Peloponnes Family vacation

IMG_4608I’m just back from vacation in Greece with my cousins, Titus and Sabine, and their two boys, Matthias and Sebastian. My cousins live in Germany and we try to meet up over the summer for a family vacation. This year we went to Greece, to a family resort on the Peloponnes coast in western Greece.  We had a fantastic time and the week blitzed by. I love hanging out with Matthias and Sebastian on these vacations and watching them grow up. Matthias, who’s 12, had braces this year and just finished his first year in “Hochschule” (the German equivalent of middle school) and is deep into reading fantasy novels. Sebastian, 7, is the family charmer and has become soccer obsessed, and the highlight of his vacation was scoring 4 goals in the evening beach soccer game with the “big kids.” German families tend to spend a few weeks at the beach over the summer, often in one of these “all inclusive family resorts.”We went to a similar type resort last year in Turkey and I will admit I was a bit skeptical of the concept at first. The idea of staying put in one place for a week, roaming between pool and beach, is not my typical vacation, but I’ve come to love these vacations, where everything is planned and taken care of and there’s really nothing to think about other than finding your beach chair for the day and remembering to put on sunscreen. Since I arrived pretty exhausted from a really long flight and few very stressful weeks at work,  I was definitely in need of a week of “doing nothing.”

We spent the week hanging out at the pool, swimming in the ocean, floating in the “lazy river” pool (I fell in love with the lazy river!), sleeping, reading, playing endless rounds of Uno. In the evenings, there was a music and entertainment program that ranged from family night, where the kids put together a dance and comedy show, to a Greek dancing show.  There was never ending food and as much ice cream as one could eat, all day long. Sebastian amazed me with how much ice cream such a little guy could put away! Matthias convinced me to try SUP (standup paddleboarding for those, like me , who had no idea what SUP is!) which proved to be harder than anticipated. Matthias was a natural and was padding around like he had been doing it forever. I, however, quickly reverted to “sit down paddle boarding” (a new support SDP?) and regretted not going for the sea kayaking option. The humiliation of my complete lack of ability to get upright on the board was made up for by Matthias thrill and happiness that I went with him, when his Mom and Dad stayed on the beach. The kids brought me up to speed on the latest video game fads—-everyone was very into Pokemon Go, but sadly, Pokemons had not yet found their way to the resort. I finally managed to finish the 4th book of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. I had started the series last year in Turkey. We took a day trip one day, to go to Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic games. Having come all this way, I did want to see some of the local cultural sites. We managed to catch our first Pokemon of the trip at Olympia. In between, I spent at an afternoon at the spa, for a round of relaxing Thalassotherapy which is a  form of water massage where you do rounds in a pool with different water jets that massage different parts of your body (who knew this even existed…it’s like a water park for adults!).

The one part of being at a family resort that I’ll admit was a bit hard was that there were families and kids and babies everywhere, all so impossibly cute. In fact, there really wasn’t anyone there who didn’t have kids and the place was designed around kids. Not surprisingly, although for the most part I was in the moment and very happy to be there as the fun Aunt, every now and then, I couldn’t help but feeling a bit jealous and longing for a child of my own. But, all in all, it was a fantastic week and a much needed chance to unwind. I will say that “doing nothing” is tiring in its own way. We’re already starting to think about where our vacation next year will be. I’m hoping that by next year, I’ll be able to introduce everyone to a new baby cousin!





