Tag Archives: Family

My Superhero Power: Time Manipulation

Summer makes me nostalgic.  It makes me want to slow down time so that I can savor each new memory.  If I were a superhero, that is what my power would be, time manipulation.

Driving home from my family’s house tonight, my husband and I talked about our differing perceptions of time.  For him, life moves at just the right speed, which makes me envious.  I guess you do not have to be a superhero to appreciate life properly.  Still, I’m not sure how to slow down.  It feels like there are more things I want to do than there is time to do them.

I think this is part of why I like to write so much.  It gives me the space to trap myself in time.

Tonight I want to trap myself in new summer memories.  I want to hold them to my heart so that everyone in them will be with me always.  If I could figure out a way for summer dinners to last longer, I would.  Instead, it is the words and pictures that are left.

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Family Sundays

I was going to save this post for Father’s Day, but then I decided it didn’t have to wait.

Growing up, my dad would wake up early every Sunday morning to make our big family breakfast.  All 7 of us.  Eggs, bagels, bacon, english muffins, orange juice.  Since most of us have grown up and left home, he went through a phase where he lamented that Sunday breakfasts just weren’t the same.

Until, at last, he shifted his attention to Sunday dinners.  Now, Sunday dinners are a marvelous affair.  He doesn’t just make food, he makes gourmet meals.  Barbecued macaroni and cheese with bacon, grass-fed burgers, free-range barbecued chicken wings, fried organic asparagus and green beans.  Turns out, my dad can really cook.

This little act of love, of cooking for all of us gathered around the outside table, means a lot to my dad.  What he probably doesn’t realize is that it means even more to us.  Of course, it’s not just the food.  It’s having all of us, (or almost all of us depending on the Sunday), back in one place.

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No, we ain’t gonna take it!

I’m feeling a bit revved up.  And, yes, Twisted Sister is stuck in my head.  This week was hard at school.  I will do my best to express myself while being careful not to overstep any professional boundaries, but I really wish that I could just say everything that’s on my mind.

The hardest part about my job can be how I am sometimes treated.  I work my butt off.  I put my heart and soul into my work.  I care about every single one of my students, even the ones that are the most behaviorally challenging.  Fortunately, the parents of my most behaviorally challenging students have been supportive this year, so that’s not what’s eating at me.

I just wish that I could invite the families of all of my students to come in and spend a day in my classroom.  I would like them to see what it is like to balance the individual social, emotional, physical, and mental needs of 30 students simultaneously while also attempting to teach a class.  A lot of times, I only have a couple of minutes to solve problems that come up in my room, and it’s not because I don’t care, (imagine one student having an asthma attack, while another is crying under her desk, while two others are bickering… that’s not an unusual scene after recess in my room).

I’m a very reflective and pragmatic human being.  I am willing to admit when I make mistakes and grow from them.  However, there are also times that I feel like families have to be present in my room during the event and know all of the students involved to truly understand the choices that I make.  Being a teacher is not the same as having children, unless you have 30 of them.  I’m not saying it’s harder, I’m just saying it’s different.  You’re more likely to get the teacher to understand where you’re coming from if you approach him or her with respect and a willingness to admit that maybe you do not fully understand what happened either.

There, I feel better.

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Poetic Obsession

I’m taking a journey through other people’s lives.  Through the stories of authors published, through their insecurities and perseverance.  More often than not, I hear myself in their stories.  Neurotic obsessions with the written word.  Undying insistence that they deserve to be published.

Maybe I do not deserve it yet, I often think.  But, I will.  I will write and write again until it works.  Until it clicks and all makes sense and someone will want to pay to read it, even if really, I only write it for myself.  Writing for myself does not pay the bills.

Each day I add agents to the growing list, I read stories.  Story after story of not giving up.  Author blogs.  Each day a different theme, a different message, still somehow threaded together, connected between entries, shouting truths at me.

Today, poetry.

First, it was Janet Fitch’s advice to read poetry to learn how to write.

Then, it was a young agent, stumbled across after chasing down Barbara Kingsolver, who when googled, I discovered was the poet of delightful oddities.

So, poetry it is.

My late grandmother was a poet.  Ever since I was a child, I’ve carried around this book from house to house that belonged to her.  It is filled with poems, pencil marked with her favorites, an extra, my favorite of her favorites, glued to the inside of the back cover.  Somehow, one book of poems, created an imaginary bridge between the living and the dead, a relationship between us over shared words.

