About Me

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San Francisco, California, United States
Kerouac has nothing on Daisy! So we've decided to take to the open road and chronicle our journey. A girl (okay, a woman, but girl sounds so much better & more interesting, doesn't it?), her dog and a convertible. There's gotta be some stories here, right?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Where the Blog is Now

Hi Folks,

Thank you for the amazing feedback and for taking the time to read this blog! I've been super busy with a new business venture, Nalukai, so am unable to write this any longer, unfortunately. 

Be Well,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

People as Percentages

As we approach the Presidential election and hear more and more rhetoric from both parties, it seems the stereotypes escalate along with the hate.  Are we nothing more than a fraction of a percentage that both parties lump into senseless categories that have little or nothing to do with who we are as individuals?

We have one side bashing 47% of Americans--essentially claiming that if you're voting for Obama you're a freeloader.  Hhmm, I know some folks who may take issue with that baseless claim.  On the  other side, we have villainized 1% of the country and essentially canonized the other 99% on the mere basis that they are not in the 1 percent.  Illegal immigrants are today's Willie Horton for the Republicans, while the Democrats appear to want to make it a crime to be financially successful in this country. 

It's exhausting.  I think when we each stop and think about it, we know in our hearts, that both we, and our fellow Americans, are more than a percentage point.  We don't fit into slots so easily--it is what makes each of us unique.  One may be financially fortunate, yet still vote for Obama.  Some of the most generous, hard working people I've met (particularly through my nonprofit work) have been in the 1%--demons they are not.  I've also met some of the biggest jerks in the 1 percent.  But I've met those same jerks in the 99%, the 20% etc.  I've met one percenters voting for Obama who have never received a free ride in their life--falling squarely outside the infamous 47 percent.  And, I've met plenty of Republicans who received public assistance. 

As Americans, we deserve more from our elected officials than these types of meritless assertions.  With only a few weeks left to the election, we can't do much about what the politicians will do and say, but we can control what we do and say.  As for the doing--that's easy--vote--it's a precious right we have as Americans!  As for the saying--let's avoid the hate, the stereotypes and factually void statements.

At the end of day, no one knows who is truly right and wrong--we all simply have our beliefs.  And whatever percent a politician wants to put you, or me, in, I think we all just want the same thing for ourselves and our families: financial security, enough food to live and thrive, safe neighborhoods, good schools, health care, health, happiness and love.

Be well and thank you for reading!  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Teen's Bucket List

First, apologies for not writing as often as I should--I see folks have been checking the blog for new posts.  I've started a new business, Nalukai, and things have been a bit busy--in a good way :)

A Life List, A Bucket List, Tomato, Tomato

I know lots of folks these days who are putting together lists of what they would like to accomplish before they die.  I somewhat have one--it is more in my head than an actual written list--and it is mostly made up of places I'd like to visit with my husband Steve.  When you are healthy, a list like this can be fun and inspiring.

But what about when you are 15 years old and have terminal cancer?  Alice Pyne, a teen in the UK, was in just such a place when she created her bucket list.  You can see her list and read her blog here.  I highly suggest taking a moment and reading it--as I certainly can't do it justice.

The long and short of it is that Alice's list went viral and folks around the world helped her achieve her dreams.  I just heard about the list last week, after Alice completed her final wish--to see the whales migrate--which she did in Vancouver.

When I read that, I of course got tears in my eyes--the tragedy of a 15 year old having to have such a list is unthinkable.  I was also moved by such a wish as to see the whales.  As someone who is in awe of Humpbacks and can't get close enough to them--I was deeply touched by her wish.

After reading Alice's list, it is even more moving and provides greater insight into the heart of this young woman.  Her wishes range from what many of us take for granted: to get a massage; to the right of passage all teens want to experience: to attend her prom; to the impactful: have everyone who is eligible sign up to be a bone marrow donor.

The Take-Away

As we know, but sometimes forget, life is short.  My 90 year old grandmother often says, "Live and love like you're going to die tomorrow; work and save like you're going to live forever."  I think that is excellent advice--and from a 90 year old who grew up during the Great Depression, she seems to know what she's talking about on this front!

Most importantly, consider registering to be a bone marrow donor.  I have and you can check out my past post to learn more about becoming a donor.

