Love & Money

Truckee, California 2009

My husband was the most generous person I have ever met. When we first began dating, I asked him to join some friends for my birthday. My girlfriends made the reservation in the city, and we all showed up with our dates. 

When the bill came, my friends pulled out their wallets, but my husband insisted on picking up the tab. The bill was $1,200.00, he did this sort of thing all the time. 

After we got married, a check could not hit the table without him picking it up. But, on the reverse side money rolled in from all directions and soon, as a couple, we had more money than we knew what to do with.

I began to expect this, and understood how money flowed both in and out of our hands. One day, after Paris was born, we went to the jewelry store, I had Paris in my arms. My husband bought me a 5 carat princess cut diamond in a hand carved diamond platinum band. 

He would buy cases of good wine to share with friends, and when we bought our Tahoe house we loaded it up with the neighborhood, friends, and tons of kids. 

When the bottom fell out of the stock market and commercial construction imploded, we spent more time at home, ordered pizza on Friday nights, and had BBQ’s and camp outs in our backyard.

When we first moved to Moraga, I would be approached in the grocery store, by older women, collectively, they would tell me to enjoy every moment. I would think to myself, “they must have amnesia.”  I was so exhausted by my newborn and two year old, it was hard to enjoy anything. 

However, I heard this so often that I believed it had merit, and I made a conscious decision to savor sitting in the stuffed cow and pig chairs with my toddlers watching Disney Princess movies, among the other activities of a busy mother. 

The only thing that ever really mattered was that we had each other. And now we don’t.  We only have our memories, and that ring now sits in the bank. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Kids, Church & Grounding

My little Siena is mostly an angel, but sometimes she is not. And on these rare occasions, I have to decide how to punish her.

As an easy going, and live-and-let-live type of person, this is the most difficult aspect of parenting for me. 

Mostly, I turn a blind eye to Siena’s antics, as they are relatively harmless, compared to her sister, who at the same age, attracted car accidents, like bees to honey. 

However, on a recent occasion, Siena crossed the line, and it was time to send a message, and teach her a lesson. So, I grounded her for one month. But, I gave her the option of going to church with me every Sunday for the entire summer instead.  I sold her on this by telling her that it was only 12 hours, compared to 30 entire days, and being a bit of a math wiz, she agreed.

Because she has integrity, she hasn’t missed a Sunday yet, and it’s been four weeks. 

This past Sunday, there was an elderly gentleman behind us, and during the Lords Prayer, Siena and I reached out, and held his hands between us. His skin was as thin as paper, but I could feel his spirt through his hand, and the even and measured tone of his voice as he recited the prayer in a clear strong voice.

It moved me literally to tears. 

Love and blessings. 

Happiness & Inner Strength 

Europe, Summer 1984

I’m starting to feel happy again, not just sometimes, but all the time.

Even though, I’ve had some major obstacles, throughout my life, I am very much an optimistic person with a calm and level spirt.

My internal strength makes me more of a warrior, rather than, a survivor.

And I’ve never minded doing things on my own. Being self sufficient and independent are qualities that I’ve worked hard to instill in my own daughters.  And anyone who knows my children would agree, I’ve been successful.

When I was twenty, I went to the University of London, and in the summer between semesters, I traveled alone, it didn’t start out that way, but early in the trip, my travel companion, proved so unpleasant, I left her in the post office in Rosa Spain, and took the next train to Vienna, Austria, by myself.

Luckily, I wasn’t alone very long, and I went on to meet many kind, easy going, and fascinating people, who I remain friends with to this very day.  Including, my friend Lisa pictured above.

As my broken heart heals, and I see my daughters thriving, I feel saddened for my husband who is missing so much.

And I am nervous and afraid, in the same way I was when I walked out of that post office in Spain, and stood on the platform waiting alone for my train.

Like then, I am alone, not knowing what the future holds. But, as the past informs the future, I know it will be good.

Love and blessings to all.

Surviving Fathers Day 

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena

My daughters were very nonchalant about Fathers Day, and I realized it was probably my own sadness on the many Fathers Days that followed the death of my own father, that made me dread this holiday for them. 

In church, there was just one moment when the eyes of my daughter filled with tears, and she asked if we could leave, and even though it was the middle of the service, I stood up, and we all filed out. 

From there, we headed to Napa with friends, and sat in the private tasting room at Darrioush Winery, then had an early dinner at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, where the food is beautiful and fresh farm-to-table. The restaurant is in a converted barn, and everything they serve is grown and raised by them. 

Siena and I started with the roasted beet salad with chimichurri and goat cheese. She said it was the best salad she had ever had, then she said the exact same thing about her entree. And it truly was delicious. 

After this, we got an iced coffee and walked through the gardens, and then on our way out of town, we stopped at A&W for floats and hot fudge sundaes.

With the exception of the missing fathers, the day could not have been more perfect, making me very aware of my many blessings.

As we were leaving, my daughter looked at me and said, “I could see you living here.”

And I totally could. 

I have to have my farmhouse, somewhere. 

Love and Blessings. 

Pain Makes You Beautiful 

Pain Makes You Beautiful 

This is what I look like pretending, I didn’t just break my wrist.

It’s the left hand. Can you tell?

People are really good at hiding their pain.

And being no exception to this rule, I am, however, surprised by how sad I still feel, after so many months.

