Girls and the Big Island

July 1st, 2021

As I reflected on my Instagram during the trip, vacationing with teens/preteens is in some ways not as easy or mellow as it is with they’ll-go-anywhere-without-complaint-aged kids. When they were little, the girls saw everything with fresh eyes and would almost always be up for an adventure – which isn’t always the case these days. Yet, despite the occasional grumble or eye roll, the girls are still great travel partners overall. And they even continue to indulge me by posing for photo shoots.


Back to the Big Island

June 30th, 2021

We were last in Hawaii a few months before the pandemic, but with everything that’s happened over the last year+ it seems like a very long time ago. Excited to recharge and get back to one of my favorite places, we booked a trip as soon as we were all vaccinated and it was safe to travel.

The island was busier than it has been in the past – we weren’t the only ones from the mainland who were desperate to get back – and the mask wearing (though a good thing) was a constant reminder that we still weren’t in normal times. But the ocean breeze and sunset views were just as we remembered them – in short, perfect.



June 20th, 2021

Just days after graduation, we had something else to celebrate: Avery’s birthday. Her request was to celebrate at an amusement park, so Q took her and some friends down to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for the day. (I stayed home to pack – more on our adventures in the next post.) A day there combined with a sleepover and a red velvet cake seemed like the perfect way to say hello to 12.


Good-bye, Brandeis – part 2

June 14th, 2021

There are a lot of 8th grade traditions at the girls’ school, and COVID meant some had to happen virtually (or not all – like the annual trip to Israel). Thankfully, though, Zoe’s actual ceremony was held in person – and we were lucky to have Safta and PopPop fly be there for the celebration as well.

And while this is a good-bye for Zoe, it’s not a final good-bye for our family: We have two more years for Avery to look forward to!


Good-bye, Brandeis

June 11th, 2021

Another thing to file under the I-can’t-believe-it category: After nine years, Zoe’s time at Brandeis has come to an end. We’ve been talking a lot lately about what a big deal it is that she’s moving on – she, too, expressed surprise at how fast her time, and especially 8th grade, went – and also about how ready she was for high school. As much as she’s gotten out of Brandeis all these years, it’s definitely time for new people, new surroundings, and new experiences. Still, that doesn’t mean that a few tears haven’t been shed around her saying good-bye to Brandeis – but I’m not saying whose.


Last day of school

June 10th, 2021

It was a long and strange school year for the girls, with most things – such as needing to wear masks and not being able to hang out with kids outside of their cohorts – looking quite different than in years past. (And, of course, there was no traditional 8th grade trip to Israel.) Still, they were lucky to be at school IRL (unlike many students), and Zoe’s last year, while unique, was still a good one. Below, their last morning as a 6th and 8th grader (sniff, sniff) and a glance at Zoe’s graduating class.



June 7th, 2021

After more than a year of dealing with the pandemic and more than a year and a half of not seeing my sister, imagine my surprise when I came downstairs one afternoon to find Sandy and her boyfriend sitting there! Freshly vaccinated, the two had worked with Q to plan a surprise trip, and both the girls and I were in total (happy!) shock when we saw them.

Their trip was a mellow one, filled with playing games, hanging out on our patio with the dogs, shopping, and exploring our neighborhood. And perhaps the best part? We’ll hopefully never have to go that long without seeing them again!


A (sentimental) mom’s thoughts on moving

June 1st, 2021

As readers know, I’m a terribly sentimental person. At one time, the thought of moving out of the first house that Q and I bought together – and the house that Zoe and Avery were brought home to as newborns – was almost unthinkable. How could I leave behind so many years of family memories? (My sister tells the story of my dad sadly saying good-bye to the various rooms of our house when we moved from Milwaukee to Madison when we were little. I was too young to remember this – but clearly the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree.) But, speaking of my dad, I’m a bit different since losing my parents: Being forced to say good-bye to people you love really puts things in perspective. At the end of day, our little house on Wawona St. is just a place – and the stories and memories we created there moved along with us. And, now we can create more.


