2016 Stories – 32 – R.O.C. Race

Since this summer was the summer of crazy, impromptu things, I decided why not add one more?

During my friend Evelyn’s celebration night, several of the moms in Nathaniel’s class told me that they were going to do the Northern California R.O.C Race and tried to convince me to join them. They said they did shots and had donuts and then went to the race. Here are some reasons I said no:

  • Races are not my thing.
  • I have no sense of balance.
  • I don’t do crazy things.
  • I don’t like doing things in groups as I always feel like I don’t belong.
  • I am not a fan of people laughing at me.
  • I am in terrible shape.
  • I am not a size 2 and don’t really care to wear gym clothes.
  • I am clumsy.
  • I was confident I would be left behind.
  • I don’t drink.
when it became clear to my friends that this was a tough spot for me, they were very kind and tender but still encouraged me to do it. They promised they would never make fun of me and that I would really enjoy it. They promised I could walk any obstacle I didn’t want to do. They promised I would enjoy it.
I was confident they were wrong but I decided to do it anyway. I am trying not to let myself get in my own way anymore.
When I signed up both David and Jake thought I was crazy. 5K and obstacles? I would never be able to do it!
The day of the race came and I had just come back from a trip to Seattle and would be leaving for Sydney in 3 days. I was tired, worn out and very terrified. I was very tempted not to show up.
But I did.
I even drank half a shot of a white russian and had a half of a donut. And then the race began and it was exactly what they had promised. It was fun, everyone was kind and cheered for each other, I was never made to feel guilty over skipping ( i skipped two of them) and it felt really really wonderful to be there with all these women, enjoying something wildly different for me.
I am so glad I did it.
Here’s to more brave adventures.

Stories from 2016 is a year-long project for 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 - Daily Mantras - 06

Here’s today’s mantra:

This one just here to remind me that I want to love without expecting anything in return. I want to love because I choose to love. Not to have anything. Just because it feels so magical to love and to share that love.

Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 - Daily Mantras - 05

Here’s today’s mantra:

If I can only do one thing from now till the end of my life, this is the one I want. I want to be kinder. I want to be kind to everyone I meet. To strangers in the street. To waiters. To people who sell me things at stores. To other drivers on the road. To people I see regularly but don’t even know the name of. To everyone.

But most of all I want to be kind to the ones I love. To my friends, my parents, my sister, my nephews, my inlaws, my husband, my boys. It’s so easy to take the people you love for granted. It’s so easy to assume they will be here tomorrow. That they will forgive you. That they will give you more chances.

And maybe they will. But that’s no excuse. These are the people who deserve my kindness most of all. They fill my life with love. They are there for me, they cheer me on, they pick me up. They are my people and they deserve so much more than the kindest version of me. So I want to be kind to them all the time. In small ways. In big ways. In all ways.

Each time I do something I will ask myself “how can I be kinder here?”

I also want to mention that this includes me. I want to be kinder to me. The voice in my head needs to be kinder, softer, gentler.


Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

Living Intentionally – 31


Hello! I know it’s not Monday but i wanted to still make a point to be intentional before this week is out because I still have some adventures to go. I am writing this from Boston, sitting outside in my mother in law’s beautiful yard. I did the crazy flight from Sydney to SFO and spending 12 hours at home and then flying to Boston on the redeye and then driving for 2 hours and taking a boat and made it safely to Martha’s Vineyard without passing out.  I did get some interesting jetlag that night but I think being through that many timezones in one day made it easier to just sleep and not worry too much about what time it is. We spent 4 beautiful days in the Vineyard. We swam, we sailed, we spent a lot of time together. And now we’re in Boston. I’ve been working and playing as much as possible. Yesterday, I got to go to the Google office here, which was really fun. I also got to visit MIT and Northeastern which was quite a treat.

We have a few more days here and then we will take a short detour to NYC for two days to see friends and to show the kids NYC. I am looking forward to being in the city again. I love New York. And then we come back here to Boston for 2 more days and finally get to fly home. I will be honest that I am ready to sleep in my own bed again. But I am also grateful for all the unexpected adventures of this summer.

