A Collection of Random Thoughts


Photos and text by Gabrielle.

Happy day after Labor Day! Today feels like a good day to give you a little report on what’s been going on at our house.

– I got my haircut! It feels gooood. Chopped off all the ragged stuff. And I had my roots colored too. I’m liking this new length a lot. It’s long enough that I can still pull it into a ponytail, but it doesn’t feel as heavy on my head. I can’t claim to be a selfie-pro, but I snapped a couple of shots to show you.

I’m still thinking a pixie is next. Maybe just in time for Alt Summit in January!


– School has been in for two weeks already, but the Tuesday after Labor Day always feels like the “real” first day of school to me. At the elementary school, it was “early out” for the first two weeks, so today is the first day our youngest three will stay at school for a full day. And it’s supposed to be super hot here this week. I’m thinking up fun ways to greet them after school that will help them cool down, and I’m grateful it’s a short week!

– Speaking of ways to cool down, last week, Jordan, Paul and Liz, plus their kids, surprised us with a late afternoon water balloon attack. It was awesome! They snuck a basket of water balloons to our front door, kept a basket of balloons for themselves, and then they hid.

Next, Jordan texted us and told him to open our door. Our kids had just enough time to notice the basket of water balloons (the water balloons on the front porch were for us to throw) before they were attacked, and a fantastic cousins water balloon battle ensued. It was epic! If you have the opportunity to do this for a family you love, go for it! So much fun for everyone, and it brightened up an otherwise totally average school day.

By the way, Jordan said the key to making this an easy, fun thing, is this invention. It fills 100 water balloons in 60 seconds! And ties them too!!

– Yesterday was a particularly good day. Some of the highlights: One of our favorite familys came over to try out the bridge and zipline. We loved hanging out with them — and their son, who is just six, climbed the rope! It’s a challenging thing to do, and he’s the youngest to attempt it. Very exciting. While they were here, Maude made rice crispie treats. (Sidenote: I love rice crispie treats way too much.) Our recipe is 1 full box of rice crispies (12 oz size), 1 full bag of mini marshmellows (the bigger 16 oz bag), and 1 full cube of butter. Heaven!

For lunch, we took the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco. It was gorgeous out! And the wind on the ferry felt amazing. The ferry takes you very close to the Oakland cranes. The cranes are endlessly appealing to me. I wish there was a touristy option that allowed people to climb one or interact with one. They are so cool! The ferry takes you right under the Bay Bridge and drops you off at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. We walked around the Ferry Building, grabbed food from 3 different shops, and had a little picnic by the water. Then we took the ferry back to Oakland.

By then, the day had really heated up, and we were all craving a dip in some cool water. Ben Blair remembered Lake Anza. It’s a little lake in the Berkeley Hills, surrounded by trees, and just a few minutes from Oakland. Really lovely. The water was cold! Perfect for the hot day. It was the first time we swam there, but it’s so close, I know we’ll be back.

On the way home, we stopped to watch the sunset, and picked up pizza for dinner. Oh man. I LOVED yesterday. It was just a really, really good day. (Here’s a very short video of us at the lake.)

– I started going to the gym. I’ve gone Monday through Saturday. Nine workouts so far. I have historically not liked going to the gym at all, so nine days is something! I’m trying a new-to-me workout. If I’m able to stick with it, I’ll tell you more about it. : ) One funny thing is that I am such a non-exerciser that I don’t really own any workout clothes at the moment, so I’m using some hand-me-downs from Maude, and I wear the same outfit everyday. I told myself that if I workout for four weeks, my reward will be a new workout getup.

– I tried my first Periscope Broadcast — you can watch Oscar and Olive climb our trees, cross the hanging bridge, zip line across the yard, and repel down. All from 30 feet above the ground! BUT the link is only live for 24 hours. The video will expire (and disappear) around 4:30p PST.

– Lastly, I finished All the Light We Cannot See over the weekend. It’s so good. I loved reading it. Highly recommend! Book club is tonight — should be a fun gathering.

And there’s my random report for the month. Feel free to comment on any topic above — or consider this an open thread and bring up a completely different topic. I can’t wait to hear what’s on your mind!

42 thoughts on “A Collection of Random Thoughts”

  1. I’m stocking up on fitness wear too! Have you heard of Albion workout clothes? They are made with the softest fabric and I love the way they fit so much!

    1. If I lived in SLC (so close to their shop), I would be in debt to Albion! Love them! Wish I could go to their rooftop workouts at the Harmon’s downtown!