Tassajara Magic

Tassajara Zen CenterLast weekend, I went away with my friend Phil for a long weekend to Tassajara, a Zen monastery and hot springs four hours south of here, in the mountains outside of Carmel Valley. This was our second Tassajara trip and I am hopeful we’re going to make this an annual tradition. It’s hard to describe the calming magic of Tassajara. Tassajara is the oldest Soto Zen monastery in the United States. The hot springs are the main physical attraction, though Tassajara is about so much more than the hot springs. The hot springs were originally discovered by the Esselen native people and even then the springs were known for their restorative properties. Later in the 1900s , the hot springs were part of a mountain resort, where Californians would come to “take the cure” for the supposed healing powers waters. By the 50s and early 60s, the resort had fallen in disrepair and then was rediscovered by Shunryu Roshi who founded the San Francisco Zen Center and brought new life to Tassajara, as a center for the study of Zen Buddhism. Tassajara today remains an active Zen monastery, where for most of the year, students come here for the monastic life, to meditate and study Buddhism. During the spring and summer, Tassajara is open for the “guest season” and “guests” from the lay world can come for retreats and workshops, or just to get away. The hot springs themselves are beautiful and relaxing, with the baths having a very Japan architecture, adding to the relaxing zen feel. A babbling creek runs through the center of Tassajara and its melody. along with the chirping birds, is constantly in the background. At regularly intervals in the day, its gurgling is interrupted with the gentle gongs and bells from the Zendo, calling the students to Zazen (meditation). Part of the magic of Tassajara is the journey. Tassajara itself is that end of the long 14 mile rugged, narrow, steep and winding one-lane dirt road, one that some are brave enough to drive but we got a ride from the nearby town via the Tassajara “stage” (aka a SUV with 4 wheel drive and good brakes!). My first ever trip to Tassajara was one where I drove alone and made the mistake of arriving close to dusk. I’ll never forget that drive down that bumpy, narrow, dirt road, wondering whether I would ever get out of there alive. I was smart enough for that trip (having been warned!) to have rented a 4 wheel drive (there’s no way my little car would have made it!) but even so, it was by far the scariest drive of my life. It’s common for cars to burn out their breaks or pop tires coming down this road. Our driver told us that at least four times per season someone’s car completely breaks down. The funniest story of this season was the person who drove their Tessla in not realizing that they would not be able to charge it once there (talk about clueless and entitled!). When you are driving down that road,  one wonders why people even bother, but then, you get to the bottom, and there you are, in this truly magical place. The stress of the drive just melts away. You really feel like you are a million miles away from the real world when you’re there. There is no internet or phone reception and in  fact, you’re discouraged from even having your phone visible.  Electricity is also limited. Even a few years ago, none of the cabins had electricity. The only lights there were old-fashioned gas lanterns, but now they’ve exchanged these with solar lights. The food is all vegetarian and super-delicious, especially the home baked Tassajara bread that they are so famous for. Whenever I arrive at Tassajara, I just notice my body and mind getting lighter. My steps slow down and I can feel my mind recentering. I had first come to Tassajara a few years ago for a workshop, not quite knowing what to expect. I initially took up meditation in the period after my Mom died. That was a difficult time for me and meditation helped me refind myself and start to come to terms with the grief and trauma of her illness and death. I had heard about Tassajara from various people over the years but never made the trip myself. It’s one of those places where people come year after year. Phil and I met people who have been making the annual pilgrimage for 30 plus years. As a result, it’s not so easy to get a reservation. On my first visit, I actually got lucky and signing up for this workshop was a rather spur of the moment decision and lucky break that there was a last minute opening. That workshop, which was about making life changes, really transformed me in many ways, and I got my first taste of the magic of Tassajara. It seemed fated somehow. This past weekend was no less perfect. We spent the weekend hiking, lounging in the hot springs, swimming in the creek’s swimming pool, reading and just catching up and slowing down. The special moments are many—sitting in the hot springs at night staring up at a sky overflowing with stars; escaping the incessant pull of my iphone and not thinking about emails for three whole days;  watching the blue jays chatter up a storm from our porch overlooking the creek; swimming in the swimming hole at the Narrows; naps by the pool and sleeping late; watching my mind slow down and catching up with myself. Bliss. Throughout this adoption journey and especially as I wait, it’s been really helpful for me to find time, like this weekend, to get away. With the adoption wait, you are always “on” somehow, waiting for the phone to ring or an email to arrive. Most of the time, it’s just crickets, seemingly nothing happening and the phone silent and yet, I am in constant fear being out of contact and missing THE call. It’s hard to be constantly on call and waiting, so I made a decision early on not to put my life on hold while I waited. Sure, that does mean special arrangements sometimes—like this weekend, making sure my counselors had the main phone number at Tassajara if something came up or buying trip insurance for my vacations, just in case they need to be cancelled. It’s not that I wouldn’t drop everything to be ready when the time comes—in fact, I probably would even have hiked out that 14 mile dirt road from Tassajara if that were necessary. But, making sure that I still enjoy my life for what it is, as it is now, keeps me grounded and optimistic, even when the wait seems unbearable.