Just reading poetry helps my words flow.  Poetry, poetry, poetry.  Such a simple, often overlooked piece of the writing world, yet home to so many wonderful secrets.  I never thought I liked poetry until just now.  Turns out I’ve liked it all along.

Any poets out there?  Any poems to share?  I can feel a new obsession brewing.  A goal, perhaps, of one poem read each night.  New inspiration.

On the inside front cover, the name Frank Schmold is written in cursive, a mysterious figure in my imagination.
One of my grandmother’s favorites I read aloud over and over as a melancholy teenager.
Rose petals from those melancholy teenaged years, pressed for posterity.
Last, but not least, the poem my grandmother glued to the inside back cover.  I’ve always wondered who or what it made her think of…
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The Next Twenty Years

I celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday in Bodega Bay with my family this weekend.  It was a surprise party, much like the party that we threw for her twenty years earlier, for her 60th birthday.  My family, and my mom in particular, gets a big kick out of surprising my grandma.

As we ended last night watching family videos of a beach house that we rented two decades ago, I reflected on life, time, and family.  We all know that time goes by too quickly, but gathered in a house perched over the ocean, there was a comforting sense of repetition, that we can still have the past in the present, if we remember to try.

I look forward to many more new memories with my family smushed together in beach houses, and, if fortune is on our side, another “surprise” party for my grandmother’s 100th birthday twenty years from now!

There is something magical about Polaroids, like they instantaneously validate the present as classic memories.  Thanks Nick for taking these, (and letting me steal them while you napped!).

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Entrepreneur Love

Alright, I know that I’ve shared these fabulous entrepreneurs on Facebook, but I am all about giving love to the entrepreneurs in my life.  Growing up the daughter of one of the world’s great entrepreneurs, (as well as the sister to a girl that once sold rocks in our front yard and will likely be another great), I have always deeply admired people that take risks to create financial independence.

Heck, I have even tried unsuccessfully myself, (wedding videography/documentary maker anyone?!), so I definitely know the spirit when I see it and strive to continue chasing it through my writing.  Soon enough, I will also be married to an entrepreneur again, as Alex is imminently headed back to real estate.  Which reminds me, does anyone want to buy or sell a house?  Oh, wait, that’s a different post!

Back to the point, it seems like I am surrounded by inspiring entrepreneurs.  Here are a few recent inspirations in my life, thank you ladies for reminding me to be brave and take risks!

1.  Shaka Soaps

My husband’s cousin recently launched her own home business making all-natural soaps and spa products in Hawaii.  Not only are the ingredients wonderful, but the products are stylish.  Jessica followed her heart to take the risk to move her family to Hawaii and has not looked back.  I admire the guts!  Her home business is experiencing great success, including the use of her products by celebrities.  Doesn’t get much better than that!

 Check out Jess’ awesome products at:  http://www.shaka-soap.com/

2.  Tanya Leigh

My dear friend Tanya is blessed with the courage to pursue her creative endeavors.  She has sold gorgeous wedding veils, fabulous dresses, and handsome silk neck ties.  As a design major at UC Davis, she kept us all on our toes in her various fashion shows, (excuse the rhyming!).  Currently, she blogs for Style Bistro and does amazing freelance fashion illustrations.  I truly cannot wait to see what she does next!

 Check out Tanya’s creativity:  http://drawntostyle.blogspot.com/ 
3.  Botany Factory
Apparently UC Davis is just a hotbed of creativity, because another lovely friend from college, Katie, is a designer for Old Navy as well as the owner of Botany Factory, a quirky cute company that creates terrariums and offers occasional terrarium-making classes set to live Blue Grass music in the Mission in SF.  Katie has also received press attention for her terrariums, and I cannot wait to buy one!
Check out Botany Factory and adorable Katie:  http://www.botanyfactory.com/index.html 
4.  Flock & Farm
Staying at my aunt Colleen’s house was always the biggest treat when I was growing up.  She has been an entrepreneur longer than I have been alive, and her house was always abuzz with her pursuits.  Whether I was pouring through the blue prints for her contracting jobs or chasing around baby chicks for her pet store, I was always in kid heaven.  The best of course, was when she had baby sheep that I could bottle feed and cuddle.  I can still remember the wooly softness of a baby sheep hug!  Now, Colleen turns the wool from her sheep into gorgeous blankets for her business Flock & Farm.  With baby sheep season upon us, I think I may have to go visit sometime soon!

