I have a great, life partner who I am so thankful for. Today he worked from home as his new office is being transformed. I was working on my computer too, and I loved that he was nearby. When we first met, we used to work together for several years. I loved the time we spent sharing stories, coffee breaks, lunch hours, happy hours with colleagues, commuting together and working out together. These shared times were many of the perks of my working years.

So today, when we worked from home together, and he asked me if I wanted a coffee in the middle of the afternoon, he made me smile and made me think back to the days when we first dated. The coffee was great. The memories, even better.

Thanks for the coffee, babe! You made my day. I love you.

What are some of the perks of your daily life?



What do you look forward to each day? Do you have a routine that makes you happy?

One of my favorite rituals is drinking coffee with Jeff. It’s not just the act of drinking coffee. It goes much deeper than that. I start anticipating the morning cup of Joe the night before. At the end of the day, as I reflect on all that has happened and begin to think and plan for the next day, the thought of coffee together first thing when we wake up makes me happy.

Some nights we grind the beans the night before and set the auto timer on the coffee machine before we go to bed. This way we wake up to the smell of the aroma.

Most mornings Jeff will get out of bed first to make me coffee. I’ll stay where it’s warm and check my phone while the coffee brews. It’s like a little present that I know is coming and I’m excited every time it arrives.

It’s the little things, I swear.

Making me coffee is one way we connect before the show begins. Isn’t everyday a performance? For this little daily moment, shared ritual and token of love, I am thankful.

Oh, I can’t wait for our coffee tomorrow morning! What are you looking forward to doing?

Day 222: Sunshine, Coffee & Yoga

Three things made me happy right at the beginning of the day.

First thing this morning, I woke up to find the guest room filled with bright light and the sun was beginning to rise.

20130304-212050.jpg Seeing and feeling the sun shine fills me up.

The second thing that made me smile, was a morning ritual. Jeff makes me a cappuccino every morning, so while I’m waking up the kids and starting a load of laundry, I can smell the coffee from upstairs and its ready for me when I come down. I think this is one of the greatest things ever and I am always so thankful that he does this for me. It’s the little things that create huge amounts of joy for me and make me feel loved.

The third thing that started my day off positively after dropping the kids off at school, was my yoga class. I absolutely love yoga and don’t know why I don’t do it everyday. Its especially a great way to start a Monday. When I arrived, I was the only one not speaking (and understanding) Dutch and I felt a little sad to not understand what everyone was saying and sharing with one another. It was only chit chat before class started, but I so desperately wanted to be part of a conversation, yet I couldn’t share anything. I let that feeling go and just focused on relaxing and stretching before class started and had a great practice. Afterwards, during tea with the classmates, a few new friends spoke with me in English and I no longer felt alone. And as I was getting ready to leave, my teacher gave me a hug when saying goodbye, and told me she was glad I came again and that she enjoys having me in her class. She made my day too…another simple and free joy.

I hope your day was filled with peace, love and joy…sunshine, coffee and yoga!


Day 41: Yin and Yang and What I Love About the Dutch

So Ikea… what thoughts come to mind?  For us, it’s mixed – great, functional, inexpensive way to set up a house quickly, when all things go right. BuT — when things aren’t right, IKEA stinks!!  IKEA does not know what customer service means and they try to be helpful, but they are not and they create a nightmare that won’t go away. We’ve had a table wrapped in cardboard in our kitchen for 1 month now, waiting for them to come and pick it up so we can get our money back. We’ve called Customer Service multiple times and no luck. They keep saying they are too busy and they might try to call us another day and to wait and that it’s not possible, and blah blah blah. Well, today – we squished the bits and parts into our rental car by folding down the back seats, and brought it back ourselves.  We waited and waited and explained our story again and again and we’re glad to say we got our money back and got rid of the bad table.  This made me very happy and we learned to do things for ourselves and not wait and to not listen to their it’s not possible stories.


So after the nightmare ended, we went over to the Woon Mall – an indoor furniture and household goods shopping center near the Amsterdam Arena. We walked into a store to buy sheets for the beds and to inquire about what to do about the seam between the two mattresses that make up a king sized bed. You see, king sized beds don’t seem to exist here. Instead, you buy two twin size mattresses and put them together – sort of like in I Love Lucy where Ricky and Lucy have separate beds, but here you just smoosh ’em together to make one big one, throw a Molten (bed cover) over it and a sheet, and supposedly that works. But there’s a crack – and you fall in it. So today, the nice lady, Carla – at the Droom Domein showed us a wedge that you can put in the crack – I guess others have this problem too. And she helped us pick out sheets and was so kind and friendly and was the yang to our Ikea ying.


The Wedgie!

Not only was she helpful and kind, but after we made our purchase, she invited us to sit down for a (Nespresso) cup of coffee. She said we should sit and relax and take a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee and that she would serve us. And then she sat and talked with us and it felt so weird and so comfortable at the same time. It made me wonder if people in the States would take the time to have a drink and relax while shopping. We loved it and really enjoyed the customer service and the personal connection that she made. When we went out to do a bit more shopping, she invited us to leave our packages and to come back when we were done so that we wouldn’t have to carry them.

