I know. I know. I know. I’ve been absolute garbage at writing. I could offer up many reasonably sounding excuses (just ask – I’ve been trying them out, standing in front of a mental mirror and practicing, and, I don’t mean to brag here (I totally do), but quite a few of them seem somewhat plausible), but really it comes down to two things – laziness and just not feeling inspired.

So, you’re probably asking yourself (or not, I don’t know you), “Why now?”

Great question! Let’s put all cards on the table – I still don’t feel inspired, which isn’t the answer. Let’s just call it a combination of: I read someone’s blog who made some terrific points about blogging/posting/writing and… I promised myself I’d do something creative every month, and here it is the last day of April and that box isn’t checked. (BOOM! There it is! THE TRUTH!)

I mean, last month was kind of hard to top. I took a glass-blowing class for the first time. Ok, sure no glass was actually blown, but I came out with an object that I did, in fact, blow on just to fulfill the goal as stated in the description of the class. “Come learn to blow glass!” Hrmm… maybe the true takeaway/lesson from the class was: I didn’t need to learn how to blow the glass, the knowledge was within me the entire time. Aww! Thanks, False Advertising Wizard of Non-Glassblowing Oz!

And while I didn’t blow the glass, I got to spin, spin, spin, shape, pinch, pull, stretch, and cool really hot glass, which was pretty dang cool.

A small confession here: to say, “I haven’t done anything creative this month” is a bit of a lie, but it really comes down to what I’m allowing to count towards that goal. For example, I’ve practiced my viola. I’ve attended orchestra rehearsals. I’m currently preparing for two concerts in May – arguably creative; however, I want something else – something I can’t quite put a finger on at the moment. But I picture it as something I can put a finger in – then it sinks down beneath some surface all the way up to my elbows (glue, paint, mud, clay… I’m not picky) and I end up with some object that I can point to proudly and proclaim, “Dear God, why did you bring that forth?!?!”

Preparing for upcoming concerts just isn’t making the cut for my stated creative goal.

Now, some of you will decide to reach out to me personally and try to argue this point. I appreciate you. Love that cheerleading! I hear you. Yes, yes, music is creative. BUT I need you to also hear what I’m saying – the person who is the one and only dictator of my life (all hail me) – the creator of “Beth goals”. Y’see, I get to decide what I want my creativity goal to look like – what counts and doesn’t count – and I’ve decided that music doesn’t for this purpose. So, we can either sit at this awkward little impasse or you can just roll with me here. You’re the best! I knew you’d come around. Proud of you, champ!

Right. Write.

I’ve also decided writing counts. (If you think my crazy logic, where music doesn’t count as being creative, but writing does makes no sense and is hard for you to follow, imagine living in this brain all day long – 24/7/365. Truth: I don’t know what she’s up to most days if I’m/we’re honest. (We’ll unpack speaking in the third person in some later post. Maybe.)) Plus, more truth: we both know my back is up against a deadline here, so I may have decided to take some liberty/be a little more fluid with my rules and there’s that whole thing where I don’t have a clear way to become elbow-deep (“awash”) in color. (Hey, this is a callback to the elbow imagery from earlier.)

Ok, off to check off that box. I’ll look into an inspiration journey next month and keep you all posted. (Basically, if I post in May, I figured something out – that will be the signal.)

My brother-in-law just pulled into the driveway, so you’re spared more rambling.

Thank you all for putting up with this bit of randomness. Hope you’re all doing well out there. I’ll see you in May!

I Don’t Know, It Depends: Wisdom from an Unwise Person For Lori

I have a Facebook page for The Big Blue Mess, which I don’t really go around advertising since it just mirrors my normal Facebook page and is mostly there to say, “Look, friends who read this thing. I made words with my hands again!” And if I’ve done my job and the FB algorithm gods ate the right sacrifice, my friends respond with, “yay!” usually via emojis or flat-out ignoring I did anything. I mean, nothing says “Loved it!” like that, right?!?! Anyway, it’s there and has about five followers – my true blog devotees. You go, my self-flagellating diehard fans. (Not to be confused with Die Hard fans, although there is likely some crossing over, because GREATEST CHRISTMAS MOVIE EVER MADE, am I right???)

I digress.

This isn’t new.

So, last week, I alert the five and my personal feed about the writing of the words, and I received a question (and she agreed I could answer in a public forum – or at least on Facebook, which I mean, this will be posted on FB, so that counts, right?):

But I do have a legit question that I need a wise person to answer…why do I keep making the same mistake over and over again? How do I fix that? Be as hard and direct as you need to be!!


Before I dive into that or whether I’d make a good Dear, Abby (hint: I would not), let’s start with a serious disclaimer (where we put the joking hat aside) and where I state quite plainly that while I agree with they Hippocratic Oath, I have not taken it.

SERIOUS DISCLAIMER: Whether I’m wise or not is up for debate; however, what is absolutely not up for debate is the fact that I do not have, nor do I pretend to have, a background in psychology, psychiatry, or social work. I am not a licensed counselor.

But I am a friend, so I can offer thoughts from a friend.

So, to that end…

Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over again?

Here’s my honest answer – the only true one I can offer you given the disclaimer above.

I don’t know.


It depends.

If we’re talking grammar, math, or using baking soda instead of salt (or something like that), I’d say there’s a chance that the person who taught you didn’t teach it in a way you understand. Find others – more than one – and have each of them teach you – have each of them explain in their own unique ways. Sometimes hearing information explained in different ways will allow you to find the one that just clicks with how your brain works – and will get you to that moment when everything falls into place and you arrive at that big ah-ha moment. (A truly great feeling!)

