Eco Warrior

14 Jan

Michaela and I were at Jamba Juice yesterday enjoying our smoothies on the patio when someone walked by and dumped two plastic water bottles into the trashcan. Michaela got up immediately and peered into the trashcan. “Mom,” she asked, “Can I take these bottles out and find a recycle bin? These shouldn’t be in the trash!”

Making the world a better place one water bottle at a time.


14 Jan

Friday night, we’re at home eating dinner. Out of nowhere, Michaela gets this big smile on her face and sort of breathlessly announces, “Claudia told Jack I like him!”

I almost fell out of my chair. Since kindergarten, various kids a school have had crushes and “boyfriends” and “girlfriends,” but Michaela was never one to express even a passing interest in that stuff.

Mike and I asked her, “Well, do you like him?”

She said yes, “But I didn’t want her to tell him! She told him I LOVE him. There’s a difference between like and love!”

(And for emphasis, as she was relating the difference between like and love, she did this adorable “Michaela look” that I desperately hope to capture on video before she outgrows it. Eyebrows up for emphasis, head cocked slightly to the side, gesturing descriptively.)

I asked her if she wanted Claudia to tell Jack Michaela liked him. She said no. So I asked why she told Claudia – her best friend – that she liked Jack.

Michaela gave me a “that’s a silly question!” look and said, “I told her because I wanted to tell her!”

To which Mike chimed in, “That’s what besties are for!”

Be Not Ashamed

7 Jan

The other day, Michaela was talking about Harriet Tubman. Apparently they’re learning about her in school, and we have an awesome book about her, so it’s not a totally unusual subject. In the course of talking about Tubman, I told Michaela I could give her a copy of a picture of my grandmother’s grandmother, who was a slave. Michaela declined, emphatically. She didn’t come out and say it, but it seemed pretty clear that it was because she doesn’t want people thinking she’s descended from slaves. Which she is. And which, from my perspective, she should be damn proud of. Trying to keep from crying, I told her exactly that:

These people – our ancestors – survived against long odds. They survived the Middle Passage. As slaves, they had children, though God only knows if they were able to know their families. They made it through (failed) Reconstruction and through Jim Crow and through separate and unequal. They eventually resulted in my grandmother and my dad and me and Michaela.

And if that’s not something to celebrate and honor and cherish, then I don’t know what is.

I think it sunk in because she told me tonight at bedtime that she would like to take a picture to school after all.

Thank goodness for that.

Happy New Year!

2 Jan

We didn’t have big plans for New Year’s Eve. We were invited to a friend’s house, but opted to stay home and make fondue instead. We dipped apples, carrots, french bread, broccoli, and carrots in a cheddar-blue cheese mix, and steak, shrimp, mushrooms, and red potatoes in a broth, filling ourselves full of yumminess to say goodbye to 2017.


Michaela insisted she be allowed to stay up until midnight for New Year’s Eve. She was close to giving up and going to sleep at about 11:30, but she managed to stay awake (we played about a million games of Uno and Old Maid) and as the ball dropped, we toasted with sparkling apple cider and counted down to midnight.

The next morning, she slept until 10:30!

We puttered around the house before Michaela and I headed to the beach. It was 70 when we left, but ended up being a bit more chilly at the beach, so Michaela contented herself making sandcastles. She even made friends with another girl who was there and they built a long moat together.


After coming home from the beach and rinsing off, Mike joined us and we all went for a long walk. It wasn’t quite “take a hike,” as many people advocate on New Year’s Day, but I ended up hitting (actually exceeding!) my 10k steps goal for the day.

We had extra steak shrimp from fondue, and I decided I’d make them myself on the grill. I don’t eat seafood so never cook it, but it seemed simple enough (thanks to the internet) to do. I threaded the shrimp onto skewers, seasoned my steak, and threw them on the grill. The steak was delicious and Michaela enjoyed the shrimp; it was fun to start the new year by doing something I’ve never done before!

2017 in Review

31 Dec

This was a long year.

The lows were incredibly low – from Rey and Elree dying to a close relative being diagnosed with cancer to all the stupid BS that’s come with Trump’s inauguration – and the highs were high (probably none higher than our relative’s cancer being caught early and not requiring chemo after surgery to remove the mass).

We went to Japan; Italy, Spain, and MaltaWyoming for the eclipse; DisneylandHollywoodNew Orleans and Mississippi; Oklahoma; and Tijuana and Rosarito, Mexico.

Michaela wrapped up first grade and started second. She turned 8 and somehow manages to get cooler every day.

Work was full of ups and downs for me, but seems to have settled into a “new normal.” Mike is busier than ever, growing his company and making great videos for happy clients.

We spent time with friends new and old, and saw all three sets of parents (mine, Mike’s dad and stepmom, and Mike’s mom and stepdad) multiple times during the year.

