Friday, December 22, 2006


I remember much earlier in my career--and my life--that the pace of life slowed as we neared the holidays. I submit that those days are long past. It seems like the goal now is to cram as much as possible into the days before the holidays.

I admit I fell prey to the momentum as well. Yesterday, my entire team flew to LA for a workshop with our ad agency on new media. It was a terrific session and we all learned a great deal. However, I arrived home coughing and feeling a bit under the weather.

This afternoon, my cough progressed to a fever, leaving me drained and my family no-shows at a holiday party.

For the next week, I will blissfully put work behind me and focus on home, my husband and kids, and my own interests. I need to be vigiliant that down time doesn't become jammed with priorities and activities, even personal ones. I need follow the example of my children and just play sometimes.

I guess our bodies tell us what our minds refuse to acknowledge. Everybody needs a rest now and then.

May your holidays be filled with peace.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time Flies

When did mid-December happen? My parents arrived for a ten day visit. Work got a bit crazy. Ohlone and Friends Nursery School ended for the year. THE YEAR! Cousins came to connect. Hubby and parents took off for the airport together this morning at an outrageously early hour for a business trip and home, respectively. I am left cuddling little beings who are part of a suddenly quiet household.

Time passes so quickly: Chanukah, Christmas (yes, we're interfaith) and on to New Years. My son wants to celebrate Winter Solstice, too. I think the key is to jump in, celebrate, and go with the flow at this season. Creating space and peace in the midst of all of this activity is critical. So here's to peace, now and in the year ahead.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

To Done, Or A New Beginning

Today is the end of November. This is the end of NaBloPoMo. I have posted dutifully. I have, admitedly, engaged in navel-gazing. I have noticed things more deeply about my life. Importantly, for the first time in my life, I have kept (a form of a) journal for a month. Huzzah! NaBloPoMo has compelled me to write.

What happens after today? I keep writing. I want to break out that Moleskine; okay, I want to open the many Moleskines that I own, one by glorious one, and fill them with words, drawings and photographs. I also want to keep this blog going, as often as I can . . .perhaps even daily.

Words are flowing. They may not be profound but at least words are flowing. They can flow onto a screen, a page or wherever. It's not the product, it's the process. That's what we say about the kids' art projects. Why not mine too?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Succumbing . . . to a Cold

I do believe that I am catching my first cold of the season. I woke up sneezing this morning. I began to notice that weird tickle at the back of my throat. Symptoms quickly abated with a rather large cup of coffee this morning. Now that night has fallen, the stuffiness and tickle are increasingly in evidence. It's clearly time for massive vitamin C doses.

On a broader and different note, it's amazing what trying to blog daily leads you to write about. I find myself asking "what happened today," "what am I noticing," "where has my perspective changed." This writing is, by no means profound. However, it is the stuff of life. I've never had the discipline to keep a journal. With this NaBloPoMo experience, I believe I can transfer the discipline to paper. Will I write about different things? Almost certainly. This space, after all, is quite public. It invites exploration, to a degree. What goes into my pristine black Moleskine is all mine.

Admittedly, I rather like the daily blogging too. It feels rather like shouting into a canyon; you get the satisfaction of expressing yourself but never know who might hear.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Back to the Routine

On this second day after the Thanksgiving holiday, it strikes me how quickly we return to routine. Shower, pack lunches, drive to work, immerse self in work, return home, dinner, kid snuggling and reading . . . it is the stuff of life. I'm thankful to see the sun rise over San Francisco Bay. I'm less thankful for traffic. Warm hugs and kisses from my babies buoy my days. Curling up next to my husband and enjoying a book at bedtime send me happily into slumber. It is a routine. Importantly, it is a life, taken one day at a time. Do I want to do, see and experience more? Absolutely. It's a good challenge as the year turns, to experience a little bit more, be a bit more present each day. It's about taking the routine to the next level.

Monday, November 27, 2006


After a relaxing holiday weekend, today marked re-entry. I returned to unanswered emails, phone calls, and unpacked lunch boxes. I woke up grimacing but by noon had pretty much embraced the day. The Thanksgiving weekend didn't prove as productive as I had hoped. However, it did offfer a chance to unwind with my wee ones and catch up on a few (fewer than i would have liked) chores around the house.

Four weeks and I get another chance. I'll never trade kid-time for chore-time. I just need to be a little more productive and motivated in those non-kid times. Sometimes being responsible has little to recommend it . . . at the time.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Quiet Day

Today is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We've spent the day picking up, following up on open tasks, generally puttering about. Mark is displaying his characteristic enthusiasm, going so far as to climb up on the roof to clean the skylights. Admittedly, it made a difference; thank you, Dear!

Days like today feel strange. It feels slothful to read, to curl up under the comforter and daydream. Yet, with our crazy lives, days like today are needed and justified.

Ah well, off to find some dinner of the non-turkey variety.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Day After

Yesterday we enjoyed a tasty, happy feast with my cousins. As a result of getting home past our collective bedtimes, the whole family slept in this morning. Much kd snuggling ensued this morning, to my delight. Today proved to be a quiet day, getting my car serviced, accompanying Graham on a playdate, enjoying left over turkey and stuffing. Lauren is a bit under the weather but will survive. We avoided the shopping hordes today. Everywhere parking lots were jam packed. We'll gear up for the coming holidays, no doubt, but at our own choosing. It felt good not to consume madly this day.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! It's really impossible to say that enough, isn't it?

The turkey is on the rotisserie. The oyster stuffing is in the oven. Mark is frolicking (an understatement) with freshly bathed kids. In a couple of hours, we'll be off to my cousins, Brian and Liz, to celebrate the holiday with their two kids and many more holiday treats.

At this very moment, parallel celebrations are taking place. My parents and Liz's parents are gathering in Decatur, Illinois to celebrate the holiday as they've done for decades. We carry on the tradition on the Left Coast but with a strong bias for Northern California cuisine. Mark's family is gathering in New Jersey for the holiday. Many, many Greenbergs and even more opinions make the holiday there.