Of course, I suspect the question isn’t about comma splices (I’m a huge abuser), basic geometry (love it), or how not all white powders in the pantry work like baking soda (they don’t?? rude) so I’ll answer the best that I can given that my minor was in English and could have just as easily been in anthropology or philosophy. (Hey, I love ALL things Liberal Arts. Don’t judge.) Anyway…

Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over again?

Honestly, I don’t know, it depends.

Without knowing the specifics, I’ll offer that I think we (the big “we” – the “all people” we) are drawn to things that are familiar to us – patterns – patterns we know – patterns we understand which form our baseline for what is “normal” (whether they’re actually normal or not). Once we’ve established our normal (again, for better or worse), change can be a challenge. We may not have the ability to recognize a need for change because what we’re doing/how we’re experiencing the world or interacting with it is “normal” to us.

How do I fix that? Be as hard and direct as you need to be!!

Ok, here’s my honest opinion. If you’re ready to tackle whatever it is leading you to make those same mistakes, then seek out and talk to a professional – someone who can help you identify your patterns and pitfalls and where things may be a big wonky (not a real medical term). Someone who has the training and can guide you down a path to create new patterns/new approaches/new normals. And if you meet with them a few times and it’s not working, then find someone else. If you don’t like the next person, find someone else. Keep trying until you find the person who works for you. As I mentioned above, sometimes it takes talking to multiple people before you find a person who can explain things in a way that just clicks/resonates with how you think.

You’re worth it.

There’s your wisdom from someone who strives to be wise but isn’t quite there, yet.


For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be wise. I wanted it more than I wanted to be a ballerina, a cheerleader, an architect, a mythologist (which my cousin once informed me wasn’t a job, thus dashing my pre-tween dreams – I’m looking at you, Tonya!), a star on Broadway and a (insert everything else a young girl can dream of becoming including quarterback because hey, I could outthrow most of the boys my age, wasn’t afraid to get messy and was always picked to be the captain in pickup games at school. Forget that I didn’t really get tackling, opting for the ol’ trip and shove to bring opponents down. No powderpuff leagues for this gal. I knew the NFL would make an exception – I mean, hello, it’s me!)

I wanted to be the person you could turn to and count on to provide thoughtful advice.

I want to be the person you can turn to and count on to provide thoughtful advice.

And for the most part, I’m friendly, likable, outgoing(ish), and approachable. (Great traits when you mentor, which I do. Terrible traits when you’re being leered at by the pest control guy who is waving a meaty paw at you saying, “I want all of that all over me. Would you be into that?” (Not kidding. True story. Also, what the actual… ARE YOU KIDDING ME? But, that’s another story for another day.)

Needless to say, when people ask for my advice it feeds my inner megalomaniacal narcissistic naval-gazing monster my dream of being thought of as wise.

So, there I was… (as all relatively mediocre stories start) sitting at my desk when this very sincere young fellow (YF) asks to sit down and get my opinion on a matter.

YF: Beth, do you have a second for me to get your advice?

Me: (SQUEALING LOUDLY ON THE INSIDE!!) Of course! What’s going on?

YF: I just need your opinion on something and it’s kind of serious.

Me: (Doing an internal awkward cabbage patch dance while holding imaginary pompons and trying to outwardly do my best to show a face of concern. ) Ok.

YF: One of the other guys came up to me and said something, and I just need your take.

Me: (thoughtful mm hmmms – GIRL, you are going to CRUSH this!)

YF: Well, he said there were donuts in the breakroom, and I went to look and there weren’t donuts…

Me: (Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….)

YF: Do you think he lied and was trying to trick me about the donuts to be mean? I know this sounds stupid.

Me: (Uhhh…) Nooooo

Internal voice: Maybe?? A little bit?? Donuts? Seriously??

Now, this conversation was more about the dynamics of their relationship than whether donuts were to be had and we talked this through it for a while.

BUT… I’m not going to lie, when I pictured myself as wise, I envisioned pilgrims ascending 1,000 steps (or more) hewn from the mountainside on which my temple/cloud condo was perched atop, a scenic overlook with some clear, spring-fed water babbling away somewhere as water is wont to do, maybe some incense, some big fluffy pillows, some bubble tea (because it’s fun to eat and drink), some genuflection, some “grasshopper, snatch the pebble from my hand” stuff. I never pictured life coaching on how to handle the disappointment of missing out on donuts. It’s like some genie with a wicked sense of humor said, “ok, you’ll be wise but your specialty will be confectionary in nature.”

Maybe I’ve achieved what I sought, but maybe it’s not too late for the quarterbacking dream.


Fact. I live in the longest-running I Love Lucy episode.

And since we’re talking about an episode(s) and it’s my episode and I’m a Beth rather than a Lucy, I’m starting with a flashback.

Two and a Half Months Ago



An over-engineered pristine, porcelain, walk-in contraption resembling a bathtub sits in the alcove of a newly remodeled bathroom. Everything in the room pops with the crispness of “new.” This is NOT your Granny’s outdated 1970’s tribute to rose-petal pink. A breathtaking woman steps in. The audience senses her warmth, wit, and charm. (Hey, I’m the writer here. Write your own narratives.) The outside of the tub is covered in knobs and handles and a hint of jets, lights and other doo-dads peak out from the inside.

