Stories from 2018 – 08 – Thirteen!!!

And now I officially have a teenager. Where does the time go?! 

I arrived from Sydney on the morning of David’s thirteenth birthday. I’d missed his birthday last year due to another trip to Sydney so I wasn’t going to do that again. I booked my tickets so I’d make sure to be back and I landed around 7am so I told Jake to not even put David on the bus. We spent the day at home the three of us. David and Jake played a few games while I took a nap and then we opened presents and then we walked to Palo Alto and had some pizza and root beer. We walked and chatted and spent time with David.

Then it was time to get Nathaniel and David played some more games with his friends online. It was a quiet day but focused on him. And for the first time in almost ten years, he also opted to have a small birthday party this year. We invited four of his friends and they all went rock climbing together and then back to our house for some poker and pizza and cake.

It was really nice to see how nice and kind his friends are and a wonderful day for our wonderful boy! I am so grateful for David and can’t believe we are already all the way to thirteen. I hope time slows down a bit and we can soak in the joy of the days we have together.

Happy Birthday my wonderful son, you are the very best thing that ever happened to me and I am so so honored to get to be your mom.

Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stronger Than Before – 08

Weekly Intention: This week is a bit of a mix. Monday is a national holiday so I will be grateful to have the extra day to relax. Tuesday and Wednesday will be long work days for me and the kids will be home with Jake since it’s Winter Break for them. On Thursday, I will work half a day and then we will see if we can sneak a mini-vacation the rest of the week. (Hopefully!) My intention for this week is to be very productive when at work. And then to really be present with my family. I want to rest a lot, play a lot and live the moments of my life.

This month’s intention is: Physically Strong: This is your month. Get out there and get strong. Increase the weights. Add more cardio. Make a plan. You can do this. You have it in you. I will say that it worked out to be a poor choice to have this for February. I will not be able to go to the gym at all this month due to my travel, jake’s travel and holidays. I will have to swap this for March and do both of my intentions then. In the meantime I am still honoring this by doing daily yoga at least.

One way I will stretch this week:  i’m going to have to say that my new role will be stretching me for the next few weeks/months.

One boundary I will set this week: i will make sure more and more people know about my new role. this will help me be successful and set more boundaries.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: while i will continue to focus on my new team for a while, this week i will also spend solid energy on my boys while I am away

One new thing I will learn this week: i am going to try to learn a little bit more about each person.

One area where I will go deeper this week: one specific thing this week is a product roadmap.

What do I need to sit with this week? i need to sit with the discomfort of being the new person, not knowing enough, not being able to help enough yet, etc.

I am looking forward to: learning, growing, being helpful. i am really looking forward to this new role.

This week’s challenges: balancing work and home this week will be tricky.

Top Goals: 

  • Work:  more 1-1s, product roadmap and reviews.
  • Personal: rest. 
  • Family: vacation!

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: i want to spend some time helping jake this week
  • Learn: learn how to navigate well in this new role.
  • Peace: peace with being a beginner in so many ways
  • Service: this week’s service is maybe driving a bunch so Jake doesn’t have to.
  • Gratitude: for the opportunities that are coming my way. i am not taking any of it for granted for a second.

This week, I want to remember:  everything takes time, especially establishing relationships.

Stronger Than Before is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Weekly Reflection 2018 – 07

How I got Stronger this week: This was a long and crazy week. My new position was officially announced on Monday and I started transitioning. Actually I am still doing a big portion of my previous job so there wasn’t a huge amount of transition yet, as I just started taking more on. This new role will be different, challenging and hopefully impactful. I have a lot to learn and a lot of new relationships to foster. I am optimistic and excited and of course quite a bit nervous, too. I spent a lot of this week focusing on the new job, being present, trying to hit the ground running, etc. I also tried to balance this with being there for all my boys. Jake helped me a lot especially on the former part of the week so I tried to kick it up a notch in the latter part of the week and be there for all three of them. I’ve also exercised everyday even though I’ve been feeling sick. I’m still going forward with the daily yoga.

Top Goals Review:  had several 1-1s already, working on hitting the ground running, kept going with yoga but didn’t add weights as i haven’t been back to the gym and it looks like most of february will be this way, and i will say that i am still completely dropping the ball on nathaniel 🙁

I celebrate: my new job!!