Thankful? More than I could ever express. My kids, great husband, curiousity and comfort level in life--indeed, I am blessed. There is so very much for which to be thankful.

Best wishes for a fantastic holiday!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Little One on One Time

I am a mom and a full time marketing professional. It's often tough to balance the two. However, today I had hours of delicious one on one time with my five year old son, Graham. At one level, we did functional stuff. We visited Whole Foods to pick up elements of the Thanksgiving feast. Next came a trip to a fabric store to pick up supplies to make our own stuffed animals this weekend. (Wherever that notion came from is beyond my comprehension, but I plowed ahead anyway.) We shared a sushi lunch. While his sister was off to a playdate, we visited the bookstore. The car talk was awesome. Holding hands proved magical. I can still feel the warm hugs.

I love spending time with both my children. Given that they're 18 months apart, I quickly default to the role of referee. It's a pleasure to sit down with each of them, look into their eyes and connect.

Don't feel left out, my dear Lauren. It's a long weekend. Trust me, Mommy has a master plan!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What Do You Mean, You Sold My Turkey?!

I admit I'm a huge fan of Whole Foods. I love that you can pretty much taste anything in the store, which is great for my kids. No question that Whole Foods products are largely organic and healthful. Their sense of community and customer service is outstanding.

Today, the fine folks at Whole Foods called to say they were out of the variety of turkey that I ordered for Thanksgiving. I ordered a Diestel American Heritage Bronze turkey. Apparently, the turkeys (literally) flew and my name was lower on the list of lucky ones this year. Lesson learned; a week's notice is not enough to ensure your bird of choice.

Thomas, the Holiday Table representative, called and talked me calmly through the results of the turkey tastings Whole Foods held for customers and team. He recommended a fresh Diestel Natural bird, noted its juiciness, confirmed its availability in my preferred weight, and confirmed the order. Thanksgiving disaster averted.

Thank you, Whole Foods, for being proactive, well informed, and devoted to making your customers happy. I would have love the American Heritage Bronze. I'll still have a great fresh turkey. Next year, I'll shop earlier.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Random Kind of Day

Today is Monday of a holiday week. I am focused on . . . the holiday, of course. We're off to my cousin's Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving as our parents have done for decades. However, I'll lay odds that we'll have better food. I'll provide the oyster dressing (what my family calls stuffing), kicked up a bit with double the quantity of oysters, ciabatta bread, and fresh herbs. We're also bringing the bird; Mark will put the rotisserie to good use bringing our American Heritage Bronze turkey to its best possible state. What won't be different between the generations is the love and connection we share at this special time of year.

On more mundane notes, there is business work to be done and I'm doing it. The car gets serviced over the holiday. Graham's classmates are requesting a playdate. We have some major closet cleaning ahead of us.

At any given time, it feels there are about a billion choices, options, and pieces of stimulus. I'm hoping a bit of focus, exhaustive lists, and good planning will see us though.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Simple Pleasures: A Math Book

We had our first parent-teacher consultation this past week. Adrienne, Graham's Kindergarten teacher, is a seasoned pro. She asked us to come prepared to come with three examples of where Graham shines and our wish for him for the year. Unbeknownst to us, she asked him to supply answers to the same questions. Much to our surprise we were directionally in sync.

On the wish, we were in different orbits. We wished Graham would develop a love of learning this year. He wished for his own math book. Today, I drove off to Lakeshore Learning and got him his very own math book, in addition to several other items. He settled down at the kitchen table and began to practice his numbers immediately. The little guys said "thank you so much, Mama. I LOVE this math book. I enjoy doing math." When it comes to encouraging that love of learning, his wish is my command.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Punch List

When I took the kids to swimming lessons this morning, Mark drove off for a morning of work at Lauren's pre-school, the Friends Nursery School in Palo Alto. This is a parent participation school. Given that we're two working parents, we're doing our best to meet those work commitments early and proactively. Lauren is thriving at Friends.

He came home with a great idea: the punch list. It seems that good folks at Friends write down everything need by room. They tape those lists up and, when parents come to work, they place their initials by the task and get after it. We walked our home this afternoon making the Delman punch list. We noted the things we wanted to do, regardless of the time horizon. The list will be a living one. Mark is off right now checking out alternatives to our various (and somewhat despised) blinds.

The magic here is that we have all of our visible projects in a common place, not in our heads, and ready for action.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Simple Pleasures: Thai Food

By Friday, we are, as a family, toast. The long week ended, kids and parents alike deflate on Fridays, the end to a (usually) long week. In such a spent state, cooking (normally a family passion) falls by the wayside. We are left staring at take-out menus with longing. We're fortunate to have the excellent Ming's for Chinese a mere five minutes away. We've been known to slum it with pizza. Tonight, Mark had the foresight to grab Thai on his way home.

Deep fried squid, peppery duck, pad thai, spicy spring rolls and vegetable-studded fried rice graced our table and woke up our tastebuds tonight.

Thank heaven for simple pleasures, like Thai carry-out.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

First Parent-Teacher Conference

Talk about an anxiety ridden event. Today was my first parent teacher conference. In true new-California-involved-parent style, I and my husband both attended. Professionals that we are, we arrived with duplicate copies of our son's "shining" moments and wishes for his first year in school.

What a great way to start the day. Graham's Ohlone kindergarten teacher, Adrienne Brimer, is first class. She addressed literacy and math competency, all within the context of a larger vision of learning. We learned the value of play. We understood how core skills were key but not something to obsess over. Mixed classes (e.g., k/1 and teacher continuity) allow for individual growth over a larger span of time.

We spoke about what (we thought) turned our son on (when he "shined"). Unbeknowst to us, he answered the same set of questions. Bottom line: his needs are simpler and more directly met than ours. Okay, got it! We can fully meet the needs of the little guy.