The Letter

!!! With Bodhi 4 (possible back cover)I’ve been working on a revised “Dear Birthmother Letter” and at long last, it’s finished! The final prints came in the mail this week! For those of you who have been following my adoption journey, I should perhaps back-up a bit. I decided a little while back to diversify my adoption strategy and started working with an additional adoption agency. I really like IAC (Independent Adoption Center, the nonprofit open adoption-focused agency I’ve been working with since I started this process), but for various reasons, I started to feel that I wanted a more hands-on approach to help me find my way to this special baby. It was a big step (and major financial commitment) to start working with a second agency, but I feel like it’s the right choice for me and have been excited for this next step. This agency has a bit of a different outreach philosophy than IAC and a different approach to the “Dear Birthmother Letter,” so here I am, revising my Letter again.

For friends who may not know about the “Dear Birthmother Letter,” “The Letter” (as I’ll refer to it) is a key part of the adoption process. It’s the first view that most Birthmoms have of prospective families and key part of the whole adoption networking process. I think I speak for most wanna-be adoptive parents when I say that “The Letter” might be one of the hardest, most-time consuming and fraught parts of the whole adoption process. At one point, I think the “Dear Birthmother Letter” was literally that, a letter to the prospective Birthmother, maybe with some photos included. Now these Letters are essentially glossy multi-paged photospreads. Preparing my IAC letter was harder and more emotionally tortured than even preparing for the homestudy.  These days, most of the adoption process happens online, where birthparents are presented with profiles of potential adoptive parents.  In the ideal, “The Letter” is intended to give birthparents a view of the potential family/person who may adopt their child. “The Letter” and on-line profile is a window into the adoptive parents, who they are, what their lives are like, why they want to adopt.This all seems incredibly reasonable, when seen from the Birthmother’s point of view, but still the whole concept of putting together this profile really intimidated me. In many ways, the adoption process these days seems a lot like online dating. (A comparison which seems chock full of irony  for me personally, considering that my distaste for online dating is a good part of the reason why I’m still single!) I’m a very private person and I intentionally keep a low online and social-media profile in the rest of my life. I’ll admit that initially hearing about “The Letter” and the whole process involved made me very anxious. I’m not a person who likes to talk about myself. I don’t even like having my photo taken. I like to live below the radar, so the idea of spilling out my life into what is essentially a glossy marketing brochure and online profile and on top of that, one that needed to stand out from a crowd gave me heart palpitations. There’s also this immediate feeling of being judged (pick me!), a feeling I found heightened when I perused other wanna-be adoptive family’s profiles. Reading those profiles, the other wanna-be parents all sound so very perfect, lovely and so right to be great parents. My insecure side wondered how I could possibly compare? Plus, while I usually am quite content with my life as a single woman, somehow, seeing this sea of shiny happy-looking couples, got me wondering why anyone would pick just me. At the same time, I couldn’t help but think how hard it must be for Birthmoms to sort through all these profiles, looking for that special one without knowing even what to look for.  Can you really tell who would be a good parent from one of these Letters? There is this sameness to the formatting and the language that makes it hard to stand out from the crowd.