I hope 2018 will be kind to us. My intention for the year is to be more conscious– conscious of the impacts of what I say and don’t say, conscious about my consumption (in terms of food and shopping), and conscious of the example I’m setting for Michaela in ways that are obvious and not.

Happy new year!

Jungle Bells

26 Dec

Each winter, the San Diego Zoo does a special holiday-themed nighttime zoo offering called Jungle Bells. They have musical performances, holiday lights, fake snow, and later hours (a plus if you time it right, so you can see the nocturnal animals). We went tonight and had a nice time walking around the zoo for a couple of hours, though we didn’t see many animals.

Well, not real ones, anyway…


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Christmas 2017

26 Dec

Let’s see, what’s happened since I last posted in November?

We recovered from Europe. Mike had a birthday. Michaela turned 8. San Diego experienced terrible wildfires, which had me working like crazy. Then, all of a sudden it was time for Christmas!

Mike’s mom and stepdad came to visit us for the holiday. They came during a week that Mike and I were working, and Michaela was at a week-long, all-day “Cooking Around the World” camp, so I feel like we didn’t get to see as much of them as I would have liked. But the time we had together was nice.

Santa was very generous with his gifts. Michaela got eight baby dolls – her current passion. Our house looks like a nursery. She got doll bunk beds and a doll toilet and doll diapers and doll clothes… Plus washi tape, books, a make your own computer set, board games, and more. I got a giant TV (woo hoo!), which I think of as a gift to everyone.


We had my parents and Mike’s cousin Maggie over for Christmas dinner, in addition to the five us of (me, Mike, and Michaela, plus Mike’s mom and stepdad). It was lovely. We had so much food! Ham and Thanksgiving sides, plus a beautiful cheese board, apple pie for dessert, and bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed figs that I made. And all that was after Mike made his homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast and I squeezed OJ with fruit from our tree!



Basically, our stomaches were stuffed with food and our stockings were stuffed with gifts. A lovely day!


26 Nov

We took our second big international trip of the year this month, spending about two weeks on a Mediterranean cruise. We took our nephew along, so the trip was even more special (and different– I’m not used to having 2 kids, and I’m not used to being around 9-year-old boys!). We hit several cities in Italy and Spain, plus Valletta, the capital of Malta (thereby allowing me to cross “visit a new country” off my 40 before 40 list).

I shared some pictures on my Instagram and Facebook pages, so if we’re friends IRL, look for them there. If we’re not friends IRL, here are a couple of highlights.

Flying from LAX to Heathrow, before going on to Rome.



Dabbing at the Colosseum.



Second time there, but still excited to see it!




At Taormina, in Sicily, Italy.



My happy place.



Valletta, Malta. It was gorgeous there, which took us all by surprise.



Inside the caves of Nerja, Spain (near Malaga).



Roman ruins in Cartagena, Spain. (Now Mike, Michaela, and I have been to Cartagena in two countries, on two continents!)



A very crowded bus in Valencia, Spain.



On a cool electric train that took us from Palma de Mallorca to Soller, Spain.



Outside La Boqueria, the central market of Barcelona.


It was a great trip!

Kind Heart

26 Nov

We don’t have cable, so when we have TV on, it’s either Netflix/something streaming or over-the-air broadcast TV, which is mostly shows from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, and some of the worst commercials you’ve ever seen. From spots for pills that will help cure your addiction (no matter what you’re addicted to) to AARP membership ads to heart-tugging pieces for Wounded Warriors Project, St. Jude’s, etc., they’re a motley mix.

Today I had the TV on and a commercial for Unicef came on. It talked about how children live in different parts of the world, how people’s donations can help make a difference to those children. I didn’t even realize Michaela was watching until she ran to her piggy bank and came back with a handful of coins and told me she wanted to donate it to Unicef to help other children.

It was so incredibly sweet. I gave her the money back and told her I’d make a donation for all of us (I actually made a donation to Unicef earlier this year), but she put the coins back in my hand and said she wanted to help. She insisted I take the money and made me promise to donate it.

I am proud of my girl’s big heart and desire to make the world a better place.

So Many To Dos

5 Nov

We’re leaving in four days for a two-week long vacation, so this weekend has been a rush of activity. Load after load of laundry. Trips to Target and the mall for last-minute purchases (including my failed attempt at finding a light windbreaker-type rain jacket for Michaela. I know we live in San Diego, but seriously, why aren’t there any in stores?!?). Many purchases on Amazon– with Prime, the jacket and other things I ordered, like a new pair of running shoes for me, will be here in two days. Checking and double checking the calendar to make sure nothing slips through the cracks while we’re gone (gotta get food for the canned food drive Michaela’s Girl Scout troop is leading!).

I need a vacation from all my getting ready!

And then I’ll need a vacation to recover from my vacation. ;)