This dialog is so very special. This is the first objective input on our son's learning progress. I am thankful that the input was focused on skill building, on progress, on real learning, rather than on some abstract concept of assessment or what is appropriate.

Here's to a good night's sleep for an anxious Mom.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fading Fast

Stellar post from Minneapolis last night, eh? At least that was my first moblog post; the joys of technology never end.

I wish I could say the same for airplanes. We sat at the gate for an hour last night while the Northwest folks investigated the fluid leaking from the plane. This was not a confidence inspiring issue for me, an avowed nervous flyer. Having gotten up at 4:30 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday morning and read for a solid hour past my bedtime on the tarmac, I managed a relatively decent sleep once we took off. Although not a first, I can count the number of times I've actually slept on a plane on one hand. Despite my best efforts to load up my video iPod, I didn't even turn the little beauty on. I shouldn't complain. I arrived home safe and sound, albeit past 1 a.m.

I ended up at an outdoor photo shoot this morning for an upcoming series of ads. The sky over Berkeley was amazing; the sky was a perfect pitch of blue, streaked with thin white clouds that faded into pointellistic daubs. Despite my lack of sleep (or perhaps because of it), I was struck by the singular beauty of the sky. The good news is that I actually had a camera with me. Photos to come.

The travel is catching up with me fast tonight. I wanted to make sure I got a post up. NaBloPoMo is a demanding taskmaster.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I am posting from Minneapolis' Airport. It's been a long day. I have nothing to say, really. Nevertheless, NaBloPoMo requires a post. Commitment met. Goodnight!

Monday, November 13, 2006

On the Road

I write this from chilly, but sunny, Minneapolis, MN. Okay, it's not sunny now, it's dark; you get the idea.

Before my team convenes to review our plans for tomorrow's meetings, I'm taking a moment to re-group, getting re-organized and re-focused after our flight. There's something about being crammed into that sleek metal tube hurtling through space that begs for recovery.

My good deed for today was sending my son's Kindergarten class a postcard from Minneapolis. His class is receiving mail from all over the world. I realize Minneapolis may not be the most exotic destination but it is where I am. I do love the little guy. Hopefully, the kids will enjoy the moose photo, distance report from Palo Alto to Minneapolis, and a brief weather report.

Back to trying to shake off that time out of mind feeling.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Wrapping Up the Weekend

This is a quick post. The household is tucked under their respective covers, save for me. I'm traveling tomorrow and doing one final check--and post. Today was focused, getting the house cleaned up, packing, getting a meal or two ahead of the family and snuggling with the kids. All in all a good day.

I'm looking forward to a few hours of solitude tomorrow. The window seat becomes my nest, to work, read, and think. As much as I miss my family when I travel, I appreciate a bit of time away.

I recently worked with a fellow who made every trip an adventure. He might choose an eleclectic or historic hotel. He wanders new neighborhoods and photographs everything. He inserts himself into the path of life and lives more richly for it. This is a good lesson for me. Carpe diem!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Routine Saturday

Today has been another routine Saturday . . . and I love it. I woke up this morning with plenty of time to read and enjoy a cup of coffee prior to the little ones waking up. I took a quick shower while Mark walked the dogs and we bundled the kids off to swimming lessons. Another forty minutes or so to read. We returned home for breakfast.

Uncharacteristically, I needed to do a bit of work this morning. Mark did various chores around the house. I joined in the usual clean up and laundry. Graham was feeling particularly snuggly this afternoon. Curling up with him was an absolute pleasure. Graham and Mark are now off in the kitchen. Lauren is splashing about in the bath. I'm enjoying a glass of wine before we settle down to dinner and a quiet evening.

Life is truly sweet.

Friday, November 10, 2006

New iPod Toys

I confess, I'm an iPod addict. Interestingly, it wasn't music that put me over the top; it was podcasts. I love being able to listen to great conversations and points of view at whim. Favorites, you ask? KQED's Forum consistently provides great insights; it seems Michael Krasny can't have an uninspired conversation. Writers on Writing, Barbara deMarco-Barrett's conversations with authors, agents, and all being literary, is a winner. I love The Accidental Creative, great insights on creativity and how to cultivate it. For photographers, the Lenswork podcast with Brooks Jensen is a regular motivation to pick up the camera and get at it.

Although I haven't downloaded audio books (and I don't know why as I am an avid audio book listener), I have downloaded entire courses from The Teaching Company.

I recently got an iPod video and am actively seeking content. I'm not a huge movie fan but who knows what can happen? I look forward to podcast-y stuff in video format: TED talks, MAKE magazine how to segments, and things from public broadcasting. The how-to wiki also explains how to view You Tube content on your iPod. Getting the video aspect of my life up and running is definitely a project for this weekend.

Today, MacWorld arrived. Among the headlines were fifty new gadgets for the iPod user. Undoubtedly, I'll find holiday possibilities among them. Oh, joy!

There is something magical about having that sleek device(s) at hand to learn, explore, or orchestrate life's score. I'm hooked. And happy!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Challenge of Choice

I must confess that posting every day to my blog, in the spirit of NaBloPoMo, can be a bit of a challenge. It's not the actual posting, it's having the topic. Tonight, I'm soldiering on.

I'm thinking about choice. I travel to Minneapolis on Monday for a meeting with the good, smart folks at Target. I respect their approach to business. I'm looking forward to the dialog.

Between the Target boys and me is a four hour plane trip and a quiet evening in the hotel. That means one thing to this business traveler: time to read! Without question, every business trip is a chance to curl up with my laptop and catch up--on email, on presentations and memos, etc. Every business trip is a chance to also spend hours curled up with a great book(s). I typically travel with two or three books . . . just in case, I tell myself.

