Saturday, December 31, 2011

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.”--Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Today I am thankful for:

*The practice of taking gratitude inventory

*Embracing simple pleasures

*2011 wrapping up and the chance to usher in a new year.

Stay tuned to check out my next project in 2012!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Her 1st!

"I wouldn't say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it".--Michael Phelps

Today I am grateful for:

*Hannah's discipline, time and dedication, which resulted in her 1st Silver State time!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Monkey...

"You are my sonshine." ~Author Unknown

Simply put, I am grateful for:

*My son, Hunter aka lil' man & monkey.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Double Digits!

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

By Billy Collins

Today I am grateful for:

*Hannah's 10th birthday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


"A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his."--John Grogan

Today I'm grateful for:

*Koufax's 12th birthday.

Happy birthday my loyal lug of love!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end."--Seneca

Today I am grateful for:

*The bittersweet ending of summer and embarking on a new school year.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Purple Mountain's Majesty...

"How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!"--John Muir

Today I am grateful for:

*The restorative healing powers of mountains.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pedal Away...

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride."--John F. Kennedy

Today I am grateful for:

*Colorful available bikes for hire

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Color White...

"Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother."--Erma Bombeck

The color white conjures up clarity, cleanliness, also makes a team of Little League cuties stand out.

Today I am grateful for:

*Sliding into home

*Freshly mowed grass stains


Monday, June 6, 2011

5:15 a.m.

5:15 a.m. is quite the wake up call on the first day of summer break. Hannah has signed up for 8 weeks of them.

Today I am grateful for:

*My daughter's drive and discipline.

*The Swim Team school bus made available to doesn't-function-before-sun risers like myself.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Being Yourself...

"The best things in life are silly."--Scott Adams

I love teachers who make learning fun, but best of all embrace goofiness when the moment strikes.

Today I am grateful for:

*Mrs. Gellner and her unfiltered goofiness.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

From the Heart...

Hallmark cards, gift cards, candles, mugs...

Twenty-five pairs of creative hands beats them all!

Today I am grateful for:

*My son's 1st grade homemade thank you card. A precious gift from the heart.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rain, rain please don't go away!

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today I am grateful for:


*Dashing through the rain sans an umbrella!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

On My Mind...

It wasn’t until a doctor matter-of-factly informed me I was incapable of having children that the desire to become a mother took a deeper hold. Apparently, growing a massive meningioma brain tumor for a decade--if not longer—was the source of my infertility during my early 30’s. Even after the successful removal of the tumor, doctors maintained their diagnosis. But I was even more determined to have the title of mom bestowed upon me despite having two craniotomies.

Miraculously, nearly a decade ago I proved the medical profession wrong when I finally became a mother with the arrival of my daughter, Hannah. Then, 2 ½ years later my son, Hunter completed our family with his early, but thankfully healthy debut.

Ever since I became a mother, I’ve made it my personal mission to increase meningioma awareness and fund research, especially since meningiomas are the most prevalent primary brain tumor with the majority of them affecting women. However, just like other incurable diseases, men and children from all walks of life aren’t immune from brain tumors. And when someone is told, “You have a brain tumor,” it could be an astrocytoma, glioma, medulloblastoma, or schwannoma to name just a few of the more than 120 brain tumors.

Most are familiar with the more prominent people who have fortunately survived a brain tumor like actors Elizabeth Taylor(RIP) and Mark Ruffalo and recognize the names of those who have sadly lost the brain tumor battle including Ted Kennedy, Tug McGraw and Gene Siskel.
But what about the names you don’t read or hear about like your neighbor or the younger sibling your son plays baseball with unexpectedly stricken and often in the prime of their lives?

Sadly, this insidious disease doesn’t get the press, awareness nor funding it merits. Brain tumors are the leading cause of death in children under 18 and 190,000 children and adults will be diagnosed with one this year alone.

