Moments from this Week – 17

This week is about Spring Break. My friend Evelyn’s wedding and just some odds and ends. 

I also added the map from Great Wolf Lodge.

I started adding little stickers with more text. I love how it helps me tell quick little stories without having to write too much. Gives context to why I added that particular picture.

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 – 17

Panorama was a really good read. It’s about a plane crash but it’s about so much more. I enjoyed it.

Wedding Date was a quick read, not the type of book I usually like to read but I was traveling and it was easy and quick to read as we drove around. 

Brass was a book I’d checked out several times before I got to finally read it and I really really liked it so I am very glad I kept checking it out and finally got around to actually reading it.

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy had so much potential and while it was a bit interesting, it wasn’t as good as it easily could have been. For a topic that was reasonably interesting, the execution was mostly meh.

The Female Persuasion was Wolitzer and she’s always reasonably enjoyable for me and this was no exception. I read it pretty quickly and enjoyed it all the way through.

I couldn’t put The Oracle Year down once I started reading it. Even though it became more and more convoluted and ended on this didactic note, I read it so fast and enjoyed it throughout.

The Oracle Year brought me to #90 for this year. The big upside of all of my upcoming travel is that I get to read more, hopefully. 

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 – 17 – Making the Invisible Visible

On my way to work, I have to exit the freeway relatively quickly. The offramp overlaps with the onramp and they are both very short. Every single time I make that merge, I am worried and stressed. Ever since I got in that accident a month ago, I’ve been even more nervous than usual. I keep thinking I’m going to get into an accident at that merge. So a few weeks ago I started this new habit: each time I make the merge successfully, I say “thank you for one more safe day” out loud. 

Brene Brown has this story in several of her talks where you see a super happy family in a car and they are singing out loud and happy and she asks what happens next and of course almost everyone says horrible things like they get in a crash, etc. Our minds are wired that way and she talks about tools to help with the foreboding that joy begins. She talks a lot about gratitude and building your catalog of good moments. And that when the tougher things do happen, that collection of gratitude helps so much more than the armor you’ve put on by stressing or expecting the worst. 

So this is my way of making my own collection of gratitude moments for this particular case. IF and when I get in an accident there, I know that I will say all the bad things to myself. I will beat myself up. I will say I am always so bad at it. I will go on and on. So to ensure my brain can understand that for the one accident I might have, I’ve had 1000 good merges, I need to make those 1000 merges real. I need to make sure I don’t take them for granted. I need to make sure they are visible. Which is why I say it out loud. I need to hear it every single day.

We often do this in life where we have the choice we’re making but not the invisible other choices we made because of it. Like I choose to go to Sydney for work which means I am choosing not to be with my kids or husband that week. I am choosing to pick this job over the other I am doing at the moment. I am choosing to add a bit more chaos to my schedule. I am choosing to make it harder for me to exercise. It’s still totally valid to go to Sydney, and I will, but making these other choices visible allows me to acknowledge them and take mitigation steps if I want to (or cancel the trip if one of these options seems more important.) Inaction is also a choice. If I take no action on exercise, I am choosing to get more unfit. Even if it doesn’t feel like a choice, it is one.

I’ve been working a lot on making the invisible visible so that I can continue to live intentionally and collect those gratitude moments. I know I will need them when the time comes.

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

Stories from 2018 – 17 – Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree National Park

After the Great Wolf Lodge, we drove down to Joshua Tree National Park. The boys had made a reservation to go rock climbing. Since they are so much more advanced than I am, I opted to just watch.

There was much waiting and sunscreen while one was climbing. 

It was crazy for me to watch most of the time. 

This was our guide, he was fantastic.

There goes David. He went first on each climb.
And Nathaniel.

After a while, we went to another site which was much scarier for me and a challenge for each boy for different reasons. 

but they each made it to the top.

there goes the little one.

And the love of my life.

made it!

Our guide took this photo when we were done, 5 hours later. All the boys loved it.

Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s unlike any other.

The night before we stayed at a hotel nearby and the kids made a point to have fun.

The next night we stayed near LA to be closer to home and then drove back home in the morning. All in all it was a fantastic Spring Break and full of adventures!

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

Stronger Than Before – 17

Weekly Intention: Well here we are. The crazy weeks are starting. My schedule from this week to July is non-stop fun. This week I have four trips to the kids’ school. Two in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night. It’s also Take your Kid to Work Day on Tuesday which magically happens to be Nathaniel’s birthday. We have his birthday part on Saturday and the Tech Challenge is on Sunday and I get on a flight to Sydney Sunday evening. Of course I have over 40 meetings in between all of these moments. Fun fun fun times. Here’s the thing. I have a lot of variety and insanity in my schedule in these weeks. I have a lot of school things, trips to Tokyo, Sydney, Boston, France, Italy and Spain. I have a ton of work. I have three summits. I am really stressing when I think about it all but I don’t need to think about it all. I can just think one day at a time here. I am very excited about every single item. None of them are chores. They will all be occasions of celebration or learning or connection. Or both or all! I am going to set the intention to be present as much as I can. I will work hard not to rush to the next moment. Not to worry about the next item. Not to stress about any one thing not going perfectly. The collection of all of these things will be wonderful and I will come out on the other side with deeper connection both at work and with my family. I will learn a ton. I will visit magical places. So let’s try to make this fun, Karen, okay?

This month’s intention is: Emotionally Strong: This is the time to work on being a better version of you. And loving you. Loving what is.  Respond and don’t react. Journal more. Doing a really crappy job of journaling still and I haven’t even done the OLW for April. I will have to do both April and May in May at this rate.

One way I will stretch this week:  My schedule will be a stretch this week. But I will make it work.

One boundary I will set this week: I am going to do better with sleep and food this week. I will limit my lunches to vegetables + protein and my dinners to salads. I will opt out of snacks and drink more liquids.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: Nathaniel, it’s his birthday week!!!

One new thing I will learn this week: I am going to learn more physics with David and more about search engines with Nathaniel.

One area where I will go deeper this week: i want to experiment with journaling times and see if I can do something to make it stick.

What do I need to sit with this week? self-care. I’d like to make a plan for keeping up good habits and self-care as i walk into a period of inconsistency in my schedule and a lot of travel.

I am looking forward to: Nathaniel’s birthday and the Tech Challenge

This week’s challenges: just all the driving to school and juggling that with my schedule. 

Top Goals: 

  • Work:  iterate in summits, send out emails to team for geist and summits, get strategy sessions iteration 1 on cals
  • Personal: pilates daily, journal, figure out food, pack for Sydney.
  • Family: nathaniel’s birthday!! make it awesome! book cars in europe,  finish booking summer camps, help nathaniel with his passion projects

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: i am going to give some love to my gums this week, i’ve not been flossing much
  • Learn: learn what the people want for the summit
  • Peace: peace with traveling.
  • Service: this week’s service is Nathaniel and school trips.
  • Gratitude: my sister and my mom. 

This week, I want to remember: that my life is full because of who i am and how i choose to live and all of these are magical moments and i can choose to enjoy them and embrace them.

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

Weekly Reflection 2018 – 16

How I got Stronger this week: I am pretty proud of my progress this week. Not only have I been doing the pilates every day but I also took a lesson on Saturday learning how to ride a bike. I’ve made several attempts over the last 25 years but this was the first one without Jake and with a professional. I did well I think but I was super super scared. I am hoping that I can ride bikes when I am in Italy so I am really motived to make this happen. As we move into May, I am super conscious of my goals for 2018 and how I know we’re 1/3 of the way done with this year. I am about to get into a pretty intense and stressful period at work and I want to keep remembering that I want to get stronger in all the ways this year. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I feel like I am challenging myself in almost all the ways now and that means I have to make sure to put moments of rest in between. 

