Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweet song of the day..

A few pics of the East Coast Fam...

Aunt Susan and me.

Wine tasting with Aunt Susan and Grandma.

Visiting my sweet Grandpa.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A little East Coast family lovin'...

I have to be honest...after a week of early mornings, late nights, all day meetings, speaker sessions, fancy schmancy meals, east coast time change (which definitely affected my sleep), cross country flights, two more flights to get down to where I currently am - in Miami, FL, I kind of feel like I've been hit by a freight train :). I'm not quite sure how I escaped without getting myself sick, but thank gawd almighty - somehow I did and now it's time for some serious R&R and quality East Coast family time down in Miami, FL.

I got right down to business with the R&R with a luxiorous 10 hours of sleep last night! TEN beautiful hours - I cannot express to you how lovely this was or how much my body was needing it! I didn't get out of bed until 9:30 this morning - unheard of in my world lately - my body/mind usually don't let me sleep past 7:30 these days with the constant stream of activities I've managed to create for myself. I could go on and on about how glorious it felt to have nothing to wake up and rush off to this morning and I think I must have smiled in my sleep the whole night long knowing this! What a liberating feeling that I have been seriously missing and am feeling so grateful for having back!

I didn't get to bed though without a lot of catching up with my Grandma, Aunt and cousin. I love my crazy Jewish family out here on the east coast and I just get a kick of out having these crazy Jewish-Japanese roots - I love it! So anyways, yes, we got some serious catching up in over dinner and then after dinner my Grandma and I stayed up until about 11 (I know not super late - but man am I surprised I made it to that hour!) chatting away some more.

It would take a novel to go into detail about our conversation and for me to tell you just how lucky I feel to have yet ANOTHER amazing woman like my grandma in my life, but I'll try my best to give you the cliff notes version.

My grandma has experienced some big life changes in the past year and a half. For 27 years, following retirement (she and my Grandpa owned the neighborhood shoe store in Flemington, NJ-how adorable is that!?), my Grandma and Grandpa lived in their dream world in Boca Raton - they got to play tennis, golf, lounge by pools, eat yummy meals at the country club, join bridge and mah jong clubs and make TONS of great friends along the way. A year and a half ago, however, my grandparents decided to move away from Boca down to Miami because my Grandpa's health was starting to decline. As if that wasn't hard enough, shortly following the move, my Grandma, Aunt and my Dad had to make the difficult decision to put my Grandpa in a nursing home because it was just too much for my Grandma to continue caring for him on her own.

This trip is the first time I've been out to visit since all of this has happened and it has been really great to get to talk to my Grandma face to face about a lot of it. Her perspective on the whole situation absolutely inspires me and leaves me hoping that her attitude is hereditary! I know she very much misses the life that she and my Grandpa had in Boca, but she has adapted and found lots of positive things about her life in Miami. I truly appreciate and respect her flexibility and ability to adapt to life changes at an age where many people seem to become stuck in their ways and ultra-crabby curmudgeons :) if things aren't just as they expect them to be. My Grandma is a very social woman and thrives on having a rich social life and well after her move to Miami, she didn't have a single friend except of course for my Aunt, my cousin and my Aunt's boyfriend and although she is a very friendly person, she can be shy if she doesn't know someone which makes it a little scary to be in a new place without your usual social circle.

My favorite story of last night was this one; Just recently, through a random connection my Grandma found out about a local senior center that offers activites for senior citizens. So you know what she told me she did? She said, "Sarah, sometimes you just have to grab the bull by it's horns and go for it." And you know what? She did exactly that! She headed over to the Card Room at the local senior center where there were games of Mah-Jong going on. She walked into the room and surveyed for a table that had an opening. She found a table where 4 ladies were sitting and she walked up and asked,"Do you all need a 5th?" (Now if that's not a lady with a whole lot of gumption, I don't know what is!) And she said the ladies peered up and seemed to be sizing her up for a minute and then said, "Yes." So, my Grandma took a seat and the other ladies asked if she was a beginner and my Grandma said, "No, no, I'm not a beginner" (because it's true you know- my Grandma knows her Mah-Jong!) and that was that. She's become close with these 4 women and does lunch and local theatre and dinner with them and is building her social life back up again. Not too shabby for an 80 year old (ooops...I mean 39 Grandma :)). She says she was just very lucky to have met these women, but I think my Grandma did a pretty good job of creating her own luck too.