Here I am, a full four days before I fly, thinking not about my presentation--it's done--but what I'm going to read on the plane. Will I start Ayelet Waldman's mommy as sleuth series? Do I want something more literary, like essays from Rebecca Solnit? I am an avowed foodie, so perhaps I should finish Anthony Bourdain's latest book or Mark Kurlansky's The Big Oyster? I look longingly at Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, but it's so very, very big and heavy. The agony of a nightstand full of possibility! The heart-rending challenge of choosing a few, select friends to accompany me on my trip.

Am I book-crazy? Absolutely! Yes, I'll sync the iPod with music and podcasts. If I can figure out how to separate video from music & podcasts, I'd love to bring my iPod Video as well. However, after all is said and done, I need to travel with my books. That means a few, not one.

Stay tuned. I'll share what I finally choose to accompany me on the hop over to Minneapolis.

P.S. Great steak in that town. If my colleagues are wise, we'll dine well and I'll post about that as well!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Friends Nursery School

I feel very fortunate to have my daughter attend The Friends Nursery School in Palo Alto (clink link for more). Her space in the program was not the result of our good planning but rather a community email announcing (rare) spaces in the class. I may not always be on top of things but I'm no fool . . . I jumped at the opportunity.

Friends is a parent-particpation preschool. This is not necessarily an easy thing to manage with two professional parents. However, we are proactively handling workdays and fundraising commitments. It's all about being on top of the calendar.

Tonight is a parent education night. I am soon off to attend a session led by a Stanford prof on childhood friendships, what they mean, how they change, how a parent can nurture them. This seems like more than a fair trade. We supply tuition dollars and time to support the program. Friends Nursery School helps us become better, more effective parents and provides a wonderful growth experience for our kids. This seems like a bargain to me.

Thanks, Friends!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All Consuming

I had a moment of self discovery today. Driving to work, I realized I am a consumer of words, in a phase of consumption. I listen to NPR or to podcasts during my hour or so commute to and from the office. My big aha today is that I spend my most satifying time listening to commentary on writing, creativity, books, art, photography, craft and the like. If that's how I spend my "mind" time, surely that's an indication that I should devoting more attention to the subject(s).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Elephants. oh my!

Click the "elephants" link and go to Pete's Pond in Botswana. You can watch an African watering hole 24/7. I know I've posted on this before (a mere two days ago). However, this morning I awakened to a new sight: elephants. This morning (6:30 a.m. SF time) I saw an entire herd of elephants at Pete's Pond. I grabbed my son out of bed. We spent an entranced half hour watching these beasts: drinking, playing, snuggling, fighting, eating. It's one thing to watch something like this on PBS. It's another thing altogether to see wildlife real time and engaged in real experience. Watch Pete's Pond. Amazing creatures are sure to appear.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

White Chocolate

My little guy, age 5, has a thing for cooking shows. He watches them and seems to "get" them. As he's gotten a bit older, we've been able to discuss what's happening. This is fun for both of us. Today, we watched Nigella Feasts together. I'm a longtime fan of Nigella Lawson and Graham is a new one. In any case, today's these was chocolate. Nigella chose to use white as well as dark chocolate, puzzling Graham to no end. I realized he's never tasted white chocolate. I remedied the situation and picked up some delicious white chocolate at Whole Foods. I explained that this is what Nigella was using on the show. Both kids cautiously tasted the white disks. However, it was my daughter that responded first and most enthusiastically: "This is DIVINE!" she said. Indeed, Lauren Olivia!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Webcam in Botswana

This is one of my favorite sites (click on the header to go there). It's a National Geographic webcam positioned at a lake in Botswana. This is the read deal, folks. Listen to the sounds of the African bush. Stare with rapt attention and your children on your knees, looking for that magnificent animal (or aminal, as my daughter says) that typifies the bush experience. I know webcams aren't new. However, this one is fascinating. Take a look, visit often, enjoy and explore.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Week's End

By Friday, I am tired. TIRED. A full week of commuting, pretty intense work, pretty intense kids (2), and a great husband. If I can manage to do laundry, pay bills, contribute to dinner, and the like, it's a lucky strike extra.

I could leave this post at "I'm tired." However, I can't. The reason is simple: I've been blessed with a pretty terrific life. So to wrap up the week, here's what I'm grateful for (not exhaustive, but representative):

A warm, strong hug from my dear husband, my best friend
Snuggles and reading with my two beloved kids
A challenging job to engage my heart and mind
A ready supply of books to offer me both distraction and challenge
A home in what I consider to be paradise: Palo Alto, CA

I could go on . . . and I will. Posting what I'm grateful for will be a significant part of this month's posts.

The very act of writing down what I'm grateful for makes my spirit a bit lighter. More to come.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween Pumpkins

I live with a master pumpkin carver. At least, it seems that I do. Trick or treat time brought families, known and unknown to us, in search of sweets. More often than not, kids and adults would stop to say "Wow! Great/cool/scary pumpkins!" I would explain that Mark created the magic.

Over the past two Halloweens, Mark has become a bit obsessed with pumpkin carving. This year, he purchased two fine Japanese saws to help in the effort. What can I say--they worked!

In some ways, pumpkins are an art form and one given to impermanence. As the fall rains began to fall last night, we gathed the pumpkins together under the eaves. Perhaps we can preserve them a few days longer for all of us to enjoy.

You may be asking, why a Halloween posting on November 2? It seems to be bad karma to light the pumpkins before the magical night.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November, the Writing Month

Okay, I'm trying to balance desire and reality here. I learned of NaNoWriMo in the past several weeks. NaNoWriMo is also known as National Novel Writing Month or "write a 50,000 word novel in a month." Part of me is actually up for the challenge. Another part . . . is seriously not. That second part is paralyzed with fear, actually. I seem to have no "big idea," let alone an outline.

There's another option: posting something every day for a National Blog Posting Month--NaBloPoMo. Daily posting, still an accomplishment for erratic me, seems achievable. As for the novel, well . . . we'll see.