Thank you all for reading and be well!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

Last week I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon.  The takeaway for me? Well, besides sore knees, gratefulness for my health and a whole lot of fun--I finished thinking about how random acts of kindness by strangers are so powerful.

The course was filled with people cheering their loved ones on, with cute signs and lots of applause.  But, there were also groups of people with signs that simply said, "Good Job Random Runner!" or "Keep Running Random Stranger!"  I have to say, each one brought a smile to my face.  I couldn't get over that people would get up on a cold, foggy Sunday morning to cheer for people they didn't know.  I doubt these people can even imagine how at about, oh, mile 11, a sign like that can give you the push you need.

There were also folks out there playing music; not promoting themselves, no signs with their band name or "hire us for your next party."  Just people out supporting runners they don't know and forming a supportive community.

My favorite though, was a woman at about mile 9 who had a box of tissues that she was holding out for any runner who wanted one.  Sounds odd unless you're like me and at the start line thought, "Ugh, I forgot a tissue."  Sniffling for 13.1 miles gets kinda old.  Over the past week I've thought about this woman and her simply act of kindness.  It often doesn't take all that much effort on one's part to make an impact in someone else's life.

People like this inspire me to want to do more, show more kindness, and remember that no act is small--and you never know what will bring a smile to someone's face--sometimes it's as simple as a tissue!

Be well and thank you for reading!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another Smart Home Completed!

Some things are simply unfathomable to imagine.  Fighting for and serving one's country and returning home from war a quadruple amputee, is certainly one of those things.  Yet, for a growing number of veterans, this is reality.  The number of triple and quadruple amputees returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years is staggering at 45 (5 quadruple and 40 triple amputees)

The Back Story

Almost a year ago, I introduced you to the Tunnel to Towers organization and the smart homes the group builds for quadruple amputee veterans.  One of the men profiled, Cpl. Todd Nicely, recently moved into his smart home and into a life with more freedom and independence--the very things the young man fought for as a Marine.

A little over two years ago, Cpl. Nicely, was injured by a roadside bomb in rural Afghanistan, and lost all of his limbs.  Returning home to his wife and numerous surgeries and rehabilitation, he faced a life of limited independence.  Enter New York City Firefighters and the nonprofit formed in honor of Stephen Siller.

On the morning of September 11, 2001 Mr. Siller finished his shift and was getting off duty as a firefighter in Brooklyn. An avid golfer, he was set to play a round. Instead, the first tower of the World Trade Center was struck. The morning crew at his firehouse had already left to respond. The 34 year old, dad of 5 children, hopped into his car with his gear and began heading into Manhattan. When he got to the tunnel, it was already closed to cars. Undeterred, he strapped 60 pounds of gear on his back and ran to the towers. He never made it home.

To honor Mr. Siller, Tunnel to Towers was formed and its mission is to follow in the footsteps of Stephen and "do good" by supporting children who have lost a parent; and firefighters and military personnel who have been seriously injured and sacrificed their quality of life in the line of duty.
This has evolved into smart homes for our veterans who have paid such an enormous price.  A smart home is so named because it is specifically built to meet the needs of individuals with physical challenges. 


Just about a month ago, Cpl. Nicely and his wife moved into their amazing smart home.  Check out this short video of move in day and also this article.  Think about what this home allows Cpl Nicely to do--all the things we take for granted--making a cup of coffee, boiling an egg, taking a shower--all things you probably did this morning without giving it a second thought.

It always amazes me what a small group of people can do.  Cpl. Nicely's home, and the others like it, are built because people know they can make a difference and they act.  It is people who donate money, host a fundraiser, give building materials, pound nails, who built this home.  It is people who realize that we owe this veteran, and the others like him, a life of freedom and independence.

Unfortunately, there are more homes to build because there are more young veterans in need of smart homes.  Next up is a home for Lance Cpl. Tyler Huffman who was shot in the chest by a sniper in Afghanistan and left paralyzed.  Ground has been broken and construction is underway but funds are still needed for this home and the 14 others that are in the works.

What You Can Do

I always say, it doesn't take a grand act--it is the many small acts--that make a difference.  Donating $25 to purchase nails, for example; hosting a bake sale to purchase door handles, whatever you can do, get involved.   

If you're on Facebook, "like" Tunnel to Towers Foundation and stay up to date on the progress of the smart homes.