I had to fight back the tears while listening to this story last night - because it's just so inspiring to me to have an example of a woman of her age who is still making new friends continues to "Take the Bull by the Horns." She could easily sulk and lament over leaving the life she had in Boca, but she doesn't, she knows there is still lots of life to be lived where she is and she's got the courage inside of her to go out and find it.

I love you so much for setting this example Grandma and hope that your ability to always seek out life rubs off on Jess, Gregory and I!

Pictures of my lovely Jewish, east coast fam. coming soon!

All I have to say is....

Hallelujah for sleeping in and for getting some time in with family in Florida! I can't wait to give a Florida update!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

DC with D-Fro and Miguel

The National Archives.

The Constitution.

The Supreme Court.

You knew this was coming :).

Reading Room Rotunda at the Library of Congress.

Midday Chai Tea Cheers.

The reflecting pool/popsicle :).

Cousin jump photo!

The Lincoln Memorial - my favorite :).

Tempura Udon at Chopsticks in Georgetown.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The best part of work trips is not working :)

It's pretty fun to come back here at the end of the day.

My winter vegetable platter at The Old Ebbitt Grill tonight. How beautiful is that? Butternut squash, acorn squash, cranberry wild rice...ah-mazing!

Loverboy's sister and I - so glad we got to have dinner together!

Peacock Alley in the Willard - it's decorated with lovely lanterns for the Lunar New Year. I heart lanterns!

I'm a sucker for fresh flowers - and the Willard has won my heart with a new boquet of fresh ones EVERY day - can't wait to see what's in the lobby tomorrow.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On the Obama lookout...

I'm here! It's only been a few hours and I'm already in love with this place. My hotel is in the heart of everything, right next door from the White House and across the street from you know the Washington monument, the Treasury, a couple blocks away from the Mall, Smithsonian- you name it! There is snow everywhere and it's beautiful! Do I really have to work?

The Washington Monument at night.

The oh so swanky hotel.

Isn't it beautiful?!

There is a lot of snow :). This is the street in front of the White House.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DC here I come :)

Blogosphere! I am headed out to DC tomorrow for a work meeting that will last until next Tuesday. And then I'm flying to Florida to get some east coast family time in. And I'm afraid my schedule is going to be a bit jam packed so I am apologizing in advance for the absence from the blog world that I am anticipating.

This is the longest I have been away from home base for a while and I have to admit I am really going to miss home. I even got a little misty eyed leaving the office today - nothing like leaving a place for a little while to get my wheels turning about just how lucky I am to work where I do and with the people I work with.

That being said I am also super excited about the opportunity to mix up the routine a bit in an incredible city! I'll be on the Michelle Obama lookout and excited to spend some time with loverboy's sister, cousin Miguel and good ol' D-Fro.

Be prepared for a marathon post when I return! Until then, lots of love bloggie world!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

one hell of a week :)

Blogosphere! I have SOOOOOO much to tell you! Be prepared, this is a marathon post, and you know what, I am not even going to be able to get it all in here.

If my dad was living close enough to me to see what I was doing this past week he would've been shaking his head and saying, "Sarah - you are burning the candle at both ends again." I know myself well enough by now to know that I am just a go, go, go and push further than I really probably should kind of girl, even when it makes me feel like I am going to break down- thankfully I'm getting a little bit better at staying calm amidst the chaos of life these days but man I sure did feel on the verge of melt downs on a couple of occasions this week. I could not be more grateful for a Monday off today and a chance to get some of the recharge time I was sorely missing during the week. I plan to spend the day sitting around with loverboy blogging, reading and just not rushing off to the next event.

I don't know what has been in the air lately but I feel like I have been on high-alert and just extra concious of all the wonderful things around me - which I love but which I also realize is a bit overwhelming because I just start to bubble over about everything and well, I just plain ol' overwhelm myself if that makes any sense.

So this week was not only full of fun external events ie; DC work trip prep (oh so many meetings!!), DC weather prep (warm clothes shopping - I am a So. Cal girl for goodness sakes!), 8th grade girls bball games, basketball practice, Co-worker birthday potlucks, Co-worker retirement parties, yoga, 6 am workouts so I can squeeze all the other fun stuff in after work, Indian dinners to celebrate Jack's birthday, making it rain, Elton John/Billy Joel concerts, valentine's day roses/dinners with loverboy (I feel like 5 lifetimes were lived in the past week!) - it was also full of all this internal craziness going on - feelings of overwhelming gratitude for where I am in life, for the people and things in my life - everything from the beauty of the mornings when I am walking from the Stanford gym to locker room to shower, the camaraderie I share with co-workers, genuine life conversations with friends, all the cherry blossoms starting to bloom...I feel like I can't walk two steps or live two minutes without being touched or moved by something - am I going nuts?!

