Retro Post – Be Still My Beating Heart, I’m in Love!

Another retro post. This is cracking me up — how dated it is. Was there really a time when people didn’t know what a GPS was? I’m also laughing at how clever I thought I was. Written in March 1997 and posted on

Be still my beating heart, I’m in love!

Russell doesn’t know it, so I can’t give you too much information. I won’t tell you his name, but I will give you his initials. G.P.S. We met last night at the car rental agency. Russell was there so I pretended not to like him. I actually told Russell that G.P.S. was an accident waiting to happen. But, no, Russell wouldn’t listen. He likes G.P.S. and wants to be around him so I’m destined to head down a very treacherous road indeed.

G.P.S. is strong, a born leader. He only takes direction from above. He’s driving me to distraction! When we’re together, he keeps track of my every move and never steers me wrong. On the road of life, he is my guide. Where he leads, I will follow.

All right, all right. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, pretty darn clever, eh? For those of you who don’t… Let me introduce the

Have any of you ever heard of this? It’s this satellite tracking system that can be installed into your car that will give you directions from any position to any destination. It’s the most incredible thing! I only saw one for the first time yesterday and already I’m hooked.

Russell and I used the G.P.S. to drive from the airport in San Francisco to our new apartment in Sunnyvale. It was our first night in town and we didn’t know where to find a place to eat so , what did we do? Why, we fired up the G.P.S. and asked it to list for us (in order of closest to farthest) the restaurants in the area. We then chose a restaurant, decided to take the shortest route (as opposed to the one with the most freeway or the least freeway), and got there with only 2 wrong turns. Russell’s fault, not the system’s!

To top it off, the G.P.S. has a male computerized voice that will tell you: PREPARE TO EXIT THE HIGHWAY or SLIGHT LEFT TURN AHEAD or LEAVE YOUR HUSBAND, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE ME!

I don’t know where you can get one of these gadgets. I don’t know how much it costs. (I’ll find this all out later, for the sake of keeping our readers informed.) But I do know, I HAVE TO GET ONE OF THESE SYSTEMS. Lucky for me, Russell is addicted too!

Retro Post – Trapped at 30,000 Feet!

I was a blogger before the term even existed. According to Wikipedia, the term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on December 17, 1997. The short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999. I wrote this and posted it on on September 30, 1997. Here it is, verbatim. Formatting and graphics the same as they were 15 years ago.

Yeah, I like to live on the bleeding edge.

Trapped at 3000 Feet! – 09/03/97

When I actively search for excitement, I rarely find it. It’s only when I’m twiddling my thumbs, minding my own business, that excitement takes me by surprise. I’m on a plane traveling to Atlanta, and not five minutes ago, I got stuck in one of the airplane restrooms. No lie.

Airplane Restroom

I wasn’t twiddling my thumbs, but I was minding my own business, when I saw that the line for the bathrooms had finally dwindled and it looked like I might get a turn. Taking advantage of the situation, I jumped up and jetted toward the front of the plane. A flight attendant said, “It’s open”. I flashed him a smile of gratitude and squeezed myself through the door.

I did what I needed to do… blah blah blah, decided it was time to leave and reached for the door. The handle turned but the door wouldn’t budge. “That’s strange,” I thought. I turned the handle the opposite way and leaned on the door again. Nothing.

“It must be me,” I decided.

Several more times I turned the knob and pushed. Each time the door would rattle a bit but not open. Thinking that maybe I had consumed one too many glasses of wine, I convinced myself that the door would not open because of some fault of my own. Obviously, I had temporarily forgotten the mechanics of door opening. I was sure, that through trial and error, the door would eventually swing open to reveal flight attendants laughing at me and my poor door opening skills.

This did not happen, though. I rattled. I shoved. I made deals with God. Nothing worked. Finally, I had to resign myself to knocking on the door and feebly crying, “Help…” No one heard me. “Help, please?” With each cry for attention, my embarrassment grew. After 4 calls, someone finally heard my pleas and attempted to assist me. (For those of you who are saying to themselves, “Uh duh… you could ‘ve just rung the button to call the flight attendant.” Thanks for the advice. I’ve heard that 20 times now. At the time, I did not know there was a button. I didn’t look around and assess the situation. Panic was setting in. I WANTED OUT!”)

