Thursday, September 18, 2014

What's That?

"Wait! Did you say there are BEARS in Alaska??" asks the Bambino.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Changing the World Bit by Bit (yes, bits are considered a technical term)

Samantha Quist, Executive Director Technovation
The world is changing in many ways, but one of the most wonderful and positive directions has been where barriers get removed and more women make their presence known in unfamiliar ground.

Technology is one those areas that is still changing the world, and our own Samantha Quist is working to help more young women explore careers in technology.

Samantha has been doing this at Technovation, a company which focuses on inspiring and educating girls and women in technology. This includes an annual competition where young women (age 10-23) throughout the world develop mobile applications and then present (and pitch) their solution to a panel of judges.

You can read more about how this idea is helping to create our next generation of technical entrepreneurs at TechRepublic. Just look where all the participants came from who participated in the 2014 competition! It is pretty impressive.

You can also check out the winners of 2014 and be amazed at some of their ideas and how they are using technology to help solve problems in their own communities. WOW!

Perhaps you would like to help make the world a better place by encouraging more young women to explore opportunities in technology? You can become a volunteer, coach, or mentor of young women in your local area.  Or maybe you know a young lass who would be interested in developing an app to solve a problem she cares deeply about?

It's a new world, and we can help nurture these young girls and their wonderful ideas on how they can build a better community through technology. You can find out more, here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


"Psssst.  I've got a secret!" whispers the Bambino
"It's pretty juicy, too! Want to hear it?"

Poaching eggs in the microwave

I'm on a quest to improve my health via making better choices when it comes to food.  One of those changes includes eating breakfast, which means taking time for either a spinach smoothie, steel cut oatmeal, or an egg on toast.  Recently I bought a new gizmo for cooking egg poacher for the microwave. Unfortunately it came with no instructions, but I found a video that was quick, easy to understand, and did the trick.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I dub thee as the man who can bring me stuff!

The kids have spent some time in the Alaska wilds with the Inuits. No doubt, the Bambino was given special exalted powers while visiting because he was last seen knighting his Pop with some special dispensations.

"I, Bambino, dub thee as the man who can fetch me stuff on demand!"
Then he banged the empty, but official, water container on Pops head.

Time will tell if his wishes really do get granted.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Teaching the Kiddo Qigong Techniques

The Bambino and I like to watch the Matrix movie together, which gives me the opportunity to point out how the movie often uses the subtle energy of Qi (chee) as a way to direct and manipulate events. Some of these techniques are actually part of the foundation of Qigong (chee gung) which is what I use in my medical practice! Needless to say, I THINK Bambino is starting to pick up on some of our discussions.  

For example, Morpheus uses a martial art technique of posture, concentration and movements which are often used in Qigong, too. In this part of the movie, Morpheus is using some Qigong techniques to train the hero, Neo.

And now I will occasionally see the Bambino standing with that same Morpheus type of "look in the eye" concentration, along with "bring it on" stance...

Yep, being a grandparent allows you to not only share your wisdom and experience, but also allows you to interpret whatever you want to see going on with your grandkid.

(I think only another grandparent will understand the amount of weird license and leeway of thoughts that comes from being a grandparent). 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Kiddos First Tuxedo!

The kiddo is now old enough to wear a tux!
He begins the night by checking messages while the rest of the family gets ready for this fancy night out on the cruise ship.

Bambino continues to patiently wait for the family to get ready....

and continues to patiently wait a bit more...

and then FINALLY gets to go and experience the fine dining and dancing experience that all little munchkins look forward to having at some time in their life!

Yep, this kid is really growing up faaaaaast!   

Friday, August 29, 2014

David at the Paramount

David Gray sang at the Oakland Paramount, and it was absolutely the best show experience, ever! He was "in the zone" and he was often carried away with the music, as we were.  He started off with many of his songs from his new (and wonderful) album, Mutineers, and then went on to sing many of his previous hits.  However, he didn't sing one of my favorites, so I'm posting it here as a way to add a succulent cherry on the top of a wonderful evening.

The song is titled "Snow in Vegas" but I call it "Now Pigs can Fly" - listen, and you'll probably call it that, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Visit to Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark was our final stop on our Baltic cruise, and for me, was one of the most beautiful cities to visit.

Like most tourists, one of the first places to visit was the statue of the Little Mermaid. What surprised me was how small the statue actually is.

I also thought it was located at a type of gateway to the city, but it was located just on the edge of a park on the waterway. This is the Little Mermaid's hood:

However, even with all those surprises, the statue is really rather marvelous.

We also visited where the Royals live in Copenhagen. Again, I was surprised to be able to just walk around their front courtyard with hundreds of other people. It was very different from all the security around the White House, for example, or even visiting the Royals in London.

While there, we watched the dry cleaners drive up for a delivery, the doors parted, and then the car drove into their inner private quarters.

Obviously, we all peeked in and some, I believe, were hoping to be invited in for tea.

I also saw more bikes in Copenhagen, than cars, and their bikes had their own driving lanes, traffic lights, and even traffic jams.

There are a lot of waterways, boats, and colorful buildings, all using the same period-piece architectural design.

This photo, from Wikipedia, captures the colorful contrasts of these similar style buildings lining the waterways.

This youtube video, by Pinot's Little Corner, is a great summary of what Copenhagen is like, complete with the music "Wonderful Copenhagen" playing in the background.