Check out Flock & Farm:  http://flockfarm.com/
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Revelations

Wow!  There must be something in the air!  This week has been full of some gigantic, life-shifting, earth-shaking revelations for me.  Now that I have you on the edge of your computer chairs, I better find a way to convey these realizations in a way that lives up to my description of them.

1.  Okay, so this first one probably is not going to rattle your world in any way, but I still want to share.  In talking to my principal and teaching coach, it finally hit me that I’ve been trying to be someone that I’m not in my teaching style.  Be yourself seems like such an obvious piece of life advice, but sometimes it is the obvious advice that is hardest to take.  I spent the second half of my week being more myself in my teaching and it worked!  Not to jinx anything, but I feel like I’m in the midst of finding my own true teaching style, which in turn is helping me to be a better teacher and like my job better.

2.  Now I’m feeling like I built these big revelations up a bit too much, but number two came to me in a dream.  Friday morning I awakened with a renewed sense that we choose to be here, to experience what we experience, and that I wouldn’t trade it, even though it can seem really hard at times.

I’ll try to sum this dream up into as few words as possible.  I dreamed that I was driving through a series of underpasses with my mom, husband, brother, and grandfather, who passed when I was a teenager.  The car broke down, so we were forced to walk on the shoulder of the freeway with large trucks zooming by and a sense of impending danger.  The road began to narrow and become quite steep, making it hard for all of us to keep going.  I wanted someone to carry my grandfather, but he refused and insisted that he had to do it himself.  Eventually, the road ended at the foot of stairs leading into the most beautiful clouds I had ever seen.  My grandfather told us that heaven can be hard to find but that we can all get there if we try.  He said he was ready to return and asked if we wanted to join him.  I was certain that I was not ready yet, that I still had a lot to do in life, that even if it was hard, I was nowhere near finished.

I awakened from this dream feeling as though it were real.  All day, I felt renewed by the sense that I want to be here and experience what I have chosen.

3.  The last of my revelations came with a lot of self-reflection this weekend.  I was feeling extra emotional and sensitive in my relationships with others and instead of brushing it all off, I allowed myself to feel sad.  In my sadness, I asked myself why I feel how I feel, and the self-reflection that ensued was the most productive I can ever remember.  I felt like for once I really understood where all of my feelings come from.  I also felt compelled to be more direct in communicating with the people in my life that matter to me.  The results of which, so far, have been greater peace with the little things that bother me and what I believe to be the strengthening of my relationships.

SO… This week of revelations has reminded me to:

  • Be myself!  Don’t try to be someone that I’m not.
  • Remember that I choose to be here.
  • Allow myself the space to feel because feelings push self-reflection and growth.
  • Be more open and direct with the people in my life.
  • Take action to stop repeating the same old patterns.

I wish I could find a way to ALWAYS remember the lessons that I learn.  Too often I feel like I have to learn the same lesson over and over and over.  This week just blew me away with all of the self-reflection and lessons that seemed to lie around every corner.  Much of it has not been easy, but I really feel that very little in life that is worthwhile is actually easy.  I really hope that these revelations are lasting and continue to unfold.

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Two Years

In this age of over-sharing, I debated about whether or not posting this would cross a line for me.  On the one hand, Alex and my story is our’s, and there is something special about keeping it that way.  On the other hand, there were many people that made our wedding such a memorable day and it means something to me to be able to share these memories of love and gratitude with them too.  It is also a story that I want to save and treasure for my whole life, so somehow publishing it symbolically adds to its permanency for me.  I wrote it not to put on a show but with the sincerity of a story that I hope to share with my kids someday.  So, at the risk of over-sharing and possibly causing some eyes to roll, I share with you my love letter to Alex.  

If this is the kind of thing that makes you gag, save yourself the trouble and just don’t read it!  

Dear Alex,

Two years ago, I was a nervous mess.  I was afraid of getting the bird flu.  I was afraid of forgetting some detail that would make our wedding fall apart.  I was also excited, very excited.  I had spent the past year waking up every morning with a smile on my face because I was planning our marriage.  I am not exaggerating.  Every morning following your proposal, I would wake up with a smile on my face as soon as I remembered that we were getting married.