The woman, bless her heart, gave that knob tugs that nearly tore the whole door from the frame, yet still it wouldn’t open. She yanked and pulled for about a minute before she yelled, “Don’t go anywhere! I’m going to find some help!”

“Umm… okay.” Don’t go anywhere???

I started to calculate how many hours the flight still had left. 3 1/2. Way too long to be trapped in a restroom. Let alone, a restroom that is 2 feet by 2 feet and smelly to boot!

Before long, I heard muffled voices and several attempts were made to open the door. The roar of the plane engines drowned out all intelligible words, however, I got the feeling that at least 4 people “on the outside” were now involved in my rescue. A man yelled, “When I say go, kick the door!”

“Gladly!” I yelled back.

“One,… two,… three,… GO!” WHAM WHAM WHAM! I put a lot into those kicks. Even landed on the toilet due to the force of the third one, but the door didn’t budge. Fearfully, I contemplated how I might entertain myself the next 3 1/2 hours. Would I be able to hear the movie? What about my dessert? Would they figure out a way to get me my dessert? Could they maybe slide a complimentary deck of cards through the ashtray? I held my head in my hands and tried to forget that I had a mild case of claustrophobia.

By this time, my not-so-successful rescuers had resorted to kicking the door from their side. I sat on the toilet (the cover was down), scrunched my knees to my chest, and tried to fight the rising panic. “One hundred bottles of beer on the wall, one hundred bottles of beer…”

Suddenly, the door swung silently open. This was very much to my astonishment and also to those staring at me based on their stunned silence. A large piece of gray metal clanked to the floor. I didn’t wait to see what it was. I bolted out of my cell, pushed past my rescuers, snatched a chocolate sundae off the rolling cart, and headed for my seat.

Which, is where I will remain the rest of this flight, despite any protests from my bladder. How long was I trapped in the airplane restroom? About 8 minutes. But let me assure you. Those were 8 long minutes.

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It <– 10 Reasons to Read this Book Now!

A friend of mine from college wrote a book entitled, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. The ideas in the book changed my life. They can change yours too, if you let them.

Here are my top 10 reasons why you should read this book.

1) You can trust the author. Kamal Ravikant is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who found himself at rock bottom – a soul-sucking, heart-crushing, body-wrecking bottom. He pulled himself out of that mess with a simple vow to love himself fully, deeply, and completely. He has no motive – not to make money, not to become famous. He just wants to share what he learned with other people so they can maybe avoid going through what he went through.

2) The book is blessedly short. You can read it in under an hour. The author isn’t a scientist, psychologist, or personal development guru. He’s just a guy. Like you. Like me, but not a girl. Having zero credentials works here because he doesn’t spend pages and pages boring the reader to hot “get-to-it-already” tears explaining why he’s qualified to write the book. Nor does he waste our time with scientific gobbly-gook about how the brain works.  (That’s the point at which I normally put a book like this down – for good.) He simply explains the exercises as he does them, encourages you to make them your own, and wishes you luck. Minimal pontification. I’m a fan.

3) The cover kicks ass. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but in this case an exception should be made. The cover stops you cold — makes you think. The book does too. I’ve read it half a dozen times and I still go back and reread, rethink, analyze and dissect. The cover was designed by Sajid Umerji. I think he’s a rock star.

4)  Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It comes highly recommended by really cool people. James Altucher, who encouraged Kamal to write the book, wrote an incredible review immediately after reading it. James is a trader, investor, writer, and entrepreneur who brought himself back from the brink more than a few times. He knows good stuff. This book is good stuff. (Tim Ferris recommended it too!)

5) It’s a steal! It’s 99 cents if you buy the kindle version on Amazon. (Did you know that you don’t have to have a Kindle in order to read a Kindle book? You can download kindle software for free on your PC or Mac.) Or it’s $4.99 for the paperback version. I bought both. My life is better because of my version of the practice Kamal outlines in this book. MY. LIFE. IS. BETTER.

