Category Archives: Family

28 things I learned in my 28th year

Today I am 28 years old. 🙂 Here are 28 things I learned in this past year.

  1. I love going to plays. I saw two plays (Good People and The Brother’s Size) this year, and I was moved to tears by both. I can’t wait to see the next one!
  2. I enjoy TV shows that have one word titles; “Revenge”, “Deception”, “Nashville”, “Survivor”, “Scandal”, “Chicago Fire”… oh wait. Never mind.
  3. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

    Tahn at her first (second round) of Puppy Class

    Tahn, at her first (second  time around) Puppy Class

  4. I hate living in a messy bedroom and a messy house. (Also: I hate all the clutter and stuff I have. I am in the process of getting rid of many things. DVDs and old Coach purses, anyone?)
  5. I like driving with my windows down.
  6. I need to do yoga weekly. With or without a studio.
  7. I shouldn’t wait until I make more money to start saving money. I am learning to make better (small) financial choices daily.
  8. I did find an exercise that I love.
  9. Meditation only helps with stress if you practice it daily. Meditation doesn’t help when you’re remarkably stressed or upset.
  10. Being honest and telling the truth continues to be the best and most challenging decision I’ve ever made in my life.
  11. Eating well daily and consistently keeping active will help you lose (and keep off) weight.
  12. I like thriller novels. (Just like my grandma).
  13. Being single is really fantastic. I have embraced my singleness this year (after the dramatic failure of an attempted relationship) and I am much, much happier single.
  14. I was born a leader. And I become a better leader everyday.
  15. Making time for myself has a paramount affect on my happiness spectrum.
  16. I actually do like going out. As a self-proclaimed home-body, I have found friends whom like doing what I like to do – happy hours!  (and other things). I love it.photo(37)photo(36)photo(38)
  17. Acts of kindness from strangers are some of the best experiences you’ll ever have.
  18. While making friends can be challenging, once you find them, they bless your life in more ways then you could ever imagine.
  19. San Diego is one of the best places to live. (My sister was right).
  20. Doing the right thing and treating others with respect doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have conflict in your life. In fact, there is no protection at all. Sometimes, you do the right thing and get burned. Don’t be deferred. Do the right thing.
  21. Although I value the opinions of those who I care most about, their opinions are just that – opinions. I am the person who has to live with my daily choices and life. My opinion is the only one that matters.
  22. Having a nephew is great. Having a niece and a nephew is really fantastic.
  23. Tahn LOVES a routine.
  24. The difference a year makes. I am in such a better place then I was a year ago. And a year before that. Aging is awesome!
  25. I need to learn how to speak slower. For real.
  26. Non-judging is key to my happiness.
  27. Kitchen appliances, although they take up space, can be very useful for healthy cooking. (A food processor and blender are on the top of the list, not far down is a rice cooker). (Also: I am my father’s child).
  28. My mom and dad really, truly love me with all of their hearts. (It’s not that I didn’t know this, but this year I was overwhelmed by their love for me on many occasions. I went home a few weeks before Thanksgiving and the one thing I took away from that weekend was that my parents just love me. It is one of the best feelings in the world).
    photo(36)

    My mom and me.

    My dad and me. (Hey Dad, we need to take a more updated picture. This is from 2009).

    My dad and me. (Hey Dad, we need to take a more updated picture. This is from 2009).

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Filed under Blogging, Crazy Dog Lady, Exercise, Family, Fun Things, Life, Living Simply, Love, Tahnee, Things I love, Things I've learned

28 in year 28

Recently, I turned 27. I had one of the best birthdays I’ve had in my twenties. In San Diego, I had a dinner with close friends – a night of laughing, listening and unconditional love. Last weekend, I traveled to the Bay Area and had an incredible family dinner and birthday cake made my brother and S2. My family came together over this superb meal, and I felt completely loved.

As my brother and S2 remind me every year, I am 27 years-old, starting my 28th year of life. (Right?! Just when you become okay with your age, you gain another year!)

Inspired by many fellow blogger’s life lists, and particularly Drea’s 30 by 30, and Tami’s 43 by 43 here are 28 things I want to do in my 28th year.