However, hope is on the horizon. The formerly celebrated National Brain Tumor Awareness Week during the first week of May has now merited an entire month to further advance its educational reach while remembering lives lost.

This Mother’s Day not only will I celebrate a decade of raising a healthy daughter and son, but I will continue to have hope that there will no longer be the need for an awareness month or even day for any type of brain tumor.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Water is her air...

"H2O: two parts Heart and one part Obsession." ~Author Unknown

Hannah hasn't looked back since she's discovered her passion for swimming. She'd live in the pool if possible.

Today I am grateful for:

*Hannah completing her first swim-a-thon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Meeting of the Minds...

"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."--Maya Angelou

Today I am grateful for:

*Connecting with inspiring meningioma survivors and their caregivers from the world over.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Seven years ago...

Seven years ago you made your early debut. You couldn't wait to get out and explore and you have yet to slow down!

Today I am grateful for:

*My lil' man. Happy Birthday Hunter!

Monday, March 28, 2011

First signs...

"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems." ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the first signs of spring.

Today I am grateful for:


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Best Buds Bonding...

"You are my sonshine." ~Author Unknown

Like most families, carving out downtime is a priceless commodity.

There's nothing I find more endearing than Mark spending one-on-one time with Hannah or Hunter.

Today I'm grateful for:

*Mark and our lil' (who's not so little anymore!) man enjoying a night of hang time. Oh and some father-son bonding.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Unexpected...

"I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before."--Robert Mapplethorpe

I love how one can stumble across the totally unexpected when traveling to another city. Case in point--recently I found myself enjoying San Francisco's unseasonably pleasant weather with a bit of spare time on my hands.

I donned my runners and ambled up and down the city's lung challenging hills. While catching my breath on one particular corner, I happened to look up and see a reminder of what has remained one of my favorite childhood locales.

Today I am gratefu forl:

*Unexpected discoveries

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The 1st...

I love the first day of a new month. It's a chance to reflect on the previous month and get plans in place for new starts, goals, hopes, wishes...

Here's to March and 31 days of promise.

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."---Charles Dickens

Today I am grateful for:

*Tulip tips just poking through the soil

*The start of baseball practice

*The indoor lap track taking a back seat to outdoor trails

Monday, February 21, 2011


"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." ~Aesop

RAK's the email subject line read.

I was already aware of yet another upcoming inservice day, 2nd trimester parent-teacher conferences, the spring fundraiser...


Hannah and Hunter's elementary school was informing every parent about acknowledging and celebrating random acts of kindness.

Today I am grateful for:

*Taking the time to appreciate the random acts of kindness I am fortunate enough to witness.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mmm Mmm Mmm...

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." ~Ernestine Ulmer

And when chocolate is involved, sometimes dessert is dinner itself.

Tonight I am grateful for:

*Hannah's homemade hunka chunka chewy chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Second Chances...

I've always been a hard stick, but usually a nurse or phlebotomist can find a viable vein after one or two jabs. I knew I was in trouble when after multiple jabs and vein blow outs by two nurses on both arms the head nurse had to be summoned. After being instructed "Do not flinch" and transforming into a human pin cushion--seven sticks to be exact--success at last.

Now I was ready to brace myself for the yearly visit with the tube to ensure my ex-roommate remained just that.

Today I am grateful for:

*Celebrating my golden "second chance" anniversary. Eleven years tumor free sounds great to me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


"Every mile is two in winter." ~George Herbert

Since last week, we've had two cold days and a delayed snow day start.

With an especially mild fall I am more than appreciative for those things easily forgotten.

Today I am grateful for:

*Snow shovels

*Oatmeal with not one, but two spoonfuls of brown sugar

*Koufax and his pursuit of hide and seek ball in the snow

*Xcel energy

*Heated seats!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


"The Incredible Edible Egg."--The American Egg Board

Yes, I'm dating myself again!

You can eat them scrambled, fried, over easy, hard-boiled, sunny side up...

I prefer eggs poached, peppered and served atop buttered toast--just the way my mother has always prepared them.