  • Weekly Intention: My intention this week is to try to do more what I’ve been doing. Staying in the present moment. Being here now and seeing all the moments before me. Appreciating their uniqueness and their magic. I need both quiet and alone time which is hard to come by in these moments but there’s also magic here and I don’t want to miss a moment of it. I want to be thankful for all that’s here now.
  • Choices I want to make:
    • One: I will choose to focus on the good and on the joy of all that’s around me.
    • Two:  I will choose to be generous with my time and openness. Being the best version of myself.
    • Three: I will choose to make space for others so they can the experiences they wish for. I will choose to make it about them, not me.
  • I am looking forward to: seeing NYC again.
  • This week’s challenges:  The 8 hour round trip to NYC might be challenging. The lack of sleep will likely catch up with me. Balancing work and play and family time has been tough. But none of these are terrible.
  • Top Goals:
    • Work:  I would like to feel on top of all my work and my emails. Feel caught up.
    • Personal: I want to stay patient and kind this week. Focus on giving and not taking. I also want to be easy.
    • Family: I want to focus on them and see if I can make their wishes come true.
  • I will focus on my core desires (kind, strong, true, generous, brave) by: 
    • I will be kind to my family and my husband and my kids.
    • I will be strong and move through these day with joy and kindness.
    • I will be generous with my husband this week.
    • I will be true to the best version of myself here. The person who I often yearn to be.
    • I will be brave by paying attention to the magic here instead of the hardship.
  • This week, I want to remember: That in a few weeks/months/years I will either forget about these weeks or look back upon them with wonder and joy. Either way, I will not remember the tough moments. I am so grateful for my one and only life.

Here’s to a wonderful week!


August 2016 - Daily Mantras - 04

Here’s today’s mantra:

The writing says: stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right. Try things. Be willing to fail.

The only way to grow is to fail more. Nothing worthwhile is easy and comes without failure. A few years ago, David and I took an online class at Stanford University. It was about math and growth mindset. One of the things the teacher said that really stuck with me was that we don’t learn when we solve a problem. We only learn when we make mistakes. When we fail. That’s where all the growth is. That’s when your brain pays attention.

So I want to fail more. Which really means I want to try more. I don’t want to live in the zone of safety. I don’t want to only do what I know I am good at. I don’t want to stagnate. That’s what doing all this art is about in the first place. Failing, learning, getting better.

Here’s to failing at something every single day.

Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 - Daily Mantras - 03

Here’s today’s mantra:

Hard things.

Here’s what I learned about hard things: different people have different lists of “hard things.” Studying for hours is easy for me. Working hard. Learning languages. Focusing, Getting things done. Teaching my kids math. These are my strengths.

My list of hard things include riding a bike, leaving my kids for any length of time, trusting that the people I love, love me back. Doing most things athletic. Driving. Social events. These are hard for me. I work actively on each of them but it takes a lot of work and a lot of courage for me. And 2015 was all about this. All about being brave and doing hard things. What I learned then is that I can do hard things. I am definitely capable when I decide I want to. And I really want to.

July has been all about the hard things. It started with trying to learn how to ride a bike. Falling and getting up and trying again. Cleaning up our garage, which has not been touched in 7 years. Doing a crazy race that I definitely do not belong in. Traveling halfway around the world. Packing, unpacking, repacking. Leaving the kids. Meeting new people. Working hard. All of these are July and August.

But here’s what I know: These things are hard for me but they are not *really* hard. I still have all of what I need in my life: loving family, financial security, a job i love, a roof over my head, and my health. I am so incredibly grateful for these and I want to remember to have the perspective: May I never have to do *really* hard things.

While I get to be this lucky, I want to make sure I remember that the things that *seem* hard are things I can do. I can do this. I can do hard things.


Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

A Book a Week – Brewster

I read Brewster because a friend had recommended it. I put it off for a while but then decided to tackle it.

It was gritty and hard to read. But I liked it.

I think i am just tired of gritty and hard things. So if that’s your cup of tea, go for it.

I need a break.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 02

Here’s today’s mantra:

Here’s what I believe: everyone has some good in them.

