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The surprises that change brings

Picture this: Wake up to a beautiful sunny morning looking out upon the eucalyptus and pine trees, birds singing and geese flapping their wings. Dressed in yoga wear, step out 100 feet to the walking path, stopping for a breathless view of Mt. Tamalpais at its best,  through the wildflower field, across the bridge and through the community center park. Enter the yoga studio by 9, stretch, flex, downward dog, and more. Take another 15 minute walk back through the community center, over the bridge, through the wildflowers and up the Eucalyptus Knoll. 

The difference in walking down the hill to Yoga through the fields in the morning sun gave us a total different feeling of relaxation and regeneration. Later that day we went over to our pool, took a swim, a jacuzzi and read for 30 minutes. Another amazing surprise that moving has brought us. Overall, if we closed our eyes (and had someone else to bring us food all day) we almost felt that we were at a yoga spa where life is good and serene.

Who knew what new door would open up--- and change does bring some wonderful surprises. 


Coming of Age Challenge #7: Mythology Exams

Zoe-Pascale has a love of Mythology and for a "stretch intellectual" challenge she participated in two National Mythology Exams sponsored by her school. Each exam is given to students from 6-12th grade  with Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Certificate Laureates. 

Rereading all of her mythology books, taking some practice tests and sharing her love of Mythology she won two awards this month. It is a combination of knowing the basics, like the Iliad and Odyssey and some specialities such as this year themes on Malicious Monsters and Monstrous Mortals. 

Medusa Mythology Exam -- Zoe received a Certificate Laureate  which means she received between 29-33 correct out of 50

National Mythology Exam - she received a Silver Medal, meaning she got about 96% correct answers. 

Congratulations to Zoe-Pascale for taking on this extra challenge (but one she actually loved)



Oprah's 12 Ideas on Senseless Joy

Oprah recently posted these 12 Rules for Senseless Joy. I thought I'd share them with you. Easy, Fun, and makes you smile. 

1. After all clumsy, embarrassing moments, you must curtsy.

2. Call up your best friend once a month—and play her favorite song, anonymously without one word—making sure that you hear her rustle, sit-dancing in her office chair.

3. Close your eyes when you drink orange juice. It makes it taste better.

4. Make up a lovable name for your least favorite body part. Like Irene. Nobody hates a thigh named Irene.

5. While you're driving behind a school bus with kids at the windows waving to everyone in cars, you must wave back—and honk three times. 

6. When in doubt, add extra garlic, extra butter or extra bubble bath.

Read more:


Coming of Age Challenge #6 Change and Transition

As William Bridges describes in his various books on Transition. Change is what happens to things and Transitions are what people go through. The three phases start with 

  • Ending the Old
  • Neutral Zone
  • New Beginnings 

This month our entire family has gone through a major change by selling our home of 15 years. The home Zoe-Pascale was born and raised in (except when we were in France) and the home that gave us great joy. Our decision, like all changes, was mixed, but overall felt like it was the right thing to do so that we could make some shifts in our life we were looking to do. To help Zoe (and all of us) go through this transition we are moving through the process. A process that you don't have a choice to do or not, but how you do it, is the key. 




Africa up close and personal is both an adventure, a luxury, and a once in a lifetime experience. Zoe's fifth challenge took place in Southern Africa during our visit in April. Overall the theme was immersing yourself in a different culture. 

Interacting with an African Elephant

Most elephants in Africa are truly wild. Get between them and their baby or water and watch out -- a few people have been trampled. However there are a few new enterpreneurs who have figured out how to train elephants and have them help society by uncovering landmines in Angola and Mozambique and finding lost hikers. Between their sense of smell and memory they never forget!

Zoe got the opportunity to interact with a variety of African elephants such as sitting on their knee, touching their tongue, their hair, lifting up their heavy foot and taking a game trek on the elephant. 

Challenge: Big animal, small person 


Playing with a baby White lion and tiger

This baby white lion is about 3 months old and is an endangered species. In fact, white lions cannot survive by themselves in the wild  and therefore return to other game parks or sanctuaries. Just like a cute puppy until she scratches!




South Africa Game Park Travels


Walking through the Game Park with giraffee, wildebeast, impala, warthogs and more is an awesome experience. Watching the wildebeast run across the golf course (no I was not playing) and seeing elephants follow our land rover as we roamed through another park you get a peak at the grandness of both the land of South Africa and the wild animals we are protecting. 

From the game parks to an elephant interacton in which we rode and got to know the elephants to nightly braies around the BBQ we understood once again what draws people to this vast open country with game parks the size of England (Kruger) and the beauty of seeing the world at its most natural. 

Check out the album on facebook at




Coming of Age Challenge #4:  Money

Money is a huge challenge no matter what your age. In asking friends, how they learned about money, most people respond, "By watching my parents." Not exactly the perfect scenario in most cases.  

