Redding and SF weekend :)

Last night, after reading an Onion parody that hit a bit too close to home, I turned my phone off a full hour before getting in bed.  Surprise, surprise, I felt much more rested this morning.

So, trying that again tonight, but before Monday ends, want to remember a happy weekend celebrating Katie and Baby Nolte!

Once again, I went a bit overboard on the audio books at the OPL, but it was nice to have selection for the long ride.  Driving up to Redding, I listened to Tiny Beautiful Things. This is my first introduction to Cheryl Strayed and her essays make me want to read Wild.

Saturday morning, Katie and I went for a walk before baby shower prep.  Katie’s mom made delicious salads and Katie made a heavenly cobbler.

 

Katie and Kim :)

Can we talk about how great Katie looks? She’s glowing with her little basketball belly!

After the shower, we parked ourselves here for total relaxation time. It felt like a vacation.

I don’t even know how many hours Katie, Kim and I bobbed around in the pool. It just felt so restorative to completely relax in such a pretty place and talk, and talk, and talk with two wonderfully thoughtful friends.

Later that evening, we thought about going to dinner and quickly nixed the plans in favor of pizza, chardonnay (Kim and me) and patio time. SO relaxing.

So grateful to spend some time I this beautiful place with good friends :)

The Sunday drive back was super easy, aided by another great book, Knowing Your Value. Back in Oakland, I jumped on BART and met up with Stephanie, Heather and special guest, Lauren! Lauren is in town for a few weeks so we got lunch at Bar Tartine. It was really nice to catch up. We eventually had to leave when they started to prep the restaurant for dinner…

And now-back to the week! Hoping to power off again and get some sleep.

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The Minimalists

Last month, I participated in what felt like a quintessential SF activity.  After work, I went to a book reading in the Haight.  The minimalists were in town and I was intrigued.

The reading was part of a larger reading tour with Asymmetrical Press.

One of the opening musical numbers involved passing a string of Christmas bells around the audience for all of us to play.  On-the-spot participation makes this introvert quite uncomfortable.  I started to really question whether I could make it through the event without giggling when one speaker asked the standing room only crowd to please, “sit down and do a Lotus” so everyone could see.  Next, he led all of us in a group breathing exercise.

When I eventually let myself relax, I started to get into the whole thing.  The writers were excellent and clearly committed to living full lives.  One of them moves somewhere new every four months. He spoke about words in other languages that lack a direct English translation.  It reminded me of my new favorite word, hygge.  Two other new words from that night-the spelling is likely totally off:

Dorr: specific type of longing, longing for someone who is inaccessible.

Liefschecce: practical philosophy by which you live your life.

Minimalist continues to intrigue me and I enjoy the idea of living a life with fewer things. The concept of freedom from consumer culture is incredibly appealing.  However, as with everything, minimalist philosophy will likely remain an influencer in my life, but not a complete practice.  I love reading the Minimalist’s blog and thinking about their perspective, but I fall somewhere between a minimalism and consumerism.  That feels just fine for right now :)

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Sandwiches at the Beach

Is there anything more sublimely summer-esque than sandwiches in the afternoon at the beach? Growing up, going to the beach, there was nothing as invigorating as spending the day in the water and fueling up with sandwiches in the sand.



This weekend, our friends rented a beach house in Santa Cruz and it was a vacation.

Friday evening, we walked from the house to Aloha Grill.  Even though we were a few hours from home, sitting on the patio in the sun reminded me of being with this group in Hawaii in 2012.



We explored the Boardwalk and ended the evening at Mariannes for ice cream. It felt like an almost laughably wholesome summer evening.



The next morning, Jon’s sandwich assembly game was going strong. After breakfast, we walked down to the water.





It was a gorgeous afternoon.  The water was cold, but warm enough to swim and bob around in the waves.



We were there for hours. And had sandwiches! It was sublime.  The house was just right for our group-plenty of space to socialize and relax.



Eric decided the dinner theme-picture Godfather Part 2. Narges made a pineapple-upside-down-cake, Zac slow cooked an incredible Cuban pork, and I made mojitos.





