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“Kids! I am beginning to really like yoga.” I happily announced my new hobby to my teens a couple of weeks ago.

My favorite yoga pose

“Oh, NO!” the kids answered in unison.

“What’s wrong with yoga?” me.

“Soon you will become one of those women wearing yoga pants to go shopping at Whole Foods, and buying yourself kale smoothies.” my 17 year-old was quick with imagining this escalating doom for me.

I am used to teenage girls’ negativity. I fought back by adding fuel to their fire…

“You know, I finally understand why people like to wear yoga pants to go everywhere. It is not just because they are so sexy. They are just so comfortable! I am going to start wearing my hot yoga pants all the time too.” me.

The kids ran upstairs screaming. Ha ha ha.

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up my 14 year-old at a local golf course, after her high school golf team’s practice.

“How was golf today?” me.

“Fine.” my teen produced a barely audible, lackluster reply.

I guessed that she did not want to talk to me about her day all that much.

So, I proceeded to tell her about my day, “Hey, I did yoga this morning!”

“Oomph!” eye roll. “Yoga is so stupid! Why do you even like yoga?” she charged at me.

“Well, yoga is a low impact exercise. It helps with flexibility, stretching, strengthening, toning the body a bit. Yoga helps with muscles that get very little workout. The first time I did yoga, I was sore in all the weird places. I didn’t even know that I had muscles in some of those places!” me.

“If you didn’t know you had muscles in some places, that just means those are the muscles you don’t even need!” 14 year-old educating me.

I have succeeded at engaging a moody 14 year-old in a conversation with me. My superior mothering skills clearly still intact.

“Instead of doing yoga, why don’t you just go to play golf for an hour! At least, with golf, you are doing a real sport.” 14 year-old. “Yoga is so pointless. It is nothing more than a warm up, as if you are preparing your body to do a sport, but then, when you are done, you don’t do the sport!”

“That’s exactly why I like it!!” I was looking at her all excited. “ I spend a hour warming up my body. And when I am done, I don’t have to do a thing! I go home.”

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Pirates of the Cure-ibbean team badge

You know how there are people who donate money to a non-profit organization only because they have loved ones who are beneficiaries of that organization?

THAT’S US!!! We are that kind of people.

Ever since my baby was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes nearly 4 years ago, we have enthusiastically poured thousands of dollars every year into several diabetic related non-profits, and participated annually in our local JDRF walk for a cure event.

A few months ago, a member of our extended family from Arizona, who also has Type 1 Diabetes, invited us to join her team in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure event in Denver, Colorado.

Flying halfway across the country to Denver, to ride bikes in their thin air, and raise money for ADA? Yes! Count us in.

Tour de Cure - Denver, Colorado

Two weekends ago, we caught a flight into Denver on a Friday night, and got in just after midnight. We got up at six o’clock on Saturday morning to feast on a big breakfast, and made our way to the event site for our 9AM check-in time.

Tour de Cure-Colorado

Family from far and near came to join us at this event. Our team had 17 riders/walkers, and was among the top ten fundraising teams in this event. The ADA rewarded us with our own team tent.

Our pirate themed team tent

In no time, we were equipped with our borrowed bikes,

Gearing up for our bike ride

and got in line for our 10AM starting line.

At the start line for our 10AM ride

“GO Red rider!” people shouted.

Red rider

All participants living with diabetes were honored with a red shirt, and everyone cheered for them as they rode past.

I rode behind my baby the whole way, and could feel that she was grinning from ear to ear as people cheered for her.

The ride took a little over 2 hours.

The big finish

After the finish line, we all met back at our team tent for drinks and lunch. After a quick afternoon shower, we all met up again for a team dinner/BBQ.

The weekend was action-packed with a fun-spirited bike ride, delicious food, and great people all coming together for a great cause in honor of some of our favorite people in the world.

We are so glad that we went.

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School started for my kids 2 weeks ago. My 17 year-old can drive herself to school, and is taking the younger one with her.

How is this for my life? Grand??

Ding! Ding! Ding!

For the first time since they started pre-school, I no longer had to get up a little after 6AM in the mornings to prepare for their mornings, and then drive them to school.