Ok, so enough of that. To the story. This tub actually intimidated my stepmom, and rightfully so. It’s a lot. It’s just not a straightforward contraption. It’s a bathtub leviathan, and there I was staring it down. Committed. I stepped in and spun the wheel to hermetically seal the door – a mechanism put in place in the event either the rest of the house or the bathtub itself floods. Unfortunately, the designer/engineer/what have you forgot to install a clear portal to allow you to wave any final or teary (if you’re on the dry side) goodbyes.

Fine. It didn’t have a spinning wheel lock, but I’m sure it was just another design oversight to this beast.

I sat down on the seat, plopped the stopper in place, and opened up the flume. Water rushed in, and rushed in, and rushed in some more eventually covering my ankles. Holy cow, it takes a lot of water to fill this thing. Guilt set in as I realized this was enough drinking water to hydrate a small community for a month, and we weren’t even up to my knees. Finally, there was enough to fill the front well of the tub; however, thanks to the volume of water needed to fill it, the temperature in the water flowing from the faucet was now cold. I’d emptied the water heater of every drop of warm water. Enough! I shut the water off. There was enough very warm (perfect) water in the space in front of me, and heck, I’m bendy-ish so I decided to slide forward and drop down.

It was absolute, slightly cramped bliss. Water was up to my chin, the ends of my hair were slightly damp, and steam rose around my face. LIVING MY BEST LIFE! I’d even turn the interior lights to a lovely shade of teal – ripples reflected off the ceiling and around the alcove. BEAUTIFUL! So, obviously, it was time to try out those jets. Bubbly water could only enhance this perfect experience.

I reached behind me, depressed the button for the jets, and was rewarded by an alarmingly fast-moving spray of water straight to the back of the head. Ugh. Since I wasn’t seated properly on the seat, my head was level with the jet designed to spray you in the middle of your back. I snickered. Whoops! I relaxed back into my bathtub bliss again and thought “ooh, jets would be nice.” And I repeated what I did before because I’m a big fan of expecting different results from doing the exact same thing. I burst out laughing and as I laughed I bumped the stopper. Water drained rapidly. I couldn’t get the stopper properly reseated in a way that the seal would hold. Ugh x1000.

So, there I was crammed into the front of the tub with no water as that last slurp of water rudely and loudly made its exit as it departed. (Earlier, I had used the water’s buoyancy to easily move up to the seat.) I was effectively stuck, which was made slightly worse because I was laughing pretty hard. I just kept picturing my stepmom saying, “Well heck, you silly goose! I swear!” and just laughing with me. She would have handed me a big fluffy towel while cracking up at this whole misadventure.

Dad eventually came by, calling through the door to make sure things were. I admitted I was stuck, but promised to work my way out of it; it was just going to take a minute thanks to the laughter. I would have killed to have that little door to the bathtub open out instead of in, then I could have just gracefully spilled my “warmth, wit, and charm” out onto the floor. Eventually, I worked my way out, but it was ridiculous and it made me miss my stepmom all the more. She would have been so tickled by the whole thing.

Last Friday



A tucked-away, but scaled-down football field yawns out towards a packed gym. It’s a new year, and the football field is a landmine of people trying to figure out what they should be doing because their resolution merely said “go to the gym” and were scant on details regarding the “plan” for going to the gym. A breathtaking woman pushes a sled laden with weights down the length of the football field. The audience senses her warmth, wit, and charm. (I’m still the writer.) The woman glistens from her effort and glides effortlessly across the field because that’s how she moves through this world.

Ok, this is a quicker story but speaks to this theme.

I made it to the end of the football field into the endzone and start pulling the sled backward. Yay hamstring stuff! This is my third time through and I’m nearly done. (FYI – sleds/tanks – 2nd worst thing in the gym narrowly behind the stair master – why do those stairs never end?!?!) I’m doing my best to avoid every other person in the universe who has decided to stretch across the width of this field (MOVE TO THE SIDES, PEOPLE! LADY WITH A SLED COMING THROUGH). On this third and final time back, I’m no longer able to pull it back in a straight line thanks to the people obstacles. “Oh hey, someone is moving the sled, but this open space they keep crossing is pretty great. BEST SPOT EVER! Imma work out in the middle and live my best gym life.” My path back is erratic as I plot a path to miss everyone. I make it to the end and begin to pull the sled into that end zone but am not finishing where I initially started. I’m actually now where my kettlebell is – 20 kg of small, unmoving darkness against a rich deep blue background. I don’t have my glasses on. Who can see detail? Not me! I don’t see it (because truthfully, if I did, there wouldn’t be a story); however, my foot finds it easily. As I’m slowmo falling I announce quite loudly and clearly to the gym “whoopsie!” and land with a wee bounce on my tush. I did a quick “who saw me???” scan (this is important), confirm I’m ok and promised a younger woman seated nearby that I’m good. Then I continue to just sit and giggle a bit.

Sooo… remember the part where I said I do the same thing and expect different results? I should probably mention here that I did the exact same thing the week before (whoops!), but instead of tripping over a kettlebell and falling to the ground, I fell into a seated position on top of a plyo box (the boxes people jump on at the gym). I kind of failed to notice it was directly behind me, because why look when I have faith my paths are always clear?

For the record, pre-Friday’s kettlebell incident, I ensured there were exactly ZERO ply boxes behind me before starting. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. Who says I don’t learn? (Well me, but can you trust the author?)

I’ll end with a final note from a breathtaking woman who is both witty and charming. (Again, get your own blog, and don’t be so ugly/sarcastic in your heart that you’d say on the one hand “you should be more positive about yourself” then try to teach me a special lesson in humility for my hubris when I do just that. Whoops, side rant for another day, but don’t think I don’t see you. I absolutely do.) 😉

Right, I got derailed.