6) The practice that Kamal describes is simple and easy. It doesn’t mean that it’s not work. It is work. But it’s the kind of work you feel good about doing because the results are instantaneous. They will vary for everyone. We’re not all in the same place in our lives or in our minds. But if you approach your own practice with honesty, openness, and a sincere desire to be compassionate to yourself… you will see change. Big change.

7) The stuff inside works. I’m living proof. Since Paris, I’ve been making some pretty significant changes in my life. Loving myself has made it so much easier to make those changes. Has anyone noticed that Russell is happier lately? That’s because his wife has been happier lately!

8) It’s not a cure. It’s a practice. You have to apply what you are reading. Kamal incorporates this into his message by talking about his own experience with letting things slide. You can’t coast. You can’t be lazy. There are no empty promises in this book. No one says, “read this, your life will change.” Rather, it’s “apply this. There will be magic.”

9) The book is dedicated to me! Yep, you heard me right! It’s dedicated to James Altucher, yours truly, and Sajid Umerji because we “made this book happen.” I am the turkey in between some seriously talented bread in this dedication sandwich, and I am so honored. I earned my spot by reading the book when it was simply a collection of Kamal’s thoughts on what he’d been through. I’m grateful that he decided to share it with people.  Based on the reviews, they’re a pretty grateful bunch, as well.

10) It’s a solid foundation. The practice that I’ve developed from the ideas in this book has become my foundation. When I’m dedicated to it, magic happens. When I’m not, when I allow myself to coast, to be lazy, (those exact things I said you can’t do) the difference is startling.  Things start to feel a little “pre-Paris.” I feel low. It’s easier to feel  sad. Eventually, when I’ve had enough, something will remind me of the one question that Kamal gives us as a tool to return to our practice. It’s my favorite part of the whole book. The one question.

If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this?

No, I would not. I have no reason to ever again not love myself as completely as I possibly can.

And so I begin again, the work that is changing my life and that I expect will continue to do so for years to come.

You should read this book

The Old People Mafia is After My Husband

My husband, Russell, is 44 years old. Not that old, really, for a guy. (I’m 42 which is ancient, but that’s a different story.) Forty-four years old and the AARP will not stop hounding him. Every six months or so he gets another letter in the mail inviting him to “join” their little club.

First, they offered to “fight for his American dream” if only he would sign up for a six-month trial membership. Russell is a full-time executive with two demanding and adorable children, one talented and humble wife, two grossly overweight cats, a lawn that is in constant need of mowing, and a house falling apart at the seams. He simply doesn’t have time for a dream… American, Italian, Vulcan, or otherwise. He threw the letter away.

Then, they offered to send him a free magazine. Russell’s loves free magazines. Russell loves free anything. Luckily this particular magazine is already delivered to his office. Again, he threw the letter away. But I detected a hint of reluctance.

Last year, the AARP continued its relentless attempt to woo my husband into their fold. They offered a one-year membership in exchange for which he would receive hotel, flight, and car rental discounts. They hit the sweet spot. I caught him filling out the application.

“Hey, Russ, you can’t join the AARP,” I said.

“I can,” he said. “I’ve been invited.”

“You are only forty-three years old,” I said.

“They obviously don’t know that.”

“Drop the pen, Russell, and put your hands above your head where I can see them.”

He complied. But I could tell he wasn’t happy about it.

Ultimately, it’s a fight I can’t win. Russell’s latest invitation to join the AARP ranks arrived a week ago. I’ve been seeing the letter and it’s accompanying pre-printed membership card floating around various parts of the house. He’s obviously carrying it around with him as he contemplates what to do.

I know why he’s struggling too. They’re offering a bonus gift. A FREE INSULATED TRAVEL BAG.

He doesn’t stand a chance.


It’s a 2012 “Big Thing” – I Deliver a Baby

This is Noah. He’s here because of me.

Well, not really. But mostly. I mean practically. Not from my particular body, but…

Let me explain.

August’s 2012 “Big Thing” was supposed to be a twofer that focussed on my health.

