Happy Independence Day! God Bless America. Now, If You’ll Excuse Me…

You know that feeling in the swimming pool when you take a deep breath to fill your lungs enough to swim underwater to the far end of the pool?

Right now, that “pool” = Fourth of July Week. The “swimmers” are me and my cohorts at Holly B’s Bakery (where “Holly’s Buns Are Best”). And that “deep breath”? That’s this blog post. My way of saying Happy Fourth! and I’ll see you in a week.

For those of you new to Wing’s World, here are some pix I posted a year ago showing the mayhem pre-Fourth prep in our tiny bakery world:

On a normal July Saturday we’ll sell 120 croissants. On the Fourth, it’ll be nearly three times that. We’ve been making and freezing croissant dough every day for the past two weeks.

cinn rolls

Did I say 15 pans, last year? Make that 21. Who knows what it’ll be this year, now that Lopez Island has made National Geographic’s Top 40 Places list? (#6, yet. Yup. Here they come.)


In order to get all this food out by the time we open @ 7 on July 4 and not instantly sell out, we bakers will be starting at 2 am. Am I going to ride my bike in to work that morning? Yes I am–but from the house of a friend who lives half a mile away. Hey, I’m dedicated, not STUPID.

Because, as on most lovely ocean-y spots, those of us who live here will all be hosting family and friends this weekend. Of course we will! It’s how it ought to be. And I can’t wait to be doing this:

Croissants? Meh. Pass me another s'more!

Croissants? Meh. Pass me another s’more!

and this…

My bakery doesn't make pies. All the more reason for me to make 'em at home!

My bakery doesn’t make pies. All the more reason for me to make ’em at home!

at home, in between bakery shifts.

I will be one happy, tired, but HAPPY puppy. Finishing Chapter 13 of my next book? Won’t be happening. Selling Books 1 and 2 at the Lopez Farmers Market? Nope–not till later this month. And one more thing I won’t be doing, in the upcoming underwater swim through a pool of love & butter–blogging. I’ll catch y’all next week.

The Flying Burgowski will be back after a short break...

The Flying Burgowski will be back after a short break…

So meantime, happy Independence Day, everyone! Let’s love our families, treat our friends, honor the our freedom…and have another s’more.

My Goddaughter the Triathlete: Why I Can’t Wait For the Fourth of July

Last year I wrote about my “godkid,” Allison Snow. My theme was the word itself, the concept. Today I want to write about Allison herself—or Al, as I call her. I’m busting with pride.

I first met Al when she was a student in my 10th grade Honors English class. She was a competent, but not a terrific writer; a careful, but neither avid nor outstandingly insightful reader. In short, I enjoyed her as a student, but would never have identified her as one of my faves. One snippet did catch my attention, however: she wrote her “Turning Point in my Life” essay about the death of her father when she was twelve. I did the math and realized that she was only fourteen, a full year younger than most of her peers.

The following year, I and five of my braver colleagues started a pilot “school-within-a-school” half-day program called International Business and Global Studies. Project-based, with a fully-integrated curriculum and student-centered learning (are you glazing over yet?), IBGS attracted students who were bored with traditional classrooms. To my surprise, Al signed up and became an IBGS star. I still remember Al’s semester presentation on Greece, which included artifacts from Tacoma’s Greek Festival, which she had attended, on a weekend.

Even more surprising, Al became a cheerleader. That serious young woman, shrieking “Card-inal Pow-er!”— really? Should’ve tipped me off: in her quiet way, Al made her own decisions about what course to pursue, regardless of expectation. Motivated. Purposeful.

Her own family learned this during Al’s senior year. I was on leave in New Zealand (let’s hear it for spouses with paid sabbatical!), and Al announced to her mom that she would like her graduation present early: a plane ticket. Then she got on the school’s office email (not having her own—remember those days?) and asked me for permission to come visit.

“A cheerleader?” my husband asked. “For ten days?” (Not that he was being judgmental or anything.) Little did he know that visit would turn into three weeks.

Al mtn.

Once Al arrived, she realized how ridiculously short her trip was for coming such a distance. In a super-long-distance call, she talked her mom into letting her change her return ticket. She used that time to explore most of the South Island with us, babysitting our young boys. By the time she left, she was family…

…except in one regard. Although fit, Al was never what I’d call an athlete. Yes, I KNOW cheerleaders have to be in good shape, but the mentality is different: they don’t train like competitive athletes do. Although The Mate and I had mostly retired from racing, we still considered our daily workout the same way we considered meals: essential. I don’t remember Al ever offering to go for a jog with me. Motivation and purpose didn’t seem to go there.

Fast-forward ten years: Al, now a young teacher (like me—I know, right?!) decides to try triathlon. The results: one and three-quarter hours. 167th in her age group. Proud of herself.