Back to that final note to put a bow on this:

A co-worker recently told me, “Beth, I wish I could be like you. You let things slide off of you like water off a duck’s back. Something happens, and you just laugh it off. I want to be more like that.” I thanked her and my response was, “you can take the sting out of a lot of situations if you just laugh. Think about toddlers when they fall, especially if they’re not really hurt, they immediately check in with the people around them. A split second determines how they feel about what’s happened. If people react in a way that shows overconcern, they may start crying. If people applaud and laugh, they may start laughing, too. I can’t always laugh at everything, in fact, I can fall on a sword so fast and hard it will make someone uncomfortable, but if I do something ridiculous and then laugh about it – that informs everyone around me it’s ok to laugh, too. It’s a tactic that can disarm a situation – take away its power.”

And truthfully, or thankfully, my life is filled with these Vaudevillian-esque pratfalls and misadventures. They happen regularly and can be quite ridiculous. So, since I know they’re going to happen, I do what I can do since I can’t go back in time – I laugh.

You see, I live in my own I Love Lucy episode – one of my choosing. Life is easier and much more fun that way.

2022 in Review: Reflections from a Mess

When I originally conceptualized this post, I toyed with the idea of reviewing the high and low points of the year – a tapestry of words that conveyed “yay, I got to do this thing” to “boo, this happened” and the more I thought about it, the more I realized it could come off as very entitled, “oh boo, I didn’t get to do this thing that most people don’t have the opportunity to do” to “look at me living my best life – proof can clearly be found in these photos of my toes in exotic places!” (FYI, in case it hasn’t come out before, I definitely eye roll at your toe vacation pictures. Your well-curated triptych of Toes in Foreign Sand, Toes in Repose at Sunset, Sweaty Glass Drink in Foreground, and Toes Appealing to the Sky Gods in Hammock just don’t do it for me – even if your nails are well-painted. That said, I would be willing to change my tune if you could show me toes looking jetlagged, toes hungover after an evening bender, toes riding a whale or an otter or a sea turtle, toes toe-deep in BBQ, or toes being arrested. Give me some original toe shots and I might perk up and actually show interest. Also, why toes? Why don’t fingers get their own photo essays on your vacations? Seems rather exclusionary. Sure, toes take you places, but fingers literally open doors. They pack for you, lift the things, and put the things back down. They’re the unsung heroes of your day-to-day life. Surely, they can do more than show off that expensive ring from your future ex and deserve to pop up in their own photo essay from your trip.)

Ok. What the hell, I’ll share the ups/downs since, in theory, my posts are just letters to friends and family. For everyone else, this can be filed under “whining/celebrating from another over-privileged white girl – good on her.”

The Low Stuff

I royally screwed up my ankle early in the year by injuring my anterior tibialis. I went from walking 12 miles to not being able to walk a block without wanting to scream from the pain. It wrecked my trip to Boston, where I spent long hours staring at a wall, and not touring the sites, and it impacted my trip to New Zealand, because hooray, it’s still healing. (Can I add that apparently I’m still continuing to get old and my body’s ability to repair seems to be giving me a very loud raspberry, which is rude?) It also impacted my ability to use the stair master. My PT guy listed it as a “no no” piece of equipment. Oh no. I was very sad. (The last two sentences were written in heavy sarcasm font – you may not have that font pack installed, so I wanted to call that out. Also, maybe I should file that one under “highlights” – no stair master. I hate you stair master!) Thankfully, it didn’t impact my rowing, which you may all recall is my favorite cardio activity. (This sentence is NOT written in sarcasm font as rowing is the best thing ever. If you disagree, you’re wrong.)

Like so many of us, I finally went through that unwelcome “got Covid” rite of passage. Having done that, I’d prefer not to do it again thank you very much. Of course, this hit when we had another important trip planned to celebrate a friend’s child’s graduation. An amazing kid who refers to me as “Aunt Beth” and will state to others (not to me, because they’re a punk – fact) that out of their four real aunts, I’m the favorite. Anyway, I helped pay for a trip to the coast for a weekend celebrating them and got to spend it in solitude trying to breathe. The upside: I’m still breathing AND they all had a great time. The downside: I’m not over being a little envious; I will never have those shared memories and that is a bit of a kick to the gut.

As we all march forward in our lives, I also had some important/major players in my life move to the background of my life, which is absolutely ok, but it definitely had an impact.

Then finally, we lost my step-mom in August – a woman who had been a major part of my life and who I am for 40 years. She was a huge fan of my blog, and on that day my readership dropped down to nine. Now, how will I become famous?

… and all of that nutshelled stuff (and a bit more) is how I ended up back in counseling, because of that, as well as other thoughts, reinforce something I’ve been feeling since December 2019.

Ok, let’s not end on that particular note.

The Good (Arguably Great) Stuff

I gave my first presentation to a crowd of people, and I wasn’t nervous. Huge thanks to improv and to some of my friends whose presentation styles I borrowed from. I’m particularly proud because I did it on that newly injured tendon, and while I was thinking “OMG OW OW OW,” I managed to be engaging, had people laughing, and praise was sent to my supervisor. Afterward, people surrounded me and asked follow-up questions. I may have proudly punched myself in the shoulder. Way to go, you!