Here's to NaBloPoMo. To day one. To new beginnings. I'm posting. Today, words. Tomorrow, photos. Everything is a journey.

Wishing you all the best on your own journey!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Time to Fall in Love Again

Ah, Fall. Here in Northern California, the air is crisper. The leaves will drop soon. There's a delicious chill in the mornings and evenings. Honestly, I can't wait for rain. I think I may be happiest with a blanket of grey clouds across the horizon. It's a kind of cushion for the soul that bright sun discourages. It's time for books, sweaters, blankets, and hearty food.

Farmer's markets are reflecting the shift in seasons; we're seeing more hearty greens, squashes and root vegetables and the end of the tomato season. Another month or so and Dungeness crabs will be at their peak.

I need to fall in love again . . . with the kitchen. Like every other foodie, I have the master plan for kitchen renovation at hand should Fortune smile this way. Still, I can't help feeling it's not about the equipment. I need to crack open those cookbooks gathering dust at the hand of the summer grill season. I look forward to immersing myself (figuratively and a somewhat literally) in soups, stews, and hearty, slow food. These books literally let me explore the world. Even more importantly, they let me express my spirit. I also want to involve my kids more in the kitchen this season, encouraging them to create, taste, and savor.

As the sun sinks ever earlier and the year turns, our hearth needs to grow brighter. It's a right and good balance.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

As I Sit . . .

As I sit reading and writing, the giggles and squeaks of my two children waft to me from the family room.

Okay, we live in Northern California . . . it's the family space or zone. Room would be an overstatement.

Nevertheless, the sheer joy in those voices, individually, together as in melody and harmony, lift my spirit. Laughter is magical. They are magical. They make life sweet as honey. I love them beyond measure.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Good Day

Today was a good day. Strong, hot coffee in the morning. Quiet time to read a book. Watching the kids at swimming lessons. Grocery shopping with the little ones. My daughter declaring "I could eat cheese morning, noon, and night!" Sharing sushi with my little guy. A playdate with very cool Moms (and kids) from Graham's room at Ohlone. Now, a glass of wine and time to reflect. Hubby returns from a week of travel late tonight. Tomorrow promises to be just as sweet. Life is good.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Labor Day . . . and Welcome Fall

It's Labor Day. I am laboring. Six gigantic bags of outgrown kids clothes and shoes bundled up for Goodwill. It really is energizing to clean and, importantly, share. Hubby is doing various chores around the house. Kids are careening about but harmlessly enough. Three day weekends are grand.

Organization is this weekend's theme. Old clothing gets donated. The Master Calendar with all of the kids activities, school and otherwise, is updated. Healthy take-along lunch and snack foods have been identified and the proper gear purchased. Now if we can just get to filing the mountains of paper around here . . . .

Labor Day marks the coming of my favorite season--Fall. Palo Alto is glorious this time of year--warm days and cool, crisp nights. The leaves are starting to turn (somewhat) and will drop from trees, giving me as much of a signal as I need that fall is here.

I've lived by the academic calendar as far back as I can remember, becoming more energized with the cooler weather and the start of school. With both kids now sharing the routine, I feel the cycle of seasons even more deeply. Graham is into Week 2 of Kindergarten and loving it. Lauren has started pre-school at The Friends School and is adjusting well. She hasn't shed a tear. My babies are secure little beings and this will be a big year for both of them.

My personal challenge is to jumpstart my own learning: physically, emotionally and intellectually. I must--simply must--find a way to embrace physical fitness. I'm not getting any younger and I need to be in shape. This is a BIG challenge and this new phase of the year is a good time to face that head-on. I need to attend to emotional growth--for myself and my family. I am more often kind and generous with those around me than those closest to me. That balance needs to be redressed. I also need to keep learning. This is less an issue than a joy for me. I need to map out the classes, communities, and individual endeavors that will keep me learning and being creative this year.

At the start of a new season, it's all good. I'm ready for my favorite season and trying my best to live life to its fullest.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

One Giant Step

Graham starts kindergarten tomorrow. A giant step indeed. Am I sad? Absolutely not. My little boy is about to embark on a journey of learning that will hopefully carry through his entire life. He's off to the Ohlone School, a Palo Alto school that focuses on progressive, whole child education. Admission is by lottery. We are truly fortunate.

My wish is that he learns how to learn and that he develops a profound curiosity for the world around him. He has a wonderful teacher, kind and engaging classmates. The school features mixed classes (Kindergarten/1st Grade), no grades but extensive teacher evaluations, self-directed learning (accelerating over the years), and minimal homework. This special place even has its own farm.

One giant step, indeed. Here's to you, Graham, and here's to learning. May the life of the mind find you young and stay with you. I'll be here to help any way I can.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Animal Style

We moved as a pack to In 'N Out Burger after doing store checks (marketing pays the mortgage, after all). I've been a fan of In 'n Out Burger since we moved to the Golden State but had no idea that a secret menu existed.

My colleagues took good care of me, introducing me to "Animal Style" burgers. I was intrigued, delighted, and included. The burger really is better with mustard, griddled onions and special sauce.

I've been all over the web searching for more. Yes, In 'N Out Burger has a more extensive menu. It's pretty staightforward--more meat, more cheese--after "Animal Style."

Nevertheless, it's fun to be an insider. Maybe I'll try the extra crispy fries next time . . . .

