No Snow in Tahoe in January?

We take an annual ski trip in January to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.  The timing was always perfect because we knew there’d be snow on January 7th.  Except for last year’s blizzards that brought us powder and so much snow it actually closed all Tahoe ski areas for several days, our weather patterns have changed. 

This year, we skied on 100% man-made snow.  It seemed odd to ski down tightly-packed and carefully-groomed runs carved out from the green shrubbery and dirt that surrounded each run.  To plan future ski trips, do we need to go to ski areas much further north – like say, Alaska? As of Feb 1st, we’re at 27% of normal for California… Hmm.

Climate change is happening and we need to stop using fossil fuels now!


What Every Parent Of A College Student Hopes To Hear

I don’t get many handwritten letters these days – with texts and emails offering quick messages with little effort. But last month, my daughter Nicole wrote a letter to Rob and me after she attended her 10-year reunion at Stanford that made me cry.

Mom and Dad

At my 10-year reunion, we all reminisced about our incredible shared experience at that incredible place. It also gave me the chance to reflect on the continued constant assistance that youve provided over the years, even after I left home. Knowing the tuition costs involved, I want to thank you. Thank you for the emotional and financial support.

It has afforded me great freedom from the worry and oppressive debt facing many others in my generation. I am just beginning to understand and appreciate what you did for me.

So, thank you again.

I love you both so much.



To all parents of college students, they really do appreciate your sacrifice and dedication to giving them a college education – even if they don’t say or write it!   

TEDxMeritAcademy Video: Nicole D'Arcy & Anna Krawisc's "Ode to Advanced Directives"

To offer both comic relief and valuable medical advice, Nicole D’Arcy and Anna Krawisc – along with the Stanford Video Department – perform a music video. 

Come see this today, Monday, August 14th at 7:00 pm at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz.  Get your tickets at or at the door. 

What's the Attraction to Eating Hot Peppers?

When Nicole, my eldest daughter, told me that she won a jalapeno-eating contest when she was an undergraduate at Stanford, I seriously wondered if she lost her mind.  Both of my girls love their food hot and spicy, and they must have gotten that taste for the torturous pain from Rob – certainly not from me.

Rob loves to cook with all kinds of spicy peppers, and our friend Mario keeps Rob in good supply with the variety of peppers he grows in his garden.  Last week, Rob “accidentally” forgot to take out the peppers before serving dinner, and when I took my first bite, I thought I was going to have a heart attack!  I ran to the sink and sprayed cold water on my tongue but it only relieved the pain for about 3 seconds.  Apparently, whole milk is the best remedy for the burn.

I was intrigued by this article “Feel the Burn! Why do we love chilli?Apparently for men, eating super hot chillis is a form of machismo; but for women, it’s a form of excitement.  Back in 1912, Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacist and pharmaceutical researcher, discovered a method for measuring a pepper’s hotness.  Before tasting hot peppers, I highly recommend that you understand the heat in the peppers you eat.

500 Scovilles       = Anaheims

1,000 Scovilles   = Poblanos

5,000 Scovilles   = Jalapenos

15,000 Scovilles = Serranos

40,000 Scovilles = Cayennes

100,000 Scovilles = Thai Bird’s Eye

300,000 Scovilles = Habaneros

2.2 million Scovilles = Carolina Reaper

I’m still not sure why anyone would eat anything hotter than a jalapeno.  So I guess I’m neither macho nor exciting because I like “mild” peppers.  Pain is usually something I don’t inflict upon myself.  But to each their own!


Celebrating Nicole's EM Graduation

Supported by a loving family, we continued to celebrate Nicole’s EM Residency graduation at my cousin’s gorgeous home in Palos Verdes Estates. 

Over 25 family members joined us for a slideshow, Nicole Trivia (of course!), and a Nicole Roast!  So proud that Nicole has achieved her childhood dream of becoming an emergency doctor.  Big dreams, and a little hard work, do pay off!

She starts her UCSF EMS Fellowship in 2 weeks.  So happy she’s moving back to the Bay Area!

First Merit Academy Graduate Is Now An Emergency Medicine Doctor!

After 24 years of school (Merit Academy, Stanford Undergrad, Stanford Medical School, and Harbor-UCLA EM Residency), I’m proud to say that Nicole is officially an Emergency Medicine Doctor!