Well, the first go-round of putting together my Letter, was really tough. Writer’s block to the extreme. For weeks, it was all I thought about. I walked around just thinking about to present who I am and my hopes and dreams for this baby into words and pictures on a page. The agency put forward very specific recommendations for format and what to say, which is helpful in some ways when you’re staring at a blank page, but very quickly starts to feel formulaic and not true to who I am. There’s also the issue of the photos. The agencies also have very specific recommendations for photos. For the IAC Letter, the recommendation was to have as many photos with children as possible. Now, I love kids and I love my friends’ kids, but I had few photos to document this, so for a few months, there were a lot of “photoshoots” with friends and their kids. Of course, it made me laugh when the new agency told me that their style favors photos of hobbies and your “adult life.” So, out with the kid shots and in with the hobby shots!

All this being said, as difficult as the process was I actually am so pleased with how my Letter turned out. In the end, what helped me to pull it all together (literally and psychologically) and made the process more meaningful and real for me, was thinking about this as not just a letter to the woman who would give birth to the baby I would be lucky enough to adopt but also a letter to my future child. Someday, I will be able to share this with him or her and show her/him what my life was like while he/she was just a dream. It’s the beginning of the story of our family and the first family scrapbook of many more to come.

I had a lot of help along the way and in particular, wanted to thank a few people who helped me create a Letter that really represents me, as I am. My friend Luis was very generous to be step in as the photographer for a number of my “photoshoots.” Not only did he take beautiful photos but he supplied his gorgeous children, Eleanor and Sebastian, as props! Thanks also to Eleanor and Sebastian for looking so completely adorable in all the photos. Who wouldn’t look awesome next to these two cuties! For my revised Letter, I decided to have some professional photos taken of me with Bodhi. I have a ton of photos of Bodhi and he always looks cute but I had very few photos of the two of us together. After researching pet photographers on Yelp, my dogsitter recommended a friend of his, Patty Nason. Patty was awesome! She spent the afternoon with Bodhi and I at a local park and took the most precious photos of Bodhi and me.  I treasure these photos—one of my favorites is above. She really captured us both so well. Plus, who doesn’t love having someone shouting out flattering comments like “you look beautiful” and “great smile” for a whole afternoon. I felt like a movie star at a red carpet event! Patty is starting her own photography business and so I wanted to give her a shout out. She was lovely to work with and made me feel so comfortable and joyful and at ease—which is saying alot coming from a camera-phobic person like me! Check out her website here and hire her! She does great headshots too! Last, but definitely not least, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Joanna Ivey from Our Chosen Child who did all the design work on my Letter and really made it all come together. Joanna is a amazing and I am so glad that my agency recommended working with her. I am not sure how she works her magic but Joanna is the fairy-godmother of adoption Letters. She took my carefully crafted text and collection of random photos and made them sparkle with life. Knowing only a little about me, she managed to capture my style and personality perfectly. And finally, to various friends who contributed photos and thoughtful suggestions and edits and supported me throughout this process, thank you, all of you. They say it takes a village to raise a child—who knew it also takes a village to write a very special Letter!

And so, without further adieu, the grand reveal, drumroll please—here is my new Letter!

Katja’s Adoption Letter

I really do love it and so hope it works its magic, that somewhere out there, there is a special woman thinking about adoption for her child and sees me in this Letter and says, yes, she’s the special Mom for my special baby!