    2. Yes! I’ve met lovely folks from Albion Fitness at Alt Summit, but I confess, since I’ve never been much of an exerciser, I didn’t look into their products. Glad to know you recommend them!

  2. I love these posts too! What a fun peek inside! Workout clothes are my favorite things to shop for myself; my favorite by far is a brand called, Beyond Yoga. Super high quality, long lasting, comfy, and very cute options. Looking forward to hearing about whatever workout has gotten you hooked.

  3. Hi Gabrielle, as you mentioned this could be an open forum I thought I’d bring up a topic that’s been on my mind a lot these last couple weeks. I’ve been really impacted by the heart-wrenching picture of the young refugee boy, Alyan Kurdi, and the scene of the refugees turned away at the Budapest train station, and wondered what I can do to help on the other side of the world. In addition to the work the Red Cross is doing, I learned about The People’s Armada and their indiegogo campaign to fund a rescue boat. The issue isn’t without controversy, but what we’re seeing isn’t a political issue, it isn’t a religious issue, it’s an issue of being a global citizen and saving human lives, just like ours. I’m not affiliated with the organization but I urge you to check it out. Here’s what the Huffington Post had to say: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/8100930
    Here’s the indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/people-s-armada-fund-a-rescue-boat#/
    Thanks for reading, and I enjoy being a reader of your blog!

  4. 9 days in a row, that’s amazing! 3 days a week is when I get my pat on the back.

    I also don’t own many workout clothes and wear the same thing, I’ve been on the hunt for new workout leggings but I only like the ones with a draw string to make them stay up, I got mine from H&M and we don’t have that in New Zealand so I am at a bit of a loss.

    Looking forward to hearing what the workout is your trying if it goes well :)

  5. Oh, I love being able to share randomness! 1) A book club that I started 18 years ago came to an end sadly last year. Everyone was busy and it wasn’t functioning. Anyway, I’m very lazy when it comes to picking out good books to read, so I TOTALLY rely on recommendations. I recently read The Rosie Project! Way too many ‘f’ words but the story was brilliant, expertly written, and I would love to see fashioned in a PG movie.
    2)We have a family friend that own a professional donut maker machine. On the first monday of every month, they invite anyone who wants to come from our town over for hot donuts. Yes, to their house on 2 acres! About 100 people come each time, and the crowd is always different. I’m still thinking about those hot donuts with the maple glaze I ate last night!

    1. I really enjoyed The Rosie Project! I know there are other books in the series, but I haven’t tried them yet. You?

      And oh my goodness the donut party sounds delightful. I don’t think I know what a professional donut maker looks like, but now I’m off to search it.

  6. I recently found great work out clothing at Walmart (!!) Who knew?! The Bay Area walmarts are stocked with great stuff- I love the dri-fit shirts especially. $20 later and you’ve got a good, full outfit!
    Ps- fun to read this post. This and the underwear one seem more like your ‘voice’ than other posts this summer. Fun to hear about how you function! :)

  7. 9 days in a row! Amazing! I am a new gym-goer too, and have been motivating myself by keeping a tally with a “gym cost-per-use” figure that I update each time I go (at my uni gym you pay your membership in full when you sign up). Luckily exercise is something I’ve been thinking about for a long long time, so I had plenty of exercise clothes that I picked up cheap in the Boxing Day Sales last year and the year before… I also found Kmart in NZ to have some pretty decent gear, to my surprise!

  8. Do you know what just popped in to my mind this afternoon? Your oil pulling — are you still as devoted as you once were? I’m going to the dentist tomorrow for the first time in two years… I’ve been terrible at making the appointment to go, and I’m afraid my teeth are in bad shape (cavities! I just know it!). I’d love to hear if the oil pulling rage is working for people long term. I never got in to it but did try it and enjoyed it! My excuse for not continuing is that my kids would never let me go the 2 minutes wihout talking to them. ;)

    1. I still adore oil pulling! My mouth feels so good every time I oil pull. But, I’ve been wearing Invisalign for the last year and I definitely oil pulled less often because of that — it was just too many mouth cleaning tasks in one day.

      My Invisalign finishes up this month (woo hoo!), so I hope to get back to daily oil pulling.

  9. I love these little updates. They’re kind of like the words to go along with the Instagram shots! Speaking of which, that video of you guys at Lake Anza was the cutest! The kids and I spent one of the last days of their Summer vacation at Lake Anza with friends and we all had so much fun. It’s such a great little spot to go swimming – although I have to admit that coming from Australia I still find it weird that we have to pay to swim there!

