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Celebrating Military Moms this Mothers Day

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Our oldest son has served in the U.S. Army for the past 13 years. He’s a West Point grad and has traveled the world, and has been deployed to some pretty scary places.
One of the challenges of being a military mom is when your family is separated. It’s not just the missing of birthdays, holidays, graduations, weddings or funerals. When conflicts arise, our military is sent to some of the most perilous places in the world. When that happens it can fill you with worries.
And then there are MOMS who serve in the military. I can’t imagine how a family feels when their mom is deployed. 
Technology has done so much to close the physical distances. Fifteen years ago, there was no FaceTime or WhatsApp, and Skype had just launched. So most families would wait for letters and phone calls. Now, in the blink of an eye, it's possible to see your family’s faces and hear their voices from far away.
An opportunity to enjoy a tech shopping experience
You can make Mother’s Day super special for the mili…

Keyboard Shortcutting Your Life

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My apologies if this one is a bit obscure. but those of us who use Photoshop and other software applications may be able to relate to “keyboard shortcuts.”

One morning I was walking around our house wondering where in the world I could find my battery tender. A battery tender, when hooked up to your car’s battery, provides a trickle charge, to keep cars ready to roll. They’re great for old cars like mine, (1976 BMW 2002) that sometimes goes undriven for a week or more. During cold weather, it isn’t surprising to find the battery is kaput.
Where is the battery tender? I wished I could hit Command-f (⌘-f) to “FIND,” which works pretty well on our computers. (Or “search” on our phones?) I know it’s somewhere around our house. How do I know? One reason — we don’t throw away things that are still working. The battery tender has never been used.
Our son and his wife @queenhorsfall came home for the holidays! He has been storing his BMW Z4 here. He is a U.S. Army Major, a former West Point grad…

12 years in remission

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Its funny how memories work.

Six blocks away from me is the flagship Glassybabystore and hot shop, where glass blowers are busy creating art and beauty for a cause. About a month ago I shared a photo of a glassblower at work there.



Visiting the store this week reminded me of an adventure a number of years ago when my husband, David, and his friend Laurie, and I wandered from breakfast to Donna Karen's Urban Zen center in the West Village of NYC. Laurie invited us because she thought we would enjoy meeting Deepak Chopra and Ariana Huffington. We were in New York on vacation, and thought, "Why not?"

On the way there, we came upon a Glassybaby store! It wasn't open, so we didn't stop, but Glassybaby In NYC!? What was it doing here?!

Apparently New Yorkers had the same question. I just read acase studyabout the store location which has been closed.

The failure was attributed in part to customers' lack of understanding about the story behind the brand. To New Yorkers, …

Bicycles Have Taken Over Seattle

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You might think from reading the headline that Seattle has a lot of bicycles. According to a blog I have not heard of, Seattle is, in fact, NUMBER ONE in the U.S.! Bike lanes are everywhere now. Streets have been retooled to accommodate bicycles, complete with dedicated lanes, islands and other measures to help ensure the safety of bicyclists. Parking spaces in downtown Seattle and elsewhere have been eliminated and replaced with bike racks. The removal of car parking spaces is a drag for motorists since there is not a lot of parking in the first place. The funny thing is, except in areas around the University of Washington and Burke Gilman Trail (where traditionally there has always been a high volume of bicyclists), often I will see absolutely no bicycles in the bike lanes.
And all of the bike parking that has been created while displacing car parking? Often it's the same case where they are under utilized.

I hope you don't have the impression that I'm "anti-bike,…

When A Parent Must Leave Home

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Charming family home, built in 1908
We have a long-time neighbor and friend named Lad. He tutored our oldest son in math. Our families exchanged baked goods, shared meals, and enjoyed conversations on our front porches. We’ve watched as our neighborhood evolved from “unsafe,” to one where even the dicey streets have been gentrified, and houses are now selling in excess of $1 million.

A couple months ago, Lad called to let me know he was planning to move. I wasn’t too surprised—there hasn’t been a better time to sell here. Seattle has zero inventory available. Houses sell in one day. There are bidding wars. Many friends have downsized from their huge Seattle homes to lofts, condos and simpler “country life” on some of the islands surrounding the city. As they sold their family homes, they amassed enough funds to buy another, smaller house, with plenty left over to see them through their retirements

But for Lad, it wasn’t just about cashing out. He and his dog have been on their own …

How We Conquered Christmas

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Last month on my Wordpress blog I wrote about a somewhat zany idea I had about reverse gift-buying, and how I talked our family into trying it this Christmas shopping season.

After some initial skepticism, I think many of my family members were surprised at how well it worked.

At first it seemed weird, though, to shop for ourselves. A few of us bought things we needed. My husband bought a replacement grill for our Weber, and designated it a gift from my brother and sister-in-law.

One of our sons bought a gift certificate to have his car detailed, and made it from me and my husband.

My sister bought a pressure cooker as a gift from several family members.

I bought a GoPro camera, and made it a single gift from everyone in my family. Others chose things they wanted and needed that no one would’ve thought of, or in some cases, would have exceeded the budget limits we set up for individual presents.

But this year, no returns, no duplicates, no exchanges — all purchases were made a…

A Hummel figurine that belonged to my mother

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A Hummel figurine that belonged to my mother
A friend, Annegret, and I were talking on Twitter about memories and our belongings, and it reminded me of a story.

Thirty years ago I had a friend named Kathy. She was such a happy person. She had two rambunctious nephews. One day they came over to visit while she was unpacking some very old and precious Christmas ornaments that belonged to her grandmother. Kathy and her grandmother had a special bond. I had the pleasure of meeting her one summer when I visited her family in Atwater, Minnesota.

Kathy's nephews, who were maybe 8 and 10 years old at the time, were admiring the ornaments, and she said, “Here, why don’t you choose some to keep?!”

I remember feeling shocked. Giving some very old and irreplaceable heirlooms to two little boys? How insane!

I'm sentimental and like to keep things that are dear, nearby. The idea of giving such special things to children who, God forbid, could destroy them, seemed crazy. Annegret and I agre…

INVU4URAQT

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"INVU4URAQT" used to be an autograph saying kids would write in yearbooks at the end of the school year.

A wealthy friend travels the world but spends most of her time alone. Another is successful but waited too long to have a baby. Another has everything except her life mate who died too young. And another goes on a dozen cruises a year to every corner of the world—sometimes taking the same exact cruise twice—for what reason? It seems like he is searching for something he'll never find.

It so happens my husband and I are surrounded by people who have made a ton of money throughout their careers. Many people believe "if only I were wealthy—it would solve all of life's problems." But wealth and resources are not panaceas. Despite the resources a person has, it doesn't guarantee life will be wonderful. Once critical issues like having food, clothing and shelter are answered, everything beyond that speaks to enhanced quality of life. But it doesn&#…

LA Story

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Fern tree across from the hotel
Okay so some of you guys know I went to Los Angeles last week. There are more details about the gathering I attended on my other blog

American Express made it easy to get my flight using miles, but booking a hotel was an adventure. I looked and looked, using many of the usual sites and didn't feel like there was a significant difference between them. It's not as simple as it should be.

Basically, I know nothing about LA, so didn't feel like I could find a place on AirBNB and confidently know it would be convenient in terms of getting to the W Hotel in Westwood—the venue of the #140confLA event. So I tried to find a reasonably priced room in the W Hotel, which is across from the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden at UCLA. (BTW, there wasn't a reasonably priced room, but I bit the bullet and booked it anyway since the event was taking place there.)

Being a little bit nervous traveling by myself because I usually have my trusty Sherpa a.…
terri

i'm a graphic designer who loves words. - terri nakamura