There was a delicious food, crisp drinks, and a LOT of laughing so hard I cried.



The house even had a firepit.  Also-David’s face! So creepy.



Before driving back, we walked around downtown Capitola (charming) and took in the ocean for a bit longer.



Back in Oakland, attempting to make ice cream-it’s hot here! Grateful for this weekend and these friends and looking forward to the week ahead :)

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Filed under California Discoveries, Reunions

36 Hours in DC

“We’ve expanded the options for home- and community-based services offered by Medicaid, which means that more older Americans are able to make the same choice that my grandmother did and live independently.”

I can’t tell you how exciting it was to hear this sentence.  On Monday morning, President Obama addressed the White House Conference on Aging in the East Room.



And, unexpectedly, I got to be there to hear it all! It was pretty surreal.  Working in aging policy, it’s easy to get bogged down in the wonky details of long term care and Medicaid.  So it’s hard to express how thrilling it was to hear the President jump into those details. I never thought I would hear the President even say the phrase “home and community based services.” Hearing him elevate its importance gives me hope it will become part of our lexicon and maybe…maybe…people will finally start talking about aging and solutions to long term care.

The WHCOA happens every ten years and the whole day was a whirlwind. Seeing many aging advocates I admire, listening to the Secretary of Labor’s inspiring words about poverty advocacy, and just knowing that for one day aging issues were on the Administrations radar-it was awesome.

In the foyer in front of the East Room.

So grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it all.  And so grateful for a quick trip to see my amazing sister!



Shannon and I got drinks at Woodward Table and Katie was awesome and drove me to the airport. I wish I had more time to catch up with these three, but feeling very thankful for the brief time to catch up in that beautiful city. DC always gives me a shot of energy and the excitement at WHCOA reinvigorated my dedication to this field.  Quite a day and a half!

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Filed under DC, Seniors, Travel

One year!

This whole one year anniversary thing is far more emotional than I expected.  David and I have been together for many years and I didn’t imagine the first year marker would leave me quiet so swoon-ey.


On a walk this morning 

But that’s exactly how I feel-reflective and bursting with emotion. A few months ago, David mentioned he wanted to take a special trip for our anniversary.  He wanted to keep it a surprise.  Ever since then, I’ve been anticipating this anniversary weekend more than any birthday or holiday.
It was a beautiful surprise in Mendocino.  I cannot wait to write more about it.
For now, I’m thinking a lot about marriage.  Marriage isn’t something David and I jumped into. For me, I had a lot I wanted to get done before marriage.  We both found the whole thing pretty intimidating. We were both completely committed to each other, but the whole institution, the idea of growing up and getting married-that seemed overwhelming.
After we got engaged, I was tremendously surprised by how candid friends and colleagues were about marriage.  And in the most beautiful, unsolicited, way! Many, many people quietly divulged, “You are going to love being married.” It was very unexpected.  After decades of reading books and watching movies about marriage’s challenges, it was incredibly refreshing to hear these veterans with decades of experience speak so glowingly.  I knew I loved David, and I would love spending my life with him, but I hadn’t thought about marriage being an experience to love.
We’re just a year in (today!) so I’m in no position reflect on anything other than what I know.  And that’s this: I love David and I love being married.  It is an incredible experience-the commitment and devotion, but also the hilarious day-to-day syncing of absurd moments in life that being laughter and immense happiness.
When we were driving back this afternoon, winding through the hills and trees along 128, I asked David, “do you ever just feel like what?! I’m married?” Nope, he said, smiling from the drivers seat, laughing. (I’ve asked him this before). “No, but do you ever feel like, wait…I’m a grown up and I’m married, and have a life?” I pressed. Oh ya, he said.  All the time.  Can’t believe it.
We’re still growing up and figuring this whole thing out, but one year out, it’s an awesome journey.  It’s only overwhelming in the sense that we now know what it’s like to be married, and the love, commitment, strength, and genuine well of intensity it entails-it’s overwhelmingly awesome.

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