6 Weeks

We are already into our 6th week of summer vacation and I’m already getting anxious thinking about it being over. 

I really love summer vacation and it takes me awhile to unwind and let go.

Today I am still feeling jet lagged and so I did a little less and relaxed and it felt so good.

I tried to not have a plan and let the day unfold without a schedule and boy did that feel great and turned our remarkably fulfilling. Here’s what an unstructured day looked like.

I slept in and played with the kittens. J stopped by for a cup of tea and drove with me to drop CJ off at his practice.

We came back and played SpikeBall with the other kids in the front yard and got such a kick out of it.

I cooked lunch and did some paper work and then took the kids and friends to the pool to cool off and play.  The kids were so happy playing and he moms chatting that no one wanted to leave and we stayed an extra hour.

The only plans we had was dinner with our friends and that was spectacular!

  
What a perfectly, unplanned and unscheduled, fulfilling day just living in the moment.

I love summer! 

nAMaste

The Sabbath 

How did you rest today?

Did you slow down and enjoy a special moment with someone or something you love?

The message for today was not to hurry. I had to think about this one for awhile and wondered what that would look like and feel like to slow down. I always feel like I am in a hurry and juggling several things at once. I want to go, go, go, and don’t want to stop until bed time.

What happens when you don’t hurry?

I decided to practice today, since it was the sabbath, a day of rest.

As we were leaving church today, a gentleman decided he wanted to talk with us. We did not know him, yet his eyes sparkled and he wanted to share his story with us. Since we weren’t in a hurry, we listened. And we listened until everyone around us left. We walked outside and we listened some more. He had a lot to share and was very interesting and friendly. Plus, we weren’t in a hurry and we felt the presence of the moment and just being together in conversation, sharing stories and feeling good.

Juliana and I went shopping after lunch and we took our time. We weren’t in a rush and we were able to find what we were seeking.  I wanted to hurry home and be done, but instead we slowed down. I smiled at people and shared stories. One girl gave me an extra 10% off my order, maybe because I was not in a hurry and was present for a real moment in the check out line with her, asking her personal questions. I was actually enjoying the slower process and talking to people. I saw the workers differently and appreciated their service and hearing their stories too. 

I feel like if we slow down and see people and connect, maybe we can make this world a little less hectic and discover what we have in common and smile and share a laugh.  

Hmm…that’s what happened to me today and I loved it.  How about you? What happens when you slow down?

Our Exchange Student

We are very lucky to be hosting an exchange student who is so wonderful.

She is very curious and polite and happy and knows what she likes and doesn’t. She is engaging and helpful and has become part of our family in just a few short days.

We are all going out of our way to make her time here a great experience.

Today I took her to the Paris Baguette after school to pick out a treat, as she loves cakes and baked goods. I loved watching her genuinely love all the displays and tasting the samples.

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She picked a Royal Pudding served in a small glass jar that I had never seen before.

After an afternoon snack, she got ready to go to a ballet class with one of Juliana’s friends. I dropped her off at the friend’s house and they took her to the class and brought her home. At first, she was nervous to go on her own and I was luckily able to reassure her that she would have a good time and that she was safe. I, too, was nervous to leave her as I felt like she was my child and I was responsible for her well being. I trusted the family and was so honored that they were going through the trouble to share this experience with her, as she is a ballerina in Japan.

She had a wonderful time and was very happy when she returned home. The American girls also enjoyed her company and thought she was a very good dancer with great form. I am thankful for good friends and our community and that Akie had a good experience.

For dinner tonight, I made a spiral glazed ham, homemade mashed potatoes with gravy, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with hollandaise sauce, and traditional Japanese rice!! She loves rice and I love to serve it for her with every meal, to provide a taste of home. The cool connection I noticed tonight, was that the rest of my family also enjoyed rice with their dinner. Akie has rubbed off on us and I love it.

At school today, Akie learned to play the card game, War. After dinner Charlie found a deck of cards and they played together. Juliana and Charlie and Akie also did a round of the cup song, that she learned last week, passing the cups between them as they played. This was very cool to watch.

I am so happy she is here and am going to miss her when she leaves. I am thankful that Juliana was curious about hosting an exchange student and that we all agreed to go on this journey together.

