2014 Holiday Letter

Wow! It’s December already, which means it’s time to pause and look back on what I’ve been up to.

January 2014 found me three months into a new job, as a 24-7 on-call private assistant to a CEO and his family. So, needless to say, I didn’t have much of a personal life to start off 2014!

I was blessed to be roommates with a wonderful retired couple who let me into their home. The man of the house was the most energetic 60-year old I have ever met, a caretaker for his 73-year-old wife with dementia, and loved to cook down-home meals and share with everyone. (I would put on nearly 30 pounds in 2014!)

My love life was on-hold to start the year. I had moved into a place where no visitors were allowed overnight, so I had a lot of time at home with my cat and my housemates. I went out with a couple old flames, but for the most part I stayed home. Due to my unpredictable work schedule, my outings in 2014 were almost always spontaneous. My default attendance button for Facebook events was “MAYBE”.

But on January 17th, I had the best stroke of luck in my life. I found myself at home at 8:00pm on a Friday, and reasoned that I might be able to go into the City for a few hours without getting called out on an errand. So I looked for some event to attend, and after researching probably 20 minutes, settled on a band I had never heard of called “Painted Palms,” who was performing at a favorite venue of mine, the Rickshaw Stop, for a hometown album release party. Their music seemed very “San Francisco”: a bit 60s psychedelic, indie, trippy, so I reasoned I had a good chance of having a fun time.

Since it was so last-minute, I made sure to arrive early to get a ticket. When I got there, there were a handful of people outside. I decided to get in line, and I was the third person in line, behind a pair of guys that seemed friendly enough. We began chatting “Have you heard this band before?” and it turned out one of them, a tall lean guy with curly long hair, knew the band members. His friend, a clean-cut looking guy in a pullover, asked me, “Did you come here by yourself?” I said yes. “That’s awesome!” he replied, I thought a little overenthusiastically, but I could tell he was sincerely impressed through his veil of tipsiness. It had become no big deal for me to go out by myself. It was actually more common than the other way around. I particularly didn’t like going to concerts with other people, because in the past I had missed opening acts, etc. due to the group not getting it together on time. I was happy to be there early, and waiting in line for a show I truly was interested in seeing.

I got a ticket and walked into the mostly empty venue, bought myself a drink, and started checking out the light show, the DJ, and the upstairs area. There were more people pouring in. A couple sat next to me on a sofa upstairs, and I remember feeling quite alone, but determined to have a good time anyway. As I went back downstairs, the music started getting very good, and I started dancing and twirling around by myself. As the first band came onstage, I found a good place to stand a few rows back. The enthusiastic guy found me at some point, and offered to get me another drink. The bands were FANTASTIC. I was entranced and swaying/dancing side-to-side the entire time. Enthusiastic guy danced behind me, and at times, right along with me, and impressed me with his ability to follow my rhythms perfectly. Not too close or too hands-on, changing when I changed rhythms. No guy had ever danced with me like that before. He had my attention.

He never let me have an empty cup, and by the end of the night I was extremely drunk and totally blissed out. The music, the dancing, the libations, the crowd, everything was perfect, and just what I had needed that night. He kissed me, and we made plans to go out in the Mission with his friends to finish the evening out. I stopped drinking, we closed down the bars, and made out for what felt like an hour in the cool air of Valencia street, outside a pizza shop. Having sobered up after a few hours, I drove everyone home and played DJ in the car. Enthusiastic guy sang along with me in the front seat when some obscure Eminem lyrics came on. His friend gave us a raised eyebrow look from the backseat. I knew I had found someone special.

It turned out that enthusiastic guy (Ramon) had been in town just for the weekend, visiting a friend of his from college (they had graduated from Cal Berkeley). I wanted to see him again so asked if he’d like to meet up again on Sunday evening. I joined him and his friend for another concert (a San Diego band, Pinback, that I enjoyed also, at a venue I had been meaning to check out in North Beach). We spent the evening together getting to know each other some more, and I promised to visit him in Orange County, which I did at my earliest opportunity.

He wooed me like a proper gentleman, taking me to comedy and dinner shows, walks at night along the beach, even picking me up from the airport with a rose and rose petals all over the passenger side. We watched movies together and had long talks about our lives, our hopes, dreams, and struggles. We fell in love.


In May, my dear friend Ruby decided to celebrate her birthday in NYC. This was just the excuse I needed to visit a city that had been on my to-do list for many years. I arrived a few days before the group and took myself to see all the sights. I stayed in Queens and took the train into the city every day. I saw museums, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, 9-11 memorial, comedy shows, and much, much more, and ate a ton of pizza and cheesecake. I walked so many miles that I was literally dragging my feet and legs the last couple days of the trip!


