Enjoying the Journey

happy anniversaryBack in my early twenties, when the internet was still in its public nascency and using e-mail was pretty novel, I used a quote in the auto-signature of all my outgoing mail.

“Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.”

It was a quote I came across while preparing for a nine-month journey home from Japan, where I had been living for the past two years. As someone perpetually focused on the outcome, I am consistently guilty of “achieving the product but missing the process.”

I’m not a live-in-the-moment sorta gal. In fact, quite the opposite, I’m more of a busy-myself-in-the-moment-by-planning-for-all-future-moments kinda gal. So you can see how the concept of enjoying the journey as well as the destination would be a novel one for me.

I have since matured out of using this quote in my auto-signature but I continue trying to follow its mantra.

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, DH and I took a journey.

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There Are No Words

candlelight vigilYesterday my husband and I buried our good friend, Mei Kum Jones.

On either side, we also buried her twin baby boys, Colt and Cameron, who would have turned one today. It was unspeakably difficult on many levels.

A week ago,  my closest friend called me from her home in Arlington and asked me to confirm Mei’s address. Not one for sensationalism, this friend told me nothing had been finalized yet but that a family of four was reported dead at that address, which was just around the corner from her house. This information was both shocking and chilling and since I was behind the wheel of my car at the time, I called my husband.

After all, if it hadn’t been for Mei, my husband and I might never have met at that fateful Christmas party 13 years ago. More

Our Bags Are Packed And We’re Ready to Go

suitcasesIn fact, I’ve been halfway there since we booked our first, family overseas trip back in September. Because for me, one of the hardest things about settling down and starting a family has been, well, settling down…

Truth be told, I’d much rather be traveling the world, meeting new people and exploring different cultures, or at least still doing that WHILE having a family. Don’t get me wrong, the kid journey can be pretty amazing too but I’ve been eagerly waiting to have them participate in the bigger journey pretty much since I first conceived our daughter, 8 years ago.

Prior to that time, the world was an open road waiting to be explored. In our twenties, both DH and I did a fair amount of traveling in some pretty extreme locations, predominantly Asia but some in the Middle East too. We carried backpacks and our Angus MacGyver tool was the multipurpose sarong (which doubled as: a dress, a scarf, a sheet, a towel, a curtain). We thirsted for third-world travel, where we found life stripped away at its rawest and yet most complicated state.

Traveling became part of who we were and what drew us to one another, then also how we grew together. Now that we’re married, kids do the same thing for us. More

Couples Counseling

coupleLast year, I wrote about investing in your marriage in a post called Marriage Takes Work. It’s been a popular read and has generated a number of comments but that’s not why I wrote it.

I wrote it because I grew up surrounded by divorce and because my husband and I reside at almost opposite ends of the Myers-Briggs personality spectrum—I’m a sound ENFJ and he’s an ISTJ. If you’re curious about yourself, you can take a quick test here, (thanks Marisa Hopkins for the link).

DH and I entered into marriage knowing it would require our constant care. So last spring we enlisted the help of a clinical social worker and started Couples Counseling.

People have funny misconceptions about the term “counseling;” it often seems to connote that one is seeking counseling for something that is in trouble. In our case, we’re not in trouble, we just want to make sure we don’t lose our way. We’re not asking for help but rather seeking “guidance.”

Guidance to help us better manage the way we communicate with one another, guidance to bring up topics we didn’t know have the potential to evolve into challenges later, and guidance to prepare us for future hurdles that we may encounter along the way. More

Wearing 4T

Starting today, my son and I have something in common, we’re both a 4T; it’s just that his is a clothing size and mine, an age.

Today has been looming on the horizon for a good long while now. In fact, in many regards, this celebration began when I turned 38, so unexpected and wonderful was that birthday surprise. Scorpios love basking in the sun, so being celebrated and the attention that comes with birthdays suits us well. In fact, ask most Scorpios and they’ll confirm that we tend toward recognizing the entire birthmonth, not just the day.

