Monthly Archives: January 2011


What does being a friend mean to you? When I think about being friends with someone, I think of having fun and laughing, doing goofy things we might not do alone or on our own, and sharing and helping each other through things.

One of the things I ran across yesterday while cleaning (I know…, miracles can happen) was a laminated picture of Milagro, my BFF’s oldest daughter. On the back of the picture, Grace had written “you are an angel to me, my mommy and daddy. 2002.” I knew what this meant and what is was referring to. Grace had her first baby at only 26 weeks gestation and the baby weighed a mere 1 pound 2 ounces and Milagro fit into her father’s hand. My kids were all 10 pounds so Milagro’s tininess was unbelievable to me when I finally saw her in the NICU when she was only a few days old.

Grace and Genro had been at our house on Labor Day to check out our third baby boy, when she started leaking amniotic fluid and I was on standby to hear what the doctors had to say about it – “Don’t expect a live birth. Prepare yourselves.” How does one prepare for that? Grace refused – that weekend, she sat down, and kept still, (which WAS a miracle) and she drank as much water as she could hold to rehydrate her pregnant body. Despite all that effort, she ended up in the hospital on bed rest a few days later. Immediately, I went to check on her in the hospital and was surprised to see her doing crafty things, like crocheting. Now, I like knitting and love to share it with everyone, but I had not been expecting to see Grace taking up such a similar hobby, given that her hobbies were much larger endeavors, like building projects or flying military aircraft… or just about anything else other than sitting down and crafting something. But you do what you have to do when you are in self preservation mode (or rather preserve your unborn child’s life mode).

A few days later, Grace had an unplanned C-Section. Milagro was just not able to stay in that protective environment any longer. We found out later that Grace had many, many fibroid tumors and they had grown too big to be a conducive environment for pregnancy any longer. I made it up to the hospital to see Grace and Genro and their baby. I was not prepared for what I saw. Now, I had seen my own first born under the oxygen tent and gasping for air on day 2, but this was different. This scene was a different scale of alarm. I stood and held Grace while we cried together. Finally, after a long, long time of hugging and crying, I said something to her. Later, I got to see Genro hold the baby on his chest — skin to skin contact is good for the baby, you know. That wasn’t the standard operating procedure when I was born three months early and weighed a whopping 3 pounds 2 ounces. At the time I was born, my mom wasn’t allowed in the room with the incubators. Imagine not being able to touch your baby for a month. Thankfully Grace and Genro were in an amazing facility, with amazing medical care and personnel.  Many months later Grace and Genro were able to take their daughter home – more details of their story can be seen at Milagro’s website – and continue their miraculous journey.

Years later, Grace reminded me of what I said to her in the hospital that day – “We’ll get through this.” Simple, powerful, and reassuring. Yet, I had no recollection of saying those particular words; but, Grace remembered it; Those few words meant something to her. Then and now.

We’ve been through a lot together and apart, but at the end of the day it comes down to support and love and what you remember. That’s what being a friend means to me. Grace is pictured here receiving a Latina Style award for innovation this past year.

Happy Birthday Grace!

PS – For those wondering, Milagro does mean Miracle in Spanish.

PPS – One of the topics I want to highlight in my blog for 2011 is 30 extraordinary women doing ordinary things. Grace is my first blog entry for this topic – look for the other 29 throughout the year.

The Perfect Sunday

What does the perfect Sunday look like to you? To me, it means I get to something I like, a little exercise, plus something family oriented, plus something sports oriented, plus something that involves good food, plus… you get the picture. It can mean a lot of things.

Today, I had a great day. I got to do something I like – I started at Starbuck’s. But, I forgot the exercise because I went back to bed after feeding the cats. “Oh, I’ll go to yoga later this afternoon.” Or at least that was the thought at the time.

Went to an all day Board retreat for the San Carlos Charter Learning Center. We had a lot to talk about –  a lot of planning to do, a lot of issues to prioritize in these crazy budget times in California. (This would be doing something I like – contributing my skills to a great organization.) While at the Board retreat, had a great sandwich from the Sandwich Shop in San Carlos – more specifically, the Hat Trick. (Thanks, Mike. This would be the good food part.)

When I finished the Board retreat and headed home, it was 3:45 pm. I came home to an empty and very quiet house. One kid at soccer, two kids at math counts. At least for another hour. What am I going to do with at least an hour of quiet time before I go to yoga at 5 pm? Oh yeah, I can …inset name of about 20 projects here… nah, what I would really like to do is watch basketball, but not pro ball, mind you, but college ball, which mostly would have been played on Saturday. What about football, I wonder if the Steelers have played their game today… Turned on the TV to find the beginning of the Steelers game in one click of our very tricked out remote and sat down to reorganize my knitting needles. I had the great pleasure of watching the Steelers pound the Jets. The kids burst in right after a fumble was returned for a score (this meant that it was no longer a very quiet house). Got to see a childhood hero, Franco Harris, hand out the Division trophy. (This would be the sports oriented and family oriented parts.)

Bryce made dinner, which meant I could still finish my needle cataloging job (Both of these things were something I liked). Missed yoga in all the football excitement. 😦 But, the boys were so excited about a Steelers – Green Bay match up, they wanted to know which team I would be rooting for. I can’t believe they asked me which team I would root for; me, someone who knew every Steeler player’s name in 1978 (which was when I was Bryce’s age and I was a little obsessed with the Steelers and Pirates). They thought for sure I would root for Green Bay because Cal alum Aaron Rodgers is their quarterback. They would be wrong. The boys then spent the next hour lobbying to go to Dallas for the actual superbowl, rather than having to watch it on TV. Boy, sometimes you sure can tell that these three boys are the children of a lawyer…

Read Knucklehead to the boys at bedtime. Knucklehead is a book about a family with 6 boys as told by the second oldest boy – a lot of these stories sound very familiar to us, even though we only have three boys. It was definitely a little hard to settle them down after the Steelers won. So Knucklhead was an apt description of many things that happened during bedtime this evening. Finally after a few moments of quiet, I watched Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters with Greg, while finishing By Law changes. Finished the evening by editing a new business plan/overview for one of my brother’s friends.

So – all in all, this Sunday was an ideal Sunday with lots of fun, sports, good food, family time, and a little bit of work! Oh, and I forgot about all of the knitting I did at the Board retreat! (Those socks are half way finished!)

2011 Resolutions

My motto for this year is the Nike tag line – Just Do It – which has worked pretty well with a few projects already. I finished a knitting project (the first of a targeted number of 12 projects this year) and a big photography project already – but I’ll save those for another post.

I’ve taken my friend Allison Golden’s advice to heart and I plan on posting to my blog at least twice every week this year for a target of 100 posts (I know, the math on that is really 104 posts…). But, the point is that I want to write more this year. In 2010, I spent a lot of time preparing to write and not enough time actually writing. I find that when I sit down to write, I become a master procrastinator. So, I figured I needed a better method  or motivation to help me actually post to my blog regularly. I have 18 draft blogs in my queue – all from 2010, (granted, most of them are from our trip across the country and those end up being 2,500 word posts, but, you get the picture…), and I aim to follow 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which suggests actually making a chart of topics. Check – done that already.

I know it won’t be easy to stick to a bi-weekly schedule, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome, and wonderful. Therefore I am promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others where I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments, likes, blog ideas, topics you’d like to see covered, and good will along the way.

Here’s to an AWESOME 2011!