Y2 – Day 97 – GLO

Genes, Lifestyle and Outlook

GLO – the 3 things that mold you.

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” – William James (1842 – 1910)

1. Genes – We are wired a certain way.

2. Lifestyle – Things happen to us, different scenarios present themselves and experiences unfold according to our lifestyle, circumstances and choices.

3. Outlook – Your attitude is everything in the final analysis.  We interpret, transform ourselves and perform alchemy on our thoughts, our beliefs, and ourselves and ultimately – on our world through the process of how we view and respond to anything.

Y2 – Day 96 – Relationships

“Having someone who understands is a great blessing for ourselves.  Being someone who understands is a great blessing to others.” – Janette Oke

It is good to have a support system of like-minded individuals.

Not that they have to agree with your every thought but rather are on the same path of wellness.

Not that they support your every action but rather have your best interests at heart.

Not that they tell you what you want to hear but rather inform you when you need correction even if it stings a little.

Not that they sympathize with you every time but rather give you another perspective.

And it is wise to offer the same attention, awareness, honesty, kindness and time to them.

It is a win – win.


Three questions.

“The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers:

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” ~Arabian Proverb

Y2 – Day 95 – Crazy Shaking Going On

I am under the weather, besieged with a sinus and ear infection.  For this reason, I tuck into bed at 8 PM and open up my Isabel Allende historical novel, Portrait in Sepia.  I am re-reading last night’s descriptive passage because her lyrical prose achieves poetic status.  It resonates and moves me.  I comprehend the art and work in it.

“I was intoxicated by the scent of the damp forest, that sensual aroma of red earth, sap, and roots, the peace of the dense growth guarded by those silent green giants, the mysterious murmur of growing things, the song of unseen waters, the dance of the air through the branches, the whispering of roots and insects, the cooing of gentle ring doves and raucous cries of the chimangos.” She writes, enchanting the reader with the mystique of the Chilean woodlands.

Cindi is under the covers in her crate by my bed, noisily settling in with her nightly grooming.  My husband is slumbering next to me, his breath easy and even.  My freshman, home for spring break is at her boyfriend’s family house.

The house begins to sway, moving side to side like an overloaded washer.  Within a millisecond, I recognize and acknowledge to myself we are in for a ride.  I never know how long or strong the earthquake will be but I know to stay still and wait.  It never ceases to amaze me how unawares and startled yet calm I seem to react when it happens.  I hold my breath during, alert and listening like I am being ambushed. Then, when it subsides,  I hyper-ventilate, I shake and fret.  I know to go with the flow and be watchful till the ground shaking settles before I make a forward moving decision.  It is easy to do for someone who freezes with the first sign of panic.  The unforeseen shift in surroundings paralyzes me like when I don’t know what to say to an unwelcomed, unprovoked or unexpected verbal attack.  I let it pass.  I will think of a ton of stuff I could have said, in the shower.

I look at my alarm clock and the red LED lights announce 8:03.  I used to write down every shake, rattle and roll I felt when I first relocated from the East Coast.  After all, that is why I was always afraid to come.  I saw Earthquake with Charlton Heston, where the streets of LA literally opened up and swallowed screaming, frightened people into the core of the earth’s lava and decided right there and then at the movie theatre I would never step foot in California just like I was never going back into the ocean after watching Jaws. 

I inscribed onto a paper plate (the only writing material I had three days after I broke camp in Orange) my first quake back in July of 1986.  I thereafter kept it as my official earthquake document.  I recorded the magnitude, the time of day, the epicenter and the date.  I think I believed I could somehow, as an amateur, predict a pattern or control it in some way.  Taking down the data and keeping track on my quake paper plate diary evaporated somewhere between shuffling kids to schools and their graduations.  But, maybe, I should start up again, beginning today.

At 9:08 pm, the bed and the house yielding to a side-to-side motion awakened me.  Sometimes it is a jolt with waves sometimes it is a roll.  This felt like a swinging, like dangling helplessly in King Kong’s grip.

I wake up my husband with a whiny plea.  “Go back to sleep,” he encourages.

“What?” I demand.  I think to myself, really?  I am supposed to doze off after that?  But I am tired and sick and I do just that. I would check on the one child home but she is out.  And, how many times have I woken them up by entering their rooms and having slept through it they annoyingly proclaim I just intruded and disturbed their sleep with my queries?

Later, I find a text from E asking if WE are ok and letting me know they are.  I also find out in the morning it was a moderate 5.1 quake, centered in La Habra coupled by a 3.6 in Brea, two minutes apart.  I rationalize I must have been woken up by the first one and rode out the second one in its entirety.

A half an hour later, a 3.6 hits Brea, I whimper a yelping breath and roll over, like a dog.