Love this life.

Namaste

Wanderlust in San Francisco

Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.”  – Oxford Dictionaries Online

Wanderlust is in my soul. I love to wander from place to place and today we wandered around one of our favorite cities, San Francisco.  We used to live in this wonderful city and there are so many fascinating neighborhoods and pockets to explore.

I love going to the city and just wandering without a set mission of what we want to see or do. I asked Jeff to look up a new place for us to discover and mentioned that I’d like to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, if there was time. The last time we did that was 15 years ago and the views are spectacular.

The first place he took me was Grandview Park in the Inner Sunset.

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This is not a typical tourist destination and it was quiet, clear, gorgeous and serene.  

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I was so happy walking around here, discovering something so breathtaking and new, that my wanderlust spirit was filled and it was only the beginning of our date.

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After wandering around the rocky and sandy terrain, we walked through the neighborhood and just enjoyed seeing the cool houses, narrow streets and parrots flying and squawking overhead.

We got back in the car and traversed down the hill, noticing the street names of just staircases that lead to upper streets.  We ended up down on Irving Street to grab a drink and use the restroom. My favorite little SF boutique, Ambiance, just happened to be open and I couldn’t resist looking around and trying on some things.  This is what I love most about just wandering without a plan. When you see something you like, you just stop and pull over and enjoy the moment.

Our next stop was the Presidio.  Before we got there, we drove down Haight street and took in the familiar sites. We drove down by where I used to take Christian to Gymboree with Apryl and Alex and felt nostalgic that it has been replaced with a City Target and Best Buy.  It was still fun to see the changes that have happened over the past several years.

Jeff had discovered a new Mexican restaurant in the Presidio Officer’s Club that had recently opened and we decided to give it a try. At Arguello, you order your food at the bar and then they bring you your order whether you choose to sit inside or out.  It was sunny and warm without any wind, so we sat on the terrace. The food was ok and the experience was great and relaxing.

After lunch, we had a volunteer docent give us a tour of the Presidio Officer’s Club which was interesting and entertaining. Again, we weren’t looking to explore a museum today, but it was offered to us and we decided to follow along.  

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The Presidio Visitor’s Center was also open today and so we walked through there too, as Jeff has always wanted to see it. There wasn’t much to see, but the views from the Presidio and the open space are all really appealing.

We walked back to our car and drove over near the bridge, where we paid to park. We got out and found our way to the North entrance of the Bridge and enjoyed the 1.7 mile walk across to the Marin Headlands and then turned around and headed back.

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It was a warm day on the bridge and the sun shine and visibility were stunning.  

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We saw what we thought to be dolphins under the bridge, but soon discovered they were harbor porpoises that have returned to the bay, after we talked with a research scientist who was photographing and tracking the animals as he was working on identifying them.

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We couldn’t have picked a better day to be exploring one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.

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What are some of your favorite San Francisco locations?

Life is good.

Top Five of the Day

How was your day honey?

My day was full and wonderful, thank you for asking!

What were the top five things you experienced today that made you smile?

Mine all have to do with girlfriends, exercise, family and being outside.

1. Hiking at Rancho today with Michele and Susanne. I love this 7 mile loop we do, in the sunshine for 90 minutes. The time goes by so quickly when you’re chatting and moving.
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2. Surprising Sydney with McDonald’s and sharing one of my favorite memories from childhood with her. Whenever I was sick from school which was hardly ever, my mom would bring me McDonald’s. it always made me feel better. Loved hanging out with her mom too! I love spontaneity.

3. Spending one on one time with each of my kids today. It’s amazing how much they share and open up, especially when we are in the car ad we’re alone together. They are the best kids with all their quirks and all. I love how each of their personalities and opinions are forming. They all make me laugh in their own ways and teach me so much.

4. Catching up with Stacey for a half hour over the phone while she was watching hockey practice in Texas and I was sitting in the car at soccer practice in California. Still connected after all these years.

5. Organizing dates for the boys and the girls on a school night. I love shaking things up every now and then. The boys watched football and ate pizza with Steve and friends, and Juliana and I strolled around Santana Row and had Pinkberry yogurt together outside under an oak tree that kept dropping acorns and making us laugh!

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Life is good. Where did you see beauty or find joy?