Working Mummy

The blues are knocking at the edges of my sleep and in between my comings and goings. The working Mummy blues. I love my job and I’d probably have some kind of non-working mother blues if I weren’t working. But still, sometimes I wonder where the time goes. I cried last Thursday when it was coming to the end of lunch hour. It’s near impossible to get to work on time Monday morning. Jo has to shove me out of the house.  

Shoo! You can have your coffee at work, Tolle!

The there’s-not-quite-enough-time-for-everything-and-everyone blues. It’s classic. What are you gonna do? Time to switch things up. Let’s make some interventions…
Enter: weekend away at the lake place 

Enter: warm sunshine of Spring (at last!)

Enter: supportive husband (+back rubs)

Enter: discontinue gluten

Enter: add supplements program: rhodiola, vitamin B complex, cholecalciferol 

Enter: grandparents coming to stay…yea!

And finally, last but not least

Enter: the magic *mummy room 4*

The magic key

Magic mummy room 4
The magic room for rejuvenation!

Mummy room 4 is one of the lactation rooms at the UW Tower, or euphemistically named “health room”.  I’d filed away the detail that the lactation rooms could be a needed respite from the hectic work-life balance but I’d never really pursued it. Just had lunch with Lake in a comfortable chair somewhere in some lobby type area at work… there are big buildings and Lake was a discreet and tidy eater. Well, he’s getting to be a pretty active eater so I thought it was time. And I’m so glad I asked; now I have my own key! To my own personal space for an hour between 12:30 and 2 pm. We can lie on the floor, turn out the lights, relax, put our feet up… it’s a sensory deprivation box. Or a blissful sensory enhancement box. Just a windowless room with a door that locks. Nothing much. No bed. No plants. No windows. But it’s mine for the hour to be with Lake. And I have a key. 

Feeling magically refreshed!

Now, just look at that face! 

Things are looking up!

Kitchen Sink Bath

The kitchen sink bath: it’s a classic. Just the perfect size for Lake. And the perfect height for Mummy. Not too much water. Just enough. And we haven’t had poo yet, but if we do: there’s the insinkerator! Hard to improve upon the quintessential kitchen sink bathtub. So much fun! It never gets old. One day I t will just become too small. But for now… we relish these kitchen sink bathtub kind of days.  

Kitchen Gardening 

Yesterday heralded such a beautiful evening we couldn’t resist the pull of the out of doors. We all gathered in our small backyard and came together for some focused “express yard work”, or gardening as mummy likes to call it. It seems more inviting and appealing that way. Michael raked the grass and Mummy grabbed at some of the worst weeds… morning glory and Herb Robert?!? That wasn’t in the listing notes. Then, having assembled all the pieces, we successfully planted our kitchen garden. Tomatoes! Green beans! Spinach and kale! Chives and rosemary! Lake sampled the soil and cheered us on. Jo gets credit for the daisy chain and keeping Lake from eating too much bark. Nana was there in spirit having cut the grass on Sunday and provided the slug bait and a few herbs for our new kitchen garden. It was a real fun family event! Now we get to watch and sample as our garden grows. We look forward to harvesting delicious tender greens. So fresh… so local!

Close inspection reveals Earth crumbs around the corners of his mouth.

Et voilà! Our freshly planted kitchen garden.

Our little garden prince

Solidarity for Science 

Skagit Valley. Saturday for Science

Smiling for Science. Sleeping for Science. Pilates for Science. Gardening for Science. Kale for Science. Carpooling for Science. Bicycling for Science. Walking Commute for Science. Neighbors for Science. Prayer for Science. Vegetarianism for Science. Vegan for Science. Unity for Science. Diversity for Science. Meditation for Science. Health for Science. Exercise for Science. Yoga for Science. Medicine for Science. Pharmacy for Science. Farming for Science. Family for Science. Fresh Air for Science. All Weather for Science. Oceans for Science. Friendship for Science. Frisbee for Science. Playing for Science. Farmers’ Market for Science. Breastfeeding for Science. Greenlake walk for Science. Tulips for Science. Bees for Science. Solidarity for Science. 

Earth Day 2017: March for Science. We celebrated in solidarity. We enjoyed nature, family and community all day and throughout the weekend. We thought of all the marchers around the world with great respect. Thank you for marching yesterday friends! We love you! We love our Earth! We love Art! We love Science!

Joy for Science

Vacant Lot

Dear Lake, when you were small there was an empty lot next door. We could look out above the kitchen sink in spring and see a bower of flowers.

I write this because it could very well have a big house built upon it before Lake is old enough to recall.

The vacant lot has a bit of the wild in it. A bit of untamed free space. Naturalized. Something defiant in the vacancy, in the thick of the urban density.

