Tag Archives: inspiration

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

Turn your face to the sun

I recently spent a week backpacking in a remote region of the Washington Cascades. My hiking partner and I were on the trail for three days before we encountered another soul. Now that’s some solitude.

We rose each morning and looked eastward for the sun. There were wildfires burning north of us in Canada and sometimes our early sunshine was smoke-hazy. On this particular morning, the last day of our trip, Steve faced the sun and saluted it with this yoga pose.

Meeting nature on her terms can be a humbling experience. I am reminded how small I am in the world and how vulnerable we humans are in a wild, natural environment. But immersing myself in this wild place is also renewing and uplifting. Time spent in the great outdoors clears my head and nourishes my spirit.

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.


The fitness industry must be booming. There are six fitness facilities within a mile of my home–more if you include yoga, martial arts, and other specialty studios.

I’m glad that people care about their health and well being, but I don’t relate to going to the gym for a workout. Why spend time indoors spinning on a stationary bike when I can be outdoors exploring roads like this one?

I’ll share my 5 reasons to #optoutside:

  1. Variety. I can change up the scenery, terrain and duration simply by varying my travel route. My ride can be at dawn, at night, or anytime in between. I can ride rain or shine, on streets or trails, or in urban or rural environments. I can do all of this walking on my two feet as well.
  2. Time. The beauty of biking and walking is that it’s active living. I don’t have to carve out special time to do these things. Walking the dog, biking to work, jogging to do errands are examples of active living–daily tasks that incorporate physical activity. I am free to allocate my time to other pursuits rather than going to the gym.
  3. Money. Joining a gym or signing up for a fitness program costs money–sometimes a lot of money. I’d rather spend my extra dollars on travel, a night out with friends, or adding to my yarn stash.
  4. Accessibility. Almost everyone can walk or bike. Most of us can do it from our door step and it’s affordable. Neighborhood sidewalks and streets that take you to local parks, shops and libraries are enough to get you started.
  5. Nature. There’s a growing body of evidence that spending time outdoors is good for our health. That walk in the park or bike ride on a trail reduces my stress and mental fatigue, among other benefits.

Ok, now it’s your turn. Do you #optoutside? What are your reasons for doing so?