I knew that you were going to propose.  I was pretty sure that you asked my dad if we could get married when you had lunch with him in San Francisco.  But, I liked that you were trying to keep it a secret, so I was not too probing with my questions.  However, from that point forward, I was dying to know when you would ask.  On our nine-year anniversary, when you took charge of our plans for the day and drove me out to our favorite little restaurant on the beach, I was certain you were going to ask.  As the Irish music played loudly and we wove through the hills to the Pelican Inn, I could hardly take the anticipation.  Then, as brunch unfolded and a walk on the beach ended with no question, I felt let down.  It was not happening.

You were sneaky and you did not even realize it.  By not asking on our anniversary, I thought that you probably wouldn’t ask anytime soon.  I thought that there was still a small chance for my birthday, since August 8, 2008, 8-8-08, was a day that I had been looking forward to since I was a kid.  However, then too, as an entire day passed packed with activity and no question was asked, I felt disappointed.  All that remained of my 25th birthday was a dinner with my family, which did not seem like the setting you would choose.  I’m happy that I was wrong.

Just hours before you proposed.  In retrospect, you looked a little nervous!


The degree of fanciness should have tipped me off.  You should have warned me to dress a little more nicely.  I should not have drank such a weird combination of champagne and mixed alcohol with our friends before dinner.  However, as everyone went around the table and shared their favorite memories of me, and as I realized that you were poised to go last and feeling nervous, it hit me that this was it.  I could not eat a single bite of my food.  I could hardly hold back my tears of happiness and excitement.  Even with the queasiness from my strange pre-dinner drink selection, I was elated.  I will always remember how you began to inch back your chair as you told the story of us to my family.  Somewhere there is film footage that Debra recorded.  That truly was one of those life-altering moments that will always be seared into my memory.

You were so sweet with the decorated room at the Sheraton after dinner.  I remember devouring the left overs from dinner as my nerves settled.  I remember sitting in the window seat, looking out over the capital park, calling and texting everyone in my phone book.  The trip that followed to the Oregon coast and British Columbia was a dream, a dream filled with every Dixie Chicks song ever recorded, my over-priced Canon GL2, and countless lists of wedding guests and ideas.

Planning actually ended up being a lot of fun.  For an entire year, we worked through the list of things to do, traveling to different venues throughout Northern California with my family, tasting delicious food, chasing down Celtic musicians.  We really did travel all over Northern California to pick the perfect spot.  I will always remember the displeased look on my dad’s face when we pulled up to that cute little B&B in Placerville.  I will also always remember my face when I realized that the pretty little winery that put on quite a pretentious show outside of Placerville expected guests to use outhouses!

Score on the Celtic musicians!


Nothing could compete with true wine country, however.  The changing leaves of autumn and the sun shining just right through all those leaves felt perfect.  No matter what anyone else says, despite its pomp and circumstance, the Napa valley is one of my favorite places on earth.  I love its rolling hills and pretty towns.  I love how it offers an escape from the ordinary, a chance to feel like you’re living a fairy tale even if afterward you go home to a 650-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Berkeley.  Visiting Hans Fahden Vineyards with you was like visiting my fairy tale wedding.  We thought that we were playing make believe for the day and teasing ourselves with an option out of reach.  Instead, it was just one of many visits before it was our fairy tale for the day.

After dragging my dad, Debra, and Kaitlyn to pretty much every option within 200 miles of Sacramento, we finally got them to Hans Fahden and Auberge du Soleil.  I will always remember sitting around that round table in Auberge’s incredible restaurant, drinking delicious wine, voting on the winning venue.  Even sitting in that glorious restaurant perched up in the hillside, Hans Fahden won, unanimously.  I was beside myself that we were actually going to get married in my favorite spot imaginable.  I had thought that a cliff side elopement over the sea in Mendocino was what I wanted, but Hans Fahden let me dream even bigger.