In thinking about this, we realized it is a process that will take time, a long time as kids mature and recognize what money really does and what it means to each of us personally. 

A couple of activities we are engaging in for this challenge:

READ the rest of the challenge 


Moving along....

Letting go is a strange thing and not always easy to do, but a time comes when it feels right and the energy moves one in another direction. This week we have begun the final process of letting go of our home we have had for 15 year, that we raised our daughter in and have fond memories. Some people ask, why? The answer, it just feels like it is time. Doing the analysis we can come up with a variety of reasons it makes total sense to sell now while we can, interest rates are low, the inventory is low, and the election is still months away. On the other hand we can come up with reasons why not to (mortgage interest deduction).  The bottom line is we are ready to move on and look forward to shaping our future in a different way. We plan on renting in our area for now and searching homes in more far away places (that don't have good schools or work) for the future.

In terms of letting go, our daughter said it all,

 "I'm sad, but a house is not the memories, the memories is what we hold in our heart. I'm ready for something different as long as it has pillars."  (mmmmm....)

The good news is we get to continue to shed the clutter, detach from things that are materially and psychially burdens, and look forward to new beginnings. This is truly a time of closing one door opens many more. 



A delightful thing happened on the way to ....

This morning, my husband asked so kindly if I minded running to Starbucks and getting him a Venti Latte to start his day as we were out of milk (oops....) and while I was there would it be possible to buy him and my daughter an Egg Bagel sandwich for breakfast so she could have protein before a big math test (oops... forgot the eggs too)!

Feeling unrushed, I agreed and trotted off a 10 minute drive to the bagel store and Starbucks. 

A young man in scrubs had just ordered and I said to the man at the counter, "Can I order two sandwhiches for my husband and daughter and I'll be right back."  Smiling I walked next door to order the Latte. 

A few minutes later I walked into the Bagel store with money in hand ready to pay for their healthy breakfast. 

The man at the counter said, "The gentleman before you paid for your egg bagel sandwiches." 

"What?  I don't know who he is? Are you sure?"

"Yes, he paid." The conversation continued and I expressed my gratitude and told the man if he saw him again to say thankyou and that I didn't know what to say.  An amazing gift, surprise, and delight. 

I walked out with two hot egg sandwhich bagels (with bacon) and was overwhelmed with how this gesture made me feel so special. I vowed that later today, I would make someone elses day and give the gift of delight to another unsuspecting soul. 

Surprise someone today and give them a gift of total amazement. Yes, we give to friends, family and charities, but do we without asking ever give to strangers just because? Wow, what a feeling.

 It made me realize how little we do for strangers and how amazing it feels to the giver and receiver. 



Garage Sale Therapy

Getting rid of clutter is not only cathartic, feels great, but can bring in some extra cash for something special. This past month I have been cleaning, uncluttering and sorting for the big Garage Sale I held this past Saturday. A HUGE success. The benefits I gained from cleaning out, selling what used to be precious treasures and pocketing dollar after dollar all day long was amazingly therapeutic.


I learned once again, "One person's junk is someone else's Treasure." 

So here's the skinny on having a successful sale. 

1. Start cleaning out closets and furniture a month ahead. Store it in the garage and keep adding to it. Every kitchen cupboard has at least two things that can be sold, clothes closets are treasures full of old shoes (did I say I have had shoes for over 20 years I sold and haven't worn of 10), small pieces of furniture that you forget to even look at, books, toys, blankets, and what you would normally say is junk. 

2. Put an ad in your local and city newspaper for Friday and Saturday. Give the time 9-3 (otherwise they will come at the crack of dawn) and address.  Put an listing on Craigs List under Garage Sale and let your firends and neighbors know.

List big items separately on Craigs List and tell them to come to the Garage Sale to pick up (have them email you to save them)

3. Prepare 3-4 signs and hire a teenager to help post them that morning or someone from your family. Make sure you put the day on the sign as they may not be taken down for a couple of days (in case you forget).

4. Buy little stickers and label each big item so you don't forget

5. Go the bank and get at least $30 full of one dollar bills and $5 worth of quarters.

6. Wear a small purse around your waist or your shoulder for all the money

7. Bring out big tables or borrow some as things on tables are easier to look at

8. Serve (or sell) cookies. Having kids sell the cookies tends to make them go faster

9. Don't be greedy, if you get a decent counter offer, take it. 

10 Put the better items on Craigs List if you have anything left over. Bag the rest to donate or call to pick up

11. Treat yourself to a massage or pedicure for a job well done

The feeling of decluttering and streamlining is almost as good as the money made!

PS. Get your entire neighborhood to join in and do it together!