I believe that people are well-intentioned and given the options, they would choose to do good over bad in the world. And when they are acting differently, it’s generally a reflection of a tough time in their life, some area where they are struggling, some area where *i* am struggling so I am biased in what I see, or some current issue is bringing out their anxieties.

It’s possible that another person and I might have very little in common. It’s possible we might have mutually exclusive values. It’s possible that we might see the world from very different perspectives.  It might seem like there’s no way for us to be close friends. Or friends at all.

But they still have some good in them.

And I want to focus on seeing the good in everyone. I want to look for it actively. Especially when someone is triggering me: making me mad, jealous, sad, frustrated, making me feel small. Driving me mad. Whatever it is, I know that these feelings are more about me than the other person. I know that if I look for the good in them, I will also be helping myself step out of my own triggers. My own damaging way of interacting with this person.

And I know that if I look, I will see the good. And I love that. I love being able to find the good.

Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

2016 Stories – 31 – Tech Challenge 2016

I should have written about this months ago but better late than never.

David and four friends did the Tech Challenge again this year. This year’s challenge was considerably harder. It included building three gliders that would deliver ping pong balls over a mountain, around a wind tunnel and land on a particular circle. I didn’t even understand it well enough to explain it.

But the kids did an amazing job. They worked hard and built again and again until they got it right and two of their their gliders landed right where they needed to. It was an incredible moment to get to see the culmination of all of the hard work they put into it.

And to put icing on the cake, they won the Outstanding Device Performance award. So they each got to go home with a gift card from Amazon, the joy of winning something, and the incredible pride of accomplishing this very hard task.

I am so incredibly proud of my boy!

Stories from 2016 is a year-long project for 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 - Daily Mantras - 01

I’ve been worried about my art for August because I usually work on these a month in advance and July has me traveling to Seattle, Sydney, and Boston, so I knew I wasn’t going to be in town enough to be sure I could pull off twenty pieces.

But then I got Ali’s July prompt for One Little Word and that very same night, I created all twenty pieces of art I wanted for August. All in one breath. Her prompt was about creating a summer manifesto. Something you want to tell yourself again and again in July.

As I listened to her presentation, the first thing I heard in my head was “Be here now.” As I mentioned, I have a lot of upcoming travel. Any one of these destinations would be enough to have me stressed out, but I will be doing all three in a matter of 2.5 weeks. I am arriving back from Sydney the same day I am scheduled to fly to Boston for a two week trip. I am flying to Sydney to meet a team I don’t know at all. I am nervous about all this. Not to mention I am really nervous and sad about leaving the kids.

It’s very easy for me to worry all day about things that are coming up. It’s very easy for me to sit there in regret of where I am not or what I didn’t do (or did do.) What’s considerably harder for me is to be here, now. To enjoy this very moment. To shut off all the noise in my head around worry or regret and to just step into the moment I am already in.

While it’s stressful, it’s also magical that I get to go to Seattle and especially Sydney. I have never been to Sydney and I get to spend almost a week there and will have two other work friends in town. I will get to be in Boston and Martha’s Vineyard with my family. I will get to see my wonderful nephew Aksel. All of these things will happen in the month of July. Not to mention I am here for the first 13 days and will have almost every weekend in July at home with the boys. I also get to do a crazy race. I get to have a 4 day weekend. July will be a full and crazy month. And if I blink it will all be over.

What I don’t want to do is ruin any of these moment. I want to fully soak in all of them. I want to fully experience every one of these things. Be with my family when I am in town. Do the crazy race with my friends. Enjoy Seattle (and work hard). Explore Sydney (and work hard there too but especially establish some connections.) Hug my kids as we walk all over the magical Vineyard. And run around in the wonderful yard of my inlaws. Visit the Cambridge office. I want to do it all. I want to live it all. I want to live all of it without any regret or sorrow. I want to be here, now.

In this very moment. So I can make the most of it. So I can really experience it.

So I can live it.

Watercolor Food is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

July 2016 – Watercolor Food – All

And one more month comes to an end. Here are all (but one) of them:

this one was really fun :) Here’s to more fun in August!

Watercolor Food is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

July 2016 – Watercolor Food – 20

Here’s piece twenty:

figs remind me of home every time.

Watercolor Food is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.