Surprise Visit

My friends from Holland happened to be in the Bay Area this week. I knew they were in town through our kids, as they were sending each other snap chat stories, Instagram updates and iMessage texts. I love social media and how it makes our world a little more connected and smaller after all. 

I was busy working when I received a Facebook Messenger notification from their mama, telling me she was at the Winchester  Mysyery House, 15 minutes away. I knew I had to see her somehow.

They decided to pop in to our house for a quick hug and cup of coffee before continuing on with their vacation. 

I was so happy to see them here in my space and to hear what they liked about an American house, just like the movies! They liked the squirrel running across the backyard fence and noticed the basketball hoop in the driveway. They liked seeing the garbage truck drive by and our little row houses in the neighborhood.

I just loved having them sit on my couch, near the Christmas tree and sharing stories and laughter once again. It felt just like it did back in Holland and was a gezellig little visit, just much too short.

I hope we get to see them again before they head back home. The kids were so sad to not be home for their quick visit.

Thank you Jessurun’s for taking the time to stop by! We miss your family and you made my day. Hope you enjoy the rest of your journey around the West Coast.


My Mom and Dad

My mom and dad came to visit me today.  Just me.  Here’s our selfie to prove it:


Well, that’s not really true, but a girl can pretend she’s an only child and had them all to herself, which was true for an hour or two.

I am so lucky to have such loving parents that love everyone, not just me. So many people admire them and look up to them and want to be in their company.  Are you wondering why?  So glad you asked. I’ll tell you.

Here are 11 reasons, because I like odd numbers.

1. They are authentic and real.

2. They are unconditionally loving and funny.

3. They are unselfish and giving.

4. They go out of their way to take care of others. Always.

5. They always welcome friends and family to their home. They never are “busy” and the door is always open.

6. They make good coffee and their home is very gezellig (this is a Dutch word that doesn’t have an English translation, but basically means warm and cozy and welcoming.)

7. They make good bread and cookies and spaghetti sauce.

8. They always see the good in people and lift others up.

9. They love and take care of their family and extended family, always, without any expectations.

10. They make the time to attend the special life events of their friends and family, even driving long distances.

11. They call me everyday and keep in touch and keep the love flowing.  They just get the meaning of life.

I am so thankful that they chose to come spend a few days with us and I guess I’ll share them.  I wish that everyone could have parents like mine. The world would be a better place with such loving people spreading joy to all. Hey, maybe they are Santa Claus?  😉

The coffee is on… door is open. Come on over, BeLoveRs.  xo

A Good Marriage

What makes for a good marriage?


These pictures were in a store front window and made me laugh and think.

As sexist as they may be, there is some truth to them and I think the truth pertains to both sexes for both statements.

What I see in the images is that a good man provides for his wife. I also think a good wife provides for her husband. How the couple chooses to provide and support one another is key.

In the second image, it shows that it’s important for a woman to maintain her health and look good for her mate. I think it’s important for both partners to take care of their physical well being and to look and feel good, primarily for themselves and secondarily to maintain their attractiveness to their spouse. I disagree with the measurements, of course, but agree with the idea of maintaining our health so that we can live a healthy, long, life together. When we feel good about ourselves, we have more positive energy to share with others. I think it’s important that we take the time to exercise and eat right most days, and to accept our bodies while we continuously maintain and improve them.

What are some other important attributes of healthy marriages?

I’ll share a little list.

1. Trust.
2. Unconditional love.
3. Laughter.
4. Independence.
5. Togetherness.
6. Shared interests.
7. Open communication.
8. Respect.
9. Patience.
10. Understanding.
11. Empathy.
12. Appreciation.
13. Confidence.
14. Faith.
15. Admiration.
16. Support.
17. Friendship.
18. Shared dreams.
19. Compassion.
20. Thoughtfulness.
21. Physical attraction.

What would you add to the list? What are the most important attributes?

I think that marriage is a practice. It’s something that is never done. The happily ever after comes after doing the work and investing time and energy and creating a shared history of practice and loving and forgiving and letting go and creating and starting over and keeping things new again and again. The practice of renewal and commitment helps to strengthen the bonds of marriage and keeps the relationship fresh.

In Dutch, they have a word to describe a cozy, warm, joyful, home or experience that they describe as gezellig. There really isn’t an English equivalent for the feeling that comes from this word that I know of, but I think gezellig is a good word to describe a good marriage.

Is your marriage gezellig? I wish you enough.


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