2017 Stories – 38 – My Birthday

I got the best birthday present this year! My sister came to visit. She had a last minute change in plans and ended up coming to San Francisco three weeks earlier than planned. So she showed up late the night before my birthday and we got to go to the city all day for my birthday.

I wanted to make sure to work out so I went to work first and did my Body Pump class. I then came home and we drove to City Lights in the city. I’d never been to the famous book store and, of course, it was amazing. We then went to Spruce and had a delightful lunch. A quick trip to a coffee shop and we were on the way home to pick up the boys from the school bus. 

Later at night we had some cake at home as a family, too!

All in all, it was a really wonderful birthday! Here’s to many more together!

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 37 – Jake’s Birthday

Jake and I have back-to-back birthdays. We’re exactly one week apart and he comes first. Even though today is mine, last Tuesday was his.

As of a few years ago, we make a point to take both of our birthdays off work and make sure to spend it with each other. (Maybe when the kids are gone we can take the whole week from his day to mine.)

This year was the most unplanned I’ve been and I felt terrible about it. We still managed to get some reservation at a lovely place in the city and had a delicious lunch. We spent most of his special day shopping for me but of course he was completely gracious about it and so, so kind. It was just so lovely being only the two of us. I’ve now been with Jake for 25 years and he’s the best person I’ve ever met. 

I am so lucky and so grateful to have his love, and to have him in my day to day life to share my moments with, to raise kids with, to experience life with; he is the very best person to share my life with because he always makes it more colorful, more enjoyable and more full of love.

I love you with all my heart, my love, happy happy birthday. To many, many, many more together.


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 36 – First Day of School

This was the first week of school for my kids. After being at two different schools last year, they are finally again in the same school. Nathaniel started third grade and David started seventh. Holy cow! Seventh! 

Nathaniel’s been really brave and transitioning to a new school and new classmates pretty wonderfully. And David’s taken to seventh grade like bread to butter. He’s taking a Forensic Science elective and also a Yearbook one. 

They are both doing Cross Country at the moment and MathCounts starts the week after next.

Here’s to a wonderful school year for both of my wonderful boys!

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 34 – Laughter

We’ve been taking family photos for over 7 years now and I am so very grateful for them. They make my heart swell each time. Lately, I’ve been asking Jake to take photos of me with the kids, too. And these are quickly becoming my favorite because Jake always makes us laugh. There is so much laughter and joy in these photos and the gratitude I feel when I see them is endless.

Thank you my wonderful husband!

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 33 – Flowers

I posted this on my Instagram a week ago but I wanted to also preserve it here. 

When I was younger my mom filled our house with flowers. I liked them but as I grew up I felt they were a waste of money since they die so quickly. But now all I want in my house is more flowers. Here’s some of what I bought this week. As it turns out they are the cheapest solution for feeling happy! And to make sure to honor my mom I got an orchid for my bathroom.

Nathaniel and I have been going to Trader Joe’s and the farmer’s market each week just to experiment with different flowers. I have yet to find anything that beats the ranunculus but we’ll keep looking!


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 32 – Wholehearted Artist and Map Maker

Early this year, I took Stephanie’s Wholehearted Artist class. I loved it but didn’t do the journaling each week. She then decided to offer MapMaker which is the same course but with Art journaling prompts added. I knew I wanted it and I am so grateful I did it. For whatever reason, I am working much harder this time and have done the first assignment (above) which was about setting my own vision. And then the second assignment (below) which is more about the spaces where I live and how I want to feel there.

This class has given me so much to think about and has changed the way I spend my time, the choices I make and has helped me move though my life with more awareness and sense of self. Love it so so much!

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 31 – Summer Camps

I never talked about the boys’ camps so I figured before they are all over, I can note them here. This year, we got only 3weeks of camps since we were in Sydney for 3 weeks and that leaves us with 3 weeks of summer left. For the first week, Nathaniel did a Destination Science camp while David stayed home and took an online Physics class. Last week they both did a rock climbing camp together and then this week Nathaniel will do a fun camp while David goes to Rowing camp. 

