Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015: favorite quotes

 While reflecting on this year, realized I’m not quite sure what to say. A frank summary of challenges and tragic loss would be honest, but it overlooks the true joys and amazing new experiences the year brought. As it’s all part of the year, the makeup of 2015, and mostly all documented elsewhere in this little e-corner, thinking that’s enough for me. But-I can’t let the year end without noting some of my favorite 2015 discoveries from the shelves of the Oakland Public Library-the best quotes that stuck with me this year.

Since highlighting library books (tempting) is not ok, I find myself snapping photos of passages. Most end up deleted for more photo space, but these are some of quotes that stuck-either in memory or in my phone:


Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant 

     This image-of holding each other really      tightly for eternity, hoping nothing ever changes-to me, sums up the naïveté, devotion and unity in marriage.


“Finally she said, ‘Tell me about it.’ Tell me about it. Tell me about the thing I have never experienced and cannot begin to understand. Tell me about the lives I haven’t led, the demons I’ve never faced.” Anna Quindlen, Thinking Out Loud 

    Frequently think of this line, and AQ’s story about the nuns in Boston, when I’m tempted to judge or draw a conclusion. Honestly, my innate judgmental instinct is powerful, and this reminder-that in every situation, there’s so much more that I don’t know, and lives, experiences, and demons I’ve never faced, that I should just listen and ask instead of judge-is tremendously helpful.

 Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling

Was JUST talking about this today with Lauren at lunch. This realization, that “this long expanse” of time has passed, and our friends will never come home to each other again, felt even stronger this year.It’s all for good reasons, growing up, developing lives, but the shift away from that moment feels more keen with each year.

“Bring your whole self to work. I don’t believe we have a professional self Monday through Friday and a real self the rest of the time. It is all professional and it is all personal.” Sheryl Sanberg, Lean In

Reading this, spring 2015, made my jaw drop. What? It sounded so unprofessional-to burden your work life with your personal self. Fast forward a few days to David’s pneumonia, a huge learning experience, and bringing my whole self to work. And feeling even more gratitude and appreciation towards the amazing organization and people I work with.


The Last Love Song,Tracy Daugherty. Lots of Joan quotes-always make me think and smile.

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. 

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

This speaks for itself. Saw someone share another beautiful Coates passage today and all I could think was-the world can be so difficult, thank goodness we have someone like Ta-Nehisi Coates writing to help us find our way through tragedy.

But now I see there’s no such thing as “a” woman, “one” woman. There are dozens inside every one of them. I probably should have figured this out sooner, but what child can see the women inside her mom, what with all the Motherness blocking out everything else? Kelly Corrigan, Glitter and Glue

Queen Kelly! Her perspective in both books  on the process of growing up, the confusion and humbling realization being an adult and being a child, and trying to figure it all out, is beautiful.


And one more sweet Joan quote, “I saw myself through his eyes,” to close out the list.

Sending good wishes for a happy and peaceful New Years!

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.5 holiday break

Halfway through a verrrry relaxing winter break and want to remember these comforting moments.  This break feels like a real pause. No major travel, no quick weekend trip, but a nice chunk of time to be with family and wrap up in holiday warmth. Feeling so very grateful for this break and time to rest.

Wednesday night we met up with David’s colleagues for an incredible dinner at Dave Wongs. The piping, spicy hot and sour soup was a perfect antidote to the chilly weather.

On Christmas Eve, we checked out Abundance Vineyards and enjoyed a red tasting before a cozy dinner with David’s family. The peaceful Mass was a beautiful way to welcome the holiday.

These photos are so cringeworthy, but hey, it’s Christmas!  


Christmas morning, we opened presents with David’s family and enjoyed a hearty and delicious Christmas breakfast (with the BEST Hawaiin coffee) before flying down to Irvine. 

Dad built a roaring fire, Mom and Janou made a gorgeous cheese tray, and we settled in to an afternoon of gifts and champagne. 


A warm and very  generous Christmas Day with all our family :)

Boxing Day started with a Dewberry reunion at Katie’s!


And ended with drinks at Yardhouse with some of my favorite Bruins. So grateful for a day/evening spent soaking up conversation and laughter with people I admire so much.

On Sunday, Mom prepped a decadent picnic for Crystal Cove. Coffee and sandwiches by the water-total bliss.  


It’s been pretty crisp down here, and the cool air and nice ocean breeze felt right-like sweaters, warm coffee and a slight chill is how December by the beach should feel.


I love all the sweet little Crystal Cove cottages.   


Today we relaxed, checked out some after Christmas sales and drove to the Montage for drinks. 


Mule time by the ocean :)


That view!!!!


Having a tough time not wearing this sweater/blanket all day, everywhere-it’s too cozy. Janou and David have flights tomorrow, so tonight we just relaxed together and watched the Christmas SNL. Realllly want to see Sisters after this skit.

Three more days until the New Year!

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Christmas break! Christmas break!