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July

Happy Independence Day! Today marks a day of freedom, of resolve, and of vision for the nation. That's a reason to celebrate, certainly. On a much smaller scale, today marked the first Delman family bike ride, when all four us mounted bicycles and rode to Palo Verde, our neighborhood school, for chasing, climbing, and general mirth, and rode home again. It's been a quiet day. We're firing up the grills (yes, plural) for tonight's and tomorrow's meal . . . prime rib and bistro-style duck, respectively. The right to grill, to harness fire, is part of the American character.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I don't really understand why, but I cannot stop thinking of one of my favorite (store-bought) cookies today: Leibniz Cookies. These cookies are a crisp, buttery shortbread topped with a slab of delicious dark, bittersweet chocolate. They are not overly sweet and are immensely satisfying. I also love the fact that the cookies bear the name of the great philosopher and founder of Calculus.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I love my children. I love the people they are right now. Yes, they fight. They also play delightfully together. It's all good. It seems like daily the kids say something that causes me to stop in my tracks. Lauren, age 3, announced that she was going to "banish Graham to the highest tower." It was well timed and perfectly delivered. Okay then, Ms. Lauren.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Oh my. It's almost as if I've forgotten I have a blog. I look at the recent posts and see they're MONTHLY. Not good blog commitment. Geesh.

Taking the writing class meant I was writing on paper, not the web. I also hit a rather intense patch of business travel. And, hey, life gets busy with a husband, two careers, two kids, two dogs, etc.

I realize I've been in the mode of taking in, versus reflecting out. I've been reading books and magazines voraciously, listening to audio books, reading blogs by the dozen. All those words and images going in, filling me up, seemingly endlessly. Now it seems time to reverse that trend.

I have been thinking about what this blog should be. I don't have a single theme but neither does my life. I do want to be posting images online. Of course, that requires picking up the camera--a good thing. It also challenges me to draw, something I've been reading about and want to put into action.

I struggle with getting these pages to do what I want, to look the way I want. I'd like to be posting more reviews of what I'm reading, have read, and have queued up. Getting the Amazon links is still a bit of a procedure. I struggle with how to get in-line links (and haven't won that battle yet). I sometimes look lustily at blogs from Typepad--they're more visual and seem to show links effortlessly.

Ah well, here's to re-engaging. Let's see where this road leads.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sweet Sorrow

I just finished my last class in a series on food writing at Stanford University; it is a bittersweet day indeed. The title of the course is "Soup to Nuts," the professor is Jeanette Ferrary. For the last five weeks, I have thought hard, done research, and written essays. It has been terrific, a bit like stretching heretofore undiscovered muscles. Alas, all good things must end and today marked the end of the class. We celebrated with food and shared words (what else, for a class of food writers). I appreciate the feedback and inspiration from my colleagues. I have the utmost respect for the experience and insight of our instructor, Jeanette. Want a great read? Check out Jeanette Ferrary's Out of the Kitchen: Adventures of a Food Writer (her memoir) and M.F.K. Fisher and Me (her perspective on a special relationship with the legendary M.F.K. Fisher). For me, I expect more time at the keyboard. Trust me, that's a good thing.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Did I Miss Something?

I have been surfing around this morning exploring blogs linked from favorite sites. I came to the activity happy. I was surprised at the number of blogs I have found that are closing, ending, ceasing to be. Right now. This very day (or so). is there an anti-blog movement? Are people just tired? Are they out of words? I enjoy the glimpses into others' worlds: their thinking, their images, their expressions. I hope this connected space does not fade.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Checking In, Albeit Lightly

I'm feeling the need to comment on progress--both forward and not--with The Artist's Way.

What's working for me is reading the book and tackling at least two to three exercises each week. As I've said before, Cameron's tone often makes me feel like I should be coming from a wounded or at least denied place. I simply don't feel that. If I've been less than I could be creatively, it's more a case of benign neglect than anything else. I enjoy the exercises . . . especially imagined lives. I really am making progress taking steps to bring those imagined and desired lives into the present, step by step. I've taken the haiku workshop at Stanford. I'm registered for a class in food writing beginning April 4. Yes, it's out of my comfort zone. No, on the surface of it, I don't have the time. However, I need to do this. My wonderful husband is supportive. Hey, I have nothing to lose.

The Artist's Dates are a big win for me. Despite work, family, and a harried schedule, I have no trouble carving out time for the Artist's Dates. I love them. They give me real joy and a sense of space that carry me through the week. Planning those little escapes is pure magic.

I'm still struggling with morning pages. I've come to realize that journaling and free writing are immensely valuable. I need to keep at this. I'm not sure whether I'm resisting because there's a barrier there I don't want to deal with or whether I really just am crazed from a time perspective. I realize there is value in this daily writing and will find a way to do it.

At the moment, I can say the Artist's Way has truly propelled me to experiencing new things and new thoughts, staking out more time for myself, stretching my thinking about who I am and what I want to be, seeing the value in regular personal expression, and accumulating a variety of Moleskine journals.

Not bad. I'll call this a win. I'll also be looking to revisit parts of the the Artist's Way to deepen the experience and looking to the community for other worthwhile explorations.

The big next goal is to start drawing. More on that soon.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sadly, Another One Bites the Dust

I just learned that one of my favorite book sellers, A Common Reader, is no more. They did business through their catalog and website. I could not have wished for a more articulate and interesting partner in finding new and interesting books. From "thumping good reads" to staff recommendations to challenging new work, A Common Reader was always smart, reliable, and right on target. They leave a void that I cannot imagine how I will fill.

It was only late last year that Keplers, a Menlo Park bookselling institution, declared bankruptcy. The good news for Keplers is that they were able to put together a group of angel investors and stage a comeback. I try to support them with my purchases at every turn. Understandably, their stock is more limited than before but still a good experience.

I hate that original, independent booksellers are increasingly being put out of business. Their idiosyncratic voices are valuable ones. I am truly saddened by the growing lack of these sages in the world of books.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mama Says Om Theme: 20 Things

At Mama says Om this week, the theme is to list 20 things about yourself. I can do that. So here we are.

Note that the capitalization is meant to complement a staggered layout on the page that didn't quite translate to the Blogger environment. C'est la vie.