I went to New Zealand to see that little girl I met on my first day at school in Austin, in second grade. We had such a great time in an absolutely gorgeous setting. There was fire, rugby (Go Ireland?), hakas, mountains, fjords, Hobbit homes, tall trees, frothed milk, great conversations, hugs, and laughs. It was one of those “once in a lifetime” trips that revitalize your soul in a place I could breathe easier because it was with someone I adore who accepts me for everything I am. She also managed to at least pretend not to notice when my foot wasn’t working and I threw the occasional frustrated wee tantrum. There’s something to be said about a long shared history. “Oh, is that happening? How about this frothy concoction while listening to the tuis?” Ok! In friend, that roughly translates to “just breathe”.

A spot opened up in the intro to lap swimming classes, and I enrolled. I also joined an orchestra, where the folks in my section are delightful. I’ll tell one quick goofy story. At my first rehearsal, I had an immediate crush on a fellow who had come up to introduce himself, and like my brain does, my Tarzan’s brain took over with, “oo! Him pretty! He make nice words at Beth! He charming! You make charming, too, ok? You stop with babbling words and lift jaw up off floor, ok? Bad look.” And then he went to shake my hand – he extended that hand while I was in full-blown Tarzan mode – and I missed his hand not once or twice, but three times before I could remember how to shake hands like a normal person. SO AWKWARD! My actual brain fired back up and its first words were, “what have you done? There’s a reason we keep Tarzan brain on a tight leash, Beth. Oooft.” I now avoid this person, because well… that was mortifying.

Can I just say, those flash crushes are rare, but when they happen, I’m a complete idiot? One day I may tell those stories, but as teasers – I dropped cowbells in front of one fellow over and over and over again. Here’s a fun fact – nothing about a cowbell is discreet, not to mention 3-4 cowbells. For another handsome fellow, I threw everything in my arms up into the air in front of them and they all came crashing down on the floor. I was holding MANY small things – so many things.

I live in an ongoing I Love Lucy episode.

Ok, onward with the good...

I spoke in front of a crowd at the Capitol. I spoke my truth. I spoke clearly. I think I did very well despite a co-worker’s only comment upon hearing my speech which was to ask, “Were you told to speak? or did you volunteer?” When I said that I was asked, he simply responded, “well… I guess it’s good you didn’t tell them to go pound sand.” Gee. Thanks? No “you did a good job”. Nothing.

A quick call back to earlier, completely unrelated (totally related): Some people who moved into minor roles this year did so when they commented “…it’s good you didn’t tell them to go pound sand.” Although truth be told, they weren’t fully into a major role, yet. Thank God for the audition process.

Even more onwarding…

We raised over $9k for the walk! (To a few of our donors waiting on their incentives: Anna and I haven’t forgotten you! Mics have been purchased, and there’s a green screen and new/better lighting… we just need an attack plan and costumes. The videos will be terrible (aka funny – maybe not intentionally) and made with love.

Don’t you all wish you’d donated now? Actually, you can. However, today – December 31 – is THE last day. Dig through previous posts for the link to the fundraiser and chose the incentives that get you ACTING!) Also, this is your last chance to get one of those goofy/poorly-acted incentives. Here’s why, and I’m putting this here in all CAPS:


I have a whole post written about the “why” behind that, which is saved in drafts. It explains it well but well, it’s in the drafts folder soooo that does you no good. Just trust that there’s a reason, and it’s long-winded (like most of my writing) and I’m not getting into it right now.

Actually, I currently have three posts loitering about in the drafts folder. See, I do still write – I just don’t always hit “Post”. A story teaser from the drafts folder: there’s a post about how I got stuck in a walk-in bathtub (mostly because I couldn’t control my laughter over the situation I found myself in) and accidentally managed to shoot myself in the back of the head with a jet of water not once (which oopsy if it were just once) but twice (the ol’ doing the same thing and expecting different results dilemma). It was hilarious – the moment, not the post – it still needs a lot of massaging and may die there. RIP little post!

To Wrap It Up

There have been ups and there have been downs, just like everyone else; it’s life – it’s a balance. These are a few stories carved from mine – one where there have been moments of great joy and profound sadness. Like everyone, a life whose spectrum runs from disappointment and heartbreak to laughter and pure love and joy – although mine now includes a counselor who GOT thrown in towards the end to help me right my ship a bit. (She makes adorable suggestions like “don’t go full-blown scorched earth on things if I can help it.”(paraphrased a ton) I’m currently taking her radical idea under advisement.)

As for 2023, I’ve never been one for resolutions, and I’m not about to start now, but I do like the idea of having an intention. A word to hold onto throughout the year, and I’ve chosen “Metamorphosis”. I have an idea of what I mean by that, and how to achieve it, but part of it will also be about discovery.

What is your intention for 2023?

Also, I’m 100% serious about the toe photos. I double-dog dare you to send me fun/funny toe shots of those mangly/much-abused digits that hobble you around.

That’s a wrap for 2022.

The Out of the Darkness Walk Speech

Today, despite casually researching flights out of Austin the night before to make an escape, I stood in front of the Texas State Capitol and addressed a crowd on behalf of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and delivered the following speech:

Good Morning everyone. My name is Beth Doughty, and I am the team captain of the Jay Walkers – just one of the many teams walking with you today.

Like many of you, I’m here because I lost someone. In my case, my husband Jay died by suicide at the age of 40. On that day, almost every person on my team lost someone – some lost a son, some lost a baby brother, some lost an uncle, and others a good friend. On that day, I stopped being a wife and a best friend, and I became a widow – our future plans and dreams shattered. On that day, each one of us lost pieces of ourselves. The loss was devastating. The loss was profound, and none of us will ever be the same person we were before July 9, 2016 – the day Jay died.

