Monthly Archives: February 2011

Dream on

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I’ve been feeling a little blue of late. I was feeling a wee disheartened …

… until I saw this little video:

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m still dreamin’ on. Hope you are too! 🙂

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Cinnamon raisin French toast

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It’s a holiday weekend. Yay!

We were supposed to be hiking and snow camping up in the mountains this weekend but thanks to the snowstorm, many roads are closed and there are 50mph winds on the ridge line of the mountain that we had planned to hike up and stay overnight at. Snowshoeing during a blizzard didn’t sound either fun or smart.

So, we’re at home where it’s raining cats and dogs.

No matter where we’re at, a holiday weekend is still a holiday weekend. Let’s celebrate with a scrumptious brunch.

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I heart my coffee …

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… but I can’t drink it anymore. The acid hurts my stomach. And let’s not forget the other positive effects of caffeine—that it’s an appetite stimulant for sugar and fatty foods. Whoo! Who doesn’t want that, huh?

Over the past five years I have given up coffee more times than I can count. Once I lasted nearly a year.

But I always come back. I miss the rich aroma, the frothy milk, the little kick in my giddyup. I like tea, but it doesn’t have the same kind of depth to it.

It’s harder for me to give up coffee than sugar and that’s saying something.

I’ve been looking for a good substitution for eons. I’ve tried different things: yerba mate, chai, black tea, green tea, blah, blah, blah  … no good.

It’s not the same! It doesn’t offer the same satisfaction.

I was resolved to a life of guilty coffee-drinking. Until now …

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Secret to a happy marriage: walk don’t yell

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This little tip comes from a couple that’s been married nearly forty years. Their joy in each other never ceases to amaze me. They have grown children who complain that their parents’ relationship sets too high a standard. The nerve!

One day over an all-girls brunch a bunch of us younger chicks pecked our wise friend for marriage advice since she so obviously had something good going. She had lots of good advice, but the one that really stuck with me was …

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Bartholomew Park Winery

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Today we’re taking a commercial break from relationship tips  in order to bring you a day trip to Sonoma. The weather has been just too lovely not to get out of the house and explore nearby sweet spots. And right now, the mustards are in full bloom and turning wine country gold. It’s a beautiful time to wander the wine country minus the crowds drawn by much warmer weather.

And I’ve got to give some kudos to Jack’s willingness to go-with-the-flow with some of my whacky ideas. It’s so terrific to be able to say, “Hey, I want to try this new place out” and have him just go with it. I think it kinda goes against his control-freak grain, but he does … and I so appreciate it. Easy-going ranks high in my book.

Now, where can you combine a quick 3-mile hike, delish wine tasting and picnicking all on the same dog-friendly property?

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Secret to a happy marriage: a fresh flower in the bathroom

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I once attended a party of a couple who had been together about twenty years. It was a great party. They were terrific hosts: kind, warm, gregarious, funny. You could feel the love and friendliness. And best of all you could see clearly that after so many years together they were still crazy about each other.

At some point I ended up standing in line to use the restroom (we’ve all been there, right?) next to one of the hosts and we began to chat as one does when standing in line to use the bathroom. Of course, I asked my favorite question when I see happy couples: “What’s your secret?”

And he replied immediately, “He always puts a fresh flower in the bathroom for me.”

Okay. That‘s the secret?

I must have had a skeptical look on my face because he went on to explain. (Imagine a cute Chilean accent.)

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Secret to a happy marriage: A family calendar

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We’re going to label this tip under “Communication”, “Respect” and “Commitment”.

Interestingly this little tidbit was told to me years apart and by two different women: “Jane” who was in her mid-fifties with now grown kids and “Sarah”, who was in her thirties, no kids. Both of these women are busy working women as are their partners.

With the demands of growing careers, kids schedules (if applicable), social lives, family obligations and couple-time (you remember that, right?), a family’s calendar can get not just full, but overflowing. Throw in last-minute curve balls like unexpected meetings or a project requiring a late night at work, or a kid-forgot-to-tell-you scenario and you’ve got the makings for a master juggling act that can lead to miscommunication, resentment, frustration, time-crunch and ultimately stress.

For a family with a busy schedule, whether it’s just two, five or ten of you, a family calendar can be your communication saving grace.

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What’s the secret to a happy marriage?

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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m hyper-inquisitive and not shy about interrogating (in a friendly way) complete strangers.

Hey, how are you going to learn if you don’t ask, right?

This natural instinct to furrow my brow, squint my eyes and seriously ask, “But why?” is probably why my former career as an entrepreneur in journalism was a pretty good fit. I am naturally and unabashedly nosy.

One of my favorite questions to ask couples who have been in long-term relationships is: “What’s the secret to a happy marriage?” In fact, I ask the question so often that my good friend Teresa has repeatedly said that I need to start compiling the stories into a book.

But in order for me to do that I would have to be a little more organized than I am today. I would need to record my sources, have accurate notes, blah, blah, blah. So, maybe someday I’ll compile that book … but for today I’m going with loosey-goosey anecdotal style of communication. I’m just gonna tell ya (without footnotes.)

Starting tomorrow I’m going to share seven of the tips and tricks that I’ve heard over the last umpteen years as we count down to Valentine’s Day.

Now, a word of warning—these are not the standard “respect each other”, “have a sense of humor”, “be honest” generic type platitudes. We’ve all heard these things, yada, yada, yada, yada. BOR-ING!

I want to know what these things MEAN to someone. HOW do they execute? I want folks to break it down.

Principles are nice, but applications are better. And that’s when it gets fun(ny).