It’s been a crazy shaky night.

I hear from J.  Her family in Brea and whereabouts suffered a fallen ceiling fan and lots of broken glass.

We never know how the day is going to go no matter how well we have it planned.  We never know if our plane will be lost, our mountain will slide or our house will jiggle.  Unsettling information to digest recently.  It all re-affirms the axiom that the only thing we can be sure of is change and death.  A dark road to consider but it can also serve as a catalyst and a reminder to be grateful for the present moment.  It has been an exploratory adventure to write this post.  A few minutes ago, we had a slight trembling occur while I was typing.  Everything around me can inspire me… if I just let my writing express my inner, self-centered fears as well as my progress.

I feel better already.


Y2 – Day 94 – Teachings Taught to Me

Gratitude embraces every miracle and acknowledges every connection to communication.  It is a revelation.

You look upon what you want to see.

Forgiveness undoes the separation we feel with others and ourselves.  It repairs all grievances.

Recognize when you have lost your peace and begin again.

Unwrap the gift that you are.  Correct the errors you believe about yourself and you will release, remove and clean out the blockages to your true self.

Bring your highest self to the table, daily.  Enter each day with boldness and self-confidence, yet tread lightly and humbly.


“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles


Y2 – Day 93 – Vegan Pizza

I was starving and literally made this with whatever I had in the fridge (5 ingredients) in minutes.

Quick personal vegan pizza:

4 ounces pizza dough

1 ounce (@ 1/4 cup) vegan pesto

3 thin slices of a whole red onion

5-7 Kalamata olives, halved

3 artichoke heart (jarred packed in oil or water), smashed (just use your fingers)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Allow dough to come to room temperature on counter ( I didn’t do this but you should if you are not dying to eat like I was ).  Spray small round pizza pan with olive oil and spread dough.  Press onion slices into dough.  Spread pesto over dough.  Arrange olives and artichoke hearts on pizza round, slightly tamping down into dough.  Bake for 10 minutes.Unreal delicious but don’t take my word for it – try this recipe for yourself if you like these toppings – even if you are not vegan.  No need for salt with the pesto sauce and olives.  Serve with a mixed spring green salad.


Y2 – Day 91 – Nature at Berkeley

“Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is Patience.”

  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ceanothus or wild California LilacNot only does Ceanothus resemble the lilacs I recall from my childhood on Long Island, they also are faintly perfumed with a similar essence; sweeter but less aromatic or strong. Native to California, Ceanothus is a shrub that once established (like all indigenous plants) needs no care.  It seemed well suited to the Bay Area judging by how prolific and healthy the bushes we encountered were.

Prunus Cerasifera or flowering plum

Spring adorns these decidious trees with light pink flowers which fall as the maroon foliage unfolds and sticks to the delicate twigs all summer long.  Here, they welcome students on either side of the path to their dorm rooms.

Italian Stone, Ponderosa and Monterrey pines, Oaks, ginkgo bilobas, eucalyptus, cedars, redwoods, palms, olive and elms abound on this UC campus.  Large, old trees are the foundation of its landscaped grounds.There is no shortage of California native squirrels to forage the many nut filled trees.Berkeley squirrels rock!

Y2 – Day 90 – Break your fast

Although I am not in the Bay Area –  I still have lots to report.

Peerless Coffee is on Oak St. in Oakland and is a haven and study for coffee lovers.  The Vukasin family business began in 1924 when John Vukasin’s passion for gourmet coffees sprouted his unique idea to share and provide coffee with a storefront.  He sold “different” and “better” coffee both retail and wholesale.  His wife Sonja, collected coffee and tea antiques and memorabilia.  The collection was displayed in the store and eventually enlarged into an adjacent space for a museum.  Here you can enjoy viewing among other artifacts, a full sized 1922 Model T Ford.  Reservations are a must for a small or large party tour – call first. Monday – Friday.  510-763-1763.

 My kids get their coffee here every morning of vacation and I had a great decaf soy latte with sugar free hazelnut shots.

Cinnamon and cinnamon roll and vegan lovers unite and created Cinnaholic (in Berkeley), a make your own toppings and icing/sauces or pre-made/created rolls.After sharing a blueberry infused roll with raw vegan cookie dough (no worries) and a coconut with coconut icing roll, I OVER indulged on a ‘make your own’ number.   A cinnamon vegan roll with macadamia nut and maple sauces and pecan and walnut pieces as my toppings. MMMMMmmmmm.

Y2 – Day 89 – I Love Berkeley

The city of Berkeley has a ‘je ne said quoi’ attitude that resonates with me.

