Saturday, August 8, 2009

Peace Day

During the last semester of my master's at USC, one of the projects I worked on as a teacher's assistant was to set up a Roots and Shoots program at an elementary school in East Los Angeles, something the teacher continued afterward. Roots and Shoots is an organization started by Jane Goodall that focuses on teaching children to care for our earth, its people and its animals. At the end of the semester, Jane Goodall happened to visit L.A., and we traveled with the class to see her speak at the zoo, where she commended the L.A. zoo for their humane living area for the chimpanzees.

Fast forward 11 years, and I'm writing an article on the International Day of Peace for Whole Life Times. I was delighted to find out that Roots and Shoots has been having Peace Day celebrations in L.A. for years now, and this year they are expecting over 5,000 people!

Here is the link to the article:

I think I'm going to throw a Peace Day party for September 21st, something recommended by one of the people I interviewed. Anyone else have plans for that day?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gluten Free Writing

The great thing about writing is that you get to take life's challenges, and turn them into opportunities for assignments! My article "Gluten Free Dining in the Bay Area" in June's Parents' Press newspaper is an example of this. Having a son who is gluten free, I've become a reluctant expert on where to dine without wheat. But I also learned a lot about Celiac disease as I researched this article, so it added to my conversation today with my son's doctor at his yearly physical.

So now we get to decide if we want an official Celiac diagnosis, which would mean putting him back on gluten, having a blood test, and possibly an endoscopy, and if in fact he does have Celiac disease, or is just gluten intolerant, we would just end up back where we are now- avoiding gluten. I'm not sure if it's worth all that, but we'll see.

For now, I'm just grateful for all the food options we have that are gluten free.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Where the Hell is Matt?

Last weekend my brother got married. I spent the night before at my parents' house. It was fun to just hang out with my family late at night like when we were all living together. But now it was my own kids sleeping upstairs, and I was the mom still awake downstairs like my mom always was (and still is.) The bummer was that my brother pulled his back out the day before his wedding, so seeing him in so much pain was hard for all of us. Thanks to some homeopathy, Reiki, and western medicine, he was able to stand at his wedding and didn't need to use the wheelchair my mom's friend found for us at 11pm the night before.

As we hung around in the kitchen that night, and my brother and his fiance packed for their honeymoon, my younger brothers (the ones who weren't getting married the next day) told me about a really cool YouTube video called "Where the Hell is Matt?"

They told me I HAD to see it, and they were right. It's amazingly simple, artistic, and moving. Basically a nerdy guy named Matt dances in different locations around the world. According to the FAQs on his website, the message of his videos are "Up to you. I'm just dancing."

I think it's about world peace. But that's just me. Watch the videos and let me know what you think!

I'm not making any promises, but maybe I'll make my own knock-off version in Sweden. And if Stride gum wants to pay me to travel around the world and dance too, hey, count me in!

Where The Hell is Matt? 2008

Where The Hell is Matt? 2006

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mama Monologues this Saturday

I'll be doing a reading in this year's Mama Monologues. It will be a fun night of short essays and blogs being read by the Writing Mamas to help support Alanna DeSalvo, a Novato teen who had a pool accident and now is in a wheelchair.

Event information:
The Mama Monologues - "Mother's Day Night Out!"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

6 - 9 p.m.

Unity in Marin, 600 Palm Drive (Hamilton Center), Novato

$20 Per Person Donation ($30 per couple) includes yummy Writing Mamas-made food, savory and sweet, along with the best kind of whine -- wine, wine, wine!!!!!!

Mothers' Night Out! You're a goddess. A queen. This is your night to leave the kids at home, go out and enjoy some well-deserved laughs. The Writing Mamas will perform their popular "Mama Monologues," a high-energy, LOL performance of their blogs and essays about REAL MOTHERHOOD. Spouses and friends are welcome!

Profits from the event will help benefit the Alanna DeSalvo Recovery Project ( to pay for rehabilitation bills not covered by insurance for this Novato teen who suffered a spinal cord injury and is now paralyzed.

Directions: Heading north on 101, take the Hamilton Field/Nave Dr. Exit, veering Right onto Nave Drive. Turn Right on Main Gate Road, continue Left on Palm Dr. Unity is on the left, with parking lots on either side.
Heading south on 101, take the Bel Marin Keyes Blvd/Hamilton Field exit onto Ignacio Blvd. toward Bel Marin Keys/Hamilton Field. Right on Nave Drive. Left on Main Gate Road, continue Left on Palm Dr. Unity is on the left.