I went to Tijuana for the first time with Ramon and his mother. We ate amazingly delicious tacos, a fresh tortilla straight from the grill/oven, and lots of sweets.


I took Ramon on a trip to Idaho to meet my parents, and attend my cousin Jennifer’s wedding.


My kitty started coughing and foaming at the mouth. I took her to the vet and they tried to flush her kidneys, which had shut down. I brought her home for one last night, and stayed up with her all night in the living room on the floor, by the fireplace. She was so brave and sweet. We had a vet come to put her to sleep in the living room, and he was very patient and kind during the whole process. I want to thank the veterinarians and kind doctor for their support during this very difficult, nightmare-ish 48 hour ordeal.


I was burnt out from working every day, and from the death of my cat, so I decided to take a month off of work to recover with my boyfriend in Long Beach.


2012 Recap – My Happy Holiday Letter!!!

Wow! What a year! I thought it would be fun to look back at some highlights from this year, to reminisce and catch up those of you I don’t get to see often enough :-)

2012 opened for me with a bang, at midnight watching fireworks 360 degrees around me on a rooftop in London, decked out in a flamboyant costume party dress, drunk enough on mulled wine to feel warm instead of cold, and in the company of some fabulous and fun human beings.

My 9-day trip to London with a very special friend and lover was wonderful and insightful. We learned that living together wasn’t going to be in our immediate futures :-) I got to spend about 3-4 hours/day touring the city, visiting museums, met up with a Chevron colleague and his wife for dinner, got to peek around the Olympic stadium in East London while under construction, and stayed at Cambridge. It was really magical.

Returning home in January, I spent much of the month doing live interviews of Olympic track and field throwers for a project I created called the Powerful Women Athletes Telesummit. About 200 people tuned in over the month and it was a really amazing experience that allowed me to give something new to my sport in a big way.

It was my 5th year coaching at San Francisco State University, and my fourth year with athletes Deirdra Bridgett and Luisa Musika. They were my first group of athletes to have been coached by me all four years of their eligibility so that was pretty special. In February, I decided to do a radical experiment with the throwers that dared to: Go six weeks without eating wheat, dairy, or sugar. Two of us made it 5 weeks, and during that 5 weeks, my athlete Luisa lost 30 pounds and qualified for the indoor national championships in the shot put for the first time in her career. It was so brave of them to try something so difficult and I think we all learned a lot from that experience. I got to travel to Minnesota with Luisa for the indoor national championships and I really enjoyed taking the Californians out to a nature area on one of our days off to experience walking around in the snow and throwing things onto an icy river :-)

We had a challenging outdoor track and field season with the weather: A lot of rainy meets, some even got cancelled part-way through. It is difficult to stay motivated when you are soaking wet to the bone as part of your job, but we hung in there and continued to do what we love despite the difficulties. It was also my first year coaching the javelin throw event and I really learned a lot from my athletes.

My coaching job doesn’t pay all my bills, so I continued to work other jobs part-time. I did a lot of special-event valet parking jobs this year around San Francisco, and got to see some of the most beautiful properties, drive some of the nicest cars, and work at the most exclusive parties in the bay area. I met so many amazing people who work as valets. Many are students, but many are people sort of like me! People who have incredible qualifications and have had really interesting lives and have found themselves starting over in some way. I am so grateful for all the awesome people I met at that job.

I taught 6-week intro to yoga courses for some private clients. I gave some more massage virgins their first ever full-body Swedish massages. And I helped at least three people move out of their houses to get started with their next life chapters. I decided to help out more at church and went to training to become a Sunday school teacher. That has been very rewarding to shepherd some young people through their high school years in a way that was starkly different than my own (in a good way). And I tried a short stint as a gogo dancer.

I take random jobs too, and my good friend Diane found the most awesome random job for me one day this year: Getting paid to model as a zombie and walk around downtown San Francisco handing out “blood” popsicles and stickers to random people to promote Zynga’s new video game.

I made a light-painting video with my friends Jackie & Julian that helped them get onto America’s Got Talent! It was superfun and as a result I got to meet their new friend Andrew de Leon and recycle my zombie dress to do a photo shoot with him for his promotions.

I continued to take lots of people on hikes through my part of the city as part of my business “Excelsior Urban Hikes.” I met so many wonderful people from around the country, around San Francisco, and around the world who somehow found out about my tours. It was great to be able to walk around in beautiful nature areas within San Francisco to get good exercise, fresh air, and beautiful scenery. The city started to look a lot smaller than it did when I first showed up here 6 years ago.