I feel free!! Liberated.

No doubt, my alarm clock is beginning to feel a bit obsolete. Its wake up call service has been replaced by my natural internal clock. My eyes blinked open blissfully well after the 8AM mark every morning.

Now and then a bout of guilt knock at my conscience. A good mother’s life can not be a breeze.

I have to do something…

So, I engaged my alarm clock’s rude waking service last Saturday morning. I then rolled out of bed, and made my children’s favorite breakfast:

The Hawaiian Breakfast.

Homemade Hawaiian breakfast

Steam rice. Scrambled egg. Spam (low fat, and low sodium. But still unbelievably salty). Portuguese sausage. And fresh cut pineapple.

Fresh pineapple

I even served the breakfast in their old toddler plate.

Served in a toddler plate

What teen does not want to eat out of a Dora and Boots plate. I felt better.

I woke the whole family up at 9AM for our family breakfast. I felt great. I am considering doing this every Saturday morning.

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Category: Parents  Leave a Comment

We live within easy driving distance to one of the world’s top wine regions, Napa Valley.

Napa Valley

But we seldom visit Napa Valley…

Hubby and I try very hard to be good parents, and good parents don’t drag their children to Napa Valley’s countless wineries to sip wine.

Then one day, one of these children got a driver’s license. We got ourselves a designated driver!

Our teen driver

Hey, hubby and I can both taste wine all day long. This gave us enough incentive to stop being good parents. We loaded the kids into our car, and drove to Napa.

The first stop was lunch, and our navigation took us straight to C Casa.

100% Gluten free restaurant

C Casa is one of the rare 100% gluten free restaurants in the country. When you have a celiac in the family, any 100% gluten free restaurant qualifies as a destination all by itself.

C Casa offered wide menu options, and we ordered the Bison Burger, Duck and Steak tacos, and roasted chicken.

Gluten free lunch at Napa

Since C Casa started out as a gluten free bakery, we ordered their lemon cake and donuts to boot. This pleased our 13-year-old celiac child immensely.

Our baby felt like a VIP at Napa. Many of their ice cream parlors offered gluten free cones,

Gluten free ice cream cone

and for dinner, she got to order a gluten free dinner entree that is the good food, ribs and fries!!

Gluten free baby back ribs and fries

We still feel like good parents.

Napa Valley is teeming with fine dining options, boutique shops, galleries, high end coffee bars,

Coffee bar

and loads of fine cheeses.

Huge selection of fine cheeses

But mostly, people come to Napa for its vines and wine, and its endless supply of beautiful wineries.


We visited a number of wineries, tasted many glasses of fine wine,

Wine tasting

and came home with 16 bottles. The four of us agreed that when these 16 bottles run dry, it is time for another drive to Napa.

Drive to Napa

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Every night is my summer cocktail hour…

Pisco Sour

I used to toast the end of the my day with half a glass of wine. This was a practice I introduced to myself since my children were toddlers, as a way to reward myself having to put up with them all day, and for having put them to bed!

My personal drink menu has grown over the years, just recently I have added the Mojito, and my new favorite, the Pisco Sour, to my bar.

Pisco Sour is a Peruvian drink I enjoyed during a recent trip to Peru, and since not many restaurant bars offer such an exotic drink, I learned to make it for myself at home. All I needed was to score some Peruvian Pisco, and rest of the ingredients were easy.

Oh, I am no recipe loyalist, I don’t mind getting creative and mixing in things I can find in my fridge.

Who knew, you can add fresh lychee fruit to the Pisco Sour mix, and promote a great drink to a supreme drink.

Just add lychee

Checkout my Mojito!

Mango Mojito

I have had it flavored with mango, lychee, peach, and I can’t wait to try it with that watermelon next.

It only takes me about 5 minutes to make one of these drinks now. This is a great way to toast the joy of everyday life.

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Category: Parents  Leave a Comment

Move aside! Baby Girl.

My baby girl

I have got new twins to adore.

Baby Hummingbirds

While I have been spending time in my backyard attending my new herb garden, I unexpectedly spotted a pair of baby hummingbirds, nested comfortably in one of my rose bushes.

Hummingbird nest

Ahhh…so darn CUTE.