With the venue selected, it was time to pick the vendors.  One of my favorite moments was when I suggested to the first caterer that I might like cheeseburgers as an entree.  How lowbrow of me!  At least I got to have them for our rehearsal lunch, gosh darnit.  I really enjoyed breaking tradition and pushing boundaries with the planning and budgeting.  A rehearsal lunch instead of dinner?  Yes, and it allowed for a leisurely outdoor meal that could not have been better.  “Flowers in Napa Valley for less than $1,500, are you crazy?”  Yes, and I made it happen beautifully.  Or, how about the magic of the Chad?  Caridwyn and Sons, with Chef Chad and planner Deana was one of our best finds.  What delicious and inventive food!  The tasting in itself was an event and Deana kept us on our toes with the linens in that fabulous warehouse and by chasing us around to keep us on schedule for the big day, (not to mention also chasing our crazy-but-talented-but-late-but-dramatic photographer).

I was so excited when we thought to ask my Uncle Patrick to marry us.  I did not want a stranger to do it and there was no better person in our families to stand in front and orate than Uncle Pat.  It didn’t hurt that he is such a close extension of our family.  Our day trip to Napa to get his officiant license was another of my favorite memories.  Lunch at that little Italian restaurant in Sonoma was perfect.  I will also always remember practicing our vows around the table in Dani and Pat’s breakfast nook, anticipating getting to say them in front of everyone, spending all that time crafting the words for our ceremony together.

Beautiful flowers on a “budget” (above/below)


After everything was planned, all that there was left to do was wait, which brings us back to two years ago from today.  With the bridal shower and bachelorette party done, the dress fitted, all of the little details attended to, two years ago today, I was the most anxiously excited that I had ever been in my life.  I took my eco-fair trade wedding band out of its pretty little teal bag to try it on repeatedly.  I recited the vows that we so carefully wrote together just for practice.  I was so excited.


Our vows

When finally the big day arrived, I was beside myself that I actually fell asleep the night before.  Sharing the room with Kaitlyn was one of my best decisions because having her there with me, instead of sleeping in a room alone, was surprisingly comforting.  I remember awakening, shocked that I had fallen asleep at all.  Granted, I had not slept much that week, so I was probably lulled to sleep by pure exhaustion.  You and I spent the morning together, holding hands, greeting family members and friends that stayed in Calistoga.  It was a good morning.  I felt rebellious spending time with the groom before the wedding.  It was important to me, though, that we had time together amidst all of the chaos.  In other words, that multi-hour couples spa session the afternoon before was part of my master plan for togetherness!

After visiting my dad, who had set-up shop across the street from our boutique hotel to write his father-of-the-bride speech in that cute cafe, it was time for us to part ways and get ready.  It turned out that I had miscalculated the time it would take to get me ready, or failed to calculate rather, but it retrospect, the time we spent that morning is more important to my memory of our wedding than more time primping.  That was another way that I was not the typical bride, I insisted on primping myself (with the help of bridesmaids!), instead of hiring a team to get me ready.  After all, what are bridesmaids if they’re not put to work?  Despite my slight miscalculation in timing, we managed to be ready just in time for the music to begin and for our crazy photographer to arrive.  We also managed to have a wonderful time shut away in that little room atop the stairs, getting ready with my mom, grandma, Aunt Dani, and Debra.  My mom and grandma were so cute with their creation of a beaded dragon fly for my bouquet.

Walking with my dad down the stairs from the bridal preparation room was surreal.  I remember exactly how the early autumn light hit the leaves on all of the trees.  The high level of anxiety made me super aware of every sensation.  I remember the breeze and watching my pretty bridesmaids giggle on ahead of me.  Even though the walk to the aisle probably only took a few minutes, it felt like an eternity, like I was moving in slow motion.  I was flooded with the emotions of walking with my dad beside me, about to “give me away.”  I was surprised by his nerves and deeply touched by his sweet words and support.  There was no one else with which I would have rather spent those last few pre-ceremony moments.  Having my arm through his reminded me of all the years and San Francisco trips we had walked together through the city like this.

Bridesmaids about to walk…
A very special walk with my dad.

Finally, we crossed the bridge and the procession stopped for a moment to wait for our reluctant flower girl to make her appearance.  I could see the eyes of our friends and family peering toward me, trying to catch a glimpse.  My heart beat faster as I realized that this was it.  I had been trying to capture every minute detail in our walk and now it was really time.  I remember walking toward the aisle and smiling so big with anticipation at every guest along the way.  Each face someone special to us.  It was such a cool feeling!  But, there was one set of eyes that I was most anxious to find.  Your’s.