Scorpio pride aside, I’m downright lucky that I married the man I did—a man, who speaks his love through action—because so far this month has been one prolonged celebration. From the gathering of friends, family traveling to be together, and the general broadcast over social media, I have no hope (nor desire) to hide my age and, quite honestly, I’m rather perplexed by the notion of people who do.

I’m a staunch believer that age and wisdom go hand-in-hand. More

Marriage Takes Work

Eleven years ago, I met my husband.

It happened at a tawny Christmas party in downtown Boston, fondly referred to as the “Tweed and Pearl” party. There wasn’t a great deal of diversity at this gathering, save the variety of Kate Spade bags, so when a tall Asian guy walked into the room, he immediately caught my attention. The party host later introduced us and we discovered we had a lot in common, from taste in music to world travel and future ambitions, we hit it off…of course, the open bar helped a bit too.

Compared to my past long-term relationships, DH was a shining star. I continued to believe that we had more in common than in contrast for quite some time. In fact, I believed it all the way through our engagement and right up to the third-week in to our premarital course, when we took the Myers-Briggs personality test to determine compatibility.

DH and I came out almost completely opposite, I was an ENFJ to his ESTP (and his E was only on the cusp of extrovert and introvert; mine was a no-contest). I was shocked!

But this wasn’t our first red flag. More

The Fragments of Divorce

I’m the product of divorce. Not one, not two…FIVE.

My parents’ divorce was the first, then, like zygotes, they kept splitting until they landed on their third and fourth spouses, where they seem to be very well matched. I think it’s safe to say that they both have settled in for their golden years with partners for life. Thank God!

I was seven when my parents separated, my brother was 10. By the time the divorce was final and the papers signed, my dad was just weeks away from his second marriage and my mom had moved clear across the country, from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, to pursue her next union.

When my parents split in 1979, it was highly unusual for children to remain in the custody of their fathers but my dad sought custody of my brother and me. In between the separation and next marriage, we went More

Do You Speaka My Language?

I’m married to a really great guy. No, I mean it, he’s a  r-e-a-l-l-y   g-r-e-a-t   g-u-y. He’s an involved father, a loving husband, and a thoughtful son. He’s tall, athletic and easy on the eyes. He has strong ethics, a deep-set of values and is one of the most trustworthy people I’ve ever met. But we don’t always see eye to eye.

Take our ways of expressing love, for example. As I’ve recently leaned—thanks to the good doctor, Gary Chapman, and his exceedingly popular book—I express love through giving things to people (and spending time with them) while DH expresses his love through doing things for others and by giving praise.

Chapman suggests that most of us speak one (maybe two) of five Love Languages: Acts of More

Happy Birthday from All Your Friends at Facebook

My birthday is on Sunday.

In the past—as in pick-a-year BC [before children]—I would have started celebrating five days ago, a whole birthweek leading up to that special day. Carte blanche to dine out, grab drinks with friends, pamper myself, get a pedicure, maybe even take a day off from work. Instead, this year I’ve been working overtime.

DH has been pulling crazy hours at the office, sometimes rolling in at 1 or 2am, then gone again right after breakfast. I’ve been dining in, drinking cough medicine alone, pampering my offspring and keeping my feet in slippers. Writing deadlines have eaten up all of my kid-free time and instead of getting a pedicure, I got pneumonia instead.

It’s a far cry from birthdays past and certainly nothing like last year, when at least I had a surprise birthday More

Operation Butterscotch Freedom

[Continued from yesterday’s post…]

Yet again, I was cleaning the 21st Century Cage. As usual, I placed Butterscotch in his ball and left him to explore the floor. Thirty minutes later, I realized it had been a while since I heard the familiar rolling sound of ball against hardwood. Assuming  yet again he had lodged himself between door and wall somewhere, I didn’t panic. I placed the clean cage back on the shelf and though it was merely mid-morning for Butterscotch, I was ready for bed.

A quick glance across the room revealed why I hadn’t heard Butterscotch rolling across the floor lately for there sat his overturned hamster ball, the lid several inches away. It had finally happened: Operation Butterscotch Freedom. More

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