Sunday at the museum

IMG_4261My friend Debbie was visiting from Boston on Sunday and we met up to go to the newly renovated and expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and being nostalgic, I immediately remembered back in grad school (1995??), standing in line for tickets when the “new” Mario Botta designed SFMOMA building opened up on 3rd street. That opening was also this huge deal at the time and it’s pretty amazing to see this next phase incarnation and also think about how much the city and the world has changed since then. That part of San Francisco –South of Market—was just starting to build up back then and was considered edgy and cool. Now it’s still this hip, happening neighborhood but has since been usurped by other cooler, trendier neighborhoods. It doesn’t really feel that long ago, but 1995 was about the time that Netscape launched and this thing called “the internet” became a part of our lives. Google didn’t come around until 1998. One of the exhibits was about typography and they had an old typewriter on display. I overheard a Dad telling his teenage kid that he wrote his college papers on one of those and you could see the look of confusion/shock on the kid’s face! I too left for college with a typewriter though bought one of the early Mac models (also on display in the same exhibit!) with my hard earned work study funds in my sophomore year. I wonder where we’ll be in twenty years, when my (not yet a part of my life but hopefully soon) kid is in college. I suspect (or at least hope) that there will still be museums and people will still want to explore art up close and personal and not be resigned to experiencing art via the digital versions.Yesterday, in the museum it seemed that probably more than half of the visitors were snapping photos with their smartphones, and too many people seemed more interested in taking selfies than the art. Ah, well—I’m sounding too much like an old curmudgeon now! The good news is that the museum was packed so art still holds a powerful draw! I love exploring museums but hadn’t been to the SFMOMA in quite a while. (Leave it to the motivation of having an out-of-town visitor to inspire one to go do one of the oh-so many cool things there are to do in San Francisco!) Aside from the newly expanded space, they have expanded the collections and it really feels like a different museum. I was also really impressed with the design and the way they’ve brought more of the city views into the building. I’ve included some pictures of my favorite views and pieces.

Otto turns One!


Otto turns 1!

I was in Connecticut last weekend to celebrate my nephew Otto’s first birthday. It’s hard to believe that he is one already. I remember that weekend last year, waiting for his arrival, the anticipation and excitement and then pure love upon seeing him for the first time. How has a year passed already? Now he’s starting to walk and has his first teeth and is turning into a little toddler. We had a birthday party for him and he had his first taste of cake and played with his new toys. He loved his first baseball bat even if the bat was almost as big as he is—and Mom and Dad are thrilled for their little slugger. Sports fans that they are they’ve already been debating whether he will hit right or left. The cake was shaped like a baseball and Otto wore a baseball onesie. The messaging is not subtle!  The slide I gave him was also a big hit, especially when paired with the kiddie pool. It’s equally amazing to see how Philip and Evan have grown into such great parents–they make it look so natural and joyful, if not always entirely easy. I’m lucky to be a part of this too as the doting Aunt, but  birthdays and anniversaries like this remind me also of the passage of time, as I “wait” for my own baby. Deep down, even in all the happiness, that’s still a shadow that adds an edge of wistfulness to celebrating milestones like this. Of course, I wish for my own little one. I also like the idea of my brother and I having kids about the same age, cousins to grow up with, so keep hoping that I’ll get good news soon.

Germany trip: nostalgic views


Alpine views

I am just getting back from a three week trip to Germany for work. I was there for two almost-back-to-back conferences near Munich and some visits to labs in between. I must admit that when I planned this trip back in February it seemed like such an efficient plan to hit two conferences in one trip—months later, while packing and organizing for three weeks away, the phrase “what was I thinking” crept to mind. In any case, it turned out to be a good trip, both work-wise and personally. The meetings were both great—interesting science in beautiful locations. The first meeting was in a small village in the mountains in Tirol, Austria. The village had a “Sound of Music” vibe—rolling hills of lush green, cows grazing, mountains in the background, locals dressed in Dirndls and Lederhosen. I kept expecting the Family Von Trapp to come bursting out of the background singing “The hill are alive, with the sound of music…” The second meeting location was equally lovely—-in Seeon in a renovated old historical Benedictine monastery on a lake in the Bavarian mountains. As an outing during the meeting, we went on a hike to another lake, winding up at a hill-side farm where we drank fresh milk from the local cows. It doesn’t get much more Alpine-cute.

