Thursday, May 22, 2014

Musings from My Backyard and My Book Releases in Taiwan....

I've got lots of pots starting to percolate and bubble on the stove, and in the meantime a few earlier creations are now completely baked and ready to come out of the oven. Am I hungry or what?

I just got word that my book, Lessons from the Monk I Married, will be hitting bookstores in Taiwan on May 31st. It's very strange to see my book in Chinese characters. Here's what the cover looks like:

 I wonder what the response will be halfway around the world. I am seeing people reading it on subways and buses. I see a woman, dressed to the nines, on her lunch break, diving into it over a bowl of steamy noodle soup. Maybe it makes her question what she has been doing all this time? Maybe she will suddenly get an undeniable urge to hit the road?

After my book came out in Croatia, readers from this mysterious land began to contact me via email and blog comments. Suddenly I wanted to know every thing about this place and its people. I watched a Rick Steves's show on Croatia and started to get a bad case of wanderlust again.

But my backyard is really not that bad, to be honest.

Since I live here, I don't think too much about where I am. I'm currently reading Jack Keroauc's The Dhamma Bums. There's a reason for this. It's one of the pots on the stove at this very minute that's about to bubble over. I'll let you know the details soon in another post, perhaps.

So here's Ray in The Dhamma Bums, traveling here there and everywhere, and where should the finale, the final destination, the place of dreams, the much-sought-after holy land be?

My backyard.

My digs.

The place where I grew up.

The Great Pacific Northwest, but more precisely Washington State.

You don't think too much about where you live until it is glorified in some book. And then, where you live seems to take on a whole new look. It sure did for me.

Here's what Ray in The Dhamma Bums says about where I live:

"The Northwest was a great deal more than the little vision I had of it of Japhy in my mind. It was miles and miles of unbelievable mountains grooking on all horizons in the wild broken clouds, Mount Olympus and Mount Baker, a giant orange sash in the gloom over the Pacific-ward skies that led to the world."

And that's just the start of Kerouac's description of where I live. This suddenly made me take a good, hard look at my surroundings starting with my yard. Here are a few photos of my garden and street:

Rainbow on my street the other day and towering Evergreens

My front garden fence with Japanese maples

Purple Clematis we planted two years ago now climbing the fence

Irises blooming and my reading table in the background

Then, I began to explore my neighborhood. I had no idea that less than a mile from me was an old growth forest, a babbling creek and a place called Hidden Lake, so clean it made me want to swim with the little ducklings there.

Lupus and daisies with the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound

Little ducklings swimming on the crystal clear Hidden Lake

My husband in an old growth forest practically in our backyard

Living in the one of the most wonderful place in the world! This is right in Seattle.

I can't say I still don't have wanderlust, but I will admit that I am starting to fully recognize what a dream place I live in?

Do you like where you live? Do you ever take for granted the place you call home?


  1. When I moved from NY to VA, I really missed a lot of the places I had grown up with in NY and thought I should have done more. In VA I travelled around the state a lot and the states that were close by so not to miss anything. When I moved to Phoenix, AZ I explored and explored but after awhile life happens and less and less exploring happens. That is why this fall I met with a group of friends and we explored downtown Phoenix. With all of the new areas they are trying to revitalize it was so exciting to see. So many new places right in my own backyard so to speak. I think every city, town has so much to offer if we just take the time to look.

    Congratulations on your book release in Taiwan!!! Very Exciting!

    1. We love where you live too Karen! We felt so lucky to have the chance to visit you there. Arizona is one of our favorite places, particularly Sedona. You are right, all we have to do is open our eyes and look around! I feel a lot of gratitude for all the beauty so close to me. Thanks for the congrats!

  2. First of all, congrats on your book's upcoming release in Taiwan! Secondly, yes you do live in an amazing area. It looks like the place of dreams! So wonderful that you appreciate it as such. I do love where I live, but I really love where I am going to be living later this year - Bavaria. I cannot wait to be there for good!

    1. Thanks Ketih! I'm excited for you. Bavaria is a beautiful place. I'm sure you will keep us updated on the journey :)

  3. Congratulations on having your book published in exciting. I was born in the hills of Tennessee, but have lived in Seattle since I was eight. The last 40+ years have been in Lake Forest Park and I still love the fact there is so much natural beauty all around me. Too often we/I forget to sit back, look at our surroundings, enjoy them and give thanks we are a part of such beauty. I have a swing on my deck that looks out into my backyard. I try to sit there every day, look at what's leaving and what's coming while I enjoy the sound of the water feature I built myself and the occasional cluck from the chickens...peace.

    1. Hi Paula! So nice to see you here on my blog...I assume that means that you are still on the writing/blogging path, even though our class is over! That's great. Yes, your little corner of the world sounds like heaven too...we are lucky to live here!

  4. Hi Katherine! Waiting to here about all those pots you mentioned! Hope all is well with you. =)

    1. Hi Lisa! I'll keep you posted. I'm going to visit your blog now! :)

  5. 1998. February 6th I visited Seattle for the first time. Landed at 6pm. Was picked up by a friend who had moved the Fall prior to work for Microsoft. I knew where I was to move to next. By July 11th I was moved and working. The Universe supported me in ways I couldn't have predicted. Now nearly 16 years later, I still have a longing for being closer the true seashore that Monterey and Carmel and Pacific Grove provided, BUT, the verdant and evergreen greater Puget Sound is home. I take no day for granted that I can walk in fresh air and these days with trees on fire.

    Happy to have discovered you Katherine by way of Karin Quirk who attends your retreat..:)

    1. So wonderful to see you here Deborah...I'll be honest, I haven't been to this blog in quite awhile, but I'm rekindling the fires here and on another site I'm developing. Thanks for you comment!!