1. Drink 8 glasses of water every day

2. Do some form of exercise every day

I started strong on August 1st. Went to the gym. Guzzled down amazing amounts of water. I was proud. (And I did a butt-load of mirror affirmations!) On August 2nd, I again came out swinging. Went BACK to the gym, this time did some serious time on the elliptical. Problem was, I forgot the water. Completely.

What do you do when you make a commitment to yourself and you don’t keep it? Revise the commitment, of course!

My August “Big Thing” became:

  1. Do some form of exercise every day

That lasted until August 11th.

Lucky for me, my BFAW (Best Friend at Work), Lisa, was very pregnant and she and her husband, Tim, had asked me to attend the birth of their baby. My role was to be “fake doula.” (Apparently, to be a real doula you have to go through some sort of rigorous training or something.)

With that said, I did try to prepare myself. Lisa provided me a stack of hypno-birthing CD’s to listen to so that I could adequately and appropriately support her during her “pressure waves” and protect her “bubble of peace.” I listened to those CD’s at least ten times in the weeks leading up to her son’s birth. Unfortunately, I also fell asleep before I ever got more than 4 or 5 minutes in. It seems you don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy the benefits of hypno-birthing techniques.

No worries!

After many hours of pretty intense labor, Lisa started referring to her “pressure waves” as “OW OW OW OW, IT HURTS!” (also known as “contractions”) and I was relieved of my duty to protect her “bubble of peace.” It had popped.

Instead, I trolled Facebook and caught her up on the “news.” I fetched food for her husband. I read her trashy entertainment magazines. We gossiped. I was happy enough — I had my Diet Coke. I was also blissfully unaware that Lisa wanted to slap me every time I raised that sweet bottled beverage to my lips. I thought she was enjoying her ice chips!

I make a pretty awesome fake doula. I was in charge of Lisa’s right leg — making sure it was where it was supposed to be every time she had a contraction. I was also responsible for her gas mask – lifting it away from her face when she pushed, putting it back when she rested. I’m proud to report that I only deprived her of oxygen once — okay, twice — fine, six measly, insignificant times — during her entire two hours of pushing!  It was also my job to ask the nurse “are you sure you know what you’re doing?” every ten minutes and yell things like, ‘Push, Lisa! Push! For God’s sake, woman, aren’t you ready for this to be over?”

It was exhausting. I mean, really, you have no idea. But I prevailed.

After twenty-three long hours in the hospital, Lisa gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Noah.

Congratulations, Lisa and Tim. It was an honor and a privilege to share this beautiful moment with you.

Coffee Affirmations

I don’t drink coffee. I’ve said those words so many times over the last decades. Those days are over. A weekend trip to Kona on the Big Island has changed everything. Russell’s uncle grows his own coffee beans in his yard. He made me an espresso with a spoonful of brown sugar and I was hooked.

Since returning home, I’ve been trying all sorts of coffee preparations and flavors. I’m 42 years old and actively pursuing a vice.

I’m also trying to drink more water. Previously, my liquid diet consisted of wine and diet coke. Period. I’d drink water if and only if it was in the form of an ice cube in my diet coke. Obviously this isn’t good for me. So, I’ve been forcing down the H2O.

Drinking more water has led to more trips to the bathroom which has led to me loving myself more.

Let me explain.

Many months ago I started doing 4-minute mirror affirmations. Staring at myself in the mirror, looking into my own eyes, and telling myself over and over again that I loved myself.

“I love you,” I would say. If I was feeling particularly jaunty, I might give myself a wink. “I love you. I love you. I love you.”

When I first started doing mirror affirmations, it was hard. I didn’t believe what I was saying to myself. It felt like a lie. I would also get distracted.

“I love you. I love you. Where did that wrinkle come from? Eek. Don’t get distracted. I love you. I love you. Really, what the hell? I swear it wasn’t there yesterday! I love you. I love you. I love you.”

I continued the practice and incorporated it with other mindful activities designed to make my life amazing and eventually, I started to believe it. It got to the point where anytime I would go into the restroom at work, I would take my phone, set the timer, and squeeze in four minutes of my own personal love-fest.