I will always remember peering past the standing guests and seeing your grinning face.  I was so happy.  I could not take my eyes off of you.  Our long-planned moment was finally here!  As we said our vows I felt excited and emotional.  I had the kind of smile that cannot be stopped.  I also had a few tears escape.  The moment that Uncle Pat declared us man and wife, officially combining our two last names, everything felt so right.  You were finally my husband.  A title much more deserved that boyfriend of fiance.

As we walked away from the ceremony and the Irish music played in celebration, I felt triumphant.  My favorite wedding picture is of us leaving the ceremony to have our few moments alone before the pictures and the guests and the celebration.  I loved the way that the Irish music floated through the vineyards, reaching us alone in the little garden past the bridge.  I really had never been so happy in my entire life.

Just married!

The time that followed was such a hub-bub of pictures, and greetings, and hugs.  I had not anticipated how difficult it would be to have practically everyone that we care about in one space and not be able to stop and fully spend time with them.  As we took our photos, I was so anxious to get up to the guests.  I felt like we were missing our own party!  Our photographer swore up and down that when it was all over, it was the pictures we’d be happiest to have, but I’m still not sure that I agree with her.  While the pictures were nice, I still wish she could have shot the wedding party before the wedding and left us with a bit more time to mingle.  Even so, my memory of being together with our wedding party, that same beautiful autumn light pouring across the hillside, Celtic music floating from atop the hill, is cherished just the same.

When finally it was time for our big entrance and Michael Jackson started thumping, I could not help but feel the excitement of the celebration ahead of us.  I was so tickled that our wedding party actually participated, more-or-less, in our vision of a dance party entrance.  All of the groomsmen rocked it.  My brother, Justin, and your uncle got down.  My bridesmaids were a little less enthusiastic, but still managed to bust a few moves.  Opening the doors to the caves for dinner and getting to see the tables lit up in the candle light was another moment that I had anticipated in the planning.  I was not disappointed.  It was stunning.
The caves!
Dinner was a blur of trying to greet every guest and shoveling down the delicious food in my corseted state.  The toasts were so meaningful.  Beginning with Justin, who had us all in tears and rolling with laughter.  Followed by Liz and her slip about you staying the night at our apartment in college, (not that it was actually a secret, but it made for some good laughter).  Then, of course, my father’s masterpiece.  Father-of-the-bride speeches are always my favorite at weddings, and my dad’s was, of course, the best I have ever heard.  Again, we laughed and cried and felt grateful for all of the love and support in our lives.

Yummy dinner + speeches


Dancing.  Lots and lots of dancing followed.  My favorite, of course, was our dance together to “Stand by Me.”  Watching my family get down on the dance floor was a close second.  Thanks to my bridesmaids, I was able to relive the jumping up and down to the Black-Eyed Peas “I got a Feeling” from my bachelorette party.  I remember finally taking off my horribly-uncomfortable-but-adorable purple heels and realizing that I had not noticed how much they hurt for hours because I was so pumped up with adrenaline.  Cutting our cake was fun, even if we did not get to actually eat any of it that night.  Removing my garter was more of a show than I had anticipated and, of course, watching Kiley catch the bouquet was pretty cool, since she really was the one that got married next!

As with any good party, it ended too soon, but I felt truly satisfied.  I had the time of my life.  Really, that is the song that we should have played last, instead of “You Shook Me All Night Long.”  We thought we were funny.  Even though I could have danced for hours longer, that will always remain the best dance party of my life.  I did not mind leaving, because it meant that I finally got to be alone with you.  Getting out of the parking lot will always be a funny memory, my dad’s Infinity decorated by the bridesmaids and my younger cousins, covered in lipstick, toilet paper, and some border-line inappropriate comments.  Arriving at the hotel, the bar patrons cheered for us and we made our way up to one of the prettiest little suites I have ever seen, decorated like the room of a modern Spanish castle.

Time to dance the night away!


Our honeymoon was a collage of the fanciest rooms we’ve ever stayed in on our own, suites and cottages in wine country and on the coast.  We had so much fun hauling all of our gifts up to our room at the Fairmont in Sonoma and opening them one-by-one in front of the fireplace.  I hope to revisit each of the spots we stayed one day, although I know that they will never compare to those sleepy early-autumn days following our wedding.  Even with our love for travel, I’m glad that we did not rush off on some stressful trip afar.  Instead we got to truly relax and luxuriate together in the memory of our beautiful wedding.