20 Things (in no particular order) . . .

I love BOOKS

I collect FOUNTAIN PENS, which I use, and JOURNALS, which I too often don’t

I enjoy the ritual of using INK FROM A BOTTLE

I love PHOTOGRAPHY—both MAKING pictures and LOOKING at others’ work

I am trying to learn to DRAW

I could not survive without AUDIO BOOKS, PODCASTS, and NPR

I FLIRT with technology

I adore my husband MARK and my two children, GRAHAM and LAUREN

I desperately want to RENOVATE MY HOUSE

I am INSPIRED by WORDS and want to write

I have LIVED in Decatur, IL, Chicago, IL, Brooklyn, NY, Seattle, WA,
Tokyo, Japan, Rochester, NY, and Palo Alto, CA.

I consider WINE a food group

I love to COOK and confess to being a foodie

I love things JAPANESE

I am promiscuous with TOOTHPASTE brands

I dislike being BAREFOOT

I enjoy my two big, lumbering LABS, Hamish and Isla

I think God intended BAGELS to be savory and MARTINIS to be made only with gin or vodka and vermouth, an olive or a twist of lemon

I love getting up EARLY in the morning and seeing the SUN rise

I sincerely try to do GOOD THINGS in this world

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Checking In--The Artist's Way, Weeks Four and Five

I'm running behind in the AW. I'm okay with it. I have to be. I'll catch up and this is the week.

First, the good news. My Week Four Artist's Date was nothing short of terrific. Stanford offered a haiku workshop for an afternoon and I jumped at it. I found our instructor, Gary Gach, had a quiet but strong presence. He provided a good foundation for the mechanics and the beauty of haiku. Importantly, he was clear about not being bound by the form (e.g., 5-7-5 syllables) if something worked better--even if that something were a single line. Then we walked and wrote. We walked all of 100 feet into a grove of trees. I walked 100 feet or less and had a whole universe open up to me. I wrote a number of poems. We returned to class and Gary read our chosen poems, aloud. This was a first for me. This was stepping outside my comfort zone in a big way. I admit that it felt great.

The two poems I shared with the class are as follows:

Vinca majora
Five purple petals
Signal spring ahead

and, with Gary's advice and counsel,

Reaching across chasm
Of twinned redwood trees
The spider's web

I sincerely hope we have the chance to do another workshop. The afternoon was a pleasure. Whenever I feel the notebook in my pocket, my spirit soars. I will keep seeing and writing.

Week Five was simply lost to me. My father-in-law passed away. My focus has been on my husband, where it needs to be. I hug my children a bit more tightly and whisper "I love you" a bit more frequently. This is a new part of life's journey for us. This is a source of much reflection for me.

No Complaints

Originally uploaded by sharon_delman.

For the second day in a row, my flight from San Francisco to New York City has been cancelled. Completely cancelled. No chance to get out and get to work. I can enjoy this (see photo) or keep struggling to get to NYC and the 22+ inches of snow in Central Park (not that I wouldn't like to see that). Go ahead, twist my arm. I'm staying put. I'm getting to like this California thing.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Checking In--The Artist's Way--Week Three, Recovering a Sense of Power

This has been a fairly consistent week with regard to the ATW. I still struggle with morning pages. My artist's date was great. I visited Miki's Paper in Berkeley; this is a store I must have passed a hundred times but it was closed, I was in a hurry, etc. The store sells beautiful paper, in notebooks, in sheets, in picture frames, in paperweights. It is as good as a trip to Japan.

Suprisingly, I didn't buy anything. I didn't need to. This is a first for me. I looked, I enjoyed, I reminsiced about my time in Japan. However, I'm well-stocked on notebooks, photo albums, paper, etc. It was just wonderful to enjoy a visual feast and think about my favorite places in the world.

I was hoping for synchronicity this week. It didn't appear in any expected form. Danny Gregory is doing a new sketch crawl in NYC; alas, I'm scheduled for travel there exactly one week late. I did a fantastic Artist's Date on Saturday (technically, Week Four), taking a haiku class at Stanford. I was simply amazed by the degree to which our instructor (Gary Gach, an established poet and teacher) saw the same things I did (or vice versa), albeit expressed a bit differently. Maybe that's sufficient.

More about the Artist's Date (Week Four) to come, including poetry to share. Here's to discovering a "Sense of integrity." And here's to a significant breakthrough: I'm comfortable writing and sharing poetry. Who knew?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Artist's Way, Week Three: Discovering a Sense of Power

As I work through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, I find myself responding less to the negative aspects of blocked creativity and more to the positive or potential aspects of unleashing creativity. I'm trying to select a quote for each week to guide my thoughts. This week, my quote is from Loius Pasteur who said "Did you ever observe to whom the accidents happen? Chance favors only the prepared mind."

Checking In--The Artist's Way, Week Two

The theme for "The Artist's Way" this week is Recovering a Sense of Identity. This week, I learned more about myself. I guess that's "mision accomplished."

First up, morning pages are a struggle. I already get up at 5:00 a.m. (ish) to get a jump on the commute and get into the office early. Trying to layer morning pages onto that is tough. When I get home, it's time to be Mom. That puts a damper on what could be "evening pages." I do have a Moleskine daily journal and that is space where I can be a bit more present . . . but it's not three pages worth. Nevertheless, morning pages are a worthy goal and I'll keep trying. Part of what may help is not just writing whatever is on my mind but working through Cameron's exercises at those times. I hope that's not at cross purposes for the morning page process.

I am beginning to embrace the affirmations Cameron suggests. At first, I was skeptical . . . period. As I read and reflect on her words, I do feel a shift in my attitudes. This feels very New-Agey to me but I'm open to it. I especially like the taking care of quantity and surrendering the quality. This speaks to being present and trying. Everything else flows from that effort.

I realize I need to be rather fierce about my time. With work, kids, husband and general life stuff, it's easy to do everything and accomplish nothing. Living with more intent is a key goal for me. Carving out space for myself is critical. I'm aware enough of my priorities to know where I have flexibility and where I have less. The answer is not in trading off family time; my family is an inspiration to me. In fact, one of my wished-for lives is to be a child again. My kids have such a wonderful exuberance and headlong enthusiasm. Good stuff to learn from. I have a long commute, about an hour each way. I listen regularly to audio books on the drive. I just need to make sure those choices are feeding my creativity and addressing those "impoverished areas" of life wherever possible.