I was actually born in just outside of Munich, in Wolfratshausen a small suburb, and lived there for the first five years of my life. I don’t really remember much of anything from those years, but still the trip felt very nostalgic. My Mom and Dad met in Munich, married there and had their three children there. The trip made me think of them too, as young parents. On my last day, I had some time and so took the local S-bahn to Wolfratshausen to check it out. It was fun to see some of the location backgrounds that I’ve seen in my baby photos. This is a picture of my Mom with me as a baby, and in the background is the church spire in this photo.

On one of my free weekends I took the train to Dresden, which is the town where my Dad grew up. I had last been to Dresden in 1989, when I was a student and it was still a part of the former East Germany. It’s a beautiful city, which was totally destroyed during WWII and then largely languished during the East German regime. Many parts have now been restored again. When you’re in Germany you really can’t help but think about it’s history, especially of the awful history of WWII. My parents grew up in the war and its aftermath, when so much of the country was destroyed and then later was divided. Both lost their homes during the war and their families, and like so many, they fled as refugees to new lives in other parts of the country. My parents rarely spoke of those times and what they experienced and it’s only really as an adult, now, even after they are gone, that I’m starting to grapple with just what that must have been like. I image what it must have been like to come of age in times of such instability, in the midst of war and chaos and such devastating loss and destruction. Of course, with the refugee crisis so evident in Europe (you could really feel it in Munich especially), you realize that war and displacement are still a personal reality for millions of people around the world. Today, it’s Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa and in places like el Salvador and Venezuela failing economies and internal forces like violence, gangs and unstable politics have as devastating consequences as bullets and bombs.

I feel truly blessed to have grown up and be living at a time and in a part of the world where we have been relatively untouched by war. When my parents left Germany for the US, it was because of a job transfer for my Dad, not because they were refugees. But still, I think often of how they made that decision to uproot themselves and their children (we were three, all below the age of five) from all they knew—their family and friends, their home—for the ambition of a new life, a better life for their family. I think of other parents making that decision today. For some, those decisions are made under good circumstances, looking for adventure or opportunities somewhere else in the world—how lucky to be able to have that choice. But, sadly, for so many confronted with terrible circumstances in their homeland, it’s not a first choice but maybe the only choice they can see for giving their children and themselves a chance at a better life. For all these parents, I am awed by their bravery and selflessness in putting the future of their children first.


Stork sightings

IMG_3992I’ve been traveling in Germany for the last three weeks for work—a combo trip including two conferences and some talks in Munich–and I’ve been radio-silent in terms of posting for the last few weeks as a result. It’s been a busy but great trip. In between work events, I’ve also had time to get out and about. I was actually born in Munich and the trip felt like a bit of a nostalgic homecoming in some respects. I’ll post more on that later. But, in the meantime wanted to get in a “stork sighting.” Lots of stork sighting on this trip which I’m taking as a good sign!  This little guy is now my official mascot and good luck charm. Here he is looking out my hotel window in Seeon where the conference was.

Birthday roadtrip

IMG_3340Last weekend I took a birthday (mine!) roadtrip with my friend Michelle to Mendocino for a “Two gals and a dog” spa weekend. It turns out Mendocino is a super dog friendly place and the inn we stayed at (The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek) bills itself as a “pet friendly” spa resort. It certainly lived up to that! Everyone there seemed to have a dog with them and the restaurant even allowed you to bring your dog for breakfast, even had a doggy menu that was as good the human-menu. It was a bit over the top in some respects but was a great place to stay. Bodhi certainly loved being a pampered pup! We had a great time exploring Mendocino, walking on the beaches, visiting Point Cabrillo light house, relaxing in the hot tub and catching up on reading, collecting driftwood on the beach. With the fog and dramatic scenery, Mendocino also has a moodiness to it that I just love.We had a great drive back wine tasting along the way, as we wound  our way through Anderson Valley.

