Friday, April 21, 2017

friday. friday.

Happy Friday! What is everyone doing this weekend? Last weekend, we hung out with Sarah and Dave who were in town for a visit and they brought us these awesome flowers...aren't they cool? Hope you have a great weekend and including some links below in case they are of interest....
  • We had a couple minutes to kill before the HRW event on Wednesday and we walked through the West Elm in Palo Alto. I was to report back that their outdoor pillow collection is killing it. I basically stood there and hugged the pillows for a couple minutes.  Example 1, Example 2, and Example 3
  • Ben and I watched Dave Chappelle's new stand-up on Netflix a couple weeks ago and who knew Chappelle is so funny? Apparently, everyone. And turns out on top of being funny - he is smart AF and interesting. Ben sent me this NYTimes piece from yesterday, great read!

juvenile justice.

Wednesday night, Ben and I went to a film screening and discussion hosted by Human Rights Watch focused on juvenile sentencing and justice issues. The film, They Call Us Monsters, is a powerful statement about what we are doing to children who have committed crimes and the ripple effects more broadly.

Elizabeth Calvin, at HRW, heads up the Children's Rights Division and has worked tirelessly over the decades to help pass legislation to provide more protections and hope for these minors. I had no idea that currently in California, kids can be taken out of school without informing the police and interrogated by police without their parents present. Last year, in large part thanks to Elizabeth, the California legislature pushed through a bill (Senate Bill 1052) that would ensure that before an interrogation, youth are talked to by an attorney to understand their Miranda rights before they waive them. Of course this makes sense. How does a child understand what giving up your Miranda rights means for them. It is hard enough for an adult to understand this and not succumb to the pressure of a police officer, let alone a child.  The bill passed the legislature last year, but unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed it. The plan is to reintroduce the same (or very similar) bill again this year.

The film and discussion were interesting to say the least and it is an issue we hear about peripherally but I definitely wasn't aware of the details and just how slow progress has been on these issues.

If you are interested, the trailer to the film and also the short HRW video about the senate bill are below. Powerful stuff.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

pod time.

Have you all heard about the podcast Missing Richard Simmons? Three people have now separately recommended it, so I finally downloaded it this morning and am planning on giving the first episode a listen later today. Apparently, Richard Simmons disappeared in 2014, and it is also quite the interesting background and profile of Simmons. I'll let you know how it is!

Monday, April 17, 2017

planning it out.

We are going to Santa Fe in two weeks for a quick weekend trip with Emmy and Raffi!

We had planned this a couple months ago and while our time on the ground will be short, we are planning to pack in a lot. I've been to Santa Fe once, a long time ago, and I remember it being awesome but don't recall any of the specifics. Any suggestions?! Here is some of what we are planning right now, but welcome recommendations and I will be sure to report back with a full travelogue after!
  • Georgia O'Keefe Museum
  • Canyon Road to peruse galleries and shops
  • Santa Fe Plaza/Square
  • The Pantry for breakfast
  • The Shed for lunch
  • Eloisa or Joseph's for dinner
  • Secreto Lounge for cocktails
What else should we do? 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

the underground railroad.

Just finished The Underground Railroad and I do think it lived up to it's hype. Colson Whitehead writes with style and suspense that hooks into the story and his narrative of a piece of American history that we all are familiar with but probably don't really know makes the pages turn themselves. It is no wonder, it was just announced that the book won the Pulitzer for Fiction, and that comes after the National Book Award earlier this year.

Friday, April 14, 2017

real talk.

Have you all seen the news and updates about Sheryl Sandberg's new book - Option B - Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy?  I read a snippet of the book today (click here for a featured excerpt) and I read this longer Time piece last night before bed that is incredibly moving and worth the read.

All this got me thinking about how grateful I am to my Mom. She talks a lot about death and sickness, pain and suffering - and she always has. Yes, it was always part of her job and profession - ministry is of course inextricably linked to questions and discussion about death and dying and she is also deeply interested in and talks about death with ease. At times it can be a bit much. But, as a result and I am so thankful for it, I feel very comfortable in conversations about death. I don't avoid the topics or situations. It isn't at all something to brag about, but I do think our generation in particular, doesn't know how to talk about it or really handle these situations and I feel like I really know how to handle and approach it all.

Growing up, after church every Sunday, we visited the nursing home. Our family dinner conversations and day time phone calls to this day with my Mom are sprinkled with updates about funerals or sick people or someone who is about to die. And some of the best advice on what to say and how to handle these situations was coached to us by Mom when we were children. For example...

What is the best and only thing you should say to someone initially after a death or a diagnosis or a tragic situation? 
  • I am so sorry. (Plain and simple)
What is the last sensory to go when someone is dying? And why is that important? 
  • Their hearing. So, when you're in a hospital room, don't talk about a person in the third person right in front of them, or about their condition - talk with them and to them like they are there in the room - because they are and you don't know what the last thing they will hear is. 
Write a will. Write a will. Write a will!
  • Both my parents can talk about this ad nauseam. The questions, complications, drama and just deep emotional toll and trauma that you can't predict and that is caused when a person does not have a will and it is left to family members to decide can be devastating - not just the possessions but your basic end of life preferences, even some guidelines about what you would want for a funeral (I just want lots of eulogies and storytelling for the record!). Do everyone a favor. Write it down. 
What is a good gift for someone in the hospital? 
  • What you should bring the person you are visiting in the hospital - well, that should be personal. You can't go wrong with a blanket for whoever is sitting in the chair next to them since hospitals are always so cold and impersonal? But, you know what you should really do, bring some donuts, cupcakes or treats for the nurses and doctors. At the end of the day, you want the best care for the person, and a little something to draw the nurses back into the room for a little extra attention - that goes a long way!
These are just some of the things my Mom taught us to go along with the forever intangible of just being comfortable sitting in silence when needed and confronting head on the most terrible parts of life. Thanks Mom!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

patio update.

Remember back in December when I mentioned that we were going to put some effort into our patio area? Here was the picture of our patio in December...

Yikes! Since then, we have made some inroads. While we haven't had time (and budget) to do as much as I would have liked, it is coming along and more to come. We added some succulents (all about that on this post) and they are coming along beautifully - we are going to add some more soon.

And we bought some lounge furniture for one corner of the patio. We did a good amount of searching and looking. I stalked Craigslist for a while (because god knows I love a good Craigslist find!) but finally settled on going over to Ikea one weekend to pick up a set of furniture I had bookmarked. When we got there, we swung by the super discount corner and there it was in all its glory. One whole set of patio furniture just sitting there - total stroke of luck. It was in perfect condition (missing a couple of pillows) - we promptly claimed, somehow fit it all in the car and brought her home! I threw some outdoor pillows on there (here, here and here), combined it with Ben's fire pit that he got in December and a rug from Home Depot that I threw in our cart randomly months ago when we were there picking up screws. It is slowly coming along. Here is what we are looking at as of today...


And here is the view from inside...on the weekends and in the early evening, it is lovely with the lights on and sky fading.

Next up is the dining area. You can see a sneak peak of chairs that we picked up a couple months ago, so hopefully another update coming soon, stay tuned...

Monday, April 3, 2017


Are you listening to S-Town? This is the new podcast from This American Life and Serial - it is a true life mystery, investigation, and story based in Alabama and is quite the listen. I heard all the rave reviews over the last couple of weeks, and while it took me an episode to get into it, I am now in the middle of the third chapter and it is definitely in my head and I can't wait to listen to the rest of it.