I am grateful for: the support system I have especially at home. my new job will require a lot of help and patience especially up front and I am really grateful for the patience and kindness my three boys (especially Jake!) are extending to me.

Karen’s Points: I will have to revamp these for post Jan. I’ve not being doing too poorly but I’ve also not been actively keeping track so I don’t want to be patting myself in the back without having an actual record. 

A Change I embraced:  uhm, my new job.

I let go of:  being able to jump in and immediately be useful. I will have to spend some time listening and learning. and while that’s hard for me, I will have to deal.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Fresh: new job. new people. new ways of working.
  • Magical: this week’s magical moment is my new job. it’s all pretty surreal still.
  • Lighter: i feel lighter now that the news is public.
  • True: despite the changes in my routine, i’ve stayed true to my values and made sure to focus a lot of time on my boys this week.

Where I chose Joy: i connected with my first childhood love and my best friend briefly this week and it was a big moment of joy just getting to chat with him. 

I showed up for: my friend this week and made room to spend time with her 

A Mistake I made this week: I said something hurtful to David yesterday that was passive aggressive and I am really happy that he called me out on it. I don’t believe in sarcasm and being mean through that and i felt embarrassed that I did it. I will do better.

What I tolerated this week: being sick, jetlag, and navigating a lot of unknown.

My mood this week was: excited, anxious and grateful.

I forgive myself for: not getting it all at once. I can do this and i will, it’s ok for it not to happen overnight.

What I love right now: I love that I am taking on new challenges and choosing to grow.

Weekly Reflection is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Moments from this Week – 07

Here’s this week’s page. It was a crazy week with exercise, whole30, lunches for a week, flat tired and more.

Moments from this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Books I Read This Week 2018 – 07

A bunch more reading this week. Some great books.

In the Midst of Winter was my first abandon. I read 3/4ths of it but just couldn’t get into it and have read enough other books on immigration that I couldn’t get myself to finish this one.

Awakening your Ikigai was wonderful, I highlighted so many sections and will need to refer back to it again and again. 

When was also great. some great lessons and food for thought. It’s not a long book but it’s full of gems.

How to be Everything was my favorite read of the week. I had this book checked out several times before I finally got to read it and it was written for me. Exactly for me. I am a multipotentialite as she likes to call it and it felt so wonderful to read about myself in a book!

The Last Mrs. Parrish was one I’d attempted before, too and I finally finished it. The twist was too similar to the one I read a few weeks ago (The Wife between us) and it was more poorly written. Some quite awful dialogue. So this is a meh.

Here’s to reading more!

Books I Read this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

On My Mind – 07 – Not Sorry

I’m not on many newsletters anymore, mostly because I never have time to keep up with the emails and then I find myself getting annoyed when they pile up. So I’ve unsubscribed from any of them that send content frequently enough to annoy me. Susannah Conway is one of the few I still receive and I often like reading what’s on her mind.

Here’s what she shared this week from her instagram in response to it being her 45th birthday:

This feels like a really massive pivot point, as if this is truly my mid-way point between birth and death (assuming I make it to 90). I’m not having a midlife crisis, but rather I’m feeling a sense of “well that’s it then, NO MORE MESSING AROUND!” I am utterly grown-up and know myself so thoroughly I don’t want to apologise for anything anymore. Not that I have been, but there is always a lingering “sorry” somewhere isn’t there. Sorry if I’m taking up too much space. Sorry if I’m speaking about things I shouldn’t speak about. Sorry if my beliefs don’t match yours…

Having true as one of my core desired feelings this really resonated with me. I find that I definitely also have a lingering “sorry” all the time and I want to put it down. I don’t have any desire to be arrogant or full of myself. But I do want to be able to own who I am and just make peace with it. 

This doesn’t mean I don’t continue to grow and improve, those are my core values and I will always work on myself. But, I don’t want to spend my life apologizing. I don’t want to choose to be with people around whom this feeling is heightened. I want to be able to embrace me. Embrace who I already am, both the goods and the bads. 