I watched the solar eclispe from China beach in San Francisco while on a date with a Cancer. This was astrologically significant given I’m an Aries ;-) I also dated a somewhat mysterious and handsome academic professional Indian man for a couple months who enjoyed spoiling me with 5-star accommodations, fabulous dinners, and day trips. I’ve since renewed my vows to stop dating men who drive Porsches. Nothing personal ;-)

During the summer I recommitted myself to my LegalShield business as a way of earning part-time income. I attended a lot of trainings and continued to be inspired by that company and the great attitudes of the people who I befriended at the trainings. I joined a networking group to promote the company and fell in love with the awesome people I met at that group. We meet at least once a week to help each other find business, and those relationships have been very rewarding.

I took several more 4-week courses in astrology, did my first “paid” astrology reading for a friend. Went to my first 49ers game. Got to go to Montana to coach a high school throwers clinic while my college coach attended the Olympic Trials with one of his athletes. Got to see my sister and her family, and carpool to Montana and back with a really interesting character in public banking. I also took a Forex trading bootcamp and learned to trade foreign currencies.

During the summer, I started dating a new and really amazing person, an Italian artist fairly new to the US who makes the incredible digital creatures/monsters for the movies. It was so fun to spend so much time in the company of an artist, pouring through art books and images together, eating yummy Italian food, and enjoying each other’s company over the summer. At the end of the summer, he got his dream job with Lucas Films, and I moved out of the city to Berkeley, and we kind of went our separate ways. It was an epic, if short, romance and a real highlight of my year :-)

I had no intention of moving to Berkeley but somehow I got swept up in the need to change something after 5 years of living at the same residence in San Francisco with an extended family I had come to love dearly. I was craving more space, more stuff to call my own, an environment I could keep clean and put my stamp on. My friend and mentor, Coach Mike Hammerquist, had a room open up in his house and invited me to live there. It was a perfect fit for me and my cat of 8 years.

I began commuting from Berkeley to SF for work in September, and the first day using the commuter car pool we were rear-ended and I sustained my 5th whiplash injury. As a result, I got to know the limits of my health insurance plan much better, and found a wonderful chiropractor and amazing physical therapist who have nursed me back to better shape than I have been in my entire life.

I got on board for Obama again during the 2012 election year, and again was victorious. But it was during the first Obama-Romney debate that I finally had an “aha” moment (as Oprah would say), that there was something I could really do personally to make our country better. I ended up conceiving of a company that would help people get healthier on their own. It is called the Center for Public Wellness, and I will be rolling it out in the new year. It is exciting to have an idea I can put all my passion behind and I feel like it is truly my life’s calling. I attended a women’s political conference in Beverly Hills right after the election and got even more fired up about what women ought to be doing for our country.

I struggled a lot the last few months of the year following my car accident. Financially I was really struggling, physically my body was undergoing a lot of changes, and I made some risky health choices in that state which challenged my body quite a lot. I had to hitchhike for the first time and beg for money to get home or stay with friends. All-in-all I had a couple near-death experiences this year, some intentional and unintentional interesting chemical experiences, and learned a whole heck of a lot through it all.

I came back coaching in the fall with 8 strong and talented women coming out for the throws, my biggest and most dynamic group ever. The semester ended up being really challenging and enlightening at the same time, and I look forward to seeing what this young group of athletes will be able to do this year.

And finally, I decided to undergo a radical experiment in foot health and strength this fall. First, changing the way I walk drastically by wearing flat shoes, pushing off the ball of the foot more and aligning my feet under my hips straightforward. I ended up successfully creating arches in my feet for the first time in my life, and continued the progress by deciding to go barefoot for 30 days. 2 weeks in, I gave away all my shoes and became a convert for life, it was that awesome. It led to some adventures, such as getting booted off a couple buses and an airport, but those experiences just led into more better and profound experiences that have truly changed my life. I finally get to have the “dream job” I envisioned after high school: somehow working barefoot in a skirt. The health benefits have been really remarkable, as have been the sensations and learning opportunities embedded in this experience.

This inspired me to change a lot of other things about my life, such as getting rid of much of my chemicals and metals and coming into a more “natural” state. I went as far as growing out all my body hair, but changed my mind and decided that’s where I would draw the line for now :-)

The last couple weeks I’ve been looking into dating again and have enjoyed spending time hiking and having tea with a doctor, believe it or not :-) Who knows what 2013 will bring!

It has truly been an epic year and I am excited to see where life will take me next year. I’m sure I left out a bunch of other good stuff too, but oh well. Cheers! And enjoy the last couple days of this era…here’s to an awesome next 5,000 years.