Understanding grief to be nonlinear and for me, compounded and complicated by family and other mitigating circumstances, it’s understandable that I am hurting still.

I am also, keenly aware, that I am healing heartbreak from my past, as well as this recent loss, and the eerie history repeats feeling of losing my own father.

Perhaps, it’s the milestones, that make me feel this way.  My children will now forever remain fatherless. Graduation ceremonies, birthdays, weddings and more, will forever be a reminder that they do not, like most everyone else, have a father.

They will always be singled out due to this sad fact. I know exactly how they feel now, and will feel in the future, and there is nothing I can do to change this.

I never thought, I would be sending my daughter to college, and spreading my husbands ashes in the same summer.

But I will be.

 

Love and blessings.

Passion, Determination and Philanthropy

Me and Siena, San Francisco Bay


Be determined, this is what I tell myself every morning.  In the face of much adversity, I have accomplished more than I could have dreamed possible.  And I am proud of myself.  I have never worked harder than I have in the last two years.  I have started a business, went back to school to get my adult teaching certification, have continued to teach, and create classes at UC Berkeley’s IDC (International Diploma Certification Program), consulted for some amazing companies AND co-founded a nonprofit called The Trident Project.  I’ve also lost my husband of 22 years to a sudden heart attack and have been raising my very busy, and more often then not mischievous, teenage daughters.

Needless to say, I am exhausted.

However, I am determined to not just endure, but to thrive.  I remember being so thankful that my daughter could drive, so I could work more, then she crashed and totalled her car after only nine weeks, and I was back to carpool duties.  I founded The Trident Project with Andrew, and my younger daughter Siena, last summer and weeks before our enormous fund raiser, my husband died, so it was cancelled.  Obstacles large and small have been in my path, but I have not allowed them to stop me from achieving my goals and dreams.  No matter what happens I remain determined.  My days are a whirlwind of activity as I lay a foundation for my future and work to support my family.

The Trident Project is my antidote to the constant philanthropy work I have done since I was a child.  I have never not been involved with charitable organizations.  From Girl Scouts to National Charity League.  However, this nonprofit speaks directly to my heart as it works to reduce pollution caused by plastics in our oceans and eradicate the commercial distribution of microfibers that pollute our drinking water.

I love everything about the ocean and knowing that in 20 years it will be full of more plastic than fish, is not something I can stand by and watch happen without taking action.  I will do anything to help our dying oceans because without healthy oceans nothing else I do matters.  Nothing.  I will not go into all of the research I have done and the studies I have read, but I will tell you, it is startling and the most urgent problem of our era.

When I was a girl I would spend at least part of every summer in Vancouver, British Columbia, and for a few years my uncles had a boat.  We would cruise around the beautiful waters and I would play backgammon on one of the many pristine beaches with my Uncle Basil.  Those summer days rank as possibly the high point of my childhood and early adulthood.  Later, I would spend most of my time in the snow, skiing Mt. Bachelor in college, and then Tahoe with my family, and more recently I’ve fallen in love with the melted snow and sailing in San Fransisco Bay.

Spending so many days of my life in the natural world, in melted or unmelted water, has made me the person I am today, strong, calm, and focused.  So, it is my mission to preserve this for myself, my children and their children, and it is what I will dedicate much of my life to in the future.

We are looking for members, board members and partners.  Please send a message through our website via our Contact Page by clicking here.

Love and blessings to all.

 

 

 

 

Dark Moments

San Francisco from the Black Pearl February, 2016


I’ve been writing about my journey after the sudden loss of my husband in July, I try to write things that will help others and that are inspiring, however, I will tell you, I have had some dark moments.  

Last week I had a series of nightmares.  I have never been one to have nightmares making this particularly traumatizing for me.  I would then wake at 4 a.m. and be unable to go back to sleep, so I was then quickly sleep deprived. 

I am someone who needs my sleep, and getting four hours of sleep has an adverse effect on my busy and productive life. 

At the same time, I was dealing with the betrayal of a woman who pretended to love me, but did not, and those who should have loved me, but did not.   I spent a good deal of time trying to understand how we can love people who harm us, and I came to no real conclusion, only that because people are family doesn’t mean they are exempt from common decency, and the most basic rules of respect and kindness.

Finally, I took matters into my own hands, and kissed the kids goodnight and went to bed in my pink striped cotton P.J.’s at 8:00 p.m. and took a dramamine.  I love dramamine for sleep and take it the night before a sailboat race if I know the winds are high.  I took it when I was training for my BK license because we had 35k of wind and I was very sea sick the first few days.  Although, I have many sleep aid choices, I like dramamine because it knocks me out for 10 hours with the only side effect being a sense of calm the next day.   On this night, I prayed for sweet dreams and drifted off to sleep.  I awoke the next morning feeling rested and have been fine ever since.  Thank goodness.

As many who have been married 20 plus years know, there are ups and downs in long term marriages.  I’ve spent the last two months playing and replaying all of the memories of those years with my husband, 25 years to be exact.  A quarter of a century.  Most of them were wonderful and I am grateful for them, some of them were not, but they taught me so much about myself, love and forgiveness that I wouldn’t change a single moment. 

The word forgive in Aramaic means to untie.  So I untie myself from the past and move now into my future.  In the sailing world this is called casting off.

at-sunset-sf

San Francisco Bay April, 2016