good things

Saturday at brunch, after updating friends on the last few weeks, I said something along the lines of, “I just.cant.wait. for 2015 to be over.  I’m so ready for a new year.”  Molly, kindly trying to cheer me up, said, “aww, it’s not all bad.”

It’s embarasing to admit that my immediate response was, “Yes it is!” followed by a list of all the year’s frustrating events.  All afternoon, I regretted my negative impulse. I wish I had paused and thought of good things.  So, while I can’t undo my cranky brunch attitude, I can make an effort, for the next few months, to notice and take stock in the good stuff.  Because even as I try to wrap my mind around everything, it wont help to overlook gratitude.

from yesterday’s hike

In that vein, here’s a few recent moments I’m thankful for:

  • The magic of rice! Tuesday morning, I dropped my phone in water. Losing access to my phone while traveling, thinking I had to pay $300 for a new one, and trekking to the Georgetown Apple store in a torrential downpour was not fun.  After burying my phone in rice, crossing my fingers and waiting three days, it worked! Absolutely awesome.
  • The wisdom of a DC cab driver. After the horrible Apple store experience, nearly in tears, I jumped in a cab back to my hotel (no working phone = no Uber).  Pretty sure the cab driver was an angel sent to talk some sense into me. “How are you doing tonight?” he asked.  “Terrible!” I wailed, explaining the phone. “So you might have to get a new phone.  Big deal. What will it matter in 10 years? In 10 years, it’ll matter if you broke, or someone else broke, but this? A a broken phone? You have to let it go.” THANK YOU, amazing, wise cab driver for giving me the sense talk I needed.
  • Brunch + conversation. What is it about heaping piles of french fries and donuts in a cozy diner that sets the stage for hours of conversation? Very thankful for my friends and all their kindness and listening on Saturday.
  • Cooking a real dinner: It’s been…..a while since I cooked. Saturday night, I was ready to spend some time in the kitchen.  It felt incredibly therapeutic to spend an hourish making something and zoning out.  Also, this dinner was delicious.
  • The Intern sister date night! Last Sunday, in DC, Janou and I walked to Georgetown for the Intern.  We had dinner at Farmers, Fishers and Bakers (so good!) and snuck in cupcakes from Baked and Wired.  I was sobbing before the end of the opening credits, but I loved the movie (and this kitchen).  I loved having time Sunday night to catch up with my sister and hear more about her exciting life.
  • Meeting baby Parker!! Katie and Dave have a beautiful baby boy!! Last Thursday, I woke up in Boston after a red eye to the best text ever: Katie was in labor.  Just a few hours later, Parker Joseph entered the world! I wasn’t sure if they would be ready for visitors, so I was thrilled when I got the thumbs up to meet the little 5 day old charmer. Parker is so warm and soft, and their house was cozy and full of love, it was very special.  Katie and Dave are pros and they seemed incredibly relaxed and natural as parents.  Thank you, Parker, for being a few days early so I could meet you while in DC.  You are wonderful and charming, and make everyone around you so happy.
  • Coming home to David: During the flight back Thursday (thank you, Southwest, for free TV = hours of Fixer Upper), all I could think about was how excited I was to come home and be with David.  Even with everything going on, seconds after coming home, we were on our way to Zachary’s, laughing and grateful to be back home together.  This weekend was quiet and restful.  Yesterday, we went for a long hike.  I was filled with gratitude for the beautiful weather, gorgeous redwoods, and our hours of uninterrupted conversation.

While writing this, realized there’s so much more I’m grateful for, but time to get to work.  Hoping for a week of gratitude and clarity.

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real fall

Sitting here, in Janou’s sweet DC row-house, thinking about the weekend.  For the last few days, I’ve been on the east coast, experiencing almost-real fall weather.  With some time to kill on Thursday, between my flight to Boston and my train to Providence, I walked around downtown and admired a sneak peak of the fall’s changing leaves.  The Public Garden is breathtaking, and it was refreshing to feel a hint of crisp fall air.

When David and I decided to move back to CA, I worried about not only missing DC, but also, missing the east coast in general.  It seemed like with every trip we took, I wondered will this be my last time at —? After a day in Block Island for Meg’s wedding, I remember wondering, will I ever have lobster roll again? Or during out last trip to NY, would I ever see Grand Central again?

It was nice to be back and realize all those wonderful East Coast icons are not going anywhere, and I can always return.

 I landed in Boston to the most exciting text message ever from Katie Burch (!!!).  I giddily walked through Boston, marveling at the beautiful courtyard in the Boston Public Library and admiring the tranquil greenery in the Public Garden. 


Thursday night, in Providence, I enjoyed a incredibly rich, buttery lobster roll during my solo dinner.  After my presentation Friday, I took the train to New Haven to see Casey.  It was a total trip being back at the New Haven train station, in 2015, meeting up with one of my college best friends. I have many memories of this train station, as a newly minted college graduate, walking through these tunnels, excited to see David for a weekend away from Baltimore and law school.

Casey, always inspirational, and always hilarious, was a great friend this weekend. He is in his third year of medical school and I am floored by his accomplishments, his grit and determination to be a doctor.  We split pizzas and salad in New Haven, and talked and talked for hours Friday night. It felt immensely therapeutic.
Also soothing-this incredible view! Todd and Casey have a charming house in Connecticut and I could not get over the greenery outside their living room.