  1. Learn how to surf.
  2. Read 28 books.
  3. Save 10% of my monthly paycheck.
  4. Do 10 real push-ups.
  5. Listen to live music at least once a month.
  6. Start a garden in my backyard.
  7. Take Tahn to the beach twice a month (except when it’s closed for the summer).
  8. Create scrapbooks of all the cards from my grandma.
  9. Find a yoga studio in the San Diego area that teaches Yin Yoga; attend class twice a month.
  10. Go to a roller derby match.
  11. Visit 3 museums in San Diego.
  12. Enter two writing contests.
  13. Write a letter a week.
  14. Hold a plank for 60 seconds.
  15. Walk Tahn 5 days a week.
  16. Become CPR certified.
  17. Hike once a month.
  18. Bake an Angel Food Cake from scratch.
  19. Help my mom learn to use her iPod.
  20. Clear out all the boxes of stuff from my dad’s house.
  21. Play in the beach with Buddy.
  22. Learn to French Braid my hair.
  23. Find a volunteer job that I really love.
  24. Host a brunch.
  25. Join a wine club.
  26. Start collecting wall art.
  27. Watch a foreign film.
  28. Stop using paper towels.

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Filed under Exercise, Family, Food!, Fun Things, Life, Living Simply

The space beside me

For 18 weeks, the space beside me was mostly vacant.

I had an occasional passenger in my car; a friend, a family member, a coworker.

I had friends I shared meals, movies, wine and conversations with.

I had company, but not my dearest friend.

After 18 weeks, Tahn finally came to live with me in San Diego. The weekend after I moved into my new (and permanent!!) place, I drove to the Bay Area and back in the span of 40 hours. It was exhausting, emotional, and worth every second.

Tahnee, minutes after we started our journey to San Diego, stopping for gas. Very anxious.

Starting to relax, hoping she's really staying with me this time. Anxiety diminishing.

Finally able to fully relax and rest. Anxiety almost gone.

Stopping at my favorite gas station with my Tahn. Anxiety free and loving life.

At our new home, with her new roommie and best friend, Maya.

The space next to me is now filled with two rambunctious, happy, playful dogs. And I couldn’t be more thrilled.

________________________________________________________________________

Many, many, many thanks to my dad for taking care of Tahn for the 18 weeks. He fed her, WALKED her (walked her more than she has ever been walked in her life) and gave her tons of love. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what I would have done. He’s the best.

Retro photo of my dad and Tahn. Circa 2008 (Isn't she a small little girl?!?!)

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Filed under Crazy Dog Lady, Family, Tahnee

Meaning of Love

Below, is my entry for Real Simple’s Fourth Annual Light Lessons Essay Contest. I didn’t win. It was a lot of fun to write, though.

Here’s the prompt:

When did you first understand the meaning of love? Maybe you were a child, witnessing a generous act by your father or mother. Maybe the lesson came later, as you grappled with the challenges of being a friend, a spouse, or a parent yourself. Whatever made you understand love—and yourself—better, tell us about it.

This is for my mom, on Valentine’s Day – one of her favorite holidays.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

A Whole New Meaning of Love

It may be surprising to learn that I did not understand what true love was until my nephew was born in December 2010. No, I am not referring to the love I have for my nephew Buddy, although it is overwhelmingly blissful; instead I learned what true love is by watching my mom.

Every person who comes in contact with Buddy swoons over him. He is a magnetic, happy, friendly, and beautiful baby. The interaction he has with most people is typical. People (myself included) love to hold him and be around him because of the way he makes them feel.

My mom, however, interacts with him like no one else. She loves Buddy completely, wholly, without expectation. My mom loves Buddy without expecting him to love her or reciprocate in any way. She doesn’t give Buddy attention or nurture him to gain his love.  She doesn’t give him attention or nurture him because “it’s what you do with babies”. She doesn’t give him attention or love to impress anyone, or to show anyone what a fantastic grandmother she is. My mom gives Buddy her undivided attention and undying love solely because she loves him.

In the months after Buddy was born, I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with him. And, a lot of the times I have seen my nephew, my mom has been there too. My mom and I have spent hours laying on the floor, singing nursery rhymes, playing with and caring for Buddy. Over these months, I’ve felt my love for my mom flourish.

I love my mom. I always have. But, like typical mother-daughter teenage relationships, ours greatly deteriorated during my teen years. Our relationship wasn’t helped by my parent’s divorce. It’s taken eleven years to rebuild the connection and love we once had.

Before Buddy was born, I thought my relationship with my mom was great. We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company and loved each other. I didn’t realize I could love my mom in this new way; loving her through her love of Buddy.

