Thursday, October 11, 2012

October Book Club: What Alice Forgot

For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to be part of a book club. I've mentioned it to my sister and friends for sometime but nothing seemed to materialize (with everyone's varying schedules, tastes in books, physical proximity to each other, etc.)

Until about three months ago I can finally say (yay!) I belong to a book club through my local mom's group (they're awesome!).

The first book we read was 50 Shades of Grey by E L James. Everybody and their mama's mama was reading this so I figure I'm a mama, its on sale at Costco, I might as well hop on board. It took me most of the first book to get rid of my prejudices about the not-so-great writing. It is filled with repetitive clauses and (in my opinion) very little literary merit. Halfway toward the book I was wondering, when is Christian going to turn into a vampire? I googled it and Christian never turns into a vampire. Dang. Oh well. By the second book I was hooked and really bought into their twisted love story. I never got to the third book because we needed to read another book for our club.

The second book we read was Carry the One by Carol Anshaw. Let's just say I didn't like it. There were too many characters to keep track of and I think the author didn't do a good job making any of them like-able. Since there were so many characters, there were even more plot-lines (boring) to keep track of. I stopped reading this book to read the 2nd installment of 50 Shades :-)

Onto the most recent book we are reading: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Two words: LOVED IT!!! The writing was good, the plot be-livable, and the main characters very like-able. I immediately bonded with Alice :-)

The story is about a 39-year old mother and wife who loses 10 years of her memory after an accident at the gym during spin class.

"Old Alice" is obsessed with working out, a control freak, impeccably organized, is about to go through a divorce with her husband Nick while juggling a budding relationship with the principal at her kids private school. She and Nick have three kids.

"Young Alice" is 29 years old, has a good relationship with her husband Nick, is carefree, fun, spontaneous, hates exercise, has a close relationship with her older sister, and is pregnant with her first child.

I loved the way the author fuses the dynamics of how Young Alice operates in Old Alice's life. It is a well woven story about the intricacies of love, life, family, second chances, and most of all perspective.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

This is when Alice realizes how badly her relationship with Nick has deteriorated:

"My lovely Nick. My Nick. I want to tell him about it, because he'd be so angry if he ever heard somebody speak to me like that. He's the first person I want to tell when somebody upsets me; my foot pressing on the accelerator, desperate to get home from work just to tell him, the moment I tell him, the moment his face lights up with fury on my behalf, its better, its fixed. Nick, you will never believe how this man spoke to me. You will want to punch him in the nose when you hear. Except its so strange, because it was you, Nick, you were the man."

An accurate description on young love versus mature love:

"Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It's light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after a separation and a near-divorce, after you've hurt each other, bored each other and forgiven each other, after you've seen the worst and the best---well that sort of love is ineffable. It deserves its own word."

As Alice's grown kids serve her breakfast in bed on Mother's Day:

"She picked up the fork, took a mouthful of pancake, and closed her eyes. They would think she was savoring the taste (blueberries, cinnamon, cream---excellent), but she was actually savoring the whole morning, trying to catch it, pin it down, keep it safe before all those precious moments became yet another memory."

You can pick up this book at your local library or pick up the e-book version like I did here:

Goodnight and happy reading!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Aulani 2012: travel planning

My personalized planner. Can't function without it!

Got a bunch of things on my to do list that are travel related so I may as well blog about it so that I can put in a quick post.

I really want to learn from all experiences so taking the time to write and reflect helps me identify the things that are working and those that aren't.

Our last trip was a short one to Las Vegas earlier this month and there are two glaringly wrong things I did:

(1) Packed late the night before which lead to a lack of sleep which (2) contributed to the night before's lack of sleep which made me a grump that first day. No to mention lethargic. Boo.

For Aulani, I am packing for the kids and I- Gerald does his own packing as he is very particular in what he brings. I appreciate this because I have one less person to pack for = )

Last year's trip to Kaui I was so focused on packing lightly and efficiently that I did not focus on a very important detail, our FLIGHT TIME (we did not check in any luggage, a big deal for a family of four!). Due to this we MISSED our FLIGHT. Ughh. Tough lesson there, will write about this later.

This time around, I am making an effort to complete laundry three days prior to travel and to pack two days before travel day.

I am also rising earlier, today at 3:20 am to get stuff done. This ensures I get to bed at a decent time as sleep is essential to traveling happily.

That's it for now. This post is mostly for me. To keep me accountable on my blogging goals.

Hope anyone who stumbles on this has an awesome day!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Playdates, Top Flight Gymnastics

We had an open gym play-date with our local Mom's group this morning at Top Flight Gymnastics in Fremont.

It was our first time there and the kiddies had a blast.

