Happiness Is A Choice

San Francisco Bay Bridge

I believe that happiness is a choice and you have to choose it and fight for it.

It’s been a rocky time for me, yet, I can still see all of the love and joy around me. In fact, in many ways I can see it more clearly. 

When your heart is broken even the most insignificant things become important and valuable. 

Over the last few days, I have looked at my friends and loved ones with so much tenderness and compassion. I am blessed to have my treasures, Paris and Siena, plus so many other close and loving people in my life. 

During these difficult days, I’ve been very aware of my surroundings, my crisp white sheets, the redwoods near my house, the setting sun on the water at the Marina.

Yesterday, I was in San Francisco with my daughter for a college event. It’s a stunning city in every respect, even sitting in traffic was beautiful.  

I woke up this morning determined to remain strong and positive no matter what comes my way. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Rolling With The Punches

Tom Dryjax and Me

I’ve had one challenge after another this week, so when I showed up on Friday at the Berkeley Marina with two bottles of champagne to celebrate the “splash” of our Santa Cruz 27, I did so with some apprehension.

My Ocean SF business partner, Andrew and I bought Solana in March, and after some maintenance, our boat was set to go into the water yesterday morning.

As luck would have it, there was a delay, and I was able to have breakfast with Andrew, and Tom Dryjax. 

Tom, an instructor at The Olympic Circle Sailing Club, taught me to sail two years ago, along with Bruce Reeves. These are days that I now remember fondly. 

After breakfast, Tom and I waited in my truck, while they started up the giant crane used to pick up the boat, and I confessed that I was feeling anxious.  

Andrew walked over to my side window, and he told me, he was feeling nervous. 

After he left, Tom asked, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?”

“That they drop the boat,” I replied. 

Then, Tom said, “If they do, we’ll deal with it.”

I squinted into the sun, and said, “OK.”

And of course that’s exactly what happened.

Our boat dropped onto the concrete and severely damaged our keel. 

As Tom said, it was something we could deal with, and we did. 

We decided to open the champagne anyway, and we sat together and counted our blessings. No one was hurt, our keel can be repaired, all is well. 

Essentially, we rolled with the punches. 

Thursday Was Not Better & Friday Was Worse

It’s been an emotional week. It wasn’t what I would have expected, but I am dealing with one thing at a time.

I shed a lot of tears on Thursday, the bulk of which were shed on the shuttle to Range Rover to pick up my truck that was being serviced.

Luckily, I have close friends, and I had Gina on the phone and Deb on hold, as I recounted the events of recent days while crying. However, I had to hang up, dry my tears, and answer the door for the shuttle driver.

Then, I burst into tears, when the driver asked about my husband’s Porsche parked in the drive way.  

The poor man tried to change the subject and asked how I broke my arm, and I started to cry again.

Let’s be clear, it’s fine to cry, so I did. 

Then there was Friday…

Gathering My Courage

Photos by Nick Firestone

It’s been a tough week and it’s only Wednesday, but it’s alright, I’ve been here before, and know exactly what to do. 

It’s 7:00 pm and I’ll be turning in early, I’ve had a nutrient packed dinner and a walk with my dog. Taking care of myself is priority one.

What weighs heavily on me now, is the ash spreading ceremony that I’ve been planning in Tahoe on the anniversary of my husband’s death next week.  Having 25 people to Tahoe is no small thing. 

However, at the same time, it’s been very busy with Ocean SF, and ensuring I complete key deliverables as I lay the foundation for my future. We are always living simultaneously in the present, future, and the past.

Today, I worked writing and editing the copy for our marketing materials, then I had them printed for Andrew to proof, so I made a few visits to our printers, then met with Andrew for lunch at The Station in Berkeley, our favorite place at the moment. I ordered a salad and a side of sweet potato fries.  

Andrew’s been working on documents for our stock allocations. Luckily he’s an expert at this having grown up around Venture Capitalists. 

I think it’s important to remember, when we try to do new things, that it’s possible to grow into any role. 

I’m more comfortable than I thought I would be at this stage. Over the winter, my business coach Brigette would tell me, over and over, to step into my power, and I think I finally have. 

Next week, I’ll put this all aside, and return once again to the life I had as a wife and mother, a life that I am now putting to rest.  