I love that the Dutch people slow down and drink coffee and just enjoy each other’s company in the middle of the day. My mom always has coffee on at her house, but I never really thought about it until today. It’s just something we do. When she comes to visit, I always have the coffee ready too. It’s our tradition and our little connection. I’m going to extend this tradition… Who wants to come over for coffee? Come on by, and I’ll brew you a cup or two and we can sit and chat and be Dutch together.  xo

Day 24: I Am (Almost) Home

I feel like I’m almost at home now. My comfy couch created a comfy nook in our great room and I love it.  We were busy cleaning the house, I was in my pjs with makeup under my eyes and my hair in a messy ponytail, when the previous tenants of our house came by to pick up their mail and stayed and chatted for awhile, giving us so many tips and shared stories and I didn’t want them to leave!  Sally has been an expat since she was a kid and has lived in 9 different countries!  Her insights and attitude were inspiring and I wanted to hear more of her stories. We exchanged contact info and are planning to meet for coffee next week! Yippee!  

Gerard and Anita and Kelsi came over to spend the day with us.  They brought dutch treats for the kids and a beautiful houseplant for us.  Thank you guys! We had coffee and cake when they arrived, and then took the tram up to the city for a few hours.



Wooden Shoe Boat on the Amstel

It was so hot today, that we thought we’d go up to the Albert Cuypmakrt and walk around in the outdoor market place. It was over 30 degrees here (80+ Fahrenheit) and we were all a little uncomfortable with the heat. However we joked about enjoying the sunshine now because winters are long here.  We searched forever for a normal ice cream cone and couldn’t find one. We ended up at a McDonald’s for McFlurry’s and Sundaes and a nice, tall coke filled with lots of ice.  They typically don’t serve ice here or water for free.Image


Afterwards, we walked back home from the tram and made tacos for dinner.  We sat outside on the patio in the bit of shade we had.  Even though it was hot out, coffee is always served after dinner.  We had a drink together and then said goodbye to our guests.





(Too bad the ice cream truck drove up after we already had dessert!)

I’m glad to be sitting with the fan on and the windows open on my new comfy couch.  And check out what’s on TV – Jeff found a way to get NFL game day casts on the computer and hooked it up to the TV. He’s happy. Life is good.


Day 73 – A Perfect Day

My family came up from Southern California to spend Mother’s Day with me. It was the perfect day – with no big fanfare – just us, and church and April and Steve and S & J. The highlights of my day were many – my 2 year old niece singing Amen and the Our Father and Adele’s Someone Like You and smiling and laughing and just being so happy just being. She was my role model for the day. My kids were so happy to celebrate me with their home made cards and posters and hugs and kisses – loving me as their mama, my favorite role in life. And my dad and Jeff took care of the big kids and made us dinner. Happy Wife, Happy Life  and the Mama’s Happy, so Everyone’s Happy!!


These signs were all over the walls in the halls, on the cabinets and on the mantle before he went to bed to surprise me when I woke up! How cute is that? J and C also made thoughtful and artistic cards for me and their Oma and Auntie.


Coffee on the couch with my girls and the Sunday paper, while the men are making us breakfast. Are we lucky or what? Thanks Dad and Jeff!


Letting the baby sleep, the mamas sat on the couch and relaxed and watched a movie together with a cup of coffee and some chocolate, while the guys took the big kids out to keep the house quiet and peaceful. It was so nice to actually relax – what’s that like? 

The boys cooked a fabulous BBQ dinner for all of us and we had a Coldstone Ice Cream cake and homemade lemon bars for dessert. The kids had so much fun just running around the yard and watching Tangled.  After dinner, we all settled down and enjoyed a quiet evening. We’re going to miss our cousin and Auntie and Oma and Opa when they go home tomorrow. Thanks for the best gift, Papa, Mama and Yaya- the gift of your time and love and just being together.


Happy cousins getting ready for bed.


Happy Mamas. Namaste.

Day 91 – Coffee with the Dutch Ladies


Today I invited Dutch friends, Dutch friends of friends, and their friends over to my house for coffee. Can I just tell you how great this little, Dutch ritual is?  Women gathering in the morning to sit and share a conversation over a warm cup of coffee in cute little cups with lepeltjes and stroopwafels and other tasty bites is so gezellig!  I want this for all my friends. It’s something we are often missing in Silicon Valley, although our potluck BBQs are sort of like this. It’s a time to just be together without rushing to the next event or multi-tasking. It’s something the Dutch are very good at.

Gezellig doesn’t have a literal translation in English – it’s sort of intangible and something you just feel. Its meaning includes everything from cozy to friendly, from comfortable to relaxing, and from enjoyable to gregarious.  According to Wikipedia, “A perfect example of untranslatability is seen in the Dutch language through the word gezellig, which does not have an English equivalent. Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.”

Thank you Barb, Brigitta, Pauline, Ilse, and Elsbeth for spending the morning with me and for the downtime, that I usually don’t allow for myself. Let’s do it again soon – I have 90 days left, or we can always meet again in Amsterdam. 🙂

Make time for coffee – it’s a great gift to give yourself. xo