Top Goals Review: working on what’s next, getting the summits squared away, making summer plans. i am on most of this. i did the pilates daily, but the journaling and the food are a total fail. i don’t even know what’s going on. bought nathaniel’s presents, didn’t book cars, almost done with camps.

I celebrate: I celebrate biking baby!!

I am grateful for: the incredible support I am getting at work, especially from a few people. i am so so grateful for the kindness of others.

Karen’s Points: doing pilates and skin still but i am really failing in all the other ways. the food is something i think about often because for a while I was eating so well and I don’t know what happened and I will say that i still deeply crave healthy food and don’t really enjoy eating other food (it actually tastes less good now, except chocolate of course.) and yet I still make poor choices mostly out of feeling overwhelmed, rushed or tired. So I need to make it easy for myself to eat healthier. Journaling is also a disaster and I honestly don’t know what to do there. I need to find a system where I do it early morning. At the moment, I use that time to exercise.

A Change I embraced: things changed all over the place in my schedule this week and I did my best to go with the flow. 

I let go of: my fear so that my kids could climb and have adventures.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Fresh: biking, that was the big learning moment this week.
  • Magical: it was magical to get a few unexpected moments of quiet time on Wednesday.
  • Lighter: Lighter this week knowing the crazy weeks are coming.
  • True: still feeling quite tired. I think eating well could really help here, too.

Where I chose Joy: i chose joy by sitting outside a lot this week. Also I am doing 100 moments of Joy for my 100-day project!

I showed up for: my manager quite a bit this week. 

A Mistake I made this week: this was a reasonably ok week. 

What I tolerated this week: learning to bike? a lot of tired days and sleepless nights.

My mood this week was: exhausted. 

I forgive myself for: messing up the food, i will figure things out. and for the journaling too. 

What I love right now: the challenges of my new job.

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

Moments from this Week – 16

This week is about Nathaniel’s Farmer’s Market, Recital night, journaling, The Princess Bride which I am reading for Lit Club, and just some small lovely times at work and home.

And David practicing the proof for the quadratic formula.

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 – 16

A lot of books this week, partly because I read some really good ones and partly because we did quite a bit of driving.

I knew I’d want to read Lisa Genova’s  Every Note Played  because her books are so good. And this wasn’t a disappointment. But I will say I didn’t love it as much as her previous books. Though I did really like it.

Census was weird, unusual, short and interesting. I am glad I read it.

The Broken Girls was not my type of book but I still read it in one breath. I was interesting. A weird hybrid of supernatural, thriller, mystery, and historical fiction.

I found out about I Stop Somewhere  through a goodreads reader I follow. I would have never picked this book up and I was incredibly painful to read. I thought of putting it down several times but I couldn’t tear myself away. I read the book in one gulp. It broke my heart and made me mad and made me weep inside my soul.

The Astonishing Color of After was also another amazing read. It was so magical and beautiful and heart wrenching. All at once. It was absolutely beautiful.

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It was a quick, fun, thought provoking read between books that were hard to read but wonderful. I really enjoyed this one and really loved what Lauren Graham said.

I Have Lost My Way is the new Gayle Forman book. She is one of my favorites so I knew I would love it and I did. A lot of YA this week. Unusual for me in 2018 but the ones this week were all exceptionally good.

Here’s to reading more fantastic books. 

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 – 16 – Being Intentional

Last week at work someone made an offhanded comment that got stuck in my head. And then I followed up on the comment with someone else, and their response, even though delivered kindly and with explanation, also got stuck in my head. And I’ve been spinning on those all week.

