Category Archives: Random

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

bicycle prayer wheel

Riding a bike can be meditative. The rhythmic revolution of each pedal stroke and steady breathing can help clear your mind and put you in the present.

It feels natural then to make a short pilgrimage to the bicycle prayer wheel in Nord Alley. The wheel is mounted outside Back Alley Bike Repair and is available 24/7 for spinning prayers and good thoughts.

Raising the Game

protest-signsI’m an optimist at heart and I see an upside in the Republican balance of power shift. It’s the outcry for social justice in America. The political activism that was ignited as we approached the campaign season is turning into a fire storm.

That we have to remind Americans that Black Lives Matter is sad. It’s even more tragic that the statement is challenged, belittled and attacked. On the other hand, it has empowered African Americans, raised public awareness, and encouraged many to examine racism and white privilege.


We witnessed an entire gender mobilize right after inauguration day when millions of women took to the streets to protest. Women (and men) rallied for reproductive rights, an end to violence, gender equity, immigrants rights, environmental justice, and more. A new generation of female activists has been launched and they’re raising the game.

we-the-people-signThe administration’s Muslim travel ban and restrictions on refugees stirred even more people to rise up and take action. Citizens, social justice and faith-based communities converged at major airports to protest the ban. Marches and vigils were held. My state of Washington filed a legal challenge against the travel ban and succeeded in getting it stopped nationally.

Awareness is increasing as to how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will impact Americans’ health care. Republican lawmakers are getting an earful from angry constituents at town hall meetings.

I still believe that each of us can make a difference. As We the People engage politically, we raise the game. So please pay attention, think critically and use your voice.


The Aimless Bike Ride


We live in a society that values productivity and achieving goals.  Work hard, play hard. Worthy attainments, yes. But sometimes overrated in my opinion.

My idea of a full and productive life includes ample amounts of unplanned time. This free time allows me to be spontaneous in joining friends at the last minute for an activity, or it’s a time to chill, or it can be used to wander and wonder.

I frequently opt to wander and wonder. These aimless rambles are on foot or by bike, and are often in my neighborhood or an easy bus ride away. They typically involve exploring streets, paths and alleys in search of the interesting, unusual, odd or beautiful gem. And they always include a pause to take in my surroundings, reflect, and wonder.

I went on an aimless bike ride on Sunday, rolling down the hill to a waterfront park. To my surprise, it was low tide–reason enough to pause, sit, and take in the Puget Sound views. Continue reading


March 30, 2016

I’m feeling a little blue this morning. Last night I learned that Ernie Bay, community leader and trail champion extraordinaire, died.

Ernie was a personal hero of mine. I met him when I was cutting my teeth in the world of bike and trail advocacy, working on forming what would become Friends of Burke-Gilman Trail. Ernie was championing the Foothills Trail, a rail-to-trail vision of a corridor that would connect the city of Tacoma with its rural neighbors and the Cascade foothills near Mount Rainier National Park. Continue reading