Settling in

May 22nd, 2021

Since mid-February, our life has been all about getting used to a new house and a new dog, adjusting to living among boxes and undergoing a major home renovation, and running around picking out furniture, flooring, cabinets, fixtures, paint, etc. (We’re completely re-doing our kitchen and two bathrooms, and we’re doing work in other areas of the house as well.) But aside from all that, we’ve also explored the area, gone on hikes, hung out with friends, celebrated Passover and just chilled. Below, a taste of our life here.


Moving, part 3

May 17th, 2021

If I thought packing was tedious, unpacking is a whole different story. Months later we’re still living in a sea of boxes (we can’t completely unpack until our renovations are done), but luckily the girls’ rooms are mostly put together. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Zoe’s room was organized after just a few days of our being here – while Avery needed a bit of coaxing and help to get everything done. (Oldest child, youngest child.)


Moving, part 2

May 15th, 2021

Because we had a pretty long time between the time our bid was accepted on our new house (early November) and our move-in date (mid-February), we also had plenty of time to emotionally – and actually – prepare for the move.

We chose to move on a long weekend (Presidents Day), and when the date arrived we opted to spend our last night in a very West Portal way – by getting ice cream at the neighborhood institution, Shaws. The next morning Avery and I took one last WP Starbucks run, chronicling our trip on video (because that’s what Gen Zers do), and then posing for pics. There were fewer tears than I expected, and it wasn’t even as hard as I thought it would be when we went back a few days later for our last good-byes. Time for the next chapter!



May 13th, 2021

So I didn’t intend to go this long – three whole months! – without writing. But there was the new job, and the new puppy and then the new house and the renovation. (All during the pandemic, which lingered…) There was so much going on that before I knew what was happening, days and weeks and months had slipped by.

The move?? Though I hinted at it below, I never shared the news here – but after a lot of thought, and 14+ years in our house on Wawona St., we decided to leave San Francisco and move to the Peninsula. I loved living in the city, and especially in West Portal, but we were ready for better weather, more space (and greenery!) and easier commutes (for when we ever go back to work). It was also a natural time to make a change, with Zoe heading to high school next year. We began looking for homes in Burlingame in the early fall, bought a place in November and moved in February.

More on all this soon. But below: a taste of what things looked like around here after the start of the year.


Meet Winnie

February 10th, 2021

So, the puppy thing… Q and the girls have long wanted a second dog, and COVID seemed like an ideal time to get one. We spent months putting in applications with various rescue organizations and stalking the SPCA website for new puppy listings – but we had no luck, until Jan. 15. The SPCA called us and said they were holding a 9-week-old retriever mix for us to come look at the next day, and the rest is history.

Maddie isn’t a big fan of the puppy, who we’ve named Winnie, and we’re in the middle of a move – so, it’s a lot. But you’re not given the opportunity to adopt a fluffy, sweet puppy everyday – and we’re going to make it work.


Long time!

February 1st, 2021

Wow, it’s been a long time since I last wrote. The last few months have brought big changes (not only my new job), which I’ll get to in my next post(s). But for now, what have we have been up to since I last wrote?

We celebrated Hanukkah:

We cooked:

We chilled:

We played games:

We celebrated the end of 2020:

We did projects:

We sipped and shopped (while social distancing, of course):

And… we bought a house, sold our house and got a new puppy. (I told you there have been a lot of changes!)


A change

November 30th, 2020

I hinted at this earlier, but this month has been a big one for me. I left my job at Stanford Medicine (!), and on Nov. 16 I started a new one at Gilead.

Most readers know I was at Stanford for a loooong time: I started in the communications office in the spring of 2001. I didn’t intend to stay that long, but my job changed/grew every few years, and I adored the people I worked with. I often referred myself to myself as a “lifer” and, despite my age, I sort of assumed I’d retire (early!) from my office.

Alas, COVID changed a lot of things – and I slowly became open to new opportunities. Everything happened very fast with my new job, and I broke the news to my old team about leaving in the middle of October.

I have tons of happy memories of my time at Stanford, including with the girls, and walking away from the place that has been my professional home for 20 years wasn’t easy (especially given what a sentimental person I am). But it felt like the right time in my life and career to make a move – now or never, right? – and I hope I’m modeling to the girls the power of change!