My artist date this week was a cooking date . . . making Portugese Caldo Verde, a simple soup with potatoes, kale, and chorizo. Despite the simple approach, I tried to focus on each step, to notice the extraordinary green of the kale, the flecks of red papper in the chorizo, and the green glisten of the olive oil. The soup was magnificent and I felt wonderful cooking it.

I look forward to exploring more goals and the immediate actions that can lead to achieving them. I am enjoying the idea of imaginary lives. I very much respond to the "tiny change" philosophy. I did respond actually, submitting a photograph of a pink aster for this week's Photo Friday challenge.

On to Week Three and Recovering a Sense of Power.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Checking In--The Artist's Way, Week One

Week One of The Artist's Way has concluded. This is going to be a fast, twelve-week trip if Week One is any indication. It's going to be a challenge to not be carried along by sheer momentum but rather to engage with each moment, each day, each week.

So how did I "do" during Week One? I'd say okay, not great.

Morning pages . . . clearly not 100%. The week started strong but two sick children, followed by a sick husband, and an increasingly intense week at work left me falling short. At one level, I wanted perfection. However, I'm willing to live with less than perfection. At least I'm putting words on a page and I've never really done that before. I'll call that progress.

My Artist's Date came to me, with a large box from Photo-Eye books arriving on the doorstep. A glass of wine, silence and a host of new photography books can engage me like nothing else. What can I say but "ah . . . ." The challenge is to be inspired to go take more photographs myself; that is a worthy goal.

My five "other" lives came easily: a monk, for simplicity, focus, and being in community; a writer, for the sheer joy of expression; a professor, for the joy of disseminating knowledge and asking good questions; an artist--any medium--for the passion to pursue a vision; a chef, for the passion to experiment, create and nurture through food.

My actions following the "other lives" exercise include: challenging my business teams to confront tougher questions, challenging them to find the big idea in their work, writing wherever and whenever I can, and, of course, cooking to nurture my family and myself.

All in all, this was not a bad week, by any means. Cameron writes of "A Return to Safety." I'm not sure that this theme resonated as much with me as this coming week's theme "A Sense of Identity" will. My path has been less about what is denied and more about what is embraced. I'm looking forward to the stronger sense of identity as a creative person.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Little Spooky

Friday the 13th. A hauntingly beautiful full moon. Weird energy. I couldn't help commenting on the strangeness in the air today.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Blogging the Artist's Way

I can't quite believe I'm actually doing this but I am. I read the intro Chapters to The Artist's Way last week and am digging into Week 1 right now. What a great way to begin the New Year.

One of the cornerstones of the program is Morning Pages, three longhand pages each and every day. So far, I'm on track. I thought "hey, three pages can't be too hard." I realize now "three pages is a long journey, with some very big silences." The good news is that I am finding my voice. Writing longhand is a different experience than writing at the keyboard. It seems to have a greater connection to my head and heart. I'll be shifting over a fountain pen tomorrow; I don't know why I started using a rollerball. As a fairly enthusiastic fountain pen collector, I have about seventy pens to choose from. There's no excuse for not having a great pen at hand.

The Morning Pages seem to be singular exercise. I'm not sure whether we go back and mine them for information or insight. Cameron recommends sticking the pages in an envelope. I have a standard notebook for the purpose.

I am excited about the Moleskine journals I have for the new year. I have the daily calendar (large size) so that I can make notes, musings and observations on the day. This will help with my goal of being more present every day. I also have a blank Moleskine (large size) for drawings, projects, lengthier thoughts and reflections. I keep reading comments from the Moleskine obsessed that these little notebooks work magic all their own. I'm looking forward to falling under their spell.

That's all for now. Dinner awaits.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Welcome, Welcome 2006!

How else to begin other than with a hearty "Happy New Year!" Of course, "Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu" (Happy New Year in Japanese) works just as well. The Japan connection is worthy of a different post entirely. The New Year always takes me to Japan where the holiday is revered and celebrated with singular symbolism and zest.

I've spent a wonderful week with my two children, enjoying them and seeing the world through their eyes. It really is the simple things that give great delight . . . running in the park, climbing the monkey bars, swinging high, reading books, singing, jumping everywhere, having exactly what you want for breakfast, drawing page after page of "mysterious creatures" (Thanks, Graham and Lauren).

I always feel a bit of hesitation at the beginning of the New Year. There is a little bit of anxiety for me at this time, driven by things both done and undone. However, this year I have a new attitude. It's all about being present, of experiencing the moment. The great news is that I'm finally DOING something about it--not just thinking about it.

I have registered with an internet group to blog the Artist's Way (Julia Cameron)--thanks to KatsPaws. I truly cannot wait to experience the creative energy from this undertaking and am incredibly excited; I also admit to being a little intimidated by the fact that people will actually see this blog . . . and a lot more of me. I'll post links and logos for the experience as soon as I figure out how to make my blog pages bend to my will.

I've committed to a more creative, more engaged year. Over the holiday, I read Danny Gregory's The Creative License and found his advice and encouragement incredible. I will journal and I will draw this year. You cannot read his book and not want to crack open a sketchbook and try.

I've also found a terrific website called (I'll link as soon as I figure out how . . . ). The idea is very simple . . . you chronicle what you want to do. At the same time, thousands of other people are doing the same and you can see where there is linkage and where there is not. More than numbers, I've found the process of saying "I want to do this" or "I want to go here" incredibly affirming and motivating. I drop into this space and update my list with surprising regularity. Some goals are short term, others are long term but at least they're in front of me and ready for action.

I cannot tell what the year ahead will hold. I can tell you that I will live it with greater intention. Here's to new beginnings!