The Writing Mamas Salon is a warm, encouraging and supportive place for members to talk about motherhood and writinghood and to have a neighborhood in which to do both. There is much laughter and friendship. It's the ultimate mothers' club, and this is the ultimate evening for mothers to come out, enjoy themselves and have fun. Mothers -- you deserve it!!! For further information go to or contact Dawn Yun, 415.233.2483, or

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Warming Up

It’s time to write. To schedule interviews. To work on my book proposal. The kids are in preschool, though I’ll be picking them up early since Lucas is getting over a cold. But I still have 2 hours to work.

So I check my e-mail.

Nothing is urgent there, so I have no excuse to linger.

I decide I must check Facebook and become a fan of Seventh Generation and Oprah. I read others’ status updates. I update my own about how my son convinced me to buy fluorescent blue-colored Peeps. But even Facebook, which can usually suck hours only takes a few minutes today. What’s going on?

I call my husband. I’d spoken with his mom the day before, and I’d forgotten to tell him that they can’t see the Disneyland pictures on their digital picture frame, and something else that can’t wait until he gets home tonight. What was it? Oh yeah, LegoLand in Denmark is open all days of the week in May when we’ll be visiting.

My husband, the efficient engineer who rarely procrastinates is working, so he says “OK” as I share each piece of information. The whole conversation takes 50 seconds, timed by my phone.

I sigh, none of my normal stalling techniques are working today.

Maybe I’ll write a blog.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Author Kelly Corrigan

My favorite authors are those that invite you into their lives to become one of their family members, friends, or loved ones for the duration of the book. Kelly Corrigan is one of these authors. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at Book Passage today. She is even funnier, smarter, and wittier in person, with her book The Middle Place having already set a very high standard.

Because her book magically weaves tales of cancer, being a parent while also having parents, and lots of humor, she had us all crying and laughing. The majority female audience continued to grow as she spoke. At one point I counted ninety people or so, but more kept arriving (and staying.)

She asked those who have had or currently have cancer to stand so we could support them, and at least fifteen people stood. One was a woman, thirty years old or so, sitting in front of me with a knit black hat covering her bare head. All I had to do was see her wiping tears, and then I was done for.

When Kelly read, she kept interrupting herself to tell us back stories, or follow-ups, which were just as hilarious or touching as the material she was reading. It was like getting the director’s commentary on a movie.

But overall, from hearing her talk and reading her book, what I came away with is the optimism that she shares with her father. It’s contagious, and you come away wanting to be a better person. “I’m so lucky,” she says, and you can’t help but believe her.

I feel that anyone who is a parent, has parents, grew up Catholic (or Irish-American), has been touched by cancer, or even knows someone who is any of these things will find themselves relating to and laughing at her self-effacing stories. I limited myself to buying only three additional copies for friends.

To see her touching video that has become viral (in a good way) click here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Taking Flight

I had a vivid dream years ago in which I was able to fly in my fish tank. Technically this would be swimming, I know, but it was different- I could fly underwater.

According to a dream book I read years ago, flying symbolizes freedom from constraints. As for flying in airplanes, to me it means a new opportunity for travel and adventure. Of course, air transport is much different with two young sons. Gone are the days of watching a movie in its entirety, losing myself in a good book, or, one of my favorite past activities on a plane- sleeping.

There are advantages too- while you walk the aisles with your young ones, you get to meet all the child-friendly people on the plane, meanwhile finding out who would rather not have a toddler pat his lap to say hello. Actually, I'm always surprised how few in number the child-unfriendlies are.

In a few months we will board a plan to Sweden, where we'll do a house swap with a friend. Not only does this help out with the cost of traveling, but since we have kids around the same age, both families get to experience "new" toys! But just to be sure their favorite toys aren't left behind, my boys have already packed their mini backpacks for the trip. They get this planning ahead gene from their father, I'm pretty sure.

Speaking of Scandinavia, sons, and flying, a friend of mine recently sent me an e-mail titled, "The boy stuff us Moms go gray over." This video make me think back to my flying dream, and for a second, I wanted to join these dare-devil young guys jumping off cliffs in Norway and flying. Or at least I could go see them in action. But my next thought stopped me- I don't want my boys to see this. I'd rather them stick to jumpy houses with confined, padded floor and walls for now.

Here's the video, and happy flying:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I've been on a blogging strike lately. No lofty cause, I've just been busy with being a mom and work. (I can call writing work, right?)

I'm excited for the new year, a new president, and the fact that we have officially graduated out of diapers - at least during the day.

I've had two essays published the past month, so here they are!

"Hello, My Name Is..." February 2009 Common Ground/Whole Life Times Magazines

"Circus Tears and Triumphs" January 2009

I wish you a wonderful start to February!