I see the way my mom looks at Buddy and any annoyance I have with my mom washes away. I watch the way my mom holds Buddy and past grudges vanish. I observe my mom comforting Buddy and all negative thoughts leave my mind. I see my mom love Buddy as she loves me.

I thought I understood my mom’s love for me years ago; I love my family and friends deeply. I love all the children in my life; I act like I’m the mother of my dog. What I know now is that my mother’s love for me is so unique, so special and indescribable. It must be witnessed, experienced to truly comprehend.

Thanks to the birth of Buddy, I finally understand that I do not love anyone like my mother loves me.

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Filed under Family, Holidays

Things I like this week (vol. 8 )

So many things I like this week, I don’t know where to start.

1. Girl’s night. I haven’t had a real true “girl’s night” for as long as I can remember. Usually the “girl’s nights” I’ve had in the past revolving around bars, and trying to meet men. Or, my friends ducking out early to meet up with their man. Anyway you sliced it, it always about guys. My sister, my roommate and I had a fabulous girl’s night on Friday night. We even had our own private hotel room and room service. There was no make up or heels, instead there was pajamas, wine and champagne. Of course, men were discussed but not our focus nor the purpose of us getting together. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long, long time. It was really fun.

The girls (my sister, me, my roomie Ann Marie)

We kinda sorta went on a mission. Don't worry about it.

Giddy from a successful "mission"

At brunch Saturday "morning". What? You don't eat brunch at 1pm?

Yep. That's a December afternoon and we're eating oustide, in the warm sun. I LOVE SAN DIEGO. (Sarah is wearing a scarf b/c of a breeze).

2. Oliver. After quite a night Friday, I decided to stay in Saturday night and take care of this little guy:

My roommate's son

Oliver was the BEST date I’ve had in weeks. It was the perfect night.

3. I can’t remember where I found this post, but it’s super great about doing more by doing less.

4. Remember how I raved about Angela from Oh She Glows?  Specifically her Butternut Squash Burritos? Well, I made the burritos for two manly, MEAT EATING men this weekend and they loved them. Success! Next, I’m making her Naughty and Nice Vegan Enchilada Casserole – but I probably won’t make it vegan, just vegetarian.

5. I am going home for a week for Christmas!! Remember how I told you I was flying home 4 times from November to December? Well, it’s a long story but instead of flying home and being home for just over 3 days, I’ll be driving home and be home for just over 9 days!! I feel like singing Christmas Carols. That’s probably why Kelcey’s post about Christmas brought a tear to my eye, even the T-Mobile ad she has at the bottom of her post. Normally I would think the T-Mobile ad was super cheesy, but in my festive mood I just loved it.

Happy Holidays, guys.

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Filed under Family, Food!, Friends, Fun Things, Holidays, Things I like

A few thoughts

The other night on my flight home from celebrating Buddy‘s first birthday, I thought about a few things:

  • Above all, my family is the core of me. Hands down, they have been and will always be the most important people in my life. I can’t quite articulate my feelings for them, but I will sum it up to this: I love my family more than anything else in the world. They are my comforters, my nurturers, my challengers, and the people whom I sacredly love.
  • I am continuously surprised how much I love Buddy. Saturday morning, I woke to my dad and Buddy walking down the hall, very sleepy. (And Tahn, OF COURSE). My brother and S2 had a holiday party on Friday night, so Buddy slept at my dad’s. He woke around 6am, and my dad brought him to me. Buddy was pretty confused why his Aunt Brittany was there and why he it was still dark, but he adjusted. I gave Buddy his bottle and then he was ready to go back to sleep. (Yes, you read that right. Buddy wakes up, eats, and goes back to sleep. He is my kind of child. Clearly, we are made of the same stuff). My dad thought it would nice if Buddy snuggled down with me and went back to sleep. After a short amount of time, Buddy finally settled in and fell fast asleep. (Details? Buddy was snuggled in as little spoon with his tiny baby feet squished in my legs. It was heaven on earth). In the past I’ve snuggled and slept next to other children; I was a nanny for 12 years – but snuggling with Buddy? The best sleep I’ve ever had. We awoke a little over two hours later, feeling great.
  • Tahn is officially the best dog I have ever met. Yep, I said it. After being away from her for so long, meeting a bunch of other dogs, I can say that Tahn is amazing. She is kind, loving, obedient and fun. And? Next to Buddy, she’s the BEST SNUGGLER IN THE WORLD.

