When Friends Change…


When I was in high school I had a very small circle. When I mean a small circle I mean a very small circle -I had one best friend Elizabeth and I knew a lot of people – but she was the one that knew all of my secrets, saw the ugly cry, held my hand through so many scary things, and really got me. I didn’t and I don’t have to pretend with her. I can be just who I am and she accepts me warts and all – just as I am. It doesn’t matter that 2500 mile separates us – we pick up where we left off every single time we talk.

As I got older navigating relationships became more and more difficult. I had expectations of how I thought the friendship should be. What I didn’t realize is that everybody comes with baggage, and to be truly a real friend you have acknowledge and accept their baggage as well as what they bring to the table. What I didn’t know at the time – but I know now is that there are people that will come in and out of your life – they might serve a purpose, carry out a task, or just be there when you need them, and then they might go away. And that’s okay. I have also learned during this time with what I call transitionary friends is that I don’t have to accept their  baggage. I just don’t. That most likely means a real and true friendship won’t blossom – but that’s OK too.

These days I’m not so much interested in superficial anything. I’m interested in deep and abiding friendships that are authentic and have integrity- and that means I do acknowledge and accept their baggage, it’s part of who they are.

I used to feel guilty when I would clear the decks and cull the deadwood – not anymore. It’s refreshing. I love myself enough to come to the point that I am able to say out loud it’s a privilege to know me, and it’s a privilege to be in my company – I don’t feel embarrassed or bad to say that at all.

A note from the universe.


My note from the universe. I get these daily. They are always pretty right on and they creep me out a little.

Heres today’s :

I can imagine that from your perspective, it must seem like some truly awful things happen in time and space. So, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to weigh in.

You live in a world of illusions. A world that springs from a much deeper and far greater reality. And while at times the illusions are indeed ugly, with your physical senses you only see the tip of the iceberg. If you could see the whole, you’d discover that the unpleasantness was only the tiniest piece of a most spectacular puzzle that was created with order, intelligence, and absolute love. You’d see that contrary to appearances, in the grandest scheme of things, nothing is ever lost, no one becomes less, and setbacks are always temporary. And you’d understand that no matter what has happened, everyone lives again, everyone laughs again, and everyone loves again, even more richly than before.

Hubba, hubba –
The Universe

A giant of a man has left our planet


My Dad died. I have no idea what I am going to do.  Breathing is hard.  Our relationship was complicated.  I am thankful we left on good terms. He knew I loved him fiercely and I knew he loved me.

I hope that was enough.  Rest in peace Dad, God knows you deserve it.

Chuck Engel Dad

Charles “Chuck” Lee Engel was born in Fargo, North Dakota on August 24th, 1936 to his mother, Leone I. McCrady (née Engel). Chuck passed away after a brief illness on January 20th, 2016 at 6:08 AM, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington at the age of 79.

As a young child Chuck spent much of his time in Fargo, North Dakota and Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and later moved to the Pacific Northwest with his mother, where he was raised in Tacoma, Washington.

In August of 1956, he met the love of his life Diane E. Kemp. On April 18th, 1958 they married in Seattle, Washington, settling in Belfair, Washington where they started their family. Always good with his hands, Chuck’s first job was working for Red’s Electric winding motors and began an apprenticeship as an electrician.

In September of 1959 Chuck was drafted into the United States Army and served our country for six years as a Telecommunications Technician with a tour overseas serving at USAG Baumholder Army base in Baumholder, Germany. After receiving an honorable discharge in September, 1965, Chuck returned to work at Red’s Electric until 1967.

Chuck’s career for the rest of his professional life revolved around fresh water irrigation systems, fresh water pumps, and the waste water industry. He was the regional manager of the West Coast Division of Hydromatic Pumps for several years in California and then later returned to his home state of Washington where he traveled extensively to Alaska, managing and administrating waste water treatment plants all throughout the state.

After nearly three decades selling, installing, and administrating fresh water and municipal waste water treatment plants, Chuck served as the Superintendent of Waste Water for Kitsap County until 1994, and then went to work for Familian Northwest, retiring in 1998.

He and his wife Diane lived on the banks of Lake Devereaux for 27 years before relocating to Kent, Washington in 2005.

Chuck enjoyed, photography, fishing, hunting, gardening, traveling and oh my goodness, he was an amazing cook. An avid reader, his interests revolved around historical novels and World War II topics. Chuck did a lot of volunteering for Senior Services of King County, driving senior citizens to and from various appointments, and could be found exercising regularly at the Senior Center and with his “Easy Breathing” group for patients with various kinds of breathing issues.

The center of his life revolved around Diane, his wife of 57 years. His children and his wife loved him fiercely, and fondly referred to him as “The Lion” of their family.