Hello, holidays :) 


Via T&L

On the train to Stockton to start winter break. Have that last day of school-no-parents-no-rules sense of excitement. On vacation until January 4 and so excited for 10 days of reading, family time, and relaxing at home.

It’s been a quiet but sweet start Christmas.  Last weekend, was supposed to drive to Redding to see baby Parker and Katie, and we had plans for a holiday party in SF, but a lame cold out the kibbosh on that fun. Two seasons of Parenthood, sleep, and steamy Ramen Shop eventually kicked the bug.

Heather and Stephanie hosted their annual cookie exchange (sorry for the store bought TJ’s-someday I’ll bake…). Steph has one of those nice cream colored Pottery Barn sectionals where everyone can sit comfortably and you sink into hours of conversation.  That AND a Christmas tree, cookies and a Netflix fire = a very cozy afternoon.

Last night, a lot of us got together again for a holiday dinner at LuLus in SOMA. Lauren and Lexi are in town and it was so festive to catch up over wine and calamari.

And now-winter break! 

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Vacation-Day 5, Vatican

Both David and I are fortunate to have very devout, sweet, Catholic grandmothers. With them in mind, when we decided on Rome, we planned to spend a day at the Vatican.  Two main objectives for the trip: pasta and Francis. 

Thankfully for the world, Pope Francis had a historic visit to Africa scheduled during our trip. So, we slept in a bit, enjoyed the Hotel Brittania’s breakfast at a leisurely pace and made our way to Vatican City without much of an agenda.

We smugly (and as we would eventually find out, foolishly) patted ourselves on the back for our good planning and ticket reservations when we saw the hundreds of people in line outside St. Peter’s. Could not believe how crowded it was in November. 


 We started with the gorgeous grounds at the Vatican Museum. One of many moments I had to remind myself to just look around and soak it up and not try to snap away on my phone.


My last trip to the museum was over 10 years ago, on a swealtering summer day during college. The Gallery of Maps felt even more impressive this time around.

Also-thumbs up to Rick Steve’s audio guide in the Sistene Chapel. Not only was the historical explanation fasicinating, but it helped to tune out the whispers of hundreds of others cramming their necks at the ceiling.

Unfortunately, after the museum, we completely failed to follow RS’ instructions to cut over to St. Peter’s. We just kept following the exit, and soon enough, we were back outside with the throngs of tourists. We had zero interest in waiting in the line, so we chalked it up to the inevitable trip plan failure and promised ourselves we would someday return to St. Peters. 

At this point it was late in the afternoon and we were overdue for some Italian carbs. Andrea recommended the buffalo pizza at Dar Poeta so we hopped in a taxi to Trastevere. The pizza was delicious, though after the late afternoon bread and cheese, I definitely needed a nap.

Later that evening, we went back to Trastevere for dinner at Taverna Trilussa. It was a Friday night and sweet seeing families and couples out to dinner, enjoying the end of the work week. I got my new favorite-amatriciana-and it arrived warm, in the pan.

From dinner, we walked to admire the Piazza Navonna and then the Pantheon at night. They were conveniently located near San Crispino-my other memory from 10 years ago-and even though it was pretty chilly, I had to stop for the honey gelato :)

I thiiiiiiiink this was my first time seeing the Trevi Fountain at night and it was stunning. Even more magical than I remembered and pretty special to see it with David.

The next day we were awake bright and early for our day trip to Florence! Hope to write about it soon.

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Last night of Hannukah

More scrapbooking on our trip soon, but wanted to remember the last few weekends.

Last year, we rented a house in Tahoe for our first Tahoe friendsgiving.  This year, for our Chrismukkah, we left for the snow late last Friday after work. Jon and Melissa were rockstar drivers and we got to the house a bit after midnight Friday night.

This house didn’t have last year’s incredible backyard, but it was across the street from the lake.  

The next morning, Melissa and I went for a walk by the lake. It was beautiful!

imageWhen we got back to the warm house, everyone was sitting down to delicious  banana and chocolate chip pancakes.

The rest of the afternoon was relaxed and easy. We walked to the lake, had lunch, and got ready for dinner.

Everyone agreed that we went wayyyyy overboard with last year’s dinner, and this year was much more simple. 

Although, there was some flambaying involved, so there was a touch of fancy :) 

After last year’s trip, I got nervous it might be a one time thing, particularly as life got more demanding. It was encouraging to see the tradition continue this year, and everyone seems committed to trying to continue, in some way, in the future. Thanks goodness! These weekends and these people are a wonderful source of support and laughter.

This weekend was verrrrrry low-key. There’s been rain this week, which made for incredibly clear views on yesterday’s Mt. Diablo hike.  This afternoon we celebrated Baby Dillon! Zac and Narges’ family hosted a beautiful shower and it was fun to catch up and celebrate. And accidentally match :) Also, how gorgeous is Narges’ dress?

Hoping for more Christmas cards…the tree is looking pretty naked. Enjoying a quiet evening on the last night of Hannukah. Only 17 days until the New Year!

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