Wow, it’s hard to believe that two months have gone by since my last post. Well, I guess it’s not really that hard to believe, because the last two months have been crazy. Not just because of the election, but for so many reasons on top of that, or should I say in conjunction with that. But what a crazy election. YOWZA! But first let’s back up a couple of months…
October was a lovely autumn month. Except for the incessant “news” about the upcoming election, and the record rainfall in Seattle. Of course I was outside more than ever – running, running, running. And I loved it! And my dog loved it (most of the time.) But sometimes I was out there running in the rain (the pouring rain, not the Seattle misty rain) and the rain would come down so hard that it felt like there was a faucet attached to my face, as I watched the water pour off my nose while I ran. But I just kept running. Because I had to.
My running partner is not very excited about running in the pouring rain.
Besides running, I also did some web work at Nordstrom, worked on another web site for a dance company, and best of all, got started on my own Suzanne Harrison Home website/e-commerce site, that I am so excited about.
I also went to an incredibly inspiring talk hosted by Grace Bonney of Design Sponge, in support of her incredibly inspiring new book In the Company of Women. There was a panel of 4 women that she interviewed – all local entrepreneurs – and what they had to say not only made me feel so good about jumping out on my own, but made me so happy that these creative, smart, talented, and generous ladies were running successful businesses that only make our community better. I read a little bit of the book every night, and it warms my heart. I highly recommend it to anyone starting out on their own.
And then of course there was Halloween – on a Monday night, to my kids’ dismay – yet somehow they were still able to score over 9 pounds of candy, each, much to my dismay.
Then November came and I packed my bags and headed to South Carolina to stay with my parents and run that 1/2 marathon. My sister Nicki joined me there, and on Friday we met up with our friends Barb and Susie and headed to Savannah where (after Nicki ran over a raccoon and then got pulled over for speeding) we got our numbers for the run, checked into our hotel, walked around, shopped, ate dinner with more friends, and enjoyed the balmy weather and charming beauty of Savannah. I wasn’t nervous at all for the run, but still, for some reason I barely slept a wink that night.
Up at 5 a.m. we had breakfast and made our way to the starting line. The race started just as the sun was rising, and off we went running. And talking. Barb and I ran together (Susie and Nicki did a run/walk combo) and I’m not sure we stopped talking for the entire run. We ran through the historic district, then through “the hood”, through suburbia, and back into the city, past the many amazing bands (it was a Rock N’ Roll marathon) and past all of the people watching, cheering, handing out water, holding funny signs up (“You think your legs hurt, my arms are killing me!”), and high-fiving us along the way. The energy was the best! And before I knew it – some 2 hours and 19 minutes later – we were done. No problem! Wow, I guess it paid to stick to that training plan! I felt great.
That night, after a much needed nap, my mom, dad, sister and I headed over to Barb and Susie’s mom’s house for dinner. When we got there the house was filled with birthday decorations that said Happy 50th! Oh dear. This was for me. I was about to turn 50 and this was the beginning…
Barb and Susie’s family and mine go way way back, and so to be able to celebrate with them – my first 1/2 marathon and this milestone birthday – without our husbands or kids, just us, like in the old days, was about the best present I could have asked for. We drank wine, ate lasagne and cake, opened presents, and laughed and laughed. I’m sure I acquired several new laugh lines from that night. But what do I care? I’m 50!
All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.
- August Wilson
I got to spend an entire week in South Carolina, with my parents, sister, and friends, which turned out to be an unintentional yet perfect birthday gift to myself. I flew back home on November 8th, full of feelings of gratitude and love and excitement. I couldn’t wait to see my family back in Seattle. I took an Uber home and had the nicest driver ever. He was from Ethiopia, just had a baby girl, and he was so excited and confident that we’d soon have our first female president. He was just so sweet. My kids were home when I got home, and I couldn’t stop hugging them. I missed them so much!
That night I was exhausted, and my ‘good to be home’ happiness was soon replaced with a sick feeling in my stomach, as election results were coming in and more and more states were going red. I passed out in bed early that night, and when I woke up the results were in. Now I was really really sad. I couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe an election actually made me cry. A lot.
I took this photo at the Vera Project of a silk-screened poster that mimics the Tinder dating app.