And then to top that off, I feel like I have been showered with love from friends and family recently. I have arrived home from long, LONG days in the past couple of weeks greeted by a homemade scarf from Niki, a lovely valentine's day card from my crazy mom, a yoga card from Kat, a rockin' CD from Sadina which I have been listening to over and OVER all week long! I can't wait to have a few more spaire moments to pay it forward :).

Here are a few pics of the week....

This is what my mom looks like (well maybe a bit more asian) when she texts. Love it mom, love it!

My favorite Salmon Recipe - Barefoot Contessa Style - a little ginger, garlic, green onion, sesame oil, soy sauce and panko.

The scarf that Niki crocheted!

I am going to miss this woman at work!

The birthday boy - the only pic I got of the night thanks to dead camera batteries. Deeeelish Indian buffet with even more delicious company!

My dolla dolla bill winning after a riveting game of "Make it Rain"/ Left, Right, Center with the crew post Jack's bday dinner.

Billy and Elton on stage Saturday night. Gosh this picture deserves an entire post all in itself! If seeing Billy and Elton in concert is not already on your bucket list, you should seriously consider adding it. I was so completely moved by the talent of these two musicians. And to top it off I got to share the evening with lover boy who just lit up watching Billy and Elton jam on the piano, guitar, harmonica - I love how much he loves and appreciates music. They had a camera on the pianos so that you could see Billy and Elton's fingers up close as they were playing and it was simply amazing to see their fingers in action. Words cannot express how much I loved being able to share this experience with Joe. Music sure is a powerful thing and sharing it with someone who you love and care deeply about is just something that I am not sure the English language has words strong enough to explain. Ooooh and being the cheesy, sap that I am - you can imagine the way I melted when they kicked off the concert with "Your Song" and "I love you just the way you are."

Sir Elton.


This picture deserves a post in itself also. I had to be back on the peninsula for basketball practice mid day on V-day, so Joe and I spent our first valentine's day staying in cooking up a yummy, romantical meal together. And get this, while we were cooking we were listening to the Disney Princess CD! And Joe was singing both the girl and boy parts- total heart melter! I am a sucker for goofy boys!

Roses that were waiting for me when I got back from my morning run and an adorable note with ways to say I love that Joe learned from his students in all different languages - another heart melter.

Double dessert - Chili chocolate - yummmmmy...and......

I was craving raisin bread - so we picked a loaf up for dessert #2 - yay for lover boys who indulge my cravings.

Whew, well I am done for now, but geez louise I still have so much to tell you, remind me that I have basketball stories and yoga stories that I just can't wait to share!

Happy Valentine's day weekend/president's day weekend everyone!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Next year will you just run with me?

I woke up at 5:30 this morning with way more energy than I ever have on a weekday morning. I held my breath for a moment to listen for rain and guess what??? There was none!! Yay for clear skies to run half marathons under. Packed a little bag, ate a banana and some peanut butter and made my way to Mia's to pick her up so we could head up to the race together. Mia inspired me to run a race again - it's been a few years since I've entered a race and I forgot what a good feeling it is to have a purpose in your training (People are awesome moment #1).

Hey, here is what the moon looked like as I made my way out the door.

(google image photo - mine didn't turn out quite as nice :))

ooooh it made me all jitterry inside - I love early morning moons (I'd like to write a book about the best places to watch the sunset one day - maybe I'll have to add early morning moons to the book too!) - there is something I just love about getting up in the early morning hours to do something fun. On our drive up to the city on the 280 we got to watch the sky turn purple and pink as the sun started to rise and when we reached 19th ave. we were greeted by swirly purply, pink skies and a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bride (I love San Francsico moment #1:).

(google image photo-minus the purply, pink skies)

We found Nick and snapped this pre-race shot before we jumped on a shuttle, pinned on race bibs, attached race chips to our shoes and got offered more than our fair share of Nick's new found love - FRS sport chews to get us energized for the race. Nick always has the latest and greatest running snacks/music mixes to share with Mia and I on our runs (People are awesome moment #2).