My approach to birthdays is to celebrate them big. I’m not one of those people who thinks you should just let the day go by like any other. I’m definitely sensitive to the passage of time and like probably most of us in this space called “middle age,” all too conscious of the passing years and accumulating wrinkles and age related annoyances.  So with that in mind, I figure the best way not to mourn another passing year, is to celebrate it! I have a personal rule to not work on my birthday so I always take the day off (and this is something I offer to all the people who I manage as well). Last year I had a great birthday, with a party with my friends at the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk amusement park, riding roller coasters and playing carnival games. This year was mellower, but no less fun and fit my mood perfectly. In the run up to my birthday this year, I was definitely feeling more than the usual tinge of birthday malaise. If I’m honest, I would say the waiting and “adoption limbo” is taking its toll. I’m doing my best to stay positive and focused but it’s hard and the passing of another year, just amplifies some of the angst about whether this will work out. I want so much to be a Mom and I know with every part of my being that I would be a good one, but it’s hard not wonder whether the call will ever come. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not one of those people who stares at the phone waiting for it to ring and I’m not holding back on life while I “wait.” But, still, it’s constantly on my mind and every day there’s a piece of me that wonders about “when it will happen” and some days, darker days, there are the worries about “if it will happen.” I know, I know, I need to stay positive. I think I needed the weekend to disconnect and chill out. It was the perfect respite weekend. Thanks, Michelle, for being my birthday roadtrip co-pilot! I’m looking forward to the year to come and next year, will hopefully not only have  a dog in tow but a baby too!

Coming up roses

IMG_3048Berkeley is awash in flowers right now and in particular, the roses are just spectacular this year. Thank you, rain! On my walks with Bodhi, I’ve been taking photos and of course, stopping to smell the roses too! I really love my neighborhood and this time of year, with the gardens in bloom, sunny skies and the smell of roses and blooming jasmine in the air, it’s just beyond idyllic. I’m feeling very lucky to live there. My own rose bushes are doing pretty well, but honestly, they don’t compare to some of the loveliest specimens around the neighborhood. I’m finding myself a bit envious. I’m not a person who is prone to envy about most things, except when it comes to gardens! Well, enough said—see for yourself. I so wish some tech genius had invented smell-o-vision or some way of allowing you to smell through the computer—you really have to smell some of these roses to get the full effect!

Working dog (not)

Working Dog

Working dog? Maybe not!

Bodhi came to work with me this afternoon. Since January, I’ve been working in a new office, here in Berkeley, after they closed my company’s San Francisco office location. I’ve been loving the new location. It has a “hip” startup feel, which admittedly can sometimes feel like a bit of a caricature of the hip startup office.Think wild colors on the walls, odd furniture, fruit water and snacks and a lot of talk of “community” —but overall, I like the new space and it’s been a welcome change of pace from my previous office, which had really gotten to be kind of tired and sad as more and more people worked from home. One perk of the new office that I hadn’t fully taken advantage of is that the office is dog friendly. So,today, I had a relatively meeting-free afternoon (a rare event!) and I thought I’d give it a try with Bodhi. Others in the building bring their dogs and they all seem to do pretty well. Most just hang out and sleep. Well, let’s just say that Bodhi is not that sort of a dog. I should have known. After thoroughly sniffing out the office and common spaces, making some friends in other offices (he’s an attention magnet for sure!), I thought he might settle down and do what he does best—sleep or chew his bone. But, he made it clear that he had zero interest in settling down on his dog bed and hanging out for the afternoon.  It didn’t take long before he started with his best “I’m bored, can we go” whine and harumphing. You have to hear it to understand it. It’s a pretty good impression of what a dog-version of a teenager might sound like. Since I knew the barks were next, we called it a day earlier than expected. Honestly, I should have suspected that pups don’t like being stuck in glass walled cubicles any more than people do! My guess is that he much prefers his perch on the couch at home where he can do his “real job” of guarding the house from postman invasions and squirrels that get too close to the yard. Well, it was a fun experiment but a “working dog”, Bodhi is definitely not!