Thank you for reading and be well!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Restaurants for All

A unique way of feeding those in need is cropping up around the country--restaurants where you pay what you are able to afford.  Can't pay anything? Not a problem; volunteer an hour of your time and receive a meal.  The true beauty of this model is that those in need are served a meal with respect and dignity.

One such restaurant is the SAME Cafe (So All May Eat) in Denver.  The cafe is a nonprofit, run by a husband and wife, Brad and Libby Birky.  The SAME Cafe serves largely local, organic meals with no set prices.  People pay what they can afford; feeling flush--pay a bit more than perhaps you normally would for such a meal; finding it tough to make ends meet--pay a bit less; and if you can't pay at all but are in need of a good meal, volunteer an hour at the cafe.  Since opening its doors in 2006, the Cafe has served over 70,000 people.

Similarly, Jon Bon Jovi founded a restaurant that does the same thing in Red Bank, New Jersey.  The Soul Kitchen is based on the belief that a healthy meal can feed the soul.  There are no prices, but rather people pay a minimum donation of $10 or volunteer in exchange for a healthy meal.  Patrons are seated together, with people they may not know, adding to the sense of community. 

I often feel our society is segregated--by socio-economic groupings, by race, by neighborhood demographics, etc.  Because of this, I really like the idea that people from all walks of life are welcome into a restaurant and are eating together.

I'm always struck in San Francisco by the lines of people waiting for food.  On the one hand you have people in need waiting in line at places like Glide for a meal.  On the other, people lined up at the crack of dawn to pay a crazy amount for a morning bun and coffee at Tartine. The SAME Cafe, Soul Kitchen, and places like these popping up across the country, bring everyone together--and I think everyone can agree that one of the fastest ways to break down barriers is to break bread with another.

Be well and as always, thank you for reading!

Monday, June 11, 2012

June is LGBT Pride Month

Three years ago, in June 2009, President Obama declared June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) pride month.  June 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.  The Stonewall Riots occurred in New York City's Greenwich Village in 1969 to protest police harassment and raids on gay bars.  It was a pivotal moment in the fight for LGBT rights. 

So how far have we come in the last 43 years?  Far, but not far enough.  Until same-sex marriage is legal in every state and the identical rights are afforded to same-sex couples as are currently given to heterosexual couples, we haven't come far enough.

President Obama's May's statement in support of gay marriage was too little, too late.  Where has he been for the last several years on this issue?  And more importantly, he didn't go far enough when he  finally did speak up.  While Obama said he "personally" believes in same-sex marriage he then said that the matter should be left up to each state.  Leaving it up to each state is exactly where we are today and where we were yesterday.  His statement simply preserves and enforces the status quo. 

It is unfortunate that Obama's full statement was not more widely reported.  I think it would have then been better understood that essentially Obama said very little and gave little support to same-sex marriage; it was symbolic at best.  His statement was made after both his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and Vice President Joe Biden, stated their support of gay marriage.  Obama suddenly was a leader not leading on one of the biggest social issues of our day.  He was basically forced to make a statement and ended up making a weak one that did nothing to move the issue, nor the rights, forward.

The problem with leaving it up to the states?  Varying rights from state to state, largely driven by politics.  It's great if you're gay and living in New York, you are now afforded your civil rights and can get married.  But, sorry North Carolina gays--no civil rights for you.  This is the functional equivalent of saying, "Okay, each state can decide if African Americans can attend schools with white children."  Absurd in 2012 but let's not forget, it took the U.S. Supreme Court to make school desegregation occur and civil rights afforded.  So let's not leave this civil rights issue up to the states and political whims.

Finally, I'm always left wondering what all the brouhaha is about with same-sex marriage.  Our dear friends, a gay couple, just celebrated 12 years together.  Twelve years.  Years filled just like any of ours: love, sadness, successes, set backs, deaths of loved ones, dinners and laughs with friends, travels--a life, a marriage.  Who is anyone to say that these two people cannot be legally married?  Steve and I have been married for 13 years and together for 20 years.  As anyone who is married knows, marriage is amazing.  But, it is also really tough some days and takes a lot of love and commitment.  Anyone who loves each other enough to want to be married, same-sex, different sex, whatever--it is their right.  That's the beauty of being an American--rights, freedom and equal rights for all.

Thank you for reading and be well!