The days and weeks that followed our wedding, I would awaken and replay every memory that I could gather, smiling to myself at how lucky I felt.  At some point, I stopped this ritual, which is why now, after two years of marriage, I wanted to write it all down for us to remember and share with our kids and grandkids.  Even with all that I wrote down here, there are still so  many details that go untold.  I just hope that by recording what I was patient enough to put down in words, the other little happy memories continue to come back.

The other day upon marveling at another couple’s forty years of marriage, we made it our goal to go 75 years together.  Not 75 years married, but together.  That would mean that we both have to live to be 92.  That would put us at 66 years of marriage.  I think it’s a good goal.  Who knows, maybe we’ll even make it to 75 years of marriage and live to be 101!  Maybe we’re selling ourselves short with the first goal.  All I know is that each year I get to add with you by my side is a year that I’m incredibly lucky and grateful.

Happiness.


I love you.

Olivia





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Patience is a virtue

Growing up there were a lot of sayings in my family.

This too shall pass.

Life’s not fair.

Patience is a virtue.

I cannot help but wonder how far back these sayings go.  I know that my grandparents used to say them, but did their grandparents say them too?  What about their grandparents?

I also wonder what hardships these sayings originated from, because clearly these are the words of people that have known hardship.

As I go about my day, I often hear these words of supposed wisdom in my head.  And, while I recognize their truths, I recently began to simultaneously question their faults.

This too shall pass screams to me a certain resignation in the present, an omission of the power of action in creating happiness.

Life’s not fair has a similar ring.  Why can’t it be?  Why don’t we rise up and make it fair?  (At least as much as anything is in our control…).

And, finally, patience is a virtue makes me think that maybe patience is overrated.  Patience can be the kind of thing that numbs you into submission as you wait for things to improve.

I definitely see a pattern in my new-found interpretation of these truths.  A certain laissez faire attitude about life that is not in my nature.  I guess that is probably why I had to hear these sayings so many times as a child.  I was frequently displeased with the present, enraged by injustice, and impatient.  But, who is to say that those things are so bad if they make you take action toward something better?

Even so, I doubt that these sayings will disappear with me.  As much as they irk me, they’re also part of me.  I have already found myself saying them to my students and, I’m sure, I’ll also say them to my own children.  They’re easy fixes to complaints, even if they leave the recipient a little unsatisfied.

So, as I feel impatient and frustrated about some of the circumstances in my life, I guess that I should remind myself that patience is a virtue and that this too shall pass.  I just wish that I could find a way to not want it to pass.

Maybe I need some new sayings.

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Here is Your Life…

The night before last I had a dream that I showed up at my dad’s house and found a party in my honor in the backyard.  Attending this party were all of the people in my life that have ever mattered to me, even if only for brief periods or in small but significant ways.  If you are reading this, you were probably there, too.  It was a little like my wedding but bigger in scope because of the wide range of people there.  It was one of those dreams that remains visually haunting throughout your day, almost as though you’re still dreaming it hours later.

The funny thing is that I spent the whole day thinking back to the “Here is Your Life” segment of Sesame Street where all of the old friends and family magically appear to surprise the contestant, (in this case a carton of eggs!):

Okay, I know that was corny, (pun and reference to the clip intended), but it is interesting to me that “Here is Your Life” was the most memorable segment of Sesame Street for me growing up.  I’ve often thought back to it over the years, even if my memory of it was a little different than the reality of watching it for the first time in decades just now.  But, I often find that dreams are like those segments as people from your past mysteriously reappear from the depths of your subconscious.  This most recent dream was like “Here is Your Life” on steroids with a combination of both long-lost and present friends and family all together in one space in my brain.  It left me thinking about how many people have touched my life in various ways and how the routine of life limits how much time I have for everyone, even those that are closest to me.

This is an important reminder because I deeply believe that it is the connections that we share with the people in our lives that make life matter.  I feel like the universe has been shouting this at me between the events in my family this week and this dream that still will not leave my head.  On both sides of my family there will be gatherings in the next two weeks that mark the importance of coming together.

These pictures of then and now-ish of my dad’s family gatherings are a tribute to my Uncle Mike, who was good at bringing us together, and to my big family, who I hope will come together more often in the coming years.

So, here is my life, and I am happy that you are ALL part of it!

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