2017: “A Journey of a Thousand Miles” Into the Unknown

I’m hurtling down WY-220, my knuckles white from my death-grip on the steering wheel, though I’m still managing about 80 MPH. The melamine plates are rattling in the cupboard, and I’m fairly certain that the butter is stuck to the inside of the door above my little sink. Up ahead I see a mile-long line of stopped cars snaking up the hill. I brake early to account for my load before coming to a stop behind a truck hauling a huge water tank on the back of a trailer.

The road snake doesn’t slither. Not even an inch. After about fifteen minutes, I turn off the engine and get Chloé and So-Kr8z out of their car seats to take them outside. As soon as I pull the latch, the Wyoming wind pulls wildly on my RV door and slams it open. I coax Chloé down the stairs and see that the line has grown at least a mile behind us too. She won’t go. Too many eyes, I imagine. I put her back inside and grab So-Kr8z, who goes on every single, solitary weed, his leg lifting so high I worry he’s going to tip over and get covered in sticker burs.

Back inside, I watch the guy in the water truck ahead of me. He gets out to stretch his legs, pulls a fly pole out of the bed of his truck, and practices his cast over the shimmering blacktop. Because he looks like Yukon Cornelius of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer fame, and not a serial killer, I get out to talk to him. I pelt him with questions: What does he think is going on? Where’s he headed? Does he think we’ll be there long?

He tells me there was an accident up ahead the week before that took over five hours to clear. He says his buddy is a few cars behind us and they’re heading to work on an oil rig. He says he’ll give it a bit. He flips the fly line into the wind, unfazed, and a guy skateboards up the hill toward us. I feel like I’m on a road trip ala Hunter S. Thompson, sans acid. It’s his coworker. He tells us he’s going to ride to the top of the hill and see what we’re dealing with. I watch him pump up the steep grade of the road, his right leg working hard. Before long, he’s sailing back down. Fast. His arms are outstretched and his long black hair is flowing sideways. He says the line is miles and miles long, he can’t even see how far. He suggests that they turn back toward Casper and cut through Medicine Bow.

I ask how far Medicine Bow is. I admit that I’m new to RV life and I don’t know how long my gas will last. I wish out loud that I’d filled up in Casper. And I’m worried about the dogs. It’s so hot that it’s hazy in the distance, even with the wind. The skateboarder tells me I can follow them. It’s only about an hour out of the way and will lead us straight to I-80 near Rawlins. I can get gas there. I feel vulnerable, scared, and completely unsure of what to do. I’ve traveled the roads of Wyoming my entire life, but I’ve never heard of the road they’re talking about. I try to picture where it might be, but I have no idea. And, Yukon Cornelius aside, I don’t want to end up dead. Plus, the skateboarder is covered in tattoos.

Oh wait, I’m covered in tattoos.

I get in my RV, back up so the water truck can make the turn, and I follow him. As I bump over the bar ditch, I know the butter is toast, and the bungee cord that’s keeping my bathroom door closed stretches so that the door opens and then slams shut. His buddy pulls out in front of us and we form a convoy, barreling past the miles of cars and semis previously parked behind us.

As I travel into the Unknown, it strikes me…the whole of 2017, from the beginning of January to this hot and windy day on August 28th (a day after my forty-seventh birthday,) has been a venture into the unknown; an exercise in white-knuckled, hurtling, rattling, 80 MPH, butter-smearing bravery. Trips in trust. From Pennsylvania to Atlanta to Washington, D.C. to Wyoming, back to Pennsylvania to Boston to Cape Cod and back again to Wyoming, with hundreds more miles logged across the expanse of Utah.

I’d stormed to the bedside of a beloved man in my life to hold his hand while he took his last breath. I’d gone to D.C. with my best friend and hundreds of thousands of women to march until I thought I would buckle from the pain of it. I’d journeyed to defend my thesis after a process that nearly broke me as a writer. On the day I returned home with my M.F.A., I got a call that my dad was going in for emergency surgery. I swapped suitcases and went to him, and for six weeks I lived in my RV and drove to his place to take care of him. Daily he told me that he was “ready for the reaper.” Only when I’d secured his care did I return home. I walked in the front door with a bag full of dirty clothes only to end my five-year relationship with my partner. He moved out the same night.

And now here I was on a two-lane back road speeding toward Medicine Bow behind a couple of oil-riggers I didn’t know, Burl Ives tunes humming in my head, praying I didn’t run out of gas, and fully trusting that I was where I needed to be, even if I didn’t know where I was.

I didn’t run out of gas. Literally or figuratively. Some three hours later we arrived at a gas station about thirty miles from Rawlins where I thanked these two chivalrous men, and we hugged and said our goodbyes.

2017: The year of perilous adventure—breathtakingly beautiful, bumpy, and back-breaking.

What can I say after having been away from my blog for a year? Only that it was a time of intake and not output; that I was logging life miles; that I was listening and not talking. Somehow, I needed those 20,000+ miles.