Glennon Doyle Melton often speaks about how we can do hard things but we can’t do easy things and this is so very true for me. I have a hard time with small, easy daily life things that so many people seem to move through seamlessly and yet I can do many things others would consider hard. Instead of beating myself up about the small things, I just want to learn to acknowledge this about myself, get the help I need for the easy things and spend my energy on the hard things.

I know that so much of life is about learning who you are and making peace with that instead of fighting who you should be. And as I approach my mid-life, I want to make sure to remember that not only intellectually but in my being. I want to shift my mindset and way of living so it honors who I am more and leads me to a more fulfilling life. 

One without unnecessary apologies.

On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Stories from 2018 – 07 – Blue Blood Super Moon

The morning of the day I was scheduled to leave for Sydney was the magical line up of several rare occurrences. We got to have a blue moon (second full moon in a month), a red moon (full lunar eclipse) and a super moon (moon closest to earth) all at once.

The only downside was that this was scheduled to happen at 4:30am. Nathaniel was determined to see it and so we set our alarm clocks and went out to watch it happen at the crack of dawn. (or before really.) 

And it was magical. 

The red color was really amazing. So I had to look up why it’s red. Here’s what internet says:

The Moon does not have any light of its own—it shines because its surface reflects sunlight. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth moves between the Sun and the Moon and cuts off the Moon’s light supply. When this happens, the surface of the Moon takes on a reddish glow instead of going completely dark. The reason why the Moon takes on a reddish color during totality is a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering. It is the same mechanism responsible for causing colorful sunrises and sunsets and the sky to look blue.

David slept in until about 5:30 but still got to see it. When we were watching, it was red but not really super big. After the kids went in to have breakfast, I drove to get some coffee and when I was on my way back, I saw it huge and red and it was even more magical.

I love sharing these moments with my little ones. What a wonder this world is!

Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stronger Than Before – 07

Weekly Intention:  This is a big week. Some changes in my work life will be announced today and I am both looking forward to it and of course a bit apprehensive. It will change my schedule and so much of what i do day to day. This will require lots of adjustment. I am looking forward to it but also scared of course. My intention this week is to give a lot of focus to this change and really show up at work. 

This month’s intention is: Physically Strong: This is your month. Get out there and get strong. Increase the weights. Add more cardio. Make a plan. You can do this. You have it in you. I plan to keep going with the yoga and add 5-10lbs to my weights.

One way I will stretch this week:  oh well it will be in a lot of ways at work this week.

One boundary I will set this week: i will start deleting some meetings, start claiming my time back.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: my new people at work!

One new thing I will learn this week: my new work.

One area where I will go deeper this week: i think i will pick a specific area at work and see if i can dive deep a bit.

What do I need to sit with this week? i need to sit with the discomfort of all the new things in my work.

I am looking forward to: everything being announced finally.

This week’s challenges: let’s just say plenty 🙂

Top Goals: 

  • Work:  have 1-1s, hit the ground running.
  • Personal: keep going with the yoga+add weights+eat better.
  • Family: make a plan for Nathaniel!!

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love and hug my boys like crazy!
  • Learn: Learn how to be patient with myself with learning all these new things.
  • Peace: peace with quitting this volunteer job.
  • Service: this week’s service is going to jake since he’s done so much while I was out.
  • Gratitude: for my family for my job, for my life.

This week, I want to remember:  that I can do this!

Stronger Than Before is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Weekly Reflection 2018 – 06

How I got Stronger this week: I spent the first half of this week in Australia, working as much as possible. I am writing this earlier than usual, as I am on the way back. The rest of this week will call on my strength even more as I get in the morning of David’s birthday and will spend the day with him and then have my inlaws in town and spend all of Saturday at the kids’ school volunteering and Sunday having a birthday for David while I am quite jetlagged. So I expect it to be a tough weekend for me and I will have to tap in to my reserve of strength.

Top Goals Review:  got organized + had lots of face to face meetings. i did yoga every single morning (and cardio!) and i am off to celebrate D’s birthday!

I celebrate: going back home! d’s birthday!

I am grateful for: being able to travel for work. having workmates that are wonderful and really really grateful for my boys.

Karen’s Points: I did pretty well on the exercise but that’s pretty much it.

A Change I embraced:  still going on the decaf. it was hard here but i managed it. i am proud of myself.