Snuggle Bun. 12am Saturday morning.

  • Although I had some adjustments in my new life in San Diego, I really love it here. I can’t get over how beautiful it is here. Even today when it was raining and pouring, it was gorgeous. I love that I live 15 minutes from my sister and I get to see her at least once a week; I haven’t seen her this much for over 10 years. It’s really fantastic.
  • The most important quality I look for in others is kindness. It all started a little about fours years ago when I walked into a dear friend’s home and on her entry way table she had a small sign, “Approach everything with kindness.” It was then I knew the man I walked through that very door with was not kind. It started off when I first realized on our second date that he was not kind to strangers,  three months in I realized he was not always kind in stressful situations, a year and three months I realized he was  not kind to Tahnee and ultimately, two years and one month into the relationship I realized he was not kind to me. I have since realized there are only two type of people in the world; those who make an effort to respond to others and in kindness and those who do not. I believe that many, many people are unkind. I’ve seen it for years. At work, in relationships I’ve been in and been witness to, in interactions with others. But, I’ve also met many people who are groundbreakingly kind. These people may not always be the best version of themselves, but they are authentic, real and intentionally kind. I strive to be this person everyday.
  • I know one thing for sure: my instincts about a person, situation, or group of people have never been wrong. I can spot a bad apple from a mile away. Often I feel neutral about a person/situation/group of people. But when I have an incredibly bad feeling? I just know. After years of trying to ignore my intuition, I am finally embracing it and learning to appreciate it.

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Filed under Crazy Dog Lady, Family, Fun Things, Love, Tahnee, Things I've learned

Home for the Holidays (and other special events)

(image source)

From November 19 – December 26 I will have traveled from San Diego to the Bay Area four times.

FOUR TIMES.

Three of the four times will for sure be by flight. I may drive the last trip.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why!?!?” Well, I went to home (the Bay Area) last weekend to celebrate S2‘s graduation from her master’s program, I’m in the airport tonight for Thanksgiving, in a couple of weeks I’ll be going home for Buddy‘s first birthday (Can you believe it has already been a year?!?! Buddy will be one year old. Seriously, so amazingly exciting). Then, for Christmas. I may drive home for the Christmas trip, but it has yet to be decided.

I got a late flight out of San Diego today. I did this for two fold: 1) I didn’t know what time I would be off work and I didn’t want to risk missing my flight. 2) I didn’t know what the traffic would be like and I didn’t want to miss my flight.

Even though I was home um, TWO AND 1/2 DAYS AGO, I didn’t want to miss a single second at home.

And although my sleeping situation this Thanksgiving is a little, well I guess I’ll say nomadic, (Of the four nights I’m home I’ll be sleeping in four different beds in two houses. It’s complicated. Never mind) I am thrilled to be on my way home.

Again.

Last weekend was sort of a blur and I imagine this weekend will be too. I try to see so many different people, and spend lots of time with this special girl:

Oh, Tahn

She is just as sweet as I remembered.

_____________________________

I hope everyone has a great, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Filed under Crazy Dog Lady, Family, Food!, Friends, Fun Things, Holidays, Tahnee, Vacation

Letters from Tahn, part V

I know some of you come to my blog to solely read about Tahn. Sorry there has been so little about her!

But, since she’s not with me in San Diego I’ve gotten a few Letters from her.

Enjoy.

_______

(These letters were written on 10.20.11)

First, from my dad:

I couldn’t tell you this until now, because I didn’t want you to worry, but Tahn has been in Egypt looking for Gadhafi.
She found him and killed* him this morning, so she’ll be flying home this afternoon.
________
Then, from Tahn:
Dear Mum,
Well, I’m back from Egypt.  Everything went OK.  The news says Libya, but we know they always get it wrong. However, there are problems here.  G-pa put on his shoes and socks, which means we’re going for a walk.  Instead he went to have “coffee with Mick”. I’m going to kill him when he gets home, so you will be an orphan.  Sorry, but it has to be done.
Love, Tahn
_______
Although I miss Tahn like crazy, I know her Grandpa is taking great care of her.

