Interview with Owen

Owen had to interview someone for his language arts class, and I actually liked the answers that we came up with enough to want to save it for posterity. He already knew a lot about me, but I still think he learned some things!

Owen: Name, birthday, were you named after anyone, significant
Kelly: I was born November, 18, 1974. I wasn’t named after anyone special. My parents went to Sears department store to buy a crib the day before I was born. They hadn’t chosen my name yet and they thought I was going to be a boy. They saw the name Kelly on a rack of bicycle license plates and thought it would be good for a boy or a girl.

Owen: Places lived?
Kelly: I have lived in Los Angeles, Northern California, Seattle and France. In Los Angeles, I lived in the city and in the Valley. In Northern California I lived in San Rafael and in Oakland, then I moved to Seattle. I moved to France in 2000 and lived in three different apartments in the same city, then I moved back to Seattle, with you.

Owen: Jobs worked
Kelly: My first job was as a swimming teacher and lifeguard at the YMCA. I did that for about four years, and then I worked with developmentally disabled teenagers and adults. Then I was a nanny for a while. When I went to France, I worked as a waitress and an English teacher, then I started by own job as a blogger. That helped me start working in digital marketing which is what I do now.

Owen: Passions/hobbies
Kelly: I like to read, a lot. I don’t really play solitaire anymore, because I took it off of my phone because I was spending too much time on it. I do like to play word games. I like to garden.

Owen: Family life? who do you spend time with? How did your family come to live here?
Kelly: We spend a lot of time together as a family, except it makes me sad when you spend too much time in your room. That is why I like to have dinner together with you and your brother and sister, because then I can spend time with you. We also spend time with Grandma of course. We came to Seattle because Grandma lived here and because I was sick of France. Grandma lived here because she had moved here with Uncle Paul’s father when Uncle Paul was little.

Owen: what was school like for you?
Kelly: School was easy for me, but I hated it, especially high school, which is why I dropped out of school in 11th grade. I missed having my friends with me, because my mother put me in a school that I did not want to go to. I thought the people in that school were not very smart, so I wanted to go to junior college instead. Then I dropped out of high school and took the GED and went to Valley Community College.

Owen: What were significant historical events that have shaped your life?
Kelly: Not the moon landing, because I was born in 1974. However, I do remember the Challenger exploding, when I was in elementary school. Kids all around the country were watching that when it happened. (Side note: we took a minute to watch a video of the live broadcast, and I teared up like the first time I watched it.) I remember Princess Diana dying. I remember 9/11 happening—that was right after I had moved to France and it was really frightening because I couldn’t really speak the language yet, and I wasn’t sure what was going on. I remember trying to explain the 2004 elections to my class of English students in France. I remember the 2008 elections when Obama won, and we taught Kate to say Obama!

Owen: How is the world different today than when you were younger? Did you have roads?
Kelly: Stop being snotty. There were roads when I was little too. However, we did not have phones, or computers—we had to look up directions before we drove anywhere, which is why I think I have a good sense of direction. But, we still hung out with our friends a lot and I did a lot of the same things that you do. I did a lot of swimming as a kid, and hung out with Crystal and Nancy a lot. I didn’t really spend a lot of time with my parents either.

Owen: What were you like when you were my age?
Kelly: What do you think I was like?
Owen: Kind of like Kate, but better.
Kelly: I was pretty shy, and I read a lot of books, but I was good at talking to grownups, because I spent a lot of time with them. I was really determined to do things the way that I wanted to do them, which is why I dropped out of high school, for example. I had a close group of friends that I spent a lot of time with, but I wasn’t really popular, I don’t think.

Owen: What are your values you’ve had that have changed over time?
Kelly: Nothing really. I still think it is important to do your best, and work really hard. Being smart is important to me, which is why I want you to get a good education and work your brain, because you are very smart. Being Jewish has always been important to me, but I guess that the one thing that has changed is that I didn’t used to really go to temple. Having animals is really important to me, and so is voting. So, I guess things really haven’t changed that much.

Owen: what are some of your proudest moments? Getting the new job at Microsoft and at Concur?
Kelly: Yes, getting the job at Microsoft was a very validating moment—I felt so proud to be recognized as that good in my job that someone wanted to hire me. I was also really proud to graduate college and graduate school, and I am really proud of you and your brother and your sister at so many moments. I am so proud of who you are and the person that I can see you becoming. You have worked really hard and I see how smart and funny and kind you are and I am proud of you. Now you are making me cry. Ok, now what?

Owen: How do you want people to remember you?
Kelly: I read a quote once, or a story, that said that someone wanted to have inscribed on their gravestone “They think of me and laugh” but that sounds like they are laughing at them. I want people to think of me with laughter, but I think I am too serious for that to happen. I really want you to be able to tell stories about me to your children and grandchildren. I don’t know what I want those stories to be, but I want to be remembered by the people that are important to me and the people that are important to them. I just want to make a difference in your life, and maybe be thought of as a good boss and a good friend by the people who I work with and my friends.
Owen: now you are making me cry.

Four Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

Work and life have been crazy at the moment, and I’ve certainly been lacking in blogging motivation. One of my favorite blogs, Modern Mrs Darcy, has a series of posts about things that make life easier for her at the moment she is writing them. For the first time in a long time, I began writing a post in my head. Of course it has taken four days to actually put fingers to keyboard, but here are four things that are saving my life right now.


This is actually my word for the year, after Survive for 2016 and Persist for 2017. Years ago I remember Mickey telling me that after she moved to France she set out purposefully to recreate the things she missed from the US. For her, that meant Stitch and Bitch and the opportunities for professional networking and I was lucky enough to be part of both. When we came here, I decided to do the same, and although it took me a few years, Book Club and Project Night have been going strong for about a year. Additionally, in September Kate told me that she wanted to prepare for being bat mitvah and in order to make that happen, she needed to start religious school tout de suite. We found our way to Temple Beth Am, and from the first time I went to Services, I felt part of the community. Work is also focused on  community- not only with my amazing coworkers but also one of my major projects. I think I didn’t realize how lonely I was before I developed this community here, but having this focus is definitely saving my life right now.


I am so busy right now that if I had to think about what to do when or count on my memory to get something done, things would fall apart. From finally getting my subscribe and save options perfected on Amazon (turns out that it was pretty simple to reliably predict how much dog food, toilet paper and furnace filters we consume in a given month), to setting repeating calendar reminders to give the pets flea treatments and fertilize the plants (and everything else), to leaving for work at the same time every day, I am a creature of habit.


My kids are the best. I have been overwhelmed with how funny and cool and kind they are. I don’t know how much I have to do with it, but they make me feel like a great mom. Jonah asks me every day how my day was, and kisses the top of my head when he sees me. Owen is sweet and charming, and has become so mature over the past year. Kate loves to dance and sing but is still just as obsessed with science and detective stories. I love them.

To Do Lists

Along the same lines of “Routine”, I wouldn’t get anything done without my to do lists. About 18 months ago I started using the bullet journal framework. I originally was super creative and planned things like our holiday shopping, the garden layout, books I was reading and more, but the thing I consistently stick with is my to do list. I generally do two a week: one long one for the weekend, and a shorter one for the week. It’s a modified bullet journal framework, but the things that I do do are to use three symbols consistently: a “/” when something is done, an “X” if I decide not to do it, and (the most commonly used symbol) a “->” when an item gets carried over from one list to the next. I’ve even adopted this habit for my work to do list and am trying to teach the kids the same.