Holiday Greetings!

When I was younger, my belief in Santa Claus was fueled by the special magic that my Dad poured into the season with every story, detail and image he crafted up in my mind. I probably believed longer than I should have but my big green eyes held such a devout love and trust for my Dad that there was no room for doubt in my mind woven in the fabric he delicately weaved in animated versions of hearing bells and hooves on rooftops. There comes a day when that belief is challenged and we are forever changed. Some call it a rite of passage to “learn the truth.” For me, that day came while hosting a friend for a playdate. Over a Big-Mac, my eyes began to swell as my mouth dropped in shock and my heart filled with hurt. “My little brother still believes in Santa,” my friend laughed, sprawling back into the chair with a fist full of fries. I could feel my Dad’s eyes on me. She quickly paused, noticing the look on my face, “Oh, you didn’t know?” As.if.those.words.helped.the.situation. Needless to say it was a short playdate. As we said goodbye to my friend, my Dad closed the front door and immediately exclaimed, “What a HORRIBLE little girl! Is it any wonder why Santa doesn’t visit her?” I slowly stopped crying, sniffed up my tears in between big deep breaths and through broken words uttered, “Ye-ah… Y-e-s.” With a confidence as though his life depended on it, he looked at me with his steel blue eyes and hugged me with a reassuring, “I love you.” Looking back, I know it wasn’t so much that I believed in Santa, but rather, with every fiber in my soul, I believed in my Dad.

This is the first year I won’t be addressing a Christmas card to my Dad. He joined the angel choir on July 3rd. My Dad always claimed I got my singing voice from him as he was a member of his HS choir. He’d then proceed to show me a few of his dance moves in the kitchen and turn back to me with a smile and say, “Maybe you got your dancing from me too?” He was a skinny kid with iconic black glasses that grew up in the projects of Chicago, a child of a single mother who received a K-12 Catholic education, loved antique cars (and speed), had a job parking cars at the age of 13 and could speak to people of all walks of life with no judgment or air. He told me he was planning on becoming a priest until he met my Mother. Together, they worked hard and created a beautiful life. Thirty years after my mom passed away from cancer at 47 when I was in high school, cancer would also take him away in my 47th year.

After learning that there were no treatment options left and that he’d be placed in hospice, my Dad shared with me, “Being told you’re going to die is hard.” He looked up at me from his hospital bed, eye to eye, reflecting a sharp piercing glimpse of our souls, “I think it would be easier if you just went fast. You won’t forget me, will you?” Being able to say goodbye to someone is a rare gift. It’s one I will always cherish. There are no guarantees on when we make our next transition, but we can make the most of the opportunities given now to say what we feel to those we love and care about. By sharing stories of those that pass, we keep them alive in our hearts. My father’s death has uprooted a lot of emotions from my mother’s passing as well. It’s also made me ponder the thought of who will keep me alive in their hearts by sharing stories when I’m gone? My friends, when you discover the answer to that it becomes crystal clear as to what your priorities are in life and helps you to become laser focused on those hearts above all things. This season, my wish for you is that you give someone a reason to believe (in whatever…themselves, a goal, a hope…you) and that you embrace every opportunity given to share what’s written on your heart with those who matter most. Those are the people that will keep your stories forever tucked away in their hearts.

Our boys are now young men and our dog is furr-ever our toddler. We now have two teens attending high school! The realization that you really only get 18 summers with your children has become a bit of a stinging reminder with every inch they tower over us with. The easy years, the simple years really are when you’re knee deep in diapers, bottles and toys. Now, they have their own educated and informed opinions that can question the best of parent logic. “We celebrate these moments,” I hear a whisper in my head gently nudge and remind me of that lesson learned back when they were in pre-school. When they exert their independence, we as parents are doing our job well.

21 years later from our first date…From Chicago, to Minnesota, to our little slice of heaven of Danville, we count all our blessings daily, sometimes in the form of hugs and tears of joy. Merry Everything!