(ooooh I cut out mia - it was early okay :))

Starting gun went off right on time and off we were through Golden Gate Park by this building (Conservatory of Flowers - one of my FAV places in SF) (I love San Francisco moment #2),

(google image photo)

through this kind of scenery (I love San Francico moment #3)

There were lotsa callalillies in bloom and I just adore callalillies.
(google image photo)

(google image photo)

all the while chatting about running, biking, inspirational songs, sundance film festivals etc etc etc. Mile 8 energy boost came courtesy of John- Mia's fiance- he made us signs (People are awesome moment #3)!!! And so we mustered the energy to jump up in the air for him for a photo op :). Miles 9-11 I started to feel a little queasy - really queasy actually - like look out people I might throw up right here and right now - but luckily I had an ocean breeze and this view along the Great Highway to keep me going (I love San Francisco soooo much moment #4).

(google image photo)

Nick was giving me lots of verbal encouragement to help me get through it (People are awesome moment #4). There were lovely people handing out water, gatorade, bacon and beer (I love San Francisco moment #5/People are awesome moment #5). I ran side by side with a man with a prosthetic leg for a few minutes and thought hey this stomach ache is really nothing to complain about at all (People are awesome moment #6). By mile 11 I was feeling ready to kick it in and was happy that my urge to loose my insides passed so I could finish strong. Crossed the line in good spirits and the sun still hadn't stopped shining and people were cheering and high fiving and just all around EXUDING positive energy (People are awesome moment #7). oooh and as I crossed the line one of my buddies from my runner's high running group came up and gave me a big hug - he finished in 1:25 maybe I'll ask him to take me on a couple of training runs before my next race :) (People are awesome moment #8).

We had to photograph for proof that we ran and we even rallied our tired legs for a jump shot!

I love Mia and Nick's jump personalities!

So as much as I love sharing all the lovely moments of this race with you in writing, maybe next year, will you just run with me so that we can share all these lovely moments in person? Okay, you go think about it and let me know!

Ooooh and important side note - I got to spend a lovely afternoon with Whit (an SD F4Lie) and Gustavo yesterday in the city and drink yummy chianti wine and eat deeeelish pizza and pasta with them, Katie, Dave and of course loverboy at Tomasso's - my fav. Italian restaurant in the city. (I love SF moment #6/People are awesome moment #9).

Friday, February 5, 2010

Life, you bring me to my knees...

I'm sitting and sipping some honey and tea, listening to my new favorite piano music, discovering the inspiring words and art of Rob Ryan and just feeling overwhelmed with the beauty of life.

I never cease to be amazed by the many small moments of inspiration that life offers up every day. Maybe I am crazy, maybe I am a complete sap, maybe I am a simpleton for being so moved by such small things but whatever I am - I pray that I never lose my ability to see and relish these moments.

If I had the time, I would blog every evening about all the little things that inspire me all day long (thank goodness for twitter - the perfect short and sweet avenue for me to express my mini inspiration strikes throughout the day).

Here's a little list of what inspired me today;
1) The peace of the moonlit morning hours on my walk to the gym.
2) This Video cheezy as it is featuring Will Smith
3) A lovely email from laura with a beautiful line that said something to the effect of, "It was so nice to have you all over last night - my place was warmed by your company." Kind of poetic I thought.
4) This blog entry by 101 Cookbooks - and more specifically the darling picture of the decorative display she created using the word 'Make.' I want to do the same thing one day...decorate with meaningful words. Written words are so powerful to me and one day I just want to be surrounded and swirling amidst them...I started making a list of what words I think I want to use...
fear not
go for it
find beauty
shower them with love
relish the moment
dream (then go for it :)

5) Pablo Neruda love poems like this one

6) Little City Gardens

7) Stopping to admire the mossy sidewalks and listening to stories of what sound like the most beautiful gems ever on a lunch time walk with Lindsey.

8) Discovering Rob Ryan artwork.

May your eyes be open to all the inspiration that is everywhere around you!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Songs of the day...

Good Directions

Say it Right

Inspiration Credit goes to my lovely bloggie friend Sadina. My cup runneth over with the gratitude I feel for having met Sadina and Lisa through our blogging. I know it might sound crazy - I have never met either of these women but I feel so strongly connected to both of them through the stories that we share on our blogs. I so look forward to the day I get to meet both of them in person - but until then my heart is over joyed at having received a lovely CD (which while listening to, I kept thinking - I LOVE THIS song) and a hand written note - it's funny - it's kind of like proof that these women are real which just makes me feel all smiley and light inside.