“Hey, I love you! Yep, you kinda rock!” Wink.

I became comfortable with loving myself.

So, of course, what happens whenever you get comfortable with something? You take it for granted and you get lazy.

As I mentioned above, because I was drinking more water, I was making more trips to the bathroom. This gave me more opportunities to do my mirror affirmations. My work ethic, however, does not allow me to take multiple 4-minute breaks during the day. I got into the habit of doing affirmations every time I went to the bathroom but only for 30 seconds or so.

Pee. Flush. Wash hands. Glance at mirror. I love you-I love you-I love you. Return to office. Work for thirty minutes. Get that nagging feeling. Stand up from desk and sigh. Pee. Flush…. you get it.

When I started drinking coffee, I found myself spending an insane amount of time traveling between my office and the bathroom. It was getting ridiculous. I couldn’t even sit through a meeting without having to excuse myself.

I started wondering if I could cut back on the water because coffee is, after all, mostly water. But then I had in the back of my head that coffee is a diuretic, and therefore, I probably should be drinking MORE water than before. But heck, I couldn’t do that. People were going to suspect that I had a drug problem, always sneaking off to the bathroom! But I didn’t want to cut back on the coffee because I was already addicted to it! Hmmm… maybe I do have a — never mind, that’s neither here nor there.

I was pondering all of this a couple of weeks ago at work. It was 10:20 a.m. and I was just completing my fourth trip to the bathroom when I found myself staring into my own eyes in the mirror, silently repeating to myself all that I knew to be true. As I looked into my eyes, I felt odd. Something wasn’t right. The affirmation wasn’t giving me that warm and fuzzy feeling it usually did. Something was wrong.

What was it?  I took a step back. Blinked. It came to me. The reason I wasn’t getting the normal feedback from my affirmations was because I had unwittingly changed the affirmation itself. I hadn’t been saying “I love you” to my reflection. I had been staring lovingly into my own eyes and silently repeating, “Coffee is a diuretic. Coffee is a diuretic. Coffee is a diuretic.”

Glass of white wineRecommended wine: Did you know that coffee is the new wine? Recently Russell and I spent a leisurely morning at Island Brew Coffeehouse where our good friend and part-owner, Charles Asselbaye, prepared a blind taste test for us. We compared Russell’s Uncle’s coffee to two other brands. Each was unique and had it’s own punch. And we each chose a different winner.  Since I know even less about coffee than I do about wine, I’m going to recommend that you visit my friend Charles yourself and let him set you up!


I’m 42 and Not Diggin’ It

This is how I react when someone calls me “ma’am.”

Let’s just jump right in. I turned 42 years old last week. I am not happy about it. Let’s talk about why:

  • I sweat for no reason at all. I swear I this didn’t happen to me when I was 41.
  • I have crow’s feet.  Crows feet suck.
  • I now have to wear makeup. It started when I turned 40. I hate it. It takes up valuable time each morning and because I never wore it before, I’m horrible at putting it on and have to rely on my 30-something friends to guide me. It’s humiliating. And I resent it. (For my girlfriends… the ones saying, “oh, poor you, just started wearing makeup at forty,” shut up. This is my list. (p.s. I love you guys.))
  • I have four grey hairs and no matter how many times I pull them out, they reappear the next day. All four. Three on my head and one… somewhere else.
  • I put ice cubes in my wine to water it down. I don’t even know why I do this, but I associate it with being old.
  • I’m embarrassed if I walk by a Hollister store and they have one of the shirtless male models standing at the entrance. (Where are his pants? Does his mother know about this? Oh God, why can’t I make myself look away?)
  • I sweat if I walk within a hundred yards of a Hollister store in anticipation that they might have one of the shirtless male models standing at the entrance. Can anyone say coo coo ca-choo?
  • My favorite clothes have come into style and gone out of style five times. (Currently, they’re out.)
  • Harrison Ford is 70. I still think he’s hot.
  • More grocery store clerks than not call me Ma’am. What the %^$&?
  • Last, but not least, everything pisses me off. And I feel justified about it somehow. Like it’s a right of mine to be mad at everything because I’ve earned it by living this long. I’m just like a grumpy old woman – the exact kind of grumpy old woman that pissed me off when I was younger.