I’m praying it will be calm and beautiful.

Love and blessings to all. 

Love Yourself 

San Francisco Bay

Of all the things I’ve learned this year, by far the most important, has been to really truly love myself. 

As a wife and mother, I was not only last on the list, I was not on the list at all. For many years, I lived my life for my family.

From the time I got out of bed in the morning until I went to sleep at night, I developed the skills and talents of my children and supported my husband’s career 1000%. I know more about commercial concrete than many of the people in the industry. 

My husband would tell people that I could do his job for him, and I’m sure I probably could. I know so much about it that I could literally build myself a concrete tilt up to house my clothing manufacturing for Ocean SF. 

In the past, I spent hours just thinking about what I could do to make my family happy. I would stash dozens of dark chocolate candy bars in my desk, and at night, I would sneak out to the garage and put one in my husband’s Porche to surprise him. 

When my husband died unexpectedly, I was very aware I was in shock, and in dangerous territory.  However,  I knew I had to take very good care of myself, in order to remain emotionally healthy, so I could in turn support my children. 

It’s no secret that when my father died, when I was nine, my own mother fell completely apart.  I knew I didn’t want to do that. Couldn’t do that. It was not an option.

So, I stayed focused on the things I had been working on. I taught my classes, I stayed the course with my commitment to Andrew and Ocean SF and the Trident Project.  I continued to walk my neighbors dogs, Toes and Eden, twice a week. Plus, I walked my own dog, giving me plenty of fresh air and excercise.  

I took naps, I ate right, I went to bed early. I said no to anything that interfered with taking care of myself.  And, I prayed and allowed God to be a guiding force in my life. 

In short, I treated myself tenderly.

I made a conscious effort to shore myself up, so I could be there for my kids. It was an ironic twist on what I’ve always done except in this instance, I benefited greatly.  Once I started to treat myself well, there were unforeseen benefits.  I was happier, rested, fitter, and excited about life.

Joy turned up in my life like a stray cat, unexpectedly and without warning. Things began to come together, my company Ocean SF is set to be very successful, my daughter is off to college, and my own life is full of happiness and love.

Thank goodness. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Soft Landing 

When I called off my first wedding, I went skydiving in Davis, California. At the time, throwing myself out of a plane on a scorching hot summer day, appeared the easiest way to separate my past from my future. 

If you’ve not been skydiving, there is the moment when you have to decide if you will jump or not. Even tandem, you are the person with your toes on the edge of the plane looking out at the patchwork quilt of fields below.  

Once you jump, and move into free fall, you can see clouds and birds flying below you. Then, the parachute opens, and all is well for a while, and for me there was a soft landing.  I landed gently on my feet in a field of grass and walked straight into my future.

Shortly after that day, I met my husband, and we married, had two beautiful children, and a very nice life. 

This morning, I woke up at 5:00 am to be in Davis again, but this time for a soccer tournament. 

Over the past year, I’ve prayed for a soft landing for all of us.  We’re not quite there yet, but sitting here in Davis, watching my beautiful daughter play soccer, it is certainly starting to look that way.

Love and blessings to all.

The Future Is Now

Tahoe July, 2008

As the first days of this month dawned, I set an intention that I would make them as lovely as was possible. 

It is the first anniversary of the death of my husband on July 25th and as I wrote in my blog post Beauty for Ashes, I wanted the last thing that I do for him, and the family we had together, to be beautiful.  I’ve promised myself that after I do this last sad errand, I will move forever into my future.

I had prayed that this month would not be filled with sorrow and that the three of us could find joy in this time together regardless of the events of the past, because life is for the living, after all. And so far it’s been possible to stand in the middle between the future and the past.

We had a wonderful 4th of July surrounded by dear friends and loved ones, but sometimes it’s impossible to not pick at the wound.  I studied the photos of the 4th of July of years past, and read back to the final emails from my husband in the last days before he died. 

It was apparent he had no idea what would happen to him, and for myself, this makes me even more committed to living my life fully. 

I wanted a year to myself to grieve, reflect, and collect my thoughts. I’ve had days and days of solitude, and I’ve taken the time to organize my life, plan my steps forward, and lay a strong foundation for my future. 

It’s been almost a year, and the future is now.