The cutest pair

I visited their nursery daily, and only once observed their mother bird feeding them. I saw them growing before my eyes, then one day, only one baby hummingbird sat in its nest.

The grow up fast

The very next morning, it left too.

These babies grow fast, from when I first discovered them until they both flew away was only 9 days!

They left me with a genuine empty nest.

Empty nest

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The Do Nothing Pit

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I have done something totally wicked, and I am mighty proud of myself.

If you haven’t already, you must first read my previous post “The Do Nothing Pit”, to fully appreciate my triumph here.

It was week 4, and my avocado pit sat in its water cup, refusing to be productive.

My children took time out of their busy school schedule to make fun of my sorry pit, and suggested for me to toss the pit out.

I refused to give in. “Just need more time!” I would say. Then they laughed at me some more.

“I will give you $10 if your pit has root by Sunday. If no root, you give me $10!” my 16 year-old offered me a bet.

“You are on!” I was very stubborn.

My teen smirked, undoubtedly anticipating easy cash.

Last Friday, I glared at my do nothing pit, willing it to grow a root, and failing. This is hopeless.

To make myself feel better, I went outside to tend to my new herb garden.

Herb garden

I pulled some weeds from around my garden.


Hum…A devilish idea came to me. I am a freaking genius.

I cleaned out some roots.


I took my pit out of its cup.

Do nothing pit

I used a toothpick, and pushed a chosen root into the bottom of the pit.

Just add root

Later that night, I showed off my newly improved pit to my kids, and watched their jaw drop! Ha, Ha, Ha.

Can you see the root!

Mom: $10 vs. Obnoxious kid: $0

Ten dollars for me

Hey, the bet is for the pit to have a root. No one said anything about it has to be the pit’s own root.

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The Backyard Struggle

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Early Friday morning, I donned gloves, armed with a brand new shovel, and furiously dug holes in my backyard.

I was planting a herb garden in my backyard.

New Herb Garden

I do not enjoy gardening, and it does not enjoy me. But sometimes, a new inspiration will have me forget all about my bad history with gardening, and convince me to reinvest fresh energy into this business where I don’t really belong.

It all started a few weeks ago. A very kind soul shipped me a huge box of organic avocados from her farm.

Box of Avocados

I love avocados, and these were some of the biggest avocados I have ever seen.

Huge Avocado

Inspired. I wiped up a guacamole, and put out a cheese platter, and chips, and started a party all by myself.

Gaucamole Party

These are the creamiest and tastiest avocados I have ever tasted.

“I should grow it into my own avocado tree!” I shouted to my children, so excited.

My teen burst into a laughter, “Ha, Ha….you can’t even grow an avocado tree from a young tree! You killed three of them already. What makes you think you can grow an avocado tree from a pit.”

That wasn’t a question. It was a statement. Rude.

Offended, I went googling, and came up with this plan.

Growing my avocado pit

The kids laughed at my medieval pit torture chamber.

Three weeks or so passed. No roots came out from the bottom, and no sprouts came out of the top. This pit is still just a pit.

“Nothing is going on here, mom.” one of these children said to me.

“Well, it is possible that I put this pit upside down.” me, then added, “How do I know which ends of the pit is supposed to be the top, and which is the bottom.”

The kids laughed at me some more. Clearly, they view my attempt at growing an avocado tree nothing more than providing them with comic relief.

I am still waiting for my pit to grow. But in case it doesn’t, I had the sudden inspiration to plant herbs. I heard that herbs are easy to grow. Who needs avocados when you can have Rosemary!

Young Rosemary plant

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Our Apple Tree

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Category: Parents  One Comment

A while back……

“Mom! The Rolling Stones are having a concert on Oct 19th!!!!!” my 16 year-old.

These guys are still alive?!

It is an utter mystery why my teenage daughter would have the music taste of a male who might start to pay attention to the benefits of AARP.

“Mom! They are my favorite band. Please can we go? PLEASEEEE.” the teen.

“Are they coming to town?” me, with a deep frown to tamper with her enthusiasm.

“It’s in Las Vegas!” teen, unfazed by my troubling facial expression.

I cast an even deeper frown aimed sharply at my teen.