Aha. Motivated. Purposeful. Here’s what happened next:

In 2007 and ’08, more Triathlons. Her times come down. 2009, three of ‘em. 2010: four.

In 2012, Al becomes an Ironwoman, in a race that took 12 ¾ hours.

And in 2014?  Personal Best by thirty minutes in a half-Ironman. Thirty minutes! And last week: First place female.

Al winning

I’m leaving out a whole huge category of pride here, over Al’s career as a star elementary school teacher. Today I’m celebrating Al the Athlete, entirely self-created.

When I became a semi-elite runner, I had an athletic family pushing me, college coaches, a track club. Al has a coach now, and a team, but only because she went out there and got them, all on her own.

On July 4, I’m going to run our little island’s 5k Fun Run, the only “racing” I do these days. Al’s going to run it with me…and she’s going to kick my butt. And I can’t wait.



Happy Independence Day! Boom! Crash! Hold Me…

(courtesy Melissa Bowersock, WANA Creative Commons)

(courtesy Melissa Bowersock, WANA Creative Commons)

July 4 is the one day of the year our little island suffers from traffic jams. For some reason, even with a year-round population of under 2,500, we boast a fireworks display that rivals that of Seattle. Seriously. It lasts for 30 minutes, with a finale that sucks the breath out of you. An extra ferry runs on the 4th, just to accommodate all the onlookers…who then get stuck in traffic trying to negotiate our single road along the bay.

Me? All that traffic gives me the perfect excuse to stay away. I’ll be watching from a distance of about six miles, as the raven flies. From our roof, we can see the fireworks just fine.

They’ll still be gorgeous. And even better…they’ll be QUIET.

I am one of those people who hates loud noises. Let me give you some examples:

As a kid, running track races, I used to plug my ears at the starting line. If I were in the lead heading for the “gun lap,” I used to dread speeding by the starter who would obligingly shoot that gun one more time, just for me.

Invited to birthday parties, I would do a quick surveillance. Any balloons? Hmmm, a few. Any rowdy boys who looked like they’d consider stomping on those balloons to be fun times? Uh-oh…stomach-knots.

(original image courtesy Lynn Kelley Author, WANA creative commons)

(original image courtesy Lynn Kelley Author, WANA creative commons)

Holding a board for my dad to hammer, I’d wince at each blow.

1812 Overture? Getoutahere!

And don’t even talk to me about thunderstorms. Please. Even now, my stomach clenches a little, remembering how I’d do a little pre-bedtime sky-check. Stars out? Phew–dreamland, here I come. Cloudy? Uh-oh. Can I fall asleep before the storm and maybe sleep through it? Too late…best turn the fan up to its loudest setting, fight with my sister about closing the window, and get ready to suffocate beneath my blanket, eyes squeezed shut against the lightning which only ratcheted up the dread. Oh man. How old is too old to crawl into bed with Mom and Dad?

(original photo courtesy Melissa Bowersock, WANA creative commons)

(original photo courtesy Melissa Bowersock, WANA creative commons)

(Did I mention that I grew up in North Carolina? Where summer thunderstorms are as common as beer cans on roadsides?)

So you might have figured out by now why Independence Day wasn’t my favorite holiday as a kid.

Over the years, I’ve learned to adjust. When people invite me to fireworks-viewings, I counter-invite them to MY place, where I know in advance just how loud–or NOT loud–those beautiful, scary explosions will be.

I don’t run races very often any more, but when I do, I clench my fists on the starting line and don’t let my fingers anywhere near my ears, much as they want to go there. Who’s a big girl now?

I’m proud to say hammers don’t make me wince any more. Baby steps!

Oh, and since I moved to the Pacific Northwest 23 years ago, thunderstorms are a distant nightmare memory.

You might wonder why I’m so willing to share this humiliating weakness of mine. It’s because, somewhere along the way, I decided that I suffer from a PHOBIA.

I’m not “scared” of loud noises: I’m PHOBIC! In fact, I’m PHONOPHOBIC. 

Phobias are cool. I have a lot of company being phobic. I can even be proud of all the common phobias I DON’T happen to suffer from, like spiders and heights, all while proudly maintaining my spot in the phobic sisterhood.

Why does this make me feel better? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it has to do with that nice, big word. PHONOPHOBIC. Yup. THAT I will proudly own. I will celebrate! I will have a party.

Just please don’t bring balloons.

YOU’RE INVITED…not only to my phonophobia party, but to share some phobias of your own. Or are they just fears? Is there a difference? What do you think? What’s the weirdest phobia you will admit to? I love hearing from you, and I promise I won’t make fun. No fingers crossed.