    Catching the ferry is such a great way to get across the Bay. I too love how close it
    goes to the cranes. I’ve always wanted to climb one too! Let’s sneak in ;)

    Oh, and don’t feel bad about not owning any gym gear. I haven’t even owned sneakers for about a decade! Seeing as I walk around so much I probably should invest in a pair of comfy sneakers but I just can’t bring myself to wear such ugly shoes. My poor feet must hate me!

    1. This was our first visit to Lake Anza and we loved it! One tip: by the time we arrived, it was about 5:00 and the ticket booth was closed — so there was no cost to go in. And unexpected surprise! And even though it was Labor Day and very busy, by that time, most families were heading home, and we could park very easily.

      But, the food counter was also closed (which was fine with us — it wasn’t a meal time), and the lifeguards leave at 6:30, and then it’s swimming at your own risk. Those facts might be deal-breakers for some.

  10. This is perhaps odd to say to a stranger over the internet, but it’s lovely to hear how happy you sound Gabby. Not that you don’t always keep this a positive space, but I remember your post about depression after the move and this update just seemed particularly joyful.

    And the Oakland cranes look amazing! They are on my must-visit list next time we’re in SF for sure!

    1. Thanks for the sweet words, Jess! It took me a long time to feel like I was “back-to-normal”. I do feel joyful and I’m glad it shows!

      And yes, come see the cranes. Oakland really needs to figure out a way for tourists to really visit them because they’re so irresistible. Obviously, the cranes are actual working machinery, so currently there’s no good way to interact with them. But the ferry ride gets you so close!

  11. Okay so I have to know…you said you use a cube of butter in your Rice Crispy treats. What do you mean by a cube? A cube to me equals a pound of butter…wow. Or do you mean a stick of butter that equals 1/2 cup of butter.

    We are huge Rice Crispy treat fans at our house too…and Special K bars. YUM!!!

  12. I love your personal family update posts! It sounds like the school year is off to a good start. I have a large outdoor space in Seattle consisting of five “rooms” plus plenty of open areas. It is wonderful for playing hide-and-go-seek at dusk. I would love to try the water balloon fight but all I can think of is picking up all those tiny bits of latex. It would be worse than pulling weeds! Do you not notice them b/c your space is so wild? I wish there was a biodegradable balloon option…maybe something for Jordan to develop and change the world?

    1. The way we handed the balloons is that after the battle, before we did anything else, everyone spent 5 minutes hunting them down and throwing them away. We probably missed a few (and they’ll show up as we do yardwork), but I’ll bet we got 95%. Luckily, they are so bright (almost neon) that they weren’t hard to spot.

  13. My 10-year-old just got such a kick out of Oscar in that video! She also loved his Stacking Wood video a couple years ago, along with Betty’s tour of Paris. The internet is such a simultaneously weird and cool thing in the way it seems to make the world a smaller place… We feel like we know you! (And you are a lovely family to know!)

    1. Hah! No. It’s all me. But your the third commenter that mentioned the writing sounds different, and now I’m so curious what makes it different! I don’t recall being in an unusual mood when I wrote it. : )

  14. We went to the beach in Alameda today to escape the heat. It was empty and there was ample parking. We were next to the Crab Cove visitor center and they have aquariums and neat exhibits about the local beaches. I love that there is water and sand, then a huge area with grass and trees. You can play in the water and then go to the grass to picnic and get your little one changed after the sand has fallen off.

    I am glad to hear that you enjoyed Lake Anza. When we visited the water was roped off and not for swimming due to high levels of algae. Will have to try and go swimming there again. ^_^

  15. I’m a fan of workout clothes from Ayayay ( pronounced eye-eye-eye!). Made locally in Los Angeles. Great pieces that are meant to mix and layer and they are unique because it’s a smaller company trying to do something different from the major brands that often mimic each other. I do the same in terms of rewarding myself with workout clothes if I meet different milestones :)

  16. After all this time I still can’t get used to you with blonde hair! All the light We Cannot See is an amazing book. I read it over last year’s Christmas Holidays and it still remains very clear in my mind. I’ve outgrown ( size wise) my exercise gear. I ran a marathon in 2013 but have been plagued by injury and general apathy for about year. Most Monday’s I feel hopeful but I allow niggling pain and laziness to creep in and so I too have have a workout wardrobe issue which wasn’t such a problem in winter but an Aussie summer isn’t going to be so forgiving.

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