It is December... It must be time to reflect.

After many hours sitting on a St Heliers bench gazing at Rangitoto, I sat on this bench on Rangitoto gazing at St Heliers. I have been on a writing hiatus. Unplanned. I thought I would write every day while I was in New Zealand. Everyday was filled with good friends and family, good food and coffee and big adventures. I did not have much time to reflect or write. So the next few weeks will be dedicated to blogging, writing and reflection.

This jandal sacrificed to balance this bench on Rangitoto is a great metaphor: What in my life needs adjusting for 2015?

I am availing myself of a few tools. Michael Hyatt has a new 3 video series and a downloadable pdf called 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever. I also plan to walk the labyrinth at Davis United Methodist Church and meet with my pastor Kelly Love. I am also going to answer Chris Guillebeau's two questions:  What went well this year? What did not go well this year?

And then set goals for 2015. And review my goals for 2014. How well did I do?

I am going to get creative about where I do this reflecting since I do not want to part with Lulu anymore this year. Any good ideas for finding time and quiet place admidst the holiday chaos and work life? Please offer them here.

Poem on Rangitoto bench

#Pieperfest14: Going to Iowa!

Julie and Jeanette on Southwest Airlines

My aunt Jeanette and I are on our way to Des Moines, Iowa to visit the land of our fathers (since we are German I will use the paternal). I have not been to Iowa since 5th grade—over 40 years. And Jeanette has not been back since 1969. The cousins have been out to visit California in between and kept up regular Christmas card correspondence with Auntie. So we begin this family adventure. We will go to Des Moines (via Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines). Then visit Decorah, Bondurant, and Stuart.

I am excited to get to know my cousins better and to experience a large family gathering. We are a small nucleus centered in Sonoma County. My mom is an only child and much younger than her cousins and my 2 aunties have small families too.

My dad is missing in action. We do not know his whereabouts in heaven or on earth. So going to Iowa also stirs up a lot of other feelings—some are quite stressful. I know his choices have nothing to do with me and yet I do sometimes feel really pissed off at him for cutting us out of his life. I can say “his loss” and stupid, stupid man for missing out on his terrific grandchildren’s lives, still it does not paper over the hurt.

This trip is about connecting and reclaiming the Positive in Pieper. My cousins are lovely people. I met up with Lori, Annette and Kathy in June at Auntie J’s. I look forward to seeing my cousin David again. He is closest to my age and my brother and I got into mischief with David and Marty when we visited Great Grandma Pieper. I hope to connect with my cousin Mary who took me to my first Quaker meeting.

And there will be pie.


Up at 4:30 to post before I pick up my Mom and head to the airport. It feels like before today I was on the portion of the roller coaster where the car is just ticking up the track. Starting today is the loop dee loop when the ride really begins. Mom and I fly to Minneapolis, MN at 7:05 to start a 4 day road trip to "find our roots" in Donaldson, MN. When we get back on Monday we drive straight to Davis, CA to meet up with Sarah and her Bike & Build team. I have no significant chunks of time left for any projects. It is all about family and packing now.

It is very exciting. And I reserve the right to scream at the top of my lungs.