Know

Tyrannosaurus Fir

I’m not ET just BPD

As I Walk Toronto

Present Day Tarot

Seeking the Good Life


Makewise Designs

Treks, Trails & Tales

The questions for my nominees are:

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Tell me about an experience or person who shaped your life for the better.

What is your favorite season and why?

How did you choose the name of your blog?

What is your favorite blog post that you have written (link to it please)?

Name one thing that you want to do or accomplish in 2018.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

What has been a rewarding moment for you as a blogger?

Recommend a movie that you like.

What one piece of advice would you give a teenager today?

Thanks again, Mrs N, for nominating me. And nominees, you’re not obligated to carry this through, but I hope you accept with a post of your own.

What gives me hope for the new year

Xmas morning walk

It started on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. I was speaking with a friend on the phone when I noticed that it had started to flurry outside. Soon the flurries were genuine snowflakes. I quickly wrapped up my phone conversation and stepped outside.

Snow! I felt giddy. Would we have that rarest of events–a white Christmas in Seattle? I felt hopeful.

Snow continued to fall throughout the evening and unleashed my inner child. I was unable to sleep. I played with Itty Bitty Kitty (who was more rambunctious than usual) and peered out the window as the snow fell silently. I was was filled with joyful anticipation–not for the arrival of Santa Claus but for a white Christmas and what it might promise for the new year.

We rose before daybreak to a snowy Christmas morning. Steve and I exchanged our gifts then bundled up for a walk through the neighborhood. It was still snowing lightly and the snow crunched softly beneath our feet.

The fresh snow brightened our early morning walk. Trees and bushes were flocked with the white stuff. Holiday lights looked even more festive surrounded by snow.

After a breakfast of huckleberry pancakes, we loaded up our cross-country skis and headed to the mountains–and even more snow. There was only one other vehicle at the trailhead so we had this little portion of the outdoors to ourselves.

The cold air was refreshing and the snow light and dry. We skied through a campground and along the river with views of nearby peaks. We climbed gently through the evergreens until the skiing became difficult, then we kicked off our skis and hiked up the trail to an overlook above the tumbling river below.

The hope that was sparked by the snow on Christmas Eve endured. I was grateful to be outdoors and surrounded by Mother Nature. My spirit felt light and happy.

Even now, a few days later, I still buzz with hope for the new year. Our rare white Christmas feels like an auspicious sign that we can overcome the hatred and ugliness that gripped us in 2017.

I’m ready for a better and brighter 2018, and it’s women that fuel my hope. Women took to the streets in huge numbers in January to protest the new president’s policies. Brave women stepped forward to challenge some powerful men over sexual harassment.

African American women in Alabama elected a Democrat to the US Senate–another rarity. Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American to serve in elected office. German Chancellor Angela Merkel continued to lead the European Union. And in Seattle, we elected our first female mayor in 90 years.

Women will make this world a better place.

“If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu. And so it is important that we have women in the United States Senate–strong women, women who are there to help advance an agenda that is important to women.”   – Elizabeth Warren

Margaret’s Way

I hiked Margaret’s Way yesterday.

As is the case each time I hike this trail, I remember with fondness and gratitude former trail colleague and outdoors advocate Margaret Macleod. For over 20 years, Margaret was the Interagency Trails Coordinator for King County, City of Issaquah, and Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Through her persistence and talent for bringing people together, hundreds of acres of open space have been preserved for wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation just minutes from Seattle.

It wasn’t so long ago that the land traversed by Margaret’s Way was a private campground. When the campground became history, the land was acquired for timber harvest. Thanks to some quick action by local citizens, King County and the Trust for Public Land, the acreage was purchased and saved for public use and as a wildlife area.

The 216 acres were incorporated into the Cougar/Squak Corridor Park and was officially opened to the public in 2015 with the opening of Margaret’s Way trail. It was the perfect tribute to a woman who spent much of her life preserving open space for the next generation.

I know that nothing is permanent in our world. A puppy today, a dog tomorrow. Sleepy suburb 20 years ago, today a metropolis. I hope, though, that our public lands are more than a temporary status. The faster our cities grow and technology evolves, the more we need close-to-home wild spaces that help us connect to nature.

Itty Bitty Kitty greets fall

Over a year ago, I introduced Itty Bitty Kitty on this blog. Our sweet kitty is a rescue cat and she spent a year or more fending for herself on the streets.

Today, with a warm home and steady diet, Itty Bitty is content to sit by windows and watch the world parade by. Most recently she has marked our passage from summer to fall. She watches squirrels gather food and birds journey south. If she had Kodachrome eyes, Itty could see the brown summer lawn green up from rain and the trees donning their magnificent fall colors.