Copycat, Copycat


I’m not sure who learns more when I’m coaching a client – me or my client.  Perhaps it’s how a teacher feels when a genius kid shows up in their classroom and starts to school them. Either that or they mix up a stiff vodka cranberry, eat the ends of their pencils and curse their fate, I’m not sure.

I’ve been pondering the occurrence of copycatting as of late.  You know what I mean, right? When someone close to you, or even those not so close, try to either become you or they do every single thing that you do, just one or two steps behind. Most of us do this as teenagers. If I had been given a hunk of gold every time my mom told me, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, you would follow them,” I’d not only have a golden palace, I’d probably have a golden kingdom. The answer then was, yes, of course I would have. I was fifteen, indestructible and my friends were my life.

But I see it today too, and I still do this.  When I first met Martha Beck at her ranch in California I wanted to crawl right into her and wear her skin like a little meat tuxedo. There was such a peaceful presence within her and an inner power that felt palpable. I felt as if she were talking to me without saying a single spoken word. It was quite dizzying. I so admired the life she had built, I loved the inner tribe of spiritual seekers that she surrounded herself with and I too wanted a life where I was enveloped by horses, mountain lions and bears, oh my. It’s likely, in part, why I signed up and completed her Life Coach training. Not to mention the fact that I felt like I had come home and was able to see that there was a term for someone doing what I was doing in the world – Life Coach.

I’ve had people try to replicate my life as well. Folks who have wanted to become a coach like me. Peeps who have modeled their businesses after mine. Women who wanted to write in a similar voice. Girls who have gone back to college later in life because I did. Some have even copied my signature hair-do (which is the most egregious of all because, most of the time, my hair looks like an errant Q-Tip that has been shuffled around in a travel bag for the past twenty years or so.)

The thing is I never really understood why, until a few days ago on a coaching call with one of my dearest clients.  Jill Dryer, (who has graciously given me permission to write about her and our conversation) is probably one of the most creative women I know. Her energy is that of hummingbird meets eagle and you can literally feel her creative juice crackling through the phone line on our weekly calls. As we began to talk about copycatting which, by the way, is how it goes in coaching – if you’re noodling something in your own life, invariably your client will bring it up. (Is it collective consciousness? I don’t know, but it’s sometimes just flat out eerie.)

Anyhoo… as we were discussing this phenom, Jill said, “Think of the Tour de France.  If you’re trying to find your rhythm or you don’t know your way, it’s okay to ride behind the person in front of you, it gives you momentum and helps you to see where you’re going. It’s called drafting.”

My jaw dropped to the floor as this lil’ gem sunk into my bones. That’s why we do this.  I don’t want to be Martha and wear her meat suit. Truly I don’t, plus it would be completely psychotic and gross. I just needed to draft along behind her for a bit to test my speed, the wind, the climb and the terrain until I had the gumption to push out on my own and let the wind hit me straight in the face without buffer.

And all these peeps who are trying to replicate me, well, I don’t know why they’d ever want to, for one, but I get it.  It’s because they haven’t quite figured out what they are supposed to do so they’re riding along behind, using the momentum of the path I’m forging to test their own paths.

The best part of figuring all of this out was later realizing that no one is ever in the lead, really.  Even though some folks may be further down the path, (like Oprah or J.K. Rowling,) it’s not a race.  There’s not a first place or a second place or even a last place because we all have a different finish line that is as individual as we are.  Not only that, our paths are wholly different. While I have started out drafting behind some amazing women throughout my life, my course has veered and each time I’ve found my own way. (But… boy am I thankful they were peddling before me.)  However, just as certain as I am in this moment that I’m going it “alone”, invariably I will ride up behind someone who models something else for me, and I’ll rest a spell in her draft, getting a sense for the speed and route, before I forge on “alone” again. And so the “race” goes.

This is dedicated to all those trailblazers and all those fierce peddlers who have gone before me, gracious, amigas.  I’d love to hear who you would like to thank for allowing you to draft behind them. Tell me about your copycat stories.

With burning thighs,


P.S. For those of you who read my Hysterectomy? Or No? blog, I’ve gone and done it… I’ll be having the surgery next Thursday, 4/10/14. Prayers and healinig juju welcome. This means I’ll be off my blog for a bit eating sugar-free JELL-O and counting the number of invisible bugs on my skin.  But… rest assured, I’ll be back.

On Death & the Next Grand Adventure (Oh, and Bilbo Baggins)


I had an epiphany this morn. Like a choking on a slurp of my Ginger Red tea kind of epiphany.

I am Bilbo Baggins.

It all started with this

There was a study released recently that you are what you read. A scary proposition, eh, and I don’t know about you but I’m not particularly keen to become anything like Pap Finn, Iago, Sauron, Satan, Voldemort or Grendel. Plus, unlike Bilbo, I’m really not short. I don’t puff on a pipe (though I did once when I was fifteen and having a nicotine fit.) I do, however, shave the little wisps of hair on my big toes, but I most definitely don’t have hair in my ears. Yet.

I don’t know if I was Bilbo before I read The Hobbit or after. But, there’s really no question that I am Bilbo Baggins. Bear with me and I’ll explain. Read more