“The only problem might be that it is on a Wednesday night.” teen, still dreamy and walking on clouds.

She thought this was the ONLY problem!

This problem was good enough to latch on for a refusal. We are not retired people like most of the Rolling Stones’ fans. A flight to Vegas on a weekday would mean missing school and work.

I went ahead and broke the poor girl’s heart. I added how sorry I was that this concert wasn’t on a weekend.

“I know you love the Stones. If this concert had been on a weekend, I would totally take you.” I was laughing on the inside.

Two or three weeks after that…..

“MOM!!!! Rolling Stones is adding a second show in Vegas! On Oct 22nd. It is a SATURDAYYY!!!” teen, pumping both fists.

She had to be messing with me. But no! The Rolling Stones did announce adding a second show in Vegas, on a Saturday. UNBELIEVEABLE!!!

Last Saturday, the two of us touched down at the Vegas airport just before noon.

In honor of our Rock and Roll weekend, as soon as we dropped off our bags at our hotel, we took a taxi to Hard Rock cafe for lunch.

Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas

Ah, their Pineapple and Coconut Mojito was amazing, nothing puts me in the mood for vacation better than a mid-day cocktail.

After lunch, we leisurely walked the strip and visited the big casinos. We shopped, ate snacks, and were wowed by each casino’s over-the-top extravagant decor.

We made our way to the newly built T-Mobile Arena about an hour before the show time, and joined thousands of fans already congregating there in eager anticipation of the show.

Rolling Stones playing at the T-Mobile Arena Las Vegas

The Rolling Stones rocked the arena for two full hours. I danced alongside my teen to the music.

The Rolling Stones

At around 11PM, we poured out of the arena with tens of thousands of satisfied fans. A mad maze of neon lights enticed us back to the busy strip, and we went on shopping.

Vegas at night

At midnight, we decided a burger sounded good. We sat down at a cafe for a second dinner, and reminisced about the highlights of the concert.

My daughter smiled ear to ear the whole weekend. It was priceless.

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I want to announce that I survived my teen’s first driving lesson with me 2 weeks ago, but it was survived in a most unremarkable way.

“You can step on it more.” I said to the teen gently.

“Oh”, then the car picked up a bit more speed.

A short while later.

“You can drive a little faster.” me.

“How fast should I go?” teen.

“Well, this is an empty lot. You can go 15- 20 miles per hour.” me.

Empty lot good for driving lesson

“Oh!”, the car picked up speed, only to slow down again shortly after.

I had not expected this driving lesson to test my patience, which is often in short supply.

I turned to look at my teen, who was tensely looking ahead, with both hands tightly holding on to the wheel.

“Should I get out of the car, and push it from behind for you?” me.

The teen laughed, then protested with, “I am scared of going too fast.”

“You are going at 5 miles per hour! You need to drive faster, if we want to try driving on a real road later.” me.

“I am afraid of your car! It is so huge and expensive!” teen.

My mind momentarily went back to the mid 1980’s, when I was 16 years old, learning to drive in an empty parking lot with my uncle. My father was working 6 days a week far away from home, and I wanted to learn to drive. So my uncle offered to give me lessons. In his old beat up Pinto.

Pinto had been discontinued in 1980, and those who know the Pinto might remember it as a laughable car whose best selling feature was being cheap. But this car had been my uncle’s first car since arriving to America. He was mighty proud of it.

So, there I was, driving the old Pinto painfully slow in the empty lot. I had a real excuse for not wanting to go fast. The Pinto had no power brakes!! I bet most of you have no idea what that even means.

It means when you want to slow down or stop the car, you have to step on it with the force of your full body weight like Fred Flintstone!!!

“Okay, so this is a big car. But it drives smoothly. Haven’t you noticed, you pressed down on the gas pedal lightly, the car immediately responds with speed, you press down on the brake lightly, it immediately slows down or stops.” me.

“That is true! This car does drive nice.” teen.

“So don’t be afraid. Trust yourself, and trust the car. Now, let’s drive.” me.

After many more rounds in the parking lot, I instructed my 16 year-old to take the car onto the real road.

Open road

“Wow! I am going 40 (mph)!” teen.

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