I’ve also been waking up in the middle of the night worrying about my upcoming flights to Sydney and Tokyo. I am staying in Sydney until Saturday because I get there on Tuesday this time and thought staying three days would be insane. But now I am worried that maybe I should have come back Friday so as to not spend all Saturday recovering from my flight and wasting my weekend with the kids. For Tokyo, I am leaving around 6am on Mother’s Day and flying through Seoul so I can go business class and it’s taking me around 6 hours longer. I am wondering if I should have left a day later and not missed another weekend day with my kids but then reminding myself that getting there a day early is probably the sane thing to do especially since I will only be there for three days. And yet, I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about all these things. The comments people make, the flights I’ve already booked, the one, two days I will miss.

And all this worrying is making me stay awake at night so that when I am with my kids, on vacation, I am exhausted, unable to be present, or my mind is spinning and not focusing on being here with them now. 

What a waste.

Here’s what I know: I like my job, I like being good at my job, I like working. I even like working hard.


But I love my family. I love my kids. I love watching my boys grow up. I love sitting and doing work with them. I love hearing about how their days went. I love being deeply connected with their lives.  I know that I have another 4-5 years before David is off to college and another 8 with Nathaniel before he, too, starts his own journey. I want to be here for all of those days and I don’t want to go chase some stupid career goal I don’t have.

It’s so easy for me to spin other people’s throw away comments. I’m such a pleaser that I worry constantly that I am not pleasing someone. Some comment about going away when I should be here with my kids, or how I travel so much, some comment about how my title should be X or Y. Some comment about how I am not doing enough. It doesn’t even matter who is commenting, I just always want to apologize and please. 

Of course, doing that doesn’t work. Because if I am pleasing someone, I am displeasing someone else. Time and attention are limited resources and if they are going to one place, they are not going to another at the same time. When I feel unsure of my own choices and destination, it becomes that much easier for me to sway with others’ comments. For me to spin constantly.

But when I know what I want, I listen so much differently. I hear what they say and then filter that through what matters to me. What resonates with my own values and thoughts and goals. I take what helps and leave the rest. I am so much better at walking down my own path when I know what that path is. 

This is why it’s so important to me to live intentionally. I know that when I have spent time thinking about the life I want to live, I am so much better at constructing it, sticking to it, and living it. 

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

Stories from 2018 – 16 – Great Wolf Lodge

This post is full of photos, feel free to skip. Some of the stories have a ton of photos and others have almost none. That’s the way life goes for me. Our Spring Break Vacation started with two days at the Great Wolf Lodge. David had stayed at this hotel in Washington D.C. with his class and really loved it so we decided to go to the one in Anaheim.

We found an awesome arcade nearby where you had to pay $2 to get in and then the games were 2-6 nickels each. After we’ve had enough of the water, we’d go to the arcade.


This is the outside of the hotel at night. Doesn’t it look awesome?

And here’s the inside. It has a waterpark that’s only for guests.

View from the outside.

The boys loved it. They spent like 6 hours at the park each day we were there.

They had a Dunkin Donuts in the hotel which meant we ate more donuts in those two days than I have all year.

We loved the Do not disturb signs.

There also was a Japanese dollar store nearby and we shopped there for a while!

David going down the slide.

I mostly sat inside and outside and read. I did join the kids for some time and did all the slides I was comfortable doing.

All in all, it was a lovely two days!

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

Stronger Than Before – 16

Weekly Intention: This week is a long but normal work week. I have a ton of meetings and I will be spending all of Wednesday in a day-long meeting but for the most part I have no trips to school, no evening events except for prepping for the Wednesday meeting. I am hoping this means I can go to sleep early every night. My plan and intention for this week is twofold: to spend a bit of time thinking about my new job more and then to rest as much as possible.

This month’s intention is: Emotionally Strong: This is the time to work on being a better version of you. And loving you. Loving what is.  Respond and don’t react. Journal more. Doing a really crappy job of journaling, I am hoping to do better soon.

One way I will stretch this week:  I am taking a “learn how to bike” class this weekend. it will be stretching me a lot.

One boundary I will set this week: bedtime and rest time.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: my body a bit. it needs so much more rest than it’s getting.

One new thing I will learn this week: how to ride a bike!