Chuck is survived by his daughter Marna Gatlin, and her husband, Manny Gatlin of Warren, Oregon; daughter, Lisa Carr, and her husband David Carr of Kent, Washington, and son, Cristifer Engel, and his wife Verlynna Engel of Wenatchee, Washington; three grandchildren, grandson, Joshua, granddaughter, Ashley, and grandson, Nicholas; and one great granddaughter Abigail. Cousins, Robert “Bob” Baker, his wife Vonnie, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota and Mary Jo Kilde, of Battle Lake, Minnesota.

His mother, Leone, preceded him in death in 1970, his very special Aunt, Inez Baker 1981, and cousins Helen Lund, 2000, and Jean Ann Bassett 2011.
Per Chuck’s wishes there will be no funeral services.

Last but not least Chuck leaves behind his beloved Bombay cat, friend and companion “Thomas” of the family home.
A giant of a man has left our planet. He is loved so very much, and we will miss him every single day.

I don’t get it.


I have a specific set of values and philosophies I hold in regards to gun ownership. I feel as strongly about those views as my friends who have an opposite set of values. And that’s really OK because I respect their point of view even though I may not agree with it.

However what I don’t understand is that some of my friends ( not all ) who are at the opposite end of the spectrum regarding their feelings about gun ownership are hell-bent on lumping all of us who are gun owners in this category that we are violent – blood thirsty- war mongers. And that all we think about is kill kill kill.

That’s the farthest thing from the truth.

I am probably one of the most peaceful people on the planet.

So this is what I don’t get- some of my friends ( again, not all ) who do not share my views on gun ownership verbally are some of the most violent people I have ever met. The hate, the threatening words, and the anger that comes out of their mouths is just over-the-top.

I really don’t get that.

Then again – I have a very different view of the world now after almost dying.

And I think I will save that story for a different day.

Why I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.


I see my friends writing their valentine day story about their loves…

My ( our ) story of course is a little funny.

I should tell you that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in our home – because we are firm believers that every day at our house is Valentine’s Day but I digress…

Many years ago I was a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t get enough of it. Cards, chocolate, decorations – any day to celebrate Cupid and love was what this girl was all about. Romance romance and more romance. I could’ve been a Harlequin romance character.

In 1995 I found myself separated after a very long and frustrating marriage – looking for a new start – in a new place – and I met a pretty cool guy. He was not like anybody else I had other met – he was smart, kind, articulate, and just different. I felt I had met someone I had known for a really long time.

So much to the horror of our parents we moved in together after not knowing each other for very long. And my logic was – that’s okay I’m not committing to anyone – and we both have the understanding that we put the brakes on regarding romance and just focus on living.

And live we did – we had so much fun together. My thinking was rightly so-
After all – life after divorce is difficult.

So – On Valentine’s Day in 1995 we were both sitting at our crappy little card table that was in the kitchen – as we were both very poor and this was the only thing we could afford. We were having breakfast and the doorbell rang. I got up and answered the door and a very nice kid in a suit asked me if I knew Tabitha McFeely and I said yes that was me and he said “you have been served have a lovely Valentine’s Day.”

I knew this day was coming because I really needed it to happen, however, it was still pretty devastating. I opened the envelope and it was the divorce papers being served to me by my ex-husband. As I turned the envelope over and over in my hands I said aloud well played, well played, well played.

As I am crying into my eggs and closing a chapter on a part of my life that I had invested over 10 years Zach was so very kind, encouraging, and really a great cheerleader to me. The peptalk he gave me was just great and I remember a lot of those words even today 20 years later.

We continued to eat breakfast and make small talk about what we were going to do that day –it was a Tuesday and I’m not sure why we were both off of work but we were.

The doorbell rang again and this time Zach got up and went to answer the door. And I could hear an exchange of voices – “Good morning, i’m looking for Zachariah Cunningham are you Zachariah? And then of course ” have a good day, happy Valentine’s Day, you’ve been served”

Zach walked back into the kitchen with his envelope which of course had his divorce papers inside looking devastated and honestly it was laughable. I then proceeded to parrot back the very same peptalk he gave me:)

And as we sat there trading war stories and showing each other our war wounds ( divorce papers) we said “fuck it” and we jumped in the car and went to Disneyland.

That was how we spent the very first of our next 20 Valentine’s Days together.

So we don’t celebrate this day- not one iota.

But we sure do laugh a lot on this day because that day 20 years ago was just too goddamn funny.

Dear 2015…


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I’m so glad you are here. 2014 was riddled with so much angst and uncertainty that for much of the year it was very scary.

In all fairness, 2014 wasn’t a total bust, however, I personally struggled and was unhappy for much of it.

So, as of today I am all “in” and embracing 2015 and hoping of all hope that this year treats me with love, gentleness, success, and kindness for me and my entire family – we all deserve a break.

Thank you 2015 for arriving, I’m glad you are here.