They even had a bouncy house, multiple trampolines of varying sizes, stuff to climb on and jump into.

Gigi most especially loved this ring where kids could swing like Tarzan and drop into a foam pit. Nifty and fun ;D

Gavin pretty much followed Gigi around but enjoyed the bounce house with a slide the most.

The group had a pre-arranged rate of $5 per child for one hour of play (10 kids or more) which I thought was fantastic.

Gavin, 2 years, 4 months
Gigi, 3 years, 3 months


The hour flew by and besides the slight smell of feet (I can't help it) I really enjoyed this place. We will definitely be returning here because the place is a huge air-conditioned indoor play-area which we all enjoyed!

Blog game plan

It has been two and half months since my last :(

If this blog were a plant it would be completely dried up, shriveled, and gone by now..double boo :( :(

I am comitting to putting some life back into this lovely little space of mine so that I can retreat, reflect, and indulge in the therapy of writing = )

Below is a list of blog topics I would like to write to about. (If any of the topics interest you, let me know and I will place them on the top of my "To Write" list.)

Gigi's developmental progress & her 4th birthday
Gavin's developmental progress & his 2nd birthday
Gavin's 1st day of school

Aulani 2012: travel planning-  9/19/12, activity breakdown, recommendations, & reflections
Las Vegas 2012: travel planning, activity breakdown, recommendations, & reflections
Disneyland 2012: travel planning, activity breakdown, recommendations, & reflections

Bay to Breakers 10k
Stanford Scamper 5k
See Jane Run Half Marathon
Kids for Sports 5k

Mom's groups, playdates 9-17-12  , & community
Book Club 10/11/12
Girlie Outings

PROact training
Personal challenges/hurdles
Planning system & fortune making

Blog Housekeeping
Organize blog articles by themes/groups
Create standalone pages by themes/groups to allow for easier navigating within the site
Network with other niche bloggers

Buckle your seatbelts people, with a game plan in hand, things are going to get interesting around here ;D!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Running progress 2012

Sometime last year I wrote about my progress in running and it seems fitting that I follow-up on my progress this year.

A sub 8 minute mile and a non-stop 10 mile run

I must say, I really feel like a runner now. Everyone has a different definition of this and to me, the moment I became (a more serious) runner was when I met two personal running goals. (1)The first was to be able to run an all out mile in less than 8 minutes, more precisely at a 7:40 mile/minute pace. (2)The next goal was to be able to run 10 miles, non-stop. This I was able to do at about a 10:40 mile/minute pace.

Racing, 13.1 & 3.1 mile pacing, & personal records (PR's)

As you would imagine, the pacing for a 13.1 mile race and 3.1 race are vastly different. I learned that the proper way to run a half marathon should feel no harder than an effort level of about a 9 from a scale 1- 10. Additionally, most of the race should should be ran at slightly below one's lactate threshold. Lactate threshold can be defined as the "point during exhaustive, all-out exercise at which lactate builds up in the blood stream faster than the body can remove it." During my most recent half marathon I was completely focused on running as much of the distance as possible and trained so that I wouldn't have to make any bathroom breaks. My efforts were rewarded with a half marathon time 30 minutes faster than last year and which I happily PR'd :)

A 5k or 3.1 mile race is a totally different animal. There are a number of strategies to run this race but the one that made the most sense to me, at my current fitness level, and lack of racing experience, was to do a proper warm up, some priming, and start out hard and fast without bonking. By the time I got tired, I'd slow down and do my best to hang on, not bonk, and not throw up. Even if this race is significantly shorter, it is significantly more intense. From a scale of 1 to 10 my most recent 5k was ran at an effort level of about a 9.7. I felt slightly nauseous and dry-heaved at the end of this race. I first trained for a half marathon and immediately after trained for 5 weeks to get my 5k under 30 minutes. I met my goal, shaved off seven minutes from last year's 5k, PR'd, and was extremely ecstatic.

Just yesterday I learned that out of 102 female participants in my age group I came in at #15! Since this is the first season I introduced formal speed work into my training, I was absolutely over the moon about this!

Consistency, learning from mistakes, my current plan, & injury prevention

I have been running consistently for a little over a year now. A good part of this time has been invested in building an aerobic base of slower paced, long runs as a recreational runner. I've just recently started implementing running plans and racing. And by racing I mean running for time and not just distance anymore.

The biggest mistake I made last year was to do too much too fast in terms of introducing a strength training program. Coming off from the high of completing my second half marathon in Kauai last year, I lifted too much, too soon, and hurt my knee. I had to take over a month off from running and I was royally pissed. Never again I promised myself.