She's a happy girl. She LOVES her Grandpa

*Tahn thinks she’s SUPER tough. She thinks she’s a fierce hunter. We always joke about her “hunting” and “killing” things. The reality is that Tahn is a lover and not a fighter and probably couldn’t ever fight to save her life. Well, maybe to save mine. 🙂

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Filed under Crazy Dog Lady, Family, Letters

Adjusting to My New Life

I wish I was cheery and bright about my time so far in San Diego, but unfortunately, that’s now how I’ve been feeling lately.

Although, on my drive home from work yesterday, the smell of the ocean crept in my car (which was AMAZING), and even I did have another great day at work, I have been feeling a little low. As expected, moving has brought many adjustments and I am doing my best at wading through them. I’ve tried not to have expectations about my new adventure, but alas, I guess I did. Thus, I’m feeling not so exuberant.

Before I tell you why I’m feeling un-cheery, I do want to say how unbelievably grateful I am that I love my job so far, and really like my temporary living situation. Since these seem to be working out well, it has taken loads of stress off my back. So that is really great and I am super thankful. And I’m thankful for my family. Mysuperamazingneverceasingtostopsupporting family.

First, I miss Tahn. Although I am living with a fantastic dog at my temporary house, I deeply miss my sweet little girl.

Second, I’m not a fan of my commute. It’s not too bad, really. About 20-30 minutes each way. And, it’s the opposite of traffic, so I’m not in bumper to bumper traffic. But, it’s been a tough change from my previous 4-minute door-to-door commute. Plus, I’m not enjoying the raise in my gas budget…

Third, in the past two weeks since I left Sacramento, I have had limited communication with most of my friends. With my move I expected my friendships to change; but I didn’t expect them to change so quickly or as drastically. This may be the biggest adjustment of all.

I’ve had some pleasant surprises of support too. I have a handful of ‘blogger friends’ whom I’ve actually never met but I read their blogs and I think they occasionally read mine. The support from my one-step-away-from-being-strangers blogger friends have been incredible! I can’t even say how many tweets, messages and words of encouragement I’ve received. It’s great.

Another good thing? For the first time in um… months… I went to a spin class again. It was hard, it was intense, but it felt great. I’ll definitely be doing that a lot more often.

How do you deal with adjustments?

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Filed under Exercise, Family, Friends, Life, My Apartment, Tahnee

Onward to San Diego

Well, I did it guys.

I packed up all of my stuff and moved to San Diego.

This is the first time I saw a San Diego sign on the 5. (You can see the Budget truck my dad is driving in front of me). (Yes, I was using my cell phone and driving. Please don't tell Oprah. I'm ashamed).

Before I left for San Diego, I had a very special Farewell dinner with my good friend from high school and her family.

They had a "Farewell" for me specially put on the menu. It was really wonderful.

I spent Saturday night in San Francisco for a wedding.

I LOVE San Francisco.

And had a great last dinner with my mom, her boyfriend, my brother, S2 and Buddy. It was HARD leaving them. It was even harder going back to my dad’s house without Tahn.

You read that right – I left Tahn in the Bay Area. I am in San Diego sans Tahn. Without my sweet little girl. Why? Why would I do something so crazy? Because she really, really does poorly with transitions and I wanted to make this move as smooth as possible for her. So, she will be living with my dad (her grandpa) until I find a permanent place.

The toothpicks that Tahn destroyed recently at my dad's house. She's having difficulty adjusting.

I stayed at my dad’s from Thursday night until Monday morning, (or as my dad said, I was ‘living with him for the weekend’ :)) and on Monday, October 3 we hit the road super early to drive to San Diego. (Family friends of mine were taking care of Tahn from Sunday night until Tuesday so my dad could come with me on the trip).

A picture of me and my dad stopped at our favorite gas station - Love Gas Station ❤

We had a fantastic drive and arrived in San Diego in about 9 hours (that included 3 bathroom breaks and one half-hour lunch).

My dad had to leave on Tuesday, and that was the hardest goodbye of all. My dad bent over backwards (as he always does for his kids) to help me pack up my stuff in Sacramento, drive it to San Diego, and unload it in the storage unit. It was madness. I couldn’t have done it without him.

I’m living temporarily with my sister’s friends – and they have been awesome – as I’ve transitioned to San Diego.

After a beach day with my sister yesterday, and a fun day of watching football (I’m actually learning the rules!) I’m ready to start my new job tomorrow… 🙂 Wish me luck!

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Filed under Blogging, Crazy Dog Lady, Family, Fun Things, Travel