Immediately following his death, I not only felt isolated, I was isolated. People didn’t know what to say, so they wouldn’t say anything because of the stigma surrounding suicide. They worried that I was embarrassed or ashamed by his death. So when I went back to work, I wasn’t greeted with sympathy cards or flowers or expressions of condolence after my husband died. No one said, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Instead, several workers asked, “How was your vacation?” And I sat there gobsmacked – emotional wounds that hadn’t begun to heal widened further. And it wasn’t because the people at work who knew about his death weren’t kind or sympathetic people, they just didn’t know how to talk about suicide or mental health issues, and they certainly didn’t know how to share that information with others. 

It seemed like suicide was this boogeyman, and people were afraid to speak about it except in whispers lest you invite its gaze upon you or your family.

My first support group was the people you see walking with me today (and the walkers who are walking with me across the country and across the globe). They formed a protective phalanx – closed ranks, and we gathered around each other tightly – supporting and protecting each other.

Unfortunately, our experience isn’t uncommon.

I’ve been asked to tell you all why I walk. I walk because I believe we should and can normalize this conversation. I walk because I believe strongly in AFSP’s mission. I walk because of the support of this community and I believe that through it we can heal. I walk because you’re here – whether it’s because you’ve lost someone or you’re struggling, you’re here, and I believe together WE can make a difference, and that starts by having open and honest conversations around mental health issues and suicide. It starts by changing laws so that everyone has better access to mental health care. And it starts by being seen, like we are here today, and by talking loudly about these issues so that no one feels isolated again.

We thrive as a community.

We heal as a community.

And I also walk in honor of my husband, Jay, my favorite person and my best friend, so no one ever forgets him.

Jay was so much more than one event.

Thank you.

Community – Beth Doughty, Oct. 2022

A huge thanks to everyone who supported the walk again this year either by making a donation or participating in the walk (virtually or in-person).

We raised $7,747!!! (Once the auction closes, it will take us over $8,000! WOW! Great job all of y’all!!!!)

Special thanks to:

  • The Parks Family
  • Central Texas Archery
  • Our Silent “Let’s Get Loud” Auction Donors
    • Rocky Mountain Vacation Homes – April Bindock
    • Chuy’s
    • Dragon’s Lair
    • Anna Adam
    • Heather Barthelme
    • Dustin Colson
    • Leslie Nichols
    • Dianne Sheldon
    • Meghan Spear
  • Enid Kowalik
  • Katy Kowalik-Alcorta
  • Also, extra special thanks to: John Skaarup for keeping the Silent Auction alive.

And none of this could have been accomplished without my best friend and co-captain, Anna Adam who provided support, hugs, and willingly gave up Sundays to sit for long hours out in the Texas heat. She crafted incentives, chased down tumbling tents, and ultimately helped guide this unwieldy ship to shore.

There’s still a bit more work to do. Incentives to be shipped. Bad videos to be created, but all should be coming your way soon.

Thank you all for supporting us one last time. We had a good run.

If you’d still like to give to a great cause, you have until December 2022. Just click on this link to The “Jay” Walker’s AFSP Fundraising Page.

Every Year…

Every year she comes back and asks us to donate to AFSP. Blahblahblah. Hand outstretched yet again. We get it. Your husband died. But that’s your cause that ain’t mine. “Please donate to our walk.” “Please help end the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health.” “Please help end suicide.” I’ve heard that request before… again… and again… and again. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. Or it’s “Please just walk with us.” Like I have nothing better to do than walk with sad people on a Saturday in October. It’ll probably be 105° just like every other day in Texas. Plus, I have a Halloween party to go to. My makeup isn’t applying itself. Who has time for two hours outside. Hello? And don’t get me started on those cheesy incentives. Lady, no one wants your haiku or to see you poorly act out a scene or sketch or whatever it is you’re asking us to bid on. And seriously, is one of the higher-end incentives a “pay to come and play with you”? WTF? Let me just say that slowly in my head: I.. am paying donating (semantics) to hang out with you. Are you actually kidding me right now? I see through that one!

Ohhhh… and now a Silent Auction??? As if I wanted to attend the longest-running music program. I can get into an Austin City Limits taping whenever, bruh. Guaranteed tickets to the Houston Opera? Yeah. I have connections. A stay in a adorably quaint town in Colorado with some of the best BBQ in a nearby neighboring town. Dude, have you even been to Hutto? We have that here.


The Why of Why I’m AskingAGAIN

Let’s start with the facts:

  • Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death
    • In Texas…
      • it is the 11th leading cause of death
      • it is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-24, and 25-34
      • (Have you been to a funeral for a teenager who’s died by suicide? I have. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever experienced. Watching teen after teen stand up, stand before a crowd sobbing as they expressed confusion and heartache for two straight hours of eulogies was profound. It was overwhelming and gut-wrenching. Another friend’s daughter lost a friend to suicide over the summer. When do we say enough is enough? When do we start having those real conversations where we talk about this openly and candidly?)
  • According to the Veteran’s Administration 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report:
    • Among Veterans between the ages of 18–44, suicide was the second-leading cause of death.
    • In each year from 2001 through 2020, age- and sex-adjusted suicide rates of Veterans exceeded those of non-Veteran U.S. adults.
  • In 2020, 45,979 Americans died by suicide
    • In 2020, there were 6,146 Veteran suicides.
  • In 2020, there were an estimated 1.20 MILLION attempts
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men.
  • In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88x more than women.
  • On average, there are 130 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 69.68% of suicide deaths in 2020.
  • In 2020, firearms accounted for 52.83% of all suicide deaths.
  • Almost three times as many people died by suicide in 2019 than in alcohol-related motor vehicle related accidents.
  • 93% of adults surveyed in the U.S. think suicide can be prevented.