The University and its grounds vibrate with static electricity that I feed on.  From the first time I stepped on Berkeley concrete off the BART in 2007 accompanied by my son to visit the campus in his Junior year, I have felt the buzz.  I thought I felt he belonged here but I realize now – it is I who has a bond with the place – beyond my two offspring who venture here.  I love the food, the greenness and the multi-ethnicity, here.  I love the hippie, eco-sophisticated and vegan energy, here.  I love the nobel laureate, smart, nerdy, computer hacker, innovative, compassionate, open, political, bum-friendly, edgy, discriminate yet tolerant, span of generations and distributions of wealth, here.  I love the views, the prices and the liveliness, here.  I love that the buildings are squatter, the treed campus is steep and hilly and the way the University flows into downtown and Berkeley thrives because of all the young blood, here.  I am not saying I want to move, but I definitely look forward to the experience – every chance I get to come up, here.

A formal double row alignment of spring flowering trees marching up and down one of the many centers of UC Berkeley or better known as the Cal campus.  Summer blooming lilies fill in the center.  Elsewhere, I noticed groups of agapanthus or ‘otherwise known as’ lily of the nile clumps springing up, purple and white.

Endless and timeless, always picturesque, ever changing yet always beautiful, the campus explores itself within the confines of structures.  Students, professors, employees and visitors get to behold the landscape of an ascetically pleasing stroll wherever they go.  The aged tree canopies make the oldest UC campus feel grounded, secure and established.  There is a lot to be said for the value in plants and their design, how they help with mood, inspire and uplift the viewer.  That belief is clearly protected at Cal.Above the street, a view from the enclosed walkway bridge that connects two dorm sites where my youngest resides.

Bookended, Berkeley has been and is home to my oldest and youngest.  Across the great expanse of the USA, my middle one lives on the opposite coast, from whence her parents met and grew up – go figure.

This vacation, I got to be part of an important welcome back to one, time spent with all, a farewell to one on spring break and a kick-off to another at the start of her time off.

Today I leave with my youngest and drive back down to OC.  May she endure the drive with me and land softly, securely and happily back into her nest.  May V have a safe and pleasant flight back to the East Coast, may her re-entry be productive and interesting. May M start his first week at his new job in SF with enthusiasm and energy. May J soon find the position of her dreams.  May they all be joyful and healthy.   I love them all so much it hurts.  To see them flourish, enriching their worlds and living their dreams,  is a gift,  I am so grateful to witness.

Y2 – Day 88 – Oakland Stay

First day, our first meal was at a German covered patio establishment right next to my hotel, on the boardwalk or trail alongside the Oakland waterway.Hotel room to the right of trees with a balcony.  German Beer Garden Restaurant, flying the US, German and CA flag, at end of the bay walking trail railing.   Dock and Port of Oakland to the left.

According to my NY daughter ‘connection’ who studies (among a host of other subjects) German and has lived in Berlin, Brotzeit colloquially means small snack or it could also be interpreted as lunch, but petite sized.  We were all pretty hungry and had huge not petite appetites.  They had every type of sausage, including vegan, which was incredibly good.  Alongside fries and a salad, our sausages in a bun with sauerkraut, jalapeños, two different types of mustards and pickled red cabbage filled us up. 

Not so crummy view first thing in the morning, walking Cindi on the Bay Trail.


The Homewood Suites Hotel by Hilton, besides having a great view you don’t expect,  provides breakfast every morning for three hours and dinner with cocktails, Monday through Thursday 5-7pm.  

Breakfast is extensive.  A different potato dish, protein and eggs everyday.  Cereals, a waffle bar, bagels, hot oatmeal, muffins and pastries, hard boiled eggs, an array of teas, coffee, extras and toppings round out the scene.   As a vegan, I opted for hash browns (they were cooked in oil), salsa and a bagel.  Everything was fresh. There is an indoor dining area as well as an outdoor patio.

The night I arrived, they were serving a fiesta of fajitas with chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, salsa and a salad bar.  Thursday, they had barbecues fired up in the large patio area overlooking the yachts and were grilling burgers and hot dogs served with potato salad, chips and fresh fruit.

Although I didn’t take full advantage of the food available, I am highly recommending this place for families and you can bring your pets whether they be cats (bring litter box) or dogs (bring a crate or carrier).  

When our three children were younger this is just the sort of place that would have saved us money, gas and time with meals and made everyone happy.  

Plus there is a free shuttle service (with certain windows of opportunity, but it is doable) within a two mile radius and free easy access parking which is a premium in the bay area.  Jack London Square ( a waterfront open mall, dining, entertainment, business and tourist destination ) and the Oakland Museum of California are within that radius.  Because my son is .8 miles away, I have been using the shuttle unless we need the car (be aware that on weekends – it does not run, though) or… I walk over.  

Huge Mural painted in 2013 on side of Brotzeit.