Copenhagen had such a wonderful feeling and atmosphere in the city.  It is now one of my favorite cities.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The many faces of Bambino

Bambino has many ways of communicating how he feels. 
He is often smiling, and when we see his smile, we feel reassured he is content.

Then there are LOTS of moments when he is VERY focused and attentive in whatever he is doing

and he observes closely and sizes things up, trying to see how it all fits together.

There are other times when he is cautious and inquisitive...

and a few times when he may be tired and teensy bit grumpy

There are even times when he will squint his eyes and fake a cry, peeking to see if it is working,

and then when he REALLY wants to convey displeasure, he squishes his face as if this is putting his feelings in bold capital letters, just to make sure you get the message...

But with all Bambino's palette of faces, I find it absolutely fascinating to watch him interact with the world and change, week after week after week. The things he has learned to do in a rather short period of time (1 year) is just the beginning of all that awaits him to explore and develop over his lifetime.

It has been pretty fun being a grandparent. 
I like how as a grandma, I get to pay attention to the details of how this kid learns, grows, and becomes a unique individual. 
I must say, being a grandparent can be pretty groovy. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bambino's Buddy Birthday Party

This is a week of Bambino celebrations (since he made it to that milestone life moment of being one year old). His wonderful Nanny Silvia organized a birthday party with his buddies at the park, complete with a wonderful cake, gifts, and activities. Have you ever seen such a big grin of complete satisfaction and happiness?

Yep, he was totally into this kind of celebration, even pausing for a moment for a group mug shot.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Recognizing sources of comfort through travel

One of the things which happens when I travel, is I learn more about myself. For example, when I returned from my vacation to Scandinavia, one of the things I was most eager to return to was sleeping in the DARK.  Weird, huh?  But in this season, the sun really doesn't set that much and it doesn't get that dark.I was kind of surprised that I was missing darkness.

When I went to China, I returned home and would just sit on the john for a long, long time. I also would use LOTS of toilet paper. Why?  Because I could. I was home and I was getting reacquainted with this source of comfort; a toilet with a seat and soft toilet paper just sitting there, ready to serve and protect.

I don't know where my next travel adventure will be, but I'm pretty sure I'll come back home appreciating something I didn't even know I would miss. For me, traveling has allowed me to learned more about what I'm attached to. It's also helped me recognize some of my habits which probably are in part, due to the culture and area from where I'm based.  Yep. Travel helps you learn more about who you are.     

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bambino's first birthday

Bambino's first birthday included having his mom make his favorite meal - all bite-size portions of real food, which made him feel all the more, grown up.

After dinner was desert....birthday cake!

Then it was time for PRESENTS!!
Bambino began by taking the first gift and very gently opening the card.

He then opened the gift and recognized it as one of the books he had been wanting. He begged Pop to read it to him and during some of the more daring parts of the story, Bambino seemed to gnaw on his hand with bated breath. Soon there was a happy ending and all was right in the world. He was now ready to move onto the next gift.

The next gift required the traditional "heavy heavy hangover thy poor head". This was Bambino's very first experience with this type of gift presentation process, but he was a good sport and wished the giver a winning lottery ticket.

Bambino was now getting the hang of this birthday thing and seemed to like having new toys given to him.

Yep, Bambino's first birthday was pretty fun!  It was a pretty big milestone in his very young life.

The Kiddo is a Year Old!

The little pip-squeak is now a year old.
At first he only wanted to sleep, and sleep, and sleep.

But over time, aka one year, he has learned that it is more fun to not only be awake, but a hoot-and-a-half to run and hide.

A personality seems to have come bundled with this little tyke - he is peppered with curiosity, laughter, and has developed a friendship with a monkey named Curious George.

He makes us laugh and giggle with everything he does. We can't help but be proud as we smile ear-to-ear whenever we are around him.

Happy b-day kiddo!
Yep, you've made the past year a total blast!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Visit to Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden and was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 12 most inventive city in the world. It is also also very much in a strategic location, serving as the gateway between the Atlantic and North Sea.

In 1621 King Gustavus Adolphus came to this area and said, "THIS IS THE PLACE" and even pointed his finger while he said those words.

Later, Brigham Young would repeat Gustavus's famous words in the Western deserts of the USA, but Brigham would use his whole hand to point and his words would carry the emphasis in capital letters, "THIS is the place"!  Stories say that it was these words which forced the seeds to sprout out of the dry dusty land and bloom into a mighty flower they then called Deseret (aka as Salt Lake City),  but that is a different story altogether.

So, back to the travelogue.
We took one of the water tours in a boat. In this photo, you can see a HUGE old sailing ship which is now stuck where it is ported because the low hanging bridges were built after it was docked and the ship is too tall to fit under any of the bridges.

Also in the harbor you can see a tall red and white building which is the home office to Skanska. This building is also known as"the lipstick building" because of its shape and colors.

It was also interesting to see so much "boat parking" available in town. I loved how the parking included ladders up the street so you could drive your boat to work and then hop off and shimmy up the ladder to go to work.

We also passed a hotel with an outdoor pool which seemed to be clutching to the wall as if it were Spiderman. It just seemed a bit odd to have this in a water rich town that has a very brief summer.

And then we also saw food trucks with American food; burgers and tacos. We really did feel like we were home. After all, we had a Brigham Young look-a-like statue standing by us while we could munch on American tacos while waiting to catch a bus back to the ship.