But that’s all statistics – numbers can be hard to relate to…

So, all of that is why I ask you to support this cause (again). It’s why I ask you to walk with me (again). It’s why I ask for you to pick yourself up and go outside on October 29th at 9 AM wherever you are. You don’t have to be in Austin, TX to show support. I ask because I want you to help me. I want you to be part of the solution that drives those numbers come down. I want to see REAL change to how we talk about this topic and how we address mental health care in this country.

… and if all that takes is offering up a bad haiku, tickets to Austin City Limits or even a chance to Explore Archery then it’s worth it.

A huge shoutout to all of our donors who come back each and every year! and to our walkers! You’re making a difference! We wouldn’t be successful without your continued support.

And a special shoutout to one of our donors who is trying to single-handedly carry the Silent “Let’s Get Loud” Auction. Thank you!! Hopefully, you’ll get some competition soon or if you don’t, you have a lot of fun date nights coming up. 🙂

The Jay Walker’s Silent “Let’s Get Loud” Auction


This year the Jay Walker’s are all about trying something new, stretching their wings a bit, going out on a limb, and any other similar idiom you can think of that means all of that. But for new to be successful…


This year, we’re trying out a Silent (not so silent) Auction to help raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

I’m not going to lie, asking for donations was super uncomfortable. “Hi, this is Beth, this is my cause, would you like to give me stuff? Please?” We reached out to friends, family, and local businesses to solicit donations. It’s for such an important cause, and hey, some even said yes! WOO HOO!!! Thank you thank you!

What we have now are some pretty awesome things. We have tickets from The Houston Opera (you choose your show), The Austin Symphony (their donation is being finalized but should be posted in a few days), the Fayette County Theater (more theater, because we LOVE theater!), Chuy’s (because we also LOVE eating!), Dragon’s Lair (games!!), Scubaland (underwater adventures!!) as well as personal training sessions to help you start your fitness journey (get ahead of your pre-New Year’s resolution now and start reaching your goals). And some of our walkers have also donated their own amazing handmade crafts. I even threw in a few things, because I’m swell.

Take a peek! Support a good cause! Help remove the stigma and make mental health a priority!

The Jay Walker’s Silent “Let’s Get Loud” About Suicide Prevention Auction

Like I said, I need you for this to be successful so go out and tell your family/friends!!!

Coming Soon!

More information about teaming up with Central Texas Archery for a fun Fall Archery Event to benefit the Jay Walkers and AFSP on October 23rd.

Plus, a chance to hear me speak from the steps of the Capitol!

Want to donate directly to our walk? Want to take advantage of fun incentives?

Visit my AFSP fundraising page!

Choose to make a difference today!

A Eulogy from a Chosen Daughter

Can We Play in the Photoboth?

I wrote her obituary…

“A beautiful eulogy!” “I could tell you wrote it.”

Those words…

… an outline of a person.

A collection of moments – of milestones. Not the person. Never the person.

Not a eulogy. An obituary.

This is a eulogy. Random memories.

On August 28th, I lost my parent.

She wasn’t related to me by blood, but that never stopped her from proudly boasting to anyone who would listen, “this is my chosen daughter” as a loving arm wrapped around my waist and she’d beam up at me.

For 40 years she was a major figure in my life. For the good times, the bad times, and everything in between. From belly-splitting laughs to Dad’s pleas of “can you both stop fighting?”

She had the worst memory of anyone I’ve ever known. Stories usually based in a truth, but the details a bit smudged, taking on a fresh new life. It wasn’t an aging thing – just a her thing.

“Honey, did you bring your epi pen?” “Why do I need an epi pen?” “We have bee hives, and I want you to be safe.” “I’m not allergic to bees.” A suspicious,”Hmmm…” would follow any story corrections. “Well, bring your epi pen.”

“Beth is afraid of mice.” “Wait, what? I am?” “Don’t go into Dad’s workshop, have Daddy go if you need anything.” “Ok?”

Hearing a story about yourself was usually an eye-opening event and typically ended with pulling people out of earshot to say, “soooo… here’s where that story came from and no, I’m not allergic to bees.”

She was my champion. I’ve seen her go toe-to-toe with other parents, with schools, with friends and family whenever she felt I might be slighted.

She loved books – no matter where she was, one was in hand – from the the livingroom to the tub and then to bed. When I walked into the house the morning after she passed, an audiobook sat on her desk. Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” – a great book – one I recommended she listen to instead of read so she could hear Trevor Noah tell his own story. I didn’t think she took that recommendation. She had. She listened.

She was my mom, my confidante, the woman who ensured I got to participate in summer music camps and showed up every weekend for String Project where I learned music history and composition. Yes, to a small degree I have been trained to compose music. Still waters… She showed up for every concert, every graduation, every major event often times insisting she go instead of Dad, especially if there was a party where we got to dress up. Trust me, it wasn’t a Dad thing.

She and Dad usually traveled independently; someone had to watch the property and mind the various critters, so when she had to miss Jay’s memorial, she sat on the phone and wept. She felt she’d let me down as a parent. She had not, but a hug from her in those rough moments were definitely needed.