Wow. I’m exhausted. (See… I’m so old that making lists exhausts me!)

With that said, I do feel the need to mention this. I’m more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ever been. (I just don’t like how droopy it is!) I have more confidence than ever before too. I don’t have fewer problems. In fact, this year, I’m facing more challenges than last. It hasn’t been easy. But I have more belief in my ability to handle what comes my way. This gives me confidence which gives me courage. Two traits I would not have used to describe myself only a year ago.

I think I’ll write more on this later. I’m tired. It’s 8:45 p.m.

Café, Thé, ou Moi? Or in English: Why I Love French Waiters

The view from my table at Jardin des Tuileries. Of course, I wasn’t in the view, I was at the table. You get the idea. My flirty waiter took this snap.

I’ve talked a bit about my ten days in Paris. It was an important time because the trip gave me some badly needed clarity about my life. One of the reasons I was able to achieve that clarity was because I had so few decisions to make. Do I have cheese or bread with my saucisson sec? Or both? After all, I am on vacation. The decisions I did make only affected me, not my work, husband, or children.

And I had QUIET time. Something that is virtually non-existent in my house. It’s not even quiet when everyone is sleeping. Both Russell and Mgazi snore!

In Paris, I felt like I had permission to enjoy “moments” because there was nothing pressing going on. Nothing to distract me from being present. Does this make sense? I’ll try to explain by telling you about one of those little moments.

I was visiting the Jardin des Tuileries. It was lunchtime and I wanted to eat. I sat down at a cafe in the middle of the park and practiced my French on my very forgiving waiter. After the poor man endured that bit of torture, he brought me a lovely cobb salad and a glass of wine. (I thought I had ordered mussels with fries but no matter.)

I took my time and enjoyed my meal in peace. No one was asking me to cut up their chicken. No one was complaining that the mashed cauliflower didn’t taste like exactly like mashed potatoes.  I didn’t have to forcibly remove my house cat from the dining room table for the umpteenth time.

It was quiet and I was content.

Twenty-five luxurious minutes floated by and I had just finished my last bite when the waiter revisited my table. In English, he asked, “Coffee, tea or me?”

I couldn’t help but smile (and probably blush). “I think I would like some dessert,” I said.

He returned my smile (although he pretended to look a little disappointed too) and turned away to leave. As he passed the couple at the table next to me, he leaned toward them and stage-whispered, “Did you hear that? She didn’t say ‘no.’”

I laughed. The couple at the next table laughed. The waiter laughed. It was a little moment. But one that I got to enjoy fully because no one was making demands on me or my time. It was a moment I had time to savor.

Paris was full of moments like that. They are a part of what made the trip so special. I will never forget these moments and I will always relive them with a smile.


It never would have occurred to me to share this simple little story even though it makes me so happy to remember it. But I read a post today about an unexpected bike ride on the blog, The Deliberate Mom. She was writing about the magic of the mundane with encouragement from the blog Sofia’s Ideas. I thought it was a great idea and decided to do it too.

Thank you, Deliberate Mom and Sofia! I got an extra boost of “happy” today by writing this little memory down.

Long Live Russell (or Daddy, You’re Not Dead Yet?)

Russell in a jetpack

Russell in a jetpack… but that’s a different story.

It’s late at night — about 10:30 p.m. the night before Russell’s birthday (last night to be exact). We had just picked up the children from the babysitter’s and we were driving home. The atmosphere inside the car was calm. Unusual.

The children were quiet but awake so I mentioned that their dad was going to turn 44 in a mere two and a half hours.

Zaffy said, “Forty-four? Daddy, does this mean that you are going to die soon?”

Russell said, “I don’t think so. I hope not. But I’m a day closer than I was yesterday.”

Mgazi said, “Daddy’s almost dead? That’s too bad.”

And the children drifted peacefully off to sleep.

Glass of white wineRecommended wine: Russell is a fan of bourbon. So, in honor of his impending death, I suggest his college favorite, Evan Williams. Long live Russell!