Perfect every time. Eggsactly.

Today, I am grateful for:

*Poached eggs, especially when they're breakfast for dinner!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Paper Purist

No downloaded paper for me!

Monday through Saturday it remains in a separated neatly piled stack in the upper left-hand corner of my kitchen island. But that all changes on Sunday when I ensconce myself on the couch and clear my mind's clutter for one of my favorite indulgences--one page turned at a time, savoring ink stained fingers and all.

Today I am grateful for:

*Digesting the Sunday paper cover to cover.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Muscle Motivator...

My personal trainer
When it comes to working out I've never done group (my lack of balance is one-enough-said reason!) unless it's hiking with my family.

To remain truly motivated, I've always gravitated towards activities that require that least amount of effort before I exert any myself.

Lace up a pair and hit the trail.

My natural surroundings provide all the motivation I need. Open space.The breathtaking Rockies. Even wildlife beyond the canine variety.

But in the winter months when that requires layering up in fleece, I opt out of the wind chill factor and head for the rec center.

Initially I struggled with the challenge to stay focused as my natural motivators were now artificial in nature--a trio of wall-mounted LCD screens; grunting outbursts from the over-muscled and the clanging of metal against metal. 

I needed to tune out all the distractions!

I briefly entertained investing in a personal trainer to stay driven, but decided I needed the commitment to come from within.

Thankfully, I have a nearly daily private session to get me through lap after lap and rep after rep.

Today I am grateful for:

*my 1st generation iPod--it's the best investment in a personal trainer I've ever made.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Seeing is Believing...

"A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are."
--Ara Parasheghian

My daughter's beaming smile speaks volumes. It's a smile she's been wearing ever since a coach took a chance on her and gave Hannah the opportunity to join swim team.

Months ago Hannah had never set foot on a diving block nor could she dive.  Streamline. Flip turns. Dolphin kicks. Psych sheets. IM's. She's also mastered an entirely new language and setting new challenges for herself.

All because of a coach who saw and believed.

Today I am grateful for:


For the daily, nightly and weekend sacrifices they make while being away from their own families.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Easier on the Eyes...

I consider myself lucky that middle age hasn't affected my eyesight yet. Even without the need for reading glasses, I prefer to enjoy one of my favorite indulgences super-sized.

Today I am grateful for:

*Large print books.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"The advantage of being eighty years old is that one has many people to love." ~ Jean Renoir

Nov. 1967; Westwood, CA

Today I am grateful for:

*Celebrating my dad's 80th birthday.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Aug. 1968; Westwood, CA

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Scoop of Nostalgia...

A Scoop of Perfection
Ah nostalgia. The yearning for the past. I associate many a past memory with food, specifically ice cream.

Growing up in Tustin, Calif., I frequented the Baskin-Robbins at the corner of Irvine Blvd. and Newport Ave. as much as I possibly could, especially during the summer months. Sure the square scoops across the street at Kresge's were cheaper (15 cents for one scoop; a quarter for two), but there was something unappealing about the way the pimple-faced server swiped-rather-than-rinsed the ice cream scoop across what appeared to be a moldy orange counter sponge.

Baskin-Robbins boasting its 31 flavors for every day of the month was my preference.

Chocolate. Vanilla. Strawberry. I didn't gravitate towards the standard popular flavors. My ice cream craving palette sought sophistication. Rocky Road.  Pink Bubblegum. German Chocolate Cake. My all-time-remains-to-this-day favorite is still Jamoca Almond Fudge. No need for the iconic pink spoon. Two scoops atop a sugar cone please.

Sweet savory perfectly delivered nostalgia one lick at a time.

Today I am grateful for:
*The surprise pint of nostalgia in the freezer!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Slow Saturday Start...

The alarm clock gets a rare reprieve today. Hubby has taken Hunter for one on one time. Hannah hosting a sleeping-in-late sleepover. Koufax content taking in sun-before-the-predicted-snow on the deck.