What a weird day that was. I have never experienced a day like that, where an entire city seemed lost in fog of sadness. Kids were sad. People at the dog park were sad. People at the bus stops were sad. Grocery checkers where sad. Sad sad sad. And I was turning 50 soon, and had a big party planned for Saturday night, and I really needed to get out of this funk. So here’s what I did…
I thought about all of the amazing people I had just been interacting with in South Carolina and Georgia – two very red states. I never once thought about how these people voted – it never crossed my mind – but there they were, supporting us, cheering on the runners, handing out drinks. Then there’s the people I know and love that didn’t vote the way I did – and I still love them – we’re all just good people who want good lives. I thought about how good my life is, how much love and laughter there is in it, how lucky I am to be healthy and able to run 13+ miles. I know in my heart that my happiness and success is up to me much more than it is any politician.
And it’s okay for me to be sad. Because I am sad. I am so sad that a good man – a role model of a man – is leaving office, to be replaced by a man who is an example to my children of how not to behave. Who has taught them what the words ‘bigotry’ and ‘misogyny’ mean. But I refuse to give up hope, because I believe that there are too many good people in this country who care about creating a good future for us all, and that maybe this needed to happen, to make truly visible the work that needs to be done. I just hope that we’re all willing and brave enough to try to make things better, in whatever ways we can. Like I tell my kids: Always try to make things better, not worse.
You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.
- Michelle Obama
So after I began to cheer up, I decided I did not have to cancel my party, and I could enjoy my birthday after all. And did I ever…
On my actual birthday I had a fairly normal day, then went out to dinner with my fairly normal family and had the best time with my very most favorite people on the planet. Then the next day, two of my friends kidnapped me, which I thought would be just for a lunch date, but turned out to be for an afternoon of ferry rides, lunch, wine, labyrinth, museum, beer, pizza, kite flying, and getting in trouble for kite flying on the ferry. Again – so much laughter, and love for these amazing women in my life.
The next day was the day of my party, and in typical Todd and Suzanne fashion, we scrambled all day to get ready for it. We were expecting around 65 people, which seemed ridiculous considering the size of our house, but our thinking was, if anyone thinks it’s too crowded they can leave. So I made two huge batches of chili, cleared the furniture out of the back room, barked orders at the kids to help me vacuum and dust and decorate, while Todd cleaned up the deck, shopped, and got a fire pit set up. Our amazing DJ showed up at 5pm, and guests started showing up promptly at 5:30, so I threw on my party dress and some makeup, and we got that party started.
I have to say, it was a magical evening. The windy and rainy day turned into a perfectly beautiful night full of stars, with not just a full moon, but a SUPER MOON! Who gets a super moon on their 50th birthday? I do!! Between the DJ’s perfect music, and the lights flickering in the back yard, and the raging fire in the fire pit, and the kids running around with glow sticks, and the dog acting mellow and happy, and all of my amazing friends, not to mention the perfect party dress – I was in heaven. Literally. I danced the night away and felt so incredibly blessed for the life I have. My life at 50 is truly a gift, and I know how lucky I am for everything I have, and for the life I’ve led, and for the life ahead of me.
Speaking of gifts, I received so many thoughtful gifts, and I was so touched by people’s thoughtfulness and generosity. But one gift in particular really blew me away. A pillow that my sister Nicki made for me. A pillow you ask? Don’t you make tons of pillows Suzanne? Well, yes, I do, but not for myself, and not like this. Check it out:
Nicki emailed a bunch of my friends and asked them to send words that reminded them of me, then she somehow figured out how to get all of those words transferred onto a pillow with my name embroidered in the center. Isn’t it incredible? It makes me smile every day, and is a constant reminder of not only what great friends I have, but what a truly incredible sister I have. (Thanks Nicki, I love you with all my heart.)
And speaking of sisters, I need to mention one more gift from my friend Kathy, who was the best friend at work anyone could hope for. Oh my god, we have been through so much together over the years. She made me this:
Not only is this a beautiful tribute to my sister Maureen, who I miss so much, but is a firm reminder of what’s important every single day. Ironically (or not) I had no shoes to match my dress on the night of my party, and so I flitted and danced around in my bare feet – in the house, on the dance floor, and on the cold wet grass outside, and it felt fantastic. I couldn’t have loved where my feet were any more than on that night – at home, surrounded by friends and family, under the perfect full moon, dancing into my 50s.
Who is the luckiest 50 year old in the world? I am!
Thanks Todd for supporting me 150% in all of my birthday escapades! xoxo
Okay, well, that just about covers it! I think I’ve more than made up for the two months of blog silence. That was like five blog posts in one! Whew! If you’ve read this far, thank you, I know it was a lot of words, but I didn’t want to leave anything out. Like this card that the kids made for me:
Ok, this really is the end of the post. xo