Letting Go

Truckee River

I took a quick trip to Truckee again. This has been the theme of the summer, back and forth to Truckee, but this time I didn’t feel compelled to go and check on the place where we spread my late husband’s ashes. Instead, I hiked the Truckee River with my friend Susan and talked about the future. 

It’s interesting that I’m not the only one in transition and facing an unforeseen future. Yes, we all have plans, but not like we once had when we thought; settle down, buy a house, have a baby, and save for the future. Well, the future is now. Having the road ahead open to so many possibilities is in itself stressful, but the flip side is the excitement of not knowing what comes next. 

When I came home last night from Truckee to the Bay Area, and my home surrounded by fog and flowers, I realized completely and with utter clarity that my husband really is gone and he’s never coming back. Never. I sat on my white sofa eating cherries and let this thought burn into my heart. 

I’ve reflected a lot on my life as a wife and mother and all that entailed. I will always be a mother, of course, however, now I am often alone with my books and notes, which I entirely love. I missed my own company during the busy and hectic days of raising a young family. 

I know my life won’t always be this way, but it feels good to let go of the past and spend these days with myself living entirely in the present.

Love Is The Third Thing

During the second year of working as a ski instructor, I was called in to teach a private lesson to two children on Christmas Eve, previously I had these days off to spend with my own children, but if you don’t show up for your classes the resort will pull your ski pass and those of your entire family, as they are issued as a perk of the job. 

Reluctantly, I arrived to find myself with a three year old boy and his four year old yellow haired cousin, Olivia. 

I am very warm with kids, first of all they scare me a little, and because of this I have a great deal of respect for them, secondly, I have no boundaries with them, and I’ve never taught a class when they were not all sitting in my lap. 

This day was no different, and from the time I met them they were holding my hand, and on the gondola the three of us occupied a foot and a half of the seat, if that. 

I had been a ski school favorite my first year, earning the highest return rate of children they had ever seen.  I would make sure all the boys got to ski their first black diamond, and for the girls I braided hair and tied knots in cellophane to secure the ends. If I only had one girl or boy in my class, I would take on an extra child so my student would have a friend, and of course I stopped for hot chocolate and cookies more than was necessary. After the first year, I was promoted to privates, but mostly taught adults.  

These children skied very well for their age and were both teachable and naturally coordinated. We spent the morning on the lower runs working on our stops and turns. After an early lunch they wanted to build a fort, which I discouraged, telling them, we wanted their parents to be proud of them and see how much they had learned.

It was at this point the little boy told me his cousin’s mother had died. He said she had died of a disease in her blood. 

This news shifted my focus entirely. As I spent the next four hours with them, the three of us cuddled on the lift, the three of us cuddled in a row on the bench outside drinking hot chocolate. I let them hug me, and pull my hair, and ski over the tops of my ski’s and so on. At 4:30 on the gondola down, they said that they couldn’t  believe it was over, the day went by so fast, and I felt the same. 

Of course, I had fallen in love with both of them, and my love for them spun around us, making the snowy Christmas Eve magical. 

I’m starting to see love as the third entity in relationships. It is what is made when we love each other. 

The next day, I saw them as I walked through the village with my own happy family. It was Christmas Day, and the little girl was out ice skating with her Dad. I passed by silently,  grateful for my intact family. 

And now here we are. I’m in Tahoe again, sorting through my storage bins. Sorting through my memories. Love is what lives in the space between us all, not something you give or that is taken from you. It is the subtle alchemy that exists when we open our hearts to each other. 

Love and blessings. 

Falling In Love & Starting Over

Everyone I’ve ever loved, I have loved instantly from the moment I met them. Even several of my closest friends came with that moment of clarity where time stood still, and the predominant thought was, “finally, there you are.”

This was true of my husband, who watched me sit at the pool below his balcony, then left a post-it note on my front door inviting me to dinner. Or my first fiancée, who smiled at me in the 7-11 in Woodburn, Oregon, as I walked out and he walked in.

I knew immediately from the moment my husband opened the door that I would marry him. It was the first thought that popped in my head as I crossed the threshold of his apartment. 

I remember, he was wearing penny loafers and when he told me he was from Texas, I thought it a contradiction in terms, but he had many opposing sides to him which made him from the very beginning, interesting to date, and over time fascinating to know. 

The same is true for my friend Tom, I knew instantly that he would have an impact on my life, and he did. He taught me to sail, and it completely changed the tragectory of my future.

Now, I’m meeting new people, and people I’ve known in the past are reentering my life. I’ve had some interesting offers already, but as they say in the sailing world, I’m staying the course. I’m honoring the commitments made to my children, and my business, and my classes at UC Berkeley.  

We never know exactly what the future holds, but it’s going to be interesting, that much is clear already. 

 Love and blessings to all.

Soccer, Soccer & More Soccer

I've been a soccer mom for over ten years, I played soccer in high school, and I coached city league for four years.

We've had some tough competition here in San Diego, and things haven't gone our way like they normally do.

We won our league last year, losing just one game. We've won countless tournaments, and walking away with the trophy at the end of the weekend was something we have gotten used to.

Even though, we've lost a game or two this weekend, we still sang in the car, met up for drinks in the bar, encouraged the kids to do better next time, and essentially had a blast.

I love sports for girls. Teams do build character and lifetime friendships.

Love and blessings to all.

Separating the Future from the Past

Speedboat Beach, Lake Tahoe

I now have a day to separate my future from my past. I wanted the one last thing that I did for my husband to be beautiful and it was.  We spread his ashes yesterday at dawn on a beautiful summer day in one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

We spent the day as we had planned at the beach with our friends and then, last night, some of our closest friends joined us for dinner at our home in Truckee. 

Three families that we have raised our children with and skied with over the years were here for dinner, as were my husband’s best friends, or the original Bushwood golf foursome. My close friend Debra, as well as my kids and their friends. 

It was a beautiful evening in every way. We have closure now and some sense of peace, or as much as is possible, although, I’ve come to realize there are things you never really get over, you just learn to live with them gracefully, and not allow them to influence your happiness. 

I feel that I have done everything that I could to honor the vows I took when we married, I ensured his life was honored, and his wishes were respected.  

Now, that is behind me, I want to write another book, I’ve also been asked to teach again next year at UC Berkeley. I enjoy my work on The Trident Project and Ocean SF and that keeps me very busy. 

Someday, our boat Solana will be in the water, and I’ve been invited to sail around the world,  after my youngest heads to college, in 2019.

I’ve worked hard to lay this foundation, and be a role model for my children.  Hard work generally pays off, and with that being said, I now step into my future. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Best Friends Jeff, Chris and Dan

Lake Tahoe

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 & 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 the ring, that now sits in the bank.

Love and blessings to all.