I let go of:  being able to do some personal tasks like sketching. i spent my time socializing and resting.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Fresh: new adventures this weeked for david’s birthday!
  • Magical: This week’s magical moment is celebrating my boy’s day. 
  • Lighter: i am working on letting some things go. it’s hard but i am really trying.
  • True: i’ve stayed true to my values and kept mum still and it’s so so hard.

Where I chose Joy: i chose to balance socializing with reading and resting. finding my peace and joy.

I showed up for: my workmates. both from sydney and seattle.

A Mistake I made this week: my biggest mistake has been not to quit this thing at my kids’ school. i hope to rectify that next week.

What I tolerated this week: another 15-hour flight. jetlag, parties, commitments all coming my way.

My mood this week was: tired. at times too worried. but i am ready to start letting things go.

I forgive myself for: not being able to quit but i will keep trying.

What I love right now: I love that I am going back home.

Weekly Reflection is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Moments from this Week – 06

Here’s this week’s page. This week I was good about writing everyday but not great about photos everyday. this is why i love this project so much. it is so flexible.

i’ve been trying things to drink and finally found and love the hint waters. yum. This week i documented generic moments of our ordinary life.

Love seeing these pages so much.

Moments from this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Books I Read This Week 2018 – 06





Well, as expected, a lot of reading this week. I was on a long plane ride and have had a weekend day alone. Those help with the book reading 🙂

Still Life was in and out of my library queue quite a few times before I finally decided to tackle it. It was a well-written mystery.

Everything Here is Beautiful was lovely. Sad but lovely. About sisters and mental illness. 

The Days When Birds Come Back wasn’t that great for me. I just couldn’t get into the story and felt Meh by the time I was done with it.

Call Me By Your Name was one of my very favorite movies of 2017 and as soon as the movie was over, I know I wanted to read it. Reading the book, they were pretty true to it in the movie. I loved it. I love this story.

So You Want to Talk about Race was educational, eye-opening and very worthwhile. 

Advice Not Given was also worthwhile. This one will require thinking and rereading.

I read Gather the Daughters in one sitting. I had also checked this out of the library many many times and finally i decided to read it. It was so good that I gave up on audio and read the book during a 4-hour breakfast on my second day in Sydney. I didn’t get up until it was done. 

The Immortalists was also good. I know this book got mixed reviews but I really liked it.

Grateful for several good books this week!

Books I Read this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

On My Mind – 06 – Keeping it Fresh

I’ve been thinking a lot about taking chances lately. Risks. Jumping into unknowns. Stretching. 

One of my Core Desired Feelings for 2018 is “fresh.” When I picked that word, here’s what I wrote:

Maybe this is my brave word for this year. Fresh to me means something that’s new to me, something that stretches me, helps me grow and learn. Something that keeps me engaged and makes me feel alive. Something different. An adventure. A permission to explore.

I look at that and I am uncomfortable a little bit. I am the kind of person who likes routine. Predictability. Consistency. Those are words that represent me. They don’t really sit side by side with adventure and stretching. But I also have an endless thirst to grow, reflect, learn. So that thirst often propels me to step into situations that are scary for me.

In 1999, I got the opportunity to take a six-month job in Tokyo. At the time, I was living in New York City with my husband and we had no kids. My work was okay but not great. This job, while in the same company, was for a manager I really liked. But I didn’t know a word of Japanese and I was really really scared to go. 

Which is why I went. 

I figured if I was this scared, this would be an opportunity for growth. I thought about it, tried to be logical, but honestly in the end it was all about my gut. My gut screamed “go! go! go!” so I went. 

And It was tough. But it was also amazing. I wouldn’t take back those months ever. They are still some of my best in my life. 

When I look back at my life, I notice that all the times that I really loved, I was taking a risk. Moving to NY, living in Japan, quitting my job to teach in the Bronx, moving out of NY, our cross-country trip, moving to San Diego, moving to the Bay Area, asking to work from home.  And of course having my kids.

These are all cases when I walked into the unknown. I hoped and prayed for the best. I had really tough moments. But I remember each of them with joy now. It’s what makes my life interesting and full. Growing, while tough, is also really rewarding.

I’ve found myself in a similar situation lately and my gut is screaming at me again. Here’s to taking leaps. To feeling the freshness of the unknown.


On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.