One area where I will go deeper this week: i want to do better with the journaling, with understanding how i’m feeling.

What do I need to sit with this week? i need to sit with how i feel about my new job. and the next few months. i want to spend some time thinking about it deeply. so i can live intentionally. (I didn’t do this last week, maybe this week.)

I am looking forward to: going to bed early. 🙂 

This week’s challenges: learning to bike is going to be really challenging especially if my sciatica isn’t  better by then.

Top Goals: 

  • Work:  figure out what’s next, get summits squared away, make summer plans.
  • Personal: pilates daily, journal, figure out food.
  • Family: buy nathaniel presents, book cars in europe,  finish booking summer camps

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: i think my body needs a little extra love this week. extra rest.
  • Learn: learn to think about how i want my job to evolve.
  • Peace: peace with resting.
  • Service: this week’s service is work for the all day meeting.
  • Gratitude: my full life and my body for putting up with me.

This week, I want to remember: to enjoy the regular, quieter weeks like this one.

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

Weekly Reflection 2018 – 15

How I got Stronger this week: This was a week of work and vacation combined. The kids were on Spring Break all week. I worked on Monday and Tuesday and then we went to Southern California to begin our vacation. This was an atypical vacation for us in that we spent 4 nights in 3 different hotels. We spent the first almost three days in Garden Cove, California which is right near Disneyland. But we stayed in The Great Wolf Lodge which is a hotel with a giant waterpark in it. David had stayed in one of these in Washington, D.C. when he went with his class last year, so we came here because we knew he’d love it. And we weren’t wrong. In fact, all three boys loved it. When I was a teenager, I used to love all these things, too. But it seems I’ve grown out of them and didn’t really enjoy it all that much anymore. Mostly because that feeling of being scared a bit doesn’t really appeal to me anymore. I spent about 4 hours hanging put with them and doing a few rides and that was plenty for me. I am proud of myself for doing it because I’ll admit that I was quite scared and I’ve been feeling a bit off all week. I had very strong sciatica from a wedding I went to last week and I’ve been in pain all over and that also meant I can’t sleep well so I’ve been exhausted to boot. But I drove more than halfway to down here, I went on the water slides, and I did my pilates every single morning. I’ve been keeping at getting stronger. I know I have such a long way to go and sometimes that makes me really sad but then I remind myself that I am trying every single day and that’s the best I can do for now. When I can do more, I will.

Top Goals Review: almost booked speaker, we are pretty much set. Getting summit organized, made a lot of progress. did pilates daily. did not book cars yet. booked a few summer camps, have ideas for others as well. have not figured out dinner 🙁 bought a few presents for nathaniel and will buy more. Enjoyed vacation! 

I celebrate: I celebrate our lovely little vacation. I love being with my family.

I am grateful for: California. I love this state. I love living here. 

Karen’s Points: doing pilates and skin still and the journaling now. i’ve made no progress here and my life is only going to get more hectic in the next few months, so I am not sure what to do.

A Change I embraced: vacation is all about change. I am working on adjusting. 

I let go of: so many of my issues so I could enjoy the water park with the kids.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Fresh: water park was fresh and new for me.
  • Magical: it was magical to see my kids having so much fun and to be together as a family for a little while.
  • Lighter: Lighter now that i’ve been on vacation a little bit.
  • True: i’m feeling pretty exhausted. I think I will need to take some stock and figure out how to feel less exhausted before my two long, long trips in May.

Where I chose Joy: i chose joy by taking my whole family on vacation.

I showed up for: everyone. 🙂

A Mistake I made this week: i had a bit of an awkward (i thought so at least) moment at work but I am working on letting it go.

What I tolerated this week: a lot lot lot lot of sciatica pain. a lot. 🙁

My mood this week was: grateful and exhausted. 

I forgive myself for: feeling so extremely tired. 

What I love right now: my boys, my life, my moments when i can pause enough to enjoy them.

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