The Story of 47

My Grandfather on my Mother’s side died at the age of 47.

My Mother died at the age of 47.

My Sister died at the age of 47.

My Father died this past July when I was 47 years old.

In 8 hours and 43 minutes, I will turn 48 years old. When I lived in Chicago, I use to visit my Mom’s gravesite on my birthday carrying a balloon with the message of “It’s a Girl!” After my Mom died, sometimes my family forgot my birthday. That’s when I found comfort in not forgetting my Mom. Sitting next to her gravesite one year, among the golden and pink hues of fall sunset, I realized that my birthday isn’t just about me. Pausing to count my blessings and taking stock of all those that I appreciated and was grateful for, helped fill the void and added such life to those years.

Turning 48 is not something I take for granted. It’s a weight I have carried for years from a trauma hidden in the folds of life that first took root when my Mom passed. It’s the whisper right before you blow our your candles to inhale that invites Miss Anxiety to your birthday party. It’s the grace that glides on blistered feet. When you’re a child that experiences such, especially during your formative years, you don’t comprehend the enthusiastic rally calls from adults that comment about your resilience. What you may call resilient, I lived as trying to just get by. Trying to make some sense out of what was happening. Trying to understand the why and what happens next. Independence and responsibility came early in life, not exactly by choice.

When you’re a child that experiences such, you don’t associate the description of resilient with your song book. It’s the crowd that hushes back at you with phrases lost in time- as with most well intentions. You learn to create your own playlist for life.

Every layer of life that has brought me to this present and accounted for moment is a celebration. I refuse to make any attempt to mask my laugh lines. I’ve learned in my 48 years that in the tedious process of peeling back layers in search of growth to be your authentic self, well, it ebbs and flows.

On one of my walks before my birthday this year, I came across the most beautiful fall foliage. It was the reminder I needed that letting go of what you no longer need (or serves you) is a beautiful thing. In turn you make room for so much more love, peace and happiness and growth– all the ingredients that matter when trying to live with intention. By the love from my husband, joy my children lift my heart with and daily miracles I remain open to, at 48 I remain beautifully unfinished with much room to grow. Exhale. I see you 49.


With Ken Mintz (who was first elected 30 years ago) not seeking re-election as a SRVUSD school board trustee, we lose a great resource of historical knowledge regarding funding, policy, ed code (law), procedure, process, broad community awareness representative of all school sites (Alamo, Danville and San Ramon) along with the uniqueness of students, teachers, administration, staff and partners connected to those sites. As someone who has attended many school board meetings, town halls, served on district committees and volunteered from the classroom and beyond, Jerome was the only name I recognized when reading the announcement of the 3 candidates that filed for the Area 1 School Board seat for the November 8th election.

Jerome has been attending meetings as long as I’ve lived here, consistently showing up for our schools in addition to having served as a longtime volunteer for the SRVUSD from 2015 through 2021 on the SRVUSD Facilities Oversight and Advisory Committee, including more than 3 years as chair. This committee ensures transparency for taxpayers in spending on school campus construction projects and provides recommendations to District leaders on project design to deliver the promise of the school bond enacted by voters.

School Board Trustees oversee the biggest government services in our community. They set local policy relating to constitutional principles (examples: separation of church and state, freedom of speech, equal protections for all under the law). By profession, as a lawyer, Jerome understands the weight of this role. In fact, he ran for school board against 3 long standing incumbents in 2014 – something no one in this community has done for decades. He was brave enough to run then and continues to show resilience now by running again.

As a product of this district, he is the only candidate that has lived the SRVUSD K-12 experience first hand. He believes so strongly in this community that he returned here to start his family. He won’t need a learning curve. He’ll be ready on Day 1. Our teachers agree as he is the candidate they have endorsed (including an endorsement by our State Superintendent, Tony Thurmond).