Today I am grateful for:

*A no-reason-to-rush-easy-does-it day.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Need I say more?!

Today I am grateful for:

*I survived the first week back after a 17-day school break!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Cup of Comfort....

Some people jumpstart their day with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Others rely on pop or energy drinks for a quicker jolt.

I prefer a milder, gentler approach in the form of black tea with honey and lemon just like my father enjoys or with a couple of sugar cubes.

A cup of comfort suits me perfectly. And it's a comfort to my wallet, which allows me 20 cups to a single Starbucks serving of brewed froth.

Today I am grateful for:

*Tea, especially my newly discovered favorite, orange bliss.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hit the Paws Button...

Ah the life of a dog. What could be better than engaging in play time, pausing for naps and partaking in a tasty treat only to start all over again?! Our four-legged friends remind us that it's acceptable to hit that paws button more often and relish what is easy to miss out on.

Today I am thankful for:

*Dogs, especially my own.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pondering the Dying Art of Letter Writing...

"Letters are expectation packaged in an envelope."--Shana Alexander, American Journalist

Yes email, Facebook, Twitter are quicker. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the anticipation of opening my letter box (ok so it's actually a 25 yard walk to a cluster of metal bins)and hoping to find a treasure among the daily airline credit card offers and useless community coupons to establishments I'd never frequent much less ever heard of.

On rare occasions, I relish the arrival of a handwritten note, card or letter.

Today I am grateful for:

*Not one, but the arrival of two handwritten cards

Won't you take the time to pen your thoughts, affix a stamp and send your own treasure? I assure you the recipient will be grateful.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Simple Pleasures...

Sunday, the day before manic Monday when the madness begins all over again after a 17-day reprieve (not that I was counting) from dashing through the kiss-and-go lane, homework, after school activities, throwing dinner on the table, packing lunches...only to repeat and repeat and repeat!!!

So today I savored many a simple pleasure.

I am thankful for:

*Pajama day

*Reading the Sunday paper cover to cover

*2nd season premiere of Worst Cooks in America

*Polar fleece blankets

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Fresh Start...

I know the calendar says it's time to come off our post-holiday high of parties, presents and pounds and face the music in the name of New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I believe this annual, thinly disguised attempt to break bad habits and establish newer, healthier ones is doomed for failure.

We all strive to take better care of ourselves; be nicer, more tolerant people; vow to read New York Times bestseller books; take that trip we’ve been promising ourselves for years; but in reality, it never happens. So rather than share my previous resolutions I have yet to achieve, I resolve and propose we all take the time do perform the much simpler-easier-to-attain task of taking inventory of our lives on a daily basis. Giving thanks need not occur once a year in November.

After my first meningioma brain surgery I struggled with overwhelming feelings of depression often wondering how I would start life again. My childhood best friend suggested I keep a gratitude journal to focus on the "can dos" rather than the "can't dos" negative thinking I was consumed with. Initially I was skeptical about penning my thoughts on blank paper. I surprised myself when this regular act of taking just a few minutes or even longer on a regular basis created a shift in my thinking, not to mention the immensely huge difference it made in my healing and recovery.

To this day I still pull out that gratitude journal to remind myself that yes, I did make a fresh start and even if recording something as simple as "I walked around the cul-de-sac without any assistance" or "Sleeping through the night."

And so without any pressure (we all have enough daily demands in our life) I propose to share what I am thankful for over the course of 2011 and invite you to do the same. Ideally, it would be great to compile 365 days of gratitude, but hey I'm realistic that even the best intentions get sidetracked.

So here's to a fresh start beginning now.

I am thankful for:

*Ringing in the new year with board games, bad-for-you food & bed after the EST ball drop!

*Hannah & Hunter hugs

*Koufax is still managing well with diabetes and blindess and is determined to play ball every day!

*Snow--we finally got some!

*Home-made cinnamon rolls & chocolate truffles--the walking can wait!