I love bad action movies and bad SciFi – really bad SciFi, so she introduced me to independent films. My world opened. (Although, when she refused to take me to see Krull, there may have been an epic early teen girl meltdown. I still haven’t seen it. I’m sure it’s glorious, and I can continue hang onto that belief as long as I never see it.) While everyone shopped for Black Friday, we’d head off to the movies.

I’ve lost my day-after-Thanksgiving movie buddy.

I will miss the times that she wouldn’t let me let obstacles get in my way. The city shutting down because of ice on the roads? Why shouldn’t we go to the movies? She was skilled at driving on those treacherous roads! We had the streets and then the theater to ourselves. We sat and watched Ghandi.

There was a time I was laid up in a hospital bed unable to leave because thinking about moving made me nauseous and then actually moving was even less pretty. It was supposed to be a day surgery, and the hospital staff were considering admitting me overnight. She breezed into the recovery room and went from mom-mode into nurse-mode. She snapped up my chart, grilled the nursing staff., and then looked me in the eye, “You want to get out of here. You’re not going to get sick in my car. C’mon, let’s go!” Assertions – not questions. I went from feeling puny to let’s hold hands and Thelma and Louise it out of this joint.

She taught me…

  • How to drive
  • How to be safe by setting boundaries
  • To write thank you notes
  • To not shy away from using my voice

She drove me crazy – saying all the wrong words, and then all the right words. She embarrassed me and made me proud. She was perfectly and beautifully flawed – perfectly human – with a huge heart and a bigger laugh, and she was loved because of it. And in return she accepted and loved me for all of my flaws.

She defined my voice. She’s the “why” when I tell stories.

These stories have always been for her.

Letters to my #1 fan who just wanted to hear an anecdote about my day.

When I was in New Zealand she went into the hospital. “Honey, I don’t want to worry you. You have a great time and tell me stories when you get back.” It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t get to share those stories – to make her laugh at the adventures and misadventures – to show her all of the pictures. To be really listened to and enjoyed as only a parent can.

The last message I received said, “…hope to feel like talking soon.” and then a few days later she passed – a week after her birthday, two weeks before their 40th anniversary, and three days ahead of her own mother.

When people say I’m like my Dad or my Mom, they forget that I’m very much my other parent’s daughter. She shaped me. She is part of the DNA of my soul.

I love you, CJ!

Your chosen daughter.

I Want You!


As those of you who know me and follow this blog are well aware, Suicide Prevention is an important cause to me. Each year I talk about suicide prevention. I raise funds. I walk. I do it because I believe I can make a difference, and I know with your help, we can make a difference.

I do it for Jay. I do it for Barbara. I do it for Lyssa. I do it for Austin. I do it for my friends who I know struggle.

I do it because I don’t want to add another name to the list.

Information / Statistics

I want to share a some information and facts from the American Foundation for Suicide Preventions (AFSP) and the CDC, and then I’m going to ask that you help – that you choose to make a difference.

  1. Suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, and it’s preventable
  2. As the suicide rate continues to rise, we must make mental health a national priority — and advocate for more investment in suicide research and nationwide prevention efforts
  3. There is no single cause for suicide, and suicide risk increases when several health factors and life stressors converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair — learn the warning signs at
  4. Everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide, and together we can learn the suicide risks and warning signs, and encourage those who struggle to seek help
  5. Assume you are the only one who will reach out, have an honest conversation, ask directly about suicide, and let them know you care
  6. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance use problems, especially when unaddressed, increase the risk of suicide — most people who actively manage their mental health conditions go on to engage in life
  7. If we encourage more people to seek treatment, we will make a huge difference in improving mental health and reducing suicide
  8. Suicide is complex, answers may not come easily, and it may take time to understand the thoughts and feelings associated with a suicide — you don’t have to go through this difficult experience alone
  9. Driving demand for better treatment will improve the field of mental health
  10. We can #StopSuicide

Some Facts

  • 45,979 Americans died by suicide in 2020
    • It is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 10-19
    • It is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 20-34
    • It is the 4th leading cause of death for ages 35-44
    • Over 1/3 of people who died by suicide were 55 or older
  • 1.2 million Americans attempted suicide in 2020.
  • In 2019, the suicide rate for Veterans was 1.5x higher than for a non-Veteran.
  • 54% of Americans have been affected by suicide in some way.
  • 90% of those who died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death.
  • 46% of Americans ages 18+ living with a mental health condition received treatment in the past year.
  • 72% of communities in the United States did not have enough mental health providers to serve residents in 2021, according to federal guidelines.

How You Can Make an Impact

You can make a difference. Here’s how:

Walk with us!

  • Join the Jay Walkers on October 29th and walk with us either virtually (send us a photo of you walking to be included in our walk collage) or in Austin, TX at the Capitol. (Click on the link and select “Join Our Team”.)
  • You’ll be with a welcoming and supportive community
  • Let’s have the biggest group yet!
  • Show Austin, TX that Mental Health Matters and help remove the stigma around suicide

Make a Donation!

  • Donate to AFSP through the Jay Walkers Fundraising Page. (Click the link and select “Donate”)
  • We brought back a lot of fun incentives – haikus, custom disaster-pieces, and bad performances to name a few – all for a good cause!
  • Plus, your donation goes directly to AFSP whose mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. (Read more about the work they do by following the AFSP link)

Choose to make a difference today.

Thank you all for your continued support. I look forward to seeing you on the 29th when I will be speaking on the Capitol steps.