Jerome will put kids first while also supporting staff and understanding the needs of our community. He will approach this role with a district lens, not with national non-profit and organizational views. With a deep understanding of budgetary issues our district faces, he will do the work to provide a safe, supportive learning environment for parents, teachers, and students at all SRVUSD schools. He will ensure all schools maintain longtime traditions of excellence as well as build on that excellence. His calm temperament, collaborative leadership style that respects others’ views, a desire to work to build consensus and ability to balance discussions of the business of running our district while paying close attention to the district’s priorities and strategic plan will be a welcome addition to our school board.

To learn more about Jerome or contact him.

No Place For Hate At School Board Meetings

I urge you to consider advocating for legislation to protect the civility of public school board meetings and promote local codes of conduct for meeting participants without limiting the right to dissent. We need to support our school districts and boards by arming them with the legislative control necessary for their safety, students safety and the safety of our community.

School board meetings should not be placed in the same governing framework as City Council or County Supervisor meetings in regard to the Brown Act. Designated school campuses that are “No Place For Hate” shouldn’t come to a pause because the school bell rings for dismissal and a school board meeting starts. Campuses should be seen as sacred ground in which is a second home for students.

Over the course of the past 3 years, I have witnessed things at school board meetings in which if these same adults were students attending schools, they would be reprimanded and seen as bullies. Many adults that speak at open comment show no filter even when children are present. This is beyond swearing at our Superintendent (which has happened). This is also about the damage speakers are doing to students (minors) who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community and BIPOC. “Child abuse is more than bruises or broken bones. While physical abuse often leaves visible scars, not all child abuse is as obvious, but can do just as much harm.” Source Homophobic slurs should be seen the same as racial slurs. Recently I witnessed someone at public comment say the following things in front of children who were invited guests: 

  • “The trendy dysphoria dujour is the psychosis that is deflate from reality is transgenderism – a delusion which declares insanely that men and boys can become women and girls and vice versa or that people can simply be non-binary or gender fluid.”
  • “Rational people call this madness insanity.”
  • “Homosexual Gender-Bender Promotion.”


At the June 7th, 2022 San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board meeting I witnessed another person at public comment say the N word. Not just once, but multiple times. The N Word: As witnessed (time stamp 3:23:40).

We can not be seen by the very students we serve as hypocrites that contradict school policies, California Ed Code and mission statements. While these are examples to what I have personally witnessed, a quick search of headlines across our state tells me that they are not isolated incidents. Can we work together in starting this conversation?

ACT NOW. Join me in contacting our elected officials to help bring this topic to their attention and start this important conversation:

California Superintendent of Schools, Tony Thurmond.

The California State Board of Education.

Contra Costa County, Superintendent of Schools, Lynn Mackey.

16th California Assembly District, Assemblymember, Rebecca Baurer-Kahan.

7th District, Senator Steve Glazer.

Road Trippin’ with a Puppy!

Now let us drink the stars, it’s time to steal away…

-Red Hot Chili Peppers, Road Trippin’

I’ve been up and down the California Coast and I’m pretty proud that since moving here in 2014, I now wear the badge of personally driving by hugging the coast down from San Diego all the way up to Fort Bragg! We’re lucky to live in such a diverse state- we can literally go to the beach and mountains for snow in the same day if we wanted to! Whether you are standing in the shadow of our giant redwoods in one of our many forests or soaking up a west coast sunset, it’s hard not to fall in love with this state. There is something magical about being able to live where you’d want to vacation.

That said, I had an itch to see what is north of us… in Oregon! Now that travel has opened up and we were all able to get vaccinated, we thought visiting Oregon would be the perfect road trip. Our first trip since 2019 due to the pandemic and travel mandates (#SIP). We adopted a puppy the week of Thanksgiving of 2019 and we couldn’t leave her behind. So, I researched pet friendly resorts to stay along our route and was surprised how pet friendly the entire state of Oregon is. We really lucked out with the timing of our trip too because we traveled right before a horrible heatwave hit the state, followed by fires.

