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. 

Silver Lining 

I came home from my emotional trip to Tahoe, and the broken wrist ordeal, to meet up with my college friend, and now Ocean SF colleague, Debra. 

To be clear, Deb and I never fail to have a ton of fun together. This has been the case since we met in the Buxton hallway at Oregon State, just days into our freshman year.

Smart, beautiful and outgoing, she had me at hello then, and out on the town every night  when we’re together, since.  We’ve been everywhere since she arrived last week and there hasn’t been one dull moment. 

Recently, I’ve been a bit reclusive, so this is the best medicine for returning me to my natural state of happiness and equilibrium. 

These last months have been difficult, but as I near the anniversary of the first year, I am feeling more like myself, even believing I have deepened my wisdom and grown stronger, and that this isn’t just something people say. 

Having Debra here, on our first Fathers Day, and having her to sit in church with me and the kids is a big plus. 

I know there is a silver lining to all of this, and it will eventually be revealed, but until then, I am thankful for my children, my bee hive, my wonderful gardener appropriately named Jesus, my wrist that will eventually heal, and friends that last a lifetime.

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.

Broken Bones

Two days ago, I slid off a rock at the beach, and broke my wrist. I then proceeded to do exactly what I did at eleven, I spent the day pretending I wasn’t hurt, when I really was.

The next morning, my arm was black and blue. I calmly had my coffee, but knew I had more than just a minor problem with my wrist. But, now my outside nicely matched my inside.

I was hurt on the inside and I was black and blue and broken, on the outside as well.

The three of us went to the Truckee emergency room, where I had an X-ray, and the worst was confirmed.

It felt strange to be the patient after years of sports injuries and the broken bones of my own children. My daughters have been very kind to me, opening my doors, driving me around, getting me ice, and Advil.

I read somewhere, we need to be good receivers of love, and it’s hard to do sometimes, especially for mothers. It took some doing for me to allow my children to hover over me and my broken wrist.

Accepting love, can maybe finally allow me to heal. Not just my wrist, but all of it.

As we always do in Tahoe, we’ve spent a great deal of time together. It resets our relationships to be together here. The drive up, watching a half dozen movies, having dinner, and hiking the winding trails down to the lake. And on this visit, we had a two hour trip to the E.R., the three of us.

These experiences when shared, draw us closer together, and serve to remove the gaps, of anything, or anyone, that has come between us.

And together, we were able to solve the dilemma of the ashes.

We’re going to fill the cabin up with friends, take a picnic, the beach chairs and umbrellas, and the paddle boards and spend the day at Speedboat Beach on Lake Tahoe.

After, we’ll have our typical pulled pork sandwich and mac and cheese dinner party at our cabin, where we can’t remember how many people we’ve invited, but everyone shows up with their kids, dogs, more food, and more wine.

We’ll stay up late playing poker, and use M&M’s for money, listen to music, and drink Makers Mark.

Then, we’ll spread his ashes, and say goodbye.

Love and blessings to all.

You Can’t Fix Other People

After my husband died my councilor told me that I needed to file a restraining order against a family member.  She said, “I know this isn’t what you want to hear.”  And it certainly was not.  I wanted to believe that it was my fault, because if it was my fault, I could find a way to make it better, and fix it, but you can’t fix another person.

Later, that day, I went to see my lawyer, and my lawyer told me I had a civil case against her, as well.  Turns out you can’t lie, or give false information on federal documents, or pretend to be someone you are not when talking to government employees.  This is a crime that is punishable by law.

In the end, I chose not to do these things.

In this situation, and the many before it, my own goodness worked against me, because I could not conceive of doing anything to harm another human being, so I made excuses for this person, thinking none of this could have possibly been done on purpose.  But, the harm she caused, and the actions she took were very real, having far reaching consequences.

On this journey, I have learned to trust myself, and listen to my instinicts, and I am no longer afraid to take action to protect myself, and my children.

And when this year is over, and I have found a resting place, for my husband, I will not look back.

Love and blessings to all.



Lake Tahoe 2007

View from our cabin

The people who have betrayed me in the past are circling around me now. They are sensing my weaknesses and looking for chinks in my armor. This is usually my children, who are innocent and open hearted, and raised by me to be tolerant and kind.

And, I have handed them over, my angels, because who am I to come between my children and the people who are supposed to love them? But no more.

There are no words to describe this feeling, but it feels like walking the darkest road, no longer hopeful for even a headlight in the distance, but as you walk alone you find yourself, and that is completely fine, it is even better than fine. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Beauty for Ashes 

Speedboat 2012

Speedboat Beach 2011

Speedboat 2014

Speedboat 2013

In the end, I couldn’t do it, take my husband to Lake Tahoe and leave him in an icy lake. His wish was for his ashes to be spread at Speedboat Beach on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.  

I’ve not spread ashes before, but I think the only thing positive about it, is that he made this wish known. That part being solved, the location, however, is more complicated than it at first appeared.

Due to the heavy snowfall, this year, the beach at Speedboat has disappeared.  Even though this bodes well for our California Agriculture water system, it adds another layer of difficultly to this endeavor, as it is illegal to put the ashes into Lake Tahoe.  

So, although we are here for this sad errand, the weather is too cold to leave him here.  As much as the girls wanted to do this just the three of us, I feel we need some friends with us, some sunshine, and at the very least a warm beach.

As impossible as it sounds, it’s important to me, to find a way to make this one last thing I do for him beautiful. 

Love and blessings to all.