We watched her graduate with her 15 co-residents on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.  She starts her EMS Fellowship at UCSF in 2 weeks where she plans to develop efficient systems for pre-hospital care and disaster preparedness protocols.  Nicole D’Arcy was in the first graduating class at Merit Academy, and she has set the bar and serves as a role model to so many Merit students. 

Congratulations Nicole!

Liberty Lost; Lessons in Loyalty; Re-enactment of Japanese-American Internment During WWII

15 years ago, Nicole, Jaclyn and I worked with the JACL (Japanese American Citizen’s League) to re-enact the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. 

Back in 2002, it was the 60th anniversary (now it’s been 75 years) since the American government made our families leave our homes, businesses, belongings, and friends to live behind barbed wire at one of 10 internment camps in the US. 

We worked with Mas and Marcia Hashimoto (presidents of JACL Watsonville-Santa Cruz), Sandy Lydon (local historian), and Don Williams (UCSC theater director) to re-enact an event that would remind the world of one of America’s biggest mistakes.  Mas rented a 1942 bus and Don coached the actors as they walked to the Vet’s Memorial and waited in line to get on the bus to start their 3-year stay in relocation centers.  Sandy was our emcee and shared stories about the evacuation.

Nicole told news reporters about how she was worried about her family’s farm and who would maintain it while they were gone.  Jaclyn held tight to her beloved dog before the MPs took him away from her before she climbed up the steps of the bus.  Dozens of families participated in the re-enactment, and we filled the theater with guest speakers who shared their memories and stories.

I invited over 40 newspapers, magazines and TV stations to cover the story, and our re-enactment was aired across the nation and all the way to Japanese news outlets in Japan.  Watch our video: Liberty Lost; Lessons in Loyalty.

Not Feeling Well? Don't Be Afraid To Go To The ER!

Did you know that heart attacks kill 5 times more women than breast cancer

That’s a sobering stat. My daughter Nicole just sent me this article to help me understand that heart attacks in women are very different from heart attacks in men. While I knew this in theory, I was surprised that just feeling clammy and nauseous could be signs of a heart attack. This 46-year-old woman thought she had the flu and would have gone to bed to sleep it off had her husband not intervene by taking her to the emergency room.  Read this fascinating article in the Washington Post: “She thought it was only a 24-hour bug.  What she really had almost killed her.”

After reading about this woman’s symptoms and her reaction to them, I feel a little bit more convinced to head to the ER to get checked out instead of being optimistic and hope it goes away.  The difference could be life or death.  As ridiculous as this sounds, my biggest obstacle to going to the ER is my fear that the doctors would think I was a nuisance or a hypochondriac.  But after Nicole (an ER doc) told me that she’d rather see me in the ER and tell me that I should go home because I have the flu or indigestion than to have me stay home and die from a heart attack, I’m going to play it safe.  And by the way, that’s advice for all patients, not just for her mom.



Just before I went into labor with my eldest daughter in 1985 (sounds like so long ago!), I decided to SPRING CLEAN my entire house. Yup! I organized every drawer and closet, and tossed out things I didn’t need. Then I made to-do lists!

Later I learned that this need to clean is called “nesting” and it’s common for mothers-to-be to nest before having a baby. I wanted to get everything in my life organized and in control as I awaited a huge change in my life. Over the weekend, I got that same nesting feeling. No – I’m obviously not pregnant – but living amidst uncertainty, chaos, and disbelief in a country I used to be proud of has been stressful. I organized a spring cleaning schedule for myself and I spent 11 hours cleaning my kitchen on Sunday.

Cleaning and organizing my stuff gives me power over my life. I can understand it. I can control it. I can make it exactly the way I want it. It’s mindless work but it made me happy. I tossed out all kinds of junk that I’ve held on to for years. I cleared out my closet of clothes I’ll never wear again (probably because I’ll never fit in them!). I found quilts and baby blankets.

The whole process was healing. When I woke up this morning I felt accomplished and appreciated how my hard manual labor produced these results. I knew where I placed everything. I felt empowered – like I could take on the world. So listening to my body about nesting for my baby’s arrival 30 years ago AND spring cleaning to prepare for whatever this new administration throws before me is my way of hunkering down for the unknown. 


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