We viewed packing for our pup as if she was a toddler. Food, treats, a few favorite toys, a familiar blanket from home and a collapsable water bowl. We did pick up a few extra things for the trip: a dog paw cleaner (for when we went hiking and to the beach) and a dog stake and tie-out cable. We made a cozy spot for her in the back where she could lay or stand. She did great!

Our first stop was 3 hours away in Redding, California to see the Sundial Bridge.

A little over 2 hours from there was our first resort stop at Running Y Ranch in Klamath Falls, Oregon. This ranked as our second favorite place to stay and we will definitely be back! We loved how quiet and peaceful it was. We had fun playing table tennis, basketball, swimming and eating on site. Even with restrictions and limited staff, this place was very hospitable. There were lots of other dogs here too- and they have a doggie park.

On the second day we work up early and headed to Crater Lake. We heard that a lot of National Parks fill up fast to capacity so we were sure to purchase our tickets online. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to visit Crater Lake. It was 75 degrees and there was still snow on the ground! At 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.

After our time at Running Y Ranch and Crater Lake, we were on the road again… We stopped at Bend for lunch at a very dog friendly Deschutes Brewery. This was well worth the stop! Pup Bailey agrees that it was one of the best beverages and burgers we’ve ever had. She loved hanging out on the patio while waiting for her food.

Three hours from our lunch spot was our next place to call home for a few days…in Washington! While I’ve been to Washington before, this was the first time it wasn’t in the Seattle area.

Skamania Lodge was quick to welcome, Miss Bailey and even had a special gift bag for her waiting in the room. Her own water bowl, blanket, extra leash and big dog bone.

You certainly can’t beat the view here, but over all we don’t plan to come back to this place. The property is dark inside and really showing its age. While we understand that many places are struggling with staffing, there were often times over the duration of our stay that the kitchen stopped taking orders (at 4:30p.m. and told us to keep trying back after an hour) or it took over 90 minutes to pick up food. Being outside on the lush lawn was our favorite part- day or night.

We also had fun at the miniature golf course. Miss Bailey may have added a few extra hits on some plays. She couldn’t help herself!

There are lots of hiking trails on the property which was a bonus.

Back across the Columbia Gorge River to Oregon, where our next chapter would lead us through Portland for a 2 hours drive to Cannon Beach.

The Hallmark Resort and Spa on Cannon Beach at Haystack Rock was hands down our favorite spot! Direct Beach access made for long strolls and exploring from sunrise to sunset. “The history of Hallmark Resorts, Inc. can be traced back to a cocker spaniel named Sissy. In 1948, Bill and Georgie Hay’s dog (Sissy) sniffed out a For Sale sign sitting high on a bluff overlooking Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. The couple soon turned this special site into the Hallmark Resort & Spa in Cannon Beach.” (Hallmark Resorts, Inc.) We loved the bag of goodies they gifted Miss Bailey upon arrival; a frisbee, special dog cookie, and a water bottle that has a flexible cup attached so that you can squirt water directly into it for your dog to drink. Also, a portion of the room fee for renting a pet friendly room goes to the local animal rescue.

Beautiful, dog friendly downtown with lots of breweries and places to eat.

Rise and Line! Favorite Coffee House directly across the street from where we were staying. Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters (SO worth the wait!)

Our resort had blue chairs available at the beach for guests. This was really a nice touch!

As we made our way back down to our next destination, we stopped off at Tillamook Creamery for lunch… ice cream!

Bailey approved of the vanilla.

Our last stop on our bucket list was Silver Falls State Park. We may have all sparkled in the sun on our hike like the Cullen’s Family (this is one of the locations the movie Twilight was filmed), but it was just because around this point in our trip, Oregon started to heat up. This park was one of the most beautiful and peaceful places with so many different shades of green.

After a week and 62,000 steps later, we headed back home to California from our epic road trip with puppy! In the end, we drove 1600 miles. The people of Oregon (and Washington) were so friendly and nice. We continue to think of them all and will certainly be back!