Our next door lot harkens me back to the vacant corner lot adjacent to the spot where Nana grew up in Spokane on Cliff Drive. Eventually my grandparents did purchase it. Thinking to save it from building, to preserve it as a conservation corner. In a strange twist of fate, their vacant lot and the double lot with their home on it, sold after my grandfather died to a developer who bulldozed the entirety and posted it for sale as three lots for building about ten years ago. In some ways the vacant lot is the only thing that this remains unchanged. It took some courage to re-visit the now entirely vacant lot, where the house my mother grew up in once sat, and where my brother and I would visit my grandparents in the winters. I made this pilgrimage on October 19th 2009. My photographer friend Stephen Chalmers commemorated the scene with a collection entitled Pics For Sweet Tolle (of a house which wasn’t there) 10-19-2009.




My grandfather used to grow crops on the vacant lot. Mostly potatoes. Sometimes other vegetables, too, like garlic.  Both my grandparents liked to watch the birds there. My brother tells me the for sale properties are still standing there vacant. Naturalized. I think the vacant lot adjacent to our new house has been that way approximately the same length of time. The neighbors tell us the house burned down about ten years ago and it’s been vacant ever since. I dream of farming potatoes and garlic and kale there. For now I look out the kitchen window and I wonder what the future holds for this Secret Garden, this unbridled riot of flora, this proud and humble vacant lot.

Early Bird

Lake tricked me again tonight. His fourth night in a row where he went to sleep without his pajamas. Before his pajamas. Before his night nappy. The hour, the moment where he is asleep, out like a light, it sneaks up on me and I’m not accustomed to it. Tonight he was fast asleep by 7:15pm… Perhaps this is typical and non-notable for some parents of 10 1/2 month olds. But for us, we have been used to his staying up rather late. Typically he beds down for the night first at 9:30 or even 11pm. It’s new for me. I thought I was prepared to have him sleep-ready early. Then he fell asleep earlier still. He’s the Early Bird to bed! Let’s send out the invitation now: Pajama party at 7pm tomorrow. Lake you’re invited!

Escape Artists

Not only can Lake escape his bed, he can also open our new baby gate. I watched him open it. And the cats can both jump over it. Mr. Silky, aka Friendly the Cat, jumped into the top cupboard in Lake’s room, where we house his children’s book collection. Then I watched Mr. Cat climb over the super tall baby gate. We use the baby gates at the top of our flights of stairs for dual purposes: Lake’s safety but also to contain the wild cats a bit. Now, what can these brothers not do? Lake is learning from the masters. 

This little man is ready to go!


Lake is getting really interested in exploring his environment these days. He can’t walk yet, but that doesn’t slow him down from experiencing his surroundings to the fullest. He’s checking out all the elements. Earth. Water. Fire. Metal. Air. He loves it all. And he gets right out there. Up close. Feels the feelings. Tastes the offerings. Lake is not afraid to get a little dirty, wet, hot or cold. He indulges his curiosity without restraint. 

Earth. Greenlake Park
Water. UW Tower fountain
Fire. Glassybaby at Annapurna Cafe with Auntie Lindsay
Metal. Seattle Downtown waterfront with Jo
Air. Ravenna Park with Michael (imagine the breeze ruffling his hair)


Since Michael was working the weekend, Jo and I took the opportunity to visit our best friends in Portland. We wanted to have a girls’ road trip with Lake for friendship, shopping and a bit of experiencing the Portlandia culture! We left Seattle after work on Friday amidst high winds and reports of pervasive power outages. Michael had refurbished and installed the next-size-up in delux car seats accommodations *Just in the nick of time* and *Bonus* because we found it for free on the sidewalk last weekend!

Lake has his new car seat! All ready for the next phase of adventures!

We arrived in Portland late at night and well after the storm had passed. In the morning we woke and welcomed the warmth of Springtime. The sky seemed to be exploding with blooms. We put magnolia flowers in our hair. Portland, we are ready for you!

First, the Lan Su Chinese Gardens… such a gem to explore in downtown Portland. It’s made for hide and seek, seek and discover playful rejuvenation. You can even check out a family pass free from the library: what a cool concept!

Based upon a number of recommendations we visited Blue Star donuts where the gourmet donuts are fried in rice oil and there is an emphasis on quality over quantity. They were indeed something special. Very delicious! Then a visit to my longtime favorite Petunias Pies and Pastries could not be missed! Altogether, we ate an undisclosed amount of pastries. 

Cafe Affogato with vanilla Coconut Bliss
Gluten-free, vegan “Special Cake”

We did lots of shopping and managed a fresh wardrobe for Lake

Then, Lake learned stairs! His first go around he went all the way up! His cousins were such good motivators and coaches!

What’s not to love? We had the best hosts! Thank you dear ones! A wonderful weekend getaway all around!