My current training plan calls for weight training & running. My strategy this time around is to remember that I am a Runner. To me this means my lifting as it pertains to my lower body needs to be done at a moderately-light effort level, executed slowly, and with impeccable form. My upper body and core workouts are done moderately-difficult, executed slowly, and with equally good form.

Safety and sustainability is extremely important to me as well as injury prevention. I take the time to complete a proper warm up and cool down. I take rest days after hard workouts. I can be stubborn but I absolutely listen to my body, always. When I've had a hard run and feel discomfort I back off and ice that body part and rest up.

For the first time my fitness has improved to the point that I can actually perform and sustain fairly hard runs.This in and of itself feels absolutely amazing. My favorite running workouts are at my local middle school track where I unleash the inner athlete I never knew (but getting to know and really like) emerge, grow, and kick some major a$$. Mine :)

I pray that I continue to receive the gift of good health and fitness for many years to come and be able to compete and grow until I'm a great grandmother, gray, but still luminescent because I am filled with life, light, and most importantly love :-)

I'm hoping that whoever reads this will find that you and yours will always be healthy, charmed, and blessed!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Packard Summer Scamper

Niko, Gigi, & Lorenzo clutching their prized medals :)

We participated in our first family fun run last June, jogging strollers and all, in memory of our JuJu (Julio DePerio) at the 1st annual Stanford Scamper in Palo Alto. We had such an awesome time we decided to make this run an annual event. This event is perfect for a first-timer or pro because it was SUPER organizedVERY family friendly, and:

-they served coffee, water, & snacks before and after the race
-they gave away essentials like sunblock and lip balm before the race
-they had a professional DJ (star 101.3) & an enthusiastic MC
-the course was flat and very easy to maneuver with a stroller

Here are some pics:

GOOOOOOD morning!

racers snacking before the race

thank you for the sunblock & lipbalm too

you rock!

you do too!

No bandits here, we're all legit with our race bibs ;D

Go, Gigi, Go!

Families greatly benefit with an event like this because it beautifully blends family togetherness, an active lifestyle, and a winning attitude!

We hope you can come out and join us this year :)

Here is our team page: Juju's Grace Team Page

Lorenzo, Julio, & Lattie, October 2007

Event Details
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Time: 8:00 a.m. start
(Packet pickup and day-of registration begins at 6:30 a.m.)

Place: Oak Road and Stock Farm Road, Stanford, California

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April 2012: It's a wrap! (Part 1 of 2)

I can't believe we're nearly halfway through 2012. Here's a recap of the previous month:

The first weekend of April was spent at Jack London Square in Oakland.

We found ourselves celebrating two events that weekend: the first was Auntie Kai's graduation from nursing school.

Everyone seemed to think their food was so-so and from what I tasted (Gerald and Lyle ordered the Lobster Roll..WEAK..DINKY..) and I have to say that what I ordered was the winner: Dungeness Crab & Seafood Cioppino was pretty amazing...highly recommend this if you are a cioppino-connoisseur.

And a cute pic of my favorite xy-chromosomed humans ;D

And Gigi, you are not in a rap video, darling. Cool it girl.

Gavin thinking: "Grampa really should take more walks with us :)"

And ended the evening with some crafts

and ice cream :)

I felt a little bad that I was the only one who really enjoyed what I ate at Scott's and was hoping the next day, their Easter Sunday Brunch was better...and IT WAS!!

After church we headed back to Scott's and were greeted by friendly staff and yes, the Easter Bunny.

And our table was personalized with a card "Gerold's" name (its GerAld). There was live jazz music playing. 5 stars for ambiance.

Mom, normally eats like a bird at restaurants.

She had a little mountain on her plate and really enjoyed the food.

We all did, even the kiddies.

I'm definitely a brunch-buff and Scott's throws down a slammin' brunch.

The only thing missing I would say would be the "sweet thing" to match up with all their yummy "savory things."
They served a cheese blintz type thing but I was looking more for french toast, pancakes, waffles, etc. You know, sweet-tooth-people-food.

Oh, hello Cioppino! Yum. Just as good as yesterday's.

Scott's reminds of my Beta Alpha Psi days where we hosted professional Meet and Greets for students and accounting firms.

I always liked the venue and remembered the food being pretty good.

Dessert bar was pretty good too.

I seriously stuffed myself

that I only nibbled on the dessert items

what I did have

definitely satisfied my sweet tooth.

Sunday brunch done well at Scott's Seafood in Oakland.

Noy, Lorenzo, Mon, & Lei :)

Noy, "Gerold",  Mom, & Lor


Pretty mama with her kiddies :-)

Only cool, people with sunglasses allowed in this pic.

Easter Sunday Egg Hunt thanks to Auntie Lor!

Wee! Happy Easter!