Their beautiful home :)
  After visiting Casey’s med school (so impressed!) and touring New Haven, it was time for my train to NY.

After craning my neck, admiring the gorgeous ceiling at Grand Central, I walked and walked through the city, taking in the beautiful day and views before boarding my bus to DC.  I’m here until Thursday and feeling very fortunate for time catching up with Janou.

Sunday night is Tim’s memorial in San Diego. With this trip and work planned out weeks ago, I have to miss it. I’m sad  to miss his celebration of life and thinking about him and his family constantly.  I’m currently reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ remarkable Between the World and Me.  He writes of the loss of a college classmate, and I’ve been thinking a lot about these words:

“I think every day and about whom I expect to think every day for the rest of my life.  I think sometimes that he was an invention, and in some ways he is, because when the young are killed they are haloed by all that was possible, all that was plundered.  He was kind.  Generosity radiated off of him, and he seemed to have a facility with everyone and everything. This can never be true, but there are people who pull the illusion off without effort and (he) was one of them.  I can only say what I saw, what I felt.  There are people whom we do not fully know, and yet, they live in a place within us, and when they are plundered, when they lose their bodies and the dark energy disperses, the place becomes a wound.”

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This weekend was a weekend to pause and reflect.

We spent the whole day outside and walked, and walked, and walked. Some of David’s friends from Stockton came up, and it was comforting to feel slightly useful as we toured Oakland and SF.  Saturday night, after feeling the sun on my skin all day, my legs a bit sore from walking, with the Bay breeze on my face as the ferry pulled away from the pier, it was just nice to breathe in the day.

One memory I would like to note was Tim’s vigil.  His friends worked tirelessly to plan a beautiful evening celebrating his life.

Wrote this earlier, and wanted to remember:

The vigil is beautiful. Hundreds of votive candles line the stage set up at 630 Weber, where just a few days ago, a band performed at Stockmarket. Friends are passing out candles and a colorful Programme of Events. I smile at the British spelling. Like the Stockmarket, hundreds of members of the community  crowd around the stage and turf.

There’s comfortable cloud cover, with a snip of setting sunlight peaking through. In a few days, the temperature plummeted, and Stockton jumped from summer to fall. A pastor opens the celebration, urging the city to triumph over tragedy. David shares thoughtful memories, and I laugh, probably too hard for a vigil, at his memory of the clash between Tim’s creative, big thinking brain, with David’s careful, “almost bureaucratic,” mind.

More friends, in their twenties and nineties, share memories of Tim and his positive impact on the city. Katie closes the vigil with a few final words. I’m amazed at her composure, and grace as she thanks Tim’s friends, and introduces a reading, from East of Eden:

“Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then -the glory- so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.”

And just as she’s finishing the reading, it begins to rain.


Not really sure what else to say, but just wanted to take a moment to pause and remember.

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Thinking of Tim

This weekend, the world lost a creative visionary, a practical optimist, and his tremendous spirit and energy.  Tim Egkan, partner at Ten Space, and David’s friend and colleague, passed away at 32.

Tim and David on Weber Avenue in Stockton, photo

I’ve been blown away reading the tribute’s to Tim.  It always surprised me, before this experience, to read such candid reflections social media.  Now I see how comforting it is to read others’ thoughts and share in grief.

Though I did not know Tim well, I feel like I’m one of many, many people who he impacted in his far too short life.  Throughout the years, my relationship with Stockton is one of…evolution.  I can’t pretend I fell for Stockton at my first visit, and I’ve often struggled to understand David’s passion for the city.

So, I’ll never forget when Tim so perfectly articulated the disconnect I was struggling to understand.

Last December, I began to see the city’s energy and potential.  The Newberry Holiday Market was absolutely vibrant.  It was my first time seeing a gathering of people of passion and creativity downtown.

I remember looking around, and I saw Tim, and asked him something along the lines of, “where has this been? Where were these people? I’ve been coming to Stockton for years, I’ve never seen this energy.”

Tim was so excited about the event, clearly so proud of Katie, and he said:

“It’s all here. The people are all here, they just need creative spaces.  The people in this city have been served garbage for so many decades, they don’t always realize how much better it can be.  They’re ready for vibrant spaces and a better city.”

I’ve thought about his words a lot.  Tim knew the people of Stockton deserved a strong, vibrant, and thriving city, and he was committed to making it happen.

Thanks Tim, teaching me and enlightening so many of us.  You’re already so missed.

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Back to school

It was impossible to ignore the mixed sense of dread and anticipation with summer’s end and fall’s return this weekend. Yesterday morning, in our hotel’s elevator, two kids stood in the corner looking hopelessly glum.

“Summer’s over, back to school tomorrow,” their mom said, trying to cheer them up.

As David and I inched our way up north on Highway 1 yesterday, looking out at the late-afternoon ocean, summer’s departure felt particularly real.

After what felt like an especially drawn out August, I was feeling kind of ready for the end of summer.  As I’m no longer a student, the closing of Labor Day is technically totally insignificant, and this is just another week.

Still, trying to conjure up that fresh-start, back to school feeling.  After a few days off and an end-of-summer mini-vacation, hoping to start the week refreshed and energized for a busy fall.

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