I try to keep our camps either educational or sportsy since my kids don’t do a lot of sports during the school year. Once camps are over, we will likely take one more short vacation to say goodbye to the summer of 2017.

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 30 – The 100 Day Project

The night before The 100 Day Project started, I knew I wanted to participate. But I also knew that in the next 100 days I would be traveling internationally, and working super hard, and I just couldn’t commit to doing anything difficult.

Right before I gave up, I got this brilliant idea: I would post a photo on my instagram one photo of a moment of joy in my day, every day, for 100 days.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Best project ever!!

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 29 – Glow Class

I’m a fan of Karen Walrond and have taken classes from her over the years. When she announced she was offering a class called Glow:The 21-day course on claiming your light I decided it was a sign I had to take it. My word for 2017 is Shine after all and actually Glow sounds even nicer but either way it was just another word for my word and so I decided universe was telling me to take it.

Sometimes when you take a class from someone you’ve already taken a class from, you see a lot repeated and you don’t get a lot of value the second time. I worried this might happen with Karen’s class. But I signed up anyway.

I am so glad I did.

This class profoundly changed my life. It asked the right questions at the right time. It made me realize I had patterns in my life that I sort of knew but wasn’t embracing. 

I realized for example that I am always in a pattern of GROW : REFLECT : SHARE. As in I like to learn things, think about my learning and then share it with others by teaching or in other ways.

I also realized that the parts of my life I am so proud of are always when I live life on my own terms. I decide I will do something and I just do it. I am so proud of how often I’ve done this. How my life is so catered to what I want it to be. I am so proud of that, too. It also makes me feel strong, which I love. It allowed me to realize this about myself which I can remind myself every time I feel small and forget.

There’s so much more in this class. It’s wonderful, thoughtful and, for me, life changing. 

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 28 – Vacation in Australia

Since our kids were born, all the vacations we took have either been to Jake’s family’s home or my family’s home. We’re lucky enough to have beautiful homes in beautiful locations like Bodrum, Istanbul, Martha’s Vineyard and Boston so we’re not deprived in any way. And we’ve taken a lot of smaller vacations up and down the California coast and to Idaho or New York, etc. But we’ve not traveled internationally with the kids, except to go to Turkey. 

So when I realized mid-year that I could combine a work-trip to Sydney with a family trip, I suggested we visit Australia this summer. Jake didn’t turn the idea down 🙂 So despite it being winter there and despite being a bit (ok a lot) anxious about it, I hemmed and hawed and then finally booked us all tickets. Thanks to Quantas’ reduced fares for kids, our tickets were cheaper than going to Europe. 

We wanted to make sure we went to one more place while we were there but we were told New Zealand would have too little sunlight so we decided to go to Cairns instead where the Great Barrier Reef is. We were also advised to do AirBnB instead of Hotels since it was four of us and not two. Here are the instagram shots I took while there.

Above is my first week when I was there for work. I worked pretty long days but got a lot done.

This set is the kids and Jake coming over and all of us in Cairns. 

This set (and the very top set) are both from Sydney. 

Except for the first two which are in Sydney, the others are all at Blue Mountains which were stunning.

Most of these are from the Taronga Zoo!

And finally Manly Beach and us on our way back. The first AirBnb was a hit, the second was a miss. The car rentals all worked out. The flights were smooth and on time. We lost no luggage and no jackets. We got to snorkel in the great barrier reef, we got to feed kangaroos and hold koalas. We got to touch and watch crocodiles and feed birds. We saw magnificent butterflies, a Tazmanian devil, a ton of other marsupials. We went to countless beaches and had more scenic views than one can enjoy in such a short amount of time. We took buses, trains, cars, trams, ferries and planes. We walked for hours and hours. We ate a lot of toast and didn’t try vegemite. All in all, it was a fantastic vacation and I am looking forward to more adventures with this amazing family!

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 26 – Traveler’s Notebook


Over the years, I’ve had many different notebooks where I keep track of my life and my todos. For the last 5-6 years, I’d been using the Moleskine grid notebooks and I still love them. They are big enough to fit my needs but small enough to carry in my purse. But I always find myself looking at other options just to see what others use and see if I might want to try new things.

Over the last year, I kept coming back to the traveler’s notebook posts on pinterest, instagram, etc. I didn’t want to buy it just for the sake of buying since I’m pretty happy with my existing system and my one foray into planner-land last year reminded me that I like my system and I can easily spend a lot of money on a different system which ends up being a huge waste and I can’t stand wasting money. (or food!) 

After hemming and hawing for months, I finally decided to give it a try. I bought a notebook that seemed reasonably priced. I bought three inserts: grid, weekly planner, and blank (which I had read would be great for watercolor – it is not.) I told myself I could buy more if I used this for a month and liked it. 

After three weeks, I broke down and bought a few more things. The zipper pouch so I could store my pen and they wouldn’t keep falling off,  the note holder for my stickers, a few little pockets, and the watercolor insert.  All in all, it was still a lot less money (and time) than I invested into my planner which is sitting in a box. (Actually I have three planners, all of which are not being used.)

I’ve used the watercolor insert for my July (or august) art project.

I’ve used the grid insert for journaling and the weekly planner, you can see above. And here’s the pouch below. I only put 4-5 pens inside and it adds very minimal bulk to my notebook.

So far, I love love love this notebook and it’s making me really happy. For my trip to Sydney, I have some big plans for it so we’ll see if that works but even if it doesn’t, I love that I can have different books for different things I like to do. We’ll see if this system sticks around or if I go back to my trusty Moleskines.

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 25 – Overexcitabilities

This post is going to be a bit weird so feel free to skip it but since, for me, it’s an important story from 2017, I wanted to make sure to document it. 

My kids go to a school that focuses on “gifted” education. To get in, you need to score two standard deviations above the norm on an IQ test. And while none of us in this house believe in any value that comes from scoring higher on an IQ exam, this school happens to be a very good fit for my kids for a multitude of reasons so we look past the fact that it considers itself to be a school for the gifted. 

Two weeks ago, I was at the school for an all-day Parents’ Association meeting. On the agenda we received, it said that the day would culminate in a talk by our school’s activism teacher who would speak to what it means to be gifted. I figured I would sneak away right before the talk and drive to work instead.

As things worked out, there wasn’t an easy moment to escape so I stayed for the beginning of the talk and about ten minutes in, she said something that completely changed the way I saw my life. (My *own* life from when I was growing up, not my kids’ lives now.)

She put up the above slide on “overexcitabilities” which is a poorly worded name but what it means is that gifted kids/people experience the world in a qualitatively different manner. It’s not better or worse, it’s different. This might have been a “nothing” slide for many others in the room but it was a major shift for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a story around not belonging and not being like others. Especially around my childhood with my family and friends from that time.

What I realized looking at this slide was that I wasn’t just “feeling” different. I actually was experiencing life differently. It wasn’t a feeling, it was a fact.  I don’t really know how to put into words what this means for me and why it was such a jarring moment. It mostly made me realize that I was different and that was ok. It made me think differently about my belonging issues differently. Like I was trying to belong into a world that I wasn’t even experiencing the same way as the ones in it. As I said, hard for me to explain. 

I also feel obliged to take a moment here and point out that I am not saying I am gifted and aren’t I awesome and all that crap. All I am saying is that I was different. I actually was. And this came with a lot of suffering at the time for me. A lot of trying to reconcile the world people around me felt and the one I felt. Seeing this slide made it all come together for me. 

She then put up this other slide and while I have many of these (rapid speech, major issues with smell and sound, and definitely an intensified emotional connection to the world) it was hard for me to tell how generalizable these are. Maybe everyone falls into one or more of these buckets so I am not sure how much of a “thing” this is. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see a slide that talked about some of the quirks of my personality.

I didn’t get to stay for all of her talk because I had to drive back to work but I am so glad I was there for that one moment. Even if none of this revelation is true, I know that what matters most is not the truth but the way we think of life so if all this did was change my perspective, it’s exactly what I needed.

I will also say that I am not sure if any of this is true for my kids, but if they feel even a small bit of what I did as a kid, I